Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NYC "did list"

I’m a big fan of the “to do” lists… something about scratching a line through a task is so satisfying. Well, I had lots to do before going to NYC – but, really no idea what would be done while I was there (other than watch the race, of course). So, in an attempt to capture all we DID DO, I’m going to try and list them here. Get ready, here we go:
-My flight was delayed, and then once we boarded, we sat on the plane in Greenville for over an hour.
-Andrew was experiencing the same delay in Chicago. Evidently the landing areas in Newark were crowded.
-Finally landed in Newark and met up with Andrew.
-I wheeled my only luggage (carry-on) around the airport, while Andrew had to drag his bike box.
-He’d already figured out what train we needed to get on to get close to Central Park.
-Bike box acted as nice bench while waiting for train.
-Now, just picture Andrew lugging his bag and bike box through the subway systems of NYC. Classic.
-I was already deemed a bad sherpa.
-Bang, CLUNK, BANG, goes the bike box up the stairs and into the City. (Jen, I thought about you and Jerome lugging those things around Europe)
-It was pretty late at this point, and we were walking along the streets of NYC, with backpacks, and a bike box, looking for the YMCA.
-I was already laughing as we “checked into” the ½ star YMCA.
-Andrew worked on getting the keys while I picked up the pool schedule.
- As the elevator doors opened on our floor, I instantly had college flashbacks.
-We were in a DORM.
-A girl walked by, in a towel, carrying her shampoo + toothbrush.
-The room was, like I said, a dorm. I looked at the bunk beds and yelled, “I want to be on top.” I think Andrew had a witty reply for that one.
-We finally got to ditch the bike box.
-Made our way back to the streets to look for suitable dinner.
-Usually at 11:00 pm, restaurants are closed, people are asleep, and cities are quiet. Right, forgot I was in New York.
-We had no problem locating a nice deli for sandwiches and smoothies.
-Night one. Done.
-I did have some workouts to get in during the weekend.
-So, on Saturday morning I set out for my long run. Andrew was going to put his bike together and take it for a spin.
-One block over to Central Park (what the Y lacks in luxury, it makes up for in location).-The place was PACKED! Runners, walkers, unicyclists (yes, for real), people on rollerblades, with dogs, cyclists (easy to spot people getting ready for the race: aero helmets and disc wheels ;)
-I fell into the mass of people traveling the loop around the park.
-It was AWESOME – so many people outside, exercising, enjoying the sunny morning.
-I’d overshot the street where I should have stopped, so 2 hours later – I was walking back to the YMCA.
-Andrew had his bike together, and since the room was tight with 2 people and a bike, we left for the race expo.
-Sat in on the pro/elite meeting. First sighting of Andy Potts – ah.
-More time around the expo.
-Subway ride to Little Italy (via Chinatown)
-Fun, fun, fun and great food!
-I think the rest of the afternoon was race prep.
-Wait, we did visit the Pool (on the 3rd floor)
-Anyone from Illinois, who is familiar with St. Viator H.S. will know what the pool looked like.
-Andrew got in a few 100 yards – while I tried to do a workout, as men doing side stroke joined my lane and wanted to circle swim. No thanks.
-To bed early.
-Then, I awoke thinking a spaceship was about to land on my head.
-No, I was on the top bunk, my head was about a foot away from the light, and Andrew was up getting ready for the race. It was around 4:00 am.
-In my sleepy state I mumbled something about using the floor lamp (shouldn’t it be all about the sherpa on race morning?)
-I left the Y at 4:50 am. The pro wave wasn’t scheduled to go off until 5:50, I was 2 miles away, an hour was plenty of time, right?
-Next I found myself running down Broadway at 5:00 am. Drunk people were just getting in from the bars, stumbling into hotels.
-I got to the transition area a sweaty mess. It was HUMID.
-Oops, the swim was point to point. I still had 1K to go.
-Still running, through the mass of participants (who were in no hurry), trying to make the start.
-The American Anthem began playing
-I picked up my pace (who doesn’t love sprinting at 5:00 am the morning after a long run?)
-Finally, after throwing many elbows, I got to the starting area.
-By this point, I was dripping with sweat. I said good luck to Andrew, and after looking me over, he said something about possibly needing to take in more fluids on the bike… -They lined the pro men up on the barge and off they went. -And off I went for more running. Seriously, I had to run to keep up with these guys as they swam downstream.-Now, I was running against foot traffic. (more elbow throwing)
-Caught Andrew as he made his way toward T1.
-More running to find good spots to watch the bike.
-I think this was the only time I was still during the race. I had about 30 min of downtime.
-Hydrate, I needed to hydrate.
-I positioned myself near the bike finish. Since Andrew had come out of the water in about 19th… I was Stoked to see him roll in 4th off the bike!! (he later told me that passing Andy Potts on the bike was a race highlight for him)-Now I was running to Central Park. Somehow I missed the lead guys going out.-So, I ran through the park to see them around mile 5.
-The leaders came flying by (Andy before Andrew… Andrew told me he hung with AP for about ½ mile, just hoping someone got a picture of him running with the top dogs. Yeah, I’d like a picture of me running with Mr. Potts too... man, I could barely get the camera out fast enough) -Andrew turned in a very strong 8th place finish.-Yes, I ran to meet him there… embarrassed to look and feel like I’d done a triathlon myself.
-However, looking so trashed played to my advantage.
-Andrew was looking for the post race massage tent.
-I told him I’d wait – he said, “just go get a massage too.”
-First instinct said, “no those are for participants.”
-He said, “look the place is empty.”
-That’s how I found myself in the massage tent, getting a post race massage, with 4 of the pro men.
-I’ve never gotten one after a race I’ve done, so I figured I was due.
-I walked with Andrew back to the YMCA (location serves us well again)
-He cleaned up while I changed into my running clothes… I had run around for race supporting purposes, but didn’t think that was considered my run for the day.
-Andrew actually jogged with me for about a mile, then he cut off to go get his bike – and I ran along the race course.
-Another 6 miles in Central Park (In total, I’m thinking I logged about 27 miles of running in Central Park – in 2 days)
-Once I got back to the room, Andrew and I were ready for real food.
-Just as we were heading out, we ran into Aaron Scheidies.
-Good friend of Andrew, and Amazing athlete, activist, and person in general.
-It was decided that Aaron would join us in our trip to Times Square.
-First we had to drop his stuff off at the Race Director’s condo (niiiiice set up)
-Then, Aaron, Andrew, and I headed for Times Square.

