Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pics 2

Sorry, these pictures are totally out of order.

seriously, how cute

ride, swim, hike

waterfall, worth the hike

ah, the x-ray... makes me want to puke

one of the many hills we climbed or sailed down

the 'hood

a view that makes me want to swim

the group after swimming: Gail in cap, visor, and mask around her neck (classic)
After ride, after swim, getting ready to hike

view from the lake

Beautiful Brevard

Dad would rather ride this than a bike

Toast, we made it!

Gail, already wanting to go swim

Brevard wkd Pics

The Group At Lunch

Rick & Gail with her foil braces... niiiice

Gman... about to go smelt fishing (sorry, inside joke)

the wonders of my tongue

Chris (aka Gman) & Janis (aka BEST sherpa)

SO great until CRASH

My 2008 tri season has been wonderful.  Great races, fun new friends, training weekends, a family relay... and this past weekend was no exception - well, until I crashed.

Gail and I have had many conversations about riding to her parents place in Brevard, NC.  Through a few emails the trip came into fruition... Chris Giordanelli, Rick & Gail Kattouf, and I would ride from Greenville to Brevard.  Janis Giordanelli would drive our gear up and my parents would come over from Franklin.

So, on Saturday morning we met at the Kattouf's (overachiever G-man actually rode his bike there from Simpsonville).  Janis collected our stuff and we set off.  About 1 mile into the ride Rick already had to pee... and announced that he would be making frequent pit stops.

The ride was gorgeous.  Furman to Caesar's Head.  We climbed to the top - and I hoped they didn't have to wait long for me ;)  Making our way to Brevard was breathtaking: smooth roads, downhill, tailwind, clear day, cooler than avg temps... Gman and Rick even added a time trial effort for good measure.

Right when we pulled onto main street, we saw Janis waiting at a coffee shop.  A block later, we spotted Doug and Sally Long.  The decision was made to have lunch at a burrito joint - so, we all made our way to the restaurant.

Lunch was hilarious... Gail fashioned braces out of foil, Gman imitated himself trying to tie a cherry stem with his tongue, I showed off my tongue tricks, and Sally got pictures of it all.

After lunch, the 4 of us got back on our bikes for the 15 mile ride to Gail's parents home.  My parents and Janis would meet us there... after my dad made a stop at the Sears and ABC store - which were next to each other, heaven in his eyes.

Man, that last 15 miles were more difficult than the entire 45 that got us to Brevard.  The neighborhood itself is a roller coaster of asphalt - Gman's garmin even went into "rest mode" since we were going under 3.5 mph.

Finally, we made it to Gail's parents home (they are in Florida - so we were free to party down).  Oh and cut loose we did ;)  Gman busted out the grape Gatorade and we toasted to a great ride.  After a bit of R&R, we literally suited up and headed to the lake.  Beautiful, even though I was toasted - this lake was too amazing to pass up.  Dad, Gail, G, and I jumped in for a swim... I think Sally did her own 800.  Rick and Janis were great cheerleaders.  The ride had seriously spent my legs, so I did the 45 min without any kicking.  Gail and I tried to keep up with Doug (who rotated between breast, back, and free).  

When we finally climbed out of the water - Gail suggested a very easy hike.  Really, does this girl EVER slow down... I think NOT.  Normally, the hike would have been no big deal - but with tired bodies, G and I noted every hill and climb.  We hiked to the Falls - Awesome sight, and worth the extra pain.

Making it back to the house, we all cleaned up and went into downtown Brevard for dinner.  Wonderful outdoor seating at a restaurant called Maple - good food, good conversation, good times... and good marathon updates from anyone going inside to the restroom.

My parents split off after dinner - while the rest of us went on an ice cream hunt.  Rick, and the savvy use of his cell phone / gps / navigation thing found us some options.  We ended up at Sonic... in some horrible act of fate, we got a male server - on skates.  I haven't been that embarrassed since high school.  Rick and Chris - you guys are horrible.

We got home right as the Kenyan made his way toward the Bird's nest.  Perfect timing.  Some Olympic viewing, then it was off to bed.  I had no problems falling asleep.

