Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008 and looking towards 2009

Christmas 2008 has come and gone. I was able to enjoy time with my family, especially my sweet little nephew. He had grown so much in just the two weeks since I had last seen him! He was much more responsive to his surroundings, and that included some cute little smiles. He did cry much more than before, but I’m sure that’s just because he needs a little bit more. He is healthy and putting on weight, and I just am quite fond of the little guy. Once again, my furry kids did well with him, and here is proof:

Other than that, it was a fairly low key Christmas. The family did look pretty snazzy on Christmas Eve:
We had some good food, and I made a pumpkin pie, to include crust, completely without adding any fat or eggs!! Here is the recipe. I think it is something I shall make again, though not sure when. It was TASTY.

Pumpkin Pie
Make this the day before serving. It's needs a day to set.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Have ready, one 9" pie crust (see below recipe)

1 15oz. solid-pack canned pumpkin
1 c. milk (I use Soy Milk, worked great, non-dairy)
3/4 c. brown sugar or Sucanat (sucanat is natural, unrefined sugar--good stuff!)
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 T. molasses or blackstrap molasses
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. EACH ground ginger, nutmeg and salt
1/4 tsp. ground allspice or cloves
Pour the filling into the pastry and bake 60 minutes. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate overnight before serving.

Fat-Free Oatmeal Cookie Crust
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sucanat (or packed brown sugar)
2 tablespoons natural sugar (organic or sucanat or brown sugar, whatever you didn't use above)1/4 cup apple sauce
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan. (I used Pam)
Put the oats into a food processor or blender and process until finely ground. Add the remaining dry ingredients and blend well. Transfer to a bowl and add the vanilla and apple sauce. Stir well until completely combined.Put the mixture into the pie pan, and starting at the center, flatten and press it with moistened fingers until it evenly covers the bottom and extends up the sides of the pan as far as possible. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and then let cool before pouring the pie filling.

I did see two movies over the break: Australia and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I will say that I got my money’s worth out of each movie. With previews, they both were about 3 hours long! However, I thoroughly enjoyed both of them as well. They were slightly long, but I never felt like it was horribly boring or ridiculous. Australia is a fun drama movie with added comedy, and I’m a fan of “period” movies and think Nicole Kidman does well in those roles. Hugh Jackman is, well, VERY good looking in the movie. My brother said he thought Jackman was “too big” as far as the muscles go, but I completely disagree! J Benjamin Button was an interesting concept and fun film to watch and imagine “what if” it actually happened. I’d recommend watching both of them, but beware that they are LONG and plan accordingly!

I am ready for 2009 to get here. There are some big things happening in 2009: my parents moving to the cold, Yankee north; I get to experience training for and racing the Boston Marathon and Ironman Florida; I will hopefully have an idea of what my future holds as far as grad school goes, which means I will probably be diligently studying to improve my GMAT or GRE scores (dependent upon which options open my way); lastly, but not least, 2009 will see the bulk of my “command time” where I can truly make a difference now that I’ve established processes and built the systems that I need for success. I have, what I think, are some good ideas to improve the training effectiveness and readiness of my Soldiers…now I have to translate those into reality, and that of course is where the challenge exists!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I have been SO delinquent in posting, and I apologize!! Life has simply been crazy busy. Seems like in December we try to cram as much work in as possible in the first 3 weeks so we can do as little as possible the last two weeks. I guess I'm okay with that!

I made it to Houston yesterday, after a detour to Austin to pick up my Dad who had plane difficulties, due to snow, trying to get from Buffalo, NY to Houston. Ended up that he could get home faster by flying into Austin and having me pick him up on my way to Houston for Christmas anyhow. It only added a little bit more to my drive, and I had someone to talk to, so it worked out well.

How insane is TX weather, let me illustrate by showing what yesterday (Sat, 20 DEC) and today (21 DEC) forecasts for where I live were: If that doesn't illustrate the roller coaster effect that is typical here in the winter, I don't know what does!!

It is good to be home with my whole family here. My little nephew is growing so much already. I don't think I've shown him off yet. Here are pictures from when he visited me, he was 2 1/2 weeks old then. The first one is his furry cousin Davey checking him out. They're good buds of course. ZAM's (his initials and what I call him) Mom is worried about Davey's kisses and keeps crying about it, but those kisses won't hurt him... :)

Then of course this is me, the happy Aunt, with the little cutie. We've already discussed several things, and in 18-20 years he's gonna run a marathon with me, and in the meantime we'll get him started with the basics of swim, bike, and run...so he'll be a triathlete yet!! Haha!!

I will post more as I'm on vacation this week (gratefully so!!) and enjoying some Christmas cheer with my family! Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 5, 2008


"Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days will bear the fruits of victory." GEN Douglas McArthur

Kickoff at 12PM EST

Even Davey says, "GO ARMY! SINK NAVY!"

Check out some fun Spirit Videos for this year's Army Navy:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving family, friends, and fellow bloggers! :) Have a blessed day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankful for: Babies, PT, and Fun

Just in time for Thanksgiving I bring you a few things I am thankful for this year:

1. I'm thankful for babies because as of 19 November I am a first time AUNT!! My sister has a perfectly healthy 6.5lb, 19.25 in baby boy. Both my sister and the baby are doing awesome. My Mom is with her, and Dad is on the way. I cannot wait to see the little guy in a week or so when they come through here!! Do you think this Christmas is too early to buy him goggles and running shoes?? ;) I am ready to hold and kiss my little nephew!

2. I am thankful that physical fitness is an important aspect of Army life. This week at work was a full one. I had every commander's favorite, the Quarterly Training Brief (QTB), but thanks to a lot of hard work from everyone involved, we hit a home-run. Now, the big task is making sure those training events we've planned actually come to fruition! I'm pursuing fielding and funding a unit team for the Texas Independence Relay as a way to encourage and have fun with fitness. Weekly, on Thursday mornings, we do "combat PT" (PT=physical training)--we wear our fatigues and do various events that mimic similar movements we'd have to do in much more intense situations...but it's also combined with some of your typical exercises. This Thursday we had our big water cans, a stretcher, and sandbags. Those three items, especially when mixed with lunges, result in some soreness, but all good. I'm pushing good PT with my unit because healthy, fit, and strong Soldiers are confident and prepared for duty. It's a growth project for all, that is for sure!

3. I'm thankful for opportunities to have fun all the time! Today was the Ft. Hood Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K. I participated and probably felt some of the most leg fatigue I've felt in a race yet! I was doing okay and in the lead till about mile 2 and then I got passed and couldn't regain the lead. It was about then that those lunges and last weeks 1/2 Marathon made their presence known!! I still ran a decent 21:24, but I definitely know that with fresh legs I can get this near or below 21. I'm not that fond of 5k's really. In my opinion, they are too short--not that I should be able to run them well, I just don't enjoy them. I enjoy being able to get into the groove of a run and hold it for a while instead of just go all out hard like you have to for a 5k. I still placed first in the 18-28AG and 2nd OA female. The BEST part about the Ft. Hood Race Series is that they've gone from about 85 people participating in February to 250+ out there today!! They have been doing a great job of putting on events and improving from event to event. They have a Jingle Bell 5K on 20 December, and I'm not sure if I run it, but if I don't, I'll support as part of the bike crew. Members of the Team Army Cycling Club help "sweep" the course and make sure runners are good to go. I may do that this next time. These races are free too, so of course that's a huge plus! :)

4. What else am I thankful for this year? It would take to long to discuss each, so here is a little snapshot: A GREAT family, finally finding a church, great friends (CW, BB, TT, SO, KG), furry friends like Davey and Annie, mentors and leaders that build me up and encourage me, a good job, a fun hobby, good books, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, cooking, connecting with friends: email, blogs, Facebook, haha! This is just a TINY list...but you get the point.

So, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, take some stock in what you're thankful for this year. Just the fact that you have internet access, can read this, and probably are an American indicate that you have countless blessings for which to give THANKS!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rocked, thankfully no roll!

Last weekend at the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon was a blast! I got to travel down to San Antonio with a good friend who was going to race her first 1/2 Marathon and meet up with a college friend who was running the 1/2 Marathon as well just a few weeks after tackling a 50 mile race!! We made it down on Saturday and perused the expo, ate lunch on the Riverwalk, and then just relaxed before the race. Sunday morning meant an early wake up and drop off at the start line area. We beat the major crowds, so that was good...but it was COLD for this Texan...easily upper 30's/low 40's. We waited as long as we thought was prudent to take off the warm top layers and get to our race gear...then we huddled for warmth before the start! Finally, we made it to our separate corrals. I had put my predicted race finish time as, what I thought, was an aggressive 1:37. Thus, I was seeded nicely in corral #2 out of around 32!?! So, that was nice and meant I hardly had to wait to long after the race started to make it across the start line (individual time doesn't start till you--with your timing chip attached--make it across the start line timing mat) and it meant I didn't have to deal with an extremely crowded course to get through. I wanted to make sure I didn't go out too quickly, but keep a good pace. Miles 1-5 went super fast. I reached the 5K mark I was feeling pretty solid and the pacing was good. Mile 5 had the only noticeable "hills" (inclines) that I had to work past. In the first 5 miles I passed several women with the "Military" tags on their backs. Didn't know if they were 1/2 or Full Marathoners, just picked them off. I had my speed belt with two bottles of NUUN. I took my first GU Roctane at 4.5 and my second one at 8.5. Mile 6 was a lot of downhill, and I took advantage of it, and all the downhills. Flat and fast for the most part. Lots of spectators at various locations. I was feeling really great and often had to slow a little cause I knew holding 6:50's wasn't going to get me to the finish without some significant slow down in the last few miles. But, I was feeling great. Never needed anything from the aide stations with what I had. I wore a short sleeve shirt with arm warmers and my BT shorts and throw away gloves and my Newton racing flats. I threw my gloves at around 3 miles. When I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:11/12 something, I knew I could finish strong. All race I knew it was going to be a PR, I just didn't know how much. From 8 forward I kept telling myself, keep the pace, keep the cadence, good form, good turnover. And I just kept going. Mile 12 was actually a little tough and I could feel some of the juice going, but then I saw another military gal ahead of me, and I was going to pass her. In the last 1/4 of a mile, I did. There was a hill going up to the last turn for the last 200m and I was afraid she'd catch me on it, but she didn't and when I saw the finish I pushed it in pretty hard and I was done! Ended up being just 24 seconds from taking the 1st overall place in the women's military division...but 2nd/305 is pretty amazing for a girl who hated to run just a few years ago.

