Adjusted Reality

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

No Regerts

In retrospect, I should have known I was in a bit of trouble when I crashed into rest week at 9:30pm on Sunday night, finishing up my last to do – passing my Tri Coach test.  Sometimes I feel guilty about bitching that I have too much to do, because, really, at least 87.3% of my life is stuff that I really do enjoy doing.  I don’t dig ditches for a living, not even close.  I choose to triathlon in my spare time because I love it.  I appreciate that I have a great big circle of awesome people in my life.  I love learning new things.  Most days knowing that the busy-ness is a product of my own choosing is enough.

New kits and rainbow socks and bike friends and finally getting to ride outside after work and totally mediocre but wonderful-in-the-moment food.  Who could ask for a better Wednesday?

Once in a while though, even the good stuff gets overwhelming.

The rest of the week was alright, but Thursday, I felt like poop mentally and physically.  I’d been dealing with fatigue, which is actually kind of normal the first part of rest week, but it was lasting a little longer than I would have liked.  I was stressing about the events of my day.  Work was being… work.  I slept late because I was tired and that meant I’d be home super late and I’d be packing the camping stuff super late and it would be another day where I didn’t get to bed on time and I’d have no time to relax and blah blah blah blah.

So I did something I don’t normally do.  I cut my swim and weights that day.  Not attempted to reschedule.  Just cut.  I could not with the idea of squishing into my wetsuit and jumping into a freezing cold lake so I just didn’t.  I halfheartedly brought a change of clothes and the bands the next day to make up weights, but lunch came and went and we just DIDN’T.  So, apparently, I took THREE whole days off last week and I have NO REGERTS about it.

Then, I suffered through quite possibly one of the more miserable 10 mile runs I’ve done.  Most of it is totally on me but not everything.  It’s true, we stayed up drinking at the campsite until well after midnight, that’s on us.  The people making noise until wee hours, making it hard to sleep when we did retire?  That’s outside of our control.  The fact that I only brought one small bottle of half strength gatorade and ate two chews (not two packages, two chews) is on me.  The fact that the weather decided to be INSANELY humid and sunny?  Not my fault.

Pre-run smiles.  Post run I doubled over, hugged the AC in the car for about five minutes, and drank 3 full bottles on the way back to camp.  By the selfie in the fourth panel there had been food and beer, so smiles returned.

However, all these things combined to make it a good mental training run.  Zliten may beg to differ, but I dealt with all these issues with minimal whining considering the facts at hand, and made it back to the car without dying at a pace I would absolutely respect for an IM finish (11:45/mile).

It wasn’t all bad though.  Earlier in the week I had two LOVELY bike rides, and one of the nicest lunch runs in a long while.  Am I thrilled with under 6 hours last week?  Not really, but I think under the circumstances, missing 1.5-2 hours of training on a rest week isn’t the end of the world, and isn’t going to be the deciding factor on how I perform on race day.

  • Runs: 10 miles in 1:57, 5.4 miles in 1 hour
  • Bikes: 9.8 cruiser miles in 1 hour, 17.6 miles in 1:23 (BSS recovery ride)
  • Swims: none (missed 1 hour lake swim)
  • Weights: one ‘bells and bands workout (missed the second planned one)
  • 5.75 hours total

One more two week training block and it’s taper time.  This weekend is the last feat of strength – long day #2.  I’m really ready to find out how this one goes.  It’s the full distance swim (2.4 miles), full distance bike (112 miles), and hour run (/walk if needed).  I’m ready to get my second 100+ ride under my belt, test out race day fueling, and confirm with myself that I haven’t lost the ability to ride my bike even if it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a more-than-half-a-workday ride.

Also, the forecast right now is 82/58 with full sun.  The last long day just happened to fall on a nice, crisp day.  This is more like what we can expect race day, so it will be good to be out in it.

  • Runs: 1 hour lunch run, 75 minute run, 1 hour run (long day)
  • Bikes: cycle class, BSS recovery ride, 112 mile TT bike Shoal Creek loops (long day)
  • Swim: lunch pool swim (DONE), 2.4 mile lake swim (long day)
  • Weights: one down already, one to go!
  • Total: 15.25 hours as projected.

