Adjusted Reality

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

Month: February 2010 Page 2 of 4

Observations and What’s Next?

Here are my leftover thoughts from the half…

What went right:

-Wearing the camelback.  I think from now on I get myself a real one, that has pockets and such, and train and race with it (maybe not for 5 or 10ks, but ya know).  It was so nice not to have to stop for water stations if I didn’t want to.

-Not restricting calories during training.  Eating tons of healthy food made me feel strong.  Eating other tons of not so healthy food probably didn’t do much good, but I’ll work on that next time.  I’m anticipating about a month at least to diet off what I gained or more, but as of right now, it was worth it.

-Racing smart and pulling back a bit at the end of the race.  While I’m not wrecked today, I still DEFINITELY have a cough since I went off the OTC meds, my legs are sore in completely different ways than normal after-run, and oddly enough I have a rash (?).  These are all signs that going for it might have meant a few days (or more) laid up in bed or worse.  And considering where my heart rate was at, it’s not as if I was pulling back all that much.

-Training the way I did.  On the 3 miles I was feeling good and the course was cooperating, I could definitely see the potential of a sub 2 hour half.  If it was my day.  And fo sho’ it wasn’t my day, but still.  Someday, perhaps.

What I would change:

-Being sick.  Obviously.  I need to remember that racing in February is a gamble.

-Different shoes.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the shoes I had.  They were comfy, fast, and looked way less dorky than the norm.  However, they just didn’t hold up well in a long, tough road race.  I think I need more cushion.  I will be getting another pair when they die for short races and speedwork, but will be breaking in something new for long runs soon.  Yes, I will finally get out of the kiddie pool and finally get two pairs of running shoes.

-Hills.  I need to start doing hill work.  Even if it’s on the treadmill.  I say this every race, and then seem to forget about it.  Because I hate hills a lot.  Maybe I wouldn’t hate them if I conquered them…hmmm?  I could be that smug runner that sails by everyone, thinking how superior I was because I knew how to run hills better…

-Training outside more.  I think my tooties were a little pampered with all the treadmill work.  I also lucked out that we had good weather, if it was under 40 and icky I would have been screwed – I should have trained in crappy weather at least once.  I can suck it up to heat train just fine, but cold train?  Heebie jeebies.

So there.  Even today, I’m going to call the race a success with the hand that was dealt to me.  Maybe I’ll try another half next April, but that’s far away.

What’s Next:

The short version – for the next week – whatever I feel like.  After that, more structure.


This week, I’m going to a) clean up my eating in terms of quality and b) go back to tracking my food, but not until the end of the day or the next morning.  I’m not looking to cut portions just yet, but I’d like an idea of where I’m at.  Next week, I’ll get on the scale, start tracking for real, and set myself up with a plan to take off how much ever I am over 155.


The great thing about the focused running is – I’m not burnt out on it!  I’m actually looking forward to a run tomorrow!  I’m thinking a nice, easy 5k and some yoga.  Wednesday, maybe some arc trainer and lifting heavy stuff at the gym.  We shall see what else follows this week.  I’m not worried about it.  I just know that I’m looking forward to not taking a month off running, and also not having to do the same focused workouts each week.  Starting next week I am going to get back to a regular schedule of something, and by next weekend, I hope to do another long run.  Easy.  Whatever pace I want.


I think I want to do this for my birthday weekend in a few weeks.

Gonna do this with Zliten as a tune up for…

…doing THIS with Zliten.

Then, after a long time and training, I plan to be insane and do THIS.

Maybe I’ll throw some 5ks or 10ks or something else fun in there for good measure, but that’s the plans.

What’s up for you on the racing horizon, runners?  What’s your favorite length?  What else are you training for?  If you were my trainer, what would you tell me to try next since I don’t have any major training until August?

Austin Half Marathon or Holy Hell the Hills Ate Me

So I’m sitting here, post race, cheese burger nommed, just kind of chillin’.  If it weren’t for the entire back of my body

Race #7.  Race #1 was next week last year.  Crazy...