The post-run organization was insane, but I guess it's the inaugural race bugs to work out. We were pretty happy: Friend on the left beat her goal of 2hrs for her first (sub 1:52 in fact--she picked up the sign as "I conquered this", my other friend finished despite having a bum knee from her 50 miler, and I can't believe I can run that fast! It was a fun, fast course!

Then, before taking off I took a picture with the HEB Buddy. HEB is a Texas grocery store that is quite popular, and is HQ'd in San Antonio. One of my brothers worked there in high school and really loved the experience and would like to work at much higher levels within HEB someday. He misses them all the time, so I took a picture with the HEB Buddy just for him! :)

I wonder how fast I could do a marathon now? :) But, more importantly, it is very evident that my cycling fitness needs improvement so that I can hold a post-bike run at a pace much closer to my open run time than what I've done thus far. I have the speed, I need the endurance.

But, that's the end of the "big" races for 2008. I may do a couple of 5Ks and a 5 miler, but now I'm back to some base building and preparation for my '09 adventures! Thanks for all the encouragement and support. I know I post what may seem like "bragging rights" here...but it's more of a rejoicing what has been, and it couldn't be done without the blessings God gives me physically (for without Him I am nothing) and the love and support of my family and friends!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I put some of this in my BeginnerTriathlete blog and it got A LOT of agreement...granted, that is a site full of triathletes. So, I got HUGELY irritated at two issues I saw on TV, one yesterday, and one this morning. Yesterday I was getting on my bike trainer to ride cause it was raining outside. I turned on the TV to find something to watch while I pedaled away. Well, what was on as soon as I turned it on, the Rachel Ray show with Whoopi Goldberg as the guest. They were discussing the concept of a "Fat Tax" where workers must pay more their health coverage if they are obese. They hardly spent any time on it, and I'm not going to discuss the fat tax here, BUT, I found some of the comments of the two HUGELY ignorant, inaccurate. Watch it for yourself HERE, but the highlights that caught me to just lose it were these comments:

"Sometimes if people are eating the wrong food it's cause they don't have the money to buy the right ones." Whoopi Goldberg

"People don't understand that obesity is sometimes the only option for people...they can't afford broccoli and fresh fruits and vegetables. Government should be spending time to make good food more affordable for all of us." Rachel Ray

Interestingly enough, I was headed to the grocery store that afternoon, and I checked out the costs of some of the veggies and fruits, to include fresh, frozen, dried, and canned. I looked at the prices of canned beans, dried pasta, rices, and chicken (skinless). I then checked out the things like frozen pizza, potato chips, cupcakes, ice cream, store bought cookies, pre-made "meals" (frozen boxes and bags) and fruit snacks. GUESS WHAT FOLKS, you get MORE for your money when you buy the HEALTHY STUFF...truly you do. You forgo the twinkies, and you can get a whole 2lbs of bananas. You leave the frozen pizza and whip up some chicken, beans, and rice or some whole grain pasta and veggies, and you get more. The idea that "obesity" is the "only option" is so bogus, disgusting, and a cop out that I would love to debate Rachel Ray in person on it. The American Obesity Epidemic is caused because Americans are addicted to refined foods and fast food. They are more willing to wait in a 1/2 hour long fast food line than take the 10 minutes needed to cut up some veggies, put 'em on a tray and broil them for all of 10 minutes till they are ready to eat. The pure liquid, sugar calories that adults and kids pour into their bodies in the form of soft drinks and "gourmet" coffee are making them fat and more addicted to refined sugar. The trans fat and high calorie meals that the fast-food industry eagerly hands over for more cash than what it would cost for one to make something healthy themselves is clogging America's arteries, causing heart attacks, causing Type II adult-onset diabetes in adults and children alike, and leaves people winded doing just the simple chores of life. LAZINESS and lack of SELF-DISCIPLINE, not lack of money, is, in my opinion, the root of the American obesity problem. Americans have choices...and, as the Crusader in Indiana Jones and the Search for the Holy Grail said to the bad guy who picked the ornate and flashy grail from which to drink, "You chose...poorly" and death followed. Luckily for him, his death was quick. It won't be for those that do not choose to eat healthy and exercise.

Second part of the rant. This morning I saw this article featured on FOX News about how studies have shown that obese 10-year olds have the arteries of a 45-year old and how they are showing signs of pre-mature aging. It was such a sad article....and in its closing the author writes "The time has come to seriously deal with the issue of childhood obesity and physical inactivity on a governmental and parental level." I agree...at least at the parental level (not a big fan of growing governmental regulation in everything). It must be addressed. What got me MAD was that the lady discussing it with the Fox News reporter, and not mentioned in the article, was that the answer was prescription DRUGS...she even said that we're seeing that "diet and exercise" are not enough. Did she quote a study for that?? NO. Come on, let's look at history...before we knew about all of the evils of this that or the other (and so much of it didn't even exist), kids weren't stuck just in front of the TV and video games. Competitive sports were encouraged, even if a kid lost--no "self-esteem" or "PC" issues (maybe it explains why the new generation of kids are more "depressed" as they get older--they never lost, then they meet the real world and found out that losing is part of it). Kids played kick the can, "Cowboys and Indians," and pickup basketball, and football. Now they do the same thing, don't they? Sure...just with a Wii...
I think, of all the aspects of the obesity epidemic, the children is the most sad and infuriating. I see children all the time that are 10 or under and weight more than I do. They waddle when they walk, and most of the time they're sucking down a coke or Mom and Dad are handing them a burger. Did you know that a McDonald's Happy Meal will not mold or be eaten by bugs if left for, oh, 2-3 years? It looks exactly the same--just hard...nothing touches it...how do I know. My Mom has one she uses as an example for health fairs she does and in promotion for a healthy way to get your full day's worth of NATURAL vitamins (Juice Plus+, <--click for more info). That Happy Meal she has still "looks" happy--hasn't changed AT ALL, minus hard. And she lives in Houston, if it's going to mold, it will mold there, if it's going to get bugs, it'll get bugs there. My brother left some food in his closet in High School and was invaded by THOUSANDS if not MILLIONS of fruit flies or ants...but did they touch the open McDonald's bag...not a chance. And people eat that? They feed it to their kids? If nature won't touch it, chances are, we probably shouldn't. Parents are fully responsible for setting their kids up for success in the food realm. Drugs are NOT the answer for normal kids...only for real diseases that were NOT brought on by the obesity in the first place. A healthy diet and regular exercise will do the trick! Play sports, serve up vegetables in a tasty, but fun way (and covered in cheese doesn't equal "fun" it equals "FAT"). It is terrible that predictions say that many parents will outlive their children because their children are just plain obese. Give the kids a chance, teach them what right looks like, and if later on in life they chose to be a couch potato and eat themselves to death, you did what you could to prevent it...but for right now, set the right example...they may not like you know, but their "self esteem" is going to be better when they can run around and be the star, not waddle around. "Instant" gratification in thinking that we can truly HAVE our cake and EAT it too by maintaining a poor diet, little exercise, and then just pop a pill or have cosmetic surgery done and be fine...not only is this erroneous, it doesn't go at the heart of the issue--one must choose to be healthy.

