About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Friday, February 27, 2009

Does Being Fast Make You Happy?

I was gasping for breath after I finished my last of seven 800m repeats at Wednesday night’s track practice when I heard the question. A new member of the T3 triathlon club was talking to Coach Logan and asked the all-encompassing query.

“How do I get faster?”

Ugh…the million dollar question and the one we ask ourselves over and over… How do I get faster?

I’m not sure if it was the pain meds kicking in, but Logan’s response (that he prefaced quite well by saying he would say the same thing to ANYBODY) was to “lose 10lbs and you’ll get faster.” Sure enough, he’s right. No doubt. Losing weight does make you faster, but it doesn’t make you fast…or necessarily strong… Believe me, I could stand to lose about 6-8 pounds, but I’m still capable of kicking the butts of a lot of skinny chicks out there. I surprise myself at damn near every event when I see sport-bra wearing, wash board stomach chick at the start. I look and make the assumption EVERY TIME that that person must be FAST. Not always the case…Is she skinny, toned and fit?? You bet! The object of my never-ending envy. But Fast? Not always the case…

So, in Logan’s defense, his response wasn’t meant to be arrogant or flippant (or maybe it was), but he did go on to explain the other more technical ways of achieving speed…tempo runs, hill training, speed work, and simply running with those who are faster… all things that require a tremendous amount of discipline, determination and (many times) humiliation.

Of course, I’ve dwelled on that topic for the last few days and it always comes back to, “Why does it freaking matter and why can’t we just be happy with where we are?!” I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to wanting to get faster. Who doesn’t?! I’ve seen my hard efforts pay off from being a 10:30 miler to a 6:30 miler. But when is enough enough? So what if I train to run a 6:00 min pace? There will still be a chick (skinny or not) who can run a 5:55.

Last year, I had a post-it note in my car that said 2:00 x 100. That meant that I simply wanted to get to the point where I could swim 100 repeats at a 2:00 pace. Laughable to most, but FAST for a girl who spent many years refusing to even put on a bathing suit. Guess what? I’m now swimming them between 1:50-1:55 with regularity and I hope to be comfortably in the 1:40s by summer, knowing that when I hit THAT I’ll want to be in the 1:30s, and on and on and on…

My feeling is more of self-frustration as I juggle between being so content and happy with where I AM vs. being excited and determined with where I want TO BE. But that’s such an evil trap…The only reality is RIGHT NOW and we have to love it, cherish it, savor it and be grateful for it. If nothing else, the beauty of multi-sport training is that it does motivate you to set high goals. We all know so many people who say things like, “I could NEVER do that,” or “I just want to marry a rich guy so I can quit my job,” or “Someday I’d love to do that, but I’m too scared.” Fortunately, most of the people I associate with don’t know those limitations. They don’t know excuses. They only know success because they are constantly achieving them. Of course, they also know complete frustration because that success is never ENOUGH because, guess what, there’s ALWAYS another level higher.

Think about it... even Michael Phelps gets up every day and asks his coach, “How can I get faster?” (that and, “Do you know where I left my bong?”)

It’s my challenge right now to savor these moments and enjoy each second. There’s nothing wrong at all with wanting to be better or faster in the future. The problem is when you can’t appreciate where you are RIGHT NOW.

With all of that self pep-talk, I'm still keeping track of the numbers as a good reference.

7 x 800s on the track Goal: Descend from Half-Marathon pace to all-out effort with each repeat.


Taken immediately finishing the 2008 Zilker Relays where I ran 2.5 miles at a 6:20 pace. Do I look happy at that moment? Actually, no...I was on the verge of puking! (but it was still fun)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All-Inclusive Doesn't Mean You Have to Eat EVERYTHING! (oops)

Back from a weekend in the Mayan Riviera!

Honestly, neither of us were expecting much...all we really wanted was a weekend of complete and utter relaxation by the water...complete with a good drinks, good food and a good book!

The "all-inclusive" thing always seemed kinda cheesy to me--like an 80s nightclub and a karaoke bar (which this place had both of). Seriously, I have to wear a bracelet all weekend like it's some sort of music festival? What next? Group water aerobics? (they had that too)

Fortunately, everything about the Barcelo Mayan Palace was top-notch from the rooms, to the pools, to the service, to the food and even to the drinks. Did I overindulge? You bet...mostly on food at dinner. Shit, it's all-inclusive. Why wouldn't I order the surf and turf?? (and then hit the dessert buffet afterwards?)