-I had to take a picture with this Target Ad.... a 3 story tall hottie swimmer!
-3 tired athletes storming through the Hershey’s Factory and M&M’s world. Oh baby.-Funny story from M&M’s palace… we were on the 3rd floor, needing to find the escalators, and I began following Aaron. Then, Andrew said, “you know you’re following a blind man – how’s that going for you?” Heck, Aaron acts like he knows exactly where he’s going?!
-And I dragged them through the Crocs store.
-Then we got back to the subway. Aaron was headed back to Central Park, while Andrew and I wanted more Little Italy.
-Lunch = pizza.
-Next on the list: find tickets for an afternoon show.
-I discovered that Cirque du Soleil was performing a new showed called “Jungle Dreams.” SOLD. -However, we had some time to kill.
-I had Andrew call his sister (who would probably be on the computer) to look up the address for Serendipity Café.
-We located the spot and found the right train.
-The wait for dessert at Serendipity… well, it came close to 2 hours.
-During our wait, we went to yet another Monster Candy shop and Bloomingdales (so, I got in about 15 min of quality shopping)-Finally, finally – after a really long, hot wait, we were seated at the café. We had 16 min to order, eat our desserts, and pay.
-Two huge desserts, 12 minutes, and $24 later, we were back on the subway.
-RUNNING, again, to the theater. We made it with about 30 seconds to spare.
-Sweaty, with seriously high heart rates (running + sugar overload), we found our seats.
-Amazing, everything Cirque du Soleil does is amazing. I was not disappointed.
-Great show, very acrobatic and creative. Nice to sit for over an hour.
-Ok, so the show ended at 9:00 pm. Our flights were around 6:00 am. Any normal person would go back, pack, and get some sleep.
-We called Aaron to see what he was up to.
-A comedy show at 11:00 pm. Sure, we’re in.
-We went back to the YMCA to pack our stuff and rest for about 20 min.
-Rest, no – no such thing.
-We played on the bunk beds like monkeys – trying to imitate Cirque du Soeil performers-I think I took a shower. Yes, walked down the hall in a towel and reminisced about my days in Creswell Hall.
-Another subway ride to ?
-Aaron was not answering his phone, and we really didn’t know where we were going.
-All of a sudden, 2 guys RUN past.
-Of course those are our friends… running.
-Aaron and Ben – and now we’re late – so we all take off running.
-I’m in a dress (thank goodness for my new, stylish, black, flat, crocs… that acquired some solid miles of running) jetting around the streets of NYC.
-We’d gone the wrong way.
-TURN – 10 blocks back
-I’m leading with Ben – and Aaron is truly, blindly, running all-out behind me. I hear Andrew laughing – because it’s starting to RAIN.
-We get to the Comedy Cellar, and the show is packed – hilarious – some funny guys for sure. I can’t repeat any of the jokes, but assume they were either dirty, tasteless, off color, or just wrong.
-I think we crawled back into the Y for a 1 hour power nap before getting up for our flight.
-I don’t remember much about grabbing my suitcase and getting in the cab.
-We did make it to the airport, checked in, both flights on time.
-Andrew and I said a very, VERY, tired goodbye
-I lugged myself through security
-Slept the entire flight home
-And went from the airport into work…. Oh, that was a long day at the office!

