Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Week 1 of 70.3 training – stolen moments

Last week was a doozy, y’all.

Kind of exhausted and stressed, but thanks for asking, hypnotoad…

Last week was the week of EVVVVVERYTHING.  We had a bunch of commitments on the schedule already, and a bunch of other stuff randomly appeared throughout the week to add to the pile of things.  I just resigned myself to having no free time and not as much sleep as normal, and since it was temporary, it was okay, but sheesh.  I’m really happy to have had a Sunday that felt RELAXING (it’s been a while) and I’m looking forward to a more mellow week coming up.  It’s weird to say that with training hours ramping up and a product release on tap, but it’s the truth, in comparison at least.

In terms of training, I got in most of it. 

  • Monday: weights AM, 1200y swim pool PM (supposed to be 1500m open water)
  • Tuesday: 6 mile long run at 10:30-11:00 pace AM
  • Wednesday: off (supposed to be FTP test AM, pool swim PM)
  • Thursday: 30 min bike/20 min run brick AM (supposed to be off)
  • Friday: 1000y swim AM (supposed to also do a weights session and a 1 hour bike)
  • Saturday: 30 mile bike, 2 mile brick run
  • Sunday: off

Total: 6 hours (about 8 hours planned)

I had to shift around the days a little, and I had to bag a weights session and an hour-ish easy bike ride.  I had planned to do one or both on Sunday as a makeup session, but I had some wicked cramps, so I ditched the weights and went on an hour long walk instead of riding.  I am bummed about missing the strength session, but the easy hour bike ride is probably one of the least important sessions of the week, so I’m less worried about skipping that.

I was supposed to do an FTP test but neither my body nor brain were there for me that morning, so I instead turned it into a 30 minute ride and 20 minute run brick at a pace which I would call “sitting outside the pain cave’s door asking if it wants to build a snowman”.  Getting two swims in is a victory, however, neither of them were open water due to time constraints, so that’s definitely on the list for this week.

A big goal in week 2 is to hit all my training sessions.  As of right now, I only have ONE commitment this week: a makeup father’s day with the family since we have all been traveling or unavailable.  The rest of the week is dedicated to training sessions, recovery, and rest and the rest of the world can go fly a kite.

  • Monday: weights (home), 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: 7 mile long run 10:30-11 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: FTP test AM, pool swim PM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: weights AM (gym if possible), open water swim PM
  • Saturday: 35 mile TT bike ride/3 mile brick faster than race pace (sub-10 is the goal).
  • Sunday: off
  • Total: about 8.75 hours planned.

The good news is I’m already through today’s workouts to the letter.  Even if I have to shuffle things around later this week, even if I have to make some modifications (I’ve already switched two sessions around for the week), my training goals this week are:

  • Hit all the sessions.
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person)
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day.

Partially demolished french food spread with all the meats, cheeses, baguettes, tapenades, and deliciousness you could want.

In terms of food, the last seven days have not been the model of health.  The quantity hasn’t been completely asinine, but the quality has not been there.  Two of my meals this week consisted of two slices of New York pizza.  I split a burger and chips for a lunch one day.  We had a bastille day potluck party and my friends went over the top with awesome French food including brie and baguettes, which are kind of my kryptonite.

I’ll put it this way, I didn’t even track Saturday or Sunday because I’m not entirely sure HOW because it’s all nibbles of this and that and the other.  I have actually tried to eliminate this type of eating because it gets me in trouble, but man, was it fun to have all sorts of yummy things spread across my countertop for the weekend!

Between that and the time of the month in which it is, the water balloon sloshing around my belly has kept me from wanting to step onto the scale.  The times I did get on the scale, I weighed between 174 and 176, which means I’m not gaining a bunch of weight back, but it’s just not going anywhere right now.  Which makes sense, because I’m not doing anything that would make it go away.  I can be frustrated with lack of progress, but at least it’s explained by LOGIC here.

