Adjusted Reality

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

Month: May 2011

Dilemma and Discourse

So, I’m really having a dilemma with my race plan for the year.  I got all dorky and signed up for the Beginner Tri forums and now have access to their create-a-training plan site.  However, doing that made me really have to sit and think what my goals are for the rest of the year.  There’s about 5 months left of tri season, which then leads right into fall running season.  I really want to do at least one Olympic and one half, but now I’m questioning why, other than I did one last year and want to beat my times.  I could probably fall asleep on the bike and doggie paddle with my skillz now and PR the Oly.  It merges SO WELL into a half because I barely have to train for it.  I mean seriously.  I did a total of NINE RUNS (3×3 per week) before taper and PR’d by 8 minutes.

Last year it was an epic 3 months – it was 6 weeks between my sprint and olympic (though I was ramping up the distance way before), and then it was 6 weeks between the olympic and the half (1 week off recovering, 3 weeks training, 2 taper).  I was really mentally burnt out after the tri and kept cursing myself for registering.  All’s well that ends well, and I wouldn’t change a thing in hindsight, but I really and truly don’t know if I want to subject myself to that again.  Might circumstances be different?  Sure.  My body will probably be less wrecked since it’s been there before.  I’m not doing the job of 2 people at work like I was.  I’ll know that it’s OK to take the week after really easy and not have guilt/stress/freakouts about my body being utterly worthless 6 weeks out of the half, and that the runs will  start out really rough but get better.

I know I can do it.  I like the training.  I like the challenge.  But I’m trying to figure out WHY I really want to do the longer races.  Life would be so much easier if I stuck to sprints.  Short, super intense workouts to get FASTER.  Last year, all I could work on was building distances.  I didn’t get any faster.  It’s fun shaving time off my 5ks and seeing regular paces in the 8s and seeing my bike pace slowly creep up to 19mph on the stationary and hopefully beyond.  I know I am going to sacrifice some of this to build distance.

I guess I also feel like just doing sprints, for me, is erm…wimpy?  It’s not the right word but I guess I’m trying to say that I don’t feel like it’s all I got.  I know in my head that I should be able to just go twice as hard through half the distance and be just as spent at the end but I haven’t figured out how yet.  I have a certain tolerance of being uncomfortable, and it gets better with distance.  Once my body is in motion, it will stay in motion (to a point).  I haven’t figured out how to translate it into short bursts as well as I should.  Maybe that’s what I need to learn for this year.

There is always the fear too.  If I don’t do a half this year, and instead really chase that 5k PR, is that going to make me a bad runner?  What if my distance never comes back (my constant fear when I’m not running long – it always does when I train it to/need it to but it always feels weird when I’m running under 10 miles per week.  I did an Olympic my first year, and now I’m considering NOT?  I know in my rational brain that it’s just a different type of training and focus, and shorter is not inferior, but 5ks feel like so 2009.

I also don’t have a race picked out.  The race I did last year doesn’t actually exist this year (it’s a different course/location), and that’s ok, because I’m ok with a little less of a hellbike.  I mean, there are probably a dozen I could do in the month of September within a few hours drive, so it’s not really an issue, but I just don’t work as well without a focus.

Lastly – I seem to be making some progress with project: 150s doing as much volume as I need to do for the sprints.  I can keep weight training.  I don’t have to do 3.5 hour weekend workouts at peak.  It sounds… nice.  I didn’t gain during tri season last year but I certainly didn’t lose.

I think I’ll get through the race on June 19th and then consider my options, but it’s food for thought, and honestly, writing it out has helped me sort through some stuff in my head.

Random Bits and Bobbles

In other news, I worked most of the day, but we seem to have made some major progress and we’re getting out of the weeds.  I’m not HAPPY with weekend work, but it was obvious it had to happen.  Going in today was totally worth having the evening and the whole day tomorrow where I can just relax, not like last weekend where I was just dealing with work via email both days.  Hopefully by next week’s end things will all be back to normal.