I also overindulged on luxury sleep (10-11 hours a night) and not one, but TWO good books! ("Four Blondes" by Candace Bushnell and "My Life on the Run" by Bart Yasso)

Don't worry my type-A, nerdy, Ironman types. I also hit most of my workouts (except for that pesky 70 mile bike ride). I swam every day in our own version of Barton Springs right outside our window and ran twice--including a 13+ miler one week after my marathon. We even hit the fitness center for 1hr 30minutes on the stationary bike. It's just not the same when Pain and Mo aren't calling out gears and playing Justin Timberlake. (even though that's probably what I was listening to on my iPod)

Many times I thought, "I could so get used to this leisurely, service-oriented, non-facebooking, non-emailing, book reading, wine sipping, way of life." It was as if the pressures of real life (even the trivial ones) simply melted away. Our biggest challenge was trying to stay up late enough to go to the one of the shows (we didn't) and decide which spa package to receive (pedi, facial and massage--thank you very much).

It was confirmed when I got to Houston and people were pushing, shoving, and running to reach their terminals. Ah....gotta love the crazy Americans who have no idea how to relax. It's always go, go, go with no thought to the "present moment." We're so concerned with getting to the next place that we can't even enjoy the place we're in.

We got home and were in bed by 9:30pm so that I could be up for 5:45am swim practice and Shawn could be at work by 6:15am...

So much for that relaxing way of life :-)

Our very own open-water pool! Judging by my "lap times," I estimated the pool to be about 150m long (or 300m per lap). I got two great long swims done and was, not surprisingly, the only person doing real laps with goggles and a swim cap. (besides co-Ironman Trainee hubster)

It doesn't look crowded because it was about 8am and most of the revelers were either still asleep or indulging in the massive breakfast buffets. The "floaty" in the water is little 'ol me taken by hubster from our balcony.

The ocean was great, but the afternoon I went for an ocean swim, the water was incredibly choppy due to the constant 25-30mph winds.
I saw one huge sting ray and got the hell out after about 15 minutes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

All The World's a Stage...

Heading towards finish! Thanks Little Miss Runner Pants for the pics!

Are we almost there?!?

Spectacular finish on Congress Ave with the capital building as a backdrop.

Gag Reflex: "Trading Blows"

Gag Reflex: Dena, Kelly and Carrie perform "Girl Talk"

Gag Reflex: "Profession of Love"

Video Performance of "Girl Talk"

...and we are merely players." Thanks, Bill Shakespeare, for the life metaphor. 

This weekend was full of performances, that's for sure. The "Gag Reflex" Valentines Day shows went very well and I'm, once again, humbled and thankful to so many friends and hubster for skipping the usual cheesy Valentines Day routine and coming out to a random theater on the East Side of Austin for some low-brow comedy. Nothing says "romance," like a good old fashioned sex joke! I was originally going to turn down these shows because of my Ironman training and Marathon the next day, but I'm glad I didn't. I had so much fun the last few weeks of rehearsals and it re-ignited the passion for stage performance!

Fortunately, that passion carried over into the Austin Marathon on Sunday . I was operating on about three hours of sleep, zero taper and less-than-ideal nutrition planning.  I never had any personal time goals, but as the day drew nearer, I decided to shoot for a 3:30. Fortunately, that was also the goal for a couple of Gazelle friends, Frank and Brian. When they invited me to pace with them, I couldn't resist. They are much smarter than I ever would be with pacing with their mile by mile breakdown.  The Austin Marathon course is, well...a bitch. They changed the course a couple of years back and I haven't run this new course even though I've run parts of it thousands of times before. Hills, hills and more hills dominate the first half and those that go out too fast are usually brought to their knees by the end.  It's a "fair" course if run properly, but definitely not a walk in the park.

So, thanks to Brian and Frank, I ran the first half conservatively, leaving plenty in the reserves for part two. I must admit, there's a moment where the Half and Full Marathoners split and it also happens to be one block from our house. There was a fleeting moment of, "It's the point of no return. Make the turn and you've got 16 more miles of torture or just stop now and go make some coffee at home!" I, of course, chose to make the turn and head north over the hills of Exposition.

