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

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Oceanside War Wound

I call her Beulah. Beulah the Blister. She has made it nearly
impossible to walk. She must die.

Beulah the Blister

My biggest war wound of the race was the abnormally full and quarter-
sized blister that formed on the bottom of my foot. Who knew? I've
never really been a blister kinda gal. In any event, Beulah had to go.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

And another race is in the books! Team Barrett rocked it and had a
blast! Hubster PRed by 25 minutes and I actually PRrd by 7 seconds :)
The course was as difficult as advertised through the hills.
Fortunately, the wind was at our backs for the last 10 miles and we
gained some momentum.

More the report soon! My hip held up wonderfully!!! Actually a PR run
as well.

Friday, March 26, 2010

In case you're wondering why we do this...this is why! Location,
location, location.

FYI--water temp is officially 59 degrees. Yikes! That's like "burn
your face and get a freezer headache" cold.

I love the "HEAVY" tag on my bike box. Duh...I know it's heavy. I have
to ride the damn thing. But, thanks for the reminder Mr. American

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And Away We Go!

"Holy Crapola-It's Race Week!!"

Oops, what Mrs. Barrett meant to say was, "Yahoo, I get to race this weekend!"

I'm getting geared up and pumped up for Oceanside 70.3 this Saturday! I'm not sure if I'm more excited to be doing this race or excited to see the incredibly stacked professional field that will be buzzing by me at warped speed. Hell, part of me wants to just bag the race and watch the excitement that is sure to unfold when the pros start running each other down! How cool that I get to run the same course as these amazing athletes--Potts, Reed, Carfrae, both Lovatos, DeBoom, McGlone, Jones, Major, Taylor...and so many more! WOW!!! I'm sure they aren't thinking the same thing when they have to weave in and out of slow-ass age groupers,  but just know that we are in awe of thy greatness and physique!!

So, I'm finally detoxed from my self-imposed, South by Southwest gluttonous weekend. It was four full days of seeing dozens of bands from morning until night time, eating bad food and drinking the occasional (frequent) vodka/cranberry at 2 o'clock (in the afternoon). SXSW is the week where thousands of tourists decide to move to Austin and thousands of locals want to get the hell outta dodge! My cousin came from Ohio to check it out and the two of us had a dandy time. Needless to say, the dust has settled and the cobwebs have been blown away thanks to a couple of bikram classes and a few good quick workouts to make sure the engine is still running properly.

Dare I say it? I'm feeling GOOD. Damn good, in fact. Like, cross your fingers, kinda good. My hip is behaving better than usual and my body doesn't feel as beat up as it normally does. Duh...I'm not training for an Ironman. Perhaps that's why. In a way, I feel undertrained because I'm used to more mileage, more pain, and more suffering. Part of me is doubting myself because I really haven't trained enough. But, I have. I'm just not killing myself. 

With that being said, Oceanside 70.3 is going to be a wonderful and gorgeous challenge. First of all, Hubster and Bro-in-Law are also doing the race and start eight minutes behind me. I fire it up at 7:29am and they lift off at 7:37am. If I have any incentive at all, it is not to let either of those yahoos pass me at any time :-) Oceanside is known for a chilly start and windy conditions throughout the day. Temps are supposed to be mild, which may work in my favor. 

Swim in Oceanside Bay of the Pacific Ocean. Shouldn't be too choppy, but current water temps are in the 59-60 degree range. If I was a guy, I'd be shrinking just thinking about it. I'm hoping for a 34-36 minute swim, which would be my average time. As always, you just never know what may happen in the swim. Never is an open water swim exactly the length it's advertised to be. In fact, one of the speakers at the USAT Coaches Conference challenged us to never even look at our watch in the swim because 95% of people who come out of the water get depressed immediately when they see their watch. For many, it ruins the race. Interesting challenge. Let's see if I can do it! Yeah, right.