Sunday morning was a relaxed pace.  Rick made coffee, we caught up on the olympics, people were stretching all over the place - and we got our stuff together for Janis to sherpa back to Greenville.

Again, Rick had to pee even before we left the driveway.  Then, we were off.  I knew the neighborhood was hilly, I knew it had rained during the night - and still, I took the first major downhill too fast.

By now, many of you know the story.  Thanks to Gman and Jen for getting the word out.  I hate that I had to interrupt this epic weekend with an epic crash.  I remember it all TOO well: going off the road, trying to stay on my bike, hitting some rocks, avoiding trees, then rolling and rolling and rolling.  Smashed my head during one of the rolls - but a great Rudy helmet saved my skull.  As I made it back up to the road, hoping Gail and Rick would see me, I felt the 1st signs of pain in my shoulder.  It hurt so bad, I couldn't yell for them to stop.  They did pass me, and see me... Chris made his way back. 
**thanks SO MUCH to Chris for fixing my bike while we waited for the ambulance, to Chris and Gail for collecting my gear (the lenses had even popped out of my sunglasses), and to Rick for flagging down a car and getting EMS on the scene.

It made no sense for Chris to come to the hospital, so we sent him on his way.  Rick and Gail came with me to the ER - and called my parents.  The next few hours included MRI's, X-rays, IV's, pain meds, a tetanus shot, etc...  My parents got there and my Dad took Rick and Gail back to their bikes.

I was released from the Transylvania County Hospital that afternoon.  Diagnosed with a broken clavicle and 1st rib.  Not too much road rash, but a pretty sore left hip (pulled hip flexor).

I stayed at my parents place in Franklin, NC until Tuesday.  My mom gave me a bath and force chocolate milk down my throat.  Yesterday, I saw an orthopedist at Piedmont Orthopedic.  They took another x-ray - and said I'll need surgery to pull the clavicle bone back down.  Can't do much for the rib, except avoid laughing.

Right now, I sit here in major pain - but disappointment is setting in.  I'm bummed about missing nationals, and the rest of tri season.  However, up until now - I've had a great 2008.  I've made so many new friends, friendships have grown stronger, and training/racing was the best I've known.

Thanks to everyone for the voice mails, emails, text messages, blog comments, etc... It reminds me why I do these crazy things.  Athletic accomplishments are one thing - but Epic weekends and Epic friendships make this ride of life worthwhile.

Monday, August 18, 2008

LONG gets Silver

WooHOOO! Team LONG pulled off a second place finish at the Greenville Sprint Triathlon (largest tri in South Carolina, with just about 700 participants).

What began as a very stormy morning - with threat of changing the race to a duathlon - ended up being a great day. Doug started the race out with a phenomenal swim, Mustang Sally sped through the super wet/slick/hilly bike course, and I tried to uphold my end of the deal by busting it on the run.

This race had, by far, the most relay teams I've seen on a Set Up Events participant list... so, I had no idea what to expect. I couldn't have been more proud to see our team listed in the second place position. For full results, click HERE.
(sorry, I have to mention... it was a 2 loop run course. There is no way someone ran an 11:36)

Mom & Dad: Thank you so much. You both inspire me - each and every day. Love.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mom post

Sally Long: Age 55
. I'm the bike leg of Team Long in the Greenville Sprint Triathlon.
. Weighing in at 100 lbs and standing almost 5'2"! I come in a small package, but have lots of competitiveness and passion.
. I grew up in Greenville, SC and attended Greenville High School before going to Converse College in Spartanburg.
. Following graduation I joined the global team at Caterpillar - most recognizable as the maker of the large, yellow earth-moving machines.
. Caterpillar is a wonderful company. It's where I met Doug and has been our employer and "family" for over 32 years. It allowed us to travel and experience people and cultures around the world.
. While living overseas in the Philippines in 1980 Doug and I had our first daughter, local triathlete, Ashley.
. Five years later living in Peoria, Illinois we had our second daughter, new Spartanburg teacher, Sarah.
. In January I retired from my job as Public Relations Manager after 32 years with Caterpillar.


