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Annette K

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Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
5:28 pm - How to Conquer the Coast when you're not really prepared...
Conquer the Coast 2016
Let’s see, I gained 50 lbs, haven’t been riding outside much (longest ride was 28 mile Pville wildlife ride sometime in August), and then……….Aug 27 I got sick. Not just one or two days I feel yuck sick. Really sick. Email to the boss I’m-not-coming-to-work sick. But mostly I was worrying because of the extra 50 lbs and not training. I came very close to not making a hotel reservation, but the weekend before (still not fully recovered), I did it. Now or never!!!

There was some doubt as to whether Buzz would fit in Steve’s latest toy, a Hyundai Veloster. He put the rear seats down and said “It’s 4ft by 4ft”. Well, Buzz (without wheels) was 52 inches from aerobars to back of the frame. But, I put him in the nylon bike case, Steve rolled up Friday at noon, we loaded everything else, and then Buzz on top. It worked out fine. Got to hotel just before 4pm, checked in, hauled stuff to room and turned on AC (they turn it off at this fine establishment between guests). Went to Brewster St. Icehouse for packet pickup where we were greeted with a long line of other riders. Once I got the waiver signed and got in the line, it moved quickly. Steve fetched me a beer to drink while in line. The line moved quickly though, and I got my wristbands, tshirt and jersey. Sat down to finish drinks and then I went to order some early dinner food. Well, no oysters. Gal said they’d been out since August. So, I ordered nothing. We made the executive decision to call Water Street to see if they had oysters and it was a go. We love that place anyway, and we overate, of course. But it was early, we were back to the room by 7. I reassembled Buzz, put on my helmet and shoes and did a quick spin around the parking lot. Good to go! Lights out by 10, but unfortunately the room never cooled off very much, and the AC was very LOUD (even with my Mack’s earplugs). So loud I didn’t even hear Steve snoring. Naturally, as with all nights before I have to be up at a certain time, I tossed. And turned. And tossed & turned. I think I finally fell asleep about 4:00, and the alarm was set for 5:30. I woke up even before the alarm, looked out the window, hoping there was a fierce lightning storm, delaying/canceling the ride. Nope. Clear skies and no hint of rain on radar..

Now, I had packed everything I had on my list. Unfortunately, due to the fact I haven’t BEEN RIDING, I forgot to put endurolytes ON the list… and I also didn’t notice that I failed to reinstall my rear taillight (I recharged the batteries several weeks ago and forgot about it). Got dressed and went down to breakfast room soon as it opened at 6:30 to have coffee and my blueberry larabar. Met another couple riding, then another (from Pflugerville, even!) and yet another who said they were also riding to the ride start, so they invited me to ride with them. Good thing, since I FORGOT MY DAMN TAILLIGHT. (fortunately, in our ride packet, Whataburger had supplied those red-blinky-dot lights). Back to room, one last bathroom break and oh yea! I should pump my tires!! I put on my HEB 70SPF sunscreen, grabbed all the stuff and headed down the stairs with Buzz and found my riding buddies. It was just over 2 miles to the (new) ride start, we got there right at 7:00. I said good morning to Jack and then John Chung. It was already warming up and extremely humid. Since there was nobody holding me back, I planted myself in the first group of riders. There was a surprising number of pre-ride announcements to keep my head from having too many “You’re too fat! You’re undertrained! You’ve been sick for a full two weeks! You didn’t get but an hour of sleep!” thoughts….On the flip side, I recalled the first time I did this ride-on 2 hours sleep (never mind I was well-trained, and probably 40 lbs lighter) Finally, the National Anthem and… we were off!

Not even a mile into the ride, you climb Harbor Bridge. As the name implies, it is a bridge over CC harbor and is nearly as old as me. 243 ft. high and more than a mile long. The right 2 lanes are blocked off for us and the left lane has motorized vehicle traffic. Lots of people like to stop at the top and take their photos (good thing we had TWO lanes), but not me, you could hear people yelling “no stopping on the bridge!” I didn’t have any difficulty getting up and over (wahoo!). Always a weenie on the descent though. The second “oh crap! I forgot that” moment was as we were crossing Nueces Bay. Since I’d been so sick and even had fever during the episode, I’d been taking 2 ibuprofen plus Tylenol each morning. Well, today I forgot. As we rolled into Portland, the pavement was wet and there were some small puddles, so it HAD rained there earlier. As you exit to Portland, there is a short but rather steep climb to the Moore Ave intersection, but fortunately, officers were letting us through and we didn’t have to stop at the top of a hill on wet road. The first rest stop comes way too soon (like mile 8?) so I never stop there, just rolled on. So far I was doing pretty well. My drink-during-ride bottle was the 26 oz Polar filled with SKRATCH which I had frozen in the room’s fridge. Enough of it would thaw that I drank a few ounces every couple of miles.

We turned onto 361 to head toward Aransas Pass. This part can be challenging as it’s rather rough road, the shoulder separated from the right lane by those “rumble grooves” (not sure of the official name). But mostly, it’s trying to pass entire groups of people who are riding together, perhaps a little slower than I want to ride, and it being difficult to pass them without getting into traffic. But, several times I did that because I just wanted to make better time. For some reason, I thought about JP a lot during this section. I was unable to attend the service and I’ll be out of town (Austin) Oct 1 as well. But I figured he would want me to do exactly what I was doing, riding my bike. I was averaging about 18mph here, as I like to do. Approaching Ingleside, we saw police and ambulance with lights flashing and riders down. I later found out a vehicle cut in front of a paceline. Ouch. The shoulders in Ingleside are heaven! If only we could have 66 miles of that! For the most part, I got all the traffic lights green, or they turned green as I slowed down for the red. Second Rest stop is here, around mile 17. Still too soon for me. Rollin on…..

About this time I notice my bottle contents had frozen TOO well and I didn’t get any liquid when trying to drink. Just before mile 22, is the HEB rest stop where you turn right onto Goodnight. I thought about getting some water there to put in my frozen bottle but decided I wasn’t in any danger for the next 6 miles if I didn’t get much from the bottle. The Redfish Bay Causeway is usually a struggle for me as it’s a short, steep incline, rough road and usually cars coming at you. This year, they had someone stopping traffic for us. Yay! Off to the left I saw a giant ship (Like a cruise ship), and as I approached learned it’s a floating casino, the Aransas Queen. Well, what’ll they think of next?

My planned Major Rest Stop (Ferry Landing, Mile 28) came into view, an hour and 45 min into the ride. Someone came up to me and offered me half a banana, which I took. Laid Buzz down for a rest, filled 26 oz polar bottle with water, moved next “SKRATCH” bottle to front position and 26 oz polar to the “standby” position. This is where I take a few minutes since it’s my first major stop. While waiting in line for trailmix, a random guy came up behind me and held up his hand for a fist bump and said, “Girl! You were pounding it out there! I tried to catch up to you but couldn’t”. Made me feel pretty good (because this distance, if you recall, is the furthest I had trained this year). So I thanked him and got my trailmix. Except I had trouble eating it because my mouth felt like cotton. Ate half the larabar in my pocket (figured I’d eat the other half on the ferry). Tried to get another banana, but (typical for this stop!) no more bananas. Headed for the purple Texas Throne (porta-potty) and decided it’s time to get in the ferry line. By this time, I was starting to feel a little wonky. It was getting hot and I didn’t have my fever-reducing meds. Plus, no endurolytes (I didn’t even realize that yet). I drank and drank from my water bottle (leaving the SKRATCH bottle for riding) and started wondering how the hell I would make it through the next section (the Toughest 18 miles in Texas). While it wasn’t as bad as last year, I stood in the ‘staging’ area probably 10 minutes and then when I was in the “you’re on the next ferry” group, it was still another 15 min or so. Once on the ferry, I began to seriously think I might pass out. I texted Steve than I made it to the ferry landing. Ate the rest of the larabar and washed down MORE water. I think I consumed a liter of fluid during that break. Kept telling myself, “once we are moving again, you’ll be fine”.

Exited Ferry and started riding. Slowly. I’d been off the bike long enough my legs were cooled down and didn’t want to cooperate. For the next few miles you have to deal with a) lots of other riders because you all got off the ferry at the same time and b) the vehicles driving around Port A at 10am on a Saturday. One guy did the “Right Cross” in front of the woman riding just in front of me. And we weren’t really going very fast, it just mentally pissed me off. I was struggling to keep pedaling by that time. Having done this section many times I knew what I was in for: A hot, humid, rough-road, no shade, getting passed by speeding vehicles, nothing-to-see-but-sand-dunes, lonely sufferfest. I saw an entire banana laying on the shoulder. This pissed me off because I couldn’t get another HALF a banana at the ferry landing and some jerk wastes a whole one. There is a small rest stop out on the Island but normally I don’t stop there. However, this day my left foot started giving me grief, threatening to go to sleep on me. So I hopped off the bike for a few minutes there, allowed them to refill my water bottle with cold water and got a WHOLE banana! Yay! I didn’t stop my Garmin there, by then it didn’t seem important anymore. I got back on the road and for a very brief time, there was some glorious cloud cover during the 93F degree, 66% humidity weather. The miles ticked by VERY slowly. I tried to maintain 12 mph, but sometimes dropped below, thinking “anything above 10 is a bonus” and “only 45 min to rest stop”. Tried shifting to aerobars but my left shoulder would rebel after about a mile and I’d have to switch back to handlebars. Several people just stopped along the road here, completely disheartened. Finally, the sign for Mustang Island State Park and the sight of the JFK Causeway come into view. It (The Causeway) looked so huge and high and I felt so awful.. I thought of all my friends training for Ironman and felt a bond with them. They suffer like this every week, sometimes through sickness and cracked ribs!

Rolled on over Corpus Christi and Newcastle Passes, then finally FINALLY Packery Channel. A guy who was riding with a couple other people passed me around then and said, “Is there another bridge to climb?” and I replied, “yeah, the Causeway”. He didn’t know the route. I told him, “Dude! That’s harder than the Harbor Bridge”. Rolled into the Next Major Rest Stop, Mile 47 @ Padre Island Burger Co. I needed shade and didn’t care how I got it. Leaned Buzz against the Stripes wall, gratefully let the volunteers fill bottles with water AND ICE, and munched on a little more trailmix (I had taken the folded Dixie cup with me in the bento box). I claimed an unoccupied (shaded) picnic table at the Burger Co and texted Steve that I’d made it to mile 47 (he replied that I should take my pulse to make sure I’m not dead). Had to have another talk inside my head that if I fueled up enough, I’d make it over the Causeway. I put my 3rd SKRATCH bottle in the front position, swigged more plain water, refilled a bottle with ice (it had melted in the couple of minutes I stopped). Normally I make this a restroom stop but the stench was so bad I decided to wait. I think I had another half banana here (but it’s kind of a blur). Heard a beep from Garmin – I was under that shade and didn’t really think to check whether it put me in “indoors” mode, but apparently, that’s what it did and I didn’t discover it till I got home and was analyzing the ride data.

Rolled out of the Rest Stop toward the JFK Causeway which comes at mile 51. Maybe it’s just because I was already so tired and hot, but I thought this was even harder than Harbor Bridge. About 2/3 of the way up, my left hamstring threatened to cramp. A quick massage and “oh no you don’t!” kept me going forward. Strangely, I passed a couple of people here going even slower than me.. up & over once again.

Next section was the Naval Air station. We hadn’t been allowed to ride through there for several years and those of us on the long ride were required to wear our blue wristbands to let the NAS Personnel know we were supposed to be there. Definitely more high-security than the last time I rode through there, I was required to flash my blue wristband and prove I was wearing a ride number (which was on my back, so called out the number). I was hoping it was 580 because by then my brain was fried. Along with most everything else. First thing you see is the Fire Station on the right and a cyclist had stopped there and was laying on the ground under a scrub mesquite tree. I tried really hard to take it all in, but it was brutally hot then and I just wanted to be done. They had people stationed at literally every block. I guess to make sure nobody stopped. I kept looking for officer’s quarters (because I remembered seeing them last time we rode through) and never did. Maybe they took us on a different route.. A cyclist couple had pulled over under a mesquite tree and charging toward them was the “guard” at the next intersection, I guess to tell them to move along. Which is what I did.. I hoped that my last bottle would last me for the 10 miles I had left to ride.

Just outside the NAS, was a Rest stop – I thought the next stop was several miles away at Ennis Joslin, but they must have decided to move it to just outside the NAS. Anyway, I stopped there to hide behind the truck for a few minutes of shade. I even borrowed one of their chairs for a couple of minutes. All of a sudden, there’s Nick! He was asking “anybody else need to SAG?” and I replied, “I didn’t ride this far to NOT get my medal!”. I think I got some ice here, I really don’t remember.. back on the road. By then, you can see the Harbor Bridge where we started out this crazy ride. Back on the road, there were not many of us left (or so I thought!). I actually passed a couple of people heading down Ocean Drive. Every so often I’d see people had pulled over into some of the Rich People’s driveways, to get a little shade. I decided I couldn’t do that. Several people just stopped in the bike lane borrowing shade from a palm tree, an oleander, ANYTHING. But I did decide when I came upon the next little park, I’d pull over for a few minutes of shade, because by that time, I was truly concerned I was heading for heat stroke. Just after mile 59, Poenisch Park. Buzz and I rolled in there, I leaned him up against the palm tree providing shade to the bench and ate the rest of my trail mix and drank some SKRATCH. Two ladies and a little dog were having a picnic at the table and they asked how far we were riding. So I told her, “66 miles”. They seemed impressed. I stretched out on the bench, and there was a little breeze there, too. Ahhhhh… I felt like I stayed there a long time (like maybe 10 minutes) but I didn’t really time it.

