X Games Austin!

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Pinch me, I must be dreaming. 

Austin, TX, the beautiful city I call home, will play host to the Summer X GAMES from 2014 – 2017!!!  WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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To say I’m excited is an understatement.  My head has not stopped spinning since my hubby texted me with the glorious news at 9:07 this morning.  I had a mini-freak out at my desk, gave my boss a high five, and called my dad to let him know the news also.   I subsequently posted on Facebook twice, texted my brother, confirmed with my hubby that we’ll get tickets, and entered a sweepstakes for the X Games VIP treatment.  And I’m still freaking out.   Psyched out of my mind is more like it.

I’ve wanted to go the X Games since before I even started riding dirtbikes back in junior high.  My brother and dad got me interested in dirtibiking, and I loved watching videos and events on TV.   Every year when the Summer X Games rolls around, I of course get all jacked up about the moto x events, but I also get hooked on BMX, skateboarding, etc.  It’s amazing to watch what these people can do.  EXTREME!!!!

You better believe I will be at COTA at some point (hopefully multiple points) between May 15-18, 2014.  And then again in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  OMG… still freaking out.  Yup, definitely still freaking out.

Thank you, ESPN, for selecting our city! Thank you everyone who showed support! 

PS – today is also the day that my hubs has his structured oral interview for the Austin Fire Department.  Any good vibes you can send his way are appreciated 🙂

A Love Letter to My Zoots

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Dear Zoots,

 

I just want to say I’m sorry for everything I’ve done;

For all the other brands of shoes I’ve taken for a run.

We had a good thing going until I messed it up,

And now I know my wandering was just a bad hiccup.

You and I got together when I started tris,

Before then it was Asics, Brooks, and a couple other guys.

And then I found you, Zoot; your Tempos rocked my world.

It started with the 3.0s when our love unfurled.

You were great for short stuff, but also for the long.

The 4.0s got me through Ironman; you were dependable and strong.

But then I started wondering, what other shoes are there?

I put away my Tempos to try another pair.

First I had KSwiss, but they didn’t like my feet.

Then I tried Saucony, which I thought were pretty sweet.

I attempted Pearl Izumi; they reminded me of you.

But none of them came close—this is very true.

And then one fateful day, Moxie gave me a code

For a discount on some Zoot gear to wear on the road.

I felt a little giddy at the thought that perhaps we might

Be able to rekindle our love after my little flight.

You showed up at my doorstep, all shiny and new.

You’ve taken good care of yourself, Zoot. I dig your new look, too.

We ran together again as if we never parted.

We have a lot of catching up to do to get back to where we started.

I’ll try out some Ultra Races, maybe some TTs too.

But I’ll never leave you, Zoot, please believe me! It is true!

I’ve learned my lesson now, and never more will I stray.

On my feet and in my heart you will forever stay.

 

Love,

Laura

Zoots at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix 2011

Zoots at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix 2011

Zoots at Ironman Arizona 2011

Zoots at Ironman Arizona 2011

Not Zoots at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix 2012

Not Zoots at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix 2012

 

Brand New Zoots at Rookie Tri 2013

Brand New Zoots at Rookie Tri 2013

Ironman 70.3 New Orleans Recap

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I love New Orleans.

That’s the first thing that came to mind as I’m sitting down to write this recap.  I freaking love that city.  It’s so full of culture and art and fun that it’s hard not to like.  Even if I had had a crap-tastic race, I would still like it; but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

I actually had a great race this past weekend!  Things kinda fell into place nicely from the very start.  Although it took 2 hours and 15 minutes to actually get in the water and start my swim (being the last wave of a time trial start is no fun), I felt great in the water.  Nicole graciously let me borrow her sleeveless wetsuit, which felt sooo much better than the full length I wore in Galveston.  The water was pretty choppy on the first and third lengths of the swim and I swallowed a lot of nasty harbor water, but overall, I felt very strong.  I thought I would come out quicker than 35 minutes, but hey, I’ll take it.

NOLA Pre-Swim

Trying to stay warm during the 2 hour wait to start my race!