Aaron, so nice to meet you – and follow you around New York ;) Good luck throughout the rest of your season. You are quite an inspiration and straight up cool guy.

Andrew, thanks for an amazing weekend – overflowing with the best NYC has to offer. It took me a few days to recoup, but it was worth it. Your race was Awesome, and I know even greater finishes are on your horizon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

NYC preview

I arrived in NYC on Friday night, after some lengthy delays.... ohhh, the stories I have from Friday-Saturday night (hello, we stayed at a YMCA?!) Then, Sunday began with a 4:00 am wake up call - running 2 miles along Broadway at 4:55 am - watching the pro wave go off at 5:50 - miles upon miles of following the guys around the course... my own 6 mile run in Central Park, some subway riding, times square shopping, Little Italy eating, Cirque show viewing, ending the day 22.5 hours later (this morning) at the Comedy Cellar. LOTS happened within those hours. Too much to describe right now. I'll leave you with this: I don't care what the signs at the NYC Tri Race Expo say... being part of the race "entourage" is NOT easy! I'm exhaused!

CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew Starykowicz on an Amazing race (8th Pro and 3rd Bike Split). Also to Beth Shutt (3rd Amature Elite)!! Way to go you Studs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chatt Pics

Some Pictures from the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon

Tri & the City

WooHOO, nothing like a last minute trip! New York City, here I come!
It feels like I've been racing almost every weekend... so, with a weekend off, what's a girl to do?! Travel to watch a triathlon, and cheer others on, of course. Actually, Andrew Starykowicz proposed the idea - and did a fantastic fluff job on the sales end:

Accommodations (with a pool) right next to Central Park [aka dorm style rooms with bunks at the YMCA, communal bathrooms, and yes... access to the Y]; fine dining [that is, if he places in a $ spot... if not, it's McDonald's baby!]; the chance to spend a weekend hanging out with cool triathletes [yes, it's another weekend with tri-geeks - however, Andy Potts is on the participant list... this is promising]; watching the sun rise over Manhattan [only because his wave is going off at 5:50 am... 5:50 in the MORNING people. I have no idea what I'd do if someone told me to dive into the Hudson River at 5:50am?!]; the ability to get my own training in [does this mean lugging Andrew's stuff around the city?... possibly Sunday at 4:00 am? I don't consider this my functional strength routine!]..............

What can I say, as crazy as this all sounds, I'm totally psyched! A quick weekend trip, time in NYC, running in Central Park, the triathlon scene (big expo, triathletes everywhere, pre event jitters), race morning, cheering on all the participants, post race activities.
Then, I was put in charge of Sunday afternoon plans. Well, if I'm getting up at 3:?? am, a 20 min power nap will be part of the schedule. Other ideas: a Yankee's game, Broadway show, dinner (restaurant TBD, see prize money factor above), and there's always shopping (non race expo style)!