Health comes in the form of WHOLE food, veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat. It means not touching fried food, ignoring the donut at church, drinking water instead of sodas, and taking some time to buy fresh and cook fresh. I'm single, I'm busy, but I eat healthy, homemade meals for virtually every meal of my day. When my peers are headed to the closest Mexican food restaurant, I'm having a healthy sandwich or wrap, an apple, and some carrots with about 32ozs of water. Takes some planning, but I save MUCH more time by not going out, not to mention money. A healthy life comes by healthy choices and self-discipline...but it also means a long life with fewer boundaries and limits! I WANT to be that 75 year old, spunky old woman running across the finish line at a triathlon or a marathon...I won't be the fastest, but I will be healthy enough to do it and finish smiling. Take that journey with me. Eat healthy, have the sweets in moderation, and structure good solid aerobic and muscular strength exercises within your schedule. If I can train for triathlons, and soon an Ironman, with the job I have--most of you can go for a few mile walk or knock out some push-ups and sit-ups. It's a choice. In the end, it's your choices that matter--not the government regulating you from yourself. . Just remember, choose wisely...sometimes the right "grail" is the most plain and humble, but with it comes long life! (corny analogy, but I like it!) Choose to live healthy and long, or choose to eat yourself to death.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is going to be an "all over the place" long blog post since I've been horrible at posting lately.
1. Ironman Florida: I got to Florida on Thursday morning. I flew into Pensacola, got a car, and drove to Panama City Beach. It was a nice and scenic drive--so much more green than where I am. I got to condo complex where I was staying with a friend of mine who was racing. She had been at a press conference with the pros because she had raised some significant money for Janus Charity Challenge for cancer research. We linked up, grabbed some lunch, went down to the Ironman Expo...I could feel the excitement of it all. That evening we went to a get together/dinner with several of the BT.com folks, and that was enjoyable. The sunset was just awesome and beautiful. It was much cooler than I had expected Florida to be, though. Friday morning we got up and headed down to the Gatorade practice swim and I swam about 1000 meters of the swim course. The water was SO CLEAR compared to the BROWN and GREEN waters of Texas lakes! It was fairly choppy compared to the previous day and how race day would end up. But, I was glad it was choppy as that gave me a good taste of what it can be like out there. Was not disconcerted at all, and it was one less unknown for next year out of the way. I went to a little tri talk with another friend of mine and gleaned some decent information. My friend who was racing got registered for next year and later we got her bike and transition bags checked in and we met up with some friends again. I went to the volunteer meeting that evening and it was unorganized at best. But, I knew when I needed to be the next day, and that's what mattered. Then it was off to bed before race day. On race Saturday I got up with Sue (my friend) to help her take her gear down to transition and get bodymarked. The condo was close enough that we walked back afterwards so she could get her wetsuit on, and then it was back down to the swim start. Once she headed into the corral for the racers I found a spot to watch and saw the pros head out, observed the National Anthem, and then the racers were OFF for their first loop of the two-loop swim. It was awesome to watch the mass start, and the entire time you could see this big massive "school" of swimmers heading out and around the buoys. The excitement in the air was incredible and I cheered for friends of mine as I saw them come out of the first lap and then I made my way to the bike out location so I could cheer on everyone starting the bike. I stayed there till the last racers made it off on the bike. Myself and two of my other friends then linked up to make it out to the out and back part of the course where, with cowbells in hand, we cheered on a great majority of the racers. Throughout all of this I was imagining myself doing it next year! By the time we made it back Sue had already started the run, she was doing great!! I caught some of my other friends coming in off the bike and starting the run as well, it was awesome to cheer for them. We then had a little bit of a break before we would cheer for runners coming into the last lap of the marathon. Sue was doing awesome and then it was time for our volunteer shifts. I got my volunteer wrist band and t-shirt and got directed to the finish line tape where every racer came through. Four of us manned the spot so we had two finish line tapes available to try and have one for every runner. It was amazing to see the smiles, the tears, the elation, the managed pain, and the utter joy as competitors raced across the finish line. Some ran, some walked, some limped, some came with a kid in tow, some where husband and wife racers, and it was awesome. I got to hold the tape for many of my friends, and that was fun!! In fact, the last one to come through at 13:59 for me was my friend Sue! Couldn't have planned it better!! She was elated and had a great time, cutting 2 hours off the first time she did it. A group of us that were her cheering section helped her back. It was a great great day! Too much to capture, but so inspiring and exciting for next year! Great job racers!! The next day was up and early to get registered, and I did it without any second thought!! In fact, today was when I could finalize my registration and it is DONE!

2. Elections. I'm an American Politics major, I can't avoid discussing this issue, though I don't feel like spending entirely too much time on it. Here are my thoughts: I personally am not a fan of the President-Elect. I didn't vote for him and I disagree with his positions. I was an educated voter, not an emotional voter. In the same light, despite my pretty significant disagreements, I will acknowledge the historical significance of it. Race has never been an influence on my voting preferences. It should not be the motivator for any voting preference, against or for a candidate. So, now America is going to get something new. I will not wish failure upon the new administration. That goes against the core of who I am as a patriotic American. The administration fails, we fail. I wish and pray for a prosperous and successful America. To wish failure to make a point that someone was a wrong choice does not benefit. Now, that doesn't mean that when I see what I feel are wrong policy choices that do not benefit America that I won't say something and criticize. But, hate can't be part of it. It irritates me to all get out that some would wish evil and perpetuate hate because their choice didn't win. That is not the way to do it. As a Christian I will pray for the President; I will hold my leaders at all levels accountable and continue to do my civic duty and communicate with both the executive and legislative branches as are my rights as a citizen. Forward momentum is necessary. Forward thinking, forward preparation, and the pursuit of preserving the values and foundation that make us free Americans, that's what I want to do. So, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, don't think you're done with your civic duty. It's only just begun. Continue to raise your voice, continue to demand accountability of our leaders, and continue to educate yourself on the issues that are vital to the nations forward progress, national security, and continued preservation of American freedom.

3. Vet's Day weekend: Phew has it been a busy one!! Friday and Saturday I was in Houston for the Army/Rice football game. Unfortunately Army lost, but they kept it interesting and it was only a one touchdown lost. Sunday was church and dinner with a friend at McCormick and Schmicks in Austin--the restaurant has a generous free meal for veterans, so that was enjoyable. Today has been some recovery from the busy days, but I did get some housecleaning and workouts in the mix!

I will try to be better at posting, but just seem to be quite busy. Next weekend is the San Antonio 1/2 Marathon and I'm looking forward to that being a fun race and time with some good friends!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

WOW and I jumped off the cliff...

It'd take quite a bit to capture the whole experience from yesterday--and I will later, but suffice it say Ironman atmosphere here at Ironman Florida was AWESOME. What a day...beautiful weather, great racers. I saw/cheered the first lap of the swim, then all the folks going out on the bike, then out on the bike course at an out and back stretch so we could see folks twice, and then back to the run course at the turn-around for a bit (I love the names on bibs...I cheered for tons of folks by first name), and then worked the finish line from 6-9PM holding the tape. More than 1300 racers came through during that time, and it was up and down and up and down...my knee is a little sore from it. IT WAS AN AWESOME job...I got to see the emotion and expression of joy from so many racers, wow. I'm hoarse from cheering! It was tough trying to get the tapes up in-between racers when there was a mass of them coming through. Most everyone got a tape to run through, but in the masses, we would've tripped people if we had done that. All of the friends I was really watching for came in during my shift and that was great!

This morning I was down at registration for 2009. Wasn't supposed to open until 9AM, but being the Type-A that I am, I was there at 7AM. BUT, they had opened early and it maybe took me 30 mins to get through. Yes, I have done it. I have taken the plunge and I am REGISTERED for Ironman Florida 2009 on 7 November. Come cheer for me! :) Now...must start training! 1 year and 4 days to get ready for 140.6 miles of swim, bike, and run! (Yes, family, I know I've lost my marbles...but reserve the date and come experience WHY I have!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heading to FL!!

I AM OFF TO FLORIDA! Why?? To cheer on awesome athletes in pursuit of the finish line after 140.6 miles of swimming, biking, and running and hours upon hours of training and dedication!! I am volunteering at Ironman Florida 2008 on 1 November! I am staying with friends, volunteering on race day, and taking the plunge off the Ironman cliff with rest of the crazy triathlete lemmings (okay, not lemmings...but we do all drink from the same kool aid pot and it shows!) and signing up for IRONMAN FLORIDA 2009, 7 November 2009. The journey to 140.6 and the title of Ironman begins!!

Best of wishes to all the racers! I will be cheering for YOU!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where does the time go??

I cannot believe is nearly the end of October. This month is FLYING by for multiple reasons. Work has been unreal as far as the volume, but I'm happy in the job and am glad to be doing something real and working with some good Soldiers. We have some ground to cover as far as building up some basic endurance beyond 1-2 miles and up to a good 4. We will get there though. Thankfully I have NOT been having to spend large amounts of time training, but I do miss it and am going to be getting back into the groove. There is an organized ride this Saturday I'm going to do, a nice 67 miles I think...I am looking forward to it. Hopefully I'm not too cold though, we got a cool front through that means low 70's in the day and even mid-40's at night!! WOW, cold for us Texans! Haha!

I am ready for the election nuttiness to be over. I wish I cared for either, but I'm just extremely frustrated with it all and am ready for us to have better options in 4-years. I dislike the concept of voting for the "lesser of two evils" but considering I highly despise the views of one candidate, I'll be voting for the other. It's going to be an interesting 4-years either way though.

One week from today I'll be in Panama City Beach, FL. I have never been to that part of Florida. I am GREATLY anticipating it!! I will be volunteering at Ironman Florida on 1 November. On 2 November I will be standing in line and signing my name (and some $$'s) away as I become a registered participant for Ironman Florida 2009. It's going to be a crazy journey training for an Ironman, but I am incredibly excited about that journey. Everyone I know that has done one has learned so much about themselves as they've pushed themselves past anything they could imagine. You will hear a lot about it here, that's for sure.