Life stuff:

This is from last year but all the things are kind of the same except the weather was too hot for hats and scarves.

Going camping (especially party camping with a giant group of people) is an interesting choice for an IM training block.  If I was looking for pure recovery in the sense of the word, I was barking up the wrong tree.  Two days of drinking with a really dehydrating 2 hour run in the middle of it.  33k steps.  Dealing with that lovely time of the month in the woods (and the exhaustion that comes from it).

However, I’ve been feeling a little bleh mentally, and I am much better now, thank you.  My soul is refreshed.  I spent two nights playing in the woods, sans phones and screens, and experiencing fun things.  It’s almost as if I had a little mini-vacation.  The best thing about camping close to home?  We were back well before noon on Sunday, and I got to have the lovely day of napping and watching Star Trek, so it almost felt like a long weekend.

Luckily, yesterday was both super restful AND also productive.  The house is pretty well picked up and the camping stuff is put away.  After realizing that my few green toes that still had polish on them that matched my St Patrick’s day outfit were actually left over from Christmas, I made some time to fix that and also fix my caterpillars brows.

Besides one non-negotiable to do this week(getting both the cars inspected over lunch and paying registration), my goal is to eat, sleep, work, and triathlon.  This isn’t for forever, but I really do need to mind my rest and recovery and stress levels if I want to be successful at this. I’ve been skirting the line lately and now it’s time to go back to ignoring the world for a bit. Everything else needs to go on hold.

I tracked my food Mon-Thurs, and then went camping.  Back to it today, but that also means no useful metrics.   Same with weighing.  I weighed twice, and with those weights I was 0.4 lbs down (187.2), but that’s not weighing REGULARLY.  I’m going to keep trying, and I’m happy I’ve made it this far without saying “fuck it”, but for some reason I’m subconsciously rebelling against it.  I don’t know what to say except brains are weird.

Either way, it’s clear to me that my body is not capable of losing weight during Ironman training with the attention to detail I’m willing to put into my diet and tracking it.  That’s ok.  It was a long shot to expect it.  I have gained a lot of muscle, a lot of endurance, and a healthy respect for this distance of racing.  I can work on the number on the scale (and maybe not eating cake daily) after the race.

Ironman brain got me like… (Friday Random Musings)

It’s Friday, I’ve had half a brain all week, so how about some random thoughts for lunch, hmmm?

Ironman brain got me like…

I go between feeling utterly exhausted and having pops of energy that actually surprise me.  Oddly enough, the energy pops seem LESS likely on the recovery weeks, it’s like my body realizes that it’s tired when it gets some rest, heh.  Except the longest of the long workouts, that volume almost doesn’t seem to matter, though.  My energy levels seem to be based on a) how much sleep I’ve had, b) if I’m hungry or just kind of hungry (because full isn’t really a thing right now), or c) how MENTAL my day was.  My body’s completely adapted to the increased training.

I had a theory at the beginning of this that if I threw enough fuel at it, and prioritized recovery, I’d succeed at this whole Ironman thing.  So far, outlook good.  I have no idea what will transpire at the race, but at this moment in time, I’m happy with the training I’ve accomplished and how I’ve grown as an athlete preparing for this thing.  I’m sure after the race I’ll be like “NEXT TIME I’M RIDING 100 MILES EVERY WEEKEND FOR 3 MONTHS IF I EVER DO THIS AGAIN” or something.  But, where I plant my flag today, I’m pretty confident I have the fitness to at least crawl across that line.

I’ve kind of crawled into a training hole for a few months and I’ve actually liked it.  I feel like during the last few cycles, I’ve tried to “have it all” by not losing my social life and still staying up late more often than I should and stressing out about not neglecting other things in my life.  This four months was about Ironman.  We prepped our family and our friends.  I think we’ve actually been better social animals than I’ve expected but then there’s the thing that neither of us could be arsed to throw ourselves a birthday party that involved coordinating other humans besides ourselves.

Still have a lot of smiles through this season and I’m not even faking it!