The days I did track, I burnt approximately 2300 calories per day, and ate approximately 1700, so that’s a -500 deficit.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t go 2500 calories over my burn on Saturday and Sunday (which was collectively 5500, so I would have had to eat 8000 calories this weekend), so the good news is I am probably still at a slight deficit for the last week even with my best efforts to self sabotage. 

In terms of diet quality, the days I did track added up to 19.2, which isn’t HORRIBLE, except that I’m fairly certain the amount of junk I ate on Saturday (and to a lesser extent, Sunday), would send me far into the negatives those days, so let’s just call it an exception to the rule and move onward and upward before my pants get tighter.

The one highlight is that except for Monday (in which I got 9300), I had either 10k or well over 10k steps every day.  That definitely helped nudge up my calorie burn (and keep me sane) so the indulgences weren’t the end of the world.

And walking means you get to see cool stuff like this, randomly.  It’s not fall, but thanks for the pretty leaves, trees!

The goals this week are:

  • Weigh at least 5 times.  I forgot yesterday before I put on clothes, but I need to be tracking this the majority of the week.
  • Track my food the entire week.  Even if it’s good, bad, or ugly, but try to keep it 85% good.
  • Assess my diet quality when I have a week of data, aiming for it to be 20 or more.  Since I’ll have a few more calories to play with, I have no excuses for it not to be, unless I trip and fall into a vat of brie like I did this week.
  • Get 10k steps a day. 

Last week, I managed to do the photo thing (I’m now actually accepted to all three sites, and all my pictures made the cut!).  And, I edited a chapter and a half of my book.  While I didn’t spend any significant time doing any of these things on any day of the week, I’m doing my best to piece small amounts of time together to make progress otherwise I’m going to have to wait until forever to actually make headway.

As I decided here, I’m not giving myself any timelines on these things, maybe loose goals like I would like to edit at least one photo most days so it becomes a habit of something relaxing I do during downtime vs A THINGGG I have to do. 

Now that we’re in 70.3 season, everything else is absolutely on the back burner and a distant priority vs training and eating and work and recovering and trying not to be a stranger to family/friends.  If that’s all I can do in the next four months, it’s a success.  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT to beef up my photography stock, and I don’t WANT to get to the point where I feel like I can put my book on a kindle and try to enjoy it (and let Zliten, who has been bugging me for months, read it as well).  I have a bunch of ideas for videos, and I haven’t touched a painting in months.  I want to create all the things!

However, I’m now on the AM workout schedule about 5 days a week (and doing doubles 3 of those days), and that means I’m flipping tired after work.  Long workouts on Saturday usually don’t leave me with much brain after.  Stolen moments on weekday evenings after dinner plus some time on Sundays between chores and cooking is really where I’m going to find that time, and some weeks it just may not exist.  And that’s ok.

Sticks and Stones

Sunday, after unloading the car, eating, showering, and enjoying my comfortable couch for a while, I started to become curious as to what my camera had captured with the FIVE HUNDRED pictures I took at Krause Springs.

The spot really photographs itself, even with a cell phone camera (haven’t touched the real ones yet).

In context, I took SEVEN HUNDRED on the cruise, so apparently I average approximately a hundred shots per day while in pretty places.  Since I had plenty of time with the small piece of land we were camping on, I experimented a lot with different modes and exposures and settings and I was excited to see what worked and what didn’t.  I didn’t worry TOO MUCH about getting the perfect shot, as it’s a place I could easily return to on a weekend day trip. 

Before digging in, I realized that I needed to be tough with myself about finishing projects before I start a new one.  I had the top 10 “application package” photos from the cruise picked out and ready to edit, and as someone with “squirrel” syndrome, I knew I needed to finish those first and put that project to bed.  I probably spent too much time agonizing over making them perfect on Sunday but I wanted to give myself the best shot of being accepted.

This week, I bit the bullet and submitted my photos all around the internets.

  • Submitted to a contest.  If you have a sec, vote my scuba photo up (you don’t even have to register or anything).
  • Got involved with Nat Geo Your Shot and submitted some photos to the We Love Animals Assignment.  It seems like a really neat community that I hope to continue to involve myself in.
  • Submitted eight of my best photos to Getty/iStock, Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock.

