Adjusted Reality

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

Month: May 2011 Page 1 of 2

Pieces of Me

I apparently have a few new folks checking out the old bloggy blog, and I’ve been really heavy into wanking about my progress scale-wise, health-wise, and race-wise, so I figured I’d slide into a nice long weekend (5 days! so excited!) with 10 random things about myself that wouldn’t be apparent from reading my recent posts/bio…

1.  As a child, I never had a “dream job” that lasted very long.  I wanted to be a waitress.  A math teacher.  An actress.  A gymnastics coach/dance choreographer.  A novelist.  A professor.  An artist.  A web designer.  It boggles my mind that once I left college, I have been in the same industry working on the same things (online video games) for 10 years.  The sole 10 years of my professional career.  I figured I’d be on mid-career crisis #3 at least by now.

2.  I can label my religious beliefs as agnostic existentialist, basically, I have faith that something is out there, and I’ll continue to reevaluate what I think is the truth throughout my life as I gain experiences.  I believe there is something up there saving babies and drunks from falling off high rise ledges, and there is way too much in this world this is unable to be explained except through the intervention of something beyond humanity.  I don’t believe that something worth worshiping is a vengeful and wrathful spirit who thinks less of me if I don’t spend a lot of my day bowed down to he/she/it.  I believe in celebrating what we can’t explain by trying to be the best person I can be.  Also, when I was little, my mom asked if I wanted us to go to church (we didn’t), and I said “No, I’d rather sleep in.”  That might be part of my beliefs too. ::grin::

3.  Before 3 years ago, I had never run more than a mile.  Ever.  My best mile time was 7th grade (7:50) and I can run a mile below that pace comfortably.  However, I certainly can’t do the splits anymore or backflips, so it’s definitely a matter of you are what you train for.  Though… I did pull a 1 1/2 flip off the diving board two summers ago…

4.  I feel naked unless I have sunglasses, my engagement/wedding ring, watch, necklace, earrings, and lipstick on.  I don’t consider myself a girly girl, but I love dresses and skirts (I just think they’re comfortable).  When I was super heavy, I *only* wore skirts because it allowed me to deny how heavy I’d gotten since I didn’t have to deal with pants sizes.

5.  On this new low salt way of eating, the thing I eat most when I cook at home is… TACOS.  Seriously.  It is so easy to make healthy, lower sodium, delicious meals wrapped in corn tortillas.  Chicken, extra lean beef (I guess you could sub ground turkey too but that shit is nasty), tilapia, shrimp, veggies… with a dab of greek yogurt, homemade pico (all the veggies, with no extra salt, and I don’t miss it at all), lower sodium beans, and some lower sodium hot sauce – so freakin’ good.  We have fish tacos at least once a week and usually some other sort of tacos another day.

6.  I’ve never had a manicure, pedicure, facial, waxing, scrub, seaweed wrap, etc.  Every time I *think* about spending money on spa treatments, I just find something else I want more.  Like races.  Vacations. Clothes.  Electronics.  Night out on the town.  See #4 – not really a girly girl.

7.  Even though I am a fairly high ranking manager, I occasionally feel amazed that people respect me and/or follow my direction.  It stems from the fact that as much as I try, sometimes I feel like I haven’t left my dorky, awkward teenage years behind me and still feel like a little kid playing grown up.  I have 10 years of experience, am fully qualified, and know what the shit I’m talking about, but sometimes my brain forgets that.  I also walk softly and carry a big stick.  The rare occasions when I’ve had to raise my voice or email tone, people KNOW heads will roll.

8.  I’m really good at interpretive mathematics.  I like to put together big picture plans (big milestone schedules, training plans, balancing budgets, balancing different characters powers in games, planning out my vacations for the year, etc), but I find the minutiae tedious and boring.  Just as I have at work, I wish for an assistant in life that could take my grand plans that I lay out and help make them happen.