Race #7. Race #1 was next week last year. Crazy... And don't ask my WHY but those mismatched gloves have become my lucky running ones.

being tight and burning like disco inferno from my heels to my lower back, I feel just like I woke up early.  I thought I was going to be completely wrecked, but I feel fine.  So far.  Definitely don’t think I exacerbated my illness at all, I feel better right now than I have in days – so that’s a bit of yay.

Sadly though – what’s missing from the equation is the frantic refreshing of the race day page looking for results.  I know I didn’t PR.  I was very close – within a minute or two, but I very much doubt I hit it.  Even if somehow I did – it wasn’t by the longshot I figured I would.

A week ago, if you would have told me my finish time, I would have been crushed.  I would have not believed you.  I might have questioned even running the race if my finish was going to be that worthless.  “How on EARTH can I not PR?”  I would have asked you.  “Flying monkeys?”  The answer to this, my friends, is the combination of one hell of a week + one hell of a course.

Y’all know what I’ve been dealing with – while I’d like to say I was healthy and happy this morning, I was not.  My nose was still sorta stuffy, my throat was still tickly, and I definitely had some of that delicious lung butter going on (you’re welcome).  In spite of this fact, I was finishing the damn thing if I had to crawl it.  Also, in spite of all the gory details above, and the fact that I didn’t sleep too well or long and I had to be up at five-in-the-buttcrack-of-dawn-fucking-morning, I was actually feeling fairly groovy in comparison to any day but Monday last week.  I was worried how I’d feel halfway into the race, but I didn’t feel bad this morning.

We got ready and got to the starting line (well, technically the 4:30 marathon/2:15 half pace marker as that’s where I

Zliten and me hangin out at 6am.  For no reason.  Sober.

Zliten and me hangin' out at 6am. For no reason. Sober.

determined I’d hang out to start) and waited around for about an hour in the dark.  I was thanking my little stars for the weather – it was 45 even at 6am and it just got warmer from there.  We were lucky for HIGHS in the 40s this week and again probably next week, but the weather deities decided to smile upon us this day!  I was a little cold as I shed my fleece for just long sleeves but once I got walking towards the start line I was a-ok.

It took just about 10 minutes exactly to get to the gate and the sun was just rising.  It was gorgeous.  As much as I say I get up this early for 2 things – vacations, races, and that’s it – it was a great way to start.  The first mile, admittedly, was a little rough on my lungs.  I hacked and coughed and checked my garmin a lot.  I figured that if that’s how it was going to be, it would suck, but I’d get through it.  Mile two got a bit better, mile three a bit better than that, and then before I knew it, I was cruising almost at my intended race pace and feeling WONDERFUL and half a mile had gone by the time I last looked.

This continued through mile four, five, and six.  I had made up a BUNCH of time and was looking in great shape to be

A beautiful sunrise at the starting line.  Hated getting up so early, but loved that part.

A beautiful sunrise at the starting line. Hated getting up so early, but loved that part.

well ahead of PR pace.  I hit the halfway point of the race, and then mile 7, and all I had to do was stick around 10 minute miles and I’d be in the gate around 2:10, which would be fine with me.

At the beginning of mile 8 things got a little rough.  I was feeling great, getting happy because all I had was 5 miles left to go, and then we started to go uphill.  A lot.  And it just didn’t end.  I toughed out about the first 15 minutes of uphill but when I was barely getting respite (beyond a few STEEP and SHORT downhill jaunts), I had to fold.  My glutes were screaming to the point where I was getting a little iffy on whether I’d be injured after the race, and my lungs were SCREAMING.  So I did something I’ve never done during a race.  I took some walk breaks.  The first one was up 10+% grade hill.  I was hoping that would be my only one.

