Adjusted Reality

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

Month: December 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

2012 Resolutions!

Before we pop the bubbly at midnight, here’s what I hope to accomplish next year!

1.  Take care of this weight problem that keeps creeping up.  Beyond my Zliten, and my job, this is what I need to deal with in 2012.  Continue to work with the nutritionist and take whatever steps necessary to end 2012 lower than 2011.  Starting the year at 1600 calorie avg, attempting to stick with my current ratios (1 grain, 1 veggie b, 1 dairy), should be interesting to see where I end up…  I’m starting on the typical Jan 2nd and will be really giving it a good solid effort.  If I can get a month of routine and weight loss under my belt, perhaps the rest of the year will go better.  Also – do not sacrifice quality of food.  Organic, pesticide free, hormone free, etc etc whenever possible.

2.  Work/industry goal:  While I enjoy what I do, I can see myself easily working my way up into more and more senior management, further and further away from the creative parts of making a game.  I need to get back there.  To really be inspired, I must play.  I’ve found myself having urges to play games this year, but the laptop I had was 5 years old and couldn’t play anything modern.  This has been rectified for Christmas – I have a nice, shiny, new lappy.   I don’t want to feel like I hold on to my gamer card de facto because I work in the industry.  Sacrifice to get this done: internet dorking time.  This website is probably not going to be updated any more frequently than it was this year.  Sorry/you’re welcome.

To that end I will:

-Dedicate one evening per week to reading, and one evening per week of gaming.

-Come up with one good, well thought out, game pitch, whether it’s something I take to work, or something that’s just for me.

3.  Race/workout goals:

-Finish a marathon, a century ride, and a half ironman.  I was going to go smaller on this and had written down “complete at least one new distance” to give myself an out, but in my head, this is what I have planned.  No sense in not putting it out there.  If all 3 don’t happen because I had to make a smart decision for my mental and/or physical health to drop to a shorter race or drop out, so be it.

-Note that with this goal, I’m NOT making the next goal to PR everything.  When I race a race, the goal is to always PR, but I’m really pushing the distance envelope this year, which means I’m ok sacrificing speed.  The only exception: sprint tris.

-Really concentrate on my bike times.  This is the best place for me to improve my tri times.

-Complete all TX Tri Series races (6 tris in 5 months).  PR at least 1.

-Take at least 3 months of the year not in training (off season) to mentally and physically rest.

-Stretch after every workout.

-Strength train 2x week (catch another crunchtime class at lunch?)

-Let’s try this again.  Run a race somewhere outside Texas.  I’ll have some opportunities next year, very likely San Diego.

-Volunteer at more races.  I was able to volunteer once this year and while I think it’s what got me sick for vacation, it was a great experience.

4.  Start one major house renovation this year.  Likely, the windows.  First priority, the kitchen windows that have no seals anymore.  This has moved up from just a one liner to a line item.  We’ve spent way too long looking at some major things in the house that need changing and being lazy.  If we don’t do this, something else just as major that’s on the list (counters, bathroom, etc).

5.  Yet again, more one liners:

-Get the office set up as an office/craft room, not a junk store room (we’re halfway there, it’s cleaned out, we just need to look for some furniture and decide exactly how we want to rearrange it and such).

-Decide what to do with the savings now that we have some, that doesn’t incude something at 0.000145% like our savings account.

-Do more batch cooking so having healthy lunches and dinners available is easier.  It’s not my favorite thing to do but I’m going to get really sick of Amy’s and Annie’s real quick.

-Learn to sew. So I can modify my horrible men sized race tees. And maybe making skirts. And other stuff.

-Learn the party rock anthem dance.  Every day I’m shufflin….day I’m shufflin….

2011 Goal Progress

Here’s what I wanted to do last year, and how I did at actually *doing* it.

Resolution 1.  First and foremost, I need to get a handle on my free time.  I spend most of my weeknights just dorking on social media because it’s easy, I haven’t had a chance to look at it all day – and then all of a sudden it’s bedtime and I’ve done nothing.  I’d like to start with a goal to not have my nose in my lappy all the time.  I’d like to make one weeknight per week a reading night (no laptop after dinner), and 1 day per week gaming (again, no laptop after dinner).  I need to accept that I don’t need to read EVERY tweet or facebook update if I don’t have time.  I love keeping in touch with people, but if they care that much, they can @ me or tag me.

