Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bikes. It's the tough things in life.

Tommy and I have been discussing purchasing new bikes. He generously offered to let me get the first one (because he is the sweetest most nicest awesomest man I know)...there is no way we could drop that kind of money on two bikes at the same time. So, I've been doing my research and trying to stomach buying a bike instead of new bedroom furniture. What's really sad is that new bedroom furniture would probably be cheaper.


When I tell people that I intend to use my current roadbike at the Ironman, they tend to laugh at me. My bike, 3 year old, bottom of line Motobecane road bike, has treated me very well over my first two and half seasons of triathlon. I have raced 1 sprint, 2 olympics and 2 70.3's on that thing and never had any problems. The bike cost me about $450 in April of 2007. It's crap but I love it. I have probably spent an additional $200 on it - pedals, shoes, and aerobars - but that has been over the course of 2 years, so it seemed less painful. We moaned and groaned about how ridiculous it was that a bike cost $450.

Now we are looking at bikes in the $3000 range. Ouch. What's even more ridiculous is that the price no longer seems outrageous. Expensive, yes, but reasonable. That's messed up.

We have been smart in the last two years and haven't even touched a nice bike. I didn't want to touch them or ride them or lift them because I didn't want to know what I was missing. Well, the time has come. I got third place in a race and now I need a fancy bike. Hahahaha.

I have narrowed down the field to two or possibly three bikes.

The Cervelo P2C - $2700. This is the bike I THINK I want...but only because Chrissie Wellington, my girl crush, rides this and I love her.

The Felt B12 - $2,949. This bike comes with much better wheels than any of the others, but is slightly pricier.

And possibly the Orbea Ora - $3,399. I haven't done as much research on this one, but it's definitely in the running.

Here is a discussion debating the Felt B12 and the Cervelo P2C. And now a discussion of Cervelo Vs Orbea (on the Cervelo site, so probably biased).


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I am going to basically plagerize another guy's blog. He said it perfectly.

Today is May 27, almost exactly six months from Ironman Cozumel on November 29, 2009 I don't officially start my training plan until June 15, but my base preparation is well underway. So far, I know I can do each of the sports a relaxed pace. Once the training begins, I will work on increasing speed (which is hard for me because I loooove a relaxed pace!) combining the three events. Here is what the next six months have in store for me:

150 miles of swimming
3,000 miles of biking
1,000 miles of running

I'm terrified.

RACE GOALS(this is plagerized from Triathlete Magazine and this guy, who I'm sure plagerized it from Triathlete Magazine):

1) Finish
2) Finish while still standing
3) Finish while still standing and smiling
4) Finish while still standing and smiling and without a trip to the medical tent
5) Finish while still standing and smiling and without a trip to the medical tent and remaining grainfully employed
6) Finish while still standing and smiling and without a trip to the medical tent and remaining grainfully employed and married.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a time goal. I do. I think it is reasonable to finish in under 15 hours. I think that if I can make myself train hard, I can do it in under 13 hours. I also think that if I cross that finish line in 16:59:59 I will be the happiest person in the world. The time is negligible...getting to that starting line knowing that I've done all that I could is the goal. The race will take me where it wants. It's out of my control at that point.

Six months from today I will be yet another person, someone I can’t quite visualize. The person who has done everything in those goals. The person who will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a marathon. In one day. Non-stop. I cannot control what happens on race day so I have goals and milestones for incremental success along the way. Six months from today I want to wake up feeling like I’ve already accomplished more than I expected.

The race should be the icing on the training cake.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


This is what third place looks like. You don't want to think about what happens I if were to get 2nd, or, gasp, 1st.

Team PPD post-race...and post gallon of PPD. Danger danger.

OMG. I got third place. I can't believe it.

I got third place at the Rockin' R Toobin Tri!! After we found out that the entire field only had 250 people in it, I thought there was a chance, but after my sub-par performance, I really didn't think it was possible. But YES!! It was!! OMG. I got a medal and everything. This is the first and probably the only time I will get an award for my efforts at a triathlon, so you can bet your arse I will milk this thing for as long as I possibly can. Sorry!!

A recap of the day...

Somehow, someway, Tommy and I convinced 10 of our friends to join us in Gruene for this race. Francis, Rebecca, Katey and Matt had never done a triathlon before - Matt and Rebecca didn't even own goggles!! Erin, Thomas, Erik and Amanda had each done a sprint before and this was Janelle's first attempt to run a 5k (she and Thoms did the relay).

