Friday, December 29, 2006

New Years Resolutions / Goals

I'm not really big on New Years Resolutions, but I do have two goals for 2007.

1) Yes, this is totally cliche' for chicks. I get it. But my goal for 2007 is to be able to run comfortably wearing running shorts and a sports bra. This means that my stomach will be exposed to the world. Just writing this kind of sends my stomach into knots, but I am putting this out there for everyone to see. And for you, as my friends, to hold me accountable. (I almost feel like Kristi Alley going on Oprah!) I haven't decided a "reveal" date, but I'm thinking that the Rogue Women's Tri looks promising.

2) I want to help each one of my friends accomplish something in 2007. The caveat - they have to ask, and it has to be something I really can help with. My first project: help Mike (Ostrich) swim one mile in Barton Springs. I am very excited about this. There is little that makes me as happy as helping others. I know Mike really wants this, so I can't wait to help him.

So, if you want some help this year - let me know!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Enough with Christmas!!

That's it... I've HAD IT WITH CHRISTMAS!!!

Okay, that may be a bit overdramatic. More accurately, I've had it with the excess holiday gifts laying around my office. I have bags and bags of lovely, tempting, delicious yogurt covered pretzels in the shape of Christmas trees.

Today, I ate well... I had my typical Panera bagel for breakfast, half of a garden burger plus broccoli at Trudy's for lunch (I didn't even fall victim to the delicious wedge french fries!), and the rest of my garden burger as my afternoon snack. But, it's 4:45. I'm hungry again. And the trees are everywhere.

Damn it. I can't resist anymore.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Running in the Moment...

I was planning on joining some friends for a quality run this evening, but I was advised instead to go for a 7 mile easy run. I called a number of people to see if anyone wanted to join me, but after about 30 minutes I was resigned to the fact that I would be going it alone.

I then thought about the beautiful Ipod Shuffles that I bought my marketing staff for christmas. "Seven miles - I need some distraction!!" But, unfortunately my mp3 player is useless since I lost the charger two years ago.

So, now I was going to run alone, and run without tunes.

When I pulled up to the trail, I decided that this was going to be a great run. I would get to think on some things and enjoy the beautiful day. So... I did. I don't think I've ever run the 7 mile loop, without walking, without friends, without distraction. But it was amazing. I got to observe all the people (and dogs) on the trail. I noticed the out of towners who were taking in the views. I noticed the kids with their new Christmas bikes. I noticed the young college couple holding hands looking very much in love. I noticed the elderly ladies taking an afternoon stroll. I heard many interesting conversations. I heard the wind blowing leaves on the trail. I heard the lake lap against the bridge columns. I heard my own heart beating. I heard my breath.

Today I didn't need company, or music, or distraction. What I needed was to be "in the moment" and be present to what a glorious afternoon run can be.

Morning Routine

Yeah! It's no longer a holiday... things are back to normal!!!

I thought I'd share my typical weekday morning routine.

  • If I have swim class, I set the alarm to 5:00am, and snooze until 5:20am, get dressed and make my way to the pool by 5:45am.
  • If I run, I set my alarm to 5:30am, snooze until 5:50, get dressed and head to the trail by 6:00am.
  • If I'm sleeping in, I don't set the alarm and usually wake up around 7:00am.
  • It usually takes me about 10-15 minutes to get dressed before I head downstairs to greet my dogs.
  • For breakfast, I usually have cereal + soy milk + banana, or more likely, a bagel from Panera. (chocolate chip hazelnut is my favorite)


  • Usually, I talk to Tim on my way in to work. Lately we seem to talk about how I spill coffee on myself every morning.
  • Speaking of coffee, I've gotten in to the habit of stopping at the Exxon on Ben White/S. Congress and taking advantage of $.64 coffee at TigerMart. Recent flavors have included: Pumpkin Spice, French Vanilla, Hazelnut... this morning was French Toast. Surprisingly tasty!


  • I usually arrive at work an hour before my staff, so I have a few minutes to get my bearings and check email, websites, etc...
  • First I check my work email to see what's on the calendar for the day and see if there is anything pressing. Then I check my personal email.
  • Next, I go through my website "favorites" list, which includes the following blogs: Lulu, Ostrich, Wiley, Joey, Glenda, Rob, Katie, Rabbit, Greg, and Team Pain Train. If I have time, I'll look at the Yahoo "Most Popular," the Rogue forum and (thanks to Wiley's suggestion.)
  • This all takes about 10-15 minutes, and I feel it is a vital routine for me if I want to focus on work for the rest of the day.
  • Lastly, if my boss is done with it, I read the Statesman and get the crossword puzzle/sudoko/jumble ready for later. If I have the chance, I'll try to quickly do the word jumble in under a minute. (Yes, I am a huge dork. I know this already.)

By the way, speaking of blogs - there are a few people who I really wish had blogs. These people include: Maggie, Tim, Kenny, Lara, Rachel B., Rob S., Leslie, Laura and Soll. Can you people please get on it??

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Merry $%^#ing Christmas To You!"

It's fun to be a Jew on Christmas. Free vacation time with nothing to do!?! Well, kinda... if you aren't the type of person who goes stir crazy with the slightest bit of downtime.

Christmas Vacation 2006 has been, well, boring! I suppose that's not a bad thing, but I have been incredibly stir crazy the past few days. Had it not been dreary and raining outside, things might have been better. I really wanted to take my bike out for a ride - but the weather prevented it. So, instead, I stayed in bed almost all day and pigged out on homemade peanut brittle and fudge.

That doesn't sound so bad, right? Taking a break from working out... Playing around online... Watching a movie I've wanted to watch for the past year... Well, it was!! I was going completely stir crazy. What is it about me that I can't stay still for more than a few hours?!

Thankfully, there were some welcome distractions this weekend. A great run on Saturday morning and breakfast with my girlfriends. Getting to catch up on everyone's blogs. Finishing all the crossword puzzles from the past week. Playing Scrabble online against Ostrich. Finally watching RENT, which I've wanted to see since it came out. Going to the gym. Teaching my parents to use Skype so we can video chat with each other. But honestly, by Sunday at 10:30pm - I was going crazy!

Luckily, at that point, Phil & I left to meet up with our friends Terry & Pat, who were taking down Terry's art at the Armadillo Christmas Bizarre. The four of us headed to Katz's Deli for a late dinner. It was so nice to get out of the house and DO SOMETHING. I really enjoyed getting to see them and well, just being out. Even if it was at 12:30am on Christmas morning.

By the way, when the bill came, Terry grabbed it. When we tried to help pay, he griped at us in his biggest smile and said, "Merry $%^#ing Christmas to You!"

Today, I slept in until 10:00am. When I woke up, the sun was shining and it was gorgeous outside (albeit really windy.) I got on my bike trainer for an hour and then and ran 3 miles on the trail. Just beautiful! Then Phil & I had a Christmas lunch at our neighbor's house. My day has been jammed pack, and I am much happier.

Anyway, this Christmas break was a reminder of the fact that I must be constantly entertained and/or busy. Left with just half a day of free time (let alone 2 whole days), I go completely stir crazy. I'm actually looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.

By the way, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Red Dress... a look back

It's Christmas Eve. I'm incredibly bored. So... I bring you... memories of the red dress! Honestly, these dates are true. (Even though I look exactly the same!) Enjoy. :)

July 1997: Posing with my boyfriends in Tulsa. (Kidding about the bf thing, of course!)

Spring 1998: Posing with my mock trial teammate in the law room of R.H.S. on Senior Day.

May 1998: Hanging out with my friends the morning of my high school graduation

May 1998: High School Graduation, posing with my parents.

August 25, 1998: Bid Day - Jenna & I strike the Charlie's Angels pose for the first time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thank you, Coach

This morning, there was no scheduled group Rogue run, so I met some friends (Leslie, Stephanie & Amy) and ran 10 miles with them. They are all part of another coach's group, and it was interesting to run with them and talk about our training.