Finally decided to venture out for the last few miles. There was a little shade cover again for a minute. Then more sun. Then sprinkles. Then a downpour. I was so happy! I knew I’d make it without passing out! I was riding behind a young lady going about 11-12 mph and I just kept her pace. We kept riding as the water rushed over our wheels. I knew the best thing to do was just keep pressure on the pedals and keep an even pace. We were riding in several inches of water heading for the storm drains. We passed by one of the other parks and a white dog headed our way. I thought, “no!!! my brain can’t handle any more thinking!!” Instead of heading into us (as I feared), the dog JOINED IN! It ran along between the lady I was following, and me, through a river of water for at least 2 miles. Nobody called to it. Finally a woman passed me and got ahead of me and somehow managed to get the dog corralled into a parking lot and we never saw it again. But still, the rain came………All my clothes were soaked, my feet squishing in my bike shoes. And then, it stopped raining about a mile or so before the finish. Rolled into the finish line in bright sunshine, fist pump in the air declaring that once again I had Conquered the Coast. And this conquering was the most difficult ever for me. Grabbed my medal and once again saw Jack, so I thanked him for the rain at the end and asked if he had bike racks set up. Of course he did. So I racked Buzz and headed for the Nolan Ryan Beef burger tent, then the beer. There were no open chairs in the beer tent, so I plopped my soaking wet behind on the ground amid thousands of mesquite pods. But I didn’t care. Even a mesquite tree is shade. Chatting with other riders, it appears we had a large number of first-timers this year. Many of them asked me about prior years and I was happy to impart all my CtC “Wisdom”. One of them mentioned salt tablets and it’s at that moment that I realized I had forgotten endurolytes in my ride plan (duh! Wouldn’t have cramped on the Causeway). After wolfing down my burger and having dos Dos Equis, I got back on Buzz for the 2 mile ride back to the hotel. By then, it was blistering hot AGAIN! But I was so glad to look down and see 70.25 miles completed for the day.

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Saturday, September 26th, 2015
1:03 am - 2015 CtC ride, etc..
Sept 18 – drove my car and stuff to Steve's. Transferred stuff to Steve's car, left my car in his garage. He drove. On the way, sister Patti texted me that Oak Lane had contacted Uncle David saying this will be Grandma's last day. I knew Grandma would want me to do what I loved, which is ride my bike, so I continued on to Corpus Christi. Got to Brewster Street Ice House right at 6:00, got my packet, said hi to Richelle, Barrett and Tim. Steve and I had dinner (including oysters and an avocado salad – YUM!) Went to Econo Lodge Room #222 (upstairs, but I'd take that room again next year!!). I thought the fridge in the room wasn't working, so I fiddled around with fridge and micro cords, and finally got the fridge to hum, so put my bottles in the freezer, hoping they'd at least get cold. Texted with sister Eileen who said she'd contact sister Carolyn to find out “What's up” and went to bed about 10:30. About 45 min later I heard my phone buzz. It was Eileen calling to say she'd heard from Carolyn that Grandma had passed away. I spent a fretful, but not horrible, night trying to sleep adequately for the 65 mile bike ride ahead of me. I didn't hear Steve snoring, but the A/C in our room was pretty loud, so along with a Lunesta 3mg, I took amitriptyline. I think I actually did sleep a total of about 3-4 hours and when my phone alarm went off at 6:00, I was cool with resetting it to 6:30 so I could rest a little more. Never got back to sleep but a few more minutes to rest was good. Did a few stretches, pumped up my tires, dressed in my ride gear, brought my (already made, stored in room mini-fridge) Anet bfast to the breakfast room, nuked it, poured coffee and chatted with other riders, including a couple I shared my Grandma grief with.

Back to room 222, final bathroom stuff (cleaned off contact lens AGAIN), packed jersey, and put FROZEN (YES!!) bottles into BottleSox and into cages on bike, turned on blinky light and headed down the stairs at 7:20am. Did a final check in the parking lot. Sunscreen, check. Sunglasses, check. Larabar, Nutz to go and banana, check. 4 frozen bottles, check. Thermolytes, check. Lipbalm, check. Helmet on head, gloves on hands, bike shoes on feet. Roll! Rode to the ride start, got there at just the right time. Saw the guy I had seen at hotel earlier to share Grandma grief. He was wearing the same jersey as me, my very first one, from 2005.. I think we rolled out about 7:40am. Going over Harbor Bridge, just like usual. Riding through portland, in rain/slushy condition, just like usual. Passed my hotel mate at some point while riding uphill. I regret not asking his name!! I never saw him again.

Turning east toward Ingleside, I hate that stretch, it's rough road, people in all kinds of places, riding wrong way, debris, glass, etc... happens every year. Tried to focus on riding steady. Fell into a group of bright green “State Farm” jerseys... hung with them and maintained about 18mph pace, which I thought was great because we were supposedly riding “into” wind.

Cool. I'm not stopping till Ferry Landing and THIS YEAR I HAVE MY OWN BANANA, DAMMIT! As we approach the Ferry Landing (around 9:15am) we see the sign “Wait for Ferry, 15 minutes”.. ha.. well, we get priority. Or, so we used to get priority. I arrived at Ferry Landing rest stop at 9:25am, took care of all business (porta potty, swap out/fill bottles, eat my own supplied banana, and get in line for ferry) while the volunteer was yelling, “Get your supplies here and get in line... it's a 15 min wait for the ferry!!!” so I got in line... at 9:35am. At 9:45am, I started getting a little shaky, so I ate my blueberry Larabar. 10 min pass... 15 min pass... hey, what the hell! In past CtC, I have NEVER had to wait for the ferry more than 5 min and well, even CARS don't have to wait more than 15... After we'd been waiting “patiently” 30 min, well, we started yelling at the ferry loading crew.. after all, the car wait was less than 5 min.. why were we, in a nutritionally and hydrationally challenged environment, being held up?????? Then, just when I thought I'd “seen it all”.... two riders, I assume a couple, arranged their bikes in a sort of tent-pole arrangement so they'd hold each other up, and walked over to the chain-link fence at the water's edge... and... smoked cigarettes... I shit you not. I'm on a 66 mile bike ride and these two have packed absolutely EVERYTHING, including smokes and lights......... WHAT?? who goes on a 66 mile bike ride and takes a smoke break at mile 28???

well, after much ado from the crowd (us) we finally saw some bikes loading onto ferries. But as I started heading that way, some guy said, “Sorry ma'am, you can't go”.. I'm like “but my Grandma just died! I need to get back”... then the guy ON the ferry said “10 more” and I went on. Let's recap.... I've never waited more than 5 min to get on the ferry for CtC and, although I hauled ass to maintain 18mph to the Ferry Landing 28 mile mark, I waited FORTY MINUTES.

AT ANY RATE, this is completely abnormal. I've done CtC since 2005 and bicyclists have ALWAYS had priority getting on the ferry. It would seem obvious that to make folks who are operating on their own physical power in the Texas heat and humidity WAIT 40 or more minutes without proper care/hydration/nutrition, that's a HUGE liability. And... let me re-iterate: the sign we saw approaching the Ferry Landing Stop said:”Wait for Ferry 15 minutes”..

I finally got on the ferry at 10:15am. Fully FORTY minutes AFTER I completed the breakpoint activities. I was not motivated to “race” the “toughest 18 miles in Texas” after that. Mostly because we were starting from scratch. We had to warm up again. That 18 min took 70 minutes.. the last time I timed that stretch, when I did “race” it, it was about 52 min.

Whatever.. Mile 48, didn't have much. I got maybe half a banana, water and some ice. Then on to the Causeway and the stretch home. And even when I got to the finish, why?!? I could not eat the food provided (hot dogs and bread buns?? really?!?!?!???????) so I got my dos dos xxs , chatted with a couple from Brownsville and rode back to the hotel.

Disappointed. Fix the ferry delay. Get some real finish line food options. Nobody cares about the Hurricane Alley stuff. Give us real food in exchange for Hurricane Alley access. And did I mention – fix the ferry delay??

I do this ride as a celebration for my birthday every year, and an excuse to visit my family in the CC area. They wondered if “plans changed” because I didn't contact them. Well – my day didn't go as planned. Work on it, CtC crew!

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Monday, June 9th, 2014
1:55 pm - Skees Greets Triathlon, 2014
Although this was to be my first “race” of tri season, I never train with the intent of ‘racing’ this event. This year, I was especially bad. I got in only 3 open water swims ahead of time, I borked (that’s a technical term) my right knee a couple of weeks ago by tripping over my own feet on my living room carpet and I’ve put in a crapton of bike miles (500) in May. That’d be great if Skees Greets was only a bike ride.

Enter The Stomach Bug. Day before Skees, when we were supposed to have an “easy mini-brick and pool swim” workout, I woke up feeling awful. Let’s just say I was glad that Coach Cindy said the folks doing Skees didn’t have to show up till 9 for a short bike/run brick, then @ 10, a pool swim. Well, I spent most of the morning in the bathroom. Went back to bed after Mindy took off for work and got a little more rest. Then I became determined to at least try and make the swim (or part of it). I did not eat the planned egg breakfast because it just didn’t appeal to me (nor did having Coffee!)–instead, had one piece of toast with PB. I was just loading my swim stuff in the car when Coach called me to ask if I was coming. Honestly I thought the pool might be full and there wouldn’t be room for me. But I guess a lot of folks didn’t stay for the swim. I had a pretty decent 400 yd swim and called it good.

I had lunch at Schlotzskys (Half salad/half sandwich) went about my errands to the grocery and pet stores and headed down to packet pickup. I did remember to bring my old J&A’s jersey and failed bike tubes for their recycling bins. New store looks to be very functional, hope it works out for everyone.. My digestive system seemed pretty stable, or so I thought. When I got back home, though… maybe it was the extreme humidity or something, I still felt awful. Went about getting all my stuff ready for Race Day and had some salmon with broccoli for dinner (and a couple glasses of wine, thinking that should kill anything in my system, right?). Got to bed relatively on time and woke up at 5:00. Uh oh, digestive system still not feeling too well.. ugh.. well, what can you do? I already paid to do the event and everything was already packed. So off I went, breakfast wrapped up in towel to eat at race site.

When I started to eat my breakfast though, it tasted awful to me. Like soap (?). So I took maybe 2 bites, and noticed a strategically placed porta potty near where I parked. Except it had no TP. The ONE TIME I didn’t have any in my car. I didn’t want to try and do the event on NO food, so I noticed I had a thunderbird bar in the car, and ate half of that. Assembled the bike, and headed over to the race site thinking the bank of porta potties over there would have TP.

Got body marked, set up in transition and had one last potty break and decided maybe I’d live after all. Once I set down my cooler and sling chair, we were ready to head to the water. I tried to follow Coach’s advice to get to the inside, but at the very last second, about 15 women appeared to my left and when we started swimming, cut the first orange buoy. I was holding my own but about 30 strokes in, got a little out of breath or worried or something. Probably mostly mental (that creeping thought “why do you do this – again??”), so I allowed a few breaststrokes and got everything under control. The rest of the swim was more or less smooth, even if it was SLOW. Once I got to land, I pressed the bia button, ended the workout and hoped it recorded somewhat accurately.

Up the hill to transition. And into the sticker burs in transition. Yeah, my T1 took 4 min. That’s because (unlike Marble Falls) I stopped to pull the stickers out of my feet every time I stepped on one. I still have a lump under my left foot from where I couldn’t get part of a sticker out of my foot at MFT last year. Chatted with Lynn in transition, switched bia to bike mode and headed off. Did I mention how nice it was to be in the first wave? No? well, it was GREAT. I got swam over by almost nobody, and that meant I didn’t have to tire myself by calling out “Passing on your left” for 11 miles. I didn’t get a chance to pre-ride the course this year but Little Tard was not fun. I have some “time checks” on that course that I met pretty well (turn onto Lindell, 14 min or less, turn onto 973, 32 minutes or less, go 35mph at bottom of the hill just before Big Tard). My top speed was only 31, but I did meet the time checks. I did not go all out on the bike, because I knew the Big Challenge Of The Day would be the run. And by that, I meant I did not want to need a bathroom on the run. Certainly not my fastest time on that course (which I thought was 37:something but maybe that was unofficial) – Danskin 2005 my bike split was 40:27. But it was not my slowest, either.

Bike done, stopped bia and THOUGHT I put bia in run mode. Except- I must not have pressed the button hard enough. I took off on the run, thanked Tracy for high-five and cowbell, and then noticed my watch wasn’t going. Stopped to walk and get that straightened out, and try (Unsuccessfully) to get the water out of my right ear. Devon passed me, made the u-turn with a small water to cool off. Although it was overcast, I was starting to heat up (assume it was humidity). I walked a little more just before the end of the powerline loop to try AGAIN to get the water out of my ear. I finally gave up and decided I’d have to SIUBC (Suck It Up Butter Cup). I walked a little more on the unstable, uneven mulchy section along Decker Lake Road, then tried to run again for a while. When it got really uneven again, I walked for a bit. As we approached the ‘open area’ (by that I mean the section “out in the open where people will see whether you’re walking or running”), I started running and saw Alicia cheering for us. I stopped for one more short walk break when I realized my gut was not feeling well. Gayle passed me here (as I figured she would!) and I “ran” in to the finish. Not my fastest time ever but after looking at results, it was faster than last year even though my swim and run (And T) times were faster last year. Oddly, my bike time this year was a couple minutes faster.

I felt pretty good most of the time, but I am definitely going to start making sure I don’t eat any “strange food” the couple of days prior to a race. Or, it could have been I swallowed a lot of Lake Pflugerville Friday evening because of the chop. Who knows? I’ve not had digestive issues like this for a loooong time and it was very frustrating. The race itself, as always, was top notch in all aspects.
Due to the extreme early bird discount, I’ve already signed up for next year’s race.