I’m feeling a lot less burnt out than I was last cycle.  I say this even having taken a “mental health day” yesterday from training.  Not often do I just scrap the day completely, but I really just needed a day to come home, pack up the camping gear at a reasonable hour, and then just sit and watch TV and read for a while.  I thought I needed sleep, but really, I needed an evening to relax.  However, my outlook as a whole is still very positive.  I’m excited for my next training session and next week.  I’m not dreading everything.  I was worried it was a sign of burnout, but sometimes you just need a damn day off.

I suppose the summary of the situation is I feel really dang prepared while also feeling nervous about not having enough any open water swims yet, and feeling like I should be on my bike more because I haven’t done a long ride in… oh wait, that was only two weekends ago never mind.  IM brain in full effect.

I’ve been thinking beyond a bit lately as well.

Where my days will probably look a little more like this…

I’m absolutely going to treat my self for the first couple days after the race.  A conservative estimate on my calorie burn that day will be about 7k calories.  Historically, after a new distance, my stomach is shot.  I’ll be prepared with the normal easily digestable stuff (watermelon, beer, mac and cheese, potatoes, chips, etc) if all I can do is limp back to the hotel room the day of, but I remember after my first 70.3, I flipped back and forth between “I’M SO HUNGRY” and “I’M SO SICK”.  Even though my stomach has been super awesome lately, I expect that to happen again.

So, that means, I’m likely going to be a few thousand calories short April 22nd.  I’ll have fun making a dent in those the next few days.  However, I’m going to try to return to vegetables and fruits a little quicker than I have in the past and dig less of a hole to start climbing out of when I focus on weight loss soon after.  Think of controlled splurges vs SHOVE ALL THE THINGS IN MY FACE.  And if it’s more of the later, some of those things should be broccoli and blueberries.

Long term, I’m still uncertain as to the shape of the rest of the year.

I KNOW want to get strong again.  Quite by accident, but when I started running, I had come off a few years of strength training at least 3x week with at least semi-heavy weights.  In other words, I had earned the right to run.  I feel like I’ve been cheating that right as of late, and y’know what?  I run slower than I used to, probably with worse form.  I’d like to fix that, like REALLY fix that.  I’ve put bandaids on it figuratively with doing some bodyweight/lighter weights this cycle, and literally with a #hashtag KT taped on my back every Saturday for my long session of the week, but I’d like to get rid of that thing where my literal ass muscles give out before my endurance.

I also know that whenever I’ve successfully lost a decent amount of weight, I’ve been lifting 3-4x a week.  So, that kills two birds with one stone.  My goal is to find that sweet spot in activity level where the weight actually goes down (too little or too much, it’s hard to control my eating).  I don’t feel like I need to shun running, biking, and swimming completely like I did last year when I hated everything.  However, I won’t run for a while when it’s not perfect, I’ll probably not ride my TT bike for a month or two at least, and swims may be a 50/50 chance they will be with a snorkel and camera instead of a mileage goal.

Or maybe I’ll just ride around town with a 15 lb kettlebell like Zliten did that one Sunday.  Although there will be a lot less of those CARBS than there are now…

Zliten likely has to have a non-emergency type procedure done at some point this year, which will mean during that recovery time, I’ll be on my own.  Movement has become part of life so I’ll still do *stuff* but the timing of that will definitely impact at least one of the races we normally do over the summer.  I’ll have to decide if I want to fly solo or just skip things entirely.  Either way, there will be some last minute sign ups or just a mellow summer without a whole lot of bib pinning.  And after 10 months of planning and working towards this Ironman, I’m totally OK with either.

It seems like a shame to let all this crazy endurance waste away, but that’s exactly what I plan to do.  I mean, I’m sure I won’t lose it completely because people will occasionally want to go play bikes all day on a Saturday and I won’t have a training plan so of course we’ll go.  And a beautiful day will pop up and we’ll go run until we’re too tired to run any more.  However, it won’t be like the reality I live in now, where 7 hours of training or a 13 mile run is totally appropriate for a rest week.

By the fall, I’m hoping that that will sound crazy to me, but running a somewhat close to 25 minute 5k won’t.  Endurance seems to come pretty easy to me.  I will have built back from almost zero to IM in the span of two four month blocks with a two month break.  Endurance builds with showing up and logging the hours.  Speed does not.  It takes something more.  I appreciate the people who can be fast and go long at the same time, but I’m not there (yet or maybe ever).  And I’m looking forward to trading in the long dull ache for the short sharp one for a while.  It’s always good to have new pain.

