Monday, October 29, 2007

Mug Shoot from the Dentist

During lunch today I went over to TSC and Michael went to Rose Dental. I got beaten up by the strong swimmers of the Fiocca clan and Michael grown down by the dentist.

He sent me this picture from his cell phone. I don't think he'll be getting any calls from GQ as a result of this mug shot.

Bad news for Michael... the dentist put a temporary cap on his tooth. He'll have that for the next two weeks. During that time he's not supposed to be chomping on hard candy, nuts, gummy bears, etc. Last night he went to HEB and bought Halloween candy; Tootsie Rolls and Candy Corn. He got those so I wouldn't be tempted to eat any. He wasn't planning to get things he wouldn't be able to eat. I wonder how long it's going to take him to visit Target and buy up all the leftover chocolate on Nov 1st.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tigger or Eeyore

Yesterday afternoon Randy Pausch presented his last lecture on the Oprah show. The last lecture was initially presented as part of a Carnegie Mellon lecture series, but his was different because it truly was his last lecture.

I finally heard the lecture this morning. It was inspiring and gave me a great perspective. Dr Pausch commented on his childhood. Among his stories he told the audience about his parents allowing him to draw on his bedroom walls. Later in the lecture he made the comment that you need to decide early on if you are going to be a Tigger or an Eeyore.

These two comments sparked my idea for this blog entry... while we were in high school Colin and I decided to draw on his wall. Ironically, the first cartoon I drew was a Tigger. My brother and I had decided to be Tiggers many years before that. And yes, our mother also let us deface the walls too :)

Although I did not know Dr Pausch he was the undergraduate advisor for one of my good friends at CMU, Kate. Dr Pausch was her advisor for her trip to the KC-135 (vomit comet) , she knew him well.

The lecture is archived at

If you have 10 minutes to spare it's definetely worth listening too.

Pictured above:
(1) Colin standing next to the wall of his bedroom - 1995
(2) Kate & I goofing around - 1997

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gadget Boy got a new toy

For some reason Michael's old camera wasn't good enough anymore. While I was at J&A core practice Michael was meeting up with someone to purchase a new camera.

After a stop at my favorite restaurant (Whole Foods) we came home and decided to test out the new toy. Low light action shots... we'll need to keep practicing this. Michael will need to perfect his quick finger reflexes and I'll need to work on getting my legs into a full split mid-air. After all, I am the J&A cheerleader and need to keep up with my training.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Someone call NBC, they should add me to their staff...
They say Kona is the Hardest Ironman. After all it's the world championship, nothing less is to be expected.

Until you are there you can not truly understand what they mean. Until you feel the wind and the heat you can not understand the true energy of the Island. The race has made champions and broken them down but all of them come away with something larger than the race itself.

Somewhere along the way everyone is challenged and something inside them takes over.

PRIDE. It's what makes you start running the hill on Palani when you are in pain. Your back hurts, you've been sick before the race, you've been sick during the race, you have cramps, your body is in utter pain, and you are not feeling as well as you'd hoped. But along side the rode your friends are cheering and you muster up everything you have to run past them. If they're lucky they'll see you smile and they'll know you appreciate them being out there to cheer you on.

Congratulations to Ali, Jen, Chris, Juli, Fish, Danny, Des, Terra, Jim, Stephan, Lisa, Mark, and Chad

IBM 10K - PR*

Until a few weeks ago the only 10K races I'd done were a hand full of Cap 10K and 10K runs at the end of Oly distance triathlons. Michael had never done a 10K and we decided it would be fun to join up with some of the Dell teams. It was a hot day and a long course so neither of us hit our goal times.

I decided that wasn't good enough and entered the IBM 10K to see what I could do. Jet lag seems to have hit us a bitter harder than usual after our trip to Kona but I figured it was worth it. My PR from Cap 10K '03 was 43:56 and I was pretty sure I could crush it.

I did crush it but the time gets a huge * next to it. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, I was near the front of the pack. There were about 50-100 of us who turned the wrong way in the Domain. I had no idea until we started to see the guys coming back in the other direction, "Turn around...There's no turn.... It's all messed up."

A bit of mass confusion then set in and people started turning at random points in the road. I picked some arbitrary spray paint mark in the road and turned myself. Nobody seemed to know what was going on and all of the sudden it seemed like I was back in a huge group of runners. People were complaining and questioning each other. Nobody seemed to know what happened and I thought, "Darn it, another long course."

We soon realized the course was going to be short but how short was unknown, everyone was turning at different spots. I was feeling the frustration and pain from running hard but managed to regain my focus when I heard loud female breathing from behind. Tiff had made a huge effort to catch me and that was just enough to spur me back into race mode. I muscled my way to the finish but it was certainly tough.

My first mile was 6:30, a bit too fast. 2nd was 6:35 after backing off. I think I slowed a bit and Michael reported a 1:50 time difference between the last person who went the wrong way and the 1st person who was on course. So, I'm going to estimate ~ 42:00-42:10 if I'd done the entire course, not the 40:16 reported for my chip time.

What did I learn...

