Adjusted Reality

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

#coloradoadventure part 1 – Denver and Grand Junction

Ahhh.  Vacation is magical.  Real life… is real today.  Can’t someone pay me a living wage to travel around the world and take photos of awesome things and write about them?  Is that a real job?  I know I make video games for a living and that’s pretty cool… but it’s so… INDOORS…. ><.

Aug30-21

Instead of by a beautiful lake….

Anyways, I’m happy to report that this vacation went much better than the last half of the last one with the work thing.  I was threatening to remove the book of faces from my phone for the trip, but I ended up using it for communication and meeting up with people.  I just tried to steer clear of anything real-life related and did fine to keep my reality adjusted to vacation mode (see what I did there?).

I’m going to be splitting this up into two parts because I have way too many pictures to be contained in two posts.  If you want to skip ahead and see the photos without so much jibber jabber… you can here.

Friday:

I’ve actually decided that I quite liked traveling on a Friday evening.  I was able to leave work at 5pm, get to the airport by 6pm, and through security by 6:20.  This would have been quicker because there was no line, except Zliten decided to bring his bike multi tool, which put us in the long slow TSA process to have his carry-on searched, but hey, bike safety first!  We ordered dinner from Maudies, which ended up taking way too long and being kind of disappointing and small, but *shrug* airport food.

Aug30-1

Girls who unknowingly photobombed us talked THE WHOLE FLIGHT loudly.  I was amused.  Zliten was NOT.

The flight itself was a little late, but I didn’t mind.  The airport is the best place to catch pokemon!  Also, a lot of other flights were getting cancelled around us due to weather issues, so I was just happy ours only experienced a 40 minute delay.  The flight itself was a little bumpy, but otherwise fine.  We retrieved our rental car without any trouble, and hit the hotel (#1 of 4 this trip) around 11pm (midnight Austin time).

The disappointing dinner at the airport many hours earlier meant we needed a snack… and the only thing open in the area was the Applebees in the parking lot.  I had a salad and some boneless wings and wine because… vacation.

Aug30-2

Not exactly a local experience, but at least Zliten was drinking Coors? :)

The nice part about the Friday evening departure was a) didn’t have to take time off -and- b) got all the business time traveling stuff done so starting Saturday morning, we could just wake up and start playing instead of the inevitable 7 hours of BS it takes to travel one state over for a 2 hour flight these days.

Saturday:

We woke up, checked out of our hotel 11 hours after checking in, and headed to Chatfield Lake for an open water swim.  It satisfied the requirements of being a) not too far out of the way (e.g. running at Garden of the Gods was nixed because travel time) and b) it was not going to turn me into an icicle!  Sadly it also c) had a swim beach about the length of an Olympic swimming pool and d) was really dirty – there was a sign saying “Don’t Swallow the Water” which I saw AFTER swimming… and I always end up drinking some of the lake.  Ah well.  A little under 1 mile on the garmin, and spoiler alert: I survived.

Aug30-3

Beautiful place to bike, run, and hang out.  Not the best open water swim of my life as you can see from my mud beard.

We hit the road, and later stopped in a little mountain town called Genesse, and I ate one of the best turkey clubs I’ve ever had in my life at Hideaway Kitchen and Bar.  Influencing that may have been no breakfast and an open water swim before lunch, but that’s just details.

Aug30-4

I will dream about this bacon for years.

Our drive continued over the pass.  This takes you above 10k feet.  If you haven’t been that elevated outside of an airplane, let me tell you – it feels woogy.  I felt oddly fatigued all of a sudden, and on the edge of being dizzy just sitting.  So, what did we do after that?  We went and ran 5k in Vail (at a much lower elevation of 8200+, heh) to see what it felt like.

Aug30-5

Running in Vail = sucking my oxygen through a teeny straw.  But the scenery almost made up for it.

It was both easier and harder than I expected.  I didn’t feel quite as flattened as I had anticipated, but just that pace didn’t feel like pace.  Just under 12 minute miles, less than 24 hours at altitude, and at over 10x the elevation I normally run at, felt like a tempo run.  It was bizarre, just like I was having a really off day or my garmin wasn’t working right, but I imagined it would be more like running in deep sand.  It wasn’t.

Aug30-6

More pretty stuff in Vail.  Especially that watermelon sorbet.

After that, we cleaned up, got some ice cream, bought me a hoodie, and then kept on driving towards our final destination for the day, Grand Junction.