First, we talked about the marathon. All three of them are training for AT&T in February. I reflected on the fact that after the Disney Marathon, I said, "This is it for me and marathons for a long while." I am really glad that I have stayed true to that. I honestly have no desire to do another marathon for a long time.

Second, we talked about what we are all doing after the marathon training is over. I told them about my homework assignment from Panther, and how I was really happy with my decision to narrow my focus and train to be an olympic distance triathlete. I think Leslie was impressed that I have my whole race schedule planned out for 2007. It really does feel good to know what I want to be, and what exactly I am training for. It also feels good to know what I am not. (For instance: a marathoner, an ironman, a sprinter, etc.)

Third, when it was just Leslie & I running back to Runtex, we talked about our coaches and what it takes to be a great coach. Someone (to remain nameless) had suggested that if I am going to be a triathlete, perhaps I should join Texas Iron and be coached by triathletes. Though this is somewhat a valid point, I honestly cannot imagine being coached by anyone other than Panther. I usually mock Panther's coaching, and instead focus on his tidbits of advice like, "Well, Erin, just don't fall off your bike." Or... "Ah, what the hell, just finish so we can have a beer." But, as I look back at my athletic accomplishments of 2006, I thought it was time to really pay him some respect.

So... what, for me, makes a great coach? And how does Panther fair?
1. Dedication to your athlete(s)
2. Focus
3. Knowledge/Skill
4. Drive
5. Fun

Let me explain.
1. Dedication to your athlete(s). I have been training with Panther since September 2005. I have been an Olive, a Rat, an Angel, Team Punishment, Team Pain Train, and now Camp Punishment. The funny thing is that I stay in his groups even though I am never training for the particular race that my group is training for. (more on that later) But, he is extremely dedicated to his athletes, regardless of what they are training for. He completely modified my marathon training schedule when I wanted to run the Goofy Challenge instead of Freescale. He modified my schedule when I wanted to do a half ironman instead of a duathlon. He is creating an entirely new and catered training program for my races next year. He wrote a workout for me for when I go to the gym. He actually carries around a notebook on all of his athletes that monitors their progress towards their goals. That is some dedication. How can someone NOT try their hardest when your coach is that dedicated to your success? And, the icing on the cake for me: before every race - he calls to wish me good luck. And, after every race, he calls to celebrate my accomplishments.

2. Focus. By this, I mean that he has helped steer me away from my FOMO nature and start narrowing down my focus of what I want to be. No one else has actually asked me, "What do you want to be?" It sounds like a simple question, but it took a lot of thought - and he helped walk me through that thought process to come up with an answer that I am very happy with and very excited about.

3. Knowledge/Skill. Of course, a coach must be knowledgeable and skilled. While I had experienced Panther's coaching based on someone else's schedule, this summer I got to experience his coaching from a schedule that he had written. Based on following his own workouts, I started running and cycling faster. I actually looked forward to going to our quality workouts in the 100+ degree afternoons because I knew that the workouts were going to make me a better athlete. He's also not satisfied with what he knows - he keeps seeking more training and certification so he can coach better. It's obvious that he knows what he is doing because our group has some of the best athletes in Rogue, and perhaps Austin. Not to mention that he's one of them - he has the skill (and experience) to justify everything that he coaches. It's hard to question your coach when he's the State Champion of an event you are training for.

4. Drive. Once I started training with Panther, giving up has never been an option for me. In other training groups, if I was tired- I would stop. Now, I complete every workout I show up to. And, not showing up is no longer an option. Giving up, not pushing myself, etc... are also not options anymore. He has instilled a drive in me that I never had experienced (athletically) before. He cares so much about my success that I don't want to let him down. This has transferred to something equally (actually moreso) important - not letting myself down. He has instilled in me the knowledge that I can actually be a good athlete, and to not push myself or try my hardest just isn't fair.

5. Fun. So, what's the point of all this? Ultimately, I probably will never win any races. I probably won't qualify for the Boston Marathon or the Hawaii Ironman. But, I feel that working out is an essential part of my overall wellness. So, if I'm going to do it, I better have fun doing it. I must say that being a part of Panther's groups has been some of the most fun experiences of my life. He strives to make the workouts fun, whether by holding trivia contests or doing "funny run" drills or hosting a sing-a-long after our workouts. And, of course, there is always a group happy hour after our quality workouts that gives our group a chance to relax and hang out with each other. Thanks to the emphasis of fun and socializing, I have met some of my closest friends. I look forward to my workouts because I know that however painful it might be, it will ultimately be a good time and I will never regret showing up.

So, let's take a look at my achievements in 2006:
1) The Disney Goofy Challenge - a half marathon on Saturday followed by a marathon on Sunday. I PR'ed my marathon by almost 50 minutes.
2) The Texas Roundup 10K - I finally broke the hour mark!
3) The Fantastic X Triathlon. Though not a sanctioned triathlon, I still WON with a field of about 20 other women. (I have the trophy to prove it!)
4) The Rogue Women's Tri. Since this was the first year of the race, I had nothing to compare my times too - but this was the first triathlon that I ran the entire run course and was very pleased with my times.
5) The Katy Flatlands Ride. I completed my longest brick ever - a 60 mile bike ride plus 4 mile run, and felt fabulous.
6) The Marble Falls Olympic Distance Tri. My first Olympic. My super secret goal was to break 2:30, which I did. I also ran even faster during the run portion than previous triathlons.
7) The Darnds't Du. PRed the first 5K. While I crashed hard during the bike course, I still managed to finish the second 5K and faired pretty well!
8) The Prarieman Half Ironman. I did a half ironman. Enough said there!
9) The IBM 10K. Took over 90 seconds off my previous 10K PR! First running only race that I didn't stop and walk at all.
10) The Race for the Cure 5K. Huge PR for me. Ran it in 25:28!!
11) The Turkey Trot 5 Miler. Ran this one fairly easy, and still finished with an 8:55 mile pace.

Now, I realize that ultimately I am responsible for my own accomplishments. But I can guarantee that there is no way I would have achieved what I did this year without him.

So, in the most public way I can think of, thank you Panther. I cannot imagine being coached by anyone but you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Night of the Red Dress

Last night was the much awaited Red Dress 12 Bars of Christmas Run. For me, this was a good old "return to freshman year of college" night. In fact, I used to wear this same red dress back in college (and high school for that matter.)

Phil & I showed up a little late because I was busy getting my bike refit. I wasn't sure what bar everyone was going to, so we parked and just walked towards 6th street. Suddenly, about 40+ people wearing red dresses ran by and it was pretty easy to find the next spot. I most enjoyed hearing the comments of innocent bystanders - gems like "I shouldn't have done the shrooms today!"

The whole group was quite a site to see! Especially the boys, of course. Rob won the "Best Dressed" award during the finals at Club DeVille. Joey was a close second, though.

I was very happy that Glenda & Amy were there! Glenda is no longer a Pub Run virgin. :) Here we are sporting our dresses and running shoes. Quite the fashion trend!

And here are some pictures of Tim & me (Aristrocrat style) and Maggie and me.

At any rate, I'm glad that these are the only pictures that have surfaced (so far.) The rest of the night turned a little crazy. There was the stop at Coyote Ugly where all the girls danced on the bars. There was the photo booth that Lulu, Ostrich, Panther and I somehow squeezed in to just to get a stupid Polaroid picture made. There was a throwback to my old college days with Jenna & Annie when Lulu & I stopped at Exodus for a drink and some dancing. And then there were the free drinks that came when one of the bouncers from Darwins recognized me from earlier and bought beer for Lulu and me.

There was the frank girl bonding that every girl experiences when she and her buddy go to the bathroom together and decide to be best friends. There were friends who were mad at us for not following the route exactly and skipping a bar. There were probably way too many photographs that better never surface. And there were the angry text messages from someone who entirely misconstrued a situation and is now not talking to me.