Good luck to everyone racing! Have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

GH quote

Every time I ride with my friend Matt, I come close to falling off my bike at least once. Not because he's a squirrelly rider invading my road-space... but because he's funny and extremely random. During our most recent ride, the laugh intervals were hard and often. This gives me an idea for a homework assignment (Matt I will need your help). Let me compile a list of random/hilarious/tire swerving stories from the M&A Rides.

However, our conversations can quickly go from roadkill smells to the current political scene. Over the weekend, during my drive to Chattanooga, I listened to an early morning radio show. The guest speaker: George Hincapie's Mental Coach. The topics discussed actually tie in nicely with a recent post on Jen's blog (see Soapbox Saturday). Basically, the mental guru got George saying "I am a climber." result = he won a climbing stage in the tour.

While we were talking about GH, and this year's tour, and what goes through your head during a race... Matt recited (loosely) a great GH quote:

"What I enjoy most about racing is having total control, pushing my body beyond its limits, making it hurt, telling it what to do while not allowing it to talk back to me until the race is over."
(Liz, I thought about misspelling one of the words in the quote - just to make it more "authentic")

I love this quote! For some reason... it makes me think of an infamous scene in "American Pie." I just want to look down at my quads and growl... "what's my name, say my name B_______"

There are so many things I love about racing, and that quote really captures one of the major aspects. Pushing myself far beyond anything I could do in training, silencing the pain, embracing the challenge, overcoming obstacles, and forcing my mind/body to accept the same assignment (forward motion as hard & fast as possible).

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chattanooga RR

Nope, not the Chattanooga Choo-choo or Railroad; the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon Race Report. And speaking of water… this race had PLENTY of it – during the swim and beyond.

After a fun filled day with Leah, Bradley, and the pooches, I hit the sack as soon as was socially acceptable. I could have fallen asleep at 8:00 pm, but it was still light outside. So I crawled into my comfy guest quarters around 9:30. I probably fell asleep at 9:31.

The alarm went off early, much earlier than I normally get up for a race. But this race was different, new. Doing a race for the first time escalates my nerves. I’m spoiled with the Set Up Races here in South Carolina. I’ve now done most of them at least once… I know what to expect. I wanted to get to this site with enough time to walk myself through everything, get my bearings, and find answers to any unknowns.

As with any larger race, the transition area looked huge. The bike racks were lined up like soldiers awaiting their weapons. I dropped everything off at my assigned rack and headed for the swim finish. It was still dark, the pre race music wasn’t playing yet, the air was void of participant nerves/chatter/intensity. Although the sun had yet to come up, I could see the mountains cradling the river… and there was fog (one of my favorite climatic phenomenon’s – I don’t know why, fog fascinates me and gives any setting a mysterious aura.)

Right there, in that moment, I felt good, fortunate, excited, ready, and eager. So, with a deep breath I set off to do all those normal pre race things. Study the swim exit and route to transition (up a long flight of stairs, down a path through the race expo tents, across the street, then left into the transition area, 9 rows down, 2 racks up). I got body marked (#940). I put on sun block, and then had to go back to body marking because the sun block had completely removed the numbers. Took the bike out for a spin – a bit along the bike and run courses. Felt that my front tire seemed a bit low on air. Visited the onsite bike mechanic who told me I had a slow valve leak. Well, nothing I could do at that point. Threw on my running shoes and did a short warm up.

Before I knew it, the buses were leaving to take people to the swim start. This race was a time trial start by number… and like I said, I was 940. In getting on the shuttle and going to the start, I knew I’d have some time to hang out. And hang out I did. Next year, I will take a deck of cards. We had serious time on our hands.

The pros were to go off first, then some age groups of women, then most of the men, and then us… the young women. And midway through the sendoffs, dark clouds rolled in leaving us to wait in the rain. Perfect. How I loved standing around in the rain, awaiting a 1.5 k swim in the Tennessee River.

