Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I can't get to sleep!

I have a class to teach in 4 hours and 15 minutes and I cannot get to sleep. It is going to kill me later today. This is not what I need the few days before Longhorn 70.3 and with lots of stuff still left to do. I am sure that I cannot sleep because I know I have lots to do.

But here are some random thoughts...

1. I look like an idiot in my Aero helmet. I feel like a poser in it as well. When you show up to the race with that thing on it screams "Hey! I'm fast!" Well, my last few races with that thing on I have not had stelar bike splits. They are good bike splits, but nothing super special or super impressive. I guess the fact that eats at me is the large amount of people who pass me up on the bike course and what they must be thinking as they blow by me. I think it is something along the lines of, "That helmet is not helping much now is it?"

2. Why am I having so much trouble trying to get a power meter for my bike? I started out with a Polar and the thing was not working and Polar asked for it back. I got an SRM and it went blank on me during a workout and won't charge up any more. I have to take it in to the shop because the sensors are on the chain rings but it is too close to the race to do without my bike. So now I have to get another bike computer just so I have speed and cadence.

3. I cannot download any of my Polar run files to Training Peaks because I have a Mac. I have a PC, but it won't let me do anything on it anymore because I filled up the memory with my iTunes files. I am a technology dummy.

4. Why does the Klondike card game on my iPod have music that plays in the background that sounds like it should be part of the Boogie Nights soundtrack? What is up with that?

5. Will my child ever eat vegetables? I put them in front of him and they get scooted around the plate and then his father yells at him for not eating them and basically force feeds the kid and he gags. My step mom has the magic touch and has gotten him to eat asparagus, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, and yams. I guess I don't have the magic touch.

6. Will I ever stop itching? My doctor and my allergist have asked me in the last month if I have made all the changes in my house to make it a better environment to live in. These changes include getting rid of the carpet and padding in the house. This has not been done. El Esposo says that having the carpets cleaned 3 to 4 times a year is good enough. I don't know anymore. I am scratching myself raw. I would hate to loose the carpet and have the house echo but the itching is bad.

Ok, I am still not tired, but I am going to try to go back to bed...


Monday, September 29, 2008

It's ALIVE!!!

My Blog is alive again!!!

17 days after Ike interrupted the lives of millions of us in southeast Texas, I have gotten the last piece of my life back in place. Comcast reconnected my cable and internet service! I feel like I have been out of touch with the world and I have only caught snippets of what is going on in the world from radio and what I can glance off the television screens at work.

It seems our country is in a bit of a financial problem. I am not going to go on a rant about who is to blame and why our country is in the position that it is in but I think that if all of us took the time to look into our own savings accounts and credit card accounts, we would all find areas that could use some work. So I am going to make an effort to continue to pay off my credit card like I have been doing. I kind of like the fact that I am making the my credit card company angry that I just don't pay the minimum each month. I have passed on purchases that were not out of necessity and I will continue to do so. I plan to give more gifts that are things that I have made with care. No, I am not re-gifting that stationary set I got a year or so ago. But if you don't mind, I might give you a hand knit scarf or a gift box of cranberry bread, some cookies, and holiday candies. By the way, two scarfs are already done while I had down time from Ike.

I have the Longhorn 70.3 race this weekend in Austin, Texas. Since my training took a hit with the storm, my kiddo being off school for over a week, and the pool being closed and tons of debris in the street, I am going into this race with NO expectations. Right now the plan is to go and have a good time and see lots of cool pros. Michele Jones, Simon Whitfield, Tim DeBoom, Richie Cunningham and others are to be there. WOW, does this mean that they race a 70.3 the week before Ironman Kona??? The strange thing is, when I go and race with no expectations, I usually end up doing well. We shall see what happens on Sunday. I have been back to the doctor's for a B-12 injection and my energy is up a little bit. I have a lymphatic massage tomorrow and the probiotics I have been taking have helped some of my GI track issues. I have been having some foot issues while running. No blisters are showing up but my feet feel like I have mega blisters on the outside edge of my big toes and along the balls of the feet. The pain goes away after I stop running, but when I start again the pain is back. I have changed shoes and tried some friction patches but the pain is still there after mile 12.

And now for the bummer news. I found out today that our Team in Training group had our hotel for the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon changed. We were supposed to stay at the Marriott Riverwalk hotel and now we will be staying at the Marriott on Loop 401, WAY OFF THE RIVERWALK. It seems that the recommitment rate for this new marathon was very high (which is awesome because that means more money for cancer research...) and they wanted to give the hotels closest to the race start to the chapters who were traveling in from out of state. This is understandable, but I am still bummed out about being moved over where all the road construction is and now we have to pay $50 for ground transportation that will take us to the race start and shuttle us back and forth for packet pick up, the pasta dinner, the victory dinner, and all the other events. Anyway, I am really looking forward to this marathon and getting to run to all the Spanish Missions.