So, all in all - it was quite the eventful night. I'm not hungover, surprisingly, and even though I only got about 3 hours of sleep - I made it in to work early.

I do have this nice reminder of the evening on my hand, though. (Geez, how college is THIS!?)

The one thing that was missing from the evening was Wiley - we missed you, buddy!

Looking back, all I can say is that I should have known better. Pub Run + Alcohol + Red Dress. Not necessarily a good formula. Last year, I only went on one pub run. I was a good girl. Only mid summer did I start to be a regular at these events. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I somewhat 180'ed on my social scene. While it's been so much fun, I'm thinking that I need to settle back down.

I'm spending the rest of 2006 with Phil. At home. Where I very much belong.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Random Childhood Pictures

I was looking for some pictures on my computer today, and came across these. Enjoy a glimpse into my past!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Blog Irony (or, Nice to Meet you Gordon!)

I experienced some blog irony today...

I went to Houston for my weekly meetings with my marketing staff. I arrived about 30 minutes before I was to meet with one of my marketing coordinators and had some time to kill. After reading my friends' blogs, I moved on to of some of their friends' blogs.

First I came across Amanda's blog (linked from Wiley) and read all about her Ironman training. (Her training is impressive!)

Then I came to her husband Gordon's blog. I've seen Gordon around the running/tri community before. I've admired his photographs, too. (In fact, we use 2 of them on But for some stupid reason, I've never introduced myself to him. Maybe I didn't want to seem stalkery - you know, where you know someone who doesn't know you.

Well, anyway, I was reading all about his photography and admiring more of his pictures, when I get an email alert that someone had commented on one of my posts. Lo & behold - it's Gordon! I had no idea he even read my blog... and at the same time I was reading his. Craziness!!

So... Gordon - I'm officially (and publicly) introducing myself. I love your photography! You are VERY talented. (see picture below as proof) Next time I see you out, I will introduce myself in person. Thanks for reading my blog, and for actually posting!

It's cool how people can connect online, you know?

Why I love Tim so much...

Thursday is the first Red Dress Run, or the "Twelve Bars of Christmas while wearing a red dress whether you are male or female" run - sponsored by the Austin Duathletes. I'm no stranger to pub runs, but this will be the first one where everyone (both male and female) will be sporting red dresses. I had to share Tim's write-up of his shopping experience. Be prepared for a laugh! I can't wait to post the pictures. :)

Attempt #1 at Buying a Red Dress for the Red Dress Run
There are a few rules that I try to follow to make sure that I’m a man:
1. I always pee standing up
2. Every now and then I ride my bike with loose fitting shorts just to make sure that the boys still have feeling in them
3. I never say the words: “Oooh, this is a pretty dress.” When I’m shopping for a dress for myself.

Unfortunately, today, I broke rule number three.

There had been a rumor going around the group that if you wanted to get a cheap dress, forget Goodwill and go straight to Ross. I, having never shopped for a dress for myself at either place took this rumor as fact and went straight to the Ross by work while I was “working” to get a great deal on a red dress.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the dress isle was the sizes. What the hell does a size 6 mean? I grabbed the first dress I saw, held it up to check the size, and quickly determined that I was much larger than a size 6 (still, I have no idea what this means). I started wandering the isles apparently looking lost because the sales lady asked: “Are you lost?” I said: “No, I’m just looking for a dress and just realized that I have no idea what the sizes mean.” Chuckle, chuckle from the sales lady. “Well that’s why I’m here.” She said. “About what height is she?” “Almost exactly my height.” “And her build?” “Pretty similar to mine.” I replied trying not to spill the beans that yes, in fact, the dress was for me. “Ok, we’re going to need to go to the plus sizes then.” Great, a plus size, why the hell couldn’t I have a 6?

We entered the land of the X’s; oddly enough, there are very few red dresses at Ross, especially in the plus sizes. “Do you know what kind of dress you are looking for?” “Well, SHE really likes red. I thought that I’d get her a red dress.” We searched and searched until I find a nice one that is black, but has red flowers all over it. “Oooh, this is a pretty dress.” I say. “I don’t think that that will fit her, it’s only a 1X,” God this lady was getting on my nerves with all of this plus size bull shit, “but she could always return it if it doesn’t fit.” At that moment I realize that I’m going to have to try this damn thing on. This just keeps getting better. “Well, what if I tried it on, and if it fits, then we know it should fit her.” Blank stare, followed by a quick turn around so I couldn’t see the grin that was obviously encompassing her face. “Alright, the dressing room is this way.”

I lock the door, undress, and try to redress in the dress. This is where I start having problems. I realize that this isn’t your ordinary dress with a zipper or some buttons on it, no, this is some fancy wrap around thing with secret places to button it so that the most cleavage will show. I have no earthly idea how to put this thing on. So I put my shorts and t-shirt back on and go back out to ask for help. I find instead of just the woman that was helping me, most of the cleaning staff, and several of the other sales people waiting to see how I looked in the dress. “Uh, I can’t figure out how to put this on.” Everybody laughs, how funny, I’m sure glad that they’re enjoying this, I thought. The lady goes back and helps me fit it over my clothes. You know what, she was right; there was no way that dress was going to fit me. If I even thought about moving my shoulders the damn thing would have ripped in half (Plus I thought that it hung a little loose around my hips). Back to the old drawing board.

So we go to the 2X and 3X in hopes of finding something that would fit a woman that is similarly built as me. There are plenty of dresses, but not too many red ones. The sales lady finds one and goes: “How about this one?” She was holding up a dress that had a red blazer that went over it, very businessy. I look at it, what if I have to tell the Aristocrat joke; that style dress doesn’t go with that style joke or the overall theme of drinking all night. “Ah, no, I was looking for something a little more whorey, she has to ride a bike.” A little more whorey, she has to ride a bike? I thought. What kind of answer is that? That makes no sense. Pretend your cell phone is ringing, act like it is an emergency and get the hell out of there. I did just that.

So, I’m still without a dress and need recommendations where I can find cheap, whorey, plus size red dresses. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Thoughts...

I have some totally unrelated, random thoughts to share:

1) I went swimming yesterday for the first time in weeks. I LOVED it! It felt amazing to be back in the water and I'm really looking forward to taking classes again. When I swim, sometimes I get songs stuck in my head- yesterday, it was Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash. I felt it was an ironic song being that I was in water.

2) I ran this morning (thanks Joey & Holly for joining me) and felt GREAT! I did a fast 5 mile tempo run and loved it. I really enjoy running in the dark - I wish it was safe to run alone and I didn't have to rely on people meeting me. Then I would run even earlier.

3) I LOVE PANERA. I ate a Panera bagel for breakfast. I had Panera for lunch. And, I had Panera for dinner. I'm not kidding. This may be even more crazy than my obsession for Cafe Brazil, and it doesn't help that I can almost see the restaurant from the front of my house. Ostrich texted me at 1:00 trying to make me jealous that he was at Panera. Little did he know, I had a day full of Panera. No jealousy this time.

4) I have a new workout schedule. I'm supposed to run and bike a lot. And I do mean a lot. My new schedule looks like this:
Monday: am - run (5-10 miles); pm - gym
Tuesday: am - swim (or OFF day)
Wednesday: pm - Quality Run
Thursday am - swim; pm - ride
Friday am: run (5-10 miles); pm - gym
Saturday: am - brick (run ~4 miles, bike ~ 30 miles)
Sunday: am - long ride, pm - swim

And this is just my pre base-building training!! So, do I have any takers?

My First Presidential Award

Last Thursday, I attended the BOMA holiday luncheon. BOMA (Building Owners & Managers Association) is the premier association for commercial property owners and managers. I have been a member for three years now, through work.

It is often said that in life, you only get out of it what you put in. That was true of BOMA too, and since joining I have served on committees, chaired committees, and even won the membership drive. I took that philosophy to heart, and I've not only received lots of business from this organization, I've made a ton of new friends.

