Friday, December 30, 2011


Admission:  I didn't take any pictures.  What the heck?  I must have been too busy having fun...

What I did do:

1) Have an AWESOME time with my family.  It's rare that we are all together in one place at one time but when it does happen it's really fun.  Many laughs. 

2) Lose at mini-golf.  I bodly predicted World Dominance on twitter.  And then I lost my ball in the water like 20 times.  All I can say is, those little fishing nets that they had by each hole came in handy... 

3) Lose at Scrabble.  I might have won once but I mostly got dominated by my mom, Oscar, my dad...  I've become dumber in 2011.

4) Lose at Settlers of Catan.  Starting to notice a trend here?

5) Swim at the bubble.  The rec center on Hilton Head has an awesome outdoor pool.  In the winter they put a big bubble over it.  It's a strange little place with the bubble but it's still a great place to swim with cool water and a digital pace clock (love). 

6) Run.  Lots of it.  A good deal of it in the rain but also some of it in beautiful, warm, sunny weather.  Oh yes!  And I had a running partner for 100% of my runs in Oscar.  :)

7) Eat lots of good food.  YUM.  I had some GREAT workouts when I was down in SC which I can only attribute to being fueled by my mom's excellent cooking.  :)

In short, it was a great time.  We got home early evening on Thursday and now it's back to work!  Well, not really.  It's back to work on Monday.  First we must celebrate the New Year!  Like last year, O and I will be ringing in the New Year with many of our triathlon friends.  This time though, I'm going to try to get home before 4 am.  That is one PR I don't want to be breaking...  :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful start to 2012!  Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


In just 1.5 days time, Oscar and I will be boarding a plane straight for South Carolina!  (actually, that's a lie...first we will be headed for Charlotte, NC and then we land in Savannah, GA...but whatever).

I am beyond EXCITED for a gazillion reasons but here are just a few:

1) We will be flying sans bike.  I haven't flown without my bike long I can't remember the last time.  Perhaps I was in college flying to a cross country or track race?  Not that I won't miss Petey (okay, I admit, I really won't miss him that much), but it will be really nice to bound easily through the airport without lugging that huge box that weighs SO MUCH!  Truth be told, I am NOT a light packer and my suitcase will probably be just as heavy as my bike box...but whatever...  :)

2) Without a bike I get to do lots of running and swimming in a very, very beautiful place.  HHI has a great masters program and lots of nice running paths.  I will also get to scope out some good training grounds for when I spend most of February in South Carolina swimming/biking/running!

3) I GET TO SEE MY PARENTS AND SISTER AND BROTHER-IN-LAW, NOT AT A RACE!  :)  I only seem to see my family at races when I am, well, focused on racing.  I am really, really looking forward to seeing my family (with Oscar too of course!) to have fun and enjoy each other.  Not to get up at 4 am and race for 5-10 hours.  :)

4) We already have like 15 movies planned.  (okay, maybe only 3...but whatever...  :)

5) I'm looking forward to kicking some serious butt in Scrabble.  I hope you know, family, I've been reading the dictionary.

6) Bowling.  My goal is to break 50.  :)

7) Eating all my mom's good food!  YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Because I worked on Thanksgiving I missed turkey dinner which is my favorite meal and so my mom agreed to make it for Christmas Eve.  I've been thinking about it ever since she told me that.

8) Naps.  Sleeping in.  Not working.

9) And most of all, I'm looking forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior.  Although it's very easy to lose sight of the meaning of Christmas I've been trying very hard to focus on the miracle that is Jesus's birth and the life He lived.  And of course, the death He died for us. 

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2012!  Ready or not, here we come!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Best. Day. Ever.

Okay, maybe not EVER.  I have had some pretty good days in life (like my wedding day probably trumps today... :)  But still, today was a pretty darn good day!

First, I woke up BEFORE my alarm!  This almost never happens because, well, I really like to sleep and could probably sleep all day long if given the opportunity.  Nonetheless, this morning I woke up at 5:30 am and stared at the clock until it rung at 6 am.  Not only does this mean I was well rested but I was also VERY excited for...

The Pittsburgh Triathlon Club's 100x100 workout!