Then the hills just kept coming.  I think I walked a total of 10 minutes of the race, starting in mile 9 and continuing through mile 12.  I felt like a righteous wuss, but it wasn’t just me.  Lots of people that had been running with me the whole race were doing the same thing.  It was liked they picked turn by turn the way back to the finish line with the worst hills with no flat and rare downhill (again, if downhill, plunging downhill) until about mile 12.5.  There were FIVE over 10% grade hills (one over 20, and one that said over 90 but I think the garmin screwed up there).

By this time I was done.  I just wanted to finish.  It’s like when you realize that someone’s cheating, or just beating you so badly that it’s not even fun anyone.  Let me reiterate – I have NEVER walked during a race.  I think the last time I

Bookin it to the finish.  My face tells the tale of 1000 hills.

Bookin' it to the finish. My face tells the tale of 1000 hills.

walked during a run was last April (and I remember it because it pissed me off).  I just kept thinking to myself, “fuck this course”.  If I would have realized HOW CLOSE I was to a PR I might have been able to pull out another little ounce of something somewhere.  Maybe.  Once I realized we were up (hopefully, please dear fluffy lord please please please) the last hill, I banished the pain from my legs and lungs and started to book it around the capital building (which was a nice race end) – and I got through the finish.  By that time, I was just happy to be through, and be somewhat close to my last race.

Then, the clusterfuck happened.  We cross the finish line and STOP abruptly.  Come ON people, I just sprinted to the end I need to WALK.   Then we shuffle, shuffle, shuffle for about 5 minutes and get our finishers medals.  Then we continue to shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle for like 10 minutes and get our finishers shirts.  By that time I was so over it and needing to either walk or sit, I ditched the food line and went to go meet Zliten to go home.

I want to clarify this though – because I do sound like a bit of a negative nancy – I am fucking proud of what I did today.  I had about 3-4 pleasant miles in that race and 9-10 uncomfortable ones.  The fact that I came even

Yay!  Victory! Pretty bad ass shirts and medals.

Yay! Victory! Pretty bad ass shirts and medals.

REMOTELY close to PR ill and with the second half of the course climbing into the sky the entire time is a huge testiment to my training.  Sure, it didn’t net me the sub-2 hour half I wanted.  But I finished with a respectable time.  I pushed through a lot of crappy uncomfortable running to do what I set out to do.  I’m not sure if I would have done that well with the circumstances with last year’s training.

Oddly enough I don’t have this raging desire for revenge.  There is another half in 2 months, and I have no desire to enter it at all.  I trained my heart out, and my training helped me persevere.  How can I not be happy about that?  I do believe there is probably a little repressed emo as I am now sorta questioning whether I ACTUALLY want to do this marathon in November and thinking how much I like 10k races better than half marathons… but I think that’s just my sore muscles talking.


Time: 2:19:36**

Average Pace: 10:39**

Percentile of finishers: 47.2% (so that means I beat 52.8% of the peeps there… I’m ok with better than half)**

Max speed: 7.8 mph (hit this on 4 of the miles)

Total Elevation Climbed: 1701 feet

Heart rate: stayed between 80-93% of max the entire time (this one fact here made me realize that I gave it my all – there is no question.  I would say the majority of the time it was between 86-90%)

What hurts now: achilies, calves, hammies, and glutes.

Coolest getups: Shirts that said “Run for the Pedicure”, a lady decked out with hearts all over and heart sunglasses, a race shirt that said “Love Hurts”.

Biggest faux pas (es): men with shorty shorts that give peek-sees of their dangly bits, people that stop and turn around in the middle of the road without paying attention to who’s behind them, people that veer out of the way just in time to

...and this is my commentary about the hills and the end of the race.

...and this is my commentary about the hills and the end of the race.

ALMOST make me biff right into a big traffic cone, and crowded race finishes (I mean, seriously, if I was feeling as rough as I was after my first, I might not have made it through 15 mins of forced standing…).