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
1:27 am
RCT 2012
Pre-race: I had a King "Suite" at La Quinta reserved for Friday night which is approximately 1,125 square feet of temporary living space (I'm exaggerating just a bit). I had a living room with purple sofa bed, desk with 2 chairs, and TV on top of a dresser. In the bedroom (behind a door!), I had a very nice king bed, another TV, closet, dresser and fridge/microwave/coffeemaker. I'd brought a combination of My Fit Foods and homemade meals for this weekend and really needed the fridge. Then I had a bathroom (behind another door) as well!! Only problem was, the fridge was completely frosted over and wasn't cooling, let alone freezing. Thank goodness for the old-fashioned method of soft-sided cooler and hotel ice machines which can dump ice cubes into "laundry" bags..slept pretty okay Friday, although I didn't get to bed till after 1am.

Saturday after breakfast and my 300 yd swim, 6.25 mile bike and 1 mile run the maintenance person came up just after noon and installed a fridge/microwave combo in my living room. Because I had complained about the non-freezing fridge in my bedroom, not to mention the low-frequency buzz it made all night long (even my Mack's earplugs couldn't drown it out). He told me the fridge in my bedroom had been there since 1996! no wonder it was frosted over!! I exchanged texts with @Shaayla about meeting for dinner just as I arrived at packet pickup. Somehow, I ended up with size Medium DeFeet socks. I look forward to my River Cities socks. One year I messed up and ordered XL and ended up giving them to Rob Zielinski. This year, somehow, I ordered/received M, which is a men's 6-8 shoe. WRONG!! I wear Men's size 10 shoes... (which is, I believe size LARGE) I was advised to bring them to volunteer tent on race morning to see if I could exchange for Large.

Ran into Jimmy Harper at packet pickup after I'd gotten my packet. Hadn't seen Jimmy in some time, but we chatted for a good long while as he went through the line. He was uncertain whether he'd actually race due to knee issues. But he said to tell everyone Hi from him in case he didn't make it to the race. I met Shayla for dinner at Monjuni's (now on Airline instead of Benton Rd) at 5:30. Good move, just like in 2010 when Katherine Mudge and I went there. We beat the crowd! I'd actually brought what I meant to eat for pre-race dinner and it was in my hotel fridge, but having dinner with a friend seemed like a better idea! My dinner was a house dinner salad and one Monjuni's meatball (with a glass of chianti). She ordered a sweet(cake) for dessert and I had a few bites, so maybe that is the secret weapon..
After dinner, I got all the gear in order, watched a bit of Olympics, posted a few things to FB, had one more glass of red wine, a small cup of decaf and read some (more on that later). At 9:00pm I swallowed a temazepam and a l-theanine. People in my hotel were still coming and going to the pool (which was right outside my "living room"), banging doors, etc. But about 9:30, I started feeling like "hey, it's ok if I turn out the lights and try to sleep". So I did. I think I fell asleep before 10:00.

I believe, with the chemical help mentioned above, I might have actually gotten 6 hours of sleep. Of course I woke long before the 5am wakeup call, but I made peace with the fact that I'd probably not get any more sleep after I woke up. Pumped up Buzz's tires, and got all my stuff into my car..

I'd already begged the hotel staff to make some fruit available before their 'official' breakfast at 6:30, but at 5:50, they hadn't done ANYTHING in the "Free Breakfast" area, so I got Eeisha (sp? for some reason, this particular hotel had two people with this name, but different spellings?) to fetch me 2 bananas from the secret room... BTW, I was using the time on the microwave in my room as "Current time" and it said 5:50 am when I nuked my b-fast. When I looked at my watch, it said 6:01 am...CRAP!!! too late!! I meant to leave NLT 6:00am. Microwaved my race day (Made and transported from Home) breakfast and wrapped it in a towel, brought coffee from the one-cuppa-maker in my McDonald's cup and headed out to race site. Parking sucked (probably since I was 10 min behind.) I obeyed the parking volunteers and went probably 1/2 mile further down to another "parking field" that I'd never seen before. I'd parked along the road on the right before, but they weren't doing that this year. Somehow, only the Jeep immediately behind me ended up parking in the "Far Lot" by me, the 20 people behind them apparently finegaled their way into the first parking field... GRR

I'd pumped up Buzz's tires at the hotel before I left, so after eating my breakfast in my car, I put on front tire, grabbed all stuff for the yellow RCT 2005 bag and proceeded to carry my bike on my shoulder to the asphalt. I didn't want any stickerburs in my tires..
My rack was on the upper far left, so I found a proper spot, left Buzz, went (With my too-small socks) to the New Balance tent and got body-marked because I hadn't received A. Sunglasses or B. Body Marking Temporary Tattoos. nice volunteer lady who had seen me Saturday gave me sunglasses and had the young lady trade me Large socks for the Mediums I had in my hand..went back to transition and made sure all was in order.

Pre race: I took a banana (procured from hotel) and my 12 oz bottle of water with me out of transition along with swim cap and goggles to the picnic table area. Found Shayla and had a quick chat. Found picnic table to hang out with fellow Athena and her charge, an age-grouper who didn't want to start with AG, she wanted her Athena buddy right there with her and was willing to take the time penalty to swim with her mentor. Final Pre-Race bathroom visit at 8:10. Ate banana about 8:15 and washed down with water (and, well, hack'd up phlegm into nearby trash can -- sorry, reality when you suffer from allergies) I'd forgotten (once again) that I'd entered Athena category. Who knows why.. it worked at Marble Falls... I'll never win anything at RCT.. But these Athena-buddy ladies had a magic formula gogglewipe. They loaned them to me for sloppy seconds to de-fog my goggles. OMG. It worked. I have never had a clearer swim.
Swim: 880 yds: 30:28

the usual - out to far triangle buoy, turn right, swim to next triangle buoy turn right, to shore/finish. Despite the fact that I'm not a particularly good/fast swimmer, I really enjoyed this swim. I did ZERO breaststroke, one of the advantages of being in the DFL wave. No competition, and nobody to run into you. In honor of the Olympics, I spent about 20 min Sat evening re-reading Sheila Taormina's book "Call the Suit". The information and drills she taught us during the swim clinic became clear once again. I tried to channel her "high elbow during the catch/pull" with nearly every stroke and for once, I really felt it. I may not have gone much faster, but I was happy with my progress, did not freak out, panic, or swallow water. I sighted after taking 20 strokes, because the water was like glass, no chop whatsoever, and every time I sighted, I was right on course. Slow, but steady.

T1: 3:31

I really thought I was last out of the swim (because a kayaker was constantly to my right whenever I'd breathe), but apparently there were 2 or 3 others behind me. Jogged up the astro turf to transition and squirted sand off my feet from the water bottle on my bike cage, downed a strawberry-banana power gel and more water from bottle. I always forget how far it is to the actual mount line at this race. Even if you run up from the swim (as I did), it still takes a bit of time to get up the little incline to mount line. And when you're in the DFL wave, at the beginning of the bike you have to deal with lots of fast people who are FINISHING the bike, who may be veering nto your lane as they finish.

Bike: 18.2 miles: 58:27

Compared to Austin, this is flat. There was one "false incline" that I wasn't dealing with particularly well, but in the end it didn't matter. I've been racing at RiverCities since 2005 and my overarching goal has always been to get my bike split under one hour. I watched my splits as I rolled past the mile markers... mile 9, I was at 29:54... cuttin' it close... I tried to average 20-21 mph after that. As I approached dismount, two other gals were in front of me, one about 50 feet directly in front (who successfully dismounted and continued upright into T2), the other, about 10 feet diagonally to the right. Well the one on the right stopped and promptly fell over TO THE LEFT (directly in front of me) just before I stopped. This affected my momentum/balance a little but I did not fall and thought "Sucks to be you" as I ran around her with my Buzz and hit the lap time as I crossed the mat and looked at my watch, I realized I'd finally done it. I did the air-fist-pump thing - woo hoo!! I did it!! Took 6 tries, but I finally got my River Cities bike split under an hour!!!!! I did feel a little sluggish at times so maybe I was under-fueled. Maybe a few more calories pre-race would help. But overall, I am happy with this segment (I was first in this category for the bike!!)

T2: 3:22

As I came back into transition, the volunteer told me that although my rack position was on the row next to run out, I was REQUIRED to run with my bike all the way around the center part of transition and back up to my rack before being allowed onto the run to "make it fair to others". Really? didn't I already make up for that by running further into transition to my rack from the swim? but I didn't argue with the nice volunteer and the other gals were doing what he said, so I didn't want to get a penalty. I looked at my watch - more than a minute was spent looping around running in bike shoes to get to my rack space.

Run: 3.11 miles: 40:58

Aside from the goal of "Finishing" and the secondary "Bike split under an hour", I wanted my run to be somewhere near 40 min. I had a really hard run workout Wed and didn't know if it would affect race day. The course was slightly different from in years past in that there was no "Trail running" component and no 100 yds of running in the sand at the finish line. I kind of liked that part. But since we didn't have a real picture of where mile 2 was, it was kind of hard to pace. Strangely, I did not have any kind of digestive issues whatsoever. And the sun had been kept at bay for most of the race! The run was really pretty nice. IF I had to change one thing: since I had no cramping or digestive issues, don't stop to walk. Keep on running.

Final time: 2:16:48

hugged fabulous volunteer in the finish chute. I know they must have thought me a real pain on packet pickup day (I somehow got the wrong size socks-AGAIN!!) but as someone who volunteers more than I race, I convinced them I wasn't a princess. I said to her, "I'd hug you but I'm all sweaty" and she positioned herself so that my body marking would not stain her clothing and gave me a big hug.Love love LOVE those volunteers!!
What limited my ability to perform better on the run? Totally mental. I had none of the usual physical challenges (upset stomach, sore hip flexor -- well, maybe a twinge... or breathing issues.) But during that last mile I remembered I had more than 300 miles to drive back home and I think it slowed me down a bit thinking about that, and the fact that this is my last race of the 2012 season...Walking back to my car with Buzz (After about 3 beers), another guy, also sporting a 2005 RCT tri-bag, asked how it went and we talked about years past, etc. I told him it was my "Best" RCT yet because I'd finally broken the 1 hour bike split.And then I remembered why I like doing this race. Everyone is so friendly and helpful, and it was such a beautiful day. Even among 1,100 (or however many finishers) people, I found quite a few folks who love it as much as I do. It was like visiting an old friend.
I'd go back next year, I think, if at least one other person I know will be racing.It should be the year of Wheeled Luggage...