This being one of my favorites…

As you can see by the links (even though right now the first one isn’t working yet :P), I’ve been accepted to two out of the three, the first within 24 hours and the second well within 48.  Also, ALL the photos I submitted were accepted. 

At first I was insanely pleased.  Then, as I tend to do, the doubt creeps in… maybe EVERYONE gets in and this is like a participation trophy.  I poked around the internet and in fact that is NOT the case, it’s actually a pretty nice accomplishment to do that on the first try, and iStock/Getty can take up to a month or more to get back to you sometimes, so I’m back to feeling pretty great about things. 

After going through the process, I now know my insanely high quality bar is above theirs.  And, the fact is, you have the best chance in making sales by having a HUGE portfolio.  Now it’s time to test the limits and see what flies.  Obviously I don’t want to put up a bunch of crap, but I have at least 15 more shots that I agonized over which were great but not my top 10.  Also, I have some stunning shots from Bonaire that more than meet the resolution requirements of 4 mexapixels or more but aren’t as high quality.  I’m going to gather up some of those and start submitting over the coming weeks.  I don’t want to rack up a nasty rejection rate because on some sites that matters, so I’ll take it slow, but it’s nice to know that at very least the best of what I’m doing meets the quality standards needed.

I feel like this one now might suffice even if it’s not *quite* as high quality.

In the future, I think I’ll pick out my absolute best ones and put them aside for amazing opportunities and submissions to stuff like this, but I don’t regret putting my best foot forward for the application process.

This is a lot of words about photography and process on a blog that is mostly triathlon and food and sometimes navel gazing – but I’m getting to that last one, I promise.  My theme for the year, in triathlon, in #projectraceweight, in my creative pursuits like writing, photography, one-take videos, it’s been all about GETTING OUT OF MY OWN WAY. 

Sometimes when you have a little confidence in yourself, awesome things happen.

Surprising no one but myself, my quality bar for myself to feel worthy of something is apparently much higher than the world’s.  Sometimes I have remember to lower my expectations and get moving.  I’m not sure when NO or FAILURE or NOT GOOD ENOUGH TRY AGAIN became fearful things, and I’ve been able to hide it well with a veil of apathy in the past, but I was never that kind of a kid.  I didn’t stand under the high dive going “eh, I don’t want to do that, looks lame (read: scary)”.  I was the one climbing the stairs repeatedly to free fall as many times as the day would let me.  Yeah, sometimes I’d over or under-rotate and smack my body on the water and be temporarily in pain, but that didn’t prohibit me from trying again.

It’s the same with these opportunities.  A “smack” isn’t anything to fear, and a proverbial smack is even less of an issue, there’s not physical pain or red welts to go with it, just some hurt feelers.  If I set a goal and I don’t reach it, it’s not that I’m a horrible human being, it’s that I still have some work to do in that areas and god forbid I wasn’t perfect the first time.  However, it’s actually pretty nice to be perfect the first time when you can be. 🙂

There’s one common thread that I’ll need to face here soon.  I have this little corner of the internet, Adjusted Reality.  I have social media accounts.  I have a You Tube channel.  I plan to set up either a section of Adjusted Reality for photography or maybe make a standalone site for it.  I have a book that eventually I will finish editing and I’ll want to share it with the world.  There’s all sorts of crazy future plans too but this is what’s in the hopper RIGHT NOW.

(my feelings right now about self-marketing…)

If I want to make the leap from a couple hundred followers on Insta and Twitter, somewhere between 100-1000 (if I’m lucky) page views here, and crickets pretty much everywhere else, I’m going to need to get a little more outgoing.  If my content is good (which is subjective, but I need to believe in it to market it, so I will), that’s one piece.  That’s what I’m working on now, creating quality content, including the content of my actual body (#projectraceweight), and my basket of accomplishments (Nationals Qualifier, Stock Photographer, etc).