I’ve done *better* here, but there is definitely room for improvement.  I’ve read more this year than I have since I was in college.  I’ve taken some nights where I close my laptop, turn off the tv, and do something else.  But I also accepted this year that sometimes there is not enough time (when I have less than 2 hours from get home time to bed time) or I don’t have the mental capacity after a tough day at work and tough workout to do anything else than just veg.  I am a little more tied to Facebook and Twitter than I’d like, but it’s less of a compulsion than just an intentional timewaster.

Resolutin2.  Race goals –

-I’d like a new half marathon PR (goal – 2:05).  I’d love a sub 2 hour, but improvement is all I care about…
Wasn’t in the cards this year.  I ran 2 halfs, neither were PR-worthy but just for training.

-I’d also like to feel that I could run 10 miles at any time (do at least 1 double digit run per month)…
The first part of this year? Nope.  August on?  Yep.  Each time I grow my distance from 10k to double digits it gets a lot easier, so it’s probably not necessary to feel like I can just bust out 10.

-Do another sprint and olympic triathlon, PR at least 1….
Only did sprints, which was an intentional choice.  Major PRs, getting better each race (I took 11 minutes off last year’s PR, and the bike distance was 3 miles longer, so effectively like a 25 minute decrease in time).  I decided to focus on my short game and it paid off!

-I’d like to attack my 5k, 5 mile, and/or 10k PR…
Wasn’t in the cards this year.  I suck at running 5ks lately, while I ran a great 5 miler it wasn’t a PR, and didn’t run a 10k.

-Do a trail half marathon/duathalon in one weekend…
This was a non-starter.  I realized I needed a mountain bike, which wasn’t on the docket.  Maybe someday, and this race is still on my bucket list, but for now, I’m enjoying road biking.

-Do each workout in the new tri training book at least once…
Once I started to work about the short game, I didn’t always have an hour to dedicate on each sport per workout.  I’ll pick this up again next year.  I did all the pre-season ones though!

-Do a destination race outside Texas (any distance)…
I tried really hard with this one, but vacation schedules got all mucked up and I never made it anywhere beyond Texas.  However, I raced in Conroe, Flatonia, Rocky Hill Ranch, Kerrville, Azle, Cedar Creek, and Spicewood.  Nothing more than 4 hours away, but 5 of them are new places I never would have visited without my racing habit.

-Adapt these as I see fit next year… the goal is mainly to get better at the distances I’ve do…
So far so good, looking to expand next year though!

Resolution 3.  Weight Loss/Maintenance goals – get down to and maintain 150 by summer. Once i get down to 15o, never go above 155… that will allow me to fit in all my clothes, still have flexibility to gain a little during race training that I can easily lose after, and once I get there, feel super fit, awesome, and hot while not being a weight I have to only eat celery to maintain.

Nope!  However, I’m getting help and working on my nutrition.  I’ve not taken any weight off, but I have been feeling a lot more capable and my body feeling like I can tackle more, so that’s good.  We’ve started counting calories again but also using the ratios, and I have a feeling this is the silver bullet (though it’s HARD, it’s at least something concrete to do).  While I can’t really say WHEN I’ll solve the problem, I won’t give up trying.

Resolution 3b.  Continue with strength training, yoga, and things that don’t immediately contribute to torching tons of calories or race training but definitely helps build definition, makes me look thinner, and most importantly, helps me improve my race times.

Ehhhh…. when I haven’t been injured, I have at least ONCE a week done weights (crunchtime class).  I have endeavoured to do at least one more session but I’d say it’s at about a… 25% success rate.  Yoga, I did horrible at.  Once I injured my back I stopped going to class (except for the once I went back and REINJURED myself).  This fall I’ve done a little better about taking some time to stretch, but still, I should be stretching each and every workout and I’m just not.

Resolution 4.  Continue with my job in the same position at the same company continuing to improve, grow, and become a better producer capable of handling more things with more ease.  I have much more specific goals here but that’s about all I’ll say publicly.

Yes indeedy.  It’s been a hell of a year volume-wise, I may be sprouting more grey hairs than I did last year at this time, but I believe I’ve definitely grown and made progress as a manager, and my game has definitely been successful because of it.

