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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wildflower Triathlon-Ready or Not, Here We Come!

D-Day is this Saturday, May 2nd!

Time for the Avia Wildflower Long Course Triathlon!

A.K.A. My Official Ironman Coeur D'Alene Practice Session

The bike is officially packed and ready to go!

Not sure what kind of internet access we'll have, but I plan on Twittering from the race site! Follow me at @dotthem!

Monday, April 27, 2009

ME, ME, ME!! :-)

This pretty much sums up my weekend of training!


Shawn and I are doing a live interview tomorrow night 4/28 at 8pm Central for a podcast called "Consumer's Guide to Health." We'll be discussing our Ironman journey together :-) Go to http://www.smartsportintl.com/ to listen or use the media player on my sidebar to the right. Here's what the Host Allan has to say:

Join me on BlogTalkRadio on Tuesday April 28, 2009 at 8:00 pm central time for the latest episode of "Consumer's Guide To Health" as I discuss "The Ironman Journey". Training for your first Ironman triathlon is an adventure. The 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run challenges you not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Join me with special guests Shawn and Carrie Barrett as we discuss what it's like to prepare for the adventure, and how it affects you afterwards. This husband-and-wife triathlon combo are preparing for Ironman CDA in June. For physician Shawn, it will be his first, for marketing mastermind (funny gal, and one of my fave bloggers ) Carrie, she's making a return to the Ironman adventure.

The BlogTalkRadio call-in number is 646-929-1567. You can listen online at
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/abesselink and also download this and previous episodes here as well.
I hope we get some good phone calls!! You hear me Mom?!?!

And now, a recap of the weekend Ironman Endurance Challenge!

A great time was had by the crew that headed to Johnson City for 100 miles of hills, wind and some rain. OK--the bike ride may not have been the fun part, but the picnic and wine afterwards were certainly worth the time in the saddle. I actually felt great the entire bike ride (shocking!) and really only started to get fatigued towards the end when I stopped taking in nutrition. Val and I hopped off the bikes and went for a 30 minute run...both feeling pretty damn strong. My tummy was actually growling on the brick so I knew Mama needed some food!

On Sunday, I tackled a 19 mile run at an 8:15 overall pace...slow start, but my legs found me eventually. It was great to see Anna, Katy, Vegas, Priscilla and a few others gutting it out as well in the humidity! Finished with a great soak in Barton Springs while waiting for Hubster to finish 20 miles!!!

This morning, I headed to Barton Springs for an early morning 4000m open water swim! While my times were oddly slower than usual, I still got it done and chalked it up to a level of fatigue...duh...

Now, it's time to cut it back this week and prepare for quite possibly the hardest race of my "career"--the Wildflower Half-Ironman. Hubster and I watched a documentary about the race last night and I officially became nervous and excited all at the same time. Totally felt like race morning! If I go 6:00-6:30 on that course, I'll be content. Just watching them run up a set of stairs coming out of T2 made me tired. This was shot 5 years ago, but I'm assuming the course is virtually unchanged.

Let the excitement and nervous energy carry me through this wonderfully busy week! I can't wait to meet some of my Erin Baker's Tri Teammates and make contact with some of the other sponsors. Bring it on!

The Johnson City Crew Post-Ride: Val, Katy, Jerry, Nancy, Alisa, Rhonda, Me, Shawn
Post-Ride Bliss

Not sure what I was lecturing about, but I'm sure it was riveting!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Are You Ready for Ironman?

I've been getting that question asked a lot lately. Of course, depending on the context, I could answer that question in a myriad ways. 

Q:  "Are you ready for Ironman?"

A1: "No, I still have two more months! Of course I'm not ready you nimrod!"

A2: "Hell yeah I'm ready! Why would you even ask?! Do you think I'm a wuss?"

A3: "Physically, I'm ready...I've got no injuries and I'm feeling strong. I am woman. Hear me roar."

A4: "Mentally, I'm ready...This ain't my first rodeo after all."

A5: "Ready? Are you kidding? Are you ever really ready? Is a couple ever really 'ready' for parenthood?"