This course has the potential of handing me my ass. There are three major climbs from miles 29-45. All reach about a 9% grade. The first one is the longest and steepest. The second one looks the worst, but it more of a steady climb until the end. The final climb is just there to piss me off. The good news is that I'll have 29 miles to warm up and wake up my leg. I've practiced this section on the Computrainer several times and am convinced that I will make these hills my beeotch. Thankfully, the rest of the course isn't so daunting, except for the ocean breeze that's been known to gust from all directions (think Galveston). I'd love to come in around 3.00 hrs on this, which would be around 18.5 mph on the bike. Let's hope those lovely downhills make up for the climbs. And, may the wind be at my back...

Like Jesse James doesn't deserve Sandra Bullock, I don't deserve this beautiful machine. 

Oh, how I love thee...And, oh how you scare me these days. What is normally my "race maker" has turned into "The Big Unknown." My hip/leg has been feeling much better, but there is always a line and I may be crossing it. When it stops, it STOPS. It's not a pain that I can run through. If my leg stops working, I start walking. Ironically, I typically run my best off the bike, so this could be an advantage for me. I get 56 miles to warm that baby up (or tear it more). Plus, the course is pretty pancake flat, which is good since I haven't been working the hills. A dream scenario would be a 1:45 Half-Marathon or about an 8:00min pace. I've run that healthy. Let's see what I've got this weekend!

So, I'd love to land somewhere between 5:30-5:45. I think it's incredibly feasible, but the unknowns often beat the feasibilities into grotesque submission.

In addition to outcome-based goals, I've definitely outlined some overall race goals as well:

1.) Smile as much as possible, even if I want to cry.
2.) Thank the volunteers, race staff and Marines who will be working harder than me.
3.) Cheer on other athletes and EB teammates. Everyone needs encouragement.
4.) Stay calm on the swim. Try to draft. Usually, I end up in no man's land, but I'm going to attempt to hang with a pack.
5.) Don't give the hills on the bike too much effort. Save it for the flats and the run. 5 minutes saved on the bike could cost me 15 minutes on the run. I've learned that in a few races.
6.) Soak it in and always remember how lucky I am to be able to do this event! I'm racing in California on the Pacific Coast for heaven's sake!
7.) Hope that Matthew McConaghey decides to show up and go surfing that morning.
8.) For God's sake, don't let my husband pass me :-)  (Just kidding, babe. Kick some ass. I can always play the injury card).

Follow Along on Saturday!  
Bib # 2030
Hubster is #2247
Bro-in-Law is #2333

Also, subscribe to my Twitter feed at @dotthem for automatic updates thanks to Jane Bui!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Where Did That Come From???

I thought I was getting sick (sore throat, couch, headaches, lethargy--you know, the usual), but someone mentioned possible allergies. Perhaps that would explain why my head and body have been in a fog and I woke up in the middle of the night with a sinus headache so bad that my damn teeth hurt. Seriously, that never happens. Whoah. Fortunately, I slept most of it off and woke up to an utterly perfect day in Austin.

Hubster was post-call so we meandered over to Barton Springs for a 2000m open water fiesta. My lap times are about 15-20 faster than they were about a year ago. Yay me. Now, I'm just average with a little pep in my stroke.

Afterward, I went for a seven mile run around Town Lake starting from the house. I focused primarily on stride rate. 90 steps per minute/per foot. I'll be damned if my pace didn't have a little kick today.
Mile 1 8:32
Mile 2 7:50
Mile 3 7:47
Mile 4 8:01
Mile 5 7:50
Mile 6 7:52
Mile 7 was basically a cool down/shuffle back home because my right leg was in a fair amount of pain. The last tempo mile felt like someone was grabbing my hip, psoas and quad...with their claws. Just no lift whatsoever towards the end.  My form was feeling and sounding hideous. Once I stop, however, I'm able to flush it out and loosen it up a bit and the burning sensation subsides (ewwww...)

It was definitely my fastest effort in a long while which makes me smile! I just wish I could sustain it.

Topped it all off with an afternoon of Bikram (which I'm convinced stands for, "sweaty ass").