My back is getting better, but it’s not all the way better yet.  I have resigned that this week is a loss.  If it wasn’t so crazy with work I would have been in the water every day and weight training, but ya know what?  Sometimes when you’re broken physically and exhausted mentally?  It’s time to just retreat and take some time off.  And thus I did this week.  I’ll log 2 days in the pool and nothing else.  I just have to accept that 1) this is ok and 2) either I’ll surprise myself at the 5k this weekend or I can sign up for another one and have my revenge.

We had to cancel the limo tour (ironically because one of our other friends had to work late into the evening – ah, game industry…), and it’s rescheduled for June.  Instead, we are having a very wild night involving PJs and a movie marathon, which feels much more my style after the crazy week.  Tomorrow, it’s makeup mother’s day celebrations with the fam – bbq, pool time, and playing cards.  It should be a pretty good day.

I’ve not been a saint with the food, but it’s more in terms of the content, not the calories.  Hard to eat low sodium when work’s buying you dinner or you get home too late to cook anything from scratch.  After lunch tomorrow though, it’s back to it.  We’ll see what the damage is Monday, but I’m hoping it’s not too bad.

Questions of the day: any insight on my dilemma – what would you do?  Also – what’s your go to food when you’re crunched for time/too exhausted to cook?

This Too Shall Pass

What’s up in Quixytown?  Read on, my friend…

Baby Got Back:

My back continues to frustrate me.  I’m not immobile, but I am definitely not healed enough to train.  I’ve been resting and stretching, but that’s not helping me PR this 5k coming up here in 1.5 weeks.  I’m just like ARGH, I’m losing all the awesome progress, I’m going to go back and struggle with under 10 min miles again or somethinggggg…

Yeah, after 2 unplanned days off.  I am really a flibbertygibbit.  What usually happens is I get better with rest.  Last year I PR’d this race after 3 weeks of no serious running, so maybe a rest will do me good.  Also – I should just go in with lowered expectations.  5ks are a dime a dozen in Austin, frankly, there is one that I can do for a 1$ donation each month (which was my second best race time).  If I don’t PR this one, it’s not the end of the world and continuing to work towards faster 5k running is something I need to do for my sprint tris anyway.

However, I’m done sitting on my ass.  I swam yesterday and it’s doable (even if it’s slow paddling or backstroking, I need to get in the water and move).  Other things I’m doing to help: advil (to keep the swelling down), ice (I should be doing it more than once a day but it’s better than nothing), sitting on the stability ball at work (I can roll around and stay fluid, sitting in a convential chair for any more than 10 mins makes me stiff), having my wonderful lovely Zliten give me massages, and stretching.  Yesterday, I got a 30 minute massage from a pro, and bit the bullet and got cracked my my chiropractor.  I was a little out of alignment, and she fixed it and I have some pain today, but it seems more like “I got worked yesterday” pain than “back is fubar” pain.  Here’s hoping I’m back to it 100% by next week!

And: note to self: don’t pick up heavy things at an angle.  It’s not worth it.  Kthx.

Weights and Measures

Monday, I was 169.8.  Tuesday – 169.6.  Wednesday? 169.0.  Today??? 168.0 I’m thrilled my body is stabilizing this week, and I’m continuing to do my lower salt, less wheat/dairy/meat thing on meals when I can.  Just trying to do my best without going insane.  Can’t lie though – looking forward to seeing those numbers go down a bit.

I do need to do a pants try on, as I have been shying away from anything under a size 9, and I think I may have lost some waist inches.  I’ll have to do that and report.  I like “unlocking” new pairs of pants!  Even if it’s not smaller, my tummy is FLATTER for sure.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This:

Yesterday, we had a HUGE milestone wrap up and go public, and while I don’t like to talk about exactly what I do here, we were on both the front page of CNN and MTV today (the game, not me specifically).  In a week or so, when things die down and I’ve gotten some rest and stress is a little lower, I’ll definitely admit all the crazy was worth it.