A6: "If by ready, you mean ready to get this damn thing over with so that I can get back to a normal life and talking about non-tri things all of the time, then YES I am ready."

A6: "If by ready, however, you mean ready to put my goggles, bike and running shoes in the attic forever, than NO I'm not ready. I'm going to need those things for a while. I've kinda grown attached to those." (or they've grown attached to me)

I think the answer to the question changes on a minute-to-minute basis. If the race were tomorrow, I could do it. In one respect, I'm ready. However, the next two weekends are going to give me a ton of feedback to see just how ready I am.

Tomorrow, a group of us are heading down to Johnson City for a 100+ mile ride in the Hill Country (notice I said "hill"). Afterwards, I have to hop off and run for an hour because I didn't get a chance to do my brick workout last weekend due to the MS 150 debacle.  I'm actually looking forward to this as I love this course and a few of us are packing a picnic and doing some wine tasting afterwards. It's all in the rewards, right??

On Sunday, I'm running 18 miles and thankfully my legs are feeling pretty good right now. Let's see what happens after Saturday!
Next weekend, Hubster and I are heading to California for the infamous Wildflower Long-Course Triathlon. Known as "The Woodstock of Triathlon," this three-day festival attracts over 7,000 participants in a weekend of racing including Olympic Distance, Mountain Biking and Half Ironman races.  Of course, we're doing the Half-Ironman distance. The two main things I hear about this race are that #1 It's a ton of fun because everyone is camping and chillin' out  #2 It's friggin hard as hell!   Woo Hoo...What a combination. Hungover and sleep deprived triathletes racing on a hilly course. Could be interesting!!

My plan for Wildflower is to simply practice Ironman pacing. 16.5-18 mph on the bike and sub-9:00s on the run...no age group placing aspirations, no qualifying hopes and dreams, just simply practice for the Ironman. It has been said that if you complete Wildflower, your Ironman should be a piece of cake. Ha...We'll see about that...

One thing is for sure, though...I'm ready. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Whatcha Got In There?!

Look out Wildflower Triathlon, here I come with the WORLD'S LARGEST TRI-BAG EVER!!

I mean, it's no secret that I'm of petite stature. At 5' 1," on a "tall" day, I'm never going to do a high jump, slam dunk a basketball, or even reach something on the top shelf at the grocery. Up until this point, I was o.k. with that...

But this is freaking ridiculous. Did TYR have to make a bag that is almost as tall as me?! Do we need to haul around that much crap for a one-day event?! Is it necessary to own a transition bag that I can fit into?! At least if I keel over, there's already a body bag in my transition area!

Those LA chicks and their big designer bags ain't got nuthin' on me!!

I'm afraid to see it when I actually fill it with race gear! Anyone want to be my sherpa?
Imagine the goodies we can put in this bag!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Like Me...You Really Like Me

I'm proud to announce that I was recently selected to become a member of 

In February, I was perusing the Ironman.com site and they had an announcement that Erin Baker's was putting together a team and accepting applications. Instantly, I felt a burn in my heart. (My friend Jan will appreciate this). I recognized that burn immediately. It's the feeling I get instantly when I know something is right. It's the familiar tingle/chills feeling when I know I just have to do something. That roar of intuition and emotion is something we all have, but unfortunately, it's something we suppress all too often. It's the desire to act even if the rationalities of a decision don't necessarily make sense at that particular moment. 

I got that same feeling when I decided to pick up my life and move to Austin, Texas 11 years ago without knowing a soul. Of course, there were many reasons why I shouldn't have moved, but my gut and my heart were telling me to just go for it. It's also the feeling we get when we enter into a marriage. Lord only knows what lies ahead, but we listen to our instincts and our heart. 
So, once again, I followed my heart and completed the application, shared my past race results and noted my future races and goals in hopes of being selected to this rather elite roster of people. 