Verdict: I will probably not run this half again in the near future.  If I do get into and like marathoning I might consider this one YEARS from now (same killer hills early on, but a FAST second half) because it goes almost right by our house.  I think I WOULD like to run the 5k next year with Zliten.  I also realized that last year, I was sick this very same week.  The year before, the week after.  Thus – maybe no more distance races in February.  There is a nice half marathon at a resort near here in the wilderness in April.  Or maybe I’ll skip the early 2011 season in favor of training for a tri.  Or doing something completely different.

What’s next?  Well, I’ve certainly prattled on enough for one day.  I’ll get into that soon enough.

EDIT: Forgive the formatting – I’m tired. 🙂  More tomorrow.

EDIT 2: Race results posted**

5 Random Things

Since no one has submitted a question for me to answer – and by the way, if you want me to give my unfair and biased opinion on something, please comment below… or if you’re shy, you can email me at pinksparkly at –  I’m all about the 5 random things today.

1.  I can’t lie.  I’m getting a little bummed.  I still have a cough – it’s actually worse today.  My nose is a little stuffy (though it’s totally tolerable).  My throat is tickly from all the phlegm (I know, TMI and gross, but whatever).  My body is stiff.  I am totally not having the week before the race that I wanted.  I’m going to roll with it though.  In the next two days, as long as I can get rid of the cough, I’ll be happy.  I’ve run through allergies, and the nose dries up after a mile or two.  Sore throat just means that I need to DEFINITELY bring my camelback to stay hydrated.  I’m pretty sure this is the worst of the aches and as long as I yoga, rest, and maybe do a easy, easy run either tomorrow or Saturday.  Send me good, healing vibes please!

2.  That being said – my new main goal is a PR.  Something better than 2:16.  Sure, I’m going to start out at my intended pace, but I will self correct as needed.  While I keep having visions of seeing 1:56 as I come into the finish line (which doesn’t even make sense because it’s a big race and I won’t get across the line for at least a few minutes…) but I can be a realist.  Sub-2 hours was going to be an awesome challenge completely healthy, but it will be like climbing Mount Everest sick.  I’m up for the challenge though if my body can take it.

3.  It has been so crappy weather-wise this week (for Austin at least).  It’s barely made it out of the 40s, and been cloudy and/or rainy most of the time.  The one day it was sunny it was soooo damn cold it didn’t really help.  We’re still rolling without central heat until the tax credit thing kicks in, so it’s always fun to get home from work and have the house be in the upper 50s.  I am STOKED that this weekend it looks like it’s going to give the rain a rest and the race should at least be in the 40s, and be up into the 60s.

4.  Work is still going good, I am happily challenged and busy!  I haven’t really done a video game or industry post – because, well frankly, I’ve been very occupied (happily) with things at work, and my head has been all running all the time outside of it (I mean, I do have a little race I kinda have been training for, and my body has kinda decided to go poop on me).  I have a few posts on the horizon, but they require brain power.  Not fueled-by-NyQuil power.  So next week, hopefully!

5.  Valentine’s Day is Sunday.  We are totally not v-day people, and considering it’s my race day, it’s a good thing.  We usually have a tradition where the night before, one of us cooks for each other, and the day of, the other one cooks for…uh…the other one (the NyQuil is beginning to kick in)?  This year, due to it being the craziest weekend evar, we are putting it off until next week.  Trying to decide what to request.  Last year, I got a delicious crab boil.  In the next few days we have plans to eat steak, lobster, and crab, so I need to get creative.

So, wish me luck and send healing thoughts my way.  I’ll post as soon as I have my wits about me after the race, but if you want to follow me on twitter (quixotique), I’ll definitely let you know sooner.  So – do you have any random questions you want me to answer?  What would you request if you could have someone cook you dinner and you could have anything you wanted?

Timing Is Everything

So today, the throat is more tickly than sore, but I definitely have some chest congestion now.  I forced myself to sleep 10 hours (completely countering my whole “get up early to get used to a 7am start time” initiative this week).  Yay, t-minus 5 days before the race and I’ve got some sort of bug.  At this point, I’m going to throw all my energy into preventing it from getting any worse and hopefully I’ll feel right as rain by Sunday.  If I’m being honest with myself, I feel about 80% (and 100% being like my best most awesome ready to get up and bounce around the block day).