However, eventually, I’m going to need to learn how to make my voice heard in all the noise.  It’s not enough to just be out there, as much as I wish it was with all my heart.  You have to SHOUT from the rooftops to get heard in all the noise.  I’m getting better at being out there and even interacting with people on social media without feeling like a creeper (being part of the #wattagebrigade has really helped here).  But I’m really terrible about actually “hawking my wares”, so to speak.

Here are my two issues:

Knowledge: I’m not an expert in this stuff.  I’m learning as I can, but I really do feel like I could use a course specifically on how to market yourself.  I want to pay someone who is an authority in this some money and have them dump all the knowledge on me so I can take copious notes and develop a foolproof plan and checklist of all the things I need to do to dominate the world.

This is fixable with some time and money, and something I’m going to prioritize in the next offseason.  However, I’m never going to get anywhere with that until I fully deal with the second thing…

Confidence: By uncovering the fact that I was using apathy to cover for insecurity, I’ve made a lot of strides here.  Whenever I start feeling ennui about something that I was excited about, I try to analyze what happened.  Sometimes it’s true *overwhelm*, which is valid and means I need to focus on LESS at that particular moment.  However, sometimes, it’s just that the reality of what I’m about to do (submit a photo for critique, toe the line of a triathlon, be goofy on camera, publish some writing) makes me a little uncomfortable.  Generally, I’m at the point where I can get over it and do it and it’s great.

Feels good, man.

However, the next step is to actually let people know it’s there, which feels like sticking my hand into the fire yet again, after it’s burning hotter.  I ALREADY did the uncomfortable thing and put it out there, now I literally have to shout to call attention to this vulnerable thing that I have done!  Hello!  Here it is!  Come check out this little piece of my soul and pick it apart, everyone!  Previously, I was convinced it was all knowledge I lacked, but now I’ve found that I’ve hesitated to take steps that would increase visibility on various work I’ve done.  I’ve made various excuses about that but it honestly boils down to confidence in my self, and the confidence to be vulnerable to an audience that could potentially call me not nice names.

But as they say, sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.  I’ve spent 2018 creating and it has felt AMAZING.  I’ve gotten over a lot of things and have put my work out into the world and will continue to do so.  Soon, though, my goal is to figure out how to confidently hawk my wares, both technically and also having the chutzpah to not just do a thing, but also point and it while shouting it’s praises.

Second verse, different than the first…

Today begins half ironman season, which will be very different than the first half of the year. 

Time to remember how to race for 6 hours vs 60 minutes.

Instead of short, small races where I’m running for the podium and I can almost blink before they’re over, I have longer, bigger races to tackle.  For these, my hope is that I can place in the top half of my age group, and the only thing I hope to qualify for is a post-race beer.  I can’t just wing the distance on these with the endurance I have so I actually have to start doing stuff like running for more than half an hour and swimming more than 1000yds. 

The cool thing is the rest of the year brings ALL new races, so I don’t have any course PRs or prior expectations.  It’s about kicking my own ass and pushing myself for no other reason than just to be better than before.  It’s kind of refreshing.  Also, by signing up for Waco 70.3 four weeks after Cozumel, I actually get TWO chances in extremely different conditions to test my fitness on the same build and I’m really really really looking forward to that.  Worst case, if it’s a really bad idea, I’ll get to suffer on the course with a bunch of my Bicycle Sport Shop team!

I’m attempting to continue the efforts that have been successful beyond my wildest expectations this season.  Specificity and intensity versus excessive volume are what I’m about this summer, just like I was in spring.  I’m trying to keep the same methodology but slightly longer workouts since they are slightly longer races.

The focus for the last month has been heat acclimation.  We’ve done a lot of hot, mid-day walks, runs ending as late as possible before work (sleeping in has it’s privileges…), bikes in the hot afternoon sun, and just being outside as much as possible.  One ride topped out around 100 degrees (feels like more) and I remember thinking it didn’t feel that bad (though I was happy not to be running in that yet, baby steps).  I took a walk around the block at sunset and thought it was 10 degrees cooler than the temperature showed.  I ran in feels like upper 80s and I didn’t even have curse words for it.  I did have a hard time in the heat with our 30 mile ride on Friday (some idiot nutritional factors were at play), but I have confidence that I’m getting where I need to be.