Of course, there were many reasons why this wasn't a logical thing to do--reasons that many friends and loved ones have pointed out...I'm already on a triathlon team, I already have a bike, I'm not being paid, and I'm just basically pimpin' someone's product for free. (thank you very much for your support and enthusiasm)

What people don't understand is that underlying instinct and emotion that I felt when I saw the information. It's not about some immediate gratification or paycheck. It's about the *potential* of what this team holds for me personally and professionally (and the free cookies) :-). I can't describe the emotion inside that I felt when I got the call. I felt like I was the "C" student who applied to Harvard somewhat as a joke and was somehow accepted because they thought I was "different." After years of struggling with weight and self-esteem issues, being selected to be a part of an Ironman-affiliated team is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and proof positive that anything is possible...to anyone...at anytime. You just have to listen and act on that gut instinct.

Professionally, who knows what this team holds for me? Over the next year, I'm going to meet and associate with some amazing business owners and athletes who all share one common goal: We all want to Dot the M! We all want achieve the extraordinary by racing and finishing Ironmans. We're all fascinated and entrenched in improving our lives by being healthy and fit.  I may find my voice, my advocate, my business partner...who knows?!  And you know what?  I'd NEVER know if I hadn't submitted my application.

So, now I'm on to the practical side of being on the team, which is why I've suppressed my enthusiasm for the last couple of weeks. I'm ordering my Kestrel bike that I'm required to ride for the next year (even though I own a luxurious Guru) and I'm anxiously awaiting receipt of my Erin Baker's Race Kit (even though I own my T3 race kit).   I'm nervous and excited as several of the people on the team are incredible--and I mean--INCREDIBLE  athletes...Kona qualifiers, top age groupers, young studs, and me---the poser :-)  I'll be meeting several of them next week at the Wildflower Triathlon.

I'll definitely be blogging my progress throughout the year and, yes, I'll be pimpin' my sponsors without getting a check. 

With that being said, thanks to Erin Baker's Wholesome Baked Goods, Kestrel Bicycles, Play Tri Coaching and Race Day Wheels!  I look forward to an amazing year of growth, both personally and professionally!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Engine 2 Cholesterol Results

Don't worry...I really didn't know what the hell cholesterol was either, but this chart pretty much spells it out. Thank goodness for 4th grade science books!

I got the call this morning from the nurse at my doctor's office while I was driving home from Barton Springs. When I saw the unrecognized number, I got a little nervous. "This is it," I thought. "It's the call I've been waiting for."  Part of me just wanted to let it go to voicemail so that the nurse on the other end wouldn't have to hear my reaction. Instead, I answered with my usual chipper, "Hi-This is Carrie" salutation for those unrecognizable numbers.

"Hi Carrie, this is so-and-so (not her real name) from the Doctor's office. We got the results from your blood and urine and everything looks great!"

Now...most people would be happy with that greeting. They would say, "Awesome! Thanks so much" and proceed about their day thinking that they are immortal beings.

I was pulling into my driveway, talking on the phone and reaching for a pen and paper at the same time.

"That's great news," I said. "Now, can you tell me my specific cholesterol numbers? I've been doing a bit of an experiment and I'm anxious for the results."

Here it is:

Old HDL (Healthy Cholesterol): 104
New HDL:  83

Old LDL (Lethal Cholesterol): 140
New LDL: 119

Old Total Cholesterol: 259
New Total Cholesterol: 218

Risk Ratio 1.43 (Below 3.2 is safe)

So---What does this mean?!  It means that the Engine 2 Eating plan works wonders and my total cholesterol dropped 41 points in six weeks!  That's great considering I was drinking wine and wasn't totally vegan with my training nutrition (i.e. recovery drinks, gels, etc). 

My bad cholesterol alone dropped 21 points and my "risk ratio" looks great.

Now--the bad news is that my total level is still above the recommended 200, but she said it's not a huge concern since my healthy cholesterol looks so good and my ratio is well within the safe range. 

What does this mean for me?! It means I have a new lifetstyle of eating to adopt. I can honestly say that I've never felt better and eating this way has truly been rewarding and fun. Plus, my weight dropped about 8lbs. (you'd think it would make me feel lighter on the bike and run, but it doesn't) :-)

While I don't know that I'll ever be 100% vegan, the results more than speak for themselves. You do have power to repair your body by choosing, cooking and eating the right foods...foods that are complete,nutritious and incredibly filling.