Finally I could see #’s in the 800’s lining up. Yes, yes, yes… get me in the water and out of this waiting game. We were hustled down to a pier and into the water where they were sending participants off every 3 seconds. There was no swim warm up (fine by me!), it was get in and GO. So I did.

I was bound determined to swim hard. I wanted to push myself; I wanted to feel good about the time I saw on my watch as I exited the water. So, right from the start I went hard and tried to hold on. I was passing men that had left before me. I stayed toward the buoys and concentrated on my form. I put my head down and really put myself into pulling, finishing each stroke, kicking, sighting, and breathing. Soon, I could see the boats that marked the finish area. Aiming left toward the shore I surged for the stairs. With perfect timing, a volunteer grabbed my hand and pulled me from the water.

Now, I know you can’t compare split times from one race to another… but in looking down at my watch, I realized I’d PR’d (that swim distance) by 3 minutes. I didn’t want to get too excited, thinking that maybe the fast swimmers had turned in 17/18:00 min swims. But, nevertheless, I flew up the stairs and into transition.

Bike stuff on and out onto the course. I was prepared for hills, I knew this ride would be tough, I thought about Amy K telling me to power down the hills (to gain some ground on the up). Oh buddy were there hills. We rounded the clover entrance ramp onto the highway – and from there on out, it was up or down. The first 5 miles were a challenge. Shifting, spinning, standing, trying to find my rhythm. I forced myself to suffer going uphill and down. The course was an out/back on highway 27. We were in the left lane (closest to the median) going both directions. An endless row of cones (seriously, Team Magic must own 1,000,000 orange cones) separated us from traffic flow in the right lane.

As I made the turn around, I noticed the wind had picked up. And suddenly I was heading straight for some really dark clouds. Fantastic, more rain. The next 10 miles depict a ride I’d never, ever like to do again. Picture yourself, riding aero, down hills, going close to 40 mph, in TORRENTIAL downpour, while cars and semis fly by you in the right lane (creating monsoon like waves that crash down on you and your bike).

Due to the sheets of rain (not the “pitter patter, I’m riding in the rain” rain… the “if I were driving in a car, I might have to pull over until visibility improves” type of rain). I actually witnessed some participants standing with their bikes on the median. A split second decision was made… either wuss out and pull back on the speed, or continue pushing and hope I stay in control of my bike. Not gonna lie, I was scared. This is not typical… I love descending, flying down the road. But, this was a race, and in a race you push.

I forged through the rain (which felt like b.b. pellets when riding above 30 mph) and prayed for no sudden pot holes or swerving trucks. With all the external distractions, I didn’t even notice fatigue in my legs. Driving your legs to churn during a race is one thing… pedaling fast because you’re scared for your life is another.

After 42 k, I was back in transition and making my way through the muddy mess. I found my running shoes full of water, ditched my sunglasses, grabbed my visor and race belt, then set off. Oooooo, the first mile is uphill and up a flight of stairs. From there it flattens out and follows a riverfront path. If I hadn’t been breathing so hard, I might have been able to enjoy the beauty.

You see, by this point, it had stopped raining. Yes, just in time for the run… the rain let up, leaving 199% humidity in the air. Mentally, I tried to send all energy to my legs. I noted all the people making their way back to the finish. I told myself that I’d soon be there. I told myself to NOT waste a good swim and coming out of that ride in one piece.

Hitting the 5k point of the run (turnaround) was a race changing moment. I was not happy with the time, and forced my legs to turn over faster. I was determined to negative split that bad boy. I noted all the ladies behind me (of course, with a TT style start, I never really know where I stand… but feeling spunky runners on my heels is enough to make me pick up the pace).

Making my way toward the finish arch, I heard Leah yell for me. Out of all those spectators, I heard her – and it meant so much (Leah, I still can’t thank you and Bradley enough for standing in the rain to cheer me on).

I found them after the race, a bit waterlogged and amazed at the whole scene. Feeling bad that, for me, they’d spent a Sunday morning standing around in such horrible conditions… I had to send them home. Over the next hour I packed up my stuff and loaded it all, along with my bike, into the car. Awards weren’t scheduled to start until 12:30 (or after last finisher). What would have been perfect during that wait: being wrapped in a dry, fluffy, terrycloth robe. Yes, this thought actually crossed my mind.