Ok, off to get something to eat and then I get to watch Dancing With the Stars!!!

Later Gators,


Sunday, September 21, 2008


I got my power back last night!!! I still don't have internet so I am at a WiFi hotspot right now. I cleaned out the freezer and the refridgerator and did laundry most of the day. I will get caught up on everyone's blogs and I will get back to my regular reports.

Later Gators!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clean Up From IKE

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Survived IKE!

Sorry I have not gotten word up sooner, but we are still without power and I am using the internet connection and power off of a generator at El Esposo's office. This is a LONG post and there are a few pics. Sorry if it is dull reading.

IKE Diary

After I went to bed on Friday night around midnight I had was awaken by the wind around 2:40 am. We have new double pane storm windows and they dampen the sounds from outside pretty well. We still had power, but I had noticed that the clock was flashing 12:54 so the power had been out in the past hour. When we looked out the window over our bed into our backyard, the hurricane force winds were whipping through the trees and it was very loud. Our window faces north so the rain would hit it every once and a while since the wind was blowing from east to west. All we could do was go back to sleep.

I was dozing lightly and around 3:00 am, we lost our power for good. It flickered on twice but then it was gone. I looked out the window and saw the trees almost leaning sideways from the winds and the sky being lit up green and white at times from explosions at transformers. I wandered to the hall bathroom to look out the window to the front of the house. I could see flashlights roving around in our neighbor’s windows across the street and a single faint light in the neighbors diagonally across the street from us. The winds were constant and extremely high. I have been through a tornado before and many people say it sounds like a freight train but the winds from this hurricane sounded like I was standing at the end of a runway and jets were passing overhead. It was a constant roar. Branches were flying through the air but with the street lights out it was hard to tell if any of the trees were down. There was not much to do but go back to bed.

I was awoken at 5:50 am by the phone. I fumbled my way downstairs to answer it. It was Quincy, our next-door neighbor and she was telling me that their pine tree in their front yard was about to fall over and it might hit our Honda Accord that was parked on the street in an effort to keep it in an area that was tree free. I was looking out the back window in our utility room and stepped in water that had blown under the back door. I put down a towel to soak it up and saw that the tree in the neighbor’s yard behind us was missing but it was still too dark to see where it was. The winds were still just as strong but now they were blowing from west to east. I could not go the front of the house because my phone cord was not long enough. After hanging up the phone, I went to look out of the front windows and saw the huge pine tree laying in our front yard and it was hung up in our oak tree. There was really nothing I could do but wait until it got a little lighter outside. I decided to give my dad a call and let him know that we were ok. He gets up pretty early so I knew that he would want to know how we were doing.

It did not seem to get light enough outside to see much until 8:30 am. The winds were still blowing and gusting but it was nothing like what I saw around 3 am and 5:45 am that morning. We had to be careful not to have the refrigerator door open for more than a few seconds to keep the cold air in. After breakfast El Esposo was getting antsy to go out and start pulling down the trees but it was raining pretty hard and still blowing. Around 10:30 I got on a pair of old running shoes and some tech clothes and put on my foul weather gear from when I used to race sailboats. I figured nothing was going to get in those seals and get me wet. I went for a walk down my street and over a block and down the next street and back to my street. There were a lot of trees down across the road that people had already gotten a chain saw to open the road to traffic. The storm drain grates were clogged with leaves, branches, and pine needles. I took the time to open up three of them and got the ankle deep standing water moving off the street and into the drain. There was a pine tree that fell over onto some power lines and they were hanging low over the street and people were still driving their cars under them! The main intersection by the end of my block was flooded and the water was half way up the wheels of the cars. I was really surprised at how many people were out driving on the roads. I saw that there was another tree down across the street on Jones Rd. and I watched as the fire department brought in a Caterpillar tractor and pushed it off the street onto the median.

The tractor moved to our street and moved our neighbor’s pine tree out of the street and back into their yard. There were neighbors out that I have never met before. We all got out our rakes, handsaws, chain saw, and axes and started working on helping each other open up driveways and clear the debris out of the street and clear out the gutters. We spent all afternoon on this job. The kids were out helping and bringing out sandwiches and bottled water.