Nothing incredible in today's post, I just hadn't written anything in a while and thought that I should.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


1 Timothy 4:8 "For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

My little brother (but big brother, solid muscle type) reminded me of this the other day after Longhorn, and I appreciated it a lot. Both of us have become very active in the past few years, and would probably both say that our sports are "addictive" in a good way. It is easy to get completely consumed by them and forget that it is a momentary thing and not the most important thing. We must do things beyond it, and if possible, integrate it into what we do so that we do our sports with a purpose. What we do in life and how we approach life, from family, to job, to hobbies, to speech, to decisions, basically everything should have a purpose and reflect who we are as individuals. We should be genuine. I want to be genuine...I am not perfect, far from it. Pride is always an issue I've dealt with, especially when God blesses you with success beyond what you could imagine. One thing I'm passionate about is leadership, and in that, I don't mean the dictatorial level of leadership, but rather servant leadership...leadership in a way that leaves a legacy, builds others, challenges others, and encourages them to do the same. Yes, I train, I do triathlon, I run, but I do it not for my glory, but because I have been given a gift: work ethic, athletic ability (more grown than totally natural), and the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. When I swim, bike, and run I do it, in a sense, as a way to worship--to say this is what I've been given, I will use it, and encourage others to do it because it does make the body better, it does open up doors for a variety of opportunities. This may sound funky to some of you, but that is the beauty of being an American. I won't ever force it on someone, but I will live it and do my best, with His help, to live it as is supposed to be, to crush the hypocritical stereotype that plagues Christians. I won't be perfect, but I'll own up to my mess ups and change and grow up with it.

I train because I've been given a gift...it is not the end all to be all, but it is a blessing.
PS- On a wholly UNRELATED note...this is my 101st blog post! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life is...

Life is moving quickly, as always. This past week FLEW by...and thankfully ended with a wonderful 4-day weekend. I took a much needed recovery week this past week. I did nothing on Monday; Tuesday was some general strength exercises at unit PT--nothing crazy; Wed was a slow 3 mile run; Thursday I walked the dogs; Friday I rode my bike for 45 minutes; Saturday I rode for 1.5 hours at a good clip; Sunday I ran for an hour...none of it pushed me hard except for the Saturday ride, but that was good and I didn't have any soreness from it. I'm putting together my plan for maintaining up till the San Antonio 1/2 Marathon...then in DEC I'm going to start working with a coach to get through the 2009 season. Lots I could say on that, but I'll leave it for another time.

Now that it is the "off season" I am focusing on nutrition. BT has a nutrition log, so I'm logging calories. I can get faster by trimming down, and I'm going to do my best to be diligent with that. It's difficult to lose fat during heavy training cause you have to eat to keep up your energy...so now is the time to do this. So, there is one off-season goal.

I am also reading some more. Of big importance, back in Aug/Sept I finally found a church to call my church home and it does have a singles group that seems to get it...so I finally have some people to hang out with here locally that don't think throwing back the bottle is the best way to spend a weekend.

So, nothing exciting to report really. Had a good, relaxing weekend. Thankfully, it's a 4-day work week. Right now I'm just VERY excited about going to volunteer at Ironman Florida at the end of the month and get a little taste of what next year will hold...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Longhorn 70.3 Recap

There is so much I could write about the race this past weekend. My race report is on BT too, so I'll translate most of it here and add as I need to do so. But, let me first say, thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement! I am so glad I found this sport, and more importantly, the people that I've met in the sport! The Race Report format is from the BT race report.
Total Time = 5h 09m 26s
Overall Rank = 234/1929
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 8/90

Pre-race routine:
Friday after work I came home to find my friend Jen from South Dakota that was coming down for the race. We ate dinner, packed up the Explorer, and took the dogs to my friends. We headed to Austin, got to our hotel and hit the sack. Went to the Jack and Adam's free pancake breakfast (awesome job J&A's and Austin T3) and met up with several BT'ers and my best friend Blythe. Then Jen, Blythe, and I had coffee--there we were--1 Navy grad gal, 1 Air Force grad gal, and 1 West Point grad gal!! Then it was off to get our bikes ready, packet pick up, lunch with Steve and Marcy at Macaroni Grill, and bike drop off. Got a little swim and run in at the park, and then it was back to get clean and go to a great BT dinner at Romeos. Went to bed at a decent time and actually slept pretty well. Woke up at 0345, ate a banana, got dressed, ate my PB&J waffle sandwich and drank a 20oz bottle of NUUN. Loaded up my stuff in the car and then met up with Jen to grab her stuff. We headed to the race site and got there right as the first buses were pulling up. We were on the second bus to the race site. Got there, got bodymarked, got transition set up. Went to the porta potty a couple of times, saw some of my BT friends, one gave me a hug of encouragement that I really appreciated. Got re-bodymarked cause my sun lotion took off the other body markings. As I did, the bodymarker lady told me, as she marked my arms "Dang, you've got guns"--of course I do--I'm an Army gal! ;) Went to the bathroom a couple more times--all necessary. Back and forth to transition. Talked with lots of folks, like Blythe, saw several other BT'ers...heard the girl that got 1st in our AG at the end of the day talk about how she got her '08 Clearwater slot at BSLT (I actually asked her if that was her cause I thought it was)...saw more friends. Walked to the swim with Jen and put on the wetsuit. It was JUST wetsuit legal. Some think it was warmer, eh, works for me!

Event warmup: Several trips to the porta potty maybe? My warm up for swimming is typically some pretty speedy time for me, so I just saved it for the race. Ate a GU Roctane 20 minutes before start. Saw two West Point cadets and told them hi and good luck. I was amazingly not very anxious. I was getting into "race zone mode" but not anxious. It felt great to taper, and I was ready to go at it...let the games begin!!

Swimming :00:29:02 1931.21 meters 01m 30s / 100meters
Age Group Rank: 24/90
Overall Rank: 557/1929
Performance: Good
Suit: WetZoot Fuzion Sleeveless
Course: Inverted triangle counter clockwise.
Start type:Wade Plus Waves
Water temp: 78F / 25C
Current: Low
First 200M Performance: Good
Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good
Drafting: Average
Rounding Buoy: Good

For the swim I put myself out front on the right hand side. Right before we started I linked up with a BT friend (Jenny) and that was perfect as she and I would see each other a lot over the rest of the day and that would help me out! I got up front as I figured I'd rather have people swim over me and break up their stroke than me have to swim over them and break up my stroke. We were wave 6, and it was probably the most contact I've had in a swim yet. It stayed pretty tight up to the first buoy, and so while I wasn't on a set pair of feet, I drafted in the pack to the first buoy--my sighting was GREAT and I rounded the buoy well onto the long leg of the swim. The wind was blowing from behind us (a tailwind) and gave us a "current" as we went. For a long time I looked for feet to draft off of, but there weren't any. I passed lots of people from previous waves and just focused on doing my stroke well, sighting well, breathing well and keeping my form. I stayed nice and straight and picked up some feet about 300m from the last turn buoy. I held onto those a bit. I knew I was doing well because my watch was set to beep every 15 minutes and I had only heard it beep once...nice! THEN, it got way crowded again and I had to swim over some guys from the blue wave (sorry boys) and then everyone was standing up way early, and I just swam through them and out of the water I went. I went running up the chute, but not as hard as usual as I knew it was a long way up the hill and didn't want HR too high (still was). The swim was short--probably 200m or so, but even if I had that time, it would've been a FAST swim for me and beat my goal swim time. So, very happy with this swim. Didn't gulp in much water, didn't get pummeled, and only had to swim over a few folks.

What would you do differently?: Nothing except maybe catch feet better and just get faster in the water. I think I sucked in a little hydrilia. My OWS, sighting, navigation, all of it has improved SO MUCH this year I cannot even begin to tell you! This was a GREAT swim for me. My legs actually felt a little heavy in the middle, but that went away. I didn't overheat--a little warm, but nothing that affected my swim.

T1: 2:37
Okay, got out, across the chip timing mat and started running up the hill, immediately, before goggle cap removal, got my suit down to my waist, got the cap and goggles off, and then actually rolled my wetsuit half-way down my butt...then I made the mistake of thinking I overshot my transition area, stopping, then seeing numbers and moving to find my spot. Actually got the wetsuit off quickly, did a really quick wipe off of the bottom my feet. I didn't worry about some grime on my feet--at the Austin Tri I had grime on them and it didn't phase me. Got my helmet and glasses on and off I was at a full run towards the mount line. OH, we did have to wear our race # on the bike...so like I did at the Austin Tri, I wore my race belt with # rolled up under my tri shorts under the wetsuit, that way, I didn't have to worry about it in transition. As I ran to the mount line with the bike, I just reached back and pulled it out.

What would you do differently?: Get something to more clearly mark my spot. I haven't missed it often, but this was a HUGE transition area (2300 racers). Of the top 10 girls in my AG, I had the 3rd fastest T1, so I'm happy about that considering the mishap--take that away and I might've had the fastest. I've become pretty adept at my transitions this year!