Enough day dreaming.  I will go play in the woods at the Ren Faire this weekend and I’m always afraid I’ll come home too exhausted but I also know that I typically come home feeling refreshed.  And then, next week it’s on.  One more feat of strength.  But, we’ll talk more about that next week…

 

Ironman training is cool, my new diet, and time change zombies

There’s always one of those weeks (or more) during a training cycle where you feel like everything is just a little out of reach, and you’re failing at everything even though you’re not really and doing just fine.  This was one of those, but I think I hung on alright and now it’s rest week so… YAY!

When you see bluebonnets at mile 19 of 20, you have to stop and take a selfie because… spring.  Not because you want a lil break.  Not at all…

Training:

Last week I had 12.5 to 15 hours (depending on a few things) planned, and I got… 12.5.  I hit all the sessions I needed to, I skipped the optional commute I had planned on Friday, and all the bikes were a little shorter (a few minutes here and there, but it adds up).

However, I kept everything else on plan.  Two swims, one over 3k, done.  Two weights sessions, done.  An hour lunch run, done.  My last long run, exactly 20 miles?  Done and done.  I won’t begrudge not being overzealous on the bike since I hit everything else on the nose.

The twenty miler was a whole lot of interesting.  First of all, we got another 60s and rainy day which I love, so I had that going for me.  Also, I’m in awe of the true cardiovascular fitness I have right now.  I’ve never finished a 20 mile run and not felt tired.  Sure, my glutes were cramping up at the end like they normally do.  Someday I’m going to be strong enough that my backside isn’t my running limiter, but that’s not this cycle. Spoiler alert: going to work on this for the rest of the year.

However, if I could have switched out my butt for a new one, I would have been fine to keep going.  I was barely breathing hard.  It felt like a short workout because it was under 4 hours.  I didn’t need to flop on the couch for the rest of the day and not brain, I needed about an hour and then massive amounts of food, and I was pretty much fine.  By the evening, I was walking normally and the next day my legs felt pretty much fine for my recovery ride.  If you told me I had another long run tomorrow I’d probably be alright with it.  Ironman training is cool. 🙂

Run, swim, pancakes.

Today starts recovery week, and I’m happy for it, but more because of the mental break than the physical.  My body feels fit and ready for more, but I’m a little mentally exhausted.  Less hours and a weekend out of town shall hopefully set that right as rain for the last push before taper.

Plan is:

  • Hour run, 13 mile run
  • BSS recovery ride, hour easy ride
  • One lake swim (if the weather/schedules cooperate, otherwise back in the pool)
  • Two weights sessions

Should roll out to about 7.5 hours of very little intensity.  It’s a little run heavy but I don’t plan on bringing my bike camping, so it is what it is.  It’s all mostly going in the same tank at this point.

Life Stuff:

Sweaty trainer ride, my yummy dinner, and my fabulous new diet care of Punchbowl Social.

I’m excited for the time change… once about a week or two passes.  I love having the extra daylight after work to go bike, and lake swims are now an option… and we don’t always have to pack a headlamp to go run after work.  Also, just the sunset being later makes me happy.  I love when it’s 9am and still kind of light.

Here’s the thing though – I was just barely clawing my way to the point where waking up at the 7-something wasn’t sheer torture, and 6-something very very very occasionally is an option.  Now I’ve lost that hour.  Just getting up for work at the normal time today felt eaaaaarly.  At this point the options are a) aggressively try to switch my sleep schedule and deal with being tired for a week or two or b) embrace the PM stuff.  Since IM training already has me like a zombie, I’ll probably go with B most days.

Speaking of zombie – everything is crazy night now.  I feel like I can handle work being crazy with a normal training load.  I feel like I can handle IM training when work is just normal.  However, both of these at the same time + 3 social things + trying to finish up tri coach school = no time no time no time for anything, and CERTAINLY no brain.  Pretty much my days last week were a) train a lot b) have a revolving door of people outside my office all day and c) eat dinner at like 8:30pm and then try to relax for a few minutes before going to bed.