current mood: accomplished

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Thursday, June 28th, 2012
11:35 pm - Annette's Awesome Alaskan Adventure
Until I figure out how to reduce the size of my wonderful (but multi-mega-pixel) photos, I’ll just post the text of my Alaska Trip report. I’m graphically challenged (program-wise), but if you know me, that’s not a shock.
Annette's Awesome Alaskan Adventure
I decided Alaska was on my 'bucket list' sometime in the past couple of years. Uncle Dave and Aunt Ruthy went there and had nothing but praise. Then, somehow, the person I adopted as my "Texas Mom" (Jody Kelly) mentioned the Tour de Cure team her daughter Kelly (who now lives in Alaska) put together for their 3 generations: Jody, Kelly and Shannon. Jody could not ride in TdC last year because she had a bike crash during a race that sent her to a surgeon and much physical therapy.
So, as I had adopted Jody for my Texas Mom, Kelly gave me info to join their Tour de Cure team for 2012. And I did. The only preparation I did was to register for the ride, prepare my TdC fundraising pages (both on TdC and at Dell) and book my flights back in Februrary.
That was it. Spring training (working out, being a Team Leader) and such didn't really afford much detailed planning. But, as I had "overplanned" my 50th birthday trip to Hawaii, I was only too happy to "underplan" my trip to Anchorage and hope Kelly's family didn't reject me on the spot.
I planned it so that Jody and I sat next to each other from Austin to Dallas on Saturday May 26, but that's really a "get on board, okay, now we're here" kind of flight. Maybe 40 minutes. In DFW, we wandered around trying to find somewhere to get a decent meal, saw a sign for au bon pain, but the item they advertised wasn't available. really? turkey cranberry spinach salad? 30 min wait? what? you lost the recipe, or what? anyway, we went to McDonald's, which did have an acceptable substitute salad for lunch. After lunch we pulled out mobile devices (aka checked facebook, email, etc) and decided the best strategy for the flight to Anchorage might be to obtain a suitable meal from a DFW food vendor to eat on the plane. I suggested we return to au bon pain, where maybe they'd found the recipe for the salad. We got there, found prepared salads, but they contained NO TURKEY. I had to tell the clerk that they needed to put some freakin' turkey in their Turkey Cranberry Spinach salad. We grabbed salads and bottled water for the flight to Anchorage.
Loooooooooooong (6+ hours) afternoon flight. We got up (disturbing Mr. Aisle seat) to go to the bathroom just to move a little.
Arrived in Anchorage late afternoon/early evening. Since I had my RiverCities 2010 luggage, it was easy to spot on the carousel and although Jody didn't see them yet, I spotted Kelly and Shannon looking for us! woo! few minutes later and we're heading to Kelly's house!
Greeted by 4-legged residents, we schlepped our bags down to the lower level. Let me just say, Kelly's house was so much like where I grew up, I really felt like I was home. And that's how they treated me. The whole time I was there, I felt like one of the family. Thanks to Kelly, Shannon, Kirk and Justin. Kelly had a gumbo on the stove but I had eaten my salad on the plane, so declined the gumbo. The evening was spent catching up, planning next day, etc.
Kelly had quite an action-packed schedule for us and it all worked out perfectly. Sunday morning (May 27): (here is where the Fitness Spa spoiling began) - woke up, went upstairs to fresh coffee. um... beautiful, cool weather. We all went for various distances of runs - for me, I chose the route that added on west of Bayshore on 100th. Runnning past the lake with seaplanes on my right, I started to wonder if I'd gone too far when I saw Kelly coming at me from the opposite direction! I knew I wasn't lost. somehow I thought I was supposed to be looking for a left turn NOT at Bayshore (so I went past) but AT Amber. Well, Amber doesn't cross there.... So a few min after I saw Kelly, I turned around and headed back. Found the right cross street and arrived back 'home'. run: 4.01 miles. OMG. So wonderful. No water! didn't die of heat stroke! FAST FAST times!
Once we all cleaned up, we headed to Acai Alaska http://www.acaiak.com/, where Kelly treated us to brunch!
yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm following that we headed to Downtown Bicycle rental http://www.alaska-bike-rentals.com/default.aspx where Peter helped Jody and I find a suitable bike for the week and he also ducked down the street to Saturday Market to get the jerseys/jackets we all wanted!
Well, I got a bike with functional gears and Jody got one with what? 3 functional gears? but that didn't stop her, of course.
We grabbed a few groceries on the way home (I found a realllly sweet Kale Salad mix) and Jody cooked up the bison gluten-free lasagna for dinner. YUM!
As I sank into my temporary room's bed for one more "night" (cause it don't get dark there!), I uploaded a couple photos and read a bit more of 'Curse of Lono' (borrowed from Steve).
Monday, May 28 - Memorial Day: woke up to the spa treatment again. Fresh Coffee, smoothie. Longer run (4.7 miles)- Shannon, Jody and I all decided to head to the southernmost 'scenic'overlook.
After lunch (Thanks, Shannon!), we headed out for hiking.
Since way too many people were hiking Flattop, we headed for Prospect Heights Trailhead. I think we took the Wolverine Bowl Trail.
This is where I'm glad I bought my Montrail shoes from @HillCountryRunning, because although it was cold and I splashed through water, my feet were fine.
On our way "home" from the Wolverine hike, Kelly stopped at a local market to get some salmon and HALIBUT to grill. OMG, what a way to celebrate Memorial Day. Fresh Grilled Halibut in Alaska. Doesn't get any better.......
Tuesday, May 29: woke again to spa treatment of fresh coffee and smoothie. Today's our first bike ride!! woooo!! Kelly drove all of us and bikes to Kincaid park and we rode all the way to Westchester Lagoon and back.
After our morning 18 mile ride, we put up the bikes, had lunch and headed to Eagle River for more hiking.
We did the Albert Loop 3 mile Trail, but I think Kelly was a bit disappointed we only got to see one yurt up close. Apparently there was another yurt near the river. Following the Eagle River hike we went a little further and hiked to Thunderbird Falls. Another very nice hike with beautiful destination!
Wednesday May 30 - This was the day Kelly decided we would hike Flattop.We hiked through snow several times and it was very mentally challenging so as not to slide/fall down the mountain, but we all made significant progress even if we didn’t reach the summit. Headed ‘home’ for lunch, picked up Shannon and took her to work and went ont to: Second attraction: Alaska Native Heritage Center Third attraction for us this day was the Alaska Zoo. Fun!!
May31 - Winner Creek Trail hike
As usual we had hot coffee and breakfast at Foster Central. Headed out to Alyeska for the Winner Creek Trail hike.
We hiked probably total of 2-3 miles, hard to tell in snow. Had coffee/snacks in Girdwood upon return.
"Vacation" part of this vacation: the Train Ride/Cruise
June 1 - up SUPEREARLY- out of the house by 5:45 to get on the train to Seward
In Seward we got on the boat for the Nature Cruise/lunch on Fox Island/whale sighting.

And then June 2 --- Sat am another run! our final one!!! 3.82 miles, plus 18.65 (cycling) miles with Kelly taking me to top of "Significant hill". After lunch, we picked up tshirts and ride numbers, then went downtown for Saturday Market but it wasn't much, I only bought a couple of food items and a t-shirt. Rest of the day was rather casual - Jody treated us to steak and potatoes for dinner!
June 3 - up early again, over to ride start with everyone except Justin. Jody, Kelly and Shannon were riding the 50k and I was riding the 100k. I brought lots of clothing but wore the custom jersey that Kirk's company had made for our team on the outside. Not sure who has the pix of us before the ride, hopefully they will show up.

Day started out a little cool, slight drizzle, but then turned out clear and beautiful. Most of the day I was out riding all by myself around Anchorage. On the "significant hill", there were a couple of guys who had walked up and were standing there watching me pedal all the way to the top. One said, "you make that look easy".. hee hee.. Kind of like a treasure hunt looking for the pink arrows. Got done in the early afternoon, we grabbed a Subway, back 'home' for showering and packing! Kelly & Shannon took us to the airport and off we went for the ovenight flight to DFW. I managed to catch a little sleep by listening to "Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast" on my MP3 player.. Monday was a strange kind of day because we arrived back home in the morning, but I hadn't slept much. Took a nap, then did a little shopping.
I am so grateful to the Fosters for being so welcoming to me. The whole trip was so enjoyable and thanks to Kelly's activity planning, I hadn't gained any weight!
Sure miss that cool weather....

current mood: chipper

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Sunday, September 11th, 2011
10:07 am - I remember
11 September 2011

Remembering-- 10 years later

On this day 10 years ago, it was a school day like any other--struggling to get two high school seniors off to school in time. The TV was not on, so we were blindly going along with our regular routine, unaware our world would be changed forever.

Our going-to-school routine included tuning the car radio to KLBJ 590 AM to listen to the unique observations and wisdom of Cactus Pryor. That day was no different than any other, except we did not hear any witty comments from Cactus. I remember the newscaster saying something about the Twin Towers, way off in New York, being hit by airplanes. As this broadcast went on, I thought it was a hoax. The girls were familiar with Orson Welles' famous 'War of the Worlds'. I told them this must be a similar stunt. Except as the minutes ticked by, there were no switches back to the 'regularly scheduled program'. It was when they announced that President Bush had ordered the closing of all of our country's airports that this finally hit me/us - this was a real event. Our nation was under attack.

I dropped the girls off at school but instead of the customary belligerence, I was treated to grateful hugs. Even they could comprehend you can't take anything for granted. Unemployed at the time, I went home to search the Internet for jobs. But first, I felt compelled to plant my American flag in the front yard. My attention was then turned to my oldest daughter - I emailed her asking if she was at work. She replied that she was and we traded several more emails about the horrific events that had just occurred.

Alone at home watching the live coverage, all I could think about was that I should have all my family around me. I cried for the victims, their families and the brave people trying to rescue survivors. No, I didn't know anybody personally involved and I've never been to New York City. It was just so devastating and unreal.

Other than receiving a phone call that I could start a new job the next day, I can't remember how the rest of the day went, it was rather a blur. The girls told me not much was accomplished academically at school. Later I found out that many of the girls' classmates had taken off to hang out at the lake or just go home.

Let's hope we never have to deal with a tragedy such as this ever again.

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
12:05 am - It is TIME
time to post the results of my 2011 'racing' season... two years ago, I had some arthroscopy on my right knee. But it was not to 'fix' anything. It was only to clean up the crap for whoever eventually does my TKR when I'm "old enough".

In the meantime, I worked out. a little here, a little there. But I wanted a goal. So I decided my goal would be: Wool Capital Triathlon (Olympic Distance) in San Angelo, Texas, on 14 August, 2011.

I had previously done only one Olympic distance triathon --the inagural Longhorn in October 2007. This was essentially the Austin Danskin course times two. I'd done the Austin Danskin several times by then. Did I already mention that I'm not a swimmer??

My first olympic race-- 1500 swim: 58:31, T1: 3:44, 24.8 mile bike: 1:23:18, T2:2:55, 10k run: 1:24:02. Not a great showing. But it was still freakin HOT here..

Between that race and this year, many many factors came into play such as chronic insomnia, knee surgery, etc.
Most notably, last year I decided to go on the hcg protocol and (finally) dropped 60 lbs..

Meaning, in 2011.. a leaner and meaner Annette was ready to race.

On the schedule was:
May - Skees Greets on Mother's Day (to honor Momma)
June- Lake Pflugerville Tri (I usually get my HFE all star volunteer award because I volunteer so much, but I wanted to RACE something!!!)
July - raced at my 6th Marble Falls Tri - I love that venue because my sister lives there and I know the race director
(side note: I volunteered at Couples to earn my HFE points)
August: GOAL RACE- Wool Capital Olympic in San Angelo.

May, Skees, was kind of a disappointment, but I did finish: 1:26:53
June, Lake Pflugerville.. oh, crap.. that freaking wind!!!! their timing system didn't record splits but my overall time was 1:56:31 for 500m swim, 14 mile bike and 3 mile run
July: Marble Falls Tri: 1000m meter swim: 35:15, T1: 3:15, 23 mile bike: 1:25:15, T2: 1:38, 4.4 mile run: 53:47
August: well, who knew it would RAIN 5 INCHES in San Angelo the day before the race??

Day before WCT: in Llano, after I'd driven thru some rain showers, noticed a bank time/temp display. 78 -- indicating a cold snap.

I continued on to San Angelo. Arrived on Friday afternoon before race.
Went out to race site. Scoped out things best that I could and determined that here is most probably where we'll swim:

Saturday morning, just before 9am, went to breakfast area with overcast skies. 10 seconds later -- DOWNPOUR!!!!!!!!! what the hell is that??? other guests were from Corpus and we were all taking pix of the rain while drinking coffee in the breakfast area... I explained to Bert, the breakfast lady, that I needed a toaster for my english muffins way before they would be having breakfast on Sun (Race Day) at LQ and she.. loaned me a toaster for my room. how the heck does that happen? oh yeah, I had the huevos to ask. Heard from Emmie, we went to check in our bikes, got approved by Randy himself---

A nice surprise was that Coach Cindy, who had hinted she might do this little race on her way back home from Davis Mtn Fitness Camp, arrived Saturday afternoon. Also arriving were the Lindas and Katherine M. as our More Cowbell Corps! At the pre-race meeting, IronJack said he would have to modify the run course - it would not be the ever-popular 10K run on the Red Dirt Road from Hell - due to safety reasons he had to cut the run 'short' and make it an out-n-back 5 mile run on the road leading into the park. Night before pre-race meal (nuked in hotel lobby microwave since there were no room microwaves): boneless skinless chicken breast with steamed broccoli. Another nice surprise was that Kenneth and Vickie showed up also as More Cowbell Corps! Met them for a "Carboloading" drink at a restaurant near their hotel. Back to our rooms, mindless TV till approx 10pm. Insert earplugs...

Race day:
woke at 5:00am, at 5:30am-- coffee and english muffin w/almond butter. Left hotel at 6:00am. arrived at race site 6:15.
Pre race photo:

No national anthem, no prayer, only IronJack announcing "to signify the start of the race, I'm going to expel some gas" We all took off swimming toward the old bridge pilings indicating the swim turnaround.

After we got in water, here is the More Cowbell Corps on shore:

I made it to the swim turnaround point sooner than I expected (didn't look at watch, which was probably wise), but on the way back, some dude slammed into me while just swimming.. really?? why are you swimming in circles??

about 200 m from the swim finish, I started noticing.. what are those drops of water on the surface?? a really big fish?? it's starting to rain?? well, it was answer #2. It started to POUR down rain but I didn't observe lightning and the boat didn't call to me "stop swimming", so I KEPT ON SWIMMING!! Although this is not a record-breaking 1500m swim, it IS my personal record for an Olympic distance swim. Our faithful More Cowbell Corps were there cheering for us, soaked to the skin at this point and probably cold (believe it or whut!)I have to say as I exited the swim in the downpour,seeing my stuff in transition in an inch or so of water............ Mentally I crossed off any "personal best" Olympic times. But I put on my soaking wet socks. and my soaking wet bike shoes. and my soaking wet headband, helmet and sunglasses. I took off on the bike very conservatively. Undaunted, I figured, well, hell, it might not be an Ironman, but we are demonstrating the Ironman spirit by "keep on keepin' on" (that's for Amber Zielinski!) There was only one official photo of me for the event, and there is a 'proof' over it. I prefer to leave it like this as it is 'proof' of the RAIN!

The first 4 miles or so of the bike were in the downpour and I rode so slowly...... after I got out on Knickerbocker, it cleared up a bit and I thought... "can I crank it up to 16mph or higher average?"

As the chipseal shoulder became the default riding surface of the day, I dug deeper to remember Chrissie Novak's advice during the Computrainer session... (200 watts... 200 watts....... power... power..........)

I tried to have a good cycling cadence/rhythm.. I saw Coach Cindy on her way back.

after the turnaround, I noticed a bit of a crosswind.. and my (melted due to the rain) bike number wanted to float away.. I decided it would be better to grab the remnants of the number and put in my tri jersey pocket rather than chance disqualification due to abandoned equipment. Because Carol and the other USAT officials were out there in force.

The day before, IronJack had told us to ride "English" on the way back into the park, because the right hand side of the road would be taken up by runners going out/back. I got mixed signals from volunteers coming back in on the bike but did my best to not hit any cars or runners.

I saw all my peeps - including Emmie -- as I racked Buzz and headed out on the run. Just after mile 1 I saw Coach Cindy on her way back in. I ran and ran and only stopped a couple times for water (from my own pack). Between mile 3 and 4 I saw guys walking but I knew that was a desolate stretch and walking would only make it seem longer. I did not walk any of that stretch. I kept running.

I finished WCT under 3:30, which is way better than I thought I would, but then it was not a 10k run. So my time for WCT is a PR, because it's a distance I've never done before. And I won 1st place, Athena, 40+!! 2011 WCT: 1500m swim: 55:46, T1: 2:27, 40k bike: 1:24:55, T2: 2:01, 5 mile run: 1:03:47. Total time: 3:28:58. Coach Cindy took 1st place in the Female GrandMasters division.