So... at holiday lunch, in front of 250+ people, the outgoing president gave out the 2006 Presidential Award for Outstanding Service... and I won!! I am not trying to brag, but I truly did a lot for this organization this year, including chairing a community services committee, serving on a disaster preparedness committee, recruiting new members, talking to the press at events, etc... I worked really hard in this association, and I am so pleased to be recognized.

Also, for the record, I watched someone else receive this award last year - and at that moment, I said, "I am going to win that next year. Just watch." I really meant it when I said that, which makes receiving the award all that more important to me.

So, as far as my work associations go, I fared pretty well in 2006. I was outstanding member for both BOMA and AAFAME. Looks like I've got my work cut out for me in 2007!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The pieces are coming together...

There have been 2 big problems impeding my triathlon training lately. First, I've had a horrible "something" on the ball of my left foot for about 6 months - I've had to wear flip flops to work lately because I can't wear shoes. Running has been really painful for me. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and had it removed. I now have a hole in the bottom of my foot, but I should be able to run (and walk) pain free very soon!

Second, I hated my bike. If you read my last cycling related post, you'll know why. Basically, I needed a new bike. The price of bikes is a lot to swallow, and had been deterring me for a while. But, with the conclusion of my cycling study and a cash prize from a membership contest I won at BOMA - I figured I had earned the right to buy myself something I really wanted.


I would like to announce the arrival of the newest member of my family... my new, beautiful, wonderful Felt S22 triathlon bike! Ain't she a beauty??Amy & Joey joined me in my inaugural ride at the Veloway this afternoon. We rode 12+ miles together and I honestly had so much fun. Really - fun! On the bike! Me!! Wahoo!!!
I'm going to try & run tomorrow morning with Maggie (assuming my foot doesn't hurt too bad), and then we are going on the Rogue bike ride. I can't wait to show off my bike. :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

UT Cycling Studies... I'm done!

Yesterday was my last ride for the U.T. Cycling study. Rather than recount how it went, I thought I would post the pictures that I picked up today. Here is what I've been doing every Wednesday morning for the past 5 weeks. Jealous? :)

Before each study, at about 6:45am, Dr. Ivy would stick a catheter in my arm so that they could take blood throughout the ride. Usually this went well, though yesterday I could actually see the stick in my arm. (Yuck!)

Here's Vanessa measuring out one of my million test drinks. (By the way, Accelerade was set up at the White Rock Marathon Expo, and talking about how they were doing this cycling study at U.T. Hmmm!)
Do these tubes make me look sexy or what?! Here they are watching my VO2 & heart rate.
This is what the performance phase looks like. Luckily, the kind folks running this study would cheer me on, taking my attention away from the catheter, VO2Max testing, pain, etc... This was the only picture I have where I don't look like I want to die. Dr. Ivy & me after my last ride. It's over!!! It was kind of an honor to be a participant for Dr. Ivy and Vanessa. In fact, I've already got leads on my next study at U.T.!

So, all in all - this was a fabulous study for me. I learned a ton about myself in these past 5 weeks. Here goes:

  • My resting heart rate is about 43. Not bad, huh? When I'm pushing really hard, my heart rate seemed to stay at about 145 - the highest I saw it go was 165 (I think.)
  • My VO2 max (how efficient my body is at utilizing Oxygen) is 40. The average, non working out woman is 38. I will never be a great athlete based on the way my body is made up - 80% of which is genetic. Though I can work and work at my VO2Max, I will never raise it more than a few points. So... I have to work pretty damn hard to do as well as someone with a better VO2max than me.
  • That being said, I have got a hell of a lot of heart. I can push and push and push myself until I think I'm on the brink of exhuastion, and then I can push more. I am never as fatigued as I think I am - I need to remember that when I train and when I race.

So, my $500 should be in the mail soon. I've got my eye on that new bike...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dysfunction Junction

Tonight was another Pain Train happy hour at Aussie's. I didn't do the night's workout since I had my final cycling study this morning, so I met up with the group after work events.

I really love my friends. Lately, I've grown really close to a lot of them - especially the ones with the nicknames. I find myself spending more and more time with them, whether in person or by countless daily email threads. It's awesome - we are, as Wiley put it, our own lovely dysfunctional family.

That being said, I can't help but wonder why I spend so much time with my "dysfunctional family" when I could be at home with my functional one.

Just a thought for 11:30pm on a Wednesday night. I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Enjoy it while you can.

Tonight, I went to the annual holiday party for my neighborhood. Last year, Phil & I went because we really wanted to see the house of the host couple. This year, we went because we knew there would be lots of free food.

As I stood in line for food, I asked Phil if he thought my new haircut made me look younger, older, or the same. This must have got him thinking about what I may have beeng thinking about at the party. Honestly, I was just curious about my hair. But when we left the party, he said, "you must have felt pretty awkward in there. Being the youngest person at the party and all."

I hadn't really thought about it until we left, but he was right. I did feel awkward. I didn't relate to any of the people there. They were handing out awards for the "best holiday lights" and talking about their children and such. Midway through the party, I got a call saying my buddies were meeting at Aussie's for happy hour. At that point, I basically gobbled down my pieces of fudge and cheesecake and we left. I headed to Aussie's, met my friends (some of whom were the same age as those at the party), and I felt back at home.

This reminds me of something I saw during the marathon relay at mile 16. There were signs that said "At 16, all we want is to be 26. At 26, we wish we were 16. Enjoy it while you can." I certainly don't want to be 16 again, but I am definitely going to enjoy 26 while it lasts.

Can we be any more LAZY?!

Today, I discovered Skype. I was supposed to go to Houston for the day to meet with my marketing staff and attend our weekly sales meeting. But, I thought it seemed kind of pointless to drive to Houston for a 2 hour meeting and then drive back. Upon relaying this to my boss, he decided that I must install Skype on my computer and start videoconferencing. So... our IT manager ran out and bought me a webcam while I installed Skype... and now, I can talk to anyone in the world, for free, while watching them talk back to me. How freaking cool is this? I can't believe I didn't know about it before!!

Now, here comes the lazy part. Rather than video conference with my marketing staff, I video conferenced with my bosses. Who are about 3 offices down from me. Here is a screenshot from my computer - notice me in the bottom left corner. Now, seriously. Can we be any more lazy? Instead of walking down the hall, we have to video conference each other from the comfort of our own offices? Hmm, what would a communication person say about this interaction, or lack there of?
But... you know, if you want to download Skype and talk to me... I'm here!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Recent Pics

I received a "Most Valuable Member" at the AAFAME luncheon last Wednesday! (AAFAME is one of the organizations I am a member of at work - it stands for Austin Association of Facility & Maintenance Engineers.) It's a really fun group, and I was really honored to be recognized.
Here are some of my AAFAME buddies - Amy, Tammy & Charlotte. They are loads of fun, and making friends like them is one of the reasons why my job is so much fun.
Here is dinner at CAFE BRAZIL! (did I mention that I love that place.) I'm eating with Michelle, who was working the expo for the Stick; Matt (the race director for 3M), and Stacy & Diana (Austin Marathon Foundation). Please notice the huge cups of hot chocolate smores in front of them. (Joey had this + cheesecake. Yum!!)
The Running Banana Team!! Tell me, are we adorable or what? By the way, a great side effect of short hair is that you can see the back of my running shirts now. I was pleased to show off my McDirty shirt.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

White Rock Relay 2006

Maggie, Joey & I ran the White Rock Marathon Relay this morning. My dad was our support crew and did the most excellent job of carting us around from point to point.

After dropping Phil off at the start (since he ran the full marathon), we drove to the 20 mile exchange point. This took about an hour, and we were so lost that we weren't sure we'd make it to the first exchange point in time. The course was barely marked so it was hard to tell where things were. Finally, we figured it out and then headed to mile 10. We nearly froze as we waited for Phil to run by and then to meet Joey. I ended up wearing my Freescale jacket over my Running Banana shirt, even though I knew I would get too hot. Joey came and slapped the exchange wristband on my hand (we had practiced all weekend) and I took off.