Instead I walked around to kill time. I ran into Hailey Piersol, my sister’s college roommate (and the younger sister of Aaron Piersol – who holds a few World Records in backstroke). Hailey isn’t a shabby swimmer herself (swam the 1500 in the Olympic trials). Naturally, she’s taken to triathlon alright ;) Let me put the warning out there now… Hailey is going to be huge in the tri scene. Not only did she have the 5th fastest swim of the day (male/female/pro), she also had the fastest female run split. When she fully grasps the bike – this chick is going to be unstoppable. What am I talking about, she did get 5th OA in her 1st oly dist race.

Awards finally got underway. Since Kristen Sass placed 2nd OA, I was awarded #1 in my age group (8th OA, and as Jen reminded me, 7th OA – non pro ;) I left the race site excited about my breakthrough swim, thankful for surviving the bike, but disappointed with my run. (I later learned, in talking with Andrew on the phone, that I’d actually ranked much higher in the run than I thought).

Click HERE for a great article about the race.

Leah and Bradley were waiting for me at their house… and ready to do whatever I felt like. I requested a quick shower and FOOD. We ended up going to a great place called Fresh to Order. After we all placed our lunch orders, the waitress caught me eyeing the chocolate cookies (individually wrapped and about the size of my face). I must have looked pretty desperate, because she actually told me to, “just take one”.

All too soon, my Chattanooga trip came to an end. Leah and Bradley, thank you SO much for having me!! (and putting up with the triathlon mumbo-jumbo). I drove away from their house, as more rain moved in – fitting. All kidding aside, rain and all, it was a Great weekend.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

toast, I'm here

This could not wait... I've only been in Chattanooga since 9:30 am, and already the stories are piling up.

I left Greenville around 5:30 this morning - and still managed to hit traffic going south on 85. Well that settles that... there is no good time to drive around Atlanta. You are doomed 24-7 on those roads.

About 3 CD's, some radio talk, one gas stop, and many miles later, I pulled up to Leah's house. Classic, she was actually out on the front porch sweeping. No lie. Cute, little miss homemaker. Speaking of homemaker, WOW. I told you her house would look like something out of a decorating magazine. She did not disappoint. I actually might hire her to give my place a makeover... unfortunately, she might make me move the bikes out of my dining room.

Her home is gorgeous, everywhere. My house has nice looking sections. You can obviously tell where I tried to "decorate." But here, in Leah's "magazine quality" rooms, no corner was left overlooked. But, I must mention her collection of University of Georgia items. I might have been the UGA cheerleader, but Leah could be considered one of the most dedicated fans. I've already seen a Georgia: dust buster, grill cover, 3 framed pictures of Sanford Stadium, cupboard full of cups, a serving tray, and a Live English Bulldog.

After catching up with Leah, Bradley, and their pups: Lulu (black pug) and George (the bulldog); I did a quick brick in her neighborhood. Actually, during my ride/run - I did some house shopping. This area is amazing! Then, she went with me to the race site for packet pick up. Here, I continued falling in love with Chattanooga.

We had lunch downtown at a restaurant called Rembrandt's, sat outside eating, and reminiscing. Even though she hadn't read my last entry, she brought up our animal cracker & peanut butter meals.

During this time, Bradley attended a baby shower for a friend of theirs. This baby shower is why I felt the need to get on and post asap. Remember, I am in Tennessee. Leah and I were on the couch when he walked in. As soon as he said most of the guests were "Red" (short for redneck), I knew he had good stories to share.

Other guests at the shower: Jim Bob and Billy Bob (not FName, Middle Name... Jim Bob is the first name). Party menu: pizza & keg beer. Party favors: koozie (bearing the unborn child's name, "A Toast to Emma Grace"). btw, inside the special koozies were personalized plastic solo cups. And the comments reported from the male contingency are not appropriate to write here.