While the temperature was in the low 50s at the start, there was a pretty brisk and sometimes gusty wind coming from the northwest that was definitely a mental challenge for the first half. Plus, it's tough knowing the course from beginning to end. Mentally, once you hit the 13 mile mark, your mind says, "It's time to turn around and start heading back to the Finish Line." However, this course continues to wind north AWAY from the Finish until Mile 17 when it FINALLY makes the turn East and starts bringing the runners back towards the downtown finish. I was so relieved at that point because there is some great flat/downhill portions. Plus, the wind was now at our backs (which I took full advantage of).

I gotta say, I was feeling pretty darn good during the second half of the course in general. Unfortunately, I did have to make a pit stop at Mile 15 and take care of some GI issues. Every time I would start to speed up, my tummy also started to speed up causing some major discomfort. (must've been that pre-race sushi)Instead of worrying about it the rest of the race, I went ahead and stopped at the restroom, took care of business and ran "worry free" the rest of the way!

The conservative 1st half allowed me the courtesy of blowing out (no pun intended from above paragraph) a serious negative split on the back half and a super-fast finish. I ended up passing the 3:30 group at Mile 24 and just continued to haul ass for the last 2 miles. Shawn ran me up the last final hill and I was happy to see him there. His energy lifted mine. I was ready to be done, but still feeling strong. The last mile was a blur of shouts, cheers and internal, "Where the hell is the freakin' finish line?!?" moments. Needless to say, I was proud of this "performance" as much as I was proud of the comedy shows from the night before. They both provided that adrenaline rush, endorphin overflow and feeling of complete and utter happiness for me.  Who could ask for anything more?

Here are the splits!

1:  8:31
2:  8:08
3:  8:02
4:  7:51
5:  7:44
6:  7:57
7:  7:55
8:  8:10
9:  8:12
10: 8:11 (here comes the hilly section on Exposition)
11: 8:16
12: 8:18
13: 8:19
14: 8:02
15: 7:56
16: 8:38 (restroom break)
17: 7:42
18: 7:42
19: 7:41
21: 7:44
22: 7:32
23: 7:34
24: 7:23
25: 7:18
26: 7:05 (hot damn!)
.42 extra towards finish: 6:17 pace!

Now that deserves an encore performance, don't you think??

Sunday, February 15, 2009

3:27:58 at Austin Marathon

The Austin Marathon is in the can with a 3:27:58!

34th overall female out of 1583
8th in my age group (Women 35-39) out of  270

Official Results HERE!

I'll take it after a week that consisted of no tapering and definitely not enough rest!  I rode 60 miles on Thursday afternoon, ran 5 miles on Friday, swam an hour and rode 35 miles on Saturday AND performed 2 comedy shows on Saturday night!

Not exactly a taper I would recommend for future races.

I owe many thanks to Brian and Frank (just behind me in this photo). I raced their plan for the first half of this very tough course and it totally paid off on the back half.

Complete story including pics and videos from my Gag Reflex Comedy Show coming soon!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My New Training Weapon

One way of overcoming your fears in life is to proclaim that you are, indeed, FEARLESS!!

This new training suit is in the mail!

I am FEARLESS in the water...

(positive affirmations also help)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Health-Care is an Oxymoron

How can we expect average Americans to eat healthy and maintain a fit lifestyle when Doctors eat this crap everyday?! Comfort Meal, my ass...

All I know is that I'd be a little frightened if the Doc who was performing surgery on me at 3pm had this to eat for lunch. Can you say, "food coma?" I'm thinking Dr. Stuff Yo' Face is the one who'd be out like a light without so much a drop of anesthesia.
Isn't part of the fun in life the adventure of not really knowing how things are going to play out? Sure, the type A part of me likes to plan everything and then follow that plan step by step to reach the desired outcome (Hello Hour-By-Hour Ironman schedule!) However, as we all know, life isn't always that neat and who would want it that way really? You don't learn anything when things always go according to plan. You learn most when you make mistakes, get derailed, have to improvise and put yourself in uncomfortable situations. 

As grateful as I am to have a  stable and perfect existence (ok--it's perfect to me at least), I also get a jolt when things are a little messy too because I recognize these bumps as potential growth experiences. They are opportunities to practice patience and excellence.

Mother Teresa (who I saw once while hallucinating during a marathon, but that's a whole other story) had a quote that said, "I know God wouldn't give me more than I can handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much." It makes me laugh to know that benevolent Mother Teresa also had a sense of humor (my kinda gal).