Kind of hard to see us all but we had an awesome group!  :)
I had been looking forward to this workout ever since it was announced that it was happening.  I was really curious as to what 10,000 yards would feel like and VERY glad that I would get to find out with a great group of friends vs by myself in my own little hot YMCA pool.

We did the workout in a pool that I've been to a handful of times (like when my YMCA closes for weeks on end for no apparent reason) and it is a strange little place.  Some people call it The Cocoon.  Oddly enough, there are about 5 or 6 (or 12?) cats running around on the pool deck and 1 that lives in the women's locker room.  I kid you not.  Exhibit A:

Very cocoon like.

Anyway, strange environment aside, I really LOVED the challenge of the 100x100.  We didn't get fancy at all.  We were going to do all of them on 1:40 but we threw 2x(10x100) sets on 1:30 in there from #40-50 and #90-100 and I also threw some pulling in there too.  We took ~4-5 minute break after #50 to eat (and I REALLY wanted to take my goggles off for a bit). 

Here are some things I learned:

1) Fatigue started to show a bit around 7000 in but fatigue REALLY showed up big time from about 8500 on.  I swam pretty much every single repeat in the 1:18-1:22 range but at the end I felt like I was putting in a 1:10 effort and only getting a 1:21 out of it! 

2) Chad will almost always think we are on #X when really we are on #X-2.  :)

3) I cannot (I repeat CANNOT) chew gummies and swim at the same time.  That almost ended very ugly.

4) The workout went much quicker than I imagined it would.  Although it was a bit monotonous when we were in the 50s and 60s, when we finished I couldn't believe that we had been swimming for over 2.5 hours!

5) There wasn't much time for talking and joking around but after #1 I did manage to say "only 99 to go!"  (*groan*)

6) Swimming with friends was so awesome and most certainly the main reason why I was so excited for this.  Special thanks to Matt, Josh, Chad and Chris for putting up with me.  I feel very lucky to be a part of this club!

Chad (center) doesn't look happy in this picture but he secretly loved it and can't wait until the next 100x100!  I can't wait either!

After we were all finished we grabbed some lunch and then I went home and rode my bike like a good little triathlete.  :)

THEN, it was NOODLES time!  If you've read this blog long enough, you know that I LOVE Noodles and Company.  I never thought the day would come when there was one in Pittsburgh but indeed, crazy things do happen.  There will soon be THREE franchises in Pittsburgh, one of which is a cool 5 minute walk from the hospital I work at (trouble).  Oscar and I headed there for dinner tonight, my first Noodles meal in ages. 

Happy Day!

And then we went to church.  And that always finishes off every Saturday very well. 

Whew.  Wonder how awesome tomorrow will be now?  :) 

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I've Been Retul-ed

Pittsburgh has Retul!  Yes, yes, even little Pittsburgh.  Those of us in the triathlon community here like to joke that Pittsburgh is the new Boulder (a city that probably invented Retul) but in reality we are not.  We do not have what Boulder or San Diego has in terms of triathlon numbers or opportunity.  HOWEVER, we do now at least have Retul and let me say, it's pretty awesome!

When I first heard of Retul (which is a computerized system for bike fitting in case you don't want to click on the link), I really wanted to have a Retul fit done.  I knew I would have to travel for it (likely Philly was my closest option) but knowing how important bike fit is, I figured it would be worth it. 

But...that never happened.  Instead I kept riding in my old position which probably wasn't that bad but did have SOME issues (most notably I ride off centered which makes my right knee wonky and causes a lot of saddle sores on my left side). 

Lucky for me (and all Pittsburgh area cyclists), Jake (Retul guru) came to town and set up shop at Top Gear, a bike store only 40 minutes from my house.  SIGN ME UP!

Jake probably didn't want me to take a picture of him but he had no choice.  Nobody likes a picture-less blog.

So today I was Retul-ed.  I was a little nervous about it because (1) I was afraid that Jake would tell me my bike is too big for me (which it kind of is but he worked around it) and (2) change scares me.  I mean I rode pretty well this past year so maybe my fit was okay and this new fit would not be okay? 

Early on though, I knew this was good stuff.  It was a process of 2.5 hours of checking flexibility and Jake assessing my current issues and figuring out how we might fix them and of course the space robot part where they put the sensors on you and you pedal and the computer figures out all your angles, etc...  I'm no expert (um...I really don't know anything about bike fit at all) but I do know this - I already feel better on my bike (I'm even now and my right knee is much less wonky!) and, given that I'm lower in front with a flatter back, will also be more aerodynamic.  Free speed?  Yes please!