After a shower and some grilled chicken breasts and corn on the cob the sun went down and we collapsed into a deep sleep until the windows being shaken by violent thunder and lightening awaked us. The last thing that we needed was more water. Our front lawn was like soup with the trees down and now there was a greater chance of having more trees uprooted from the soft soil and for our creeks and gullies to wash out and start flooding.

The rain ended around 9 am and there was a noticeable difference in the temperature outside. That was a huge relief since the house was stuffy. We got all of the windows open and tried to cool things off. I made some scrambled eggs on the BBQ for everyone and I have gotten those Palmolive hands from washing dishes in the sink. El Esposo was able to drive up to his office and found out that there was power and 40 lb. bags of ice in the freezer!!! We got ice for the neighbors and us and brought that home. After lunch I could tell that El Esposo was getting antsy. He started going around and picking up and cleaning house while the rest of us were reading a book or occupying ourselves quietly. He was a little frantic running from here to there picking up and even crawling across the carpet picking up leaves and grass bits we had dragged in. He was driving me NUTS! I finally asked if he had any objections to letting me go out for a run.

This was my chance to get out and do my creek report. The tree damage was pretty bad in areas but I did not see any trees though the roofs of people’s houses. Fences were down all over the place. Lots of people were out cleaning up, having block parties and firing up the BBQ, tossing the football, riding bikes (without helmets!!!), and walking dogs. There were plenty of people out on the road by they had to be in by 9pm for the curfew. The creeks and the gullies were up! I am surprised that they did not go over their banks. (Slide show to come)

After grilling some turkey burgers and some sweet potato fries and having bananas and strawberries for desert El Esposo headed for bed. He had some red wine with diner and he was drunk. The kid and I stayed up for a bit until he finally bit the dust as well. I stayed up and worked on knitting a scarf. I need a scarf in Houston like I need a hole in my head but it kept me busy. I finally went to bed when all the stuff I was hearing on the radio was repeat information. I still have no Internet or television so I am not able to see the devastation and destruction that everyone else sees. All I know is that Galveston is really bad off. Crystal Beach and Bolivar Peninsula are basically gone. There was a 17-foot storm surge in the Kemah area and the Kemah Boardwalk is in ruins. Boat are washed up on the road or completely sunk in Clear Lake. Downtown Houston is closed because of all the glass that was shattered out of the windows of the office buildings. The freeways leading into Houston had been flooded from White Oak and Buffalo Bayou but they seem to be passable now. Schools are closed until Thursday and some grocery stores and restaurants are open. They have gotten power back to the pumping stations for water and to the hospitals. Some malls have power so that people can come get out of the heat and get a meal at the food court.

I worked out in the yard again on Monday since my gym was closed due to no power. 3 out of every 4 power customers are still without electricity but a cool front has rolled in and the high today is only 83! I am getting low on perishable food and we are going to have to heat up canned soup on the grill for dinner tonight or heat up a pot of water and make some pasta. I have been eating a lot of foods that I am allergic to and I am itching all the time now.

I will try to get more news out soon!

Later Gators,


Friday, September 12, 2008

11pm IKE Update

Well, in my neck of the woods we have sustained winds of 22 mph with gusts of 45 mph. We are still dry but the rain and heavier wind is now getting ready to move inside Beltway 8 on the south end of town. Houston has two "Loops" that circle around it. The 1st one is the 610 Loop. This area is downtown, and extends out about 10 miles in each direction, give or take a few miles. Where I tend to do a lot of my running at Memorial Park is west of downtown just inside the 610 Loop. The 2nd "Loop" is the Sam Houston Tollway or Beltway 8. Beltway 8 is an additional 10 miles outside of the 610 Loop. I live just outside of the Beltway on the NW end of town. So, the heavier weather is about 35 to 40 miles SE of where I am.

Temps are still very warm at 84 degrees. Many areas have lost power and they are predicting that power could be out for months in Galveston county and for weeks in the southern part of Houston. I am sure that we will loose power, but how long it will be off is the big question.

I'm pretty tired and heading to bed. I doubt that I will be "up to run" at 5 am with these conditions. That is why I got in 8+ miles earlier today. Possibly I can get some more in later tomorrow.

Ok, more tomorrow.

Later Gators,


8 PM IKE Update

This one is short folks. The winds have picked up and things are getting gusty but then they die down again. The sunset was beautiful to watch with the light reflecting off the underside of the clouds. The oranges and deep purples and lavenders were spectacular to see. We are now under a tornado watch until tomorrow morning at 10 am. We still have power and things are still good.

More later...