Biking 02:42:57 56 miles 20.62 mile/hr
Age Group Rank: 5/90
Overall Rank: 335/1929
Performance: Good
HR Data: 157 AHR; 184 Max HR
Wind: Some with some gusts. I think I've just gotten used to it and don't notice it too much.
Course: 1 loop, multiple turns, variety of road surface, rolling hills.
Road Condition: Dry, rough and cracked in some spots, smooth as can be at others
AVG Cadence: 93
Turns: Good
Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good
Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard
Drinks: Just right

Not the greatest bike mount, but not the worst, got started feeling pretty good, but heart rate was way high and figured it would be, but the beginning is a lot of rolling up and down and I got my HR down some. I then hear a friendly hi/encouraging word and there is Jenny, right with me. It was pretty packed for at least the first 15-18 miles. We didn't want to draft, and I could tell that everyone was trying to stagger, but it was more like the tour de Austin there at the beginning and we were joking about it. But seriously, that group no one was sucking someone else's wheel just to get a draft. Sure, we were too close, but there was nothing you could do about it. That is when Jenny and I started leap frogging and I think I even mentioned "I bet we do this all day." I did pass a lot of women at the beginning--I'm typically beat out of the water, but my bike fitness has improved IMMENSELY this year. Anyhow, I hit 21 miles right at the 1 hour mark and didn't feel like I was pushing it too hard, in fact, I felt comfortable. There was some tailwind in that first 20 miles. I started the bike with 1 GU Roctane and took in Infinit every 15 minutes thereafter. I was glad to see the road cracks well marked. The first time I rode it I just wasn't used to those things, but this was time 3 and it wasn't bothering me. PLUS, you could tell that the race directors had gotten a lot of it filled in some. It was around 21 miles that I was dropped by Jenny and the others she was with. But, I kept my cadence, and kept on going. At each water station I grabbed a bottle and refilled my aero bottle then chunked the bottle. I only carried the one aero bottle and Infinit the whole time--no need to carry extra weight on the bike. I did great with the bottle hand ups and each time pointed to the person that I wanted to hand me the bottle and yelled what I wanted. I was still feeling good, though around 35 or so there were some steeper short rolling hills and some headwind, and I got a little pooped--seems to happen in the middle of all of my rides--but then I got it back. I hit mile 40 still going over 20 mph! I was so stoked!! I was passing guys left and right. Though, one of the Team Iron Mex guys about knocked me over in a turn, that was slightly scary. My nutrition was working great and I never felt hungry, and then I think it was around mile 45 or so that I caught back up to Jenny and the leap frog started again. The last 15 miles was when I felt the wind more in that it moved my bike a little, but the road surface was smooth asphalt at that time, and it didn't affect me much. I've grown accustomed to Central TX wind. I just stayed aero and kept on going with a good cadence, and occasionally I went into the 100RPMs in the wind, keeping good speed, but also keeping the legs from working too hard. I was still feeling good, and Jenny led up the hill to the intersection. We were pretty close and as we neared "Quadzilla" she asked if I was ready--I'm not sure what I said, but I shifted my gears just right and made my way up that blasted hill and actually passed her. I took that hill on with vigor! I took that right on that downhill/flat toward the last right turn to the finish--at the middle of that stretch I got my feet out of my shoes, and then did the last little uphill to the dismount with my feet on top. I took in another Roctane about 5 miles before the end.

What would you do differently?: Nothing I would've done differently. This was an awesome bike. Leap frogging with Jenny really helped me with the time, and I knew if I was near her I must be doing well cause she's is solid. I took in good nutrition, I did take Excedrin half-way through--keeps my lower back from hurting after the bike. I probably should get a different cassette for hillier courses. The one on my race wheels is an 11-25 I think...it's great for flats, but I should probably have a 12-27 on it. I had a BLAST on this bike course. Nice and fast--there was wind, but I have trained with it this year and learned to mentally overcome it. That was a huge help to me!

T2: 1:14

GO ME! FASTEST T2 time in my AG!! I didn't really do a flying dismount, my short legs make this really hard for me, BUT, I did get off in a very smooth and controlled fashion and ran my bike straight in (long run), quick rack, helmet off, Newtons slipped on (no socks), grabbed my visor and fuel belt and off I went.

What would you do differently?: Nothing. I did this great, in fact, I did it the best in my AG. I'm happy. Big transition--I love being able to run without socks. Wouldn't do that for an IM, but HIM or less, no socks--I get blisters under the toenails with or without, so might as well just go without!

Running 01:53:34 13.1 miles 08m 40s min/mile
Age Group Rank: 7/90
Overall Rank: 290/1929
Performance: Average
Heart Rate: 170 AHR 183 MHR
Course: Two loop up and down rolling course with about 4+ miles on dirt trails.
Keeping cool: Good
Drinking: Good
Started off too quick, but caught myself and got my HR into Z2/Z3. Jenny passed me not too long after and she was just flying!! Saw several of the pro men and women heading in--Michellie Jones, Bree Wee, and Pip Taylor was finishing about the time I was starting my run. I just felt pretty solid for the first 1/2 and then after the first time up Quadzilla (big hill, same one as the last big hill we biked up) I started feeling it...but I knew I had no need to stop, so I just kept on going. Loved passing the BT Tent and there were several others on the course cheering for me. I grabbed sponges at every chance I could and soaked my head with cold water. It was much hillier than I had anticipated actually, so I tried to let the downhills take me, keep my breathing good, and took a Roctane every 3 miles. I sang several things to myself, I kept repeating the verse "I will run and not grow weary" and kept reminding myself how much better I felt compared to Buffalo Springs and how much I knew I was going to RUN this entire course. Saw Blythe and lots of BT'ers on the run: Tommy, Bonny, Marcy and more. Knew other BT'ers were cheering for me outside the fences that were watching, and if I didn't acknowledge you, I'm sorry, I heard you and it was AWESOME, but I was in a zone. Liz and Joe cheered for me too, thanks y'all!! I thanked lots of volunteers, slapped hands with the volunteers in the super hero costumes at Quadzilla, and drank my GU2O and NUUN as needed. I occasionally grabbed some water to drink, and often dumped it on my head. I stuck to my nutrition of a GU every 3 miles, though did the last one at 11 before my last trip up Quadzilla. Grabbed a sip of Gatorade at 12...besides that, all my own nutrition and no extra stuff. Never felt sloshy or too thirsty. I kept looking at my overall time on my watch and when I was still in the 4 hours with just 2 miles left I KNEW I was going to CRUSH my 5:18 best possible goal. I was so excited and just knew I was going to keep on running all the way through and figured I'd be somewhere between 5-10 in my AG. I came across the line with my arms raised in victory, cause it was! My clock read 5:09!!! I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT!! WOW! What a PR day for me--5:52 at Buffalo Springs at the end of June and 5:09 now! I RAN THE WHOLE WAY!! This was so much better than Lubbock was in June. I was hurting some, yes, and I definitely slowed the second loop. This was much hillier than expected. I think it was almost constant up and down. I would love to see what I could do on a flat course. The aid stations were great, but I didn't want to try new things out there and didn't need to do so. In Lubbock I wanted to try whatever I could to survive, for this one, I knew I was good. I had some lower moments where I was tired, but I also had moments where I got a 2nd/3rd/4th wind. Supporters were AWESOME! THANK YOU!

What would you do differently?: The run was MUCH better and stronger than Buffalo Springs. I just lost some gas on loop 2. I need to get where I can stay constant the whole time...my HR was much better loop 1 as well. The heat wasn't killing me at all, but definitely felt it more that second loop--as well as the hills were starting to get to me some. Quadzilla the second time was much tougher than the first time. I need to be stronger off the bike--I didn't blow my legs up on the bike, I just need to get stronger in the run off the bike. I think I can get this to an 8 minute pace with good training--that might get me a Clearwater slot somewhere if I can.

Post race
Warm down: I almost tumbled onto the volunteer chip taker offer--got my towel, water, and banana and got my finisher picture taken...as soon as I got through there, Jenny congratulated me, and I congratulated her (she did a 5:02!) and we chit chatted some. She was a constant that whole race and really motivated me! I saw Jessica and she congratulated me (I had given her a high five earlier that day I think). I then wandered around a bit, grabbed my plate of food and stumbled over to the BT tent with so much happiness and adrenaline. The BT supporters got me settled into a chair and I ate, and talked to everyone there--we cheered on folks. I went back and forth...I had some "hopes" maybe I could get a roll down Clearwater slot if others took off early. Not this time around, but it was fun to watch the awards, and maybe someday. Actually, if I had been in the 30-34 AG I would've podiumed in 3rd place! Chatted with lots of friends at the BT tent (so many awesome triathletes and people--fun to spend time with them) and then made the LONG trip back to the parking lot with SD Jen and Julia (4the in AG--she and I have gone head to head in the Austin tri's lately)...it was great to talk with her, and found out she's going to do Boston in April as well.

What limited your ability to perform faster: More training...more experience...more base. It was my first tri season, and I couldn't be happier to finish as I did. I have done well at building lean muscle this year, and trimmed down some, but I can get faster if I get lighter. I'm not saying I'm fat--so no one read into that--but I do know that my ideal race weight is less than what it is now. So, that's something to work on as well. Probably should've done more hill repeats in prep for this race as well, would've helped with the course.