Aug30-7

East to west from the drive.

The views did not suck, but we determined that both ways, the drive took an hour too long, for some reason.  We checked into hotel #2, which smelled like overmicrowaved chicken noodle soup (one night with the window open fixed it), and then hit a brewery nearby for dinner and a beer with Zliten’s cousin.  I got this lovely caprese chicken sandwich and some ridiculous spinach artichoke dip (half of which came home with us), and a sour plum beer.

After, made our way to Charlie Dwellington’s for drag queen karaoke (to watch, I wasn’t nearly “up” enough to participate).  Since we were running in the morning, we cut ourselves off around midnight and moseyed back to home base.

Sunday:

Being vacation, and vacation in Colorado, we slept in a bit.  I figured this would be no problem because I figured I’d get hypothermia here from lows in the 50s.  Look how hopeful I was with that long sleeve shirt!  However, this was a particularly warm day, so getting out late was not ideal, nor was my attire.

Aug30-8

So hopeful.  Didn’t quite pan out.

I had picked a trail that sounded awesome, and happened to be 8 miles (since I wanted to run 8 miles that day).  Zliten took one look at the elevation profile and decided I was out of my mind (I was), and took us to a different trail – Dinosaur Hill.  It ended up being less than 1 mile, completely in the sun, and in disrepair, so we only ran it once.  After striking out twice, we decided to play it safe and run in town.

Aug30-9

Pretty, but not something I wanted to run 8 times.

The first half, I was hating life.  Then I ate a gel.  Then life slowly became fine… then fun!  If we weren’t slated to climb a mountain the next day, I may have actually pushed and finished up 8, but I got 6.65 miles or so total, both on a trail and through a new town.  It was 84, feels like 92, at the end, which is actually pretty chilly compared to our normal run weather here.

Aug30-10

I’m taking a bike selfie. The world feels more normal all of a sudden.

After the run, we ate the other half of our food from dinner the day before, and picked up our steeds from Bicycle Outfitters.  We rode around town a bit to make sure they were in working order.  They were, and then some!  I have some major n+1 issues right now (n+2 actually, but we’ll get there later) because that is the nicest road bike I’ve ever ridden.

Aug30-11

Didn’t get to see a sunrise the whole trip, but the sunsets made up for it.

We went to Zliten’s cousin’s house and she prepared us some delicious chicken and veggies on the grill.  I may have ruined that healthy meal with a half a bag of chex mix, but I needed carbs for the epic ride the next day…

Monday:

We set the alarm for 5:30.  And then snoozed.  And then dragged ass to get ready.  It was after 8am when we got out, which ended up being okay, because it stayed overcast and cooler for the morning.  Although… the temperatures they were warning us about were laughable to us Texans.  80s?  Please.  That’s what happens at dawn here in August.

Within 2 miles of downtown, you’re into the wilderness.  By mile 4, you’ve started noticeably climbing, and you’re not even to the Colorado National Monument state park yet.  I almost asked Zliten to do a little more of a warmup, because my legs do not handle bike work well in the first 20-30 mins, but figured we should get this ascension over with… so we paid our 5$ each and in we went!

Aug30-14

Non-selfie scenery shots.  Jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

I figured I’d need to rest a few times.  Within two more miles, I was essentially hyperventilating from breathing so hard on the constant 6-8% grade and lack of oxygen at 5k+ feet and had to stop at just about every other turnout.  My head went to a lot of negative places on the approximately 2 hours it took to climb less than 10 miles.

Aug30-13

My attitude on the first half of the climb. 

A caffeinated gel about 10am (oops, I should have been stuffing my face sooner) helped a bunch, and eventually we found some flatter road (only 2-4% grade?) and we started pulling off the road to take pretty pictures instead of simply to get my breathing under control.  Gritted teeth became grinning smiles.  We climbed a mountain, through patience and persistence.  It. was. awesome.

I thought I was going to be MUCH more terrified going down the mountain, but after so much climbing, I earned that shit and enjoyed it immensely.  The wind whipped by me, I went from going 2-3 mph to 20-30 mph, and I got to enjoy the views on the way down that I couldn’t see because I was starved for oxygen on the way up.  It. was. amazing.  I didn’t have the balls to ride all the way down the mountain in Alaska, but this time, I never got off my bike once to slow down.  I felt in complete control (most of the time), and only a little sketchy once.  I did apply my brakes liberally, but… baby steps.