Not sure what any of this means for next week's Oceanside 70.3 (audible gasp and laugh). Yep, that's right...I have a freakin' Half-Ironman in a week. I'll either have the race of a lifetime because I'm undertrained or I'll be using a cane for the run portion. Let the fun begin!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Drinking the Triathlon Kool-Aid

When I began my career shift last Fall, signing up for the USA Triathlon Level 1 Coaching Clinic was a no-brainer to me. I absolutely see a future in multi-sport coaching and becoming officially certified by the sanctioning body of the sport was a given. In the same way that I don't want to see a "fake" doctor and a non-certified plumber or car mechanic, I wouldn't want to be coached by someone who isn't certified or educated to do so. Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that a USAT credential is a must. It's not. There are many amazing coaches and mentors out there who have experience, background and loads of schooling and credibility. For me, though, as someone coming up the athlete ranks, it was important to receive the official credentials in order to pursue a future business.

Getting into a USAT Coaches Clinic is tough in and of itself. They basically have one weekend a month and only allow 40-50 people to sign up. It's worse than getting into a damn Ironman. My fingers were literally on the on-line registration the second it opened up last December. Yep, I signed up for a March weekend training way back in December.

Tucson was great (but wouldn't want to live there). Shawn and I went out a few days early and stayed at the Marriott Starr Pass Resort. Gorgeous views of the mountains in the distance. As usual, we were spoiled with great pools, food and restaurants all on-site. Our favorite was actually the lazy river lap pool. Since no kids were tooling around, we actually took advantage of an empty pool and loops against the current--kinda like swimming circles in an endless pool! We are such dorks. But it was a great workout. God knows, you didn't go far very fast, but I'm kinda used to that sensation in the water.

We also visited tri store mecca trisports.com and rented a couple of Gurus for the day. We rode for a few hours in and around the Saguaro National Park region. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and I honestly lacked the confidence and hip ability to climb some of Mt. Lemmon. We did drive up a lot of it and watched the temperatures drop 20 degrees, as well as piles of snow accumulate on the side of the road. Someday I'll get back there and climb a portion of that little bastard. It's a rite of passage for any cyclist, I suppose.  My bike fit wasn't all that great so I didn't want to take too many chances with Oceanside being two weeks away. You can see from the picture below just how freakin' huge the aerobars were! Almost funny huge. Frame size was ok, but maybe a smidge big. Bike fits remain a mystery to me. It's one of those things where you know IMMEDIATELY if it's not right though. Funny, we didn't think or worry about that as kids on our oversized huffys with uncomfortable seats.

The seminar itself was, well, to be honest...like most seminars. Some of the material was beginner material or information that seemed common sense or second nature. They did explain that the Level 1 Coaches Clinic is like that because there are total newbies, as well as experienced coaches in the room. Therefore, they have to take a broad approach on some of the lectures. What stood out, though, was the magnitude of the speakers we got to see. Krista Austin spoke about Physiology and and Overtraining. She coaches with Alberto Salazar's Nike Oregon Project and works with Meb Keflezighi among many other American standouts. You think she might have a thing or two to teach? Uh yeah.

Others were just as awe-inspiring including Bobby McGee who spoke so eloquently about the mental aspects of training and the proper way to run. He had me when he said that you have to "become a runner" and not just someone who is "running in a triathlon." Bob Seebohar, who specializes in Sports Nutrition and Periodization, was also amazing to see. The new buzz phrase is being "metabolically efficient" and we learned all about it! You could really see his passion and energy for the sport.  We also had elite level coaches speak on cycling skills, swimming, and writing actual training periodization plans. The goal for the weekend was to walk away with several "golden nuggets" of information that perhaps I didn't know, or needed some clarification on, or got to hear for the first time.  The seminar definitely met and surpassed those goals. Plus, I got to meet 40 other like-minded individuals who are at the same point I am. Some are already coaching, some are getting ready to launch business, and others were interested from an athletic performance standpoint.  We walked away with decent material, a huge exam and a 200 page coaches manual that I now get to read and study.