So--damn---no double meat, double cheese pizza for me today. I've already packed my hummus and tofu wrap.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

MS 150: Mother Nature Wins Again

Well, it wasn't necessarily the epic training weekend I was hoping for, but I still had an amazing time this weekend riding the MS 150 with Hubster, Trigreyhound and Coach Liz

Day 1 of the MS 150 charity ride was officially cancelled by organizers because Mother Nature unleashed a load of rain, thundersorms and lightening in the area all day and night on Friday. Shawn and I pressed on to Houston to stay at Casa Greyhound (Thanks Pauline and Superpounce!)  thinking and hoping that we could still get up on Saturday morning and do the ride into Bastrop (approximately 130 miles). There would be no official water stops or breakpoints, but we weren't planning on using them anyways. We're Ironmen and we pack enough food and nutrition for an African safari. Plus, if we got in trouble, we could always call Pauline to rescue us. 

All smiles before leaving for our unofficial 130 mile ride into Bastrop

Lo and behold, we drove an hour for our unofficial start and the second our shoes hit the pavement, we saw a lightening strike. Minutes later...another lightening strike...We stood there like lost souls not knowing what to do. Should we wait it out or just call it a day and a valiant attempt? Shawn consulted the iPhone radar and there was no doubt that we were riding directly into a huge storm front.  Pauline made the executive decision. We were NOT riding. It was too risky and too potentially dangerous. While we pouted like little kids who couldn't go out for recess, it ended up being absolutely the right call because the impending storms were huge and approaching quickly.

Pouty faces after we aborted the ride because of weather (The Starbucks helped)

Fortunately, we didn't really have much to be depressed about because we were bunking at the luxurious Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop. All this meant was that we would be on the road sooner!  We ate a great lunch (ok--I had a TON of vegetables and salad) and after checking in, the four of us infiltrated the group fitness room and proceeded to have our own spin class for three hours! We would not be denied a decent workout!!! (We all had thought ahead to bring our trainers in case of rain)

Getting ready to kick out the Nia Dance Class so that we could get our spin on!

After that, we headed to dinner and were treated to wonderful massages by Austin Pro Triathlete Terra Castro.  Once again, Greyhound went above and beyond to make this such a memorable weekend! 

Wonderful sunrise this morning...a far cry from yesterday. Pauline drove us to what would be our unofficial start in Smithville. We essentially started at the entrance to Buescher State Park and our first 11 miles were through the pines and hills to Bastrop State Park.

The sun was glorious, but the headwind was atrocious! Pretty demoralizing for several miles, but I just had to hunker down and keep pedaling without giving any regard to average speed. I just tried to focus on the purpose of this ride--to support those with MS who can't ride.

The four of us were separated for most of the ride, but convened to ride the last few miles together.
Yay! We got to ride!!

While the weekend a little frustrating because things didn't totally go as planned, I had a spectacular time hanging and training with Greyhound, Coach Liz and Hubster. Special thanks go to Mrs. Grehound, family-friend Teri and Superpounce for catering to our every whim. Thanks also to Terra for the great massage! I need you NOW!!! :-)

I was definitely beat after battling the headwind, but when I crossed the Finish Line, I saw a young girl holding a sign that said, "My Dad has M.S. Thanks for riding!"  It made the entire weekend complete.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

MS 150: Epic Weekend

Several months ago, TriGreyhound put out the desire (read: pressure and subsequent guilt trip) of putting together a cycling team to ride the MS150 together. This two-day charity bike ride from Houston to Austin has become the largest charity cycling event in the country. 14,000 cyclists will hit the road this Saturday in Houston and begin their journey back to God's country. We too will be on that journey, albeit slightly more creatively. Team Greyhound will not be stopping at the half-way point in La Grange with the rest of the mortal souls. Oh no, our journey will be much more creative. We're planning on riding into Bastrop on day one (130-140 miles of cycling) and bunking at the luxurious Hyatt Lost Pines Resort for the night. As if luxurious accommodations, wine and a hot bath weren't enough, Greyhound has arranged for professional triathlete Terra Castro to come by and give us massages!!

