Saturday, July 28, 2007


Last night Kelly and I were mentioning the comments our respective mothers had made about Ironman. After my last bike crash my mother suggested I take up something less dangerous... she suggested Tennis. Aside from my inability to play tennis she also seemed to be unaware of the injuries that sport causes. Kelly's mother compared Ironman to going into space. I wonder if she's a Dilbert fan. Apparently there are others who seem to think endurance runs and triathlons are just as outlandish as orbiting the earth.
The cartoon above appeared on my desk, years ago, at Samsung. At the time, I was the only one in the building who'd done anything longer than a sprint triathlon and I think many people I worked with thought I was crazy. That has changed and there are now quite a few Samsung'ers who have taken part.
At some point, many years ago, I recall being in a meeting with the Facilities guys. One of them asked me if I'd ever do an Ironman. "Those people are crazy," was my reply. I think back to that story a lot. It's good to keep changing your perspective towards life and it's adventures.
On Tuesday I was feeling very stressed by my lack to time to get everything done. I walked into dynamics class and one of the guys asked how I was doing. I said I was feeling stressed at which point another guy asked point blank, "Have you ever had a gun pointed at your head?"
"No, have you?" I replied in a half confused, half curious manner.
"Yes. It puts everything into much better perspective."
Although the thought of having a gun pointed at your head is grim he definitely proved a point. It's astonishing to me how much I've learned this summer. In a mere 30 sec conversation you can learn a great deal from someone. The important thing is to keep your eyes and ears open so you don't miss those lessons. That guy in my class shared something very profound with me. He reminded me how amazing my experiences are and how lucky I am to have them, even though he doesn't know much about me at all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cricket Lounge

The rainy summer in Austin seems to have caused and early, and overwhelming, cricket mating season. Some of you may have noticed a few extra crickets chirping or you might have encountered a few in your path.

For those of you who have been in Bellmont hall (aka the stadium) lately, you will surely understand what I am about to write. It appears the crickets have become quite fond of Bellmont. There is now a severe infestation in the building. I had to abandon the stairwell next to the elevators about a month ago due to the number of crickets inhabiting the area. Aside from the necessitated balet footing, the smell become too much to handle. The cricket life cycle has a very distinct smell and it is not pleasant. This repulsive organic oder has engulfed almost every inch of the building. Some areas are worse than others. Overall, the entire building gives me the he-be-ge-bees. I think I'm starting to miss the fab, I want my clean room back.

As I was sitting in my office yesterday, watching a cricket run by my feet, I recalled something from Pittsburgh; the Cricket Lounge. As far as I can remember it was some male club in Pittsburgh with a cartoon cricket hanging off the outside of the building. I couldn't help but wonder, did that place get its name from the smell inside? I can only imagine how seedy that place must be now that I have come in contact with so many crickets.

... Yup, it appears there is a picture of the building on the Internet. (see above)
----- The following email message was sent out to the UT d-list on 7/25. It made me laugh so I felt the need to add it into my blog. ------
As some of you may have noticed, there is a cricket infestation oncampus particularly affecting the area of the Main Building and UTTower. In an effort to control this cricket infestation, the universitywill not light the tower each night in the traditional manner. Brightlylit buildings are most likely to attract the largest numbers of cricketsat night, so we hope to attract fewer crickets and control the cricketpopulation by darkening the tower. Two lighting interruptions arescheduled to take place in the early evening on Friday, July 27 throughSunday, July 29, and Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5. Pleasenote that this is only a temporary measure to keep the cricketpopulation under control and cleanup at a minimum.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Popularity of M-dot

IM Lake Placid took place yesterday and registration for next year opened today. I had assumed it would fill quickly and my intuition was correct.

It's quite amazing how popular the M-dot races have become, especially the North America ones. $475 to sign up for 10-17 hours of exercise and test of human will. But for so many of us, this idea seems quite logical and we don't think twice about rearranging our schedule to be on-line during the sign up period.

Last November one of our friends was in Korea during the 20min time period when IM FL was opened for online registration. I sat in the house with two computers, ready to go as soon as the clock struck 9am. I got him in but it filled up so quickly that my idea of signing myself up was a lost cause.

In hindsight I am thankful for that because I know I need a bit of a break. Over the past few weeks I've had the chance to take a step back and really think about my plans for Ironman. I'd given some thought to signing up for LP today but realized I would be signing up b/c it's what I do; not because I wanted to do that race next year. People have asked me when the next Ironman will be. I know there will be others but for now I'm not positive what the next one will be. I'll just have to wait until I am truly excited about the idea of doing it again, then I'll sign up for another.