While I do think other topics could've been addressed in more detail (training periodization and USAT benefits specifically),  I'm glad I went and would recommend the seminar. If nothing else, you gain access to some elite coaches that wouldn't otherwise be available.  Listening to their stories about Olympic athletes and pros was actually quite humorous and refreshing at many points. Why? Because they are just like us normal dweebs. They have the same (if not more) insecurities and baggage to carry around. They also have to be told how and what to eat, when to shop, when to sleep, where to run and how to bike. The only difference? The elite level coaches I saw are the ones that get paid to do it for them.

So now the work begins. I get a couple of months to do my exam and hopefully pass! I'm also in the process of deciding what type of coaching I want to pursue and when I want to do it...Do I want to stick with group dynamics ( I love it), individual athletes, on-line, or some type of combination of all?  Who knows?  Thankfully, there's no rush to figure it out. Whatever is supposed to happen just will. It always does.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ironic that the first lecture I'm attending at the USAT coaches seminar is on overtraining? I think not.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Look out Tucson, Here We Come!

Leaving for Tucson to attend my USAT Level 1 Coaching Certification classes this weekend and I can't wait. In between classroom time learning about nutrition, periodization, and signs of overtraining, Hubster and I are renting a couple of bikes and hope to ride a portion of the infamous Mt. Lemmon, along with other riding and running routes known to many in the world of multisport.

Hopefully in a few weeks, I'll actually practice what I get to preach!

Coach Carrie does have a nice ring to it. 

Sunday, March 07, 2010

I feel like a Tough Cookie Today!

"Are you seriously trying to kill me??"  

I swear that's what my hips and legs said to me today when I started the Tough Cookies Duathlon this morning up in Copperas Cove, Texas. I only told a handful of people I was doing this race because I didn't want to hear to the, "Why are you racing and trying to injure yourself even more" lectures. I signed up because frankly I only have about two months left of "race freedom" before I'm laid up for about five months and I want to eek every little ounce of ooommmph I have left before May 19th. Today, it wasn't a lot of oomph, but it was still good for 2nd Place overall and 1st in my age group. I'll take it especially since I'm coming off four days in a row of hilly and painful bike rides.

On Wednesday, I ran 9 miles at an overall pace of 8:22 and went to bikram.  Thursday, I hit the Computrainer for 1.5 hours of the Oceanside 70.3 hills and a little bikram to stretch it all out. Brutal, I tell ya. On Friday, I went to T3 Swim Workout in the morning and  then I met the Austin Cycle Camp Friday hookie ride for 25 miles of more hills around Austin including Scenic, Pecos, Balcones, Far West, Dry Creek, Mountain View and a lovely trip up Mt. Bonnell for the hell of it. Those were just some of the climbs I remember. Definitely not a fast ride for me, but a confidence booster in the hill department.

Saturday was another self-punishing 60 mile Austin T3 ride through the hills. Thank goodness for my friend Jerry for keeping me company out Fitzhugh. The T3 Pain Train started off a bit too fast for my leg and I couldn't hang on for all of Southwest Parkway. My poor right leg felt like it was on freakin' fire, which is generally how it feels for about an hour until it warms up (or tears more--I'm not sure). I just wish I could adequately describe the pain other than to say it feels like it's just locking up, burning, full of lactic acid and otherwise useless for a while. Lovely feeling, eh? Instead of doing Bee Caves or the Dam Loop, Jerry and I decided to just stay on Fitzhugh out 30 miles and then head back to town. Fitzhugh is an awesome road full of plenty of climbs and rollers with a lot less traffic than most roads in town. Shawn hung back too for a while, but when Jerry and I headed home, he headed towards Bee Caves. Thankfully, we had a decent tailwind for some of the ride back. When I returned to my car 60 miles later, my leg felt better, but I was just generally sore from the other workouts from the week. Ya think?

Today's Race--Tough Cookie Duathlon 2k run/10 mile bike/2k run
The race today wasn't about winning or trying to win. It's not a very competitive race in general. It's about 125 women, most of whom are trying multi-sport for the first time. I didn't wear a Garmin and I didn't have a computer on my bike. It was all effort driven and mostly dictated by what my leg decided to do.