9. One Liners…
fave colors: red, blue, black, purple, silver
fave foods: sandwiches, soups, salads, tacos
fave bands of all time: red hot chili peppers, NIN, Tori Amos
current music guilty pleasures: Gaga and Ke$ha
fave alcoholic drinks: flavored vodka and soda with a twist, chenin blanc/vouvray or unoaked chardonnay, or when I’m really splurging, a fruity margarita (whiskey and diet coke was my standby before I quit artificial sweeteners, haven’t found a good substitute)
fave pastimes: watching old tv series on netflix, reading, making beaded necklaces, cooking, playing card/board/video games, and enjoying my patio
fave place to shop for clothes: savers (love the thrift stores), ross, academy
iphone/blackberry/android: android all the way. fuck apple!
fave vacation destination: anywhere warm with great nightlife
fave video games of all time: EverQuest, Super Mario Bros (1-3), Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band
current video game: trying to stay current in my own game… the more I work and we put out, the harder it is to stay current on my own character…

10.  This will be the question you ask me!

…so please hit me up in the comments.  For one little known tidbit about you that I could not discern from your blog (or if you don’t blog, you have it easy, just one tidbit), you can ask a question and I will provide an answer of some sort!

Thanks for the indulgence – it felt nice not to blog about races or food or weight or whatnot for a moment.  Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend if you celebrate, and an equally lovely, though somewhat SHORTER weekend if you don’t.


So I’ve been trying to process and psychoanalyze what went down in my head this weekend, because, honestly, turns out I actually placed just outside of the top 20% of women.  If there were age group awards, I would have been damned close to in them (5th or 6th or something).  I am allowing myself to be upset about how badly I’ve let my arm strength go with the monkey bars, but only in the capacity that I’m doing something to fix it.  But I effed that up last year too.  I don’t know what possessed me to think I’d do better, but consider that disillusionment that swimming 2x week is enough to keep up arm strength shattered, and that’s a good thing.

The underlying problem?  Hi, my name is Quix, and I am an adrenaline junkie.

Sadly, my addiction started at a young age.  Gymnastics.  Flying through the air. Ice skating.  Twirling and jumping on a razor thin blade on a slippery surface.  Then diving – gymnastics for bodies falling apart.  Then the stage.  Not as physical, but definitely a FREAKING RUSH.

Then, the odd things that are a rush for me, that don’t really make sense.  Pushing myself physically, but not in athletics – the 3 day sleepless college study sessions because I was such a procrastinator (or was a procrastinator because I liked the rush).  Partying with my friends until 3, napping, waking up at 6, heading to the bar with the graveyard crew, and then doing the school and work thing all over again.  Working 100 hour weeks to do something unachievable at work.  Getting promoted so fast my business cards couldn’t keep up.

Then, in 2007, when I decided I had enough of that shit, the adrenaline came from weight loss.  Uprooting myself and moving to a different job, state, and life.  Then more and more and more weight loss.  Once that slowed, I had already tasted the adrenaline of running, and wanted more.  While the actual ACT of running/biking/swimming doesn’t really compare to the first time I landed a double full, stuck a beam routine at state, my first singing solo on stage, the feeling of a PR or conquering some great barrier is just as sweet.

It’s all about those little numbers, ain’t it?  The score at the end of the routine, the numbers on the treadmill, the subscribers in game, the place in the rankings, the reading on the scale.  They can either make you fly, or make you all emo bird.  See below.

My worry is that I’m having trouble getting my next fix.  Tearing away at these 20 lbs is more like clawing my way up a mountain in a blizzard, and while I acknowledge that a few lbs per month is still progress, it’s certainly not something I go around mentally pumping my fist about (and, it’s weight gained back from when I lost it before, hard to get all freakin’ stoked about that).  PRs are getting harder to come by as I improve.  It’s probably why I keep jumping from distance to distance.  The first time you race a distance/sport – it’s always a PR.  Maybe that’s why I’ve jumped from 5k to 10k to halfs to tris – the longer you race a distance, the less likely you are to PR each time.

Maybe I should just take up skydiving instead.

EDIT: THIS.  This.  So this. I need to go from a dabbler to a master.

Ferocity of 1000 Lions

Normally, I post a race report with a few pics of us from that day, I list a finish time (or approximate), give a play by play of the race, discuss what went right, what I could do better, and state my general pleasure with myself and the course of events of the day.