This race gave me an interesting perspective. After the finish there were a lot of frustrated people, complaining, asking for their money back, etc. I had felt a loss of motivation when the pain hit and I knew the distance was off. Then I sat back and thought about it. I did this race to push myself and see what I could do. I did that, I got out there and pushed past the lactic acid and the pain and definitely had the speed to get a PR. I don't know what that time would have been but why does that really matter. After all, we were just a bunch of crazy adults who were running loops in North Austin.

Setting up a race is tough. Logistics take months to plan and sometimes a few less porta potties and a lack of turn marshalls can leave people feeling disgruntled. Chill out guys, this is all for fun and there are a lot of people who put in hours of their time so you could race today. Personally I don't see a reason to complain. I pushed myself, got a $25 gift certificate to Betty Sport, and the race provided T-shirts in size Youth L. Life is good!

Friday, October 19, 2007

I like Nutz

Over the years many of my fellow CMP engineers made their way to Hawaii for vacations. It had become a tradition to bring gifts back from vacation. When returning for Hawaii everyone seemed to return with a bag of Mauna Loa chocolate covered macadamia nuts. If you've had them before its easy to understand why they were so popular, they are quite tasty!

During the middle of Ironman watching I decided I needed a snack, so I walked to the store to buy myself some chocolate covered mac nuts. The lady at the counter warned me not to eat them all at once. I asked why and she replied, "They're very rich."

I wasn't quite sure what that meant and proceeded to eat them all to find out. Apparently the evil effects of eating too much chocolate covered nuts does not effect me because I felt fine. All these years of building up my chocolate eating endurance really paid off during the ironman trip, I showed no signs of slowing. By the end of the trip I was eating a bag of chocolate covered mac nuts a day.

After returning from Hawaii I've had a lot of trouble getting up in the mornings. I'm not sure if it's a result of jet leg or a residual level of caffeine in my system.

As I walked through the Dallas airport I overheard part of a conversation. The first girl asked her friend how many cigarette's she'd had during the past week. The friend replied with a question, "How much chocolate have you had this week?"

Makes me wonder... maybe I am addicted. I'll start to worry when I get invited to the Chocolate Eaters Anonymous group meeting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

MG back from Kona

To celebrate our 6 yr anniversary Michael & I went to Kona to watch our friends race. Deanna told me that it sounds like a weird thing to do for an aniversary but not so strange for Michael and I. She's correct, it was a perfect Garel trip.

My "Race Report" will come out in the next couple of days, along with some pictures. Right now I'm still trying to get caught up with some laundary and sleep.

For now I'll just congratulate everyone who was out there this weekend. Actually, I'm going to go ahead and congratulate anyone who's ever done the race. That course is tough, I'm hoping I'll get to cross the finish line someday. Michael says the course is insane, he thinks it's crazy that people keep going back.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Crocks match my Bike

There are plenty of females out there who select shoes because they match a particular clothing item. My crocks don't match my shirt or shorts, they match my bike, my wheel bags, my transition bag, and almost match my car. Jean Anne has the same troubling tendencies as I do, I'm waiting for the day when she shows up to practice with a bright orange car.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A tough day but a good one

In Feb of 2001 Meghan and I ran our first marathon together. The metal was big and heavy and because it was the first it means a lot. Until today that race was Meghan's marathon PR. Today she ran the Twin Cities marathon and got a 15 min PR, finishing a few minutes short of Boston Qualification.

This is a huge deal and we Garels are VERY PROUD of Meghan. When she started her intense training for Twin Cities her goal was to break 4 hours again. This summer she's put in a lot of miles and it has really paid off. The temps were in the mid 70's for the entire marathon today. Even with all the training in the hot Texas summer, mid 70's is not ideal. But Meghan did great and pushed herself to a great time.

For now it's time for her to get a few weeks of well deserved rest. I'm crossing my fingers that she'll get in some good recovery and decide to head to Dallas with us in December.

Meghan's marathon wasn't the only race of the day. Back home in Austin we had the inaugural Lonestar half Ironman, the first half iron distance race in Austin. It was the last race of the TX tri series and I decided I needed to do it, since I've done all the other races. The only trouble was my lack of swimming and riding since CDA. I've done some shorter races but hadn't ridden over 1.5hrs all summer.

A few weeks ago I decided it would be a good idea to ride the course to see how doable this idea really was. I was hoping to convince Michelle L. to do the race too so she and I made plans to ride the course. We got through it and decided the 1/2 would be fine to do, just wing it for fun.

We both finished the race but it was mighty tough. The swim seemed okay and I was cruising past people for the first 20 miles of the bike but by mile 30 my power was going down and my quads were starting to cramp. This was not good. I got in all the salt and electrolytes I could but I'd be fighting some severe cramping the rest of the day. I was hoping to have a great run but instead I was doomed to my slowest half run to date. Quads, hamstrings, calfs; everything was cramping and it felt horrid.

But, for some crazy reason I told myself I couldn't quit, and I trudged my way through that thing. Along the way I saw lots of friends cheering me on while they volunteered at water stops, spectated, or ran there own race. It's so nice to have so many people cheer for me, even when I'm struggling too much to give them much acknowledgement.

The best part of the day was seeing Michelle L. out there, being such a good sport even though she was getting sick on the run. She struggled a ton and finished the race with a huge smile on her face. As a reward to ourselves we went to EZ's to get burger and milkshakes :)