. Growing up I loved playing all sports. My favorite memories are of playing basketball on the team with my sister, Libby. Our team never made if very far in the tournaments, but for four years straight we won the Best Team Attitude award. This is an award I hope to keeping winning each year I compete.

. Right after starting my career at Cat I joined the large number of adults who took up running. For years I ran daily distances of 3-5 miles. Even when living overseas I continued this trend. After moving back to the states in 1981 I started to compete in 10K races. I never remember winning or even placing in any of these races, but I absolutely loved the challenge it provided me to know my own pace and to try and improve on my own times over the season. This is how I exercised for the 20 years when I was busy working and more importantly being a wife and mother.

. Jump forward to 2000 and my introduction to triathlon. While most people know Ashley as a triathlete, it was Sarah who got me started in the sport. Sarah, her high school swim coach (Jennifer Heyer), and another friend urged me to join them in a local triathlon. This was my first tri. After the first race I knew this was something I wanted to do again. It brought back the excitement and challenge of those earlier 10K races. The four of us had so much fun we did two more triathlons that season. The last being the Chicago triathlon - the largest tri - in the world. I fell in love. Competing, racing, pushing and doing it in three disciplines.

. Swimming is the discipline I have to work the hardest on. While Doug, Ashley and Sarah grew up swimming, I grew up having fun in the water, but never learning to swim with form. Running has been the place I can find comfort and gain a few seconds over competitors. It wasn't until starting triathlon that I took up cycling. Today cycling is my favorite sport. I love the feel of my legs powering up the hills, the wind on my skin and being a part of nature as I pass along the roads.

. Triathlon has brought me great self confidence and self discipline.

. One of the best things I found through triathlon is the close relationship and new performance levels I've enjoyed after working with triathlon coach, Karyn Austin. Karyn is part of Robbie Ventura's Vision Quest Team. Karyn's is one of the best coaches in the business and Robbie is known internationally as past member of US Postal and now commentator for the Tour de France.

. After winning my age group in regional races Karyn and I decided I should enter the USAT National race last year in Portland, Oregon. To our surprise I came in 4th, qualifying me for the 2008 World Championships in VanCouver, Canada.

. Since retiring from Caterpillar in January, I focused on all aspects of triathlon preparing for the World's competition - from form and strength to visualization and nutrition. This training has been intense and gratifying. I love the learning. I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with dropping a second in my swim, and getting more aero on the bike, and of improving my form in the run.

. This season has been short and focused. I won my age group at St. Anthony's in St. Petersburg, Florida, at Memphis in May in Tennessee, and came in 3rd at Worlds and 1st American (AG). After crossing the finish line in VanCouver - I called Doug and said - I did my best at Worlds - now it's time to move South. From June 7th - that's what we've been doing.

. Since landing in Greenville, Doug and I have joined multiple gyms/pools, run with the guys from Run-In, and attended the Tuesday bike rides at Donaldson. Greenville is just full of athletic opportunities!

. Living here also allows me to visit my mom more frequently. She is about to celebrate her 90th birthday. If sports were as open to females as they are today, I can guarantee she would have been one terrific athlete. Mom, thank you for encouraging me to get involved in sports.

I'm so proud of Greenville and the city's ability to meld tradition, culture and athletics. I think Greenville is a place with a strong heart, open arms and a vision of where it needs to go.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dad post

Doug Long: age 55 and swimming on Team Long.I am so excited that our daughter asked us to get involved in a Team Tri. We’ve done this before at a masters swim meet and had a great time (Doug – back; Ashley – breast; Sarah – fly; Sally – free). I'm sure this will be just as fun! Wish our other daughter could get involved but she will be out of town for the weekend.

I just retired after 32 years at Caterpillar Inc - A heavy equipment maker. I started there just out of college and had many great experiences... the one most memorable was living in the Philippines where we had our first daughter, Ashley. What a treasure to bring home to the US. With the family started and becoming more established with Caterpillar ... I looked at myself and said, I need to get back into shape (I’d put on a few pounds) and fitness is important to me. The only exercise I knew was swimming, so I started back into Masters swimming when I was 32. At the time, Sally was pregnant with out 2nd daughter, and when I started back and she also swam to get me motivated. Well, I’ve been swimming masters ever since... so, over 23 years.