FYI, picture taken before.  I have some pictures also from the o-course but I just don’t even want to deal with them so this is all you get…

Humility.  Humbled.  Disappointment.   I’ve never really felt unabashed disgust with a race finish before and I definitely did yesterday.  I’m not looking for pity.  I know that going from barely able to walk across the parking lot in 2007 to running a 5k  for any time is awesome.  I’ve not lost sight of that.  It’s just that I’m terrified of backsliding.  Going back to that.  The idea that I’ve done the best I can ever again is terrifying.

Anyhoo, on with it.  Let me give the circumstances of the day – woke up, got ready, and things were going well and good until we got there.  TMI warning (you know runners and their poop talk…) – things got a little gurgly in the guts.  I had to make two visits to the bathroom before the race (which was ONE stall for hundreds of women, you can imagine THAT didn’t work so well) and while it helped, I started the race feeling pretty crappy (ha! ha!).

However, mile one.  I rocked the crap out of that mile.  My goal was to stay between 8-9 min miles the whole race, and I stayed under 8:30s and even dipped into the 7s on the downhills.  And it felt pretty comfortable.  I was elated.  If I could keep at that pace I could do really well today.  My body was holding up.

Then, at about 1.25, the ascent began.  I have gotten better at hills but this one went on forever.  Seriously.  The rest of mile 2.  It was brutal.  I tried to push through but I climbed into the 9s, then 10s, I even think I saw an 11.  I figured all was not lost, and I could pick up the pace and get through mile 3 like mile 1 I could at least finish decently.  Unfortunately, the body problems came back and every time I tried to go beneath 9s, my body was like NOPE!  It did let me sprint it in since it was a pretty nice downhill stretch, but it was already in the 28s.

Don’t have the official time, but it’s most certainly my worst 5k time ever.  My first 5k?  Better.  My 5k last year I ran after a 3 hour brick workout the day before?  Better.  I have no excuse.

I was feeling a bit down on myself but figured I could redeem myself on the obstacle course.  I’ve been swimming a lot so I figured I’d have less issue with the arm strength stuff, right?  No, not at all.  I made it THREE FREAKING RUNGS of the monkey bars.  I even had my weight gloves with for gripping.  I even had to get a small boost on the rope wall (they only gave me one try, it took me a few last year).

Again, worse than last year.  I left feeling… shattered.  Like I had let myself down really badly.  Like I’m a weakling.

Also, to add to the craptastic day, while Zliten had a fantastic 5k finish (35 ish mins), he fell hard on the monkey bars and hurt his shoulder and it knocked the wind out of him.  He’s ok – but definitely has an owie shoulder that will need lots of ice and pampering.

I drank my champagne, although I didn’t feel like I deserved it.  After a while, I just finally broke.  The last week or so just came crashing down.  Something got botched at work that was under my purview, and it was meaningful to me.  I felt like I let my boss down, my team down, and my self down.  But if things are going shitty at work, at least I can take solace in the fact that I rock my hobby, right?  Oh wait, that brought me to my knees today and served me a slice of humble pie.  At least I’m happy with my body… or not.  Sigh.  Double sigh.

I’m pretty much a robot.  I don’t cry.  I sobbed like a little girl multiple times yesterday.  Enough is enough, life.   I went into my little mental hidey hole and wallowed.  I came out a while later feeling better.  I can move on from here.

This seals the deal – I’m focusing on my short game this year.  I can’t expect to be good at anything if I keep changing what I’m doing.  If I stick with 5ks and sprints this year, I can also work more strength training into my workouts.  Plus, Zliten and I can train for these together (he is not into the idea of distance running).

Also, I have the goal of being able to get across the monkey bars on the playground by the end of the summer. Eff this feeling so weak.  Maybe I can even do the coveted pull up.  It will definitely help my swimming.

I’m going to roll with the training plan I put out last week, except try to add more strength in.  Pullups and pushups will be my BFFs.  After the tri, I’ll evaluate what the next steps are.  I will definitely need a redemption race, good thing 5ks are a dime a dozen here in Austin.  Literally, I can just drop by one on a Saturday morning once a month on the way to my rents and pay 1 dollar for entry.  So the opportunity will present itself, I just have to make it happen.