I was super worried about Rebecca because I was informed the day before the race that she didn't even own goggles...which would indicate that she hadn't swum at all. I was right. But as usual, Rebecca was up for the challenge!! Matt also didn't have goggles, nor did he intend to wear them...he just freestyled with his head above water the whole time! I was amazed.

We got up early and went out to the race site. The transition area was a free for all (what?), so we were able to rack out bikes next to each other.

We went down to the swim start where the race director told us about the shallow water (ahh!) and the sharp turns on the bike (there were none). And then we were off!

Tommy was in the first wave - they always put the 30-34ers in the first wave. So jealous. JUST ONCE I wanna start in the front and see what happens. Oh well. Tommy got off to a great start...but about 100m down in the swim, all the guys in the wave got up to start walking...that's how shallow it was. The race was kind of a joke. There were several parts where the guys walked through it...the rest of us tried to develop a strategy. Is it better to walk or crawl? No one knows! Tommy had a quick swim, but looked like death coming out of the water.

Then it was Francis's turn. He went out strong and ended up having a great swim! Afterwards he said he thinks he went out too fast on the swim...hindsight is always 20/20.

Then the girls - me, Rebecca, Katey, Amanda, and Erin. I started at the front of the pack and held the rest of the girls off. During the shallow parts, I just army crawled through it. It was deep enough to do a little mini-stroke, or just grab rocks and pull yourself along, so I kicked like hell and pulled myself. Then I made the turn and pushed it hard. About 50m in, I was like, holy crap, I am soooo not a sprinter. I would rather swim for 2 hours straight than have to push it hard for 7 minutes. Ow. My heart rate does not like to be that elevated. Nonetheless, I had a pretty good swim. I definitely could have pushed harder, but it's just not my nature. I was 3rd coming out of the water and felt like a million bucks.

Swim Time - 400m - 7:32:4 Place: 3/15

[Matt swam the course without goggles. What?]

Katey met me in transition just as I was leaving, so we know she was right behind me on the swim...but her chip didn't work, so we will never know for sure. She was probably 4th or 5th out of the water.

At the pre-race meeting, we were informed that the bike course was 13 miles instead of 12, which doesn't make much difference except that my bike computer decided to break, so I didn't have speed information. All I could do is go on time...but all the math I had done was based on 12 miles, not 13, soooo, I just biked hard and hoped for the best! The course was a LOT more challenging than I would have thought. I made it to the turnaround in 21 minutes and I knew I was in trouble. Ooops. At mile 8, I got stuck behing a truck who was stuck behind a slow biker for about 3 miles, so that seriously hurt my time - I couldn't get around the truck or the biker safely, so I was stuck going pretty freaking slow for about 10 minutes. Got my heart rate down though...always the silver lining. The final mile was up a pretty brutal hill, but since it was the end, it was okay...forge onward!! All in all, it was a gorgeous ride, perfect biking weather, and uncrowded roads. Made it to transition with energy to spare (never good on a sprint race!).

Bike Time - 13 miles - 43:23:6 - 18.7mph Place: 2/15

I changed shoes and headed out for the run. IMMEDIATELY, and I do mean immediately after you exit transition, you are greeted with a mountain. A mountain. Holy crap. This thing was mean and I wanted no part of it. I did my best to run up it, but let's be honest, I'm SO not hardcore. I totally walked up that sucker. EVIL.

At the top of the hill, I was greeted by a guy who was on his way to finish, who said, "Nobody told me there would be hills!". Which freaked me out. The first hill was tough, please don't let there be more!! So I paced myself accordingly...but there were no more hills. So, I kept waiting for the next big hill, but there weren't once again, I went too slow. This is Reason 2,823 why you should alway drive the race course ahead of time. I felt pretty good most of the run. I kept my eyes peeled for Francis - I really wanted to catch up with him on the run, but I never saw him. I walked for a bit through Gruene on the way back - it was too pretty to run through!! And then I ran back down the mountain and to the finish.

Run Time - 3.3 miles - 32:16:4 - 9:48/mile Place: 5/15

Apparently, I REALLY need to work on my running. Big surprise there. Ha.

Francis had just finished and Tommy had finished like 3 days ago, so the three of us went to meet Melissa to take pictures. We saw Erik and Matt finish together - we tried to get them to hold hands as they crossed the finish line, but Matt wasn't having it.