Aug30-15

Scenery with selfies because this is how we do (as you can see, I get happier as the day goes on)…

After leaving the park and heading home (from the other side of the mountain, so I think we had about 13 miles left), I started getting grumpy at the fact there was any more hills.  I though I had done all the hills?  Hello?  After muttering a lot of things about building a ramp from the mountain back to town, I remembered to eat more food and then my mood improved again.

Especially when I looked over and saw what we had done.  We were up there.  On the top.  Amazing!

Aug30-12

Me: “Was I up there?” (points at random place) Zliten: “Yep!” Me: “Wow…” —an actual conversation that happened about 25 times before we left GJ.

After we finally made it to the hotel, we snacked and rushed out quickly for lunch with family, at a Venezuelan restaurant.  Beef empanadas and mashed yucca, with a side of fried plantains?  Yum.  Great post-bike food.

Aug30-16

I’ve never drank Pacifico out of a 24 oz can.  It tasted like old, canned Pacifico.  Fancy that.

We spent the rest of the day drinking beers, eating pizza, talking with random people, and ended up at the same fun bar from Saturday night… and they had Game Show night.  I ended up rocking my Jeopardy round, correctly guessing a daily double and the winning the match (so that got me 5$ and a free drink respectively), and ended up drinking water to stay coherent for the final round with the 25 dollar prize.  Zliten ended up having quite a few more waiting for me to be done.  I ended up second (whomp whomp… I got the final question right, risking it all, but it wasn’t enough to beat one other competitor…) and consoled myself with another drink or two, and then we called it a night.

Tuesday:

There was this awesome Nepalese restaurant with a lunch buffet.  I was SO looking forward to it, and after a morning hot tub and pool, we walked our stomachs over at opening.

Aug30-17

Mish mash of delish.

Nepalese ended up being Indian food mixed with Chinese food.  I love both of these things!  It was not the best Indian buffet I’ve had in my life, but the fact that it had eggrolls, potstickers, and chow chow noodles as well?  I’m sold.

Aug30-19

Couldn’t bring myself to actually swim but you KNOW my feet were in the water for a couple hours.

This was really the first *vacation-y* day of our trip – no run bike or swim planned.  We were going to go rafting, but the weather kinda sucked, so instead we went to a pretty lake called Highline, stuck our feet in for a while, read books, and hiked around it.  Next time, we traverse the rapids!

Aug30-20

Highline Lake scenes.  Halfway around the lake, I found the only bugs in Colorado.

My husband has a weakness for Del Taco, and since there are none around us anymore, we hit one whenever we see it.  While I’m not sure a 5k hike deserved a two taco and half a cheese fries snack, that’s what it got.  For some reason, the whole time I was in Colorado, I could not get enough food.  I was rarely full after a meal, and even if I was, I could totally eat an hour later.

We changed for one more GJ meal, and EVERYONE had told us to go to Bin 707 Food Bar.  However, everything about it screamed HIPSTER and wayyyyyy too cool for me.  I mean, it’s in the basement of a bank, right?  The turning point was Zliten’s cousin recommended it and she is about as opposite of a hipster as you can get.  So, that was the target for the evening.

Aug30-18

A little bit hipster, a lot great food and service.

I’m so glad we did.  Yeah, it was expensive and the menu was a little silly, but it was worth it.  We started with a Colorado whiskey flight and a charcuterie plate with all sorts of local accompaniments, and it was kind of nice to feel fancy.  We sat at the bar, and the bartender gave us all sorts of information about the drinks, and even gave us some samples of other whiskies he liked, and we were totally in there almost an hour after closing and there was NO rush to leave.  We followed that up with the general bourbon tasting, and split one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

Also, it was on a Poke Stop.  Can’t beat that!  It was a fabulous evening all around, and one we were content to end with just a leisurely walk back to the hotel instead of more revelry.

Part two coming soon to a blog near you!

The magical growing shirts from last August

Last August, I went thrift store shopping and bought a bunch of shirts.  Like, a metric boatload.  It’s REALLY fun to do that when they all cost, like, 3 bucks.  I was super excited to be able to refresh my closet.  Some of the shirts went beyond the typical ironic or triathlon related t-shirts I typically wear, and made me look a little more (just a little bit) like a grown up.  Not that I need that on a daily basis, but it’s kind of nice to be able to wake up and decide if I want to look 12 or more than 12.

Aug18-1

One of said new-not-new shirts.