This was my aaaaaaaaaaack face by Friday morning.  And then Friday was super aaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

Like I said, my body is holding up like a champ so far, but my brain is barely hanging on because a lot of this stress is mental (though as we know, stress is stress is stress).  What did that mean for last week’s to dos?

I didn’t track food.  I got through lunch on Tuesday and then all of a sudden it’s now Monday again.  I know, I know.  I’m just going to have to write it off at this point and start again today.  I was super tempted just to say fuck it and pick it up again after the IM, but I’m not going to.  Even if it’s spotty, it’s better to keep trying.  This week, being a rest week, means my appetite will be much higher, most likely, than my actual burn.  I will have to watch it with the calories.

My weight average last week was 187.6, which is technically down a little (0.4) since two weeks ago.  Considering it’s birthdaymas, I’m fine with this.  The battle between IM Training vs all the cake seems to be in a stalemate.  That’s better than one of the other alternatives.

Good news: I DID take my Tri Coach test yesterday and I PASSED!  I won’t brag about my score because I definitely didn’t get an A, but dang, that was super hard.  Some of the questions made me feel like they were trying to trick you into the wrong answer rather than testing your knowledge.  Some I think actually were just incorrect or had two options that were both correct (example – ideal run cadence is 90 – two options on the test were 85-90 and 90-95).  I was a little butthurt about it last night, but today I’m just like… whatever!   I passed.  That’s all I needed to do.  I’m done!  And now… I sit on this and do nothing until after IM Texas.

Since yesterday was the only day I had to actually do stuff, a bike ride/errands and the test took priority.  I finished at 9:30, ate dinner, and went to sleep.  I did not do my toes or brows.  I’m ok with it.  Maybe this week, but probably not.

Because… this weekend, we’re going camping!  So, the to-dos are:

  • Work on getting the Xterra packed with camping stuff as early as possible so we’re not scrambling at midnight on Thursday night.
  • Make it to Academy to get Zliten some boots.  With all the rain lately, it’s likely camping will need more than just regular old shoes.
  • Do awesome birthday celebration things with Zliten tomorrow since it starts his section of birthdaymas!

And, on that note, off to conquer the week!

 

Fickle Pickle

6 weeks, 5 days.

Riding in the rain is ok and riding inside is meh and running outside in the rain is <3 and also I look doofy in many types of hats.

I’m starting to get to the point where the countdown is no longer freaking me out, I’m starting to get super excited to toe that line in The Woodlands in April.  I know it’s going to be a long day.  I know it’s going to be a hard day.  I fully expect to cross that finish line battered, beaten, and in shreds.  A month ago, I just had NO idea how I would do this Ironman thing.  Now, I feel like my fitness is approaching the minimum baseline to limp across this line.  I’m torn between wanting to cling to every moment left to build precious fitness, and feeling like “I’m ready, let’s do this thing”.

Being that there’s no way to change the race date, I’ll just do my best to skate the line of increasing my fitness and staving off overtraining and burnout and the dirty dirty “i” word we won’t even speak of here but ends with jury.  I think I’m doing a decent job, I still feel excited to train most days, and while I feel that persistent training fatigue, I also don’t feel completely BEAT UP all the time.  And then, when I do, I cut or shorten a session.  Better to show up undertrained than… than the “i” word.

The corner definitely turned about 9 days ago.  That long day session, that 1 hr swim, 5 hr bike, 2 hr run, showed me that 1) I have some amazing base right now and 2) it didn’t kill me.  Yeah, I took the next day off and the day after that light, but by Tuesday, I was back to it at least at 85% killing it in cycle class.  If I can do that 8 hour workout and still pull 11-ish hours the next week, I’m approaching the zone.  And honestly, I know these stupid long races are pretty mental as well.  If I really believe I can do it, no matter whether I’m actually physically ready or not, that’s huge.

This past weekend, for my birthday, I wanted to go play bikes all day in the sunny sun sunshine.  The weather gave us cold, windy, and rainy.  I still wanted to play bikes outside.  So we rode with the BSS group for 25 miles in conditions between spitting and torrential downpour.  I oscillated between saying “eff, is this ride over yet” and “eff, I don’t want this ride to be over yet” because I am a fickle pickle.