Resolution 5.  More one liners:

-Smoke less.  Continue to allow smokes only with alcohol, and I’d like to get to the point where I can take it or leave it.
A little, yes.  Not sure if there has been much progress with the number.  My one triumph this year: I can have a few drinks in a social situation where it is not convenient/appropriate to smoke, and not really want one.  Wine especially.

-Less hangovers.  I hate getting one of my weekend days eaten being laid out on the couch.  I just need to quit just BEFORE that switch flips where it’s on like donkey kong and all of a sudden it’s 10am and I feel like death warmed over.
I’ve gotten better at this later in the year.  I’ve been better at not going too crazy this fall, and found that just a touch of caffiene before bed or right when I get up cures most ills.

-Pay off the car (January), pay off Zliten’s college loan (August), and continue to meet our savings goal of 1k per month.
Car paid off.  Loan almost paid off (more due to forgetting to pay rather than not having the money – this should be taken care of early next year).  Savings goal highly exceeded.

-Visit one new city I’ve never seen before.  Denver? NYC? Seattle? Portland?
Technically, yes.  Not counting all the new places we visited racing, we saw Roatan (Honduras), Belize City, Houston, Port Aransas (Texas), and Montego Bay (Jamaica).  However, I think what I was going for is a non-Texas in the US city.  This I didn’t do, but I can’t really complain with the other trips we took.

-Begin one new major house renovation.  Failing that, start planning and budgeting for it and establish a timeline (windows, bathrooms, counters, etc).
We got estimates for the windows.  We decided to get more and find a place that doesn’t just do replacement windows, because it would make us lose 3 inches on each side of the beautiful windows we fell in love with in the kitchen.  Non-replacement windows are expensive.  So we need to do a little more planning.  Hoping to undertake this next year.

-Find something that makes me happy that is not goal oriented.  Some people knit.  Not to be the best knitter and to make x scarves per week and improve by March to be onto stripes instead of solids, but simply because they enjoy the act of it.  Same with Zliten and reading.  I’d like to find mine.
I don’t know that I made any progress here.  I didn’t really concentrate on this, I just really tried to shut off the competition and the drive when I’m not either a) working or b) training.  Maybe that’s a good thing?

-Continue to do things that frighten/excite/challenge me (like trapeze lessons or flight lessons) and continue to pick out of the hat – the whole life goal of one truly memorable thing per month.
January: Ran in Austin in a Gorilla Suit
February: Visited Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel
March: Did Warrior Dash, saw the biggest aquariam ever, and saw NASA
April: Rookie Tri (Zliten’s first tri!)
May: Our first splash and dash, Yelp Goes Gaga party (aka, an excuse to leave the house in fancy sunglasses, a feather boa, and a tiara)
June: Did a haunted tour of Austin in a Hearse Limo, Pflugerville Tri
July: Saw Judah Frielander at Cap City Comedy Club, took back the summer and started training outside
August: Yelp Finn and Porter Fancy Party
September: Port Aransas Trip, Six Flags minus all the lines with M and her awesome company
October: Kerriville Tri PR, 1st place AG at Dash for Dads 5k
November: Second place AG at Azle Lake Half Marathon
December: Jamaica (and probably much more by the end of the vacation)

…some are bigger than others, but definitely something awesome each month.

I had big goals this year, and I hit quite a few of them, missed a few, and abandoned some.  Although I have not made the progress I want in some important areas (weight, some PRs, some personal growth, some projects), I definitely have had a year to be proud of.

NOTE: Pictures are not from an episode of Hoarders, but from our very own “office”.  Since we have laptops and have never really needed an office (the living room is our office), it became the storage room for junk we didn’t know where to put or didn’t have a place for.  One spoiler goal for 2012 is to make it into an actual, usable space and we got a jump on it yesterday.  Here is the after:

Closet organization instead of piles of boxes spewing forth…

There’s carpet in there now, and a usable desk!  There’s still a long way to go until it’s actually set up the way we like and everything is put away completely and set up properly, but we’re much closer after a solid afternoon and evening of work!

Goals for 2012 coming up sometime before, well, 2012.  How was your 2011?