Run and Creek Report


It is 5:30 pm and I just finished a snack, shower, and a load of laundry to wash some sweaty run clothes. I was getting pretty bored and decided that I had better get a run in because I might not be able to tomorrow. I took my camera with me so that I could take pictures off the creeks and gullies that tend to fill up in heavy rain storms and will sometimes flood. The sun stayed pretty much behind the clouds but it did peek out once or twice. Near the end of my run the breeze started picking up and there was a few minutes of a very light drizzle of rain and it felt really good because temperatures are still between 88 and 86 degrees. Mostly, the neighborhoods were quiet but there were more people than I have ever seen out walking dogs, riding bikes (without helmets!!!) and boarding up windows. I would say that 10% of the houses have their windows boarded up or taped to prevent the glass from flying in as shards once the window breaks. The breeze is pretty steady now with gusts up to 25 mph and if reminds me a lot of what the breezes are like here in the spring.
Here is a picture of Cypress Creek near the house. If I go down the street 5 houses and make a left turn and go 50 yds to the stop light and then take a right, Cypress Creek is at most 400 to 500 yards down the road from the stop light. The last time that Cypress Creek came out of its banks was in 2001 after Tropical Storm Allison dumped tons of rain on Houston. There was a lot of flooding in our neighborhood and the houses near the creek were eventually torn down. Right now, only empty lots are there. I guess no one will give homeowner's and flood insurance for those lots.
Here is another picture of Cypress Creek on another end. If I go down the street 5 houses and turn to the right, away from the stop light, I can run about a 1/2 mile up to the bridge over this part of the creek. I wanted to document how low the water was in the creek before the storm and after the storm.
Here I am on the bridge. Everything behind me and back to just before my street was flooded when Tropical Storm Allison came to town.
This is Faulky Gully another 3/4 of a mile down the road. Once I run through another residential area, I hook up onto a jogging path along the gully. It is really low right now.
Here is our new park near Cypress Creek. I fear this will all be under water. Buddy loves this park because it has a skate park.
Yea! My run is done and El Esposo finished fixing the deck!

Run Stats:

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Distance: 8.85 miles
Ave HR: 145
Max HR: 162 ( I was almost home and I had to go the bathroom--YIKES!)
Ave Pace: 9:04
Max Pace: 7:48
Calories: 727

More Ike updates later. Later Gators,


Ike Update


It is 12:30 pm on Friday afternoon and so far on my end of town it is still calm. I was able to move an afternoon acupuncture appointment up to 8:20 this morning and after that I headed to the gym to finish payroll and do a Pilates session with a client. I got to the club and it was locked down tight. I just hope that someone took care of approving the payroll for my 4 people that taught a class last night.

I was bright and sunny up until about 20 minutes ago and now it is kind of grey but the sun pops out of the clouds here and there. I went around the house and took photos inside and out for insurance purposes and took photos of the cars. I was able to do some grocery shopping this morning and we have enough munchies and food for a good week if the power is out. We have a BBQ as well so we are good to go. I stopped by Blockbuster and picked up a few movies in case we get tired of 24/7 storm coverage. All programing has been halted for the local news and weather coverage.

Galveston, TX is about 65 miles south of where I live, but already, the bay side of the island is seeing rising water. Moody Gardens where the Lone Star Tri Festival takes place has all of its parking lots with about a foot of water in them. On the Gulf side, the water is crashing up and over the Seawall and there is lots of debris that is being washed up on the roads. Many of the low lying areas where I like to train in Seabook and Kemah are flooded as well and (HORRORS!) water has already started entering the Seabrook Dairy Queen.
Here is the casa with no storm damage...

...and the backyard with the fence up. We have had past storms rip the fence down before and it costs a ton to replace.

El Esposo has decided that this is a GREAT TIME to rip up the deck on the back and re-do it. Whatever...if it keeps him busy that is fine with me. The power tools are grinding away outside right now. It had to be done eventually, but I guess this is one of the few times he is at home and not working so I will let him work out that testosterone and wield a hammer.

And a parting shot of me with my pre-storm smile with my hair having a bad day but I could give two rat's tails about it. I think I kind of look like I stole Uncle Jesse's hair from Full House. Oh well, it is in that funky in between stage and it can only get better or gain the Cousin It look.

Ok, more updates in a few hours!

Later Gators,


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Storm watch: IKE

You would never know it by being outside but H-town is going to get hit with some pretty nasty weather in the next 36 to 48 hours. Our fantastic public servant, Mayor Bill White has begun the steps to help the city prepare for Hurricane Ike. Galveston Island is evacuating and the low lying surrounding areas are already under mandatory evacuation such as Baytown, La Porte, Clear Lake, Texas City, La Marque, and Friendswood. The Johnson Space Center is battening down the hatches and all Houston area schools have cancelled classes for tomorrow.