Of course, I warmed up after a mile. So I wrapped my jacket around my waste and enjoyed getting knocked in the knees by 2 clif shots that weighed my jacket down. Anyway, I was trying to take it easy and break the 10 miles into 2 sections. The first 5 miles felt great and I kept a pace of a little less than 9:30s. I continued to feel great until mile 18 (or 8 for me) when I started questioning my logic of finishing out the marathon with Maggie and Joey instead of stopping at mile 20. Even though I had escaped the wind of the lake by miles 19-20, it was still somewhat uphill and I had to push a bit harder to keep my splits consistent. At the exchange point, I slapped the wristband on Maggie and told her I'd meet up with them in a bit. I met my dad, got some water, and then had him take me to mile 23 to meet up with my crew again.

When I rejoined Maggie & Joey, my legs felt like new. I wanted to run really fast, but I kept it easy so we could finish strong together. We crossed the finish line in about 4:17, fingers hooked together over our heads. What a blast!! We collected our medals and made our way through the finisher's chute. We saw Phil, Dad and Rachel and pretty much bolted from the racesite . It was cold and drizzly by this point and we wanted to get home. And to Cafe Brazil for lunch, of course.

Some highlights of my leg included:
-a relay team comprised of 5 Borats! They were wearing grey suits, black fuzzy wigs, and waved the American flag. Classic, really.
-at mile 19, there are 2 hills called "dolly parton" hills. So, the men working the water stop dressed up as Dolly Partons and looked hilarious.
-passing tons of people throughout the course. it wasn't fair that my legs were more fresh than theirs, but it was still fun to pass them.
-being done at mile 20!! (or at least not HAVING to run the last 6.2 miles)

Seriously, I would like to thank Joey and Maggie for one of the most fun races I've ever run. I really enjoy doing the relay thing.

And I can't forget to thank Rachel, Ruth & Steve too. Of course.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Cafe Brazil

Cafe Brazil is quite possibly my most favorite restaurant ever. Today, I ate all of my meals there.

Egg white migas with loads of veggies; wheat tortillas; rosemary potatoes
*Don't be fooled - my plate was the size of a hottub.

Veggie Sandwich; cup of fruit
Half a piece of apple pie & a scoop of vanilla icecream
6-7 cups of chocolate cherry flavored coffee
*Again, don't be fooled - this was enough food to feed 100 starving African children

Good god, this place is delicious. But, drinking 7 cups of coffee is not helping me get to sleep. So, Maggie & I are sitting here reading blogs and making elves dance on some silly program Wiley found.

Tomorrow, I will return to the glorious Cafe Brazil for breakfast. Maggie is going to order french toast piled high with fruit and syrup. I am getting 3 pancakes filled with bananas and reeses peanut butter cups. I can't wait. :)

So, for my "healthy" pre-race meals, I plan on gaining about 10 pounds. God bless Cafe Brazil. :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Two Minute Crash Diet

Today was the big day... I FINALLY CUT MY HAIR!!!! This was the easiest way I've ever encountered to lose weight fast. :)
First Myra put my hair in two pigtails.
And then she cut! I didn't even have time to freak out.

Holy cow, what a ton of hair! Seriously, these pigtails weigh quite a bit!!

And here is my new do! It just barely fits in a ponytail.
God bless Myra, who not only came in to work on her day off, but she did this out of the goodness of her heart. It was great to see her since she has been my stylist, and friend, since I was 15 years old.

Joey came with me as my moral support (and chief photographer)- I'm so glad he was here.

I really appreciate all the well wishes I've received about doing this. I'm not only excited to have a new style - one that will much better suit my lifestyle - but I'm excited that my hair is going to a good place.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

UT Cycling Study - Experimental Ride #3

This morning was my 4th ride. I only have one more to go, which is actually kind of sad. I've really enjoyed this study.

I don't know if it was because I read Lulu's blog about her 4th ride, or because the drink wasn't very good, but I had a rougher time at this week than I did last week. By the time I made it to the performance phase, I made a mental goal of cycling through 4 songs. I think I ended up making it through 8 or 9, somehow, but it was pretty tough. Dr. Ivy said, "Erin is not smiling today" which pretty much summed up how I felt. I was impressed with myself for pushing through even when I was really tired, though of course I wish I had gone longer. I think the total time this week was about 3:15 minutes.

If I didn't have anywhere to be at 11:30 on Wednesdays, I think I could go a lot longer. I know that the obligation of various luncheons messes with my motivation to keep going. That being said, I do really want to do well and go for a long time, and I entertain the idea of being late to my luncheons.

This morning, we passed the time looking at some of the pictures on my laptop. (I have my laptop there for music.) We looked at pictures from my wedding, pictures from Jenna's wedding, pictures of New Zealand, and pictures of the puppies. It helped pass the time, and it was also fun to look through the pictures. Took my mind off of my legs.

When I finished, I realized that I hadn't packed a hair dryer or a brush. Oops - luckily one of the administrators had a hairdryer that I borrowed, though it was a little pointless without the brush. I managed to put myself together enough to arrive at my AAFAME luncheon not looking completely frumpy and disheveled.

Anyway, I received a great surprise at my luncheon - I was named one of the outstanding members of the year! Pretty darn cool. I'll post pictures when I get them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Run the Rock Marathon Relay

On Sunday, Maggie, Joey & I are going to run the Dallas White Rock Marathon as a relay team. This will be my first long distance race since the Disney Marathon. I'm really excited about it. Joey will run the first 2 legs (10 miles), I will run the 3rd & 4th leg (10 miles), and then Joey & I will join Maggie for the last 6. 2. We've named ourselves, appropriately, the Running Bananas.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


It's co-co-co-co-cold in Austin!

So cold that I skipped swimming this morning. (Uh, yeah. It was the cold that made me skip. Not the fact that I would have been running on 2.5 hours of sleep.)

I ran with Maggie after work today, and for some reason, I felt that running shorts, a long sleeve shirt and gloves would do the trick to keep me warm. Yeah.... that was dumb. Not only is it cold, but it was windy on the trail! I must say, I hardly broke a sweat and after a mile, I was really digging this new weather.

This cold weather makes it hard to remember the insanely hot summer I spent doing track workouts at Austin High with Team Punishment. During those workouts, we'd say "When it gets cold, we're going to be so fast!" Well... the cold is here. I'm ready to see how those workouts pay off.

U.T. Cycling Study - Experimental Ride #2

Yesterday was ride #2. I was not really looking forward to it, being that I didn't sleep much Tuesday night and didn't eat well. But I feel a real sense of loyalty to Vanessa (who is coordinating the study) and vowed to do my best anyway.

Got in at 6:30am, and had an easy set up. (Bike seat worked correctly, plugged my speakers in correctly this time, they had an easy time sticking the catheter in...) My resting heart rate was 43. Got on the bike at about 7:02 (based on when I looked at my laptop clock).

Last study, I tried to average at about 90 RPM - there is a monitor at the front of the bike and it's easy for me to concentrate on that number because it's the halfway point on the scale. This morning, I was averaging about 80 RPM, but a lot of that was concious in an effort to conserve a bit of energy. Even though I started out so hungry, I was full after the first drink. I was pretty tired for the first hour or so, and by the time Vanessa said, "good news - you've made it to the short intervals!" which meant I'd been going for 1.5 hours, I was thinking I wouldn't last too long. But, there must have been something in that drink because when we got to the performance part 30 minutes later - I felt a lot better. It was hard, but nothing unbearable at all. I knew I had been going a while because they kept continued taking my blood and making me drink every so often- much more than I had done last time. Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" came on and I said, "I think I can make it through this song." One of the lab assistants said, "Yeah right - you'll have no problem at all," and that motivated me to keep going. I think I made it through at least 4 more songs, and I still might have been able to keep going, but I knew it was getting late and I had to get to work. So, when I stopped, I looked at the clock and it said 10:47. So - assuming I calculated correctly, I went much longer than last time. I think my avg. heart rate during the performance period was about 155 or so.