Erin, Amanda and Katey finished strong! Thomas ran with Janelle to the finish line where he may or may not have done the horsey dance [Thomas also may have improved his swim time by almost half!].

And last but not very last, Rebecca crossed the finish line, looking radiant as usual.

We stayed for awards because I had placed 3rd in my age group. OMG. I still can't believe it. I could have gotten 2nd if I had just not stopped to smell the flowers in Gruene on the run, but oh well! It was worth it! 1st place was totally unattainable however...I would have had to speed up by 13 minutes. Not happening.

It was a great day. I think everyone had a good time and we may have even had some triathlon converts. Rebecca went out and bought a new bike right after we got back to Houston. If nothing else, maybe now our friends won't hate us as much when I are antisocial over the next 6 months. Training begins June 15. Danger danger.

My total times:
Swim - 7:32.4 Place - 3/15
T1 - 1:23 Place - 5/15 (TOTALLY need to be faster here!)
Bike - 43:23.6 Place - 2/15
T2 - 0:44.6 Place - 4/15 (ugh)
Run - 32:16.4 PLace - 5/15 (TOTALLY need to just run faster. Can someone make that happen?)
TOTAL - 1:25:20.9

Overall Times:
Tommy - 1:17:40.3
Erin - 1:37:38.5
Amanda - 1:52:07.0
Katey - 1:39.12.7
Rebecca - 2:14:32.6
Erik - 1:32:28.1
Matt - 1:32:29.6
Francis - 1:30:03.2
Thomas/Janelle - 1:50:15.1

Erik and Katey dismounting after the bike.

Amanda finishing the run...with God looking down on her!

Erin, me and Amanda before the race.

Francis's flying Dismount. This is an impressive skill. Everytime I try to do it, I completely wipe out. Ouch.

Tommy biking.

Francis's Swim - he is a BEAST!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

LOL Dogs

I am OBSESSED with LOLDogs (not so much the cats).

This one made me crack up today in my cubicle. It will be a sad sad day when they block that site from my work computer....

Which reminds me that I have 8 hours of volunteering at CAP that still needs to get done this month. Where does the time go? Looks like I'll be spending my Friday off playing with puppies...oh, the tragedy of my life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Here are a few links that I have found that only serve to further FREAK. ME. OUT.

This is a blog about a guy who swam near the swim site and got stung by tons of little jellyfish. However, he also took some nice pics of the bike and run conditions, so maybe I come out even? Apparently, this stuff can ward against jellyfish and attacks from other creatures. I mean, I'll try anything once...

This is just a basic blog about Ironman Cozumel. It has no faults or scariness other than information overload. Ow.

This guy went to Cozumel, with a woman other than his wife (which ends up being the topic of conversation), and took pics of the entire course. This was awhile ago, so here's hoping that Blogger Number 1 is right about the road conditions!

And finally, the Official. Ironman Cozumel. Website. I may or may not check this daily. Nothing ever changes. It only serves to freak me out and give me nightmares. But I can't stop. Addiction is bad, mkay?

And then there is this girl who frankly, cracked me up. All triathletes do this stuff (so do runners and bikers I'm sure). All of them. Seriously. What's most disturbing however is how comfortable we are in talking about it. Tommy and I discuss, in length, the color of our pee. We have blown snot rockets and spit in each other's goggles. He even watched me pee on my shorts on accident last weekend when I had to go in the bushes. And then we googled "women peeing in triathlons" - this was the search result. So gross. Triathlon is a dirty dirty sport.

But then I read blogs like this and I am reminded that most of the people that will be with me in Cozumel are exactly like me. Middle of the packers. Full time job holders. And those just looking for the day they can finally [FINALLY!] get their tattoo. Bring it on Cozumel!!

Rockin' R Toobin' Tri

My first sprint triathlon!! I am super excited. I am mostly excited to float the river afterwards (and before), but I am also excited to see how I can do in a sprint race.

The race is in historic Gruene, Texas, also known as My Happy Place, Texas. There is nothing about Gruene to dislike. It is a magical little town. Old dance halls with good bands, fabulous outdoor dining, beautiful scenery, gorgeous weather, wineries, and most of all, a big ol' river meant for floating (or racing).

The race will be a 400m swim, a 12 mile bike and a 3.3 mile run. I have never done a sprint tri before, and my fastest 5K is really slow (and that's all I did that day). I am really interested to see how it goes because I am SOOOOO not a sprinter (I'm really freaking slow at just about everything). I can do just about anything all day - bike, run, drink, eat, whatever - but if you want me to do something quickly, you are in for a struggle. I never really learned how to push myself over a short distance because all I've ever trained for is longer stuff...which is just a totally different mentality.