It was so nice to see More Cowbell Corps out there supporting us, 200 miles from home! We all wished we could bring back some of that rain to Austin...

The next weekend, I did the Sweet & Twisted tri. ( @ Camp Champions, where my sister works) I thought it would be a great season finisher race!!

S & T --500m Swim: 15:29, 15.2 mile bike 50:16, 2.4 mile run 26:31. Very nice little "workout".. helped present awards and then clean up venue. yee haw!!

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Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
3:13 am - Marble Falls Triathlon 2011-the year of NO EXCUSES
Marble Falls 7/17/2011
I've got so much history with this race- early 2005 I started asking Lee Zarnikau about the swim start and she assured me "just hang out at the steps... even if the gun goes off you can swim out when you feel like it'.Note: at that time, I hadn't really learned to swim freestyle. I previously emailed the race director, Mario, and asked, "will there be swim support?" and he assured me there would be. My "survival of the triathlon swim" consisted of primarily a poorly executed breaststroke. Undeterred, I signed up and showed up for my first MFT in 2005. Strangely, I wasn't DFL either. (just going to athlinks and finding my 73 races(!) makes me feel mighty good. People who hang out on the couch don't get results from athlinks)

MFT 2005- 1000m swim: 40:06, T1:3:36, 23mile bike: 1:24:55, T2:2:15, 4.4 Mile Run :50:25 --- total:3:01:18-- I had so wanted to come in under 3 hours for my first MFT but I made a really great showing (the ONLY TriZoner to do this race) - AND I was not the last finisher
MFT2006-1000m swim: 37:27 (improvement!!), T1:4:12, 23mile bike: 1:30:50, T2: 5:11 (bathroom stop), 4.4 mile run: 54:26--- total: 3:12:06 -- um.. slower. But this was when my metabolism/weight management started to go outta whack. Heck, I finished - and again was NOT LAST.
MFT2007- (just after The Flood)- 1000m swim: 31:44 (attributed to the lovely "Current" on that long backstretch), T1: 4:17, 23mile bike: 1:25:31, T2: 2:17, 4.4mile run:52:48---total: 2:56:38 (this is my MFT PR). Again, not DFL..
MFT 2008- (chronic insomnia and unexplained metabolism weirdness/weight gain set in.......) - I was DFL and therefore my splits weren't recorded. Overall time, though, was 3:13:14. I ran/walked/chatted a lot with Irene Hilboldt and now we are friends forever. And I DID FINISH. Not very speedy, though............
MFT2009- ha. No results. Arthroscopy on right knee 9 days before the race meant "I'm a Cowbeller"!!

MFT2010- knee surgery was really just to clean up the mess for whoever (Dr. Seaquist, I hope) does my TKR eventually. Bone-on-bone on right knee for forseeable future.Not quite healed up to do the whole thing, so I recruited two friends to do the relay: Cynthia Lovin would do the 1000m swim, and Deborah Kuhn Lindsey would do the 4.4 mile run while I did the 23 mile bike. Since all of us were 'mature', Cynthia came up with the most appropriate team name ever: AGE WITH ATTITUDE!. Cyn swam the 1000m swim in 27:07, T1: 1:38, 23mile bike:1:29:19 (that would be me, and how it was my 2nd slowest MFT bike ever -- especially being a relay, I have no clue...........Maybe I am accustomed to warming up by swimming 1000m?), T2: 0:51, 4.4 mile run (Deborah): 1:01:43---total: 3:00:41. We entered in the Female Relay Division and won 2nd place! woo!!! we went to BBC (BlueBonnetCafe) to celebrate (and eat pie)

MFT2011-Annette is back! Annette minus 60 pounds! Goals: 1. finish. 2.finish under 3 hours. 3. finish run under 1 hr (this could be goal 2, but who knew)
Having a bit of trouble with the swim (minor freakage at Pflugerville Tri, with the 25-30mph winds making lotsa waves) but getting 'back on the horse' and gittin it done. 700meter-ish Swim at Quarry Lake the Friday before boosted confidence and reduced pre-race anxiety and doubt (Seeing fellow TriZoners Coach Colleen and JoAnne and knowing Kristen, Linda and Coach Cindy were out there somewhere  really helped).The Friday QL swim was very pleasant, no stress and was timed at 25:27. VERY GOOD for me.  Drove to BF Steve's house and 'let' him cook my steak for dinner. Yum. Watched a hilarious 70's movie. Saurday morning (at my request) Steve and I went to Enchiladas y Mas so I could have one bacon, egg, cheese b-fast taco and one sausage, egg, cheese b-fast taco. Along with salty chips, salsa and coffee

Went back to Steve's, chilled out for a while, I took off and went home for a 6.5 mile bike ride and 1 mile run. Then time for seriousness. Plan,  pack, eat. Had to run some shopping errands and get gas when it seemed like everyone was in extra-low gear, but I waited patiently for all of it. Firstborn daughter tipped me off to MyFit Foods some time back and although I bought from them the night before Skees, I thought the "Cleanest" and best meal before Marble Falls for me would be a roasted skinless chicken breast with a side of broccoli, which I can do myself. So I did. I missed an Ironman LP sendoff party but I will see those folks again soon. Got all gear ready and in car (except for the liter bottle of gatorade endurance, liter bottle of water and 24 oz bottle of gatorade, which was placed in the freezer overnight), and at some point, slept. My sleep patterns are so messed up I don't track them anymore. I somehow got some sleep and didn't get out of bed till later than I would have liked...... grabbed bottles from freezer, put in cooler and took off in the dark. Usual pre-race meal of toasted food for life sprouted grain english muffin with almond butter and a little apricot preserves (and some coffee). I took it with me and didn't try to start eating it till I got to the intersection of 620 and 71.

Normally, MFT goes like this: wake at 4am, leave house at 5am, arrive at race site 6am... Well, some "business in the bathroom" delayed me and as I was driving down 71 under a full moon prior to sunrise, my watch beepbeep'd 6am. ohcrap. I'm just now at Poodie's in Spicewood. It's another 15 min to MF. But when I got to MF, parking spaces were plentiful. NO PROBLEM-parked at real estate office like I always do. Aired up tires, put up hair,locked up Pronto, headed toward transition and talked with a volunteer who said he thought only about 100 people were there to race (I made mental note: I'll be DFL) I like to have a landmark for my transition spot EVEN THOUGH I'm one of the last people out of the swim, so racked in the row in front of the flag. Tried to register my own timing chip but apparently, it's an antique. They made me take their chip (I still used my own strap). Saw Jill, Pat and Carlene before the race and we all made small talk especially "HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAT!"

The 'grassy' area behind tennis/basketball courts had sticker burs but thankfully they only attacked my feet, not my bike :) The swim took quite a while to get to first large orange buoy, then when we turned left -AAAGHAGHAHGHH!!!! my goggles were all fogged up -what?? could not see ANYTHING. Well, maybe the light in the sky above the 281 bridge. And a possible telephone pole which I tried to sight off. I knew I was one of the last people in the swim so hollered, "Is there a 'yak nearby?" and a male voice said, "do you need help?" and I responded that I could not see the next buoy. He assured me I was swimming straight, so keep it up. I made a deal with myself - 16 freestyle strokes, 8 breaststrokes to see where I am. Once I saw the next buoy, I saw all the rest of them.I did that for the remainder of the 1000 meters. Mario was there at the swim finish and gave me a high five. I thanked him for having the foresight to outfit the volunteers in bright orange shirts, even I could spot them through my foggy goggles. Looked at watch at top of hill: 35:25 and that was several seconds after I got out of the water. YAY!

I had my Accelerade vanilla gel with about 6oz of water during T1. As I went out onto the bike course, Mario said "Rip it up, girl" -it seemed like it took a while to get to the cloverleaf --next year I'll pace better (about 23 minutes). To make my goal, I need to be at 20 min when I reach the cloverleaf on the way out. UUUUUP that final hill before the turnaround, then head back (Coach Gina pulls alongside ringing cowbell saying "I'll see you in Marble Falls").............. I was rather worried because I'd done some of the math in my head and realized I'd need to ride 18+mph or so back into town. I look down.. bike computer reads...............19.6.. drained my liter bottle of gatorade on the bike. Rode into town, racked Buzz, grabbed run stuff (including the 24 oz bottle of gatorade which still had enough ice to be tolerable) and headed out onto Run with my watch reading 6:25 (meaning, 2 hours, 6 minutes and 25 seconds had ticked away)-holy crap, not only would I need to complete the run under 1 hour, I'd need to run it in less than 54 minutes to finish under 3 hours). Coach Gina is in Johnson Park with cowbell, "put one foot in front of the other... ALL THE WAY AROUND" (did she see the map?I don't think so..)

Now I'm on the run.. slow and steady...  strangely not feeling brick-ish. The small bike ride and run the day before had done its job! Wearing hydration belt with gatorade as if I'm doing a Half Marathon-BUT to reach the goal of under 3 hrs total, gotta fun fast (for me, anyway)...caught up to Carlene who was running. We played leapfrog for awhile till I realized I needed to keep moving.played mental game : what if... I ran 4.4 miles under an hour.. and further what if... can I finish the whole thing under 3 hours??
Mile 1: (reached before my watch said 11:00), took water and poured water on me. Drank from my Gatorade endurance bottle
Mile 2: (ditto-watch said 23:00)-mental gymnastics - could I possibly run this under an hour and/or finish under 3 hours??? drank again from Gatorade endurance bottle
Mile 3: some people ahead of me cut the course-dammit. Who knows who that was? WASN'T ME!! drank again from Gatorade endurance bottle and turned right on the race course (not cutting, you CHEATERS!).
Mile 4: back in the park, nice volunteers with misinformation saying "quarter mile to go" (but it was really .4 mile to go).Finish just ahead, had Gatorade endurance.

As I ran into the finisher's chute with Jill and Maggie cheering, I pumped my arms to an overall 2:59:19. I stayed for the awards (first place to Pat!), & I heard them call my name. As I approached, I looked at Mario and said "NO WAY" and he said yep, I got 2nd place Athena. The Athena 1st place lady only beat me by 5 min. Surely I can swim faster next year..........I don't know if I will ever sleep more but NO MORE EXCUSES!!!

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Monday, August 2nd, 2010
11:50 am - River Cities #5 race report
River Cities Triathlon - the 30th (or was it 27th?) anniversary edition:

I had vowed that 2008 would be my last RCT, but I let the "pressure" (aka Lure of the Schwag) get to me. Since this was not my first RiverCitiesTriathlon rodeo, I got my hotel room first. Then it was race registration day- It's not like I am sleeping at 6am on June 1 anyway, so there I was - unemployed but committed to my first full sprint tri this year. I had done Skees Greets, the bike part of the CapTex Olympic relay, swim angel at Danskin and the bike part of the Marble Falls relay (which we took 2nd place for!). But I had yet to do all 3 sports of a sprint tri in one day. After some coordination and excited communication among our TriZones friends, RCT (30th anniversary edition) weekend was upon us.

SJ (my BF) got a last-minute invite to a friend's birthday party Saturday evening at Cypress Creek. Well, what a coinkydink - we were going to be swimming in Cypress Black Bayou (similar name, different state and nastier water) for the triathlon. I think his event was probably the better deal especially since it likely involved food and beer, plus it didn't require swimming 800 meters in coffee-colored water, riding a bike 18 miles, then running 3.1. Which is normally a good thing for me but I can't have that on my diet anyway.. so the deal was done - I'd carpool with Katherine Mudge, new to triathlons just this year and a River Cities virgin. As it turns out, she printed all the TriZones forum postings and emails I'd sent with RCT information (including my past race reports!). This lady is thorough!

Courtenay, having family in the Shreveport area, was going to depart first, followed by SarahG, Lynn & Ed, Katherine & I, Shayla then Jimmy. Six TriZoners representin' at RCT. I suggested taking the 'back way' through Corsicana so we could stop at the traditional TriZones-lunch-on-the-way-to-RCT-location, the Cotton Patch. Katherine was agreeable to that, so she picked me up Friday morning and we headed out, chatting along the way and when we got to Corsicana, we wondered what all the traffic was about, and CP was PACKED! I've never had to wait for a table there before, and we didn't have to wait all that long, but we wondered where all the people came from. The waitress said it was their normal lunchtime rush.. who knew? They were very accomodating to my strict diet and brought me the chicken caesar salad with only naked grilled chicken and romaine. $8 for that seemed kinda high, but they did bring me what I asked for. Driving through Malakoff, Katherine told me a story about her family and Malakoff. This is also where the church displays humorous sayings on the marquee. This particular day, it said, "Know where to get your daily bread, or your (sic) toast".

We looped around Athens & Tyler and then got on I-20. Another way to I-20 is through Canton. However, since RCT is always the first weekend in August, and Canton always has First Monday right after the first weekend in August, it's just silly to drive through all the people who have this burning desire to continually frequent what I think must be the world's largest Flea Market. I'm not making this up - there are 6 (SIX) exits off I-20 just for First Monday Trade Days! I digress.. anyway, we got on I-20 via a state park road north of Tyler. As we approached Shreveport, I asked Katherine if she'd ever been to Shreveport before. Answer being in the negative, I wanted to kind of 'guide' her because my first trip there was definitely a culture shock. Hey, if I lived and worked there, I'd do everything in extra-low gear, too.