When it was over, I decided that we could try to continue to play bikes outside closer to the house, but when we got there and left the heated confines of the Xterra, we were too chilled in our wet kit.  So, we went home to trainer it out for the remaining 2h20.  I won’t say it was torture but it was torture.  I had planned for 4-5 hours on the bike, 5 if we were out having fun, 4 if we weren’t.  So, we cut it right at 4.

It was raining pretty good outside, and I kept looking at it on the bike going “I CANT WAIT TO GO RUN IN THAT”.  I’m sure I’m weird and most runners are not into being drenched, but for some reason, it makes me so happy to run in the rain.  The plan was 30-60 mins, and we shoveled ourselves quickly out the door after our third change of clothes, and I happily clipped along at sub-11 min/mile pace and even left Zliten when he finished 5k to go run more because I didn’t want to stop and only stopped at 4.5 because I said I wouldn’t go longer.  I had all the more miles in me.

These are things I’ll draw on.  If I can make it through the bike, which, at 7 hours, give or take, will be a little torturous no matter what sort of day I’m having, I get a new start on the run.  I intend to make full costume changes between the 3 sports – it’s a long day and I want to be comfortable – but also because it helps signify that it’s starting a new thing and to put the last thing, however it went, in a bag with some dirty stinky clothes to unpack later.

Speaking of bags… it feels like I live out of them lately.  All the bags.  Just call me the triathlon bag lady.

Also, it was nice to find a 4 hour/4.5 mile brick didn’t really smash me into smithereens.  I skipped the swim I had planned yesterday but it was less of a product of CAN’T and more of a product of “I need to study for my Tri Coach cert and it’s wet and gross out there and it’s my birthday weekend and I just don’t WANNA”.  When it got nicer out later that day, we decided instead to take a walk to lunch and an errand.  I haven’t been tracking those longer walks but it was probably about the effort level of a recovery ride and almost an hour so I counted it this time.

Last week:

  • 2 weights sessions (one home dozen/kettlebells, one bodyweight/bands at work)
  • 1 swim – 1500m in ~27 min.  Oops.
  • 3 bikes – cycle class (77 min), the slowest commute into the wind ever (60 min), 4 hours split between pouring rain and indoor riding (240 min).
  • 3 runs – 45 min lunch run, 80 min morning run, 45 min brick run.
  • 1 long walk.

Total – 11.5 hours.  I did a little less in some sessions than planned (the 45 min lunch run was supposed to be 60, the 80 should have been 90, etc), but I’m going to say I held it together decently well.

This week:

It’s the last week before a rest week, and I’m feeling *pretty* decent, so I’m going to try to stick to the schedule and push it as much as I can.  I don’t have that many weeks left, so I want to keep on building, but only if the mojo is flowing.  You need mojo to build a solid structure.

  • 2 weights sessions
  • 2 swims – one 1500m lunch swim, one as-close-to-race-distance-bef0re-Zliten-goes-nuts (so at least 3k, hopefully closer to 4k).
  • 4-5 rides – though none over 2 hours.  The goal is volume and a little intensity spread out over the week.  Cycle class, a commute, some trainer time, and a outdoor recovery ride on Sunday.
  • 2 runs – my last over half marathon distance long run (20 miles) on Saturday and an easy hour mid-week.

Depending on some of the sessions, I’m looking at anywhere from 12.5-15 hours.  11-13 seems to be my IM comfort zone for training, with peaks from 14-15 some weeks.  I hope it’s enough, but it’s what I’ve been able to handle, so it will have to do.

After this week, it’s another recovery week of 7-8 hours, and then the FINAL PUSH of two weeks to taper with lots of brick work, my last long day, and maybe a little mock triathlon to bust the rust.  ITS ALL HAPPENING OMG!

In other life stuff…

Sparkles, fancy drinks, and lobster noodles.  What else can you ask for in a birthday (besides being on a tropical island and not having to work in the morning)?

I celebrated my birthday with some low-key fun.  We went out both Thursday and Saturday (but we were home by 8:30 both nights) – the former to try out some new places by work for dinner and fancy gin drinks, and the latter was to Trulucks, one of my happiest places on earth.  It’s not often that we drop that much money on wine, crab, and the best desserts known to human-kind, but it’s totally worth it once every blue moon.