Event comments: Last year I was in Iraq, had never done a tri, and only had done 2 ten-miler races and one 1/2 Marathon...I was new to the BT.com site and I loved reading the TX forums and everyones excitement about Longhorn before and after the race. I read ALL the race reports, and I wanted to sign up AS SOON as it opened. I would end my first tri-season with the Longhorn HIM. This race didn't disappoint. This race and the activities, food, hype, volunteer support, spectator support, schwag, all of it was heads and tails above what I saw at BSLT 70.3. I felt like an important athlete out there. I loved the spectators on the course, the costumes, the signs, the individually #'s racks and just the personal touches of it all. Kudos to Keith Jordan and Endorfun Sports. Doubt I'll do the full HIM next year due to it's proximity to when IMFL will be, but if my coach lets me do the Aqua Bike or something like that, I will. I WILL be back at this race in the future years. Thank you to EVERYONE that was out there cheering on, both racers and volunteers and spectators. It was great to meet so many BT'ers are the pre-race dinner and the tent.

I can hardly comprehend how far I have come in a year from dreaming about Longhorn to finishing it in stellar fashion! I saw an All Army woman triathlete out there (she was something like 5th woman overall--fast and strong) and I'll be honest, that's something I want to shoot for sometime in the future. I have some hard training ahead of me, but I have some great motivation for it. Wish I could grow longer legs, haha! I am definitely getting an Army tri-suit for next year--need to represent!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Longhorn 70.3

More to follow as far as race report, but here is the laydown:

Needless to say, I'm a VERY HAPPY HALF-IRONMAN! The swim was short--I'm not that fast, somewhere around 200m...but I still would've had a swim PR and crush my race goals. More to come, but yay for LONGHORN!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Well, guess I'll throw it out there....

Well, I suppose I should throw out some goals for the weekend shouldn't it...I may be grabbing a little too big here, but I'm just not good at predicting these bigger races. Shorter, it's easier, cause you can practice the events back to back and know. Some keys for me to reach big goals:
- Get at least SOME drafting in during the swim.
- Take advantage of downhills and flats and do well in nutrition on the bike
- Do not start too quickly on the run, keep good form, keep mind in check, don't get sloshy belly

The closer I am to 5hrs 30 mins, the happier I'll be, anything else is the cool whip and cherry on top of an ice cream sundae!

Best case scenario:
Swim: 35:24 (1:50/100m pace)
T1: 2:00 (I think it'll be a big Transition)
Bike: 2:52:18 (19.5 mph)
T2: 1:00 Run: 1:48:04 (8:15 pace)
Total Time: 5:18:47

Probably scenario:
Swim: 36:22 (1:53/100m pace)
T1: 2:00 (I think it'll be a big Transition)
Bike: 3:01:37 (18.5 mph)
T2: 1:00 Run: 1:51:21 (8:30 pace)
Total Time: 5:32:20

Poor Performance Scenario:
Swim: 38:37 (2:00/100m pace)
T1: 2:00 (I think it'll be a big Transition)
Bike: 3:06:40 (18 mph)
T2: 1:00
Run: 1:57:54 (9:00 pace)
Total Time: 5:46:11

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

APFT and Taper

Apparently Half-Ironman training is conducive to an EXCELLENT APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test). I'm sure it helps that it's taper week prior to the "A" race for the year. Yep, it all pieced together, and now my Soldiers know their new commander isn't just yapping about PT being important and that drastic improvement IS possible--I've shown it. So, what did today look like--some of it blew me away too:
2 mins of pushups: 72
2 mins of situps: 122 (<--insane, I don't even know how this happened...I haven't been doing them often AT ALL)
2 mile run: 13:08...to think, I used to think I could NEVER get to a max score in the 15's...now I'm thinking about how I hit the 12's for my next one...if we hadn't had 3 turn arounds on the run today (.5 mile and back route) I think I might've shaved those 8 seconds off...
Needless to say, I'm pretty pleased.

Command has had me BUSY which is good because I haven't been able to think/focus on the taper tantrums that have happened in the past before big races. Next few days are REALLY easy. NEARLY THERE!!! BRING IT ON!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another week...

Wow, where does the time go!?! I can't believe it's been a week since my last post. I have been busy with my new job, no doubt, but it has been good and invigorating. Thankfully the timing could be better as this past week began my taper for Longhorn 70.3 next weekend. I didn't get in all my planned workouts, but got some great strength and cardio in with my unit. I got my bike all nicely tuned up and was out on this morning and it felt very nice and smooth. I did manage to get to the pool before unit PT a couple of times this week, and that seems to work just fine. This next week of course the workouts are not intense or very long, and it also fits with my unit PT as we have our PT test this next week. I'll take the 2 mins of pushups/2 mins of situps/2 mile run test on Wed...then I'll cheer on/observe the rest of my guys taking it on Thursday and Friday. Once work is over on Friday it's LONGHORN WEEKEND!

I'm not nervous yet, I'm not having taper tantrums, and I'm pretty confident about my training. Sure, there were probably some things I could've done better, some more time spent in the pool, or doing this or doing that, but whatever. I have trained pretty hard, raced pretty hard, and really am looking forward to the race. I've rode the bike course, fully, twice. My swimming has definitely seen some time improvements this year. My running mileage has been significantly increased in comparison to what I had before Buffalo Springs 70.3. I am ready for this race. I am getting a massage today to loosen me up. I'm going to eat healthy and hydrate this next week, and focus on some good sleep. I am going to do well this next weekend. I am not worried about placement, I'm not worried about podium, I am racing for me. I am racing to be solid in all three disciplines and leave it all out on the course. Next Sunday it's all about me beating me and having fun. This race will cap off and end my 2008, and first, triathlon season. I have high hopes that it'll be a race I walk away feeling like I did what I needed too and am ready to tackle bigger goals in 2009!

Happy weekend all!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What. A. Week. A. GREAT. Week.

Wow, so much to catch up on about this past week. I can hardly remember much before Thursday....though I know that a good hunk of the week was change of command preparation. I don't talk about work on here too much because I think it can be imprudent to talk Army issues in a public forum, plus this is my blog for life apart from the Army. HOWEVER, this week was important and big, so I'll give some insight into it. Bottom line, as of Friday I'm now the commander of a Military Police unit for the next 18 months. Taking command is an important step in a military officer's career, and it means a lot of work for me. But it is good work. After just a few days of command I'm already THRILLED to be back working with Soldiers. It will be an exciting and challenging 18 months, but I look forward to learning and leading.

(Receiving the Guidon from the BDE CDR, indicating my taking command)

(Passing the Guidon to the 1SG- my first act as the CDR)

My parents and dear family friend Liz (she's known me since I was knee high!) came out from Houston on Thursday for the Friday's ceremony. So, Thursday night I enjoyed talking with them and I made shish-ka-bobs for dinner (veggie and shrimp). The night was so very nice outside we actually ate on the back patio on my new patio furniture. It was so enjoyable. Friday started early as I went in for a ceremony practice, and then it was the ceremony, the reception--so many great friends showed up, thank you for your support--and some business I had to take care of that day. I was tired by the end of it all and we headed to the new Cheddars restaurant in town. I headed to bed, and Saturday morning headed to the Ft. Hood Sprint Tri. It was the first tri that Ft. Hood has put on, and I was skeptical about how it would play out, but they did an AWESOME job. Some of the Soldiers in my command are part of the MP Bike Patrol, and they were out supporting the course too. Mom, Dad, Liz, and my furry dog children Davey and Annie came out to watch, cheer, and bark (just the furry ones barked!). I had fun, though my hamstrings and quads were TIGHT for the swim and 1st half of the bike. But, it turned into a great race, and I placed first woman overall with a 1:06:39 (approx 400m swim--supposed to be 300m, but was WAY longer than that, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run--run was 3.34 miles according to my Garmin), so my times were:
Swim (400m): 7:28 (1:52/100m pace)
T1: 44 secs (small transition)
Bike: (12 miles) 34:21 (21mph)
T2: 33 secs
Run: (3.34 miles) 23:33 (7:03 pace)
I got a nice plaque and certificate for a pair of New Balance running shoes at the PX. I don't wear NB, but my brother does, so I'm gonna hook him up. It was a well put on race, and I only see it growing in the future! Great job Ft. Hood! I went out to just have fun, wasn't feeling great energy wise at the start of the race, but really enjoyed what the put on out there! Apparently I'll be in the post paper and the a spot on local PBS that covers Hood events...video of me in a tri-suit on TV--oh my!!

(Starting the bike)

(Starting the run--had to keep a good clip, #2 wasn't far behind me!)

(Post race-With my parents and furry kids--well, only Davey is in the picture)

Mom, Dad, and Liz took off that afternoon and I relaxed, finally...hadn't slept great during the excitement of the week, and finally did Saturday night. Sunday I was up and at them as I went to meet a friend to ride the Longhorn 70.3 bike course again and then take Juan (my bike) into the bike shop in Austin for a FULL tune up in preparation for Longhorn. I'll pick him up on Thursday afternoon. Today's ride was good--had some break rubbing issues that made me feel like I was hauling a 500lb weight behind me....it was KILLING ME. Thankfully it wasn't me. Once that was fixed, I was feeling great. Very VERY excited about the big race in TWO weeks!

So, my first full week in command starts tomorrow! I'm ready for the adventure! It is an honor for sure!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Well, Ike definitely left it's damage, that is true. Lots of clean-up to be done. However, my family safely weathered the storm, and for that I'm truly thankful to God. We thought we'd end up getting more weather here in Killeen. There were some strong winds this morning and a little bit of rain, but that's it. I was actually hoping we'd catch more rain, we need it. It's just hot and humid out there now. The possibility of the bad weather, and the strong wind, did force me to do my last big training ride (3.5 hours--70 miles), in prep for Longhorn 70.3, on the trainer. It was rough. I did watch a movie, and then parts of another and some hurricane coverage. What a sweat fest though. But that's the last big ride! I was supposed to brick it and run after, but it was rainy and windy, and I just didn't. Tomorrow I bike and run as well, and then taper starts. I still have some big swims, but that's okay--swims are easier to recover from because they are not impact or as high of a heart rate pusher.