Vanessa was impressed with how consistent I stay while on the bike, and how calm I am when they take my blood. That was cool. When I was done, I couldn't eat anything I was so full from that drink. Whatever it is, it must work! I am convinced!! I went home and showered, fully intent on immediatly going to work. But then my co-worker called me and we ate lunch at Chuy's instead. (yum!)

Tim accurately nailed my study. He said Dr. Ivy appealed straight to my competitive side when he said, "Erin - keep going. You can beat Kerry!" Haha! Thanks for indirect motivation, Lulu!

The thing that I find annoying is this: How is that I can ride almost 4 hours on a stationary bike, at elevated intensity, but I can barely make it up a short hill on my actual bike?! I've got some major road work to do.

Anyway, last night I had another work event at Fado's for a conference that is in town. Yes, I know - it's a rough life for me, going to happy hours and such for work. It sure was nice to be able to eat (and drink) after 6:30!

Tim, Panther & Ostrich all showed up at Fado's later on in the night, so I got to hang with them for a long while. I got kind of mad at Panther because he thinks I'm going to burn out on training (and therefore, I shouldn't really do anything at all right now !?), but I got over it after listening to the guys tell stories of their youth. (geez, how cliche' is that!?) So... overall, it was a fabulous way to end a very long, but great, day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fried Pickles = Poor Sustanance!

It's 11:00pm. I am so tired that I can't go to sleep. I had to turn on my computer so I could email my food & exercise logs for the cyling study, and I'm feeling very guilty.

There's a conference in town this week, and my company is wining & dining.

So, instead of mimicking the same food regime each week like I am supposed to, I hardly ate or drank anything today. I had a work event at Threadgill's for 4 hours tonight. I ate a fried pickle and some raw broccoli for dinner. I planned on coming home by 8:45pm. Instead, I found myself on 6th street - dropping off my coworkers - at 10:00pm.

Now I really need to get some sleep, but I am SO HUNGRY that I can't sleep!! That fried pickle did not do the trick tonight - so I'm not sure how I'm going to make it tomorrow. At least I didn't cheat today and eat/drink after 6:30pm. I had no alcohol even though it was a completely open bar. And I did not join my co-workers downtown because I have to get up at 5:30am. I even sent my logs in like I promised.

I may not be perfect, but I did the best I could... so tomorrow night - if I get through the ride tomorrow - I'll reward myself while partying on 4th street. And I'll eat something better than a fried pickle for dinner!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Afternoon... Much Better!

Rather than sit and sulk at how pathetic my morning "ride" was, I decided to go to spin class. I made it through 2 classes, for a total of one hour, 45 minutes - and then ran after class.

Get this - the spinning instructor, who taught both classes, got OFF HIS BIKE about 20 minutes into class #2 and sat on the ground. On one hand, this pissed me off. But, on the other hand, it motivated me to kick butt on my bike. He couldn't make it through 2 classes - but damn if I was going to give in!!!

I may not understand why I feel so driven to do this nonsense, but I thrive on the feeling of accomplishment I get when I'm done... and on the feeling of overcoming a bad workout and getting "back on the saddle" so to speak. (sorry, bad pun... I know, I know!)

Phil & I took our dogs for a walk and then went to the art museum this afternoon. We both were complaining about how tired our legs were while we walked around. I gotta say, I kind of enjoy the fact that I get to complain. :)

Sunday Morning Cycling Vent Session

This morning was supposed to be the official start of my coach's "PLAN" for my triathlon season. I should have known better this morning than to show up for the ride. I had a bad feeling about the ride. Here's why:
  1. When I texted Panther last night for details, he never wrote me back. I made up a story that I was too weak to keep up with the group, and he didn't want to write me back to tell me. (???!!!)
  2. I woke up at 6:00am (we were meeting at 7) with a really bad feeling. I decided that if I could find an extra bike tube, I would go. Well, I found one - so I thought things were looking up.
  3. I forgot that my bike was in no shape to be ridden. It was still attached to my bike trainer (which I still have not used), the seat wasn't attached (due to the cycling study) and I had taken my bike rack off the car. I decided to pack it all up and see if I could figure it out while at Runtex.
  4. We never could get my seat on right. But Panther managed to get everything else working. After delaying our other riding partner by 20 minutes, we got going.

Now here is where things really did get bad:

  1. As soon as we left the Runtex parking lot, I crashed while trying to stop. My back wheel had come off.
  2. I couldn't keep up on the first hills, and I swear my bike was screaching at me.
  3. When we came to the light, I yelled at Panther that I was turning back. I wasn't at all prepared for 30 miles of hills, however "easy" he said we would take them.
  4. At the light, our third rider realized that his frame was broken. At that point, we all had to turn around.
    *NOTE - If I had just waited 2 more minutes to say I was turning around, then Mark would already have noticed his frame was broken and I wouldn't have looked like as much of a wimp. Doh.

So, this was not a good morning. I think we cycled a total of 3 miles. I felt so bad for Panther!!

So here's what I'm trying to deal with now. I really hate cycling. Granted, there are some days when I feel great - but overall I just hate it. I'm completely scared of my bike, and I feel like the weakest person in the world when I'm on it. So, why do I keep trying to ride?!

Most people in the world are completely content just going to work and then hanging out at home. Why can't I be content with that too? Instead, I have to train and train for these races which I will never win. I show up at Runtex with an old bike that I really don't want to ride. I do these long runs with the most horrible 5 month old blister on my foot that hurts like hell. I wake up by 6:00am almost every day to go do some crazy workout - and if I don't go, I'm angry or feel guilty the rest of the day.

I have a great job. Great friends! Other stuff to keep me entertained. So why do I keep doing this? Today - I just don't get it!!

P.S. I'm going to spin class at 10:00am. Sheesh.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

U.T. Cycling Study - Experimental Ride #1

This morning was my second ride at U.T. It was so much better than last time! In fact, I (maybe?!) kind if enjoyed it. I got a leg massage yesterday in hopes that my left calf wouldn't cramp up again. (It waited at least 2 hours before the cramp started today.) I mimicked what I ate last week, for the most part, and got to sleep by 9:30pm. The biggest help was that I had music today, so instead of listening to the hum of the stationary bike, I got to rock out. So to speak.

The two other differences were that they stuck a catheter in my arm and drew blood every 20 minutes or so. I couldn't really bend my right arm which was kind of weird. Also, the drink they gave me actually had calories. (I gained weight during this study!)

Anyway, by the time I hit performance mode, after about 2.5 hours I think, Cake's "Stick Shifts & Safety Belts" came on and I was singing along. One of the lab assistants commented that he needed to up the intensity if I was going to be singing. I shut up. I lasted in performance mode for almost 30 minutes - so I was quite pleased. I'll admit, it's hard to stay on the bike and really push when there is a fresh peanut butter and jelly sandwich waiting for me when I stop. But I think about Lulu, and how she would push until she couldn't, then push more - and I keep going. Everyone told me that it was an excellent ride, and I was really pleased.

Panther happened to call after I was done, and we layed out my "moving-forward" schedule. Here it is:
Monday: Easy Run + Gym or Core Class
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Quality Ride (duration of cycling study)
Thursday: am-Swim, pm- Run
Friday: Bike + optional gym
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Quality Brick

So, it's official! The schedule is in place. Here we go again!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tim's Camera Works!!

Yeah!! Even though the screen is cracked and looks like it's oozing tar, Tim's camera works! These recent pictures are proof.

Amy, Julie, Glenda & me. I think it might have been almost a year since the four of us were all together. I like to think of our little circle as a bunch of FOMOmaniacs.

Joey, Maggie & me at the Pub Run. Joey was supposed to take care of us, but I believe I ended up taking care of both of them. Those crazy ironman people... they cannot be trusted!