Traffic is starting to build on Interstate 45 North but contra-flow has not started yet. Things are still pretty orderly on the roadways. The Kroger store was a mad-house this morning at 7 am when I went to pick up some bananas and eggs. This trip usually takes me 10 minutes and I spent just over 20 just standing in line to pay. My gas tank is full of $3.29 a gallon gas and I will make it to a bank and pull out some cash. My big job will be moving the deck furniture, BBQ grill, and potted plants.

Even though almost all of my PT clients have called and cancelled, I still have to go into work tomorrow and be there for a few classes I teach in case anyone shows up.

I will try to give updates and pictures if it gets wild and wacky.

Stay tuned! Later Gators,


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Kid's Jay Leno Meet Up

I am finally getting around to putting up this SUPER FANTASTIC PHOTO of Buddy with Jay Leno at the Laguna Seca Auto Show in Monterey, California a few weeks ago. Cars are a huge hobby of Mr. Leno and Buddy. Buddy was able to meet Mr. Leno last year and he made it his goal again to meet Jay and get his autograph and a picture with him.

Here he is telling Jay all about what is under the hood.

Buddy went to the Pebble Beach car show the next day and ran into Mr. Leno again. Not bad!

Later Gators,


Monday, September 8, 2008

Redemption Run

Ok, you read about the miserable run I had on last week's race. I had been pretty bummed out all week and I did not do much in the way of working out other than lifting some weights.

Well, the winds, they are a changing...

Hurricane Gustav has been pulling some amazing weather down from the north into H-town. On Saturday morning the temps were 72 degrees with 48% humidity!!! That rarely happens in Houston. Most times it is 72 degrees and 79 - 83% humidity. So our Nike Women's Marathon group was going to run 14 miles and the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon group was going to run 12 miles. Since I had skipped last week's 18 mile training run due to resting up for the Oly tri I wanted to make sure to do the longer distance and add a bit extra with an extra loop around Memorial Park to "head out long" before running towards downtown and the George R. Brown Convention Center.

It was an AWESOME run!!! I felt great the entire time. I remembered to have an inhaler that worked and I only had to use it before I got started. It was funny to run past the finish line of the Food Allergy 5K and see them unloading plastic bakery boxes of muffins out of the back of a truck. What's up with that??!!?? LOL!!! "Hey, are you Glutin intolerant? Have a muffin!" I am wondering if they had little bags of nuts and milk to hand out as well.

I made two pit stops. The park stop was not as long as making the stop in the Hilton. I stopped to fill up some of my Fuel Belt bottles. Total non running time was around 7 minutes.

I was feeling so good that on the way back into the park, I decided to "run in long" all the way around the park rather than "go in short" and go about 1/4 mile back to the picnic table. I felt GREAT!!! I was stunned when I looked at my stats...

Distance: 19.03 miles
Total Time: 3:00 hours, 56 seconds
Max HR: 154 bpm
Ave. HR: 140 bpm
Max Pace: 7:25 min/mile
Ave Pace: 9:31 min/mile ( 7 min of stops included in this)
Calories: 1557


My calves are a little tight, but nothing bad. Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed with a terrible migraine that made me want to rip off the right side of my head. I have a feeling it was due to stuff in my neck and back but I feel better this morning after laying around all day watching Indy racing with my kid and sleeping 10 hours.

Later Gators!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Horrible Race--OR--Steve in a Speedo was chasing me in that Grim Reaper costume!

Well, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. I went into the Austin Triathlon super relaxed with a few good nights of sleep under my belt and no itching from food allergies. i was feeling positive and all I wanted to do was match last year's time of 2:48 or do a little better.

That was not going to happen!

Yesterday morning, I got my transition area all laid out and and I had a great spot on the end of the bike rack with my bike in the direction of the exit. I saw my buddies Terry, and Mari in transition. I had a long time to wait since i was the second to last start out of ten waves so I walked my bike pump and bag back to my car. I put on a spare pare of shoes to do a little run to make sure I had a good bathroom break. I went to take my three puffs (huffs, lol) on my Proventil inhaler and NOTHING. I shook it, and there was still stuff in it. I took the canister out and plugged it back in. I took another puff (huff) and again, NOTHING. I took one more and something came out but I came away hacking and sputtering. O.k., so I just need to pace myself on the run and not panic. I did my little 1/4 easy jog and made a good bathroom stop at the FLUSH toilets in the Hyatt and then I headed back over to the swim start with my wetsuit, goggles, and cap.