I started swimming before I could walk. I just lived at the pool as a kid - what you’d call a “pool rat”. My older brother and I swam on the country club team, which was the extent of my formal training until I got to High School. Richwoods High School provided the best downstate Illinois HS swimming program. This was where I began to improve with intense training. At less then 100 pounds going into HS there were only 2 sports to consider ... Wrestling or swimming and swimming was what I knew.

I made huge strides in swimming over my 4 years in High School. I actually improved to the point where I could compete at the Division I level in College. I ended up at University of Missouri with a swimming scholarship. I also kept it in perspective and completed my Mechanical Engineering Degree in 4 and a half years. While at Missouri, I always swam in the Conference meet and as a Junior I went to NCAA's in Tennessee. I was on a relay, but seeing swimming at that level was exciting. After college swimming I thought I was done in the sport... I had to get established in a working career and start a family, but fitness was still important to me.

Fast forward to age 32. Like I said, I wanted to get back into shape. Luckily, swimming is what I call a “lifelong sport.” My daughters know they’ll be cheering me on in the 80+ age group.

I have enjoyed Masters Swimming for many reasons:
1) Setting a good example for the kids... need to stay fit and exercise.
2) I like to eat and drink what I want. However, without exercise I’ve learned you are what you eat.
3) Meeting folks through swimming. Sally and I have made some of our closest friends through the sport.
4) Competing in Masters Swimming is a great motivator to keep practicing/training. You want to do well when in competition, so setting your sights on a race is a great motivator.
5) You can easily travel with a swim suit and goggles! As I traveled for Caterpillar (with a speedo and goggles in my briefcase), I would look up the local Masters team and join them for a workout. Teams in Les Vegas, Alabama, Denver, and many places overseas. One in particular was the pool where Mark Spitz set his 7 world records in Munich, 1972. Fun to swim in a well known Olympic pool. Also, Melbourne Australia - the 1960 Olympic pool.

I enjoy the feeling I get after I’ve completed a work out. While at Caterpillar, I’d get in workouts before work and it made the day much more productive. Just getting up to swim for an hour gets you going for a day in the office.

While in Masters swimming I’ve competed in Nationals – meets where I’ve been able to race against many former Olympic swimmers. Exciting to see the swimmers I worshiped as a High School swimmer. I’ve enjoyed talking to them and learning about their lives post-olympics.

I always competed in the Illinois State Masters Meet. Normally, I placed top 5 (age group) in all of my events, and depending on where I was in my age group I would win many events. It’s rewarding to see how I maintain my swim times as I age. Yes, over time, I’ve gained a few seconds, but some of my events have improved with age. I’ve lost the ability to sprint but the endurance is coming.

Over the last eleven years I organized a Masters Swim Meet at our daughter’s High school. It was always held on Superbowl Sunday and acted as a fundraiser for the High School girls swim team. The number of participants ranged from 170 to 230 over the years, but this would earn the girls swim team almost $3000 annually. I’d organize the meet, and the girl’s team + their Parents conducted the meet. They ran the event, day of... officials, timers, timing system and all that is required to conduct a swim meet. I even continued to direct this meet after the girls graduated from High School, since the Masters swimmers appreciated the meet and of course the HS girls team gained from the income.

Now that I’ve retired, I will probably spend more time at swimming workouts... and enter competition in the Southeast. I know I’ll meet many new swimmers and invite some of the Illinois swimmers down here for meets.
Hey, I’ve got to keep it going for Team LONG!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Team Long Meeting

I'm reporting from our Team Meeting... Team LONG has gathered to prepare for our relay at the Greenville Sprint Triathlon (this Sunday). We've got to lots to strategize here:
Doug Long - swimming
Sally Long - biking
Ashley Long - running

Dad took over the meeting and voiced a goal to break his swim-seed time by :35 (fyi, the swim is a 400 m pool swim), he's asked me to run a PR in the 5K, and somehow he gave my mom 30 min to ride 15 miles... obviously, he's not a cyclist. When I told him Mom probably wouldn't avg 30 mph, he told me that we'd just have to take the time off my run (ok, I'm probably not going to run a 12 min 5K). He'd like for us to break an hour (the pro men didn't go sub 1 hour last year).