Sadly, due to the great nutrition experiment failure of 2015, most of those shirts had shrank so much that I couldn’t comfortably wear them by mid-September.  It was pretty crazy depressing to have gained that much in a month.  So, for almost a whole year, I have been staring at a bunch of shirts that didn’t quite fit that I’ve never worn.

Zliten, who has also lost a bunch of weight, decided to start wearing his size Large shirts after I continued to tease him about how his XL shirts were looking like tents.  Or mumus.  Or mumu printed tents.  Now, he is at the point where he’s just a few lbs away from his goal.  I am… somewhere in the middle of this process.  I’ve got a long way to go to get to the same point.  However, I figured I owed it to myself to try the same.

Oddly enough, those shirts have sat there long enough that they have grown again to their previous size.  Who knew that 5 months of working on weight loss would have that effect?

I still am cranky that it has taken me 5 months to undo this.  I still am cranky that the numbers say I should be losing about 8 lbs a month and I’m losing 2-3.  However, seeing the pictures I don’t hate, seeing myself in the mirror with a smile and not a grimace, seeing the progress even if it’s slow?  It’s worth it.

Mar7-3

Feeling a lot different than this girl from March even if it’s only ~15 lbs or so difference.

I’ve accepted a lot of things in this process.

For some reason, I’m always going to need to stick to the -1000 calories to make any sort of progress.  My body just seems to process calories differently than the fitbit thinks, the nutritionist thinks, that logic dictates.  I’ve read some studies about losing a bunch of weight, and how your body actually burns less calories overall.  While my nutritionist told me that was bull honkey, I think that math seems to back it up in my case.

I’ve accepted that I will probably be at this for a long time, and I should just stay the course because it takes so long to get rolling once I stop.  While I’d love to have been able to diet for 4 months of offseason and have gotten to race weight, it’s just not how it goes for me.  I have to track my food.  I have to maintain a deficit that is small enough to still train but large enough to make a difference.  I have to be patient, persistent, and relentless.

I’m going to probably not be able to come up to 100% form this year.  Last year, I felt a big change between maintaining a deficit and eating enough, or more calories than I needed.  I don’t feel very different right now, but that’s because I’ve been doing this for months.  I *know* that once I’m done with the weight loss, and I bring my calories up, my performance will increase a bit automatically.  I have to be kind to myself when I fail to hit run paces I think should be easy, because they will come easier when it’s time.

I need to remember that the time to skimp on food is NOT before, during, or after a workout.  Yeah, it’s more fun to eat pizza than it is to eat cyborg boob milk gels, but unless I can either eat the pizza as pre- or mid-ride fuel, or consume that pizza within an hour of my workouts, it’s not doing me much good.  My workout sucks, and instead of being able to use that fuel to power a workout, it powers it’s way to my adipose.

Aug2-3

This would have gone straight to the thighs… except it was at hour 2 of a 5 hour bike ride.  So it actually went straight to the quads (in a good way).

I also need to realize that I’m in the danger zone right about now.  This is what always happens.  I make some progress, I’m feeling good about myself.  I want to lose more weight, but I no longer hate the mirror, some of my clothes fit… and I loosen up on tracking.  I can see it starting already.  I haven’t tracked since yesterday afternoon.  I’ve totally been busy, but obviously not so busy as I’m writing this blog.  This is the way that progress ends.  Not with a bang, but a whimper.

On that note, off to track, off to be persistent, patient, and relentless, and maybe I’ll be able to find that the next size down shirts have also magically grown again.

Rolling heads and the finite amount of give-a-shit.

Last week was one where all the wheels kind of fell off.  And you know what?  It’s ok.  It’s easy to start freaking out when your routine gets ripped to shreds and your brain feels like jello, but sometimes you just have to roll with the tide until it’s calmer.

Aug15-1

Or roll like heads?  As seen in the parking garage where I work. #domainthings

Thing #1 that broke routine: The Olympics.

My DVR is worthless and rarely can pick up more than a day of Olympic coverage, and randomly decides to not record segments.  So, that means to stay on top of it, I’ve been staying up wayyyyy too late a lot of nights binge watching so I have enough room for the next day’s content.

I’ve been joking that it’s super hard to be an athlete in training when the Olympics are on, but it’s SO TRUE.

Thing #2: Game Jam.

Our workplace does this AWESOME thing every year – they let us break up into small teams, and take our own game ideas from concept to completion.  It’s a super fun and exciting time, but it’s also a super stressful and hectic time trying to learn new things and ship a completed game in the span of a week.  I normally have ebb and flow at work, and it was all flow last week, all the time, including one day where I didn’t leave until after midnight.