The hotel formerly known as Holiday Inn (which is now called Bossier Hotel & Suites) said they didn't have a reservation under my name. So (having been there before, I knew there would have to be at least one glitch), I showed her the email I printed out from Sheri Smith with my confirmation number. Well, what do you know?? they did have a room reserved for me. Katherine's check-in went a little smoother and her room was pretty close to mine. So we went to check out the rooms. Only (Surprise!!!) Katherine's room had a glitch, too. Her "King, Non-smoking" was obviously in a past life "King, Smoking". So, back she went to the front desk to get another room assignment, which of course turned out to be clear on the opposite side of the hotel.  My room had a minifridge and microwave - sweet! cause I had lots of my own food and refilling the ice chest would have been a pain. Car unloaded and stuff in our rooms, it was getting close to 6pm so we called around to the folks we knew were already in town to see whether anybody wanted to meet for dinner.

Katherine called SarahG and I called Lynn. But we ended up heading to downtown Shreveport by ourselves because I convinced her she needed to see the cool metal flower sculptures along the walkway near Texas Street Bridge. I knew the bridge would be lit up with neon lights at night and the flowers were supposed to be too. (I had only seen them in daytime back in 2008 and that was pretty cool, but I wanted to see them after dark). We found a free parking space close to the Red River District and gave patronage to the Blind Tiger Bar & Grill. I brought along cucumber slices and a can of tuna to eat, ordered an iced tea (unsweet - you have to specify - it IS Louisiana, after all) and had a pretty decent experience there. We then walked toward the river to look for said neon lights. We saw the ones under the bridge but after walking a few blocks, discovered the metal roses weren't actually lit up that night. Apparently they are working on them or something, but we still had a lovely stroll along the Red, and even in the dark, the sculptures are impressive. They also built a really neat tiered amphiteather and several fountains. Heading back to the car, we walked under the bridge and discovered a whole museum of public art. The bridge supports are all works of art - some mosaics, some painted, and there were plaques on each one signifying which country/continent the art represented. It was very cool, and we felt safe because it was all right in front of the police station.

Got back to the (FREEZING) hotel rooms, and I thought once I got settled in, it wouldn't seem so cold anymore. WRONG! Now, I like it cool, especially to sleep but wished I had dialed down the A/C a bit. Katherine was so understanding about my horrid insomnia and said don't worry about meeting at any particular time in the morning for any particular reason. We had a loose plan to do short workouts, then head over to pick up packets. I actually got a fair amount of sleep, probably a total of 4.5 or 5 hours and wasn't in quite so much pain Saturday morning - YAY!! I went over to try and meet her at the breakfast place, but my "free buffet" card had stuck to the back of my 2nd hotel key and I didn't have it with me. All I could have was coffee and an orange, and I had that in the room. So that's what I did, went back to my room and ate my orange and said I'd meet her at the pool in a few min. We swam maybe a total of 100 yds (maybe not even that??) just to get the arms moving and check goggles. Went to our rooms and grabbed Scat and Buzz and took off down the street to ride through the neighborhood. We ended up making a bunch of loops around one block because of the traffic close by on the other streets. Got in about 15 min of riding, which was just about right, I practiced mounting/dismounting with shoes still on pedals and we called it good.

Showered up and started out for packet pickup. By then Shayla was already @ Packet P/U and we planned to all meet at the hotel to head out for lunch after everyone got their packet. Saw SarahG at the expo and she hooked us up with nutritional items for the race, we picked up race numbers, timing chip (they were using disposables, even though I'd worn my own and put that number in my registration....), goodybag with tech shirt,etc and a Godzilla-sized ..uh.... suitcase? Seriously. When I went to Hawaii for my 50th birthday, I didn't even take a regular suitcase, all I brought was RCT goody bags from previous years. ALL of them would fit inside this 2010 model! (and I'm going to post a photo to prove it). Headed back to hotel to pick up Shayla and go for lunch (Subway for them, previously grilled chicken and spinach for me), then drive the bike course for Katherine's preview. Since I no longer had any 99cent flip flops at my house, and didn't want to bring the ones Carolyn gave me at my 50th BD party in Burnet, we hit the KMart and I got $2.99 flipflops. Yes, KMart.

At that point, all the "business" was done. We went to our rooms to do "Whatever" till 6:00, when we left for Monjuni's for dinner. Spent the afternoon getting all my race stuff set up (numbers affixed, 2005RCT tribag packed), since I was going to be in Katherine's car and not have access to last minute things like if I'd driven my own vehicle. I was just darning my TriZones socks when they arrived to get me for Monjuni's. Lynn & Ed were going to the sponsored pasta dinner, Courtenay was eating with family and SarahG was kinda still on duty, but I knew if we went any later than 6:00, we'd be sorry.. Turns out it was the perfect time, the place filled up and overflowed to the outside seating just after we arrived. I brought my tuna and tomatoes this time and ordered another unsweet iced tea. The waitress was so nice, she said she tried to make the cash register not charge me since all I had was iced tea, but I told her I wouldn't even presume to get free tea! very sweet of her though. She wished us all a good race and back we went to the hotel.

I had dialed down the A/C based on my previous night's experience but it was a little TOO warm/humid. Never did get to the "just right" temperature. "Runaway Bride" came on TNT and I started watching that and realized I started to nod off, so turned off the TV. Then I spent a while trying to get back to the nodding-off stage. Finally fell asleep and woke up a little while later, still a little warm, so got up to dial up the A/C once again. Awake for a very long time, think I finally got a little bit more sleep but the second time I woke up it was probably 3:15ish. And I didn't have to get up till 4:45. That's the way it is these days. It's actually a relief to get up at 4:45 when you've been laying awake for a long time in the dark.

The hotel was to have breakfast set up at 5:15 and I walked that direction at 5:20, ducked in the fitness room to weigh myself, then filled my travel mug with coffee at the "breakfast area". I was expecting there to be a tub full of iced bottled water like in previous years, but the nice lady "manning" the thing said she was sorry, she was expecting to put it out, too, but it wasn't where she expected all the breakfast items to be stored. I told her all I could have for breakfast was an apple, and all that was on the "Breakfast" table was bagels, peanut butter and cream cheese. She was very nice, went inside the restaurant, and brought out about half a dozen apples in a basket. I picked one, thanked her profusely and went back to my room to do the last minute stuff (bottles in cooler, TriZones tattoo on cheek, etc). At 5:45, Katherine arrived and we stashed my stuff in her car and with Shayla following, headed to the race site. We took Airline because I remembered from years past, when I took Benton out to Kingston, I got stuck waiting a long time to make that left turn onto Airline. Therefore I wanted to eliminate that bottleneck. As it turned out, we were early enough that NOBODY was at that intersection anyway. We were at the race site by 6:15, I ate my apple on the way there, but there was still a little bit of a line snaking around to park. Not bad though, and it was already light, so we didn't need a flashlight to pump up bike tires.

As we were walking toward transition we saw Lynn & Ed, so all of us walked over there together. I had trouble finding exactly where I was supposed to rack because they put the cards with race numbers on the end facing the aisle between racks, AND in the middle of the racks. There was a woman standing in front of the "middle" one, which is where my race number was displayed. Whew! Found me a spot and proceeded to unload. Ed was snapping photos of us setting up and I pointed Courtenay out to him so he'd know to look for her on the course. The lady racked next to me, #953, seemed very nervous about the statement in our packet about the course closing at 11:30 and people would be cut off. I pointed to Lynn behind us and said, "we've been out there past 11:30 before and they don't close the course". Maybe they meant the bike course, but Debbie (#953) seemed real worried about missing a cutoff. Again I assured her that she would not be swept off the course and she could expect to hear me ringing a cowbell at the finish line. Went and got body-marked, said hi to Jimmy on his way into transition, put on sunscreen and with mini-mojobar and 12 oz bottle of water in hand (and purple cap & swim goggles in pocket), exited transition.

Got to meet Courtenay's mom, properly attired as a TriZone Supporter, Ed snapped a few photos of us and I went to refill my water bottle from the jug at run out. Since Genny had described where her brother would be, and what he'd be wearing, I noticed someone fitting that description just behind the water jug. He wasn't attending to any urgent business at that moment, so I figured I'd head over there and say "Matt", and if he turned around, that would be him. Wouldn't have worked if his name had been, say, Robert or Fred. But he turned around and said, "I'm not Matt Brown". I replied, "I'm not looking for Matt Brown, I'm looking for Genny's brother Matt". Then I reminded him that he'd been at my house a few years ago during the epic "FreezeScale Marathon". His face lit up and he told me that everyone he tells about doing that marathon, he mentions that it was nice to hang out at my house before the race rather than in a freezing parking lot while the race was delayed. Then I had to high-tail it back out of transition as it was officially closed. It was potty time, so got in that line during the National Anthem. Met back up with the rest of the TZ crew and watched as the waves took off after the mountain gun(or whatever it's called? it's not a cannon, Ed explained) went off.

Courtenay got to take off first, then Shayla, then Lynn, Katherine & I and finally, Jimmy. Now, I had a couple of goals for myself for this race. First, as I mentioned before, I had not done all 3 sports of a sprint triathlon in one day yet this year. Goal #1: Finish. Then, since I have been on this VLCD and the usual fueling/hydrating methods are not really "on the program", I had to find some balance between staying "on the program" and "passing the fu#* out". In my workouts at home, only doing one sport sometimes resulted in me having very low blood pressure (like 96/64) after wards till I got rehydrated and my heart rate under control. My 20 mile bike followed by 5K run on Thursday was very painful and although I didn't pass out, it felt like I was very close.. Goal #2: have some kind of nutrition/hydration plan that would allow me to not pass the fu#* out on the race course. Then, there's the whole craziness of insomia, but I'm not going to go there because apparently I can't fix that so I have to (as Andrea Fisher likes to say) "put on my big girl panties and deal". Goal #3: not stress too much over the fact that I got a total of 2 or 3 hours of sleep, and then not all at once. Aside from these "Survival" goals, this was my 5th RCT race. No matter what, I have never been able to get my swim time under 30 minutes. But, just being able to swim 800 meters is okay. It is what it is. Race Goal #1: have a comfortable swim, regardless of how long it takes. Then, the bike. Damn that flat course, it's 18.2 miles and every year I come SO CLOSE to getting the bike split under an hour, but.. nope. Race Goal #2: a bike split under an hour. Finally, since I hadn't a clue what the run would feel like after the swim & bike, I wanted be able to finish in a reasonable time. Race Goal #3: run/walk so that the run split is under 50 minutes.

In the product development world, the "must haves" are the Survival Goals. The "nice to haves" are the Race Goals. I did not want to push myself too hard and end up seeing Ginger, so I didn't wear any sort of watch.

The Swim: When we hit the water I took my Susan Farago-recommended 15 strokes without sighting for the first time. Of course I got conked and kicked. I went through it again. After the 2nd 15 strokes, my slow swim form allowed me to be at the back of the pack and choose my comfortable pace. When I rounded that last yellow buoy to head toward shore, I look to what I thought was swim exit and there is no inflatable swim exit sign. What the hell? so I COULD see an orange buoy and the guy in front of me seemed to be following that course and the kayaker watching us seemed to have us contained in the generally correct area, so I looked up and saw some kind of rainbow canopy or umbrella. I figured that must have been part of the swim exit area. I just kept swimming even though several people around me were standing up (as usual!). Finally, my hand hit the sand and I got up to prepare to run up the astro-turf. On my left I hear "Go Annette!" and there was SarahG, cheering for me. I got a high-five from her - that was a nice unexpected surprise!. I had no idea what my swim time was and I didn't care. I had achieved a goal not even mentioned: this is the first race I ever swam 100% freestyle. The whole way. Not even a breaststroke to sight. YAY!!!

T1: I had a lot to do in T1 because I had no intention of bonking/passing the fu#* out. Ed was there snapping pix (I'm sure those were lovely, after I was swimming in tea-colored water for 800m). Ate strawberry Clif Gel so generously provided by SarahG the day before, washed it down with water, dried feet, put on socks & bike shoes, put TZ bondi band on head and TZ buff on left wrist to wipe away sweat, followed by sunglasses and, finally, helmet. Off we go to the bike!

T1 +:..... (it was a loooong clomping hike up the hill out of transition to the mount line)

Bike: yeehaw. Love the bike. Now, Shayla had mentioned once or possibly twice that she'd done the math and she wanted to stay ahead of me on the bike. I told her no problem, since she'd gotten so much stronger and faster. I knew she was a faster swimmer to being with, plus she started in an earlier wave. Of course, as soon as I got on the bike I was on a mission: Gotta catch Shayla. Gotta catch Shayla. Big chain ring, head down, holding aerobars, I passed a few people then came up behind a woman wearing a lovely white, pink and black bike jersey that I recognized from Terry Cycling catalogs. As I got closer I saw the zebra theme. Yeah, it was Lynn. I said, "1-2-3 TriZones!" and rang my ladybug bell. She said something like, "go Annette!" to cheer me on. As I approached the all-you-can-eat-fried-catfish place with the "Welcome River Cities Triathlon" sign out front, I saw a woman heading toward me walking her bike. She was wearing something that kinda looked like what Katherine was wearing so I slowed down a little and as it turns out, it wasn't her. So I lost a little time. But I found Katherine soon enough, rang the ladybug bell and I passed her just as we turned onto Crouch Rd. More "Go Annette!" cheers from Katherine. Gotta catch Shayla. Gotta catch Shayla. Each person I'd come up behind, I would pass. Dang - where is Shayla?? I knew she was a much faster swimmer and out for an under-one-hour bike split herself... Back onto Linton Road, 3 miles to go.. still no Shayla in sight. Oh well! I had drained my TriZones bottle of 2 nuun tablets/water and was feeling okay. I passed a couple of people after we got back into the park, undid the velcro on the shoes, put feet on top and prepared to dismount. I wasn't feeling quite strong/steady enough to do the flying squirrel dismount but I had already gotten out of the shoes. Bike done.

T2: they made us take our bikes all the way around the back side of transition instead of coming in the shortest way. I "ran" about 25 feet, then decided it'd be okay to walk the rest of the way back to my rack spot. Racked Buzz, removed helmet, put on run shoes and grabbed vanilla bean gu, Nathan water bottle from the Danskin mentor program last year, TZ red cap and race belt and headed to run out.