So, lots of things in my world are in that exciting and chaotic stage at the moment. Internally, sometimes I want to panic, shut down, and throw in the towel, but I'm also aware enough to realize how exciting each unfinished adventure is at the moment. Because like everything in life, it will complete itself in one form or another. Sometimes we don't know what form the finish line will take, but we run the race just the same and hopefully handle the rough spots with dignity, grace and that glorious sense of humor that is missing in so many people these days. 

We all know about the self-imposed stress that triathlon training puts on to our bodies and minds. Personally, it's the mental stress of "fitting it in" that is worse than the physical training. I LOVE working, training and sweating, but I hate looking at the week and forcing myself into 4 bikes, 3 swims, 4-5 runs, core and everything else that comes along with 12-14 workouts a week.  It can truly seem overwhelming (because it is), but I also know the reward at the end for maintaining some form of consistency. Believe me, I do stray from the schedule because life's too short to feel imprisoned to the schedule all of the time. 

This week is certainly no exception. We've been in rehearsal for three weeks for our two Gag Reflex comedy shows this weekend. I'm not even in a ton of the sketches (because I told them IM training came first), but I've been at rehearsal just the same practically every night from 7p-9:30p. It's been exhilarating and exhausting and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's not like we're rehearsing for some Broadway caliber show either. It's just eight people with senses of humor whose creative outlet involves performance and creating laughter. My dream job...

Besides working everyday for "the man" at the agency(actually it's two awesome women), I'm also still pursuing my business/personal goal of creating our "Dot the M" empire. The ideas and the potential of this apparel and social movement are profound and grow exponentially everyday. Unfortunately, the people that can help me make this happen and get the ball really in motion just don't feel the same sense of urgency I feel. I'm supposed to be meeting with someone who can really propel this idea soon, but again, I'm at the mercy of their schedule (grrrr...). In the meantime, if anyone has any connections to a film producer, let me know...Rest assured, I continue to work behind the scenes on research and everything else!

So this weekend is the Austin Marathon. I was originally granted entrance to pace my friend Raul to his goal. Unfortunately, the injury gods have not been kind and he wants to build strength for Ironman CDA. Then, I was going to pace my friend Jess to her goal. Well, once again, the injury gods had a different plan for her. Now, I have an entry to the marathon and no real goal. It's that blurry level of anxiety that says just pick a pace and have fun vs. go out there and see what you can do...The rational answer is very clear. This is NOT my "A" race. It is simply a training run with waterstops, crowd support and a medal at the end.  Then, there's that little devil that is telling me to go out there and create a strategy to try to PR. Unfortunately, this is a pretty challenging course and I don't think I've got a 3:20 in me at the moment. I'm actually still a little beat up from the 3M Half a few weeks ago (and the bikes, swims, core and everything else)...not to mention the fact that I'm supposed to do a 60-mile bike ride sometime this weekend. (see--there's that hour by hour Ironman schedule again). We'll see what happens. I'm guessing and hoping it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:30-3:40.

FYI--my Guru bike is STILL not back from it's paint job and it's been over two months. Jane and Allison have been so nice to lend me their bikes for the last several weeks, but I'm officially over it. Unfortunately, it's also one of those little things that I spoke of above that are simply out of my control. It could really anger me or I could react how I've been reacting and just laugh about it. What can I do really? Jack all but guaranteed I'd have it back this week and I'm waiting patiently for the call.  Once again, life doesn't always follow our schedule of events. We're always at the mercy of other's schedules. It's another lesson in gratitude and patience and I'm now overly grateful for the kindness of others. 

So keep those balls in the air and remember that each ball that's dropped will hopefully bounce right back up into your arms! 

P.S. We're going to Mexico for a long weekend next week so I'll quit my bitchin'

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Got My Blog Back!!

Woo Hoo!! For some reason, Blogger marked my blog as "spam" over the weekend and decided to take it down unbeknownst to me. I went to update on Sunday and it was gone...vanished...stolen...kidnapped.  Panic set in and I took the necessary steps to rescue my baby!

Fortunately, Blogger realized the only thing I'm selling is a fun positive lifestyle and I have no real ransom.  It returned to me unharmed (but a little tainted) yesterday evening!