On the swim for a half ironman, you don't really kick because you have to save your legs...on the swim for a sprint, you kick, but you don't want your heartrate to get too high. I determined yesterday that I've forgotten how to kick. Ooops.

On the bike for a half ironman, you pace yourself so you have something left for the run. If you have to stop to pee or refill water bottles, you do it. On a sprint, if you have to stop to pee, you are totally screwed. Hydration and calorie consumption becomes almost unnecessary...

On the run for a half ironman, you start at the pace you intend to run, usually to find out that your goals were too lofty, so you start incorporating walking pretty early one. On the sprint, if I have to walk, I'll chop off my legs (I'll probably have to walk because I predict my goals are too lofty - ha - so expect a legless woman next week. Watch out Oscar!!).

It's just a totally different animal and I am excited! About 10 of our friends are heading down with us and plan on racing - some of them this is their first race EVER. Good luck to the rest of the crew! It should be an absolute blast. And then, after awards in the river (what?!?) we will fill our coolers, slather on sunscreen and relax in the wonderful Comal. Oh, the magic of a weekend on the river. Siiiiiiiigh.

It's gonna be a challenge and I can't wait to see how it goes!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Famous!

...and so are my pals!

Starting this past Thursday, Discovery Green (the new park downtown) is hosting concerts in the outdoor ampitheater every week (Concert on the Green). Matt organized a group and fun ensued. We laughed, we talked, we drank, and we danced...all to wonderful zydeco music. We were captured in all of our glory by a Houston Press photographer...and in exchange for our permission to publish our picture, we were each given an egg of silly putty.

I Hate Lifeguards.

Okay, I don't REALLY hate them, but I am quite angry with them today.

I woke up at 4:10am today so that I could get dressed and be at the pool, ready to swim at 5am. I arrive at the YMCA, not exactly bright eyed and bushy tailed, but definitely ready to swim, only to find that the doors to the pool are locked.


I knew that the therapy pool (read: old people pool) was closed for the day, but hadn't heard anything about the lap pool. I asked the front desk what time the pool opens and she told me that the lifeguards were running late. But she didn't know how late.

I sat around for 20 minutes, in my swimsuit, waiting for the lifeguards to show. I finally gave up and decided to just get dressed and head to work.

At this point, it's 5:30am, I have been up for 1 hour and 20 minutes, and all I have done is sit around in my swimsuit...and I got to top off my magical morning with a delicious shower at in the YMCA locker room. Can't beat that. Moldy showers, crappy hairdryers, and old women boobies. It was my happy place.

I guess I'll be leaving work early (since I got here at 6am) and go swimming after work.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Best. Weekend. EVER.

This weekend was one of the best weekends EVER. And I'm not just saying that to make fun, I'm being serious. It was a much needed repreive from the pain that is the Ironman. I probably shouldn't have missed that workout on Friday or the bike ride on Sunday, but man, I feel soooo much better that I did. I was exhausted.

Friday I woke up and remained in a zombie-like state until I went to bed that evening. Tommy and I cooked dinner, cleaned a little and I went to bed around 9...Tommy stayed up and worked till about 1am. Ouch.

We woke up at 6:30am (which is sleeping in, BTW) and hit the streets for a run. I had a request from my doc that I do a long run this weekend to see how my knee was feeling. We had a plan to run 13-15 miles...semi-near the house so if I broke down, I could get saved semi-easily. We ran down to Buffalo Bayou and ran around that loop, then back up the Heights trail and cut across to our 'hood. My knee felt pretty good! I was highly impressed. Apparently the fish oil pills he put me on made a difference. Wierd. The only problem was that I hadn't tried to run 13 straight miles since before the marathon (and it was HOT on Saturday), so we were pretty slow and my legs were pooped afterwards. All in all, a successful workout.

On the way home, we found a yard sale and got some much needed patio furniture...dinner on the veranda anyone?

We showered real fast, and then hopped on our bikes to meet the crew for lunch at La Mexicana...also known as the most expensive disgusting mexican food restaurant EVER. I don't recommend it.

Then we headed to the Art Car Parade. Matt painted a VW van last year to look like the Alamo...The Alamobile. It's pretty spectacular. Drinks in hand, we enjoyed a hot summer day in Houston. I painted posters, Francis took pictures, Janelle tried to pretend that I am as photgenic as she is, and fun was had by all.