20 days till Longhorn!! Some cooler weather for that race would be nice. Sign-up's are nearly full for Longhorn, and as of today there are 105 women in my Age Group! OH MY! This will be by far the biggest race/competition I've done yet within my age group. It'd be great to break the top 10, but so much will depend upon who shows up to race and how the race days go. I do not expect to podium this one--there are some fast fast women showing up. I just want to feel solid the whole day and put up some good times in comparison to Buffalo Springs--that was totally a test race, this one is the real deal! But, I've definitely done considerably more training, and that will pay off (I hope!). No goal posting yet, still working on that. I have a couple of weeks!

Friday, September 12, 2008

IKE :(

Ike is huge and moving ashore and Galveston is already flooded. Yeah, I'll get lots of rain and some strong winds--but nothing like Houston and the LA Gulf Coast. Lots of family and friends in that area. I could complain about 3.5 hours on my trainer for my ride, but my worries and prayers go to all of you in Houston. :( Be safe please. Praying for you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do Not Forget

Seven years, do not forget.

It is incredible how much time has passed since 11 September 2001. It is incredible how much has transpired in the life of our country in that time. There is much I remember of that day as it was close to home. I was a senior at the United States Military Academy. I had started my last year on my journey to a commission as an Army Officer. I was in my Constitutional Law class with then CPT Patrick Murphy (now a PA Congressman) when the first plane hit. None of us knew, but class let out moments later. Everyone in the hallways were talking about “something” that had happened to the World Trade Center. I remember saying something to my friend Emily, and then heading to my next class, The Politics of Defense Policy (sadly ironic in retrospect). We all were hearing a buzz, and we immediately turned on the TV. Then, in horror, we watched as the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower. We heard the reports of another plane hitting the Pentagon, and possible rumors of other attacks. We were silent. Some sobbed. Our professor, a retired Army COL and veteran of the Vietnam War watched with us. We were all in utter shock at the horror...and we knew OUR lives and future had just drastically changed. Eventually, he just let us go. I think someone said “this changes everything.” I was cadet battalion commander. I knew we would have reactions, I knew things were going to change at West Point. In fact, they already had. MPs were checking everyone’s IDs. I immediately checked in with the Major I worked with and my cadet regimental commander. We had tasks we had to do, to include determine which cadets might possibly have family members caught in the disaster. We also had to find out what restrictions were going to happen. Everything was changing. Amazingly, we still had lunch formation and lunch in the mess hall. Many were worried, and with good reason, one of those planes had just used the Hudson River to navigate to New York—it had flown right over us. For the next few days, maybe couple of weeks, no one left post. We held a Taps Vigil, something typically reserved for the death of a fellow cadet, to honor those we lost. Rumors of early graduation so we could go to war flew throughout the cadet grapevine. Rumors of classmates wanting to resign and go enlisted so they “didn’t miss the war” abounded as well. We sat spell bound to the news. We wanted more than anything to go to NYC and help. Surely there was something we could do, but apparently at the time the best thing we could do was continue our preparation to become officers. We did take up a sock drive because we were told that those working at Ground Zero needed more socks as they were wearing through them. We sent thousands of socks. Just a week prior we had conducted one of the most successful blood drives ever, so we really couldn’t hold another. We knew that some of our classmates had lost family and friends, especially those that hailed from NYC and New Jersey or had family in the Pentagon. Most of all, we knew that our world had changed. Those that did this WOULD answer to America. Off post, flags flew from every house and from every car. In the midst of terror and grief American Patriotism rose. On Columbus Day weekend we went into Afghanistan. Officers we knew, recent graduates, would be part of that push. My class wanted to graduate RIGHT THEN, but we didn’t. We finished up the year, all the while knowing that the Kosovo Peace Keeping mission was no longer the “major task” we would face. No, my class graduated into war. By the time the majority of us had completed our Officer’s Basic Course and arrived at our new units the battlefield of Iraq was real. Some of my friends crossed that berm in March 2003. Some of them never came home. Nearly all of us have been to war since, many more than once. Some have just been to Iraq, some to Afghanistan, and some to both.

Would I change my choices? Would I take a different path knowing what I know? No. I have wondered whether to stay, but never regretted where I have been or what I have had to do. I was interviewed, as a cadet, just a month or so post-9/11 and made the comment that “we are whole lot prouder to wear the uniform.” Little did I know how true that would be for me. I have had to lead some of the best Soldiers. We have and are doing our job, politics aside. We, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, have not forgotten 9/11. Those flags that flew from every house and every car are literally on our shoulder every day we put on our uniform. The enemy is real and is out there. It is our hope and mission that we can foil any plans he has to strike again. But, we must not forget. To forget is to invite evil back into our country. Patriotism should spur us daily because we have freedoms that many in the world cannot even imagine. We have the freedom to argue with each other. We have the freedom to worship as we wish. That freedom isn’t free. I’m not asking for thanks for me, I do this because I’ve been called to do it, but I have felt the cost. I have lost friends. I have seen the horrors caused by NOT having the freedom that America enjoys. This is my generation's Pearl Harbor...we must remember. Even when it hurts, we must remember.

Do not forget. Do not forget. Do not forget.

Fly your flag. Sing the National Anthem. Love your country. Thank a veteran, old or young. Thank a veteran's family--it's a tough job these days. Volunteer to help those who have lost someone guarding your freedom. Be proud to be an American, but do not take it for granted.

Do not forget. Do not forget. Do not forget.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Muffins, Boston, and Ironman

You know my life is busy when I'm only posting once a week. Between balancing the multiple tasks that go with preparing to take company command (19 Sept!!) and some heavy training, life has just been busy! I had a pretty big training weekend between Fri-Sun. Today I got in a good open water swim at Lake Belton and a quick run. This past week my Newtons came in...now, I didn't pay full price for them, it was a good deal through the Army Tri Club. I have used them on two runs, and I like them thus far. This is my LAST big build week before my workouts start to decrease before the Longhorn Half-Ironman. I had the opportunity to ride the Longhorn bike course on Saturday and I like the course, there are just some fairly new road cracks that the drought and heat has caused. So, those are somewhat a concern. But, I think if I have a good day I can pull of a 3hr. bike, which would be AWESOME. More predictions to come for that.

This past week I also made two BIG decisions.
#1- I registered for the 113th Boston Marathon on 20 April 2009. I don't have my "official" acceptance yet, but no worries, my 3:34:00 at the AT&T Austin Marathon assures me a spot. So, you can easily guess what I'll be training for during this winter. I won't stop swimming and biking, as I think cross-training is important, but those two will be for maintaining fitness in those sports, but I will be working on my marathon speed! Now to find a place to stay in Boston...
#2- I bought my tickets to go spectate/volunteer/cheer on racers at Ironman Florida 2008 on 1 Nov 08. Not only are there lots of great racers for me to cheer on, but I also intend to stand in line on 2 Nov 08 to get my "golden ticket" to take on the course in 2009. Next year I will become an Ironman! I am so excited about it!!

Obviously, my focus of 2009 will be Boston in the Spring and Ironman Florida in the Fall. This year may have had lots of mileage, but next year is more focused and it'll be a journey like none other I've done outside of the military. It will stretch my boundaries, challenge me physically and mentally, require strict time management, and a level of determination and personal discipline! Am I nervous about it all, yes. BUT, that nervousness of the challenge is what entices me and calls me to do it. I will learn from it. It will make me a better person, a better athlete, and a better Army Officer. It will be a journey from start to finish. Ironman is not just race day, it's the months of training, sweat, and tears that culminates in a long-day of adrenaline highs and lows over 140.6 miles, but ends with the coveted title of IRONMAN. In 2009 it will be my personal journey. Stay tuned!

Lastly, muffins--see I didn't forget! I have been experimenting with muffins lately, and here is one I tried that I like. I tweaked one from a yogurt container and it is pretty yummy!
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Cup sukonot (unrefined sugar) OR organic brown sugar
1.5 TBSP of baking powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 cup raisins (plumped--soak in water for an hour)
2 Cups Light and Fit Vanilla or Strawberry yogurt (I used Strawberry this time)
2 eggs
4 TBSP pumpkin (or you could use pureed sweet potatoes or applesauce--this is in place of oil)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use Baking Pam to grease muffin tins (don't use paper cups--when you don't use oil in a recipe, paper cups just stick to muffins). Stir together dry ingredients; in another bowl whisk together yogurt, egg, pumpkin, and raisins. Mix the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Back in the middle of the oven rack for 23-25 minutes. Approx 150 cals per muffin. They are yummy, moist, and healthy!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Austin Tri Report

It was a great Labor Day weekend--went much too quickly, but that's typical. Friday I got in a good 14.5 mile run with some massive hills and headed to Austin with some friends for a little bit to help one get good running shoes, Saturday was a 2 hour/37 mile bike ride and I went and saw the Dark Knight with a friend at the movies (and bought a new Kitchen Aide Blender at the new Bed, Bath, and Beyond in town!), Sunday was church, drop off the bike at transition/packet pick up and early to bed, and Monday was the Austin Triathlon (Olympic distance).