We'll get to sleep in a bit on day two and finish up in Austin where Team Greyhound will convene at the household of Team Barrett for post-cycling food, rest, bathing and mandatory libation.

I'm looking so forward to this weekend as it allows hubster and I to break from our usual training "regime." No competitive cycling (ya hear that Greyhound?!), no focus on cadence or HR...Just a wonderful experience with great friends for an even greater cause. When people ask why we do this stuff, THIS is why...

I certainly encourage you to donate here , but more importantly, keep Team Greyhound and the other 14,000 cyclists in your thoughts this weekend as we brave the elements and motorists to support this amazing charity. The research and medications are working to help eradicate this disease (or at least slow it down). Just ask Mrs. Greyhound...

Houston--here we come!

The Results are in the Vial

After 6-weeks of being on the Engine 2 eating plan, I finally went to get my blood drawn this morning for the "Final Results Show."  While I won't know the results for a couple more days, I will say that I'm excited and a tad nervous to see what impact I have made, if any, on my elevated cholesterol levels.  

I don't know if the book was released at the right time for me or the fact that the author is an amazing super-stud triathlete firefighter in Austin, but something resonated with me when I started reading about the book. I went to the doctor in July 2008 and at that time he recommended I do a plant-heavy diet to bring my cholesterol down naturally. He shared his personal story of going plant-based and the dramatic results it had on his health. I remember thinking, "Yeah--ok...whatever...I'm an endurance athlete and this chick needs her meat!"  Needless to say, I didn't make any dramatic changes.

Fast forward to late February when I first started hearing about "The Engine 2 Diet." My friends Richard and Stephanie were going to try it, lots of Austin friends and athletes were mentioned specifically in the book and it coincided with Lent (which is a time of suffering and giving something up anyways for us Catholic-folk). Like a drug addict who hits rock bottom, I literally had an internal mental and emotional shift that said, "You can do this." Besides, 90% of the food items and recipes were regular parts of my diet already anyways. I was just going to have to live without dairy and animals.

Aside from a few awkward moments of bringing my own sprouted grain bread to Sullivan's Steakhouse and packing hummus to the Salt Lick BBQ restaurant, this way of eating has been a piece of cake (pun intended). For whatever reason, it has been easy for me to adhere to where most restrictive eating plans have always been torture. Aside from getting a tad creative at some restaurants, I'm still eating natural nut butters (peanut, sunflowers), fruit, veggies, beans, brown rice, whole grain pastas, lasagnas, hummus, boca burgers, stir-fry, pizzas (no cheese), salads, veggie sushi, etc....There is no skimping on calories!!

My body has never felt "cleaner!" In fact, my friend Lindsey (sorry for calling you out girlfriend) and I joke that it should be called the "Engine Number 2" diet or the "Engine Poo" diet because it really does keep your metabolism going morning, noon and night. We send text messages throughout the day with our daily count! (we're such ladies)  Plus, I'm not experiencing the irrational sugar cravings I used to get after every freaking meal.

My weight and body composition have also changed noticeably, at least to those around me. I've dropped 6-8 pounds in 6 weeks (depending on day and time of the month). What I like about that number is the fact that it wasn't a dramatic weight loss of 20 lbs of water weight. It was a very healthy and recommended 1-1.5 lbs per week of fat. 

The rest of the results will speak for themselves when I get the results of the cholesterol test (they said 2-3 days so it will probably be early next week).  In the meantime, a lot of people have asked whether or not this is a permanent life change. Who knows, but why not?! It's not like a crave steaks on a daily basis anyways. While I don't necessarily want it to inhibit my life or choices when I'm with family and friends, I do want to adopt this style of eating as much as possible for the rest of my life.  

However, as I said before, if my cholesterol is still high, I'm hitting the nearest pizza joint and ordering up a stuffed crust, double sausage, meat lovers pie.