Jamaica – Yeh mon. No Problem.

I’m back home after 6 days out of the country, a little tanner, my belly a little jigglier, my mind a LOT more relaxed.  Day by day below…but some overall impressions of my vacay…

If I didn’t detail a time it was probably due to reading, either on the day bed letting the light come in between the leaves of the tree outside my window or on the beach, in a cabana, right by the ocean (pretty much right there where Zliten is).  I got through about 800 pages of the second George R R Martin’s book A Clash of Kings, reread one of my fave childhood books A Wrinkle in Time in one sitting, and started (and finished when I got back) a really cool campy sci fi book, A Galaxy Unknown.

I had gotten a scratchy and sore throat the day before we left, and I’m still coughing.  So yes, Mrs. Never-gets-sick has gotten sick on TWO vacations this year.  If I would have had the time to really take it easy like I normally do this would probably be gone by now but fun in Jamaica is worth a little extra recovery time.

I WAY overpacked – I brought a big suitcase and a carry on (which could be suited for a normal human 5 day vacation).  On vacation I usually bring a lot of stuff and end up with some of it unworn (but sometimes, not, and sometimes what I wear is what I don’t think I’ll touch).  The carry on came back with everything unworn.  I even made the effort to change a lot once I realized my effort, but still.  I packed for a cruise, which sees you changing multiple times a day and there is a lot of hot-to-cold due to blasting AC and changing climates.  This vacation, I spent most of it in my swimsuit and found that I needed no pants nor sweaters/wraps as the only AC was in the room at our control and the rest of the resort was open air, and that lovely air was between 75-85 degrees, so, yeah.  Perfect.  I brought dresses for dinner each night, which wasn’t needed, but they were comfortable, so I didn’t regret that.

Next resort vacay, I’ll take two swim suits, workout clothes, dresses for every night, two pairs of shorts, a handful of tank tops, one pair of pants, and ONE sweater (just in case).  I did alright on shoes, especially because one pair broke, and a new pair ended up giving me blisters.

My goal was to do as many watersports as possible since it was all included.  However, day 1 we got settled in just before sunset, and day 2 was a “danger” day (although I’m pretty sure below was the most dangerous thing in the water) so they recommended everyone stay out.  I swam the rest of the days, but only for an hour or two.  I expected to be in the water every second, and try every piece of equipment they had – but I was just not operating on 100% Quix power.

To be honest, there was nothing spectacular about the food.  They had great soups, fresh bread baked there with butter, and always had salad fixins, but to be honest, everything else was hit or miss.  Zliten noted that since the majority of the guests appeared to be from England, the food was probably styled to their tastes.  Which, to be honest, was a bit bland for my spice and heat-lovin’ self.  I became a pseudo vegetarian a lot of the time because the cuts of meat at times were just no bueno for me, or it was something like squid, or pigs feet, or weird looking fish.

I’d like to say that it kept me from being a little piggy, but sadly, I just indulged a lot on the things I liked (let’s just say that I probably had more bread last week than I have since I started low grain, if not double).  The pants, they are tight this week, but today resumes normal, healthy, sane person eating and calorie counting.  I am going to wager that I shouldn’t be incurring damage for too long.  Let’s just say since I’ve been back… uh… the remenants of Jamaica are moving through me at a much more right and proper manner.

All you can drink rum is a wonderful thing.  However, I think I’ll avoid the super molassess-y rum for a while, there is definitely too much of a good thing.  I didn’t go overboard on the sugar-y drinks, but I did indulge in a few pina coladas, and random fruity conoctgions, and had many, many, rum and diet cokes.  I’m pretty sure I ran the whole vacation just on caffiene alone, and I’m working on THAT hangover this week.

The resort itself?  Just about exactly what I expected for what I booked.  It was not luxury, the room definitely had “character” with half the bed being just about unsleepable (sadly, took me two days to realize it wasn’t just me being a princess about it and I aggravated my hip again), weird little white bugs in the open air bathroom, and a tv remote that you had to jiggle to work, the walls were impossibly thin, and there was always SOME sort of noise outside making it impossible to sleep past 8 most days.