More soon.  I am honoring my rest day today, but tomorrow?  It’s on.  With the ferocity of 1000 lions.

MONDAY EDIT: I feel sorta sheepish admitting this, but I looked at my results overall, and while it was 28:26, I finished 32/154 overall women’s.  So just shy of the top 20%.  If it was a tri and I placed that high, I would be FLIPPIN’ GIDDY.  I can’t be too unhappy with that.  I guess I wasn’t the only one having trouble with the race…

The emotions are still there though.  There is still the lack of strength issue and a lot of other things that aren’t just magically wiped away with this new tidbit, but at least I can feel pretty decent about my 5k finish time.

Going Gaga, Conscience, and Training Schedules

Yelp Goes Gaga:

Before drinking, waiting for the bus.

Ready for my closeup!

After all you can drink 3 Olives vodka for 2 hours:

Rooftop view…

There were fabulous costumes, drag queens, witty discourse and banter with folks we haven’t seen in a while.  I was hoping we could get dancy but there was just none of that going on.  Oh well.  I WILL drag Zliten out one of these days and have a good dancy night.  It’s been a while.  I’m not disappointed, I mean, I rarely have an excuse to wear a tiara and boa out of the house and that counts for a lot.  I <3 Yelp for giving me a reason to dress up silly at least once every few months and take over a bar.  On them.  Can’t complain!

The next ones are a “faire” themed event at a gourmet hot dog bar/restaurant, and a red white and blue themed party at a bourbon bar.  Totally looking forward to the summer of Yelp fun.

Training plan for Pflugerville Triathlon:

I haven’t had a cohesive training plan for a while and I wanted to lay one out for the next month.   With work and my injury I’ve been holding back a bit, but by next week, I should be all rested and things should be back on track to go at it 100%.

Translations –

Pflake bricks – a group of the folks that put on the duloop also do a swim/run brick group training sesh every other Monday and, oh, it happens to be at the lake where the tri is at.  We’re going to try to hit both instances before the tri.

Veloway – a free bike and rollerblade only 3 mile loop w/no traffic.  All the bennies of biking outside, none of the hassles of dealing with traffic.

Shoal creek lap = 10 miles

I’m going to be getting in 2 bike/run bricks.  While I used to do them every week last year, I feel like I *know* now mentally how it feels to transition from bike to run and that all it takes is the mental fortitude to run through it until it gets better.  I plan to do both outside to maximize the awesome.

It seems as if 7 cardio segments is all I can get in without a) upping the days to 6 and b) ditching weights

May 23 – 29
M Pflake brick – 1 mile swim, 20 mile bike
T 5k tempo, weights
W 30 min hard ride, 30 min easy swim
Th off
F 4 miles hills, weights
S veloway long ride
Su off

May 30 – June 5

M 10k run outside, crunchtime (or weights)
T shoal creek lap, 30 min swim easy
W 4 mile outside run, weights
Th 30 mins ride easy, 30 mins swim hard
F off
S shoal creek lap, 5k run (brick)
Su off

June 6 – 12
M Pflake brick – 1 mile swim, 20 mile ride
T 5k tempo, weights
W 30 mins ride hard, 30 mins swim easy
Th off
F 4 miles hill run, weights
S 60 min swim
Su off

June 13 – 19
M 6 mile ride, 2 mile run (outside if possible, easy with pickups) (brick)
T 30 min easy swim
W off
Th 40 mins bike w/pickups
F 2 mile run (outside if possible)
S  off
Su race!

And, that’s about that.  There’s another event going on right now (Game Dev Beer Night), but I’m at home catching up on Glee because a) I already did the whole “go-crazy-on-a-weekday” thing once this week b) I have a race in two days that I really would like to rock and c) I am old.

Sometimes it’s a shame that I have a conscience and a training schedule.  But it’s really probably a good thing, because there is generally something going on most days of the week and I am not getting any younger – weekday partying has to be kept within reason or I just can’t function.

Life has a way of steering you in the right direction sometimes, yah?