P.S.  I also had to do a urine sample, but I spared you those photos. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All Aboard!!!

The BQ Train is leaving the station!

We'll be visiting many sites along the way to Folsom County Prison on December 6th.

First Stop:  Wildflower Half Ironman on May 3rd, 2009

Second Stop:  Ironman Coeur D'Alene on June 21st, 2009

Third Stop:  California International Marathon on December 9th, 2009

Final Stop on the BQ Express: The 115th Running of the Boston Marathon in 2011!  (This train plans far in advance)

Plenty of seats still available! 


My Husband Rocks

He just sent me a text that said, "My Boston Qualifier time goes to 3:30 next year...Just Sayin'..."
Apparently, the endurance crack I've been feeding him is working (sinister grin).
My goal for 2009-2010?? Get my boy to BOSTON!! (and finish a couple of piddly Ironmans in the process)

I love this picture of the two of us, but just noticed the poor dude in the background by his truck. Did he faint? Is he peeing?

Monday, April 13, 2009

So Much To Report...So Little Time...

While I formulate my thoughts on a new book review, my latest computrainer ride and two *major* pending announcements, I'll throw up a caption contest for the day.

This was taken during the Lonestar Half-Ironman last weekend in Galveston.
What the hell was I thinking at that moment??

Grrr....I am one sexy couger bee-otch!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Is this even legal??

I saw this photo posted on www.xtri.com from last weekend's Oceanside 70.3 race.  If this is legal, what the hell have I been busting my butt for?!?!   That's it...my Vespa scooter has just officially become my new tri bike.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mile Repeats: I Didn't Die

The parents are back safely in Ohio from their visit and we are getting back to normal around these parts. I stayed on my Engine 2 eating plan for the most part while they were here, but was a little sloppy about drinking, portion sizes, chips/salsa, etc.  We went to Sullivan's Steakhouse and I brought my own whole grain bread and ate veggies only. We went to Hula Hut and I had a veggie enchilada with no cheese and corn tortillas. We went to Salt Lick BBQ and I brought my own bread and hummus!!  Over the next few days, I'm going to clean up my diet and then get my cholesterol checked next week. I'll definitely post how it goes! From a weight standpoint, I'm about 6-8 pounds down over the last 40 days. (depending on what day and moment I hop on the scale). I'm happy with that because it's a very healthy 1lb per week average. 

This week was also back to "normal" on the training plan, albeit a little begrudgingly. Spin classes, swim classes, track workoutes, etc.  Last night we even did 6 x 1 Mile Repeats on the track. I was a little "Negative Nelly" when I got there thinking that Mile repeats weren't the smartest workout three days after a half-ironman. In no uncertain terms, I was told to suck it up and start running. Coach L prescribed the tempo for each one and made sure I didn't kill myself since I was still a little beat up from the race.

Mile 1: 7:13
Mile 2: 7:08
Mile 3: 7:00
Mile 4: 6:52
Mile 5: 6:57
Mile 6: 6:32

I'll be damned if they didn't feel pretty good once I got the first one under my belt. I definitely could've moved faster on each one, but 6 of them felt a little daunting. I'm glad I paced it correctly and didn't try to bust ass on each one.

After the torture, several folks walked over to our place for some post-track libation! What a perfect way to end a tough workout and to celebrate our race successes...It made it soooo worth it! 

I also found out that I qualified for USAT Nationals in the FALL!  WOOT! I'll drink to that (like I need an excuse)

Coming up this weekend--I'll be spending my Easter morning in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho...by way of the Computrainer once again. 

Plus, I'm riding 75 on Friday and running 16 on Saturday. 