Transition was interesting.  Kellen helped me rubber band my shoes onto my bike so that I didn’t have to make the looooooooooong run through transition in my shoes.  So while the run out went fast, they quickly went downhill as I started to pedal and one of the shoes got all caddywompus and unclipped itself from my bike, landing on the road just as I was trying to take off.  So I had to get off my bike, go back to get the shoe, and then try to put it on quickly.  Frustrating, but I guess that just proves that’s something I need to work on for next time.

The start of the bike sucked.  There was a pretty wicked headwind rocking, which we had to deal with for about 6 miles at the very start of the bike.  My butt was cramping and I couldn’t figure out which gear was my best bet to get through the wind.  We had a bit of a break as we turned onto Paris Rd, but then the headwind picked right back up as we head out on the highway.  It’s a very flat course and the roads were much nicer than I would have imagined for the swamp land.  It’s not a very scenic ride, but I was just thankful that there were no rogue alligators hanging out in the roads.  The return trip back to transition was AWESOME—wind at your back, flat roads, just a-zooming along.

NOLA bike ready

This was NOT taken during the race, but this was my set up. Keepin’ it pink in NOLA!

T2 was quick and before I knew it, I was off on the run.  They played a cruel joke on us by making us climb a long, steep overpass at the start of the run.  Thankfully that was the first and last big climb we had to make on the run course.  I felt mostly ok, except my feet were cramping in my shoes and my toes were tingly.  It took a few miles to get into a rhythm, but once I found it, I kept it.  My strategy is just to run aid station to aid station, pour cold water on myself at every stop, and just count down the miles.  The run through City Park is awesome—it’s pretty and shaded and there are people that stop and cheer us on.  That was my fave part of the run for sure.  I felt good until about mile 11 and man, I was just ready to be done.  The run took us right past the B&B Kellen and I were staying at (Rathbone Mansion) , and as I came up to the hotel, I saw Kellen laying on a lawn chair in his speedo on the side of the road with giant green glasses on and a drink in his hand.  What a jerk, flaunting off his relaxation and ability to drink!

Kellen on the run course

This is Kellen on the run course– chillin out, maxin’, relaxin’ as us poor saps hobble to the finish.

He chased me to the finish where I donned the green sunglasses as I crossed the line.  I scooped up my medal and went to sit (and vom) in the shade.  A glance at my watch confirmed my suspicion that I set a new PR—a whole 10 minutes faster than my previous record!  BOOM!  PR or ER, baby!

I was hoping that would be enough to land on the podium, and sure enough, I came in 5th in my age group.  I also had high hopes that I might be able to snag a Vegas slot, but alas, both slots from my age group got taken before the roll down could get to me.  Maybe next year…

NOLA Medals

Took home some sweet hardware, though!

So it was a good day.  I didn’t have any GI issues and my nutrition seemed to be pretty on point.  My legs didn’t give out on me and although the chaffing on my arms was brutal, my mind turned off the pain.  Solid.  Solid day.

We spent the rest of our trip partying as best we could.  Drinks on Bourbon Street, beignets at Café Du Monde, karaoking somewhere in the French Quarter, and eating as much carb-loaded, decked out Creole/Cajun food we could (although I’m going to be honest, Mama Era’s crawfish etoufee will give ANYONE’S a run for their money).   We enjoyed a live performance from a sweet neo-jazz band in Jackson Square and bought a CD of their newest works.  We took the St. Charles to Audubon Park and looked for four leaf clovers in the endless fields of green.  We browsed galleries and art collections on Royal Street.   We went into a gentleman’s club.  And we had an incredible, relaxing, fun-filled trip to the great city of NOLA!  Hope to be back in a few years to set another new PR 🙂  #hardasnuts

Post-race clubbing

Triathletes up in da club post-race!

 

Cafe Du Monde

Beignets from Cafe Du Monde… a New Orleans must!

 

French Market

French Market

 

 

Ironman 70.3 Texas Recap

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The 2013 Tri season is now official under way!  Last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston was the first race of the season for many Moxie athletes, and although it’s an early season race, everyone did a stellar job!  Here’s a recap of the race and the weekend.

One of the fun parts of the weekend was staying in the rental house with a bunch of fellow Moxies.  Usually Kellen and I have a hotel room of our own so it was a cool change of pace to actually be with other folks.  Blake, Alisia, Pete, Danielle, Colin, Shelly, John, and 2 pros from up north, AJ and Chris, shared this house.  Thankfully it was big enough to accommodate all of us PLUS all the bikes and other race gear (although AJ ended up sleeping on an air mattress in Blake and Alisia’s closet).