Smiles after long rides vs a month ago I was seriously hunched over my bike trying not to pass out.

If I had zero things on the schedule between now and Cozumel, I’d probably just start riding my bike a million miles in July with some short brick runs every few sessions and then transition to more running in August and faster stuff in September (kind of like my Austin 70.3 training).  However, I have to race an Olympic in five weeks and while Nationals isn’t a goal race, I don’t want to completely embarrass myself.  I need to build my run concurrently as well, peaking for a 13 mile race distance run in about 2 months.  That means I’ll need to rip off that “long run” bandaid off sooner than later.  I have 6 miles planned for tomorrow which is exactly 1.5 miles longer than I’ve run in the last half a year.

Pre-Nationals (first 5 week block):

  • I’m a little rusty in the weightroom. First plan is to work my way back up with lighter weights for the first two weeks or so (2xweek), and then get back to the actual deadlifting/squatting/etc in the gym at least once a week (and the other session either the same or at home with kettles) within this time frame. 
  • My bike comfort zone ends somewhere in the realm of 30-40 miles right now.  I plan to get to 40 miles feeling like just another day, and ride my TT bike as much as possible (when it makes sense).
  • I plan to work my long run up to about 90 minutes, but my goal for these runs is to never slow to 100% easy pace.  I’m running a 5k easy holding 10-something mile pace, I’m hoping not to slow too much from there.  If it’s either or, I’d rather run less but faster. 
  • Swimming, I’m the least worried about you.  I plan to swim twice a week, and swim open water at least once a week/every other week at the absolute least.  I need to work on my speed and form when I can’t see the black line.  However, the jump from what I usually swim to 1.2 miles usually comes quickly as long as I actually DO IT.
  • I plan to hit our team brick most every Wednesday, or do a similar workout at home (exception – the FTP test I have scheduled this week in that same time slot ><).  Every long bike has a run scheduled off it.  I have a practice Olympic on the schedule 2 weeks out from the race to practice logistics and give myself confidence that I’m ready.
  • These five weeks consist of: #1 building volume, #2 more building volume, #3 stepback w/practice race, #4 one more building volume, #5 race week.  It’s not a full taper but I should go into Nationals *sorta* fresh.

Haven’t spent much time here lately and that’s about to change.  Soon.

Post Nationals to Peak (4 week block):

  • After racing two days back to back, I’ll take the next few weekdays fairly light and then have my first “long day” with a 30 min swim, 3 hour ride, 3 mile run that weekend.  If I’m super fried from racing and travel, I may switch this to the next week and just do an easy long bike + run instead. 
  • I have a second “long day” planned as my final long workout before the race/three weeks before the race – 1.2 mile OWS, 56 mile TT bike, 10k run.  This will be where I test all my race prep.
  • On the flat, closed course Cozumel bike, I estimate I’ll ride somewhere around 3 hours with the race conditions.  However, I don’t have a lot of places to practice like that.  The options I have are: riding the same amount of TIME on my road bike in group rides/traffic (but that will probably net me between 10-15+ miles less with logistics).  3 hour trainer rides sound torturous but I have a feeling I’ll do at least one.  I have a few places where I can get CLOSE to a closed course/continuous effort on my TT bike but none of them will let me open up as much as I will in the race.  I think the best I can do is just get out and ride anywhere and everywhere I can to ensure that 56 flat miles/3 hours is well within my comfort zone.  So, lotsa bikes.
  • On the run, I plan to alternate race pace long runs with shorter faster tempo work.  I figure I’ll run the 13 miles once about a month out for a confidence builder but I’m not running a half marathon race, I’m surviving a half marathon on tired legs in the heat off the bike.  The best thing I can do is be prepared to run FASTER and run OFF THE BIKE.  So, I’ll continue to go forward with that methodology.  Absolutely no junk miles here to stick to my minimalistic running program.
  • Weights and swim plan continues as before.  I expect I’ll be swimming the full race distance once a week or every other week at least.