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lonestar Half-Ironman Recap: Mixed Emotions

As my friend Michelle so eloquently worded it, the Lonestar Half-Ironman was our most pitiful PR ever :-) OK--I know I should be happy and grateful that I finished in a decent time, but phooey...it was still about 15 minutes slower than I wanted...15 minutes slower than I am capable of racing...I have turned out multiple 1:45 half marathons off the bike and that's what I was expecting and planning to do yesterday. I just can't figure out why my legs have given way to treacherous cramps in the last two races forcing me to walk large portions while pounding out the seizing muscles...GRRR... It's the big question I'll be exploring with my friend and coach Allan over the next couple of weeks. I even took about 12 endurolytes on the bike and run thinking it was a salt issue...Plus, I took 3 gels with extra sodium. Perhaps it's not salt after all. Potassium? Bad bike positioning and working muscles too hard? Over extending my efforts on the bike leaving my legs "spent" for the run? Who knows...I just know I'm better than that on more difficult courses.
The good news is that I totally pulled it together when I didn't think I was going to. I spent the first two miles in run/walk mode until I could gather my bearings long enough to realize I was going to make it through. I saw my parents who came all the way from Ohio and told myself, "I am not going to let them down." (I DNF'ed a marathon several years ago in their presence). The run course was a mind-numbing 4 loops so it helped to see them every three miles or so. By the end, I was picking up momentum and energy. Of course, the wind was also picking up to 40+ mph gusts!!
Overall, I'm happy with my swim time. It was 3-4 minutes slower than I was thinking, but such is life with open water. I know there were a few times when I had to sight more and readjust my direction. I'm just always happy to get out of the water alive...Plus, for the first time, I was passing people in the waves before me! woo hoo (the small victories)
The best part of any triathlon...wetsuit strippers! Kudos to hubster for this fun shot!!

I had set a goal to ride between 19.5-20.0 mph on the bike and nailed 20.0 mph average on the nose. I was feeling pretty strong until the last 10 miles and then my form starting falling apart and legs were getting tired (I made the mental note that it may haunt me on the run). I played cat and mouse with teammate Blythe the entire way and she kept reminding me that we shouldn't be pushing too hard! She definitely wasn't because she's a strong cyclist and could've left me in the dust easily. Towards the end, even T3er Jerry pulled up beside me and said that my body was rocking back and forth and my form looked bad (I was having trouble staying in aero)...The course is pancake flat, but because we were riding along the seawall, there was also a lot of wind in what seemed like every direction of course. Therefore, you are pedaling the ENTIRE time. No coasting whatsoever!

With any triathlon, I'm usually thrilled to be off the bike and ready to run! As I mentioned, my HR was skyrocketing the first two miles and I had to walk just to get it under control. Legs didn't start cramping until Mile 9 or so, but I had no gusto to really pick up the speed. Heat, windy, humidity...who knows...just didn't have it! At least I was running when hubster snapped this picture!! (Compression Guy behind me is walking!!!!)

Alas, I finished with a smile (or grimace)...I'll upload the video of me finishing so that you get a feel for what that wind was really like. Afterwards, we were walking to the car and my Mom was essentially propping me up because my legs were sore and I was starting to shiver and get the chills. My Dad asked rather innocently, "Is all of this worth it?"
Without hesitation, I said, "Every second of it."

While it wasn't the race I was expecting (at least the run portion), I still had a great time. I went for a ride and pre-race dinner with TriGreyhound, was lifted by the energy of Kathleen at the loop, saw Rodney B. from Talk Radio 1370 (station plug!) and met Sharon from Houston who is officially the President of C.B.I.F. (Carrie Barrett International Fanclub!) :-)

Of course, the power of having my parents and husband there every step of the way was undeniable. They were such troopers through it all even though they can't figure out why we insist on torturing ourselves to the point of utter exhaustion. Shawn is so good to my Mom and Dad and I count my blessings every day that I got "a good one."

Lastly, I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to see so many T3 jerseys on the course. There was literally not a moment where there wasn't a blue jersey coming or going with a word of encouragement or even a simple nod of acknowledgement. I needed that energy and got it from so many of my friends.

So after all that, I can say it's good to start the season with a PR and a new benchmark. The next two months are full of new challenges! MS 150, Wildflower Half Ironman and Coeur D'Alene Ironman...

Kinda makes me wish I would've chosen chess as my passion and hobby.

Here is a short clip of my finish...Check out those wind gusts!