Since I was doing the relay with Blake and Alisia and I have Ironman 70.3 New Orleans in a couple of weeks, this weekend was also a training weekend for me.  I woke up on Saturday morning, had some terrible coffee (apparently I made the large pot of coffee with instant coffee crystals, not actual coffee grounds. Gross), and headed out on a 2.5 hour bike ride.  Since the only bike route in Galveston is to take Seawall Blvd all the way out of town (it turns into San Luis pass and then Bluewater Highway), I left the house and headed toward the Seawall.  Cross winds, gusts, and changing wind patterns made the first part of the trek a little bit iffy, but once you clear the water front, there’s sand dunes and beach houses to break some of that wind.  Although I normally despise flat, straight roads, I actually had a blast on my ride!  There was always something to look at, be it neat old beach houses or flocks of gulls or other athletes training on the course as well.  The roads were pretty nice—not chip sealed or crappy like normal coastal areas.  And the weather was absolutely perfect!  I turned around right where San Luis pass turns into Bluewater Highway, and with the wind at my back, my return trip was a breeze (pun intended).

Galveston Ride

Galveston Ride Route

I got back to the house where pretty much everyone was ready to roll to packet pick up, but OH NO! I still had a run to do.  Since my original 50 minute run seemed too long (since, you know, people were waiting on me) I decided to cut it down to 30 minutes.  Thank God, because I struggled with that damn run.  Any good feeling I had on the bike totally left me on the run.  But I got that shit done and we headed over to pick up our stuffs.

*Attention anyone who has anything to do with Ironman schwag—everybody digs those new bags!  Please keep those for all Ironman events!*

Saturday evening was spent eating dinner at Landry’s and discussing race strategy.  Landry’s took forever, go figure, but it was fun to scope the scene of other triathletes and high school prom go-ers.  Danielle and Shelly made us all jealous with their delicious adult beverages.

Landrys

The crew at Landry’s for pre-race dinner

I didn’t sleep very well Saturday night, which isn’t out of the ordinary due to pre-race nerves. But I figured I’d be a cooler customer with only the swim to do the next morning.  How strenuous could that be?

Pretty damn strenuous, it turns out.  The relay wave was the last to go—race start was at 7:00am, we started at 8:35am.  Awesome.  I got nervous about the water temp (an unseasonal 64 degrees) and how I would feel in my wetsuit (re: Kerrville wetsuit episode).  Upon getting into the suit, I felt restricted but generally ok.  I thought, maybe this won’t be so bad.  It will be more like Ironman Arizona than Kerrville.  When I jumped in the water, I was happy to have the full length suit as it was pretty cold in the bay.  I ducked my head underwater to get used to the chill, I cleared my goggles, and I was all set.

The gun went off, and the first few hundred meters went swimmingly.  Then, my shoulders started to get tired.  Really tired.  And I couldn’t get my breathing under control.  And my goggles were fogging.  I tried to get my shit together, but I eventually just stopped.  This cycle of swim-freak-stop happened more times that I care to admit.  I was getting so frustrated with myself.  This is MY event!  I LOVE the water! I LOVE to swim! So why am I having such a hard time with this race?  I wanted to cry because I know I was going slow and I was letting my team down.  I wanted to stop because the suit was so restrictive and was making me claustrophobic and exhausted.  But neither of those would have done anybody any good.  So I pushed all thoughts out of my head except for my teammates and hammered through the end of the swim.

As soon as I reached land, my sights were set on the relay tent where I would give my timing chip to Blake.  My calves were getting locked up running (seriously? WTF, body?).  Blake took the chip off and was on his way to the bike, when I lost it.  Like, seriously lost it.  I cried like a little girl.  I felt terrible for performing badly and letting the team down.  I hated the fact that I struggled through the swim.  I was worried about my upcoming performance in NOLA and what the hell would happen there.  I was mad at myself for letting negative thoughts get the better of me.  And all of this came to a head as soon as I transferred that timing chip.