Somewhat related to that is today's picture of the day, which comes direct to us from Osh Kosh WI...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2 Garels = 2 Goofballs

Before the TX Iron run practice on Thursday night Susan took a few photos of the group. As usual, Michael and I weren't about to pose for a 'boring' picture. Instead we brought the theme of practice to light. Thursday night's practice began with a hydration talk from Jamie and some product testing for Nathan hydration systems. So, we're pointing out the importance of water while in Texas.

Michael left for his trip to Osk Kosh at 6am. Although he's been on many work trips or other adventures I always miss him a lot when he's gone. For 10+ years Michael has been my best friend and it feels a bit odd when he's not around to hang out with.

Today I was thinking a thought I've had before, "I wonder what I did right to be so lucky as to be with Michael." He's definitely the most amazing person I have ever met. I cannot put into words how appreciative I am to have him and how much I love him. I wish I knew what I did to find someone so perfect. If I knew that secret I'd share it with the world so everyone could be as fortunate as I am. Thankfully the world is not waiting on my enlightenment, we have many friends who have also found their perfect goofball companion and that's pretty darn cool. :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Gareling - 18

Gareling - vb - to transverse the office area in search of sweet food to eat

Over the past years Michael and I have learned a lot about our similarities. One of our notable traits is our inability to reject sweets. For Michael, anything with sugar will do the trick. I prefer dark chocolate (see picture of bark in earlier post). I'm constantly stumped by the people who seem to have the ability to resist those crutches. We have a friend Wes who puts 3 M&M's on his desk to eat in a day. That's all he eats and he's satisfied. I'd interpret that as a cruel joke, 3 bags would be more up my alley.

Another of our Garel traits is our crazy exercise schedule. Today was Michael's 18th day in a row of running. Yes, it's now an official running streak. As he begins to embark on his fall marathon training he's listening to Brandon's advice and is now running every day. He tells me his legs feel tired but he is running strong! We PR'ed our deck loop today; again. Michael might feel worn out and 26.2 at his goal pace might seem crazy hard (see picture above) but, he's making a good attempt. I wonder if he gained strength when he came home and endulged in his post exercise snack - he opened up the refrigerator and skirted whipped cream into his mouth.

Now... let's see if he can hold this up for the next week. That will be an extra challenge b/c he's leaving at 6am to head to Osk Kosh, WI for a week. The yearly EAA fly-in starts up tomorrow night and Michael is going to spend the week hanging out with all his "people." Imagine it, miles and miles of experimental aircraft to look at, Life is good ;)

In other news, our friend Mark Edwards became a grandfather on July 18th. Coincidentally Colin turned 28 that day and demolished his sister and her husband in a round of bowling.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Heading over to Decker

This is a picture of Doray and I after completing Danskin '02. That was my first triathlon. Like many other women in Austin I started out at Danskin and have grown a lot since then. I've done 40 triathlons in 5 years. I wonder what my response to that would've been when I started doing this.
Tomorrow I'm heading back to Decker for the Couple's Triathlon. Couple's is one of my favorites b/c Michael and I get to team up together and start in the prestigious first wave of the day; the married wave. We Garels are definitely not in peak triathlon condition so I'm just hoping we make it to the finish line smiling, those hills are going to be painful ;)
This week has been interesting, ie. very busy. I started teaching the Biomechanics class on Monday. It meets every morning from 9-10:30 and I'm still trying to determine the best ways to cover the material in that time. I'm using Dr Dingwell's slides but I've heard a rumor that some student's were griping, "that's all she's doing is reading off the slides." This experience has made me take a step back and think about how critical I was of some professors. Unfortunately for the instructors, preparing for a class takes a lot longer than the class meeting time. Being on the other side allows me to realize this. I've grown to appreciate people's efforts a lot more.
I've also had the experience of being on the other side while working at J&A this summer. I've had a great chance to learn a lot of the way people interact with each other and the way we treat others. Packet pickup weekends condence years of learning/experience into one afternoon. There are many people who are kind and light hearted when they come in the store or call on the phone. I've grown to truly appreciate this characteristic and I now take a much different approach when visiting others at their jobs. It makes a huge difference when the people around you are pleasant.
In a perfect world we'd all be required to spend a bit of time in the service industry from time to time. But since this is not the case... I'll just try my best to be as pleasant as possible to those around me and hope it might catch on. Sometimes that's easier said than done but trying is a good start. Have a great day!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Personality Test

In an effort to waste a few minutes while the guys were working on the ceiling in my office, I started looking at some blogs. Amy had a personality test linked to hers so I decided to join in the fun