As I was waiting, I had a few extra rubber bands and I had some of my hair that was falling out of the little pony-tail braids I had put in earlier that morning. I redid my hair and got everything squared away. I cheered for Ryan as I saw him run out of the swim exit and into T1. Go Ryan! I started getting my wetsuit on and took my gel 15 minutes before the start. I was ready to go! We jumped in the water and swam out to the start line and when the gun went off I tried to find a pair of feet to draft off of. I was doing a great job of staying on line with the buoys and I found a few pairs of feet to follow for 25 to 50 meters at a time. I was feeling good and in control of my breathing. I was a little tired but for the most part I felt good! I had lots of snot coming out of my nose, but that is bound to happen when you swim. It was kind of gross, but that's life. I should have taken note of the copious amounts of gopher guts coming out of my nose since it would come back to haunt me later, but at the time I wrote it off. I reasoned that it was logical to be tired. This swim was only the second one that I have done since the Switzerland 70.3 back on June 1st. HA, that is less than one swim a month! After swimming under two bridges, it was time to turn around. The water was clear enough that I was seeing things under me. Close under me! I was a little freaked out only because I have swam in Town Lake many times before and I have never seen this underwater debris. I was afraid I was going to hit it if I extended my hand down. Weird! I made the last turn to the swim exit. i had caught up to the stragglers three swim groups ahead and I only saw one cap from the wave behind me. Yahoo! I swam in as far as I could and the volunteers hauled me up. Whoa! I felt like the kid who has the blindfold on and has been spun around a few times before they smack the pinata. I stumbled up the stairs like a drunk and tried pulling the zipper pull on my wetsuit. No go. I tug again. Nothing. I figure it is stuck so I slow down and stop to pull it up and un-lodge it. SPROING! WTF!!!! I pulled the whole zipper pull and pull cord off! I am standing there dumbfounded as people are running past me. SHIT!!! I keep running and start grabbing at my neck. I finally started to get the zipper to pull apart but I felt like The Hulk trying to bust out of my wetsuit! Run! Run! Run! Pull off that cap and goggles! Fumble with the cap some more. Almost run into the photographer. Climb some more steps as arms are getting yanked out of a wetsuit without any water left in it, ARGH!!! Swim time--28:37.40 for 1.5K. 12th out of 51 in my age group. Not bad for no swim workouts in a LONG time.

So now I am struggling to get the wetsuit off my legs. The whole transition area is a mix of scrubby grass, dirt, and sand. So guess what is all over my wetsuit and my feet now. It looked like I the world's worst pair of dirty feet that were caked with dirt and dried brown grass clippings. Crap! I have to stick that in my cycling shoes??? I popped my aero helmet on, grabbed the bike and started running, but I was totally out of breath. This was a huge transition. I heard the announcer say that T1 was one kilometer long. Thanks race directors! We love stuff like that! My T1 time was over 4 minutes long. Dang it!!!! But how many other people have to claw themselves out of a wetsuit with a broken zipper that is zipped all the way up? Huh??? You tell me!

I really like this bike course. It is 3 loops and it has hills. If you have ever been to Austin, TX you realize fast that it is not flat like Houston. From transition you loop under a bridge and then climb the ramp onto the bridge to go over Town Lake. You take one block east and then take the next bridge back over Town Lake and head south on Congress Ave all uphill for a good mile where there is a U-turn to rocket back down hill. Once back over the bridge that crosses Town Lake, Congress Ave. goes uphill to the Texas Capitol at 11th St. where there is another U-turn and then a fast downhill back to 1st St. and a sharp right turn to head west towards Austin HS. This portion is partly downhill and flattens out by the school. Before 1st Street splits to Austin Lake Ave. and the Loop, the course goes off on an exit ramp and loops under the road to head back the other direction. From there the course turns into a drive that goes along the high school sports fields and the shore of Town Lake for almost a half of a mile. To get headed back in the other direction, the course makes a sharp right turn with a steep, short uphill to get back onto the ramp to merge back onto the end of the Loop and back onto 1st St. This is down hill and is a great time to catch your breath after that climb. Remember you were coming down hill on 1st street when heading west so now it is uphill going east and back to Congress Ave. to start the next loop.