#mfw I run in the heat because I love it so much.  But then I chose to do races like Cozumel.  I am an enigma. 😛

Taper (3 weeks):

  • At this point, the hay is in the barn so I’ll be ditching long workouts for shorter, faster stuff to keep sharp.  All the sports volumes will come down and I’ll be running faster than race pace more often. 
  • I’ll continue my weights until race week, and *maybe* that Monday I’ll do a light weights workout if I feel up to it. 
  • I’m figuring I’ll be extremely ready to cut the volume once I get here as usual, but if I have to remind myself, I’ll refer to my last post on how successful I was at sprints on minimal training (but the right training).

Post Cozumel to Waco (4 weeks):

  • The first week post race will involve diving, snorkeling, tacos, and margaritas. 
  • October 13 is two weeks out of my second race.  I have one more opportunity for a key workout.  Whether anything I do 15 days out will improve my fitness is questionable, but I can definitely do something that will build confidence.  That’s TBD. 
  • If I feel like everything is copacetic, I’ll repeat my taper plan for Cozumel almost exactly.
  • Basically, my goal is to keep my fitness in tact and to not do stupid things and hurt myself or get burnt out or sit on my butt too much and get stale and unfit.

October 28th post race plans…

What’s after that?  Staying active but some offseason-y goodness.

November = offseason.  I hope to pick up my activity by Thanksgiving to stave off gaining any weight, but there will be absolutely no POINT to it.  I’ll go run because it’s nice outside and ride bikes with friends on adventures and maybe swim once because it feels novel and maybe lift heavy things because it’s fun.

December = strength + run focus (but still kind of offseason).  Because I have a little matter of a half marathon (that I don’t care about my performance but need to survive), I should do some running but probably mostly the kind where I duck outside in the afternoon and race the sunset for fun for about an hour, completely ignoring things my watch says.  If I’m not back to lifting yet, I need to start.  Bikes (probably) and swimming (haha) as they sound fun.

Some of this coming up.  Not a ton, but some.

Then there’s the other part of the equation – weight loss.  I’m hoping to eek out about FIVE MORE LBS this year, but it’s already starting to slow down to a crawl.  A few months of calorie deficits and agonizing over every crumb I eat has gotten tiring and I missed Mexican restaurants and bike adventures with food stops and those may have crept back in my life in the last few weeks.  Even though I’m still fighting, it’s not with that much enthusiasm.

At some point I’ll officially transition to more calories when the training ratchets up and then my appetite catches up (I’m guessing that will happen in early August).  My only goal for the rest of the year will be not to gain weight (but really, I mean that – I don’t want to gain ANY weight over the holidays).  Then, after New Years, I’ll start again in earnest to try to lose the next (and maybe last) 15.

My goal will still be to eat nutritious food and track my calories and really nail the hell out of my diet quality scores since I have more calories to play with.  However, in my estimation, I’ll be burning about 2-3k more calories per week with increased training.  That gives me some leverage to actually drink a few non-light beers or have some post ride pizza and maybe not freak out if someone wants to go out for dinner unexpectedly if I don’t change my normal daily habits.  That sounds nice.

Let’s do this thing! 12 weeks to go, starting… NOW!

One Year Campiversary

Twelve months ago, I had no idea this was going to be one of my favorite things in the world.

ICYMI, last year our company moved offices, and we had some extra time off around the July 4th holiday.  Obviously, this prompted me to start looking at vacations, and when I found prices to be outrageous, I lamented that I wish we could just go camping, but not in July without air conditioning.

We started looking up rentals, and long story short, ended up purchasing a used Jayco pop up.  We obtained Turtle Home from a nice gentleman who had used it approximately eight nights in the previous nine years, for the cost of approximately double the price of a flight and accommodations in Colorado (the cheapest place we could go) over that long weekend.