I usually make a big fuss about my birthday, and invite a bunch of friends to go party hardy, but I just don’t have the energy for that now.  Doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating the whole month, but I’m just doing it a little more… quietly than normal.

Honestly, I fell off tracking just about everything once Birthdaymas (aka, March) started.  I will probably go back and do it because I promised myself I would this cycle, and I’ve resumed tracking today, but it will definitely be inaccurate.   I may come update this with my results, or I may just leave it be.  I feel like I’m eating as much as I need to, maybe a little less, definitely not more, and my weight just keeps staying right around the same set point, with lots of fluctuations up and down.

The good news is that I DID indeed spend 4 hours yesterday reviewing my Tri Coach material.  I’m going to try and take a few minutes each day to study more, and my plan is to take that test on Sunday.

This week, I don’t have a whole lot of free time to spare, so my big huge life goals beyond passing that test will be to be a little less scruffy – repaint my terrible looking toenails and pluck my caterpillars eyebrows.  I really, really do need to clean out my car and take it in for it’s overdue service, but we’ll call that a BONUS this week.  Maybe that’s the strategy.

I’ll let you know how that goes…

Tomorrow I will be the oldest I’ve ever been…

Tomorrow is my birthday.  Normally I get all sorts of introspective, but with all this training, that part of my brain is kind of asleep so you’ll get a little less than normal, but indulge me a bit.

37 was the year I would finally not feel like an imposter wearing this shirt…

A year ago, both my body and spirit were pretty broken training for The Woodlands Marathon.  I spent a lot of time last winter believing the way out was through, but sometimes, as I learned, you just need to strategically retreat and live to fight another day.  I don’t regret suffering through a 6+ hour marathon to really hammer that lesson home, but would it have been smarter to cut my losses and run the half?  Probably.

Right now, I’m really enjoying the process of watching my body transform into someone capable of calling themselves an Ironman soon.  Is it hard?  Yep.  Do I have moments of despair and doubt?  Absolutely.  However, each workout I conquer gives me confidence that I’ll be able to pull from on April 22nd.  It’s fun watching my body do things it’s never done before and when I check in, it’s like “that was ok!  I can’t believe that was ok, but it was!”.

A year ago I was terrified of being a cyclist.  I’m still not intentionally heading out to those crazy cycle races where you can touch 5 bikes from your own while riding, and things like pacelining and riding my TT bike in the pouring rain still give me pause, but I’ve made big steps.  I can ride my bike with the clipless pedals in traffic with other people confidently.  I’ve got the hang of commuting and running errands on my cruiser bike.  For my birthday weekend, I’m going to go play bikes with people (and run off it because I *do* have to train for a race and March is for bricks) because that’s what is fun to me now.  All of this would have sounded like greek to me 365 days ago.

A year ago I didn’t weigh much more, I’m a few lbs down from March 2016 depending on the day, but I’m a lot more sturdy now.  I’ve spent (most of the) year being a good student at weight training, and it’s helped me be successful and relatively uninjured once my hip recovered.  I lost some weight and gained some back and now I know how to do both and I’m going to try to do more of the former than the latter this year.

A year ago, I was kind of content just doing what I was doing.  In the last year, I’ve become certified as a personal trainer, a sports nutrition specialist, and I’m about to be a certified triathlon coach.  I revamped this space and I’m starting to learn the ins and outs of social media, PR, and marketing.  No matter what I end up doing with this knowledge, it’s helped awaken the part of my brain that grew up loving learning because learning shit is awesome.

37 was definitely a year of discovery.  What will 38 be?  Who knows?  I’m looking forward to finding out.

Training updates:

Bike->Run->Bike->Cake.

7 weeks, 2 days to go.

I will definitely say that I’ve found an edge, but I’m still hanging on.  I know that I have five more weeks to build fitness, five more weekends to do the long stuff, and then it’s time to shut it down and taper.  Light, tunnel, and all that.