Summation of Images

Soul Coughing

What a difference a few days make.  By Friday, my head was in a huge fog.  Work wasn’t going too well, to the point which necessitated weekend work for a lot of the team.  I was too tired – nay – physically and mentally exhausted to deal with low salt cooking or make proper lunches (not to mention working too many hours), so while I’m pretty sure I didn’t blow my calorie load beyond a reasonable level, I didn’t eat quality food, and being that it was many foods not home cooked in a row, it was definitely not low sodium.  Also, my back was showing progress, but it still *hurt*.  I was still definitely INJURED.

Friday night I got off at a decent-ish hour, and the plan was for me to go swim some laps, cook a healthy dinner, and rest up and go to sleep early.  I was in such a mood, and was grumbling about it.  And then, it happened.  We found a dead mouse in the kitchen under a towel that had been there for obviously a few days (what, not everyone throws their used kitchen towels on the floor so they can sop up water and then leaves them?) that had MAGGOTS crawling in and out of it.  Zliten gets MAJOR hubby points for picking it up, but that was the tipping point.

I was so disgusted and grumpy I said fuck the gym, poured my ass a drink (rum, selzer, key lime juice, and a bit of honey – still doing good on no artificial sweeteners), and decided I was going to go outside, bring my laptop, sit on my patio, and enjoy the game I had been toiling over all week.  And thus I did until 2am.  And ate a tiny, salt laden, microwave meal for my dinner around 11pm.

Best decision ever.

Sure I had a bit of a hangover the next day.  Sure I missed an opportunity to burn some calories.  However, I had a blast, and went into the next day with a much better and energized attitude.  I finished up work around 4:30, had a whole day and a half of a brain break, and I am a new woman this week.

The scale didn’t even suffer.  I ate dinner after 10pm on Sunday, and weighed in at 171 the next morning.  With all the salt and the crap over the end of the week/weekend, I was not at all unhappy with it.  What’s better is that I am at 168.6 today.  And it’s TOM.  This is major progress folks!

Sometimes making the soul happy is more important than anything else.

The Condition My Condition Is In

As for the condition of my back/training – that’s on the up and up too.  Sunday morning it was still a little stiff, but feeling better so I got in the water and did over a mile in 45 mins.  Slower than normal, but it felt SO GOOD to be in the water (I could have kept going whereas last week I hit a definitely STOP at about 30 mins).  Yesterday, I biked for 40 mins (hills level 7), and while it wasn’t my fastest pace either, it was better than anything I’d done over a month ago.  Then, I did 30 mins of crunch time class – he modified it for me but I still got a good workout.  Shame that our lake bricks (swim/bike) with friends that we want to start doing every 2 weeks are Mondays as well.

I’m still feeling a bit nervous for running Saturday, I think the plan will be to take it easy, for the most part, with a short run Thurs with some 100m pickups (to keep the legs loose, but not sore).  I’m not going to do anything this week by running hard but hurt myself, so I’ll stay fresh and see what my legs (and back and brain) will let me do this weekend.  A goal: under 25, B goal: 26:30 (beating my second best 5k race time), C goal: crossing the finish line uninjured.  I’ll have the opportunity to get my revenge…

Take a Picture

I just looked and saw that the P5 pictures were up from the splash and dash and…ugh.  The one they caught me in, the photographer was down low (sitting) and full on to the side.  It was not pretty.  Hambeast came to mind, although I know it’s not true, it was just…bad (to be fair, EVERYONE looked bad from that angle).  However, it just got me going.  The idea that ANYONE would see me looking like that from any angle just scared the bejeezus out of me.  Then the anger.  It’s not FAIR that I work so hard and still can look like that.  And then fear.  Is losing the weight I want to going to make me happy?  I mean, is 15 lbs going to cure THAT?

I think I’ve shut the bad voice up for a while.  I’ll lose the weight, be better off than I am now for certain, maintain it for a while, and THEN see if I still feel like I need to do more.  And I need to remember this…  Two pictures on the same night, very different looks.  The camera is distorting me in both instances.  Also – I’m more than a summation of the images I leave behind.  If a few of those are unflattering, so be it.  As my image of myself changes as I change, there will always be unflattering pictures, and I don’t think they’ll freak me out less when I’m at my goal weight.  It’s all about being happy in my skin and I’m getting there.

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