Our first foray was six nights, which was a little overwhelming to me (the most I’d ever camped was two), but the site was an hour from home, so if it didn’t work out, we could just pack up.  We didn’t do that, in fact, I didn’t even want to go home when it was time.  I still don’t know at what point I’d get tired of camping in the pop up, but the answer is at least more than one week.

I expected the AC in the camper to put out a little bit of cool air so it wasn’t completely miserable to sleep.  I didn’t expect to need a hat, a thick comforter, and fleece pullover with it on low and sleep much more soundly than normal.  I figured it would be roomier than a tent, but I didn’t figure it would be spacious enough for two people to be able to lounge around in it comfortably with plenty of personal space.  I hoped I would have a decent time camping, I didn’t expect it to hook me as completely as it did.

I’ve spent 24 nights in the turtle and at the end of this week it will be 29 – that’s about a month of my life in the last year camping.  It’s been invaluable for races – it’s cheap, relaxing, comfortable, and sometime you can even stay AT THE VENUE and wake up with the race in your backyard, which is super convenient for someone who is not a morning person.  It’s been great for training, it’s nice to roll out of a campsite and be able to take a long bike ride in the country without navigating city traffic to get there and back.  It’s been amazing for time away to unwind and relax.  My brain shuts up a little bit after a few days in the woods and it’s a beautiful thing.

Our first year of camping included:

Even if you ignore the other trips, we’ve saved at least 10 nights of race hotel accommodations – considering the average hotel room price with taxes and fees, that would definitely be closing in on 1,000$ if not already there (for example, Hotter’n’hell was a 45$ campsite vs 150-200$ for basic rooms in the area).

In our Sophomore year of camping we plan to do these trips:

  • Krausse Springs for fourth of July again.  I’m super excited to have this as my view for another 5 days.  I’m super excited to paint, ride bikes, traipse around the property with my camera, read, make some great campfire food, and just chill the eff out for a while.
  • We are toying with the idea of camping as a training camp type weekend sometime this season at Granger Lake.
  • Race camping for Waco 70.3.  First camping half ironman!
  • A few nights in the Fredricksburg area over the holidays.  Y’know, they have free buses that take you to wineries and back.  That sounds like it doesn’t suck.
  • Mayyyyybe Pace Bend Ultra.  As part of a relay.  Or crew.

…and I’m sure we’ll be doing some more races and hopefully a few weekends where we take off and just enjoy being outside and relax.

I’m super excited for five more days in the woods.  Can we go yet?

Post Spring Season Decompression

I’ve had almost two weeks to reflect (and also not do a whole lot of serious training), I wanted to document what has absolutely been my most successful season ever.

First of all, let’s talk about the races.  Honestly, all five triathlons so far this year would rank up in my great races of all time, but as long as we know we’re comparing unicorns with rainbows, here’s the order in which I feel I performed:

#1 – Pflugerville (3rd AG).  This was my best bike result by far.  For all 5 legs (swim bike run and transitions), I got a PR.  Best of all, getting 3rd in my age group with my BSS team there supporting me was the thing that was kind of missing at the “away games”.  Also, I do this race every year, so it’s a great measuring stick against where I’m at with my training.  Considering it was a huge PR, it’s proof I really actually have improved a lot.

#2 – Texasman (3rd AG/7th OA F).  The mass female start made me feel like I was actually able to RACE for the overall placement against people vs just kicking my own ass as hard as I could and hoping for the best.  I knew where I was in the race at all times after the bike turnaround and that was fun and motivating.  I think it was my most aggressive and gutsy bike, my best run, and it was super cool to hear them calling out 3rd female in as I got to T2.

#3 – No Label (1st AG).  This was the huge confidence booster (and the first National qualifier).  I had no idea how I was going to do, coming off some serious lifting and annoying injuries and some frankly disappointing races in winter.  I enjoyed the hell out of the super flat bike course even if it was a little chip seal-y at times, and I still maintain that I only won my age group because it was a point to point run to a brewery.

#4 – Windcrest (1st AG/3rd OA F).  While it’s hard to rank a race that I won my age group and placed 3rd overall female so low, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t my best performance physically or mentally.  I was just getting over being sick, the bike course didn’t play to my strengths and that frustrated me, and I let a minor gear issue (my race belt missing) mess with my head on the run for longer than it should have and I didn’t run to my potential because of it.