Matt and his masterpiece.

The crew in front of the Alamobile...sans Francis.

Me, Roxie and the Alamobile.

Tommy hugs BrilloMan. I requested a divorce.

Me and Tommy smiling pretty for Francis. Surprisingly, this is a decent shot. It's amazing what good lighting can do for ugly people.

This is ridiculous.

Then we rode back to Francis's for drinks in the garden...siiigh...and then rode home to shower real quick and head to the Post-Art Car Parade Crawfish Boil sponsored by none other than himself, Mr. Matt.

Natalie and Micah joined us at Shady Tavern, where we ate delicious crawfish, drank beer, rum and some mystery punch and played the evening away...until Tommy passed out in the corner and Matt made us leave. Tragedy. Hahahaha.

We went home, I made popcorn and watched Gossip Girl and left Tommy to sleep it off on the couch while I enjoyed having the bed to myself. Is that wrong?? We woke up at 7am, made breakfast and ate on the patio (with our new furniture!) and went back to bed. Sundays don't get any more magical than that my friend!!

We laid out, went to the grocery store, cooked scallops for dinner (and ate on the patio) and went to bed early.

Seriously. Best. Weekend. Ever. And JUST what the doctor ordered. Good friends and good times.

Now hopefully the weather will behave and we can float the river this weekend!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Oh, how things have changed.

As most of you know, I really struggle with my weight. This is not to say that I am fat. I am not fat. I am of average height and build and generally look acceptable in my clothes.

This being said, I also work out about 30 times more per day than the average person and I eat relatively why am I still stuck in an average body? There are no answers. Some people were just born to be chunks and I am apparently one of them. I have to work really really really hard to maintain my average body and it suuuuucks.

But I found an interesting tidbit today. Apparently, in 2005, I wrote this blog entry about my dietary habits.

On that day, by 11:09am, I had eaten:
- 1 dozen donut holes
- 2 whole donuts (1 glazed, 1 frosted with sprinkles)
- 1 pretzel sticks
- 2 peppermints
- 1 roll of Lifesavers
- 2 Poptarts (1 package is 2 Poptarts)

And I was the skinniest I have ever been.

By comparison, on an average day NOW, by 11:09am, I will typically eat:
- 1 granola bar as my post workout snack
- 1 small bag of pretzels
- 1 package of light string cheese
- 1 medium sized apple

And I am working my a$$ off, but still can't fit into the skinny jeans I bought in 2005. WTF.

I'm going back to my bag-a-day donut habit. This sucks.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bragging Rights.

It's amazing how quickly your body can gain strength...especially when you start with nothing to begin with.

Two years ago, I started training for the marathon with a group called HoustonFIT ATP (Advanced Training Program). I had run with HoustonFIT for the 2 years before that and was looking for a new challenge. The ATP group meets twice a week for a VERY painful workout involving sprints, hills and weights and then a long run on Saturdays.

Every workout ended with us doing some push-ups or other core exercises...all of which I sucked at. Sucked bad. All we had to do was hold the bridge (push up position, but on your elbows) for a minute or two or whatever length of time Ashley (our coach) felt like inflicting on us. We would do the bridge, the side bridge, the back bridge, etc, etc, and eventually do some pushups or something elese equally painful.

I could never do it. I could never hold the bridge for the full time. Ever. And I could only do 8 pushups. And those 8 pushups were PAINFUL. Brutal. Ow.

Now, however, I have been doing core workouts almost every day for 2 months. I can hold the bridge on bosu balls for a minute or so, or on the ground for forever. It's amazing. I never thought it would be possible...but your body adapts.

I have also started a 100 pushup plan. The goal is to be able to do 100 push ups. I have no idea when I will EVER need this ability, but whatever. My high school reunion is in September...I must, I must, I must increase my bust!

In only 3 days of following the plan, I am now able to do 5 sets of 20 pushups. That's 100 pushups my friends. I SERIOUSLY doubt I could do more than 20 at a time, but taking a small break in between makes a huge difference. My chest is KILLING me and I can barely lift my water bottle to my lips, but it's worth it. We will see if I can do elevated feet pushups once ATP gets started...fingers crossed!!

I still can't see my 6 pack, but I'm almost certain it's there. She's just hiding. It's been awhile since she's been out in public. I think she's nervous.

I'll be Ironman/High school reunion ready in no time.