I've taken a couple different personality tests but the only thing I can seem to remember is ENTJ... the 4 letters I got after taking one of them in high school and college. I seem to think Michael was INTJ or INTP. I can't remember which, I know he was one and Mike Slowik was the other, I think we must have taken one of those tests in our intro to Civ-E class to determine if our groups were supposed to work well together or something like that. Our group did pretty well although I was embarrassed making a presentation when Michael left greasy fingerprints on the overhead foil I used. What can I say, I remember random things ;)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

3 bottles and a rope

In 6 weeks I'll be heading over to England to accompany Lynne for her English channel swim. I have been given the honor / responsibility of managing her nutrition during the swim. Although I was well aware of the importance of this job long ago it seemed to hit me a week ago when I got to see the rope and bottles (pictured above).
Like all of us, Lynne is heading to her event well educated and well trained. With this comes a nutrition plan for the swim. Basically, each of the three bottles above is tied to a yellow nylon rope which I will toss out to Lynne every 30minutes. The rope will be attached to me via a carabener. My signal for feeding time is likely to be waving of a TX flag. Once acknowledged I will toss the bottles to Lynne and she'll take what she needs. Each bottle is a different color and will contain different nutrition. A duct tape label on the side of each bottle indicates the mixture recipe which I will add to each bottle.
Last Sunday Lynne and I went to the Quarry to practice tossing the bottles to her. This is when the importance of my job hit home. This is a big job and I am so excited to be part of her crew for this adventure. Watching your friends as they make such a huge endevour is quite amazing, especially when they envite you to take part.
Tonight while Michael was talking to his mom on the phone, he was telling her about my trip to England. She asked him if there was a try out to get my job. This made me chuckle a bit as I envisioned the try-outs for crewing an English channel swim. Can you imagine a bunch of people down at the quarry, tossing these bottles out into the water to see who the best thrower is. Maybe we'd have a mixing competition to see who was best suited for making the nutrition bottles and keeping track of time.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Hands down... my favorite part of the week is Friday night. Over the past few years the Whole foods dinner, often following an open water swim, has become a big Friday night tradition for us.
When the new Whole Foods opened a couple of years ago I was a bit intimidated by it's size. But I soon grew quite fond of it. Just stepping into the store puts a smile on my face. Fresh fruit, vegetables, seeduction bread, and bark.
mmmm... Baaarrrrkkkk. It is one of the greatest creations. An entire sheet of dark chocolate with other secret ingredients mixed in. Our favorite is the cookies and cream bark. Tonight's piece of bark was the largest one we've ever had. Note: the piece of Bar Bark was close in size. Tonight was a celebration of CdA and Michael's birthday. It was worth the wait.

Hula Hoop

Although Michael is now 30 and I'm not far behind, I don't think either one of us has grown up. We never quite figured the Hula Hoop out but at least we had fun trying.
Today was my first day back at UT for a swim workout. Whitney asked me how the race went and I told her one of my biggest frustrations was when I realized I wasn't having fun. Before leaving on my trip her words of advice were to have fun and I thought about her saying that as I trudged through the bike.
Of course, Whitney didn't say anything negative about having a tough race. Instead she asked me if I was giving myself enough rest and told me that the important thing is that I'm having fun with everything I do. Laurie Allen also mentioned something about that during her visit to the shop last Sunday. They're both correct (as well as all the others who've said it in the past)... and now... I'm off to enjoy things, everything.

Monday, July 2, 2007


After returning home and unpacking last Wednesday Michael and I drove over to the Honda dealer to pick up our new CRV. We'd ordered our Glacier Blue CRV without ever getting the chance to test drive it. Merely trusting Matt & Amanda's test drive and Chris M's positive endorsement.
So, there we were, sitting at the Honda dealer for what seemed like an eternity, as they tried to convince us that we wanted an extended warranty. We left with a mud guard for the trunk, that has already come in useful for storing wet swim gear.
I've got just under 200 miles on it now. It still feels a lot bigger than the Civic but I'm getting used to it. Today I learned how to turn on the windshield wipers and found the horn (too late to honk at Joe & Ali as I passed them on their run).
It's pretty sweet to have a new car, with it comes more opportunities for pointless analysis and questions. For example how long will it take before the new car smell is beaten down by the sweat smell? how long will it be before a layer or sunblock is coating the door handles? Will we be able to fit the tandem in this thing?
But, the most exciting / disturbing thing about the new car is the LCD that outputs the average miles / gal. I have discovered this is just as bad as a bike computer. For the past 2 days I've been trying to figure out ways to keep my avg above 22.0.
By the way, if any of you are looking at getting a new Honda, go over to First Texas, find Chris Luke, and tell him we sent you. We'll split the $50 referral fee over a dinner at Whole Paycheck