Now we wait for dinner. I'm sitting on the couch with Lulu at my side and George (snoring louder than Sally) under my feet. Looking forward to the race. Leah, knowing my love for all breakfast foods promises brunch at some place called Aretha Frankenstein's - well, after the race - bring on the biscuits.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fri this & that

Leah, I'm coming!! But, it won't be until tomorrow morning. Knowing what I know about I85, 285, and the city of Atlanta on a Friday afternoon.... I'd rather not be involved in that battle today. (Amy, Kelley, you know what I'm saying?!!)

I'm racing in the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon on Sunday, and it just so happens that one of my best friends lives in Chattanooga. Love it when stuff like this works out. Leah (my college roommate) and Bradley got married last year and bought a house in Chatt. I can't wait to see them both and the house, which no doubt looks like something straight out of a home decor magazine. Leah's got serious decorating/style skills.

Originally, I'd planned to leave at noon today. Get through ATL before it became the country's largest parking lot. However, there have been a few kinks in the plan. Ah, packing for a triathlon can be a nightmare. As of this morning at 6:00 am, I was down one rear race wheel.

Luckily, Gerald saved the day! G not only let me borrow his race wheel, he even played mechanic: put on the tire, changed the cassette, made sure it was shifting... All the while I was enjoying a Capri Sun with his daughter, Grace, and wife, Sarah (now in her 8th month of pregnancy). To the Kolb Family: I love you guys and now owe you many, many nights of babysitting!

So, I'll still leave work at 12:00 - but, then I'll have to spend some time packing. Many of you might say... "just leave when you finish packing." Well, if this is your thought, you've never tried to drive near Atlanta at 3:00 on a Friday. It's either leave here at noon today, or wait until tomorrow.

Spending the weekend with Leah will be a blast. I'm already having flashbacks: our various ghetto apartments, nights of animal crackers and peanut butter, endless conversations to distract us from studying, watching 'Friends', modeling outfits for each other, and the list goes on.

I hope to enjoy some time in Chattanooga after the race (since my new friend, April - who works in real estate - tells me it's the #3 place to relocate. Fyi, Greenville is #4)


Then, on Monday I'm leading a triathlon clinic at the Sportsclub (Five Forks, Simpsonville location). The goal is to get people involved in triathlon, a sport which can be very intimidating for the 1st timer (or the advanced, for that matter!) We'll have 3 Monday night sessions (7/14; 7/28; 8/11 - all from 6-7 pm) leading up to the Greenville Sprint Triathlon ( - August 17th). I even hear G-man might make a guest appearance!

We'd love to have you join us! Call the Sportsclub for information (they can provide you with my contact info)


Some pictures from Camp RRRR. Thanks for sending, Andrew!! Just looking over these makes me daydream about being in Franklin. I miss the smell, the hills, the lake, the open fire, the friends.

Getting ready for Fireworks!!

Eventually, they popped up over these mountains Kelly, Jessica, and Andrew

Ah, the roads in Franklin

Andrew, were you really trying to have a conversation?!

going over 50 mph makes the climb worth it
taking pics at this speed can't be safe

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Congrats to my friend, Rob Butcher, who was recently selected to oversee the United States Masters Swimming program in the role of Executive Director! This is great news for USMS.

I met Rob while competing at the Sunbelt Masters Championships in Charlotte, NC. His passion for swimming, health, and community were something I picked up on right away. His background (professionally and in the sport) along with his exuberant personality make him the perfect fit.
To read more, click HERE

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


It seems to be "camp time" all around. So, I've decided to create my own: Camp RRRR (named after the noise I make gutting it out on the climbs) That's right - this weekend we're going to Rock & Roll, Rest & Relax.....

Mountain time at my parent's cabin with Mom, Dad, Sister (Sarah), her boyfriend (Vaughn), Andrew, his sister (Jess), her friend (I'm sure I'll know her name by Sunday), and Lauren (my sister's friend from HS now living/working in NC). Quite the group.

We will ride in the hills, swim in the lakes, hike the trails, try to catch fish (Vaughn's middle name isn't Trout for nothin), cook meals, take pictures, laugh, tell stories, laugh more, search for waterfalls, and enjoy a LONG weekend.
A view of the Franklin, NC area below.

Stories and pictures from RRRR to follow.