Thankfully, the rest of team did awesome!  Blake hammered the bike, averaging 23.15 mph.  Alisia made the run course her bitch as she slammed down with a sub-2 hour half marathon (on only 2 weeks of training, mind you—after her wedding and 11 day honeymoon in Thailand!)  They both had phenomenal performances and I’m super proud of my teammates!

All the other Moxie peeps had great races as well!  Todd, Pete, John, Chris, Greg, Colin, Leslie, Christina, Mike x3, Keith, and Troy all did wicked awesome.  Christina PRed this race, and John and Colin set their sights on Ironman Texas next month.  It was a blast cheering for them and the other athletes.  And of course, Kellen had the most fun.  I love my crazy husband.

 

Kellen Cheers

Kellen cheering on Leslie as she runs by. He did this for hours..

All in all, it was an awesome weekend and a fabulous start to 2013!  One of the reasons I love triathlon is because you are always learning something about yourself, about how to race, about how to prepare.  Although this wasn’t my best swim, it’s a learning experience.  We all have bad days, but it’s important to shake that off and keep moving forward.  Onward to NOLA!

 

Post Race

Post-race pic. Bunch of good looking athletes right there.

PS—Sorry if I forgot to mention anyone here that raced!  My memory is already starting to slip  🙂

PPS– Thanks to our sponsors who make training and racing that much better! WattieInk, Smith Optics, True Blue Nectar, Dry Goods, SwiftWick, ClifBar, SweatVac, ISM, SBR, Yeti Coolers, Rudy Project, Scratch Labs, Kinesys, Zoot, Chobani, Oatmega, etc etc!

My Co-Workers are Cooler than Your Co-Workers

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Know what I did this past Saturday?  Ran 13 miles.  Know who I ran it with?  Four of my co-workers.  (And my husband of course, but that’s kind of a given, right?)

Yes, it’s true.  We decided that spending 40 hours a week together just isn’t enough.  So we woke up early on Saturday morning and met at Pure Quarry Lake in order to run 13 or so miles down to Pure Downtown, all to get ready for the Livestrong Half Marathon on February 17th.  You heard it right, my friends—we are also running the half marathon together!

Pre-run

Carlyn, Raynor, Lene, and Hunter before the run (I cropped myself out cuz it was a very unflattering picture)

Now, the term “together” should be taken lightly.  Carlyn, Lene, and I ran literally together while Raynor, Hunter, and Kellen zoomed on ahead.  But, hey, we were all still there running the same course at the same time, so I’ll stick with my togetherness comment.

I’m getting off track.  The point is, my co-workers are AWESOME.  Who else had 4 of their fellow office mates running with them that morning?  My guess is- not many.  The week before, a group of us went to Pure Quarry for their mid-day Spin CX class.  Nothing like sweating and panting to really deepen that bond, amiright?

Everyone in the office is pretty healthy, although we do have our vices.  But we’ve got a hockey player, multiple golfers and bowlers, runners, triathletes, volleyball players, iron pumpers (for lack of a better term), etc etc.  Some folks are joining the Austin Sports and Social Club league to get their volleyball, kickball, and flag football on this spring.  And you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll hear something about calorie count, heart rate, cadence, protein, and/or salad on a daily basis.

Not that that’s the only thing that makes my co-workers awesome.  They are also hilarious, hard-working, super smart, and creative.  We share laughs a’plenty, as well as idle threats to punch each other in the throat (or maybe that’s just me making the threats…).  I can say with some certainty that we all get a kick out of Fail compilations and news bloopers, and these things spread like wild fire through the office.  I guess it helps when there’s only 20 or so people to send it to, but that’s neither here nor there.  A few other things we all enjoy:

  • Mustaches (real and fake)
  • Paintball
  • Food Trailers
  • Kidd Rock Radio (kidding, kidding)
  • Happy Hour
  • CostCo run days
Paintball 2012

Group photo of our Fall 2012 paintball outing. Too much fun!

Movember

Group shot from Movember. The guys did a great job of growing their facial hair in support of prostate cancer awareness. And the girls, well, we just like fake ‘staches.

I consider myself very lucky to work with such an awesome group of talented, fit, funny individuals.  Not everyone sincerely enjoys their co-workers, but I am among the lucky few.  I don’t mean to brag, but my coworkers are cooler than your co-workers.  Props, fellow Q1Media-ers (Q1Media-ites?  Q1Media-ors?), for being amazeballs!