I don’t like to talk much about my job, and I definitely don’t like to talk negatively, but it’s been a HELL of a last few weeks.  I have a very short fuse right now, and little things are giving me major meltdowns (like not being able to find my car in the parking lot because Zliten reparked it).  The nice thing though?  I’m a seasoned pro.  I’ve been through this shit before.  I know that just because right now everything looks CRAZY and it’s all stress and overwhelming, I just have to get through it.  And it will end.  And things will go back to where I love my job (I guess this is where I tell my job that I LOVE it but am not IN LOVE WITH IT right now) and life is great.  Yes, to sum it up, THIS TOO SHALL PASS.  I am just allowed to be a drama queen about it until it does. 🙂

Besides a little more weekend work and continuing the fight against the dirty, disorganized house, we have fun plans this weekend.  Saturday afternoon, we’re heading downtown for happy hour and dinner at Frank (yes, that’s gourmet hot dogs ;D), and then taking a haunted limo ride ghost tour of Austin with two other couples.  It should be a really fun night, and we haven’t been downtown in quite a while.

Then, we’ll be returning downtown on Tuesday for another Yelp Elite event – dancing at a gay club!  I can’t wait to get all FABULOUS and dancy.  I will totally have to get out my princess crown and boa or something equally silly!  It makes me use so many exclamation points!!!

Back to the grindstone!  I’ll update soon when I can see through this mound of work and stuff to do!

Short Stuff

I think I’m going to try something different – short posts more often.  Instead of 1-2 epic long posts a week, I’m going to pop on and spout off more frequently.  So, consider this your daily dose of Quix.  Hopefully it doesn’t make you do this…

The good:

I got on the scale this morning and saw 169.8.  I have not weighed in under 170 on a Monday in a while.  So, that’s happy!  While it’s definitely not a low weight, it is VERY encouraging to not fluctuate so wildly.  We’ll see where this week takes us (by us, I mean me and uh…my scale?)

I’ve also noticed that I’m no longer paying attention to calories.  I buy things for the sodium content.  I haven’t counted calories in 2 weeks.  That is kind of refreshing.  I did break down and had a coke zero while quite drunk, and it was so good, but in general – I’ve been good.  But things that happen at 4am while drinking totally actually don’t happen (as long as they don’t get you arrested or pregnant) so we’ll just move along, shall we?

Lunch was SO SO good and So SO easy!  I took a bunch of brown rice, topped it with frozen stir fry veggies, added some sesame oil, and topped with liquid aminos and some chili garlic chinese hot sauce.  It wasn’t NO salt, but the aminos (tastes like soy sauce without the crazy salt content) has 6% of DV and the hot sauce has 5%, and I don’t think I used quite a whole serving of both.  There was maybe a little too in the canned baby corn I added (but rinsed).  Maybe 20% overall, and being that it was my whole lunch, I’m totally cool with that.  A little low in protein since I didn’t throw any shrimp or chicken in there, but a big bowl of greek yogurt for breakfast and a mess of tilapia tacos for dinner should make up for that.

I had a nice run Saturday.  I wanted to run outside so I skipped the treadmill hill work, and did an out and back of about 4.2 miles (plus warmup and cooldown, probably close to 5 miles).  The out was an easy downhill run at about a 10:20 pace, and then the back was a harder uphill run – my goal was negative splits.  It was HOOOOOOT by that time (85 and humid) so I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but I pulled 9:40s on average.  My legs were definitely letting me know that they were not ready to run harder so I was ok with it.

The Bad:

I worked a lot of hours last week, had to do a lot of work and monitoring over the weekend, and still banging my head against stuff today. Hopefully one more week of this max and things can go back to chill happy fun time.  Love what I do, but it’s not a low stress job at all.  I’m just usually a low stress gal.  I did actually shout out my office today “OMFG” (but the long, sailor-y version) when something went south – loud enough that quite a few of my team heard me and turned their heads.  Good times.  I am a loopy girl.

Due to work, didn’t get to go see my Mom for Mom’s Day.  Oh well, next weekend we have plans for a makeup celebration (playing in the pool, yummy food, and games, ya know, the norm).  And I got her a card, on time even (I usually send cards a few months late, it’s kind of a joke now).

Visited friends that live way South on Saturday.  Then, went to visit friends that live way North.  Had to return to both places on Sunday.  The round trip took 2 hours!  I would like to transplant all my friends to my neighborhood, please and thank you.  Also, I HATE DRIVING.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to drive anywhere unfamiliar, and the mix of tired (read: drinking way late the night before), contacts still in from the night before (read: drinking way late the night before), and it being dark (nothing to do with me drinking late last night) didn’t help but it made me nervous – I can fly on a trapeze just fine but driving makes my heart flutter sometimes.  Someday, I’ll be able to hire a driver.