Thing #3: the Personal Fitness Trainer exam.

I had been studying for this exam by rolling through the practice test over and over.  Then, the day before, we did a little research online and found out that it was supposed to be MUCH HARDER than that.  UGH.  So instead of the hour or two we planned to do review and prep on Monday, we crammed for about 5 hours, leaving about 6.5 hours of sleep.

The good news is that we passed!  I got a 95% (and you only needed 69).  The bad news is we had to go into work late because of it, which meant we needed to work late.  This meant a super late dinner, then we celebrated with some beverages and the Olympics… and then it was wayyyy later than reasonable on a weekday.  Oops.  So, the test and our reaction to the test killed about 2 full days this week.

Aug15-2

That happy but slightly crazed expression after passing the exam?  Sorta sums up last week…

Three awesome, fun things, that combined into the perfect storm of tossing my life into chaos last week.  What did that mean for my day to day?  Less than optimal rest, shady nutrition, less intensity and volume in training than expected, and feeling crazy overwhelmed.  I didn’t track, I didn’t get my fruits and veggies, I definitely went over calories some day, I didn’t take my vitamins, and I missed some workouts and cut some short.

I have learned over the years that stress, is stress, is stress.  Doesn’t matter which type.  You have a finite amount of Give-a-Shit, and while you can borrow from said Give-a-Shit, you always have to pay it back (and if you don’t… hello Burnout).  So, instead of getting down on myself, or rallying and trying to fit everything in a crazy week, I let some things slide.

The great news is the stressors ALL were temporary.  I’m taking time off before I start on my next course.  Maybe I’ll start this week, but probably when I get back from vacation.  Either way, it’s back to reading and studying at my own pace instead of cramming for a scheduled and proctored test.  The Olympics are ending this weekend.  Game Jam is over.  Life is returning to normal.

The other great news is that my weight didn’t take a beating.  I weighed in this morning and it was actually way better than expected.  Whew!  I know I can’t get away with this for much longer, so back to the wagon, on the straight and narrow, and all the other euphemisms for picking myself up, dusting myself off, and doing better this week.

So, back to it.  Let’s roll.

Workouts: the goal this week is to hit the gist of them.  It’s rainy and cooler, so some bike miles might move to the trainer, or they might convert to run miles since OMG it’s in the 70s!!!

  • Monday: 3+ mile run, weights
  • Tuesday: 1500m swim, endurance cycle
  • Wednesday: plan is ~3 hours of riding including commuting and recovery ride.  We’ll see how this goes.
  • Thursday: weights, 1500m swim (OWS if I can, pool if not)
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: shorty 3-ish mile run
  • Sunday: 8 mile trail run, short bike ride

This should be 10 hours, give or take.  I’m actually feeling pretty darn rested right now, so this shouldn’t be a problem barring extenuating circumstances.

Aug15-3

Lots of takeout last week.  At least I tried to make with the healthy options (most of the time).

Eating: get back to the good stuff and a normal routine.  Please?

  • No takeout until either: a) Friday night or b)I have exhausted all leftovers and sandwich fixins.  I think Friday night will come first.  I’ve got a lot in my freezer.
  • Take my vitamins every day.
  • Track my food, stay -1000 under my burn.
  • Drink 4 of my 24 oz bottles of water per day independent of exercise hydration.
  • Fruits and veggies.  Eat them.  Five a day.

Life: calm my shit.  And do the normal things.

  • Do not stay up until I can count the hours until work on one hand.  In fact, if I need three hands to count the amount of hours I can sleep, I’m doing it right.
  • School is last priority this week.  If I have motivation and nothing else I need to do, go for it.  If not, I’m going to take the week to relax and let the noodles in my head firm up.
  • Get things ready for vacation.

And with that… rainy wet (but cooler, yayayayay) Monday ENGAGE!

Baywatch, flat tire ghosts, and run sex – the Jack’s Generic Triathlon race report.

It’s been a very good (busy, but good) week.  I’ll get to the rest of what’s going on soon, but it’s time for an overdue race report.

jacks4

Spoiler alert: I finished.