The worst thing about it now (besides the chest congestion, which if it’s not cleared up by Sunday, I have worse problems like preventing death), is even with all the rest I’ve had, my body is kinda achey.  Monday night my left glute was a little sore (so yes, the THIRD time this training period with the sore butt muscle – and the third time I realized I was slacking a little bit on the yoga/stretching…) and now my lower back is all tense.  I usually manifest a little bit of my sickness in my muscle, which normally makes me happy, as it’s not all cold symptoms, and sore muscles I can deal with, but this time – this week is supposed to be able resting them and keeping them loose.  I am very much not loose right now.

I’m trying to control the drama in my head, all the “woe is me” thoughts, and realize that this is not the end of the world.  I could be DEAD, not sick.  I could be in the hospital, and not able to race.  The race could be canceled due to a freak alien invasion in which we are to become servants to the little green men or some other natural disaster.  I could be injured.  There are many, many worse things than a mild sickness early in the week-I’ve got time to rebound.

I am going to be testing the theory that you don’t lose much cardio fitness within a week.  I did my baby sprints on Monday, skipped my cross training yesterday, and considering laying off everything but yoga unless I feel 100% until the race.  I’m debating on just doing some mild cardio today (walking, arc trainer on a very mild setting) just to try and stay loose, but I know that’s generally not a good idea.  But I *feel* fine, and it almost feels like it would help me somehow, so I might try and hop off at the first sign of fatigue/uncomfortableness. EDIT: Did 20 mins really EZ on the arc trainer, feel better after, exhausted now, will let you know tomorrow if I did good or bad.

I am also continuing to allow myself to eat until satiety and fullness.  I am not questioning anything nutritious – if I want to eat a whole head of broccoli or some cheese or pistachios or meat, then I’m letting myself.  If I start getting pre-occupied with snack food, then I’ll be doing a head check.  For example, last night I wanted some chips/popcorn/pretzels/etc.  I realized I hadn’t had too many carbs so I let myself graze a little.  Then, after dinner, I was craving ice cream.  I dug into that and figured out I just wanted something to soothe my throat, so I went for a all-fruit pop that’s 25 calories instead of 170 for the ice cream.

I’ve also been looking into other holistic type remedies and here’s what they suggest:

*Staying very hydrated (check)

*Hot tea/water/soup (check)

*Neti pot (tonight – I don’t have a head cold yet but maybe preventative medicine perhaps?)

*Hot water (aka shower) – tonight, I plan on a niiiiice long one.

*Massage – might see if our temp roomie massage therapist might know some good stuff to do for alleviating cold/chest buggies.

*Hot and Spicy Foods – this is no trouble for me *grin*.  I’ll just make sure everything is hot like I like.

*Chanting.  Ummm, I dunno about this one but I’ll try anything.  Zliten already thinks I’m off my rocker.

*Yoga – I searched this because I noticed this morning that my chest really opening up during certain poses, and figure that I might as well add some different poses to my every-day this week program to help get me better!

Rclining Bound Angle Position

Reclining Bound Angle Position

Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

Childs Pose

Child's Pose

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Legs-up-the-Wall Pose

Legs-up-the-Wall Pose



Now I ask the audience… what do you do to get over minor illnesses?  Have you ever run a race doped up on cold medicine or otherwise ill?  Any tips for me to be back to myself by Sunday?  Any suggestions if I’m still a little under the weather?

What Type of Workout Personality Are You?

Today, I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with me.  I am both ravenously hungry (like, hungrier than normal even for my increased appetite) and feeling kinda weak with a little scratchy throat.  I’m truly hoping it’s just a little bit of allergies but honestly?  It could be a cold.  Yeah, the week of my race.  I had nightmares of it being 20 and sleeting.  I had nightmares of injuring myself this week.  Illness?  Nary a thought.  I am invincible – right Happy Runner?