(plus, I also have yet ANOTHER new stem to add to my collection...does anyone need a stem?...perhaps my sister would like one for Christmas...  ;)

Overall, it's a great process and I highly recommend you give it a shot if you have someone close by that does it.  If you are in the Pittsburgh area (or anywhere remotely close), I certainly recommend Jake at Top Gear.  As we all know, bike fit is one of the most important components of cycling so getting it right is paramount!

Anyway, Jake and I still have some work today.  We've made some intermediate changes with tweaking (and yet another new stem) to come in the future.  I'm feeling pretty excited about this.  And also about the possibility of saying goodbye to some of my saddle sores.  That in and of itself would be the best Christmas gift ever!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dang, That Was A Long Time Ago...

I've been such a deliquent blogger again!  I have no excuse other than it's a busy time of year (duh) and I'm trying to get lots of sleep.  Unfortunately when push comes to shove, blogging goes by the wayside (I wish I could make work go by the wayside instead - HA!).

Training is humming along well.  The double runs and double swims of November were replaced with big(ger) bike miles in December (I just knew that would happen).  I still have a double run or two but the double swims have disappeared.  Not to fear - I did manage to get a 100x100 swim set on my schedule for next Saturday.  Which makes me soooooo excited!  This will be my first attempt at such a set, something I've wanted to do FOREVER but never found a group to do it with (yes, I know I could do it by myself but...ouch).  ANYWAY, the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club is sponsoring the swim and so not only do I get to do 100x100 but I get to do it with a lot of great friends!  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I've also managed to find a new masters team that I'm pretty excited about.  Not to replace my own masters team at Pitt (which is so awesome I seriously wish I could swim there EVERY SINGLE DAY), but rather to ADD to the rotation.  This new team has a practice on Saturday, which Pitt does not.  And word on the street is, this Saturday practice is usually 5.5-6K in length.  Um...YES PLEASE!  (I think I really am a swimmer at, love, love it!)

In other news, the Occupy Pittsburgh people have been making news here in Western PA because they are getting kicked out of their spot and they are not going easy.  This is very similiar to Roxy when she does her rendition of Occupy Couch and Occupy Sunny Spot:

"Can I help you human?"

She lets you know if your bag is in the way of the sunny spot...
The good news is, in less than 2 weeks I'll be doing my own version of Occupy Hammock.  We are going to South Carolina for Christmas!  (which is where my parents live, in case you were wondering)  I simply CANNOT wait! 

This was from several Christmases ago.  Let it be known, family, I call the hammock FIRST!
And finally, I leave you with a conversation that O and I had on our run this morning...  We were discussed that while we both aren't *that* much older than 30, our 20s seriously seem like ages ago.

Me: Yeah, I'm only 32 but 29 seemed like light years ago.
Oscar (who is 34): Seriously, it's not like I'm 39!
Me: Right?
Oscar (after thinking a bit): I guess I am 5 years removed from my 20s.  (QOTD) Dang, that was a long time ago...

You might have had to be there but it was really funny - I swear!

Have a great weekend everyone!

PS  I bought whole wheat orzo at the grocery store, now I must figure what to do with it!
PPS We finally saw the Muppet movie today.  Spectacular!  Animal is the bomb!  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Photo Dump

Time for a photo dump from the phone! 

New suits in the mail today!  Makes for nice swim motivation.  I even got a new pair of googles.  I finally figured out that if I buy the kids size goggles they fit my face right.  :)

Also, new shoes!  I swear I only go shopping but once a year.  This just happens to be that one time.  :)  My mom will be happy to know that I came home from the shoe store with something other than running shoes.  :)
This past Tuesday I had a work dinner at the Marriot which was beautifully decorated for Christmas including many big nutcrackers!  Also pictured is my BFF from work Kristen (who is a kick-butt dietitian)!

Here we were clearly going to give Mr. Smiley Nutcracker a kiss but really all we did was laugh and make a scene.

Nope, not Pittsburgh.  But I do leave this picture of a Kona sunset on my phone for those times when I'm feeling a little blue.  Instant pick-me-up!  :)

Happy weekend everyone!  :)