I detailed my long day in REALLY FINE DETAIL here, but, in other training news, last week was definitely one of the peaky ones this cycle.  It included both a) a long run of 19 miles and b) a long day workout (1 hour swim, 5 hour bike, 2 hour run).  Luckily, they were separated by 5 days because I had the day off Monday.  I had a really lovely solo 19 miles in beautiful weather… well, ok, I had a lovely 15-16 miles, and then toughed out the rest of them when my legs started to cramp a little, but it was still definitely the best long run I’ve had in well over a year.

During the week, I kept it pretty chill.  I did find that my body needed a little more time to recover after the 19 than I’d hoped, but not beyond rational expectation.  I had to cut a 90 minute cycling session to 30 easy minutes instead, but there was just about no choice in the matter.  As soon as I hopped on my bike I instantly had a headache and felt gross.  That was my body slapping me on the wrist and saying “NO!”.  So, I ate some soup and went to bed at 7pm and felt just fine in the morning.  Listening pays dividends.

Last week:

  • 2 runs – 19 miles (3:39), 11 miles off the long bike (2 hours)
  • 2 swims – 15oom in 27, 3100m in 1:01
  • 3 bikes – easy 30 mins, 60 mins high/low, 5 hour TT ride.
  • 2 weights sessions – 1 conference room body/bands session, 1 dozen/kettlebells session

And that makes about 14.75 hours.  More if you count my ~45 min recovery walk on Sunday but I didn’t log it.  So there.

This week’s plan (mostly complete):

  • Runs – 1 hour easy (48 mins DONE), 1.5 hour with some pickups (80 mins DONE), 30-60 mins off the bike
  • Swims – one lunch swim (DONE), one long swim (in the lake, if possible)
  • Bikes – 4+ hours (more casual, playing bikes on the road bikes with the only goal as saddle time), cycle class or similar effort ride (DONE), easy hour and/or commuting (DONE)
  • Weights – 2 sessions (one DONE, one happening in about an hour).

As planned – about 13 hours or so, but as you can see, I’m not quite hitting 100% on some of the workouts.  Technically, the long day is supposed to coincide with a rest week next, but my schedule didn’t line up, so I’m playing it by ear and listening to what my muscles are telling me.

The goal this weekend is just your standard sort of volume training with a few pops of intensity.  I want to run off the bike again (and take less than 90 minutes to transition this time), and I’m hoping that the weather cooperates for a nice long lake swim.

Life Stuff:

It’s nice to have some actual rest days with gorgeous weather so I can take long walks and sniff flowers and pet neighborhood kitties.

In other news, last week I did actually finish chapter 16.  I’m done!  This week, my goal is to spend at least a few hours reviewing all the chapters.  I won’t quite make certification by my birthday, but it will be close… and mostly because I don’t want to spend my birthday weekend taking the test…

This is a total estimate since I had to go back and track from Thursday to Monday all at once, but on average, I ate 2632 calories per day with a 647 calorie deficit.  I know I missed some snacks in there.  It was really weird dealing with the long day + two days completely off around it.  Some better planning will help keep things a little more nutritious and even for next time.

To round out my ratios – 78g fat. 331 carbs. 106 protein. 30 fiber.  Not my finest nutritional week but life will go on.  This week it’s back to planning and moar carbs and less fat and veggies and fruit and stuff.

My average weight is 188.0 (up .8).  Bleh.  I’ll attribute the two long days to a lot of water weight.  I am enjoying this cycle, but I really can’t wait until my workouts allow for more predictable weight tracking.  It’s really weird to see your weight fluctuate 7 lbs in 24 hours…

I did better with drinks but also a little worse – I stayed up WAYYYY (read: 3am) too late on Thursday drinking WAYYY too much wine.  The good news is that I had 14 drinks overall (better than last week), and I had enough of a hangover that I won’t be trying that again any time soon.  Bleh.

My sleep was a little less awesome than lately, but still more than adequate with 8:15 average per day and almost 4 hours of deep sleep.  I’ll take it.  I’m adapting to this training and it’s zonking me out a little less.

Last week I took the week off other responsibilities, and it was nice.  I’m going to do the same this week because it’s my birthday weekend and eff if I’m going to spend it doing any more chores than I absolutely have to.

Off to enjoy BIRTHDAYMAS, aka March, the most wonderful time of the year!

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