A week ago, I raced Jack’s Generic Triathlon (the sprint version).  I’ve done this the last three years.  2013 I raced the Intermediate distance and realized that a longer triathlon ending with a 6 mile run with no shade in August is not exactly my cup of tea.  So, we race the sprint version now, typically to kick off the end of offseason.  This year, I’m about 6 weeks into a very gradual build (but still a build), which means I’m going in with more fitness but also more fatigue.  What condition would win?

Turns out, the fitness.  Who knew, right?

I tried a new thing with recovery week on race week – I split it over two actual weeks (Thursday – Wednesday).  Due to life getting in the way, I ended up taking this whole week lighter, but on a normal week, I can see how it would work out better.  Physically, I think it was perfect for a B race and I’ll do it again.  Mentally, it was a little weird not having a Mon-Sun week of recovery, but I’m looking forward to giving it another go for the next B race.

The swim challenge ended up falling the day before the race, so I swam 5 easy laps (3750m) in open water less than 24 hours before toeing the line.  That’s not actually something I would have chosen to do, but I think it might have actually worked out.  Between the long swim and the few days of recovery before, I think I came to form on the right day.  Instead of being twitchy or oddly fatigued the day before, I had this nice tiredness about me that made sense, and it meant I stayed calmer than normal and actually slept really well.

jacks3

Before caffeine sleepy “why am I up so early” smile.

The morning of, I had one of those new cliff nut butter bars and it was a perfect breakfast.  Pure carbs seem to make my stomach icky in the morning, but carb + fat is the best combo.  Plus, it’s a bar, takes no preparation, and I can easily pack it for an out of town race.  Three more nutrition successes: I had a caffeinated gel about 45 minutes before the race, I brought a water bottle to continue to drink up until the race start, and I took two electrolye caps.  I think all three did good things for me.

I was in the last wave, so I had a lot of waiting around (female triathletes end up having to wait… a lot… so I’m used to it).  Finally, once it was time to go, I got *kind of* in the right position and the volunteer that was manning the time trial start told me to run like Baywatch, so I did my best impression on the way to the water.  I hope there aren’t are pictures. :)

Swim:

The long swim the day before was either going to make this awesome, or suck.  I started out paddling my way through loose hydrilla (which thankfully they had spent the week cutting and harvesting, the swim course was REALLY NICE compared to the grabby plant monsters that normally are around in August), and just worked the swim course.

I have zero bad things to say about this swim.  I feel like I nailed the pace right away and kept my effort strong but not over the line.  I got out of the water feeling like I had done some work but not shelled.  I don’t think I got passed once and I passed a lot of people.  I clocked my best time on this course I’ve been swimming in races since 2011.  If I had to throw out a negative, I placed further down in my age group than normal, but we ended up having some fasties, so it had nothing to do with my performance.

Swim time: 10:59 for 500m.  8/29 AG.

T1:

Not much to note here, except I ended up having to race incredibly close to swim in, which is my least favorite.  And… I still beat Zliten, who was racked right in front (jerk! :D).  It was my worst T1 in years, but I don’t think I’ve ever had to rack this far back.

T1 time: 3:01

jacks2

Working with the pictures I have of this race.  So you get a lot of selfies.  That’s why you’re here, right?

Bike:

I’m definitely still getting used to this bike, so it’s a little awkward, but it rides like butter. Awkward butter? I mounted and got going without incident since I actually remembered to put myself in the right gear.  I pushed the effort really hard on the first half of the course and when I took a gel I checked my garmin.  I was at 20.6 mph average! RAD! Then we hit a bunch of hills into the wind and my happy little balloon deflated.

After that, I let off the gas a little because I was really ripping my legs off keeping that pace. One of these days I’ll have the confidence just to go all out on the bike and see what happens on the run.  Practice might be a good place to do that, but I’ve just never been able to simulate that high of an effort not in a race.  I almost ALWAYS run very well off the bike in training and it’s a toss up in racing. *shrug* If I had it figured out completely it wouldn’t be any fun, right?

During a portion of chipseal uphill into the wind, I was convinced my tire was flat. I actually asked the guy next to me and he told me it wasn’t. Brain ghosts. Weird. Thankful it wasn’t, but again, still getting used to the feel of the Death Star.  On the way back in, I ping ponged back and forth between some dudes and had to do a whole lot of “on your left” and probably had to double pass about 20 times and hop the yellow line at least 10 because of course crowding. #lastwaveprobs

While I have some improvements to make, I’m pretty happy with how I rode at this point in time.  I was almost going to get grumpy about not being able to hold 19 mph, let alone 20, but this is my best bike split here by far, by almost 1 mph.  Some (maybe all) of this is purchased speed. I think I’m still ok with that. The awesome thing is this stuff will be even speedier once I really learn how to ride this bike and get comfortable with the new position.