#5 – Rookie (4th AG).  Any other season, this would have been the highlight of it.  A 3 minute PR in an 66 minute race is nothing to sneeze at.  It was the first measure of my bike prowess on a course I’d done before and I blew away my expectations.  However, I died a little on the run when the course changed and they threw an unexpected hill at us, and watching someone just FLY past me half a mile from the finish (to ultimately take 3rd place) was humbling.  While 4th was an amazing result compared to how I’ve ever done here before, it was the only race this spring where I missed the podium in my age group.

I’ve learned a lot this season (even if some of this was re-learning, ahem).

Weight training and recovery are probably the most important factors for me succeeding at sprint triathlons right now.  Because I have so much previous base, there’s no reason I need to go out and swim, ride, and run a lot.  To build the power needed at the short distances I need to be strong, and I need to be fresh.  When I get to the point where my legs don’t feel like the limiting factor in my run, this could change, but I have miles to go before that happens.

I’ve nailed my day before, pre-race, and race nutrition.  For reference:

  • Day before:
    • Normal breakfast (yogurt and berries, protein bar or shake, bean and cheese breakfast tacos, etc).
    • Turkey sandwich on wheat for lunch.
    • Chicken, potato, and salad for dinner.
    • Snacks as hungry, like jerky, nuts, fruit.
  • Day of:
    • Earl grey tea, two caffeinated jelly beans, and a whole wheat english muffin with sun butter and honey about 2-3 hours before start.
    • The entirety of my sprint nutrition plan is: a salted watermelon caffeinated gel as early as possible on the bike, and whatever diluted gatorade I can (usually between 4-10 sips) and whatever water I can throw at my face during the run.  Besides that gel, I really don’t need much for 60-90 minutes.
    • Eat something with some protein (real food) as soon as possible after the race or I’ll be a hunger monster all day.  Pizza is actually a great immediate post race food.
    • Have easy to make healthy nutritious food on hand and try to not go over the calories burnt.  Maintaining a deficit on race day is just about impossible, so let that go.  For Pflugerville, I had a chef salad and veggies and dip ready to go in the fridge to eat right away.  That was probably the best I’ve felt post race in a while.

I have yet to have a bad race while camping.  Just sayin’.  It just feels right sleeping in the pop up and spending time outside in the quiet, something about it helps me FOCUS and then UNWIND better vs having all the distractions of home around.  I thought I was done with it for the year and I’m excited to have added one more race so I get to do it again!

When I *do* swim, bike, and run, the intensity needs to be there regularly.  We are what we repeatedly do, and by taking the pressure off with less volume (averaging about 5 hours a week since March), I get the opportunity to do things at race pace more often.  I think this is most important with running, because I rarely tend to pull out anything in a race I can’t do, or actually do even a little better in practice.  If all I’m doing is running slow, that’s probably how my race is going to go.

I’ve also come up with a great pre-race preparation schedule which involves:

  • Laying out my gear and practicing transitions three times before packing it up to go has helped me to be more confident and quicker in transitions (and I never forget anything important!).
  • Going over my day at least once before I go to bed.  I start when I wake up and walk myself through a successful day.  I mean, even the mundane stuff – wake up, make tea, eat english muffin, use bathroom, put on kit… it helps me cruise through my morning with less stress since I’ve practiced!
  • Making some solo time race morning to go internal and psych myself up before the start.  I didn’t really need the whole “race day persona” thing I was trying out last year, I just needed some time to focus and get my game face on for the day.

And finally, while ~15 lbs doesn’t sound like much, I feel like it’s made a world of difference on the bike and starting to do good things on the run.  I think I’m nearing the end of what I will call my “cutting” phase, and the weight loss is slowing, but it’s been really nice to carry one less pink kettlebell around on my body.

I have a lot of thoughts about the second half of the year, but that’s a heck of a lot more words for another post!

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