This weekend I posted the following as my goals in my BT workout log:
Swim: 29 min or less would be GREAT...No more than 30 (1:55-2:00 pace)
T1: It's a LONG transition--I'm betting 2:30-3:00 just due to distances in/and out
Bike: 1:11 to 1:15 (20-21 mph would be awesome)
T2: 1:00-1:15 just due to distances, faster is great
Run: 47-49 mins...sub 8:00 min/miles is ideal
So, um, it could be anywhere between 2:40 max and 2:30 best. Anything 2:30 or less and I'd be ecstatic!! I really am just looking to run really solid after pushing a solid bike. So, we shall see how it goes out there!

As always, my full race report is posted on BT and you can see it by clicking RACE REPORT.

But, I'm SO HAPPY with it, I cut and pasted most of it and am posting some here too--bear with me, it's long, I like to capture details, my "race diary" if you will (typed quickly, ignore spelling and grammar--had to capture the essence of the day!:
(Transition in Downtown Austin, 0530 Race Day)

Triathlon - Olympic
Total Time = 2h 28m 49s
Overall Rank = 118/781
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 2/35

Pre-race routine:We had to do bike check in on Sunday, so I linked up with two friends and we loaded our bikes up and headed to Austin. We picked up our packets, browsed the expo, and then went and racked our bikes. My rack was on the far west side of transition--not bad for run out, but FAR from bike out and in. I then left my bike (Juan), for the first time, on his own....his first slumber party. I did leave instructions he was not to stay up TOO late playing with the other bikes...he had important work the next day. We then drove back. I got the gear together and was in bed before 9, and asleep before 10. The alarm went off at an EARLY 0300, but I felt good and did sleep. Ate a mini-Cliff bar. Got the pups situated, grabbed my stuff and headed to meet the girls. We met up on time and drove to Austin. I ate my PB&J waffle sandwich, a plum, a 0 cal energy drink, and had some water. We got to transition as it opened (we're all Type-A's...it's not an option). I had a good porta-potty visit, got body-marked, and set up my transition area. It was then chit chatting with friends prior to the start...along with a couple of other potty trips.

Event warmup:Umm, I didn't do much. They don't allow pre-race swim warmups, so I guess my warm-up was putting the wetsuit on. I debated using the wetsuit and was CLOSE to not using it cause I thought it might be too warm. But, a more experienced tri-friend said she was wearing it, I decided I needed all the help I could get in the swim, so wear it I would. One GU about 20 minutes before start.

Swim Comments (26:35, 1:46m/100m): GREAT swim for me, in fact, best ever. BSLT was "faster" but I had a long running start as part of it. This one was overall better. I started out in the front line, I'd rather have people swim past me than have to swim past people. There was some initial contact, but not too bad and it didn't take long to spread out. The first leg was long, I caught a couple of feet, but they were fast and I lost them, but then towards the first turn I picked up some more. The water was smooth, my strokes were smooth, I sighted really well, and I had a good first two turns. I then was able to consistently DRAFT! YAY ME! She would slow down a bit much for me, so then I would move to her left and catch a side draft but keep speed, then she'd speed up and I could hop on again. I successfully avoided the slower guys waves that we were passing, and as I made the last turn in I just felt strong. Got to the exit, and the volunteers were great in helping us out, and we needed it. My friend Blythe was volunteering there and cheering for me. As is my method, I immediately began the long run to transtion and got my wet suit down to the hips and goggles/cap off.

What would you do differently?:Nothing. I sighted great, I drafted successfully as I could. I was 5th out of the water for my AG...I would've regretted not wearing the wetsuit. The buoyancy helps me. I literally pull faster than I kick...I did kick, but the wetsuit helped. I was conscience of my form more than ever before, and just confident with sighting. GREAT swim for me, GREAT pace! Thank you for wet-suit legal! And, I didn't even get CLOSE to overheating. I did notice, the wetsuit is A LOT tighter over my calves than last time I wore it... :)

T1 Comments (3:09):This was the LONGEST distance for a transition EVER. It was at least 150-200m up stairs and to the transition spot. I overshot my transition initially, got back to it, took the suit off, which the transition area was in sand, so mud everywhere. But, I got it off, got my bike shoes on, some dirt in them, but no worries (need cleaning now...) and helmet, glasses. It was then time for the 1/4 mile, and I'm not exaggerating, run to the mount line. Even the open wave, the closest to the mount line, had a fastest T1 of 1:52...I was on the OTHER side, and had to run with my bike that far. LONG transition.

What would you do differently?: Need work on wetsuit removal. Wasn't bad, wasn't good. Not miss my row initially (just went one up)...first time that has happened. Nothing to use as a land mark.

Bike Comments (1:10:48, 21.06 mph): I just really had fun on this course. I wanted to push the downhills and flats, properly gear the uphills to spin them, and watch to keep a 91-97 cadence. The first loop the course didn't have too many racers on it. The open/elite wave was already on their 2nd/3rd loops and getting passed by them made for some nice views. ;) I passed several guys, a couple of girls, but wasn't really paying attention. I pushed the first loop pretty hard. The second loop I played the hills a little bit better, pushed the downhills well. The third loop I did about the same. Once the course got crowded the scariest places was the great S.Congress downhill and the turn arounds cause there were just too many people on the course, and too many who did not understand the concept of staying to the right unless passing. So, as I could legally, I ended up staying left a lot on some of those spots as I was passing the sprinters. It wasn't hot at all, the grit in the shoes didn't bother me, I took in 1.5 bottles of fluid and two GUs--one half-way through, and then one at 22 miles before I got to dismount to propel me on the run. Once I came down the turn to go to the dismount line I got my feet of my shoes and did probably the last 300m with my feet on top of shoes.
What would you do differently?:Nothing...couldn't be happier with my ride here. Best gear shifting, good drinking/nutrition, good passing...just so much fun to go FAST!

T2 Comments (1:17):Pretty good transition...got to my rack without issues this time, got the bike on it, helmet off, my feet were WAY sandy due to running in the sand from dismount to my rack, so quickly wiped them on the towel I had sticking out just for that. Slipped my feet into my well body-glided shoes, grabbed my garmin, hat, and water bottle and took off. I had started the swim with my race belt already on, number rolled up underneath my tri-shorts, so one less thing to do. I will do this again!

What would you do differently?: Nothing much, this was good considering the distance. This is the only place I gained any time on #1 in my age group...I had one of the faster times out there compared to everyone.

Run Comments (47:00, 7:34min/mile): I started off and was seeing 7:10 pace, so I slowed it down, got my HR at about 170 (bottom of Z3) and my pace around 7:35 and just went from there. The first loop took a bit for me to get in the groove. I carried my own bottle (hate stopping to drink) of Nuun, and sipped as needed. I tossed water on my head at every drink station, took advantage of the spray hose lady at Jack and Adams, the sponges when they handed them out, and the kids with the water guns spraying people. This kept me cool and kept me trucking. Had some friends cheering me on at a couple of spots, and that encouraged me. I passed at least 2 girls that were ahead of me and in my age group in the first loop. I had no idea how many were ahead as the course was mixed sprint/oly racers at this point. I kept looking for the girl that won #1 cause I knew she was ahead of me (bike gone when I got to my bike, bike back when I got to my bike) but hadn't seen her, finally, after I started loop 2, I saw her and knew she was a good near mile ahead of me, so I just encouraged her to "go get it", she was trucking! I pushed it on, felt great on the 2nd loop, picked up speed on the last downhill, and the last 200m I got my "sprint in" kick that I don't know where it comes from, and I did sprint it all the way in hard. I knew, within the last two miles I might make sub 2:30 and that was what I was pushing to do! Looked at my watch after I was done, saw 2:28 and was ECSTATIC!

What would you do differently?: Maybe push harder a little earlier, I still had some kick...but at the same time, it took me the first loop to feel comfortable, I kept a steady pace throughout really, but actually felt "comfortable" the 2nd loop. I was afraid I may have pushed too hard on the bike, but looks like I did okay. #1 ran about 20secs/mile faster...so I guess just run faster! :)
Post race
Warm down:
Grabbed water, cool towel, went to watch for friends to come in and chatted with other racers. Grabbed some fruit, and a little sample Cliff MOJO bar (I can't do the post-race pizza...ugh). Got changed, waited for awards ceremony.

What limited your ability to perform faster: One-day taper...I am training for the Longhorn 70.3 so I've been training through races. I am SO looking forward to tapering fully for a race to see what I can do. BUT I am thrilled to have done what I did here today. Very very very happy.

Event comments:Well organized, great volunteers, great organization, great post race food/drinks available, U2 cover band, friendliness, etc. My only complaints were the FOREVER long run with the bike to the mount line (dimsount in wasn't as bad), and how crowded the course became. Otherwise, awesome race and I'd love to do it again!
(On the Podium getting my 2nd Place, Congrats Julia on 1st!)
(With my trophy--but it's a clear guitar thing on base...hard to see!)
BRING ON LONGHORN 70.3! ONE MONTH! The only bad thing is the girl that beat will be there too...but the good thing is that she is an awesome athlete, great competition, and very friendly. Kudos to her for a great race!