Fun numbers our Team leader calculated:
- our team's average age = 46 years
- our team's average weight = 125 lbs
- our team's total weight = 375 lbs
- our team's average height = 5 feet 3.6 inches
- our team's average shoe size = 7

The rest of our meeting minutes are highly sensitive. There are 29 total relay teams, so the competition is out there.
Team LONG -- Bring it ON.
(wow, I think I just wrote our team cheer)

Friday, August 8, 2008

rumor has it...

There is an awesome new site: BIKERUMOR

All things biking, cycling, pedaling, shifting, spinning, and cranking along in the World of Bicycles. Road cycling, Mountain biking, Triathlon, BMX, etc... Check it out, let me know what you think!

I did a quick post on our Olympic Athletes, 3 of whom ride Orbea. There are some good pictures of the bike (and it's cool pointed head-post), but I'm still trying to get them on the site.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

who's HOT?

Recently, Bree posted something about tan lines. Well, if having white thighs and dark bronzed legs (mid-thigh down) is "the hippest thing these days," then I've finally found myself in style!!
So, I'm posting a challenge. It's August now... we've all been training outside for months, just soaking up the rays (on non spandex protected skin, of course). Who's got the most outrageous tri-tan? Maybe some of you super-studs will acquire a sunblock sponsor - but, in the least... we'll get to laugh over funny pics.

Here are some photos I found while searching my files for good shots:

This was taken after the "Horribly Hilly Hundred"; an annual ride in Wisconsin. My mom had told me we were meeting some friends (who were training for IM Wisconsin) to do one loop of the course. WRONG.... instead we ended up riding FOREVER, in 100+ temps, up and down the WI hills. I actually came close to divorcing my mom that day.

Jen and I in Boulder, CO for a friend's wedding. I guess triathletes just shouldn't wear backless dresses.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Camping, CAMP

It will feel so nice to sleep in my bed tonight....

On Saturday, I did the Lake Logan Triathlon in Canton, NC. Gorgeous site, perfect weather, and fun course - albeit lacking some lake water (the pictures are priceless - coming soon with a race report). Gail killed the ladies division (and almost all of the men, actually), it was GREAT to finally meet Bri & Marty Gaal (Congrats on a strong 2nd Bri!), and see so many tri-friends. Awesome job:
-Chris Smutzer
-Eric Mitchell
-Dustan Barber
-Julie Spitzer
-Kristen & Mike Klepfer
-Beth Rusch
-Jimmy & Heather Brehm

**Thanks to my sister, Sarah, who camped out with me at the race site on Friday night. That's right, we threw up a tent about 100 yards from the finish line. Nothing like waking up, unzipping the tent, and walking your bike over to transition ;)
**Also, thank you to our camping neighbors: the Smutzer Family. They were livin' large in their tow-behind camper... and were nice enough to share a pasta dinner. Chris, Set Up Events should be proud to see our dedication to the SCTS team and the events they produce. We are Hardcore.
**Thank you Mom & Dad for coming over to cheer me on! Mom, although you're teeny-tiny... you are the ONE spectator/cheerleader I can always pick out. And Dad, thanks for using the infamous Doug Long whistle. I always know when you're in the crowd.

Like I said, more on the race later.
But, in case you're into checking results... please know this: the swim was over a 1/2 mile away from the transition area. Due to drought, they're siphoning water from Lake Logan. We actually ended up with 3 transitions. Swim, T1: put on running shoes, run .7 of a mile; T2: strip wetsuit, get bike equip, ride; T3: run, finish.

Since then, I've been at MDA Summer Camp. Swimming, fishing, watching power soccer (an adaptive sport for kids in power wheelchairs), canoeing, singing campfire songs & making s'mores, arts & crafts, and hanging out with the kids. An amazing experience for sure - the perfect work fuel.

But, like I said - it's back to my bed tonight. Ah.