I was going to attempt a week of food blogging, with pictures even, but my brain leaves my body when food is around and I forget.  I have mad respect for you food blogger people.  You must have a lot of self control and brainpowers that I don’t have.

The Ugly:

Picking up some selzer water from the grocery store, I threw out my back again.  ARGH!  It’s not too bad, but I’m definitely taking today off and I bet tomorrow too.  This is NOT helpful with my 5k in 2 weeks I want to rock.  Send healing thoughts please!  I have been sitting on my ball today rolling it around so I’m staying mobile but I’m looking forward to icing when I get home.

See you soon (er than normal, hopefully) peeps!

Ramblin’ Rose

Stop, Ramble Time!

Tri Minus One:

Last night, we completed a “splash and dash” type race (it was actually called PFive55), it was a 500m swim then 5k run).  I had a blast – both the swim course and the run were super nice (man made lake, and then a nice flat trail around said lake), but damn, running then swimming is HARD.  The bike definitely gives you an opportunity to catch a breather.  Coming out of a hard swim, throwing on the shoes, and immediately running was rough – I thought that it would be nice to not have brick legs, but I honestly would prefer brick legs than breathlessness!

My swim was a bit slower than I would have expected/liked (a little under 13 minutes), and I’m not sure why – I got a better start and felt like I had my rhythm most of the time, and I feel like I should have been swimming closer to 10-11 mins.  I think I went a little conservatively because I knew I had to run immediately after, and I haven’t been training that much speed in the water (since I’ve been actively working on my run and bike speed, swims have been mellower workouts).

My transition was pretty swift (although I did take a minute 30, which could get better with practice).

My run started, as I said, with me breathless, and fumbling with electronics (garmin and music) to get out of transition faster.  It took my garmin a while to get the satellites, and trying to run all out while booting up and finding a playlist was not fun, but I knew it would pay off since I just run faster with music driving me.  Next time, I think I’ll just make sure both devices are fully charged and leave them ON for this type of race (for tris, I don’t have to worry about the music since it’s not allowed, and the garmin on the bike is not as critical).  I got on the trail, and settled in somewhere between 9 and 9:30s.  Honestly, I’ve never practiced a swim to run transition and my body was a little shell shocked.

I was able to maintain below a 9:30 pace most of the time through mile 1 and 2, and started to pick up speed as I passed people.  I would kick into gear, make the pass, and then push myself to stay faster.  I stopped really relying on my garmin in mile 3 as I just ran as fast as my body and brain would allow comfortably.  I kicked it up a bit when I saw the mile 3 marker in the distance, and again when I passed it, and sped it into the finish line.  I finished around 28:30, which equates to about 8:50/miles.  Under 9s!  I was pretty happy with that!  I think I could tear that course a new one with fresh legs (and plan to go back and try), but also, that makes me pretty confident I can finish in the 27s on the tri (lungs a little more rested after biking; more speed training).

Approximately 43 minutes overall.  Race site is down so I don’t have the official times, but it was up last night so I remember the gist of it!  Once the pics are up I’ll post those as well.

Body Movin’ On Up:

So we’re about 4.5 weeks into project: half ass cleanse.  My highest weight was 174.8 (first week), lowest was 168.0 (second week), and I’ve been somewhere in between ever since.  I’ve been counting from the high point of the week and each week Monday’s weight has gone down.  Fluctuating less makes me less crazy so that is happy!

While I’ve not taken off all that much weight, things are looking and feeling different.  A pair of pants that didn’t fit well a couple months ago was lookin’ hot today.  My leg muscles are ridiculously poppin’ from the bike, the runs, and the strength work.  My arms and shoulders are starting to look more defined.  My tummy? Eh, well, there’s still some spare tire but I’m continuing to work the core anyway.