So by the time I get on the bike course it is crowded. All of the men and all but two of the women's waves (mine and the 40-44 F group) are out on the course. I was hoping that the officials would be understandable about some of the drafting that you just could not help. There is only so much room and lots of different speeds and everyone is going uphill. I had to stay out of the way of the insanely fast men, jockey for room with the men and women who were my speed and try to get around the slower people...and stay 3 bike lengths away from people in front of me or pass in 15 seconds. HA! I get to the first U-turn on Congress Ave. at Mary St. and I realize two things. I am gasping for air. Gasping. This is not normal. I use the downhill to try to catch my breath and grab a drink to start getting the Accelerade into me. The second thing I notice is that my head feels like it is in a vice grip. Crap, when I redid my hair before the swim, the position of the rubber bands and hair was different than when I checked my helmet fit when setting up my transition area. I tried to relax and ignore the pain and focus on hydrating. After my first gulp of Accelerade, my stomach did a flip flop. NOT NORMAL! Damn! I had Shot Block with me as well but thought I had just better focus on fluids. My gut felt yucky. And I was still gasping for air. Double Damn!!! With one loop down, my head was ready to crack open across the back and spill my brains out along the course it hurt so bad. On the bridge I reached up under the pterodactyl tail of my aero helmet to fiddle with the adjustment knob to loosen it. Time is off the essence here. The grind uphill was only 50 meters away. I give the adjustment knob a crank and YOWZA!!! it got tighter! FUUUUUUDGE!!! (what I said is worse than that). So now I am grinding up hill past people since most of the fast guys were finishing up the bike with my helmet grinding into my skull and my Accelerade grinding holes in my gut. UGH!!! Breathe. Focus on the bumps in the road to avoid them. Give the smack down to some men who thought they were pretty bad ass to pass me on the down hill after I passed them on the way up to the U-turn only to have me smoke them on the way up to the U-turn at the Capitol building. Gasp for air. Have my vision go cross-eyed as I look down the road. That's not good! Gasp for air. Keep cranking. The second loop is still crowded with all of the sprint distance people on the course now. I find myself wanting to coast some of these downhills so I can catch my breath. I force myself to keep the pedals moving as much as possible. On the third loop it is time to fix that helmet. I reach up in the tail and give the knob a crank the other way and my head gets the most awesome relief that I have felt all morning long. Oh Yeah! It even seems to make my stomach feel better! I finish my 24 oz of Accelerade and start on some water. I think about the Shot Blocks but I don't want to mess things up. I am still gasping with my breathing, but now on the third loop, I am smoking people on the bike. SWEET. I feel like the aero-helmet is somewhat justified and I don't look like a poser with a Kuota, Zipp 404's, and no speed. I get my sun glasses on as I prepare to finish loop three. I had not put them on earlier because of the head pain and you can't get that Rocket helmet on with sunglasses on because your ears stick out too much. As I put them on I quickly realize that I cant see out of the left lens. Huh??? All my brain could process was that it was condensation that would dry out and it would get better. You know, like when you have your glasses on your head and you are out running and you put them on and the lenses are all foggy. Little did I know at this time that the lenses would never clear up. More on that later.I start to get my feet out of my shoes as I hit the ramp to go under the bridge to go back to the dismount line. Off the bike and straight into the transition area and run all the way down to the second to last rack. SUCK. My feet are filthy! Bike leg--1:17:04.15 , 19.3 mph, 15th out of 51 in the age group. Again, not too bad since I have not been able to get out for very many rides with the kid off for the summer.