PS – did I mention my bosses?? My bosses ROCK!

The Partners

Partners

Red Dress Run 2012

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If there is one thing Austin isn’t, it’s short on events.  There is ALWAYS something going on, from live music and performances to marathons and Formula1.  Just the outdoor/active events are a huge part of Austin culture.  I’ve participated in quite a few events over the years, but the one I did a couple weekends ago takes the cake for the funnest ever—the Red Dress Run.

Austin Duathletes Red Dress Run

Austin Duathletes Red Dress Run

At its surface, that’s just what the event is—a bunch of people running around in red dresses.  And yeah, that sounds like fun, right?  Well, it’s waaaaay more than that!

The Red Dress Run, aka- the 12 Bars of Christmas- is a few mile bar-to-bar run in downtown Austin.  It’s a free event, but donations are appreciated and benefit the Ronald McDonald House.  Everyone meets at Jack and Adams, then runs to the first bar, where they spend a few minutes slamming a beverage and conversing with fellow red dressers before running to the next bar.  There’s a plan of attack (leave Bar X at X time, run to Bar X) for the entire night.  The really fun part is that this is put on by Austin Duathetes.  It’s science:

A large amount of athletes (most of whom don’t party hardy) + red dresses + lots of drinks = a damn good time.

Sooooo excited about the party! (That's not a peace sign, I was signifying that we were at Bar #2)

Sooooo excited about the party! (That’s not a peace sign, I was signifying that we were at Bar #2)

Kellen, Blake, Alisia, and I showed up a bit late, so we had to run to meet everyone at Bar #2.  Along the way we saw lots of other folks in red dresses…. But not everyone was going the right way.  And that’s when we joked that bar crawling isn’t easy for du- and tri-athletes because, well, no one knows where the bars are!  Upon arrival, we saw the most glorious and awkward site you could see at a bar.  Dudes in drag, a sea of santa hats, glitter and sparkles galore… ahhh, I love Austin.  We chugged a beer and wound our way to dirty 6th to Bar #3.

Bar #3 was super packed, so we headed early to Bar #4.  A pool table offered great photo ops at this place.

Kellen and Blake posing [seductively] on the pool table

Kellen and Blake posing [seductively] on the pool table

On to Bar #5.  Alisa starts chest bumping randos along the way.  A bum was too slow at attemping to hug/steal her, and one lady pursed her lips for a kiss.  She showed quite a bit of promise with her chest bumps— I’d say a good 98% of folks were receptive to the bump.  One chick in a car got mad… Kellen called her a nasty name.

Onward to Bar #…. I don’t even know.  All I know is that Brew Exchange was playing some dope tunes and we all danced our faces off there.  Kellen backed it up on a chair, Blake and Alisia started a dance party on the bench.  Kevin found a boo and stayed with her all night.  Hunter’s dress ripped even more.  We attempted to leave there to go to Bar #whatever (Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar) which was totes NOT as fun, so we ran back to Brew Exchange.  More dancing and debauchery.

Dancing Dancing Dancing! That bar didn't stand a chance

Dancing Dancing Dancing! That bar didn’t stand a chance

Eventually we decided to move on.  Kellen and Tracy danced in the window a bit before we left, but after they were done we made it all the way across the street to Molotov.  We made a lap around before posting up in the back back, where the guys noticed the exposed beams just waiting for some manly attention.  What comes next?  Pull ups.  Show offs…..  At one point Blake leg hooks me from behind, and Keith ungracefully falls from the beam into a heap on the ground.  (Hope you’re ok now Keith!).

They're sexy and they know it

They’re sexy and they know it

At the end of the night, we walk a few blocks to grab a fantabulous late night breakfast at 24 Diner.  Blake pours syrup in his coffee (cue “sippin’ on some syzzurp”, DJ) and very nearly passes out at the table. We have some good laughs recapping the night (“Alisia, remember the girl who tried to kiss you when you chest bumped her?”  “Kellen, why is your dress completely ripped off of your body?”).  We have an unspoken bond with the other drunks dressed in red dresses trying to get some grub.  And thus, the night ends.  But the memories will live on… for-e-ver!