However, this style of eating (watching the sodium, less meat, more fish, less dairy, less wheat) is agreeing with me.  I feel really good when I’m able to generally stick to it.  Instead of being hardcore about it 3 days a week, I decided just to attempt to eat it for all the meals I could while not driving me crazy.  So if you make allowances for lean ground beef, I stuck to it about 2/3 of the time all week.  Most other meals I made healthy choices (but that Mediterranean sammich w/onion rings was AWESOME, and the brownie cookie half I had today was super amazing).  I have not been able to bring myself to track calories, but I think this might be a good step.

One major change that I’m very proud of?  I’ve cut out all artificial sweeteners for the last 2 weeks or so.  I think I may have had a bit of a fresca while intoxicated, but for the most part?  Off ’em.  Drinking soda water, decaf tea, and water exclusively.  After getting through the “wtf do I drink” and getting used to flavored seltzers, I actually don’t miss it.  And honestly, if all sodas were were as equally evil?  I would probably choose a regular coke over a diet for a very, very occasional treat.

I’m still considering the nutritionist heavily.  My confidence in this is growing, but I”m still not sold that I can do this by myself.  Incredibly slow progress is still progress, but it’s sometimes hard to make sure it’s still going the right way when it’s crawling.  I think I’m going to try an experiment next week but we’ll see if I can bring myself to do it…

Still making athletic gains, so I can’t complain.  I’m a poet, and I guess I know it?

Odds and Ends:

  • Zliten said last night that he wants to complete the Texas Ironman (140.2 or whatevs) before age 40.  Just putting it on the internet as public record.  To be honest, the bike part of it scares me the most.
  • Lots of tri tips (mmm, tri tip… oh wait, what?) for getting faster here!
  • Most stressful week of work this year.  We’re closing on a deadline, working towards a few other side goals, planning out the rest of the year’s milestones, and tensions are high.  While I have to work this weekend from home monitoring things, at least it will be in my PJs.
  • Besides the work time, looking forward to a nice mellow weekend after having BIG PLANZ for every weekend since about February.  On the docket?  Cleaning the house and thoroughly cleaning the kitchen (ants and flies, oh my), some outside workouting, lunch with the parents for mother’s day, and a celebration for a friend who just accepted a job Saturday night.  Yep, that’s my version of a mellow, do nothing weekend.  Heh.
  • Tied my race reports for each race to my race page, because duh, what a great idea!
  • It just hit me this week that I graduated college 10 years ago.  Crazy!  If you would have asked me what I’d be doing 10 years from then, I would definitely not have expected this… the plan was, one year off, then go back to grad school, get my Psych PhD, and become a college prof and do research like a mad scientist in a lab on people’s brains.  Instead, I have no interesting prefix on my name (I always thought I’d get a kick out of being Dr. Quix), didn’t even bother with grad school, but I head up a very successful video game. Woot!
  • Addicted to this tri forum – been a great resource to learn tips and tricks and get motivated!

I’m going to continue with the relaximication tonight and I’ll be back next week with more tales of getting faster, healthier, and awesomer.

Hell Run, or I Was Warned

Hell Run.  I didn’t take the name seriously.  I mean, I love me some Warrior Dash, but they do exaggerate a bit when they tout the badassness of the courses.  Not to say they’re not fun, or a challenge, but craziest frikkin day of your life?  Nah.  Try running a semi-trail half marathon in late June in San Antonio.  Now that is a crazy time.

However, we love these things.  From the costumes to the obstacles to the bands to the post race party… they are way fun.  Whereas most races are about going all out and getting a PR,  these are about the experience.  We love getting the costume together, we love the mass humanity and people watching, we love the obstacles breaking up the run, getting muddy, post race muddy pictures, the post race beer or 4, and chillin’ out in the sun listening to a band.

Hell Run had a lot of that, and I figure they’ll figure out more of it with more races (this was the first one ever).

I had intended to do something different superhero-y (since the schwag included a cape) because supergirl is getting a little tired.  However, the week got away from me and I didn’t put anything together until about 11pm the night before.  I decided I was just going to go with  Super Quix, because if you throw knee high socks + short running skirt + a cape on, anything looks superhero-y.  There were a lot of wonderwoman costumes so next time I might do batgirl.  Or just elaborate on my own super outfit.  I definitely looked like I had the “before” version of my super suit (think Kick Ass – when he’s just wearing the old wetsuit).  That’s ok, because I still felt super.