Lined Up Second From Left at Start. Sporting the Erin Baker's Cycling Kit
I lined up at the front and was in 2nd place pretty quickly. The 1st place runner and eventual winner was a total Austin badass, Glenda Adams. She was definitely the Chrissie Wellington of the day and the rest of us were average schmucks trying to get it done. I'll be damned if my right hip and leg didn't start to lock up. I have no idea what pace I was going, but I was pushing it. Sadly (or patheticly), I had to walk at the water station because I had no feeling in that leg. It just really wouldn't work properly. I held onto 2nd for a little while longer until some 9-year-old came flying by me. Seriously, she was nine and I was lame. Coming into transition I heard Shawn say, "You're getting beat by a 9 year old!!" Um, yeah, I was aware of that, thanks.  My only response was, "Well, she has both of her hips!!"  My legs f*ckin hurt getting on the bike, so I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.

Coming back into transition from the bike. I was in a race for 2nd place at that point.
Roads were slick and we battled some drizzle and hefty headwind for the first five miles. I did pass the 9 year old on the bike, thank you very much. Although, I'm willing to beat she'll be winning a ton of races in just a few years. She had a freakin' Kuota K-Factor decked with a Garmin Edge 705! Serious bike porn for a youngster. That should be illegal. Actually, both her cycling coach (yes, she has one) and her Dad were riding alongside of her. In the first five miles I was passed by two women which then put me in 4th at that point. I was in a lot of pain and struggled on the bike. Lots of rolling hills and a headwind did not a happy cyclist make. I don't know if my positioning on the Kestrel isn't the greatest, but I just couldn't seem to get comfy. It seemed like I was forcing every hill. Whatever. These were just mental notes and something to file away for later. Bottom line--I felt like I was struggling too much for what I was doing. My hip doesn't allow for a whole lot of time in aero these days.  I just kept telling myself, "You're better than this." Then I would remember that this is my fourth day in a row of some tough riding.  I did end up passing one of the women who passed me at the beginning, so I came in off the bike in a very close 3rd place.

Glenda was literally in the finisher's chute when 2nd place and I left transition just steps away from each other. I passed her within about 20 yards and held that position until the end of the race crossing in 2nd place overall in 59:38. My goal was sub 1:00. Yahoo. As per usual, my leg felt much better by the 2nd leg of the run and that split was actually about 30 sec faster than my first split.  I'm so glad I did it as every race is a celebration of life and fitness. I was rockin' my Erin Baker's kit and always feel proud to represent them when I can. Because it was cold at the start, I made the switch from my tri jersey to my bike jersey with arm warmers. It was a good call because I never really got too hot.

Finishing 2nd overall and 1st in my age group

I don't care who you are. It's still fun to get a trophy!

Now, it's time for a serious recovery week and taper for Oceanside 70.3. Yes, I plan on tapering because this is actually an "A" race for me, whatever that means in this pre-surgery abyss of competitive inconsistency.  I leave Tuesday morning for Tucson for my USAT Coaching Classes! I've gotten a preview of the courses and can't wait!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Nine Mile Nooner

Gorgeous day in Austin, Texas today!!
Hit the trail for a midday run and slapped on a Podrunner mix set to 180bpm. Got lost in the trance of the music.

1 hr 17 minutes later I was back at home having completed a little over 9 miles.

Average overall pace 8:22 per mile


Right leg-began to stiffen and lose power, but not bad. Quickened my cadence on uphills so as not to push it. I think the slow warmup helped.

Left leg--knee a little tweaky, probably some compensating going on.

Overall mood--F*ckin' Giddy

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Went vegan/vegetarian a year ago thanks to reading The Engine 2 Diet.  Hard to believe it's been a year!  Sure, I cheat a little every now and then, but it's usually by accident.  Pasta made with egg noodles, pieces of sushi, etc. I'd say I'm 95% there and that's more than I ever thought imaginable. Yay me!