Bike time: 41:34 for 13 miles. 5/29 AG.

T2:

Again, nothing really to note but my terrible rack position.  My time was pretty average.  I made the choice, as I typically do in August, to run with a frozen hand held that I stored in a cooler, so that took an extra second or two to navigate.

T2 time: 1:31

Run:

After a pretty great swim and bike, I get onto the run course and ugghhhhh my legs.  They did not want to turn over quickly AT ALL.  I’m looking at my garmin seeing 11 minute miles, which felt like 9 minute miles.  No bueno.  I’m starting to see people pass me who I passed on the bike and I’m like… no no no no… crap… not this again.

A few dudes passed me, girls not in my age group, girls in my age group but doing the intermediate distance, and then finally, a girl with a 35 on her leg and a race number close to mine ran past.  This was my cue to go, since that was the plan.

It’s easy to say sitting in the chair in front of my computer that my goal is to try to go with anyone who passed me.  Of course you want to do that.  But in the moment, when you’re sweaty, hot, tired, sore… and then someone changes the pace on you?  Your mind fucking rebels.  But my goal was to run down third.  In my head, she was third and I told myself to remember her race number, if she came in third and I was fourth (not how it went down, but whatevs), I would remember this moment where I let it go and I’d have to face that.

I couldn’t get my legs to speed up enough yet to match her pace, but I put a big freakin’ bullseye on her back and kept her in my sights and tried to find another gear I could maintain.  I don’t really remember much of the first two miles except sticking to her like glue, reeling her in, and then finally at the last water stop, I passed her.  Decisively.  And I ran for my life for about a quarter of a mile until I realized she wasn’t trying to pass me back.

The last half mile, I was running about the same pace as a guy who was breathing about as heavy as I was.  More random race thoughts: if someone just heard our soundtrack, they would think we were having very vigorous sex.  I saw the end, found another gear to kick and pass one more person right near the finish, and I crossed the line feeling strong and happy.

Run: 29:21 for 3 miles, 12/29 AG.

jacks1

Team Tri – Zliten atop the podium because he kicked some serious ass and had a 6 minute PR.

Total time: 1:26:33.  6/29 AG.

Let’s talk about outcome goals first, since this year I’m really trying to figure out how to start placing in my age group (or at least finishing closer to the top).  Cycling really pays off.  You wouldn’t normally put together an 8th, a 4th, and a 12th and get a 6th… unless that 4th is on the bike.  I beat girlfriend that I passed on the run by over 2 minutes.  I needed 1.5 minutes (which would have been possible, if I had a real banner day) to move into 5th.  I needed 5 more minutes to move into 4th and almost 8 more to move into 3rd.  I don’t have that yet – but considering my first Jack’s Generic Sprint was 1:40-something, it’s not to say I can’t keep improving and get there.  But on August 7th 2016, ranking almost top 20% of my age group, top 15% of my gender, and alllllmost top 33% overall is a pretty good place to start to trying to chase down a podium.

In terms of process – I swam better than expected, faltered a little on the end of the bike but still did pretty well, and took some rough feeling legs through a fairly strong run for me, especially at this point in training, and my transitions were solid.

You can’t ask for much more six weeks away from a long offseason.  I now have six solid weeks of training ahead of me, wherein the weather should transition at some point from scortching to almost pleasant, before my next race.  It’s an Olympic.  The times from last year are pretty fast, so I don’t love my chances at getting on the podium, but after seeing how it affected both the outcome of my run and my self talk during it, I think I’ll continue with the goal to run down third even if I’m actually running down, like, eighth.

jacks5

Also, can we talk about how I look slightly less ridiculous in wet spandex at this point in time?  I’ve still got some work to do, but this picture summarizes how I feel about progress.

Shattering plates and chasing down third.

I’m in a state of OVERWHELM right now.  I’m simultaneously juggling 4 milestones at work without any help anymore, plus an extra pet project, plus trying to wrap up this Personal Trainer thing and pass the test, plus I’ve got about 3000000 other things I want to work on and learn as personal projects, plus getting ready for vacation, plus social commitments, plus, OH RIGHT, I’m training for a half ironman about 10 hours a week.  And probably some other shit I’ve forgotten.