Run: amazed that I hadn't yet passed the fu#* out, I sucked down the gu and washed it down with water while walking the first part of the "run" getting my... uh... stuff in order. Finally managed to get cap on head, stash empty gu packet in tritop pocket and slide my left hand into the waterbottle. Didn't feel like running just then and I was belching the nuun/gu/whatever. Decided it was okay to wait for my body to settle down a little and walking was just fine. Quite a few people were already leaving (fast people suck) as I approached the parking area. I started to run a little, very slowly with the goal in mind of running to the mile 1 marker sign and saw Courtenay heading to the finish line so we greeted each other. I was thinking the mile 1 marker was at the same place as the iced towel stop, but in reality it's after. Here, I met Shayla heading toward the finish line and she said, "you didn't catch me!" and I replied, "not for lack of trying, Shayla!".  I grabbed one of those icy, dirty cold towels and put it around my neck, thanking the volunteer who gave it to me and said, "I don't even care about the other 400 people that probably used this, it feels good!" I was walking during the towel-installation, but then ran a little once the towel was secured under the shoulders of my Tri-Zones GoFast (TM) top. At mile 1, I switched the water bottle to the right hand (when I train, I switch off every mile). I was feeling pretty okay but knew if I started to feel the slightest bit weird, I could be in trouble at any moment. So I had to rein it in by running then walking. As I was coming out of "the trail run", I noticed Katherine on the "out", so she wasn't far behind me.

By then, I realized I wasn't going to pass the fu#* out and started conversing with the other ladies running around me. Two of them were visitng and one of them said, "I was the last person out of the water". I replied with something about probably not, I bet it was me. She came back with a remark like she took more than 40 minutes but I didn't believe her. This was her first triathlon and first OWS (go figure). Okay, so maybe she WAS the last person out of the water. I told her that race was not the place to do that the first time! These two were complaining, "Man, those hills on the bike really killed me". I just turned around and asked, "where are y'all from? Houston? this course is NOT HILLY". So I told them I was from Austin and one said she was going to do Trek. I offered that I had been a swim angel at Danskin and might be one at Trek also and given what I'd just overhead, I "strongly suggested" she request a swim angel. I asked her age group and name and said, "you ask Ardis to assign Annette to you and I'll swim alongside you". So, if I am a swim angel I'll tell Ardis that Angela in the 35-39 AG might need a little angel support..

Meanwhile, at the last "Fork" in the road, as the out/back traffic is about to part ways the final time so the "Back" people are nearing the finish line, I saw Lynn on the "out". So I stopped for a few seconds to give her a high-five and she said something about "don't wait on me, your time will suffer". Ha. As if I'm fast.. then I heard her tell the volunteer at the corner, "She just had knee surgery last year". To his credit, he said, "Well, she's out here running now!" FINALLY in the home stretch, I ran into Jimmy leaving so I got one last high-five just before I got into the finish chute. Heard my name, slogged through the sand and got.. a medal? No. A red Ozarka "RiverCities Finisher 2010" waterbottle. It was filled with cold water though so first thing I did was squirt it all around my upper body to cool off. Then I headed for the Budweiser wagon. I dumped the water out of the bottle and told the "Bartender" to fill 'er up. I hadn't had any alcohol for 7 weeks but man, did I need a beer right then. This caused me to miss Katherine's big finish but I'm pretty sure Courtenay, her family and Ed (and probably Shayla) were there for her.

I found the ecstatic Katherine just after she finished, got a great big hug, and she was getting out her cowbell to cheer for others so I helped her find the magic beer wagon (and I got a refill!). Scoped out a (mostly empty) picnic table in the shade near the finish line and talked to the nice man from Dallas there, but he left the table to us so he could take finish line/award pictures. He was with the official photographer's group. Pretty soon we saw bib #953 and I recognized her as my next-door neighbor in transition, Debbie. So I yelled, "you did it Debbie!" and Katherine and I rang our cowbells. She had a big ol' smile running into that finish chute. A couple minutes later, we noticed Lynn coming, so I rang my cowbell, got Ed's attention and pointed, "Lynn's coming!" so he got camera ready.

Katherine on one side and I on the other, we each high-fived and cowbelled Lynn to the finish line.  Debbie came over to talk to us for a few minutes and said that the overall winner had stayed at her house, so she was all excited. Ed took a few photos of us, and that's when I noticed the back side of the finisher's arch said "27th Anniversary River Cities Triathlon". What? they couldn't get one with the right anniversary year? All of us hung out for a few more minutes, then Courtenay's family needed to leave. We went to collect our stuff in transition and walk back to the parking area.

Shayla followed us back to the hotel but that's the last I saw of her because she took off for Austin ahead of us. As usual, the room key didn't work, so we had to go to the office and have them reprogram them. I noticed the dirty towels that I had carefully placed in a heap by the door for the housekeeping staff were still sitting there when I did get into the room. So I called the front desk and said not only did I get locked out after doing the triathlon but my towels hadn't been exchanged and my trash hadn't been emptied. Fortunately there were enough linens to get my shower in. I got out my single-load packet of liquid Tide and proceeded to try and scrub the lake out of my TZ Go-Fast(TM) suit. This is where the "wet/dirty" pocket in the 2010 Schwag Bag came in handy-after I washed/rinsed/towel dried the suit, it went in there! Finally cleaned up and packed, I exited the room right at 2:00 (well, if you hadn't locked me out, I could have left sooner!!). Katherine and Scat arrived and we packed the stuff for the trip back to Austin.

We went to the Wendy's near the hotel for lunch and although I cheated "just a little" by having a little dressing on my spicy chicken ceasar salad, it wasn't TOO much cheating. Both of us got huge diet cokes but it wasn't till a few miles down the road, we noticed they didn't give us any straws. So an unexpected exit to Whataburger was taken. We pulled in behind a car with something hanging off the back end. I asked Katherine if that was a bunny on the bumper. She looked and said, no, it's a bear.. I knew Katherine could definitely tell if it was a bumper bunny, after she went to the trouble to outfit Thumper so well. She ran in and got straws and napkins and I made sure Scat and Buzz were secure for the trip home.

Near Tyler, we decided a pitstop would be a good idea and it would be nice to get another cold drink. Katherine decided to refill the gas tank. I had noticed on my way to the drink cooler that this particular convenience store had cans of Spam prominently displayed on the top shelf. While in line to pay for the drinks, a guy who had just bought a quart of oil came in and asked the clerk, "where are the funnels to put the oil in?" and she said, "over where you got the oil". He started to holler over the shelf when he finally found the darn things, went outside, and presumably poured the oil where it needed to go. A couple of minutes later (I'm still in line here) he came back in and complained to the clerk, "We still can't pump our gas - did someone turn off the machine?". She told him, go back out there, it should be fine. She's muttering under her breath by this time, "don't you come in here with your attitude, you musta done something wrong if you can't pump no gas". My eye drifts to the right of the cash register counter and just under all the lottery tickets, I see the packaged meat theme continue. There was something called "Sasquatch logs" (foot long "jerky", I guess -- I didn't look real close), and three boxes of different pickled sausages which, in my opinion, looked like individually wrapped hot dogs. There were 3 levels of spiciness: Big Mama, Firecracker and (300% hotter!) Tijuana Mama. Not sure whether they lack proper refrigration for their meat in this part of the state, or why there would be so many packaged meat products in one little convenience store. I am not making this up!!

Back through Malakoff and the funny church sign again and we stopped in Waco @ Whataburger for pitstop again and a little food (we were both a little hungry by then - wonder why??). I REALLY CHEATED and got a grilled chicken sandwich and I ate all of it. Finally headed south (thank goodness) on I-35, we saw all kinds of traffic pile-ups, emergency vehicles, flashing lights northbound and were really really grateful we were heading south.

Katherine got me and Buzz (and all the other stuff) home before dark, safe and sound. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! Definitely another fun Road Trip triathlon, and it was really cool to see some new friends racing at River Cities for the first time (and "previous friends" racing as well). Even if I never did catch Shayla.

Once home, I had to look up the stats. Did I finish the swim under 30 minutes? no. Do I care? no. I finished the swim. Did I finish the bike under an hour? no. Do I care? no. I finished the bike. Did I make the run under 50 minutes? yes, I did. Did I finish the triathlon? HELL YEAH!
updated with schwag picture

and a picture of my previous bags, inside this year's bag. Yellow is from 2005, green is the other huge (I thought) rolling suitcase from 2006, bottom black one is the duffel bag from 2007, upper black one is the backpack from 2008.

current mood: exhausted

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
9:55 pm - My actual first CapTexTri
After getting rained out two years ago,and having a not-so-fun volunteer experience last year, I only signed up to do anything related to CapTex 2009 due to one Kirk Offel.

Last year my friend at work Hans told me about Kirk and his cause. I became an informal "mentor" to Kirk (and I guess, ultimately the team). This year, the pressure's on - they want me to join The Team. And one of the races they wanted to take 'by storm' was CapTex. Kirk is a Navy vet and it makes sense that he'd want to have CapTex be a big "awareness" event for the cause of Sarcoma.

Well about 2 weeks ago I got news that my right knee will need some arthroscopy in the near future (AFTER DANSKIN!!!!!!) so I told Kirk I'd be glad to be the cyclist on an Olympic relay team. He paired me with one Doug (I've done IronMan Coeur d'Alene) Thompson for the swim and Karen (I got three kids, and I'm a badass runner) Ayala. Sweet.

We met each other for the first time in the vestibule of Palmer Events Center on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, we were in line behind some poor sap whose team didn't know the whole team had to be present to pick up packets.. well.. uh.. WE DID! so, could you let us through please????

Karen's hubby was doing the sprint (not relay) and they had a committment later in the day, so we wanted to get packet pickup underway so they could see where I'd rack Buzz Yellabike. Well, there are only two racks for Olympic Relay. One at the very last row closest to the lake, and one on the very last row across from the path from the other rack..

Doug followed me to transition to see where the bike was (which was the most important anyway, since I gotta get the chip from him). We somehow lost Karen. But I figured we'd see each other at the tent in the morning.

I arrived about 6am on race day at TxDOT parking lot and thought, "where is everybody"??? So I re-parked about 4 times, finally picking a really primo spot under a tree just behind the strip joint.

Indeed it was a good place cause when I came back later, it was in total shade............

I loaded up the TriZones cooler with icepack and two bottles of gatorade endurance for the bike as well as a water bottle, and my sling chair (race starts at 7:00, Olympic Relay goes off at 8:30.. thought I'd put my feet up) and the 2008 RiverCities Awesome custom-embroidered tribag containing my bike pump, helmet, sunscreen, phone, paper towels, hand sanitizer, bandaids, spare goggles (even though I'm NOT SWIMMING), and extra electrolyte powder mix.

Made my way to the transition area (where I turned my back to 

triman  so he could see my helmet with number!!) so I could pump up my tires, put down my "never kissed a frog.. never had to" tri towel with my bike shoes, Texas Iron socks and road id on it, and wipe off my rear view mirror and bike computer, then put the two bottles of gatorade endurance on the bike cages. I wandered through transition and found Coach Jen so went to say hi to her.

Went back to VFS tent to hang out. I knew Sarah R was supposedly working in bodymarking. I went over to the tent, but she wasn't there... dang.. Karen, my runner arrived and I explained how we'd exchange the timing chip. Went back to bodymarking tent. Still no Sarah..... whipped out my own sharpie and marked myself while talking to Karen at our team tent and putting on sunscreen (our photographer got a lovely pic of this)

Soon saw Bets walking by on her way to Sprint transition (I also saw her last year! cool to see your friends again and again). I am truly amazed at her "pre-race" meal. she was holding a bagel with what appeared to be chunky peanut butter on it, and a can of diet coke. DIET COKE?!?! BETS!!! you have a cast iron stomach!!! and you seemed so calm about all of this.. (more on Bets later.........)

I saw Heather and she so tried to find me a Water Monster to fill up my waterbottle! Heather was out there solely to cheer for us, that is truly awesome!!Karen & I walked down to swim start and ran into Amber and Rob, stopped to visit for a bit, then wandered down to water where I saw Kendra "meditating" on the ground. I can't really get on/up from the ground so bent over to talk to her. Chris was already in the water, but I knew Kendra was a strong swimmer. Just passing the time............Karen's hubby was getting in line to do the sprint so we went back to team VFS tent for a bit.. very soon we went to transition and not too long after 9:00 heard Doug yell, "ANNETTE!!" so I grabbed the chip/strap, put it on left ankle and ran the bike out of transition. that rocky/bumpy transition. It took FOREVER till I got to the mount line. Then it was time to rock 'n roll. Up 1st street, right on CC.. HEY!!! THERE's NIKKI!!! Thanks!!! Congress Ave will now be known to me as the Wind Tunnel. Saw Amber again as I approached the Capitol. Mentally it was kinda weird, since previously all the events I've done that approach the Capitol from the south were running races. Then after you turn right onto 11th, it's an uphill... then SanJac.... ready for downhill? had some gatorade?? CHECK!!! fly at 30mph down SanJac.................. U-turn, and back up... ugh.. do it all again.. I think it was on 2nd loop that Bets passed me.... I saw trichelle  just before I had to head south on 1st for the u-turn.

last few loops, the police let people cross in front of us (hey, can't you see we're climbing here??) on SanJac. I didn't think I'd like the loop course (due to USAT rules, which, at this race are a MOOT POINT), but actually it felt like some kind of NASCAR racing. I really enjoyed it!! 

Handed off chip to Karen who really smoked the 10k run!! We even made the front page of today's Austin American Statesman.After we were done, there is evidence that although I raced under VFS jersey, I was ringing a TriZones cowbell for one of my teammates!!