I'll be updating soon!!  I need some advice on how to run the Austin Marathon this weekend. Yep--I'm running a marathon on Sunday!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Safety in Numbers

Feeling good about training thus far in the journey to “Dot the M” in Coeur D’Alene! One of the coolest things about training with a group is finding new people to train and pace with during the workouts. It certainly takes monotony out of the countless hours and more than monotony, it’s challenging to break out of your comfort zone and rewarding when you reach a new breakthrough by hanging with people that you don’t think it’s possible to hang with…

A lot of that has been happening to me lately.

My cycling is on target and pace with where I want to be at this point. Similar to Ironman Arizona, I’d be thrilled with a pace at or near 17 mph for the 112 miles. It’s a solid effort which won’t deplete the reserves for the run. In addition to my long rides on the weekends, I’m hitting at least two T3 indoor cycling classes a week and riding with some new faces for the challenge and joy of getting to know wonderful new people…Dionn, Jen, Jane, Diane, Allison, Alisa, Shawnda, Laurie, Blythe…all great and incredibly strong women. I can afford to learn a thing or two from these chicks! (and not all of it has to do with cycling!)

Running has also been a new reward for me. I haven’t been to an official Gazelle workout since October, which is very odd (oh how I miss my Gazelle friends!!). A lot of my runs have been solo efforts, but I’ve also been trying to hit some T3 run workouts where I can…Again, a part of keeping the training fun and exciting is doing something DIFFERENT for a change.

I had a GREAT 18 mile training run on Sunday that started out with a very comfy sub 9:00 per mile pace with Lapuente. After 7 miles, we picked up Charles and Shellie who proceeded to pick up the pace and drop the hammer. They were only doing 10 or so, while yours truly was doing 18. Needless to say, those final few miles were tough, but I kept up until the last ½ mile.

Long Run: 9:03, 9:19, 9:02, 8:55, 8:43, 8:25, 8:30, 8:26, 8:05, 7:57, 7:44, 7:47, 7:46, 7:34, 7:26, 7:58, 7:10, 7:53 Overall Pace: 8:10 per mile (awesome for a training run!)

On Monday, I did a 7 mile recovery run with Michelle Metzler. We’ve been trying to find time to run together FOREVER and I’m so glad we finally found a day because she’s fascinating and our pace complements each other well. She’s getting into trail running, so hopefully we can move some of our “recovery” runs to the greenbelt for yet another change of pace and scenery.

Last night, I did the T3 Mile Repeat workout at O’Henry track. Like many others, I got an early start so that I could be showered and ready for “Gag Reflex” rehearsal at 7p…Coach Logan (who I adore) assigned us a warm up, 4 x 1 mile repeats which each one getting about 10 seconds faster than the previous one. While I didn’t hit the :10 mark, I did manage to knock time off each interval for a solid set of mile repeats…

1.5 mile warm-up, 6:41, 6:34, 6:27, 6:20, 1 mile cool-down
Hells Yeah Bitches!!

On the swimming front, I’m also happy to report a new breakthrough of sorts! My 100s are now in the 1:48-1:53 range due to forcing myself to swim in a more aggressive lane with Laurie, Audra and Lapuente on most mornings. Of course, that was until today when we had 12 x 100s and my times didn’t descend quite how they were supposed to :-)

So, as I continue on the journey of Dotting the M, I give thanks and gratitude to those who are encouraging me, pushing me, coaching me and challenging me to become better…faster…stronger. I wouldn't be having nearly as much fun without the group dynamic!

Monday, February 02, 2009

I Interrupt this Sports-Related Blog...

To Shamelessly Promote My Sketch Comedy Troupe's Valentines Day Shows!

Grab your significant other and join Austin’s favorite sketch comics — GAG REFLEX — on Valentine’s Day as we present nearly two dozen of our favorite sketches and songs exploring love, lust, sex, obsession and all the other things that make relationships so much damned fun.

• MEET Slave Boy Petey and The Neckbrace Girl!

• WATCH Bahston-ites tahk about their bizzah pahtnahships!

• SEE a grown man French kiss a sock & more!

Tickets are just $15 each or $25 per couple and include the show, a champagne toast and other Valentine’s favors to impress your lover and help you to get him or her into the sack. Hey — laughter is SEXY!
Buy tickets via credit card at http://www.gagplanet.com/ , or reserve them by calling 731-3945 or clicking here and sending us your name, phone number, # of tickets needed and which performance you’d like to attend. If you reserve only and pay at the door, we can only accept cash or check.
***I get to perform two shows that night and then get up the next morning to run the Austin Marathon! Could my life be any more complete?!***