Jul18-1

#ifeellikedis

There are a lot of plates spinning, and some of them are inevitably going to drop.  I’m ok with this.  You can’t produce games for as many years as I have without just expecting for a certain amount of breakage.  However, there is a lot more than normal going on in a lot more areas than I normally have to focus on.  Some of the plates are going to shatter and I’ll have to pick up the pieces later.  My goal is to make it the least important ones, and the easiest ones to glue together.

So, I race Sunday.  It’s a sprint, admist a larger training block for a longer race, so it’s a B race at best, probably B-.  Right now, I’m beat down and tired, but I’ve got a slightly lighter training load than normal from now until Sunday, so hopefully that will make me springy (or at least less draggy) again.  I have some of my best workouts when I think I’m too tired to even THINK about going fast, so there is the possibility for that to work in my favor.

I kind of raced Lake Pflugerville where I normally am at for this race (fresh off time off, springy, wide-eyed).  Now I’m about 6-ish weeks into training and feeling both more competent but also more fatigued.

Jun17-2

Splat.  Not quite here but we’ll see what the next few days deal me.

How I’m getting ready:

  • Today: off. studying. sleep.
  • Friday: 3 mile easy run with strides.  packet pickup. sleep.
  • Saturday: 3750m swim.  lunch and games with parents. sleep.

Saturday is not my traditional race prep, but I don’t think a long swim the day before a race (with a 500m swim) is going to kill me.  It’s the second to last swim challenge, so if it’s a bad idea, I’ll just not do it again.

Saturday’s nutrition plan is some sort of breakfast (muffin, bar, shake, something), snack after swimming (probably something similar to breakfast), a lean steak or chicken with veggies, salad, and bread, and then a turkey sandwich and fruit for dinner.

Sunday, I’ll probably stick with my belvitas + nut butter, caff chews, and I’m BRINGING A DISPOSABLE water bottle with me so I can stay hydrated while I wait 1 hour and 22 minutes after transition closing for my wave (the last one of the day) to start.  Since my shoes are pretty new, I’d like to get a warmup run on the trail this time.

Jun22-1

I’m actually rather excited to see another sunrise over expensive bikes.

Swim Goals:

I want to seed myself where I expect to finish in my wave (about 5th) instead of close to last like I usually do because I’m spacing out.  Once I get in the water, I want to hurt myself just a little.  I’m missing that top swim speed because I’ve just been working on getting back into it, and that is what it is, but I’d like to see if I can pull out just a little more than I did at Lake Pflugerville Tri.

Bike Goals:

If I were smart, I’d be quoting power numbers and cadence and specific strategy.  I’m not.  I want to ride my bike hard, I want to stay in aero, I want to pass people, and not give an inch.  I want to hit 20 mph average.  If I’m in the right mindset, feeling good, have the right legs… I might could do that.  I want to come off the bike in 4th or better.  I want to ride aggressively and stay in the moment and think “this is where I’m suffering right now” and I’ll get to the run when I get to the run.

Run Goals:

My goal on the run is simply to run down 3rd.  Now, this is kind of a stupid goal for a few different reasons.  It’s outcome based, not process based.  If a bunch of fast people show up, I have NO chance at succeeding.  I am probably not going to know what place I’m in besides a vague idea of how many bikes are in.  However, it’s MY dumb goal and it’s time to try something new.  I’m going to fly off the bike and move my feet as fast as I can with form as proper as possible.  I want to run like everyone has a target on their back and reel everyone in one by one.  And if I see someone with my age group on their calf pass me, I’m going to try go with them and try to pass them back.  Why not, right? Three miles is short.  Maybe I can do it.

Pfluger15

Goal – try to look at least this happy at the finish.

Race day nutrition plan:

I’m really going to try to push more nutrition than normal me here and try a few new things.

  • Belvita with almond butter around 5am ~200 calories
  • Caff chews slowly from about 6:30-8am ~160 calories
  • Pop an electrolyte cap with my disposable water bottle around 8am.
  • Skratch or gu on the bike, 1 caff gel as soon as I’m on the bike and going ~170 cal
  • Potential second gel at the end of the bike or start of the run ~100 cal
  • Skratch or gu in a handheld on the run ~70 calories

My head may be a little scattered right now, but I’m hoping I’ll get it together by Sunday morning.  I think I have a chance to do really well.  It’s always scary fun to put yourself on the line to be tested, and I think it’s about time to see how employing some different training and racing strategies are working out.

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