Mike (Ostrich) & me in a staring contest. I am the reigning champion. No, I may not be the fastest runner or the strongest cyclist, but damn it - I can stare longer without laughing! Just look at Mike, he's weak I tell you!!!

Mike (Wiley) and me at Hickory Street. Ain't nothing sexier than a man with a blinky light on his cap.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Guitars in the Kitchen

Phil & I hosted the Team Pain Train party at our place on Saturday. Not only was this the perfect motivation for us to finally clean our house, but it also served as a sort of housewarming party (just 2 years late.) Phil & I also invited our other running friends to join the fun.

I had no idea that my kitchen could double as center stage for 2 guitar players and a mandolin player! (They later moved to the living room, which also worked great.) I had no idea that my TV room would serve as the perfect dance floor location. I was really impressed that the Rollingwood police didn't visit, even though we had beer drinking cigar smokers in the front yard at 1:00am. I loved showing people our art, and hopefully sending some new admirers Terry's way. I love having so many leftovers from all the food people brought! (And beer, too... my folks will enjoy it when they visit!)

Thanks to Buzz, Holly, Panther, Wiley & Ostrich for hanging out until about 3:00am - to me, that was the sign of a really great party.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pub Run Fun

So many people wonder, "Is Erin insane? Why does she run and train so much?" Sometimes I have an answer like, "Because I really thrive on being able to set goals and push myself to the limits to reach them."

And other times, the answer is, "I need to be able to keep up with the other runners during our Pub Runs. If I run too slow, I end up at the back of the bar line and have to wait a long time to get my next beer."

Last night was the monthly Austin Duathlete's Pub Run. We ran from RunTex Riverside, to Hickory Street Bar & Grill, Beauty Bar, Shoal Creek Saloon, and Jo's Bar. This was my second favorite Pub Run to date. Highlights included: introducing Maggie to the world of running & drinking; multiple staring contests with Ostrich and his buddies; a trip to the photo booth with Wiley; watching Tim move like a Scissor Sister; oogling at tri-goddess Desiree; and walking bcck to bar #1 to get the car of my designated driver (!?).

Wiley, Panther, Tara & me at Shoal Creek Saloon. There has got to be a clever caption for this picture, though I can't think of it.

And here are some pictures from Pub Run's past. My favorite is making fun of Tim's jazz hands.

For the record, I was extremely proud of myself because I made it to a birthday breakfast with Robert & Charlotte by 7:00am - completely awake and sober. Nothing like a chocolate chip bagel after a night of running and beer.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

U.T. Cycling Study - Practice Ride

This morning was the "Practice Ride" for the cycling study I'm doing at U.T. Here are the details. (Thanks Kerry for letting me plagiarize some of the specifics!)

  • The study is to test whether or not they can make a lower calorie sports drink by adding protein that will give the same performance benefits of a regular sports drink. For the practice session, they wanted to make sure I was familiar with the protocol, that the bike fits right, etc. The next 4 weeks I will do actual sessions where I test different sports drinks.
  • The ride works like this: ride for an unknown amount of time at 50% of your max (which they determine by the VO2Max test I took last week). I would guess this was about 30 minutes.
  • Switch to intervals. 8 minutes at 50%, then 8 minutes at 75%. I am not sure how long this lasted, but I know we did at least 4 hard ones so my guess is 1 hour to 1:20.
  • Switch to shorter intervals - 3min at 50%, 3 minutes at 75%. I would say we did about 4 of these.
  • Performance mode - crank it up to 80% and go until you can no longer pedal 60RPM.
  • While riding, they feed you a drink every 20 minutes, and take your VO2Max a lot. So, I really looked like a lab rat, breathing in to a plastic tube with noseclips on. Next week, they start taking blood too. (That should be fun.)
  • I also had to fast for 12 hours before the ride, as well as document my food and exercise for 2 days prior to the ride. I was feeling pretty hungry this morning before I started!
  • They cover all the clocks so you have no idea you are riding for!
  • Why am I doing this? Because I get paid $500 to participate - that will go towards my new bike!

This was tough!! I was humbled, to be honest. Kind of like when you're running a long race and you think "Why am I here! This sucks! This is no fun!" The worst part was that my left calf was cramping from the beginning of the ride and the bike seat HURT! Aerobically I felt okay, but battling those two issues was annoying, especially since there wasn't much else to think about.

By the time we got to the short interval sets, I was starting to get tired and by the time we got to performance mode, I was really tired. I pushed and pushed to keep my RPM above 60, but eventually I was just done. But - what was really cool, was that many times I was about to give up and drop my cadence, but I would find energy somewhere and keep going. It's amazing how mental endurance sports are! I think I was on the bike for between 3 hours and 3:20 - again, without the clocks I wasn't sure.

When I finished, I was rewarded with a yummy PB&J sandwich and some lemonade. I showered, got dressed for work, and headed to an AAFAME luncheon. Everyone I talked to said I looked really tired - wonder why! :)

I'll be at Pain Train workout tonight, but only as a spectator. My workout is done for the day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

What I learned in Houston...

It's another average Tuesday - I just returned from my weekly trip to Houston. I thought I would share some of the things I learned over the past two days.

1) The Four Points Sheraton is the most screwed up hotel I've ever stayed at. You exit the elevator and it's like the twilight zone - it's impossible to figure out where your room is located and you end up circling the middle of the hotel over and over and over. Also, no matter what time of day or night - housekeeping always seems to be cleaning the room next to yours. It's like bizarro world there.

2) Cafe Adobe advertises "Houston's Best Margarita. Thanks Houston." (Is that supposed to be sarcastic? Like "Thanks, Houston. You really came through for us with the voting. Losers. We hate you.) Anyway, we had to see what the best margarita in Houston was like. While the ritas were okay, they weren't the BEST. And the place was kind of like a gimmicky cruise ship. I was starting to think that Houston was bizarro world...

3) While I used to think that doing this thing called the cork trick was cool, I guess I was wrong. Nobody I showed it to was impressed. :( If you want to see it sometime, let me know!

4) On to serious business... I finally have a PLAN!!! I've been aimlessly working out and following the marathon training program, knowing full well I didn't want ot participate. So, with the help of my fabulous coach, I decided that I'm going to set some real goals for myself and focus on becoming a faster triathlete. I have A, B & C races lined up for 2007 and I'm commited to doing well at them, instead of just aiming to finish.

Panther & me at the Rogue Women's Tri - where I am going to kick BUTT next year!

Me finishing the Prarieman Half Ironman... This year I will NOT walk the majority of the 13.1 miles!
In fact, I will aim to take about 30 minutes off my finishing time!

5) I am going to buy a new road bike!!! I do love my glorious hot pink beauty, but if I'm going to commit to this training, it's time I commit to a new bike too.

6) Finally, I will not be making this weekly trip to Houston much for the rest of the year. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it's really disruptive to leave home for 2 days a week. I miss my family, friends, workouts, etc... On the other hand, I like my Houston staff. It's like reuniting with old friends each time I visit. I look forward to my time away like it's almost a mini-vacation. (Albeit, a vacation in Bizarro world, but whatever.)

So, farewell weekly trip to Houston. I've learned so much from you over the past 7 months. Hopefully we will meet again soon...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I Heart Running

This morning's long run was the 16-mile Campus Loop. We basically made a huge circle around downtown Austin, from Runtex Riverside down to Congress & Oltorf, all the way to Lake Austin & Enfield, up to Shoal Creek & Hancock, over to Duval & 38th, down through Campus, down Congress and back to Runtex.

Well... what a morning!!! It was gorgeous outside, and I kept my long sleeve shirt until 3 miles left to go. I ran with some new buddies, Brewrunners Robin & Sarah, and they were so much fun. We had a great, consistent pace the whole run. The best part was running down Congress, alongside the Veteran's Day Parade. I was really proud of myself, because this long run was so much more enjoyable than any of my runs last year.