I mean, come on, check out these biceps!  They kinda snuck up on me.  I’ve got some righteous guns forming here.  Hooray swimming!

The capes had to go for the actual race though… they were a bit too big and cumbersome, but they sure looked cool!

So anyhoo, we got there pretty early and actually ended up with pretty rockstar parking (3rd car from the front), picked up our packets, dropped off everything but the keys, bag checked, and went to go watch people at the finish line… and we ran into J and J (the folks that put on the duloop), which shouldn’t surprise me because we run into them every friggin’ race, but still blows my mind.  They were running in our wave so we hung out with them.  I hit the porta potties one last time and ran into Tricia and family.  She had just completed the Super Hell (6.85 mile) course with her hubbs and said it was a blast.

We saw the wave before us gathering, and the folks we were with decided to wave jump, so we did too.  Felt a little bad about it, but it just kept getting hotter and hotter and caved to peer pressure.  Karma caught up with us, as we ended up in the back of the pack, and a quarter mile in, we came to a complete stop and shuffle.  For like, 5 minutes.  We figured we were at the first obstacle, but nope, it was just a steep narrow downhill.  With each of those steep downhills (this was the first of many), there was another evil uphill.  At first it was grass and dirt, and then the terrain got worse – sand, and then rocks.  Not nice, small rocks, but apple size rocks.  I spent a lot of time playing the “where to put the foot to avoid bruises and turning my ankle” game, as I was wearing old shoes and was just terrified of hurting myself.

I can’t say they didn’t warn us.  The damn place WAS called Rocky Hill Ranch.  The run WAS called the Hell Run.  I just didn’t have the respect.

The obstacles were sorta standard fare.  There were mud pits (sadly, they were pretty dry by the time we got there so it mostly got our shoes muddy.  Hopping over walls.  Hay bale climb.  Jumping over fire.  What WASN’T standard fare was the steep uphills and downhills and amazingly uneven terrain.  Very quickly, we decided that we weren’t really going to push it.  I have a 5k in a few weeks I am REALLY wanting to PR.  I have no use for the idea of not being able to run hard in preparation.  We walked when it seemed appropriate and ran when the hills weren’t SO steep and there were clear paths.  We saw the super hell course split off and were almost tempted but figured breaking the rules once to jump waves was bad enough.  Maybe next year!

The second to last obstacle was a swim through a pond.  That pond was NASTY.  Apparently, to add to the soup, someone had thrown up about 15 minutes before.  Didn’t know it went I went through, and it felt damn good even though it was stinky.  We hopped over the fire (was a lot lower than WD but we ARE under a burn ban now so it was cool they even had it) and finished up.  Sadly, we weren’t very dirty, but we were VERY happy to be done.  We finished in about 56 minutes, which was super slow, but preserving my body was absolutely first priority.

We waited in a HUGE line to get hosed off (one dude with a hose), enjoyed our post race beer (plus another), and hung out with our friends.  We were going to wait around for awards because they might have had a chance at the age group awards, but it took longer than expected so we all just took off.

The drive back was nice and uneventful, and then Italian subs and champagne ensued.

The aftermath the next day?  A hangover (but that wasn’t the race’s fault, heh), screaming quads, a sore wrist from bracing myself from a near fall after jumping over a wall, but NO feet bruises.  So nothing is sore that I needed for today’s sprints, so that’s super happy!

I’d do this one next time.  It has potential, I’d just like to see less people per wave (send them off every 15 mins maybe) or a course that isn’t so dang narrow, more mud, a better tech tee (it’s kinda lame, although men’s small fits ok now, so I know and don’t have this drawer full of pajama race shirts), and instead of having the band on the course that you saw once for 10 seconds, have the band at the post race party area.  DJs just weren’t the same.  However, I loved the cape, as frustrated as I was with the course while on it, I would just need to be prepared with better shoes, a better position for the start, and knowing what to expect.  However, that being said, the next one in the area is the same weekend as Austin Warrior Dash.  I would likely do the dash over this if I had to pick.

There may be a Hell Run coming to your area – you can check it out here.

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