The plan for today is to a) eat as much healthy and nutritious food I can handle (I’m already into a carton of blackberries, an oikos yogurt, half a packet of kashi hot cereal, a turkey sandwich on sprouted grain bread, a bag full of raw veggies, and a handful of pistachios – and it’s just after lunch) b) skip my cross training workout – it was going to be mellow anyway and I don’t think it will hurt and c) pump myself full of water and tea and some emergen-c and d) rest rest rest – leave work at 5 as scheduled and veg on the couch and sleep way way way early.  Wish me luck that I’ll be back to my snappy self tomorrow.  Until then, a “Back to Reality” day.

This post originated in April 2009, and really helped wake me up to WHY I was working out and how to encourage it (races, goals, and deadlines, oh my!).

Although I will shout loudly at the mountaintops about how I was able to lose 80+ lbs using SparkPeople, a lot of the articles are sorta drivel.  The other features are great, don’t get me wrong.  Tracking what went into my mouth for the last year and a half has helped me become aware of what a normal human should eat and what foods work for me.  Logging exercise made me accountable when I didn’t want to pursue fitness for any other reason than losing the proverbial junk in my trunk.  Seems silly now that anyone would have to push me to workout, but times have changed.  Getting involved with the community provided me inspiration and an outlet when I used to blog over there.  However, the articles – meh.

That being said, since I’m on the site all the time tracking my foods and logging my awesome fitness minutes, I do catch some and once in a while they’ll really hit home.  A few weeks ago, I read this one.  If you don’t want to jump over there and read it all, I’ll give you the reader’s digest version…actually the article IS a summary so this is a summary of a summary.  How meta!

There are 5 different types of workout personalities: squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, and squigglies.

Squares are very rigid and like to have a plan and stick to it.  They are committed, but hit plateaus easily because they don’t change up their workouts.

Rectangles are like squares in they like a routine, but they are more flexible and also tend to be more social.  Since they’re more flexible they will resort to a Plan B (as in, planned to run outside today but it’s raining, so I’ll hit the treaddy at the gym), but if they workout alone, they aren’t likely to stick to it.

Triangles are competitive and very focused on improving and tracking that improvement.  They appreciate all sorts of improvement (even if the scale didn’t move, they’ll appreciate the new personal best on their mile time), but are likely to get frustrated without a higher purpose in mind.

Circles are the emotional, social people who couldn’t imagine working out alone.  Having gym time double as social time gets them there regularly, but they’re likely to spend more time chatting than working out.

Squigglies are the polar opposite of squares.  They abhor routine and value, above all things, fun.  They rarely see plateaus because they’re always changing it up, but are likely to get bored and drop out of a regular exercise program.

It really hit me here that I was fully and completely a triangle.  It’s not just my body shape (inverted triangle, at least), it’s my workout type!  This inspired me to ditch April’s planned experiment, which while it sounded FUN, it also sounded like a chore since it was super varied.  I really like a routine.  I like to make a list and check it off.  I definitely have elements of square (in that I like routine) and rectangle (that I’m ok being flexible, if it’s raining the treaddy is fine, or if I’m exhausted and planned a hard workout I’ll switch it to another day and do something lighter), but I am true and true a triangle.  Even before I was working towards a race, I was working on improving my times, my distances, using heavier weights, doing more reps, and the like.

So this gave me the oomph to actually put this half marathon plan into place, I think I wrote out the spreadsheet the very same day.  It still scares me but more than anything I’m excited.  I’m also signed up for a 5k in 2 days and a 10k next weekend because I realized – I love races.  I got myself a stopwatch to time myself because it was one more stat I could track.  Now that the article validated for me what I already knew (I thrive on competition), I’m rocking out with my new wicking socks out and embracing it.

What type of workout personality are you?  How do you embrace it and make it work for you?  How do you get over your weaknesses?

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