Then came the ice bath. I know they are so good for me, but damn if they don't hurt! Cold water + 2 10lb bags of ice = OWWW!!! Luckily I was distracted by Wednesday's crossword puzzle and sudoko. It was worth it, I feel so good right now.

Today was one of those days that I fell in love with running again. I love covering more distance by foot than I like to do by car. I love exchanging "good morning"s to other runners/walkers/cyclists along the route. I love getting to smell of the first pot of coffee brewing at Jo's on South Congress. I love getting to bond with people over 16 miles. And I love the sense of accomplishment I feel by 9:30am.

Yes, yes, yes... I heart running.


PS. Good luck to the Motive Runners tomorrow! I'll be there cheering for you!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Maggie the Ironman

One of these days, after swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon - I will hear the words, "Erin - you are an IRONMAN!" Until then, I thought I would share the race report of my friend Maggie, who finished her first Ironman last weekend. She has been one of my greatest inspirations, and I owe a lot of triathlons to her. I am so proud of her.

I thought I would just touch on some memorable moments through out my Ironman week:
I was overwhelmed by the amount of well wishes from my friends, family and co-workers. Thank you for all the emails and texts through out the week and on race day. I had just started my new job a month before my ironman so I typed up an email to my co-workers explaining what an ironman is and what all I would be doing on November 4th. Apparently they found it exciting and motivating, next thing I knew the email was forwarded all over the company and HR called to ask if they could post it on the company newsletter. also, my co-worker Tracy decorated my work area with posters and balloons which by the way I took with me to panama city.

Let's back up just a bit..let me just say that I had some personal turmoil in my life to deal with less than 2 weeks before my ironman. I had a very difficult 4 days of pure chaos to deal with and I am plain ole impressed with myself for not letting this get in my way of finishing my ironman journey. My personal obstacles and the weather conditions made this accomplishment even that much more significant to me.

The night we arrived in pc we drove by the ironman village for the first time and seeing Ironman all over the tents made me nauseous and excited at the same time, but most of all I was happy. I felt like a little kid and this was my playground.

I was so incredibly happy to share this experience with my closest friends.
Joey, Rachel, Teresa (my bff's), and I shared a house together. Joey and I were the 'athletes' and we were well taken care of by Rachel and Teresa. I can't thank them enough for carrying all my bags, stocking the fridge, massaging me, picking up my bike and bags before I finished and basically going along with what ever Joey and I wanted to do. Thank you!!!
I couldn't believe how cold and windy it was. I live in Texas! 40 degrees is freezing!!! I was so worried about the wind I was crying Friday evening knowing it was going to be tough for me to make the bike cut off time with these conditions. My coach tried to comfort me, but still, I went to bed crying the night before the Ironman.

The swim was very rough. I would be on top of a swell and then airborne on the way down. I swallowed so much salt water. I swam right over a jelly fish bigger than the size of my head and it was within arms reach. Yikes! I was told to pee in a bottle and have it in T1 just for this, but being the priss that I am, I said "I'm not doing that". Good thing I didn't need it.
The Wind. The Wind. The Relentless Wind. It was 80% head wind and 20% tail wind. At mile 80 I was seriously preparing in my head my "Finding Success In Failure" speech. I toggled between being a fighter and just wanting someone to put me out of my misery. I passed a girl on the side of the road curled up in the fetal position crying. She was done. But seeing that and being there at that moment made me realize that I didn't come all this way to not Make It Happen!! I thought about Sara Reinertsen 2 years ago at Kona and I think I can say I knew then what she must have been feeling trying to make the bike cut off. All this and knowing so many of my friends were tracking me online helped to make me pedal harder. I wanted this bad and I wasn't going to let this wind take me down.

I had biked for 8 hours and maybe spent about 1.5 minutes with my special needs bag. I knew I didn't have time to spare. getting off my bike for the first time back at T2 was painful. I dismounted my bike and thought my legs were going to give out on me. I had no idea how I was going to run a marathon.

I stretched for about 30 seconds at T2 and then took off for my marathon run. I was surprised at how good I felt all of a sudden. My plan was to run as much as I could for the first loop, then walk as much as I needed to for the first half of the second loop, then run the 2nd part of the second loop.

I pretty much stuck to that. I was shocked at how much I was able to run. it wasn't fast but I was running non the less. I remembered all my training runs with Erin and how she would always say "C'mon!!! we didn't just ride 60 miles to WALK!!!" or "C'mon!!! we didn't get up at 5am to WALK!!!" only on this day I was saying "C'mon!!! I didn't come all the way to walk this Ironman". Thanks Erin!!! you were with me all the way.

Let me just say how incredibly wonderful the volunteers were. From the wetsuit strippers, helping you in the transition tents, the handups on the bike, the aid stations on the run, the day before with all the bags, and they were all over the run course, if I stopped to walk, a vol was right on me asking me if I was okay. They were just amazing and this race can not happen with out them. Thank you!!

Spectators made signs which lined the road to the state park (the turn around point). Rachel had told me she made me a sign: "Iron Maggie; always funky fresh". I looked for it but all the signs were facing the street not the athletes.

At mile 10 for Joey, 4 for me, I stop for a moment to hug Joey, then I sent him on his way by yelling "Go c%cks%cker!! ooops! I hope a race official didin't hear that!! At mile 14, I see Rachel and she runs after me yelling "Maggie!!! do you want your Funyuns??!!" Classic!!! and we got that on video!!! Chicken broth rocks!!!! so do spectators on the run course!!! they were so happy to be ther cheering for us. Thank you!!

Arriving at the finish line was amazing. you always hear about the high you will feel running down the finishing chute and all the people cheering for you. I can't even describe it. It felt like all those people were waiting for me!!! and when they saw me turn the corner it was as if they were yelling just for me. It was magical and I was having the time of my life. I had dreamed of this for years, I had trained so hard, week after week, day after day, early morning wake ups, so many sacrifices, this meant so much to me and it all came together for me right here at this incredible finish line.

I could hear Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman) announcing my name and he said "she is happy to be here" and I was! I was jumping up and down, high fiving everyone and holding my number up for the world to see!!! (it had torn off my race belt so I had to carry it for the last few miles)
I truly feel so blessed to have experienced this wonderful Ironman journey.

I am surrounded by genuinely wonderful friends who I can't thank enough for sharing this tiime with me. I'm blessed to have enjoyed all the training and for remaining injury free. So many people brought me to that finish line.

Ironman is not something you can do all on your own. It truly is life changing and so many people touch you in the smallest ways to inspire you, motivate you and encourage you to get to that finish line. I know I didn't do it all by myself, and I am truly thankful for everybody who gave me hope and encouragement to do this crazy thing we call Ironman.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Happy as Mongoose?

Rather than write the traditional "I finally decided I needed a blog!" first post, I thought I'd share a quote from one of the greatest movies of all times. "Waiting for Guffman" of course!!

Doctor Allan Pearl: I love to make people laugh and I've been doing it since, you know, school. People ask me, "Were you, were you, uh, you must've been the class clown." And I say, "No I wasn't. But I sat beside the class clown and I studied him and saw how he made people laugh."

And so I picked some things up and, you know, at parties and family functions, I have to say I love, you know, breaking people up. So, there's a thing that I think I got an entertaining bug from my grandfather, Chaim Pearlgut, who was very, very big in the Yiddish Theatre back in New York. He was in the very, the sardonically irreverent "Dibbik, Schmibbik, I Said More Ham" and that revue, I believe, was 1914 and that revue is what made him famous. Incidently, the song "Bouby Made a Kishka" came from that revue. My father, bless him, brought me into the business. This was his dental practice before and I joke with my wife that, you know, at that point, that's when the, uh, the money started, uh, rolling in, you know...

(switches to a voice of Johnny Carson as his indian chief character) "Brave making.. more wampum to buy pelts." (laughs quietly) "One happy squaw wigmam...happy as mongoose." (laughs quietly again) That, uh, is, of course, from Johnny Carson who, uh, one of my heros in a very funny bit.