I try to squirt water on my toes as I hold my foot up off the ground so I don't make a mud puddle where I am standing. It was a pointless effort. The first sprint distance finishers are coming across the line. PUNKS!!! Oh well, socks and shoes on, Fuel Belt/race number belt/hat grabbed and I run for the exit as I start getting my stuff on. WTF! Steps. I caught myself before I banged the hell out of my knee. There was a friendly Team in Training water station right outside of transition where I got some cold water but there was no ice. I kept running and felt miserable. I felt like I had a steel band wrapped around my rib cage and I deep knifing pain in my lower left abdomen just to the right of my hip bone. I stopped to turn my shoe pod on and walked a bit to catch my breath. Now I was doing more than just gasping. Everyone is very aware of how little kids snivel and take in hitching breaths when they cry. i was doing those hitching breaths. Three and four in a row at a time with a big exhale. How can you run breathing like that??? You can't. SUCK! I would try to run for 75 to 100 yards and then I would have to stop just to breathe. I hated that I had to walk since I have been doing all of this good run training. I saw my buddy Erich on an out and back and I had to pick it up and get running! It hits me that I cannot breathe through my nose around the one mile mark. I am totally clogged up. For that matter, my ears are all plugged up as well and it sounds like everyone is talking under water to me when I ask for ice at the aid stations. WTF! I took my antihistamine and my decongestant. I finally find some ice and dump a cup in the front of my top and down the back so the heart rate monitor strap can keep it up around my heart and chest. It feels awesome. i grit my teeth and get back to running. I am doing better but it hurts in my lungs and I cannot take a deep breath. I get little prickly sensations in my cheeks. I see the sign at the turn off for the finishers and the start of the second loop. I look up at the electronic sign on the special events center and catch the time and temp--10:28 AM 88 degrees (it got up to 97 in Austin yesterday). Time to soldier on. I get back to the first part of the run loop that is on trail and my now wet shoes become very dirty, grassy shoes. I run with another Team in Training gal for a while, but I have to stop and catch my breath again. I get going again after a guy tells me that I have to get going. I start moving further and further down the road. Again the zone is not really reachable, but I try to grasp for it. As I run back past the finish chute, I hear Terry, Mari, Ryan, and Erich cheering for me. Crap! They are all waiting on me. It is not fun to hear them shouting "GO COACH!" I'm sure that the other spectators and wondering, "She is all of you guy's Coach??!!?? She is not very fast is she..." ARGH!!! THE HEAD GAMES!!! The aid station where I scored sponges and ice only had sponges on this go around and the water was not very cold. It would have to do. I had been running through all of the sprayer hoses and cooling stations so my shoes were really squishy by now and I was just adding to it by dumping the water over my head. One more u-turn at the Congress Ave. Bat Bridge statue and one more time across the 1st St. bridge and back and then I'm almost done. It is really thinning out, but at least the chick with the big boobs and who is hoofing it has not gotten any further ahead of me when I see her at the turn arounds. The kids the the water cannons are firing on me, my friends are yelling at me to pick it up, the volunteers are directing me into the finisher's lane, and all I can see is that my sunglasses have not cleared up and I can barely see through them. How did I not step on a cat or trip over the wheel chair of the CAF racer??? Run time--1:09:29.50, 11:12 per mile 36th out of 51 in my AG...SUCK.

A volunteer asks for my chip and I start to topple over when I bend down to take it off. "Oh, would you like me to get that for you?" No, I just feel like falling on my face smart-ass. Sorry, thank you for helping here in the hot sun, yes, would you be so kind to take that off my ankle??? My buddies come over to congratulate me. I guess my worst Oly finish time needs some recognition. Erich asks me why I sound funny. I am still all plugged up and congested and I can't hear well because my ears are still plugged up as well. Ryan gives me some of his banana and tells me to go get some food. His plate of watermelon, fresh pineapple, grapes, strawberries, and oranges looked good. I get to the food line and there is pizza (can't eat it), bags of Famous Amos cookies (can't eat 'em), packages of cheese and crackers (can't eat those either), Pure sports drink (can't drink it), Ice Cream sandwiches (ARGH! CAN'T EAT IT!!!), and Fat Tire Beer (Can't drink that either! WTF can I eat and drink around here?) I get out of that line and see the fruit line that is 40 people deep--SUCK! I look at what they have to see if it is worth the wait. All they had were oranges and watermelon left. The bananas were gone. It was not worth standing in that line. My bottle of water they gave me at the finish was already getting warm so I am guessing that they had just dumped it in the troth with the ice and it was on top. I pulled off my sunglasses to wipe the lenses with the wet towel they gave us at the finish line and there was a huge dried glob of snot all over the left lens. No wonder I could not see out of them. I had my glasses in my Bento Box and I guess my nose was still draining on the bike. Yuck.

I high tailed it to transition to go get my bike and busted wetsuit and get back to the room for a shower before Ryan and Erich got to the room. That shower felt so good. I had a half box of raspberries, a half box of strawberries and a left over banana in the room and I grabbed those and headed back out to the race site. Ryan had won third in his AG and I wanted to see him get his trophy.

Ok, so what did I learn from this race??? My asthma is bad. I have to use my inhaler and I need to keep a spare in case one goes dry or does not work. I am very allergic to mold. The mold count was very high yesterday in town. I now have a good reason to buy a new wetsuit for next year. It was a poor race but there were some highlights. Mainly, I am now better prepared on how to prepare for the Longhorn 70.3 in one month on October 5th. Let's hope that race is better!

My chest stills feels tight today and it hurts when I take a deep breath. My throat is a little sore. My congestion eased up once I got into the air conditioning and ate some hot salsa and got the nose running again. I had to drive back to get my son at my Dad and Step Mom's and then drive to Houston since Hurricane Gustav missed us and I would have to work today so there were no margaritas on the schedule.

There it is in all of it's ugly glory. I looked around for the Grim Reaper and I did not see him so I have lived to race another day!

Later Gators,