Finally saw Sarah R after I finished, who said she'd be reassigned to water safety.. probably where they needed most help. Thanks Sarah......

current mood: ecstatic

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Friday, May 8th, 2009
1:32 pm - Hello LJ
It's been a very long time. Right knee is giving me fits, I went and had MRI done but can't get in to see Dr. Spears to go over results till 5/19. In the meantime, I'm not running. We did a nice little 16 mile ride out Parmer last night - it was designed to get the Danskin Mentors and Mentees out. Ten Mentors showed and one mentee! I hope we didn't intimidate her too much! Tomorrow is brick workout at Lake P-ville and Sunday I'm volunteering at Rookie. Another bizzzzzzy weekend.

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
10:16 pm - it's April now
I ran a marathon in Feb and did a few workouts in March.

Apr 1 I ran about 2 miles.

Apr2 I did nothing except pickup Zooma packet. I can't run Zooma since I've had a sinus infection for 2 weeks and cause Steve got us tix for Leonard Cohen in Grand Prarire tomorrow.
But -- it's tri training season again and I will get with it!!!

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Friday, March 6th, 2009
5:44 pm - It's March already?
At least I FINALLY got into a pool on the last day of February:
Swim: 1600meters
Bike: 75 miles
Run: 65.5 (most of which was a marathon!)

not doing so well so far this month, it's been crazybusy at work. Managed to ride 43 windy miles with friends on Sunday and Wed evening was brick workout training - about 7 miles of cycling (on trainer) and 1.5 miles of running.

I was going to run after work tonight but here it is nearly 6pm again. And my tummy hurts. So I guess I will rest one more day till the big Pedal thru the Pines tomorrow. I'm hoping for slightly less wind, please!!!!

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
12:37 am - it's that time...

My new best friend

(or.. My First Marathon Race Report)

Part 1 - the History of RunningCollapse )


Part 2 - The TeamCollapse )


Part 3 - The PlanCollapse )



Part 4 - the Execution - this part's REALLY long (even for me). But it takes a long time to run a marathonCollapse )

current mood: ecstatic

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Saturday, February 14th, 2009
5:20 pm - It's really gonna happen!
I went to pick up my packet yesterday afternoon and the line was waaaay long. Since doughnut_girl's inspirational hubby was on the stage talking, I decided it was way more worth my while to listen to him than stand in that long line. A few min after I sat down, I saw her go sit in the front row so I improved my position, sat down next to her and kinda waved my "hello". When he was finished, she took me over to personally shake his hand and he gave me a big hug! And so did she! I wandered back to get my packet and from behind me I heard "Annette!" and it was Kasey. I got another hug. We talked about being nervous first-timers, etc. and parted after we got our bags. I wandered around with the express purpose of seeing just how many people I know would also be there. I saw Coach Tracy (more hugs!) and went by HCRC to say hi to Fish, Jamie and Coach Kim. Tracy L from the women's group was there with her two kids. Said hi to Stacy and Dan at the Jack and Adam's booth. Visited for a few min with Tina, a former Team Leader with our TZ North group (she is a police officer and was stationed at the exit of the "official merchandise" shopping area). Eventually went by the ARC booth to visit a bit with Leilani.

With all those hugs how can I go wrong? After I left the expo, I decided to drive the south end of the course since it had changed since the training run I did long ago. Of course, there was an accident with an ambulance right at the corner where I had to turn onto Krebs. But I managed and as I was stuck in traffic down there, I noticed they'd given me a large tshirt. Probably the first time I never checked the shirt out before leaving packet pickup. But oh well, I was still in the area, so I figured as I got back up 1st street I'd park at one texas center and go exchange it. So that's what I did. Tracy was STILL wandering around!

This morning I did my 2.5 mile "Easy" run, am all cleaned up (and now off my feet) and prepared. Took a couple pix for the record:

current mood: nervous

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Friday, February 13th, 2009
12:47 pm - It's packet pickup day!!

woo hoo!!! I did my prescribed 45 min run (as repeats of 1/2 mile run, followed by 2 min of walking/swigging water) on Tuesday and Wednesday was women's group. We only had to run the 6 flights of stairs two times. I was still a little sore yesterday so I'm taking TWO days off till my little 30 min easy jog tomorrow morning. I've got 7 podrunner mixes of D J Steveboy on the ipod and I see there is a new one today that I might add although 165bpm will be a little faster than my feet will likely be turning over. So I'll put it at the end of the playlist. Or not worry about it till later (like, when I go out for a "Short" 6 mile run!). 

the gels and thermolytes are laid out, the bandaids and bodyglide in a ziploc bag, the nutrition/hydration plan is printed (now with locations of cowbelling friends!), the shoes are aired out (I stepped in a puddle Wednesday night), the water bottle is washed, the clothes picked out and I'm as ready as I'm likely to be. I hope a few brave souls are around to see me when I finish - I'm not expecting anything sooner than 6 hours because the longest run was the 20 miler on Jan 11. Since then the longest run I've had was only 9 miles (but it followed a day of 6.5, and the day before that was 8).

Hope all my friends have a great race. If the forecast holds, the weather shouldn't be too darn bad.

current mood: excited

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Monday, February 9th, 2009
3:55 pm - Countdown to the marathon.....

I can't believe I'm writing this. ME?? running a marathon? Last week I had conflicts early in the week and couldn't get in a run and on Wednesday afternoon I went to see my new GP doctor. We had a very productive visit and I left feeling like at least someone was listening! she's ordered a sleep study for me and some more labs, plus faxed in a prescription for ambien (which I was just informed is ready for me!). I got so excited thinking after my doctor's visit, I'd just pop over to Schlotzsky's, check the work email, change into workout clothes and meet the womens' group at the park. Cool! I got there like 30 min early and nobody was arriving.. what the heck? Finally at 6:25 I called Susan's phone but she didn't answer. Neither did she call me back... Finally at 6:45 I called Steve and asked him to check the women's group workout location. DUH! I was at the SUNDAY LONG RUN location.. Wednesday was supposed to be Balcones Pool.. silly me. And that was sort of in my neighborhood. By the time I did get to my neighborhood, it was like 7:15 so I just blew off that workout. darn it. I was all ready to go, too.

Thursday evening I couldn't run after work because I had to test some firmware before the end of day. That meant it was completely dark before I was done working.. I decided I'd try to run the equivalent of a marathon over the course of the weekend...

Friday I finally got out there. 8 miles after work-and the temp was pretty warm. Saturday, Steve and I had brunch at Hoover's north and later I ran 6.25 miles around the house (again, very warm!). I got to go to dinner as Mindy's guest for their annual "recognition" dinner, which was at 7:30 at Cannoli Joe's in far Southwest Austin. Mindy had to work till after 6:00, so I went to get her just before 7:00, and we headed down Mopac. We got caught in horrid traffic around the Lake Austin Blvd exit. Thinking it would clear up after we passed whatever wreck happened in front of us, we just kept creeping along. she had to call two of her friends who were already at the restaurant to tell them we were stuck in traffic. It took FOREVER to get to the 2244 exit, then Barton Skyway. THEN, we find out ALL THREE LANES of traffic had to exit at the lp 360/Barton Creek mall exit. Great. And I didn't realize you had to squeeze into the right lane to go straight at the light, so I had to turn left.

I was just glad to get out of the mess and figured I'd find the place eventually. We had to take back roads and such but eventually found ourselves on the backside of Toney Burger Center. Thank goodness I've lived here 25 years and knew what's what we were driving next to. It was probably 8:30 when we finally got there, but they were very nice to us, gave us drink coupons (I immediately ordered a glass of merlot) and the food was really good, even for buffet that was probably not "real fresh" when we arrived. I had to get up early the next day so had to rein in the food intake. I had one plate with salads and one with pastas. The desserts looked scrumptious but I had to pass on them. Mindy was so cute - she ordered a glass of white zinfandel for her first drink and a frozen margarita for the second (did I mention I was driving?).Since we were pretty much the "end of the party", the Great Clips owners came and sat with us and we had a really nice conversation. She's got a pretty good deal with them and they seem like they treat their employees more like family. Really enjoyed that outing and Mindy got a certificate for one year of service.

It was 11pm when I got home (yikes! I wanted to take a benadryl to help me get to sleep...) I had the running stuff already planned out (thank goodness!). Was probably close to midnight when I fell asleep, I woke up once and I guess I went back to sleep pretty easily cause the alarm had to wake me at 6:15. It was again pretty warm as I met the group - since this is the last long supported run before the marathon we all started at 8:00. Susan took a few pix and then we all took off. I kept Praveeta in my sights for about 2 miles, then she disappeared and I was all alone as usual. I got new earphones for the ipod - the kind that hook over your ears-and they had worked well for me.

Coach Kim had our first rest stop at Brentwood school (around mile 3), so I had my gu and water, then she was on White Rock around mile 6 so I had a clif shot & water. I knew the cutoff time was 90 min so I told her not to wait up for me, I'd run the last 3 miles "alone". So I did, it took me 2 hours to run that 9 muggy miles! Went home and saddled up "Buzz". Coach Cindy had concocted an informal bike ride starting at 1:00 at Lake Pflugerville. Windy?? you bet! Kim was there, newly ok'd to ride, and Coach Gina came from "south of the river" with her right knee braced up after the skiing incident.. We had quite a little group - two people I hadn't met before (Jeremy and Jennifer), Coaches Cindy and Gina, Kim, Carolyn, Vickie, Kenneth, Emmie and I took off on a modified "Pflugerville Tri bike course" 13 mile loop. WINDY??!! goodness.. it was just survival.. I was riding just behind Gina when the wind finally died down enough to talk to each other. Gina said,"I'm naming this the Bob Seeger Against the Wind ride!".. Gina, Emmie and Kim called it good after one loop and the rest of us went on for a second one. Cindy's friend Cynthia had showed up between the loops and they tacked on another 4 or 5 miles to their second loop. Me - after running 9 miles in the morning and riding 26 miles "against the wind", I was done.

on my way back home I called Steve and told him I was starving so we met for early dinner (I wiped off the top layer of salty sweat) at Casa Chapala. I like that place - unfortunately he'd eaten most of the excellent chips and custom mixed salsa before I got there!! oh well.. I had plenty of food with the mole negro. Steve ordered sopapillas so I was "obligated" to eat one of those also!  When I got home and cleaned up and put things away and got the workout clothes in the washer, I had to smile to myself. I had a decent amount of sleep, I'd run and cycled like crazy and had two very nice dinners. What a weekend! now I have to be good till Sunday evening!

current mood: mellow

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Monday, February 2nd, 2009
5:44 pm - blah........
Well, I managed to do NO swimming again in the month of January. I cycled only  84 miles and ran 82. And I missed the long run again yesterday. I am sick of this insomnia. Literally. I've decided in the less-than-2-weeks left before Austin Marathon, I will take the drugs that my previous doctor prescribed, at least on nights when I simply can't spend 10 hours in bed to get 5 of sleep. I just don't see any other way for the short term. The last long run I did (if you can call it long) was 8 miles, the Thursday before 3M. Of course if I'd known I wasn't going to run 3M, I would have made that run even longer..

off to the ACA meeting now..

current mood: cranky

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Monday, January 26th, 2009
12:45 pm - Thank you City of Austin..
dammit!! I did a short (4 miles!) ride and 1.5 mile run Saturday, then had lunch with Steve and went to Academy to get a pair of knickers like Vickie told me about. Washed them, hung to dry and set about getting everything ready for Sunday morning.

Since the city of Austin had "upgraded" my electric meter earlier in the week I had to reset the clock & alarm. Well, apparently I set the alarm for 4:50PM!!!!!!! I woke up in the night and it was still dark but I have a rule that I don't look at the clock so as to not get freaked out. this was one time I SHOULD have looked (I felt okay and didn't have a headache, so I would have been okay to go then....) boohoo!!! I went back to sleep (which is strange in and of itself) and didn't wake till there was light coming through the windows. UH OH! I knew that meant it was after 7:00 and sure enough, it was 7:15.. If I was one of those people who can just fly out the door after putting my contact lens in and throwing on clothes, I would have done that. But it takes me an hour to get moving.. I toyed with the idea of driving to somewhere on Shoal Creek and joining the crowd but my conscience wouldn't allow me to do that...

I knew all my friends would be looking for me, so about 10:00 I called Coach Cindy and told her what happened so they wouldn't keep looking for me. She said I could still wear my shirt, so I am!! I also joined all the TZ gang at TacoDeli afterward. As if earned it.. they all said next time they'll set up a phone tree to make sure I wake up (which means I'll have to remember to take the phone upstairs to bed with me..) In the afternoon, Steve and I went to see Gran Torino. We enjoyed it a lot.

current mood: pissed off

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Friday, January 23rd, 2009
11:38 am - quick update
ran 5 miles after work Wed and last night did 8 - but boy it felt like 20!!! it was still so warm when I started out (about 5:00, I think). I went home to soak in cold water and took an advil but for some reason I hurt all over.. weird.

Got one meeting from 2-3 on the afternoon calendar, then it's over to 3M for packet pickup. Tonight is the Markek Pre-3M Carb Fest. I have no idea what to bring, so maybe a bottle of that Ulupalakua Red...

I am so freaked out about how little sleep I'm getting - I may resort to drugs tonight because I know I won't sleep worth a crap Saturday night.
Today's ride to the office brightened my day a little - there was a guy on a mountain bike riding alongside me on Parmer and I noticed how he manuevered through the cones and debris to cross at Mopac. He was obviously dressed for work, plus the bike helmet. He had on a white shirt and tie, covered by a maroon apron! I never saw anybody ride a bike wearing an apron before! anyway, he's got my admiration for being brave enough to commute by bicycle in that part of town..

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