However, I expected it all and more, so it was no big deal.  The resort was BIG, and we lucked out with a room right by the stairs to the lobby, so we were close to everything.  We had both a bedroom and a living room (with a REALLY comfortable day bed, I spent some of my nights there).  The staff was super friendly, especially the bartenders.  There was ALWAYS some sort of music going on – often Jamaican rap, sometimes the house band that played at mealtimes, sometimes a singer on the stage, but it definitely added to the atmosphere.  I also dug that Jamaica is an English speaking country.

And, uh… all you can drink rum.  QT with Zliten.  Beautiful ocean right there.  Watching the planes land during the day.  Watching the sun set over the water from the bar.  Reading from a shaded cabana hearing the harmony of random music and the waves lapping on the shore with a view of the sun, sand, boardwalk, and palm tree?  Everything I wanted in a vacation and more.

Here’s some quick day-by-day notes I took:

Tuesday:

Had to get up at 4am to get to airport (ugh), was definitely sick that day, uneventful flight, got into Jamaica, hotel was 5 mins from the airport, put stuff in room, changed into shorts, and then went to the bar.  Bartender took it upon himself to get us supremely drunk, and considering we had only a light soup and salad lunch with pretzels to snack on, it wasn’t too hard.  Dinner was hazy.  Had a fun night.  Nommed a burger and fries at the late night kitchen, it was SOOOO good. 🙂

Wednesday:

Read read read in the cabana most of the day.  Boozy banana drink was excellent (Zliten asked for something blended from the bar, bartender put some alcohol and a banana in the blender and served, and it was delicious, tasted like a milkshake).  Prime day of sickness, lots of cold medicine, cough drops, and such.  Made use of my first ever hankerchief and had to wash it out twice during the day (ewww).  Nap in the cabana was excellent.  Didn’t even get in the pool or ocean (red flag day) and it rained on and off all day – I didn’t mind, it was gorgeous and never got cold.  Walked around the whole complex exploring, we saw lots of weird stuff at the edges of the property, like a cool graveyard, a greenhouse, and a weird shed with random stuff in it.  Super mellow mellow day.

Thursday:

Spent the morning reading in the sun on a nice padded red couch/futon thing right on the ocean, got burned in the spots my running stuff doesn’t cover (apparently I need to get some more revealing running clothes…).  Spent the noon times in the ocean swimming (tried to play catch the fishies but it was way too murky in the water).  Zliten’s back lost a battle with a jellyfish (owie!).  Spent the afternoon time in the pool swimming and at the swim up bar.  We attempted to stay up to hit the disco, but my body shut down at around 10 and even a cup of coffee didn’t help, so we fell asleep before midnight.

Friday:

Read most of the day, this time we sat by the pool.  Swam, and the ocean was much clearer so we saw some fishies.  Encountered the diver man, who strapped bracelets on our wrist and then made us pay for them (we were kind of amused so we paid, but seriously, we got accosted in the WATER?)  Went kayaking, was super fun – tried to get as close to the landing strip at the airport as possible, but sadly, never caught a plane on camera while we were out there.  Decided we wanted to actually leave the resort and walked to Margaritaville and split some fish tacos as a snack and watched the sun set on their deck.  Noted it was kinda nice to hear familiar music since all we’d been hearing was Jamaican for the last 3 days.  Had a pretty mellow night.

Saturday:

Goals of the day: go for a run (no check, still felt crappy), chase the fishies (check), water trampoline bouncing (check), souvenir shopping (not check, enjoying the beach too much).  Made liberal use of the bar that day, and stayed on the beach way past sunset not wanting to give up our last day.  We said we were going to go back, but after a shower and dinner, it was definitely relax-in-the-room time.  We got one last late-night meal at the grill and I wanted to at least SEE the disco, so we walked over there – it was not really worth even staying (although there were almost exclusively single ladies there, so a dude’s dream!), so we went back upstairs and watched Christmas movies.

Sunday:

Got up, packed, had breakfast, and then went crazyfast souveneir shopping.  We were accosted on the way to go into some dude’s shop which was in the back in an alley (yikes) and he totally wouldn’t let us go.  It was creepy.  We ended up at the big souvenir shop which was advertised by the resort and got most of our stuff there for peeps.  I’m all for supporting the little people and all, but I really didn’t want to deal with haggling when we had like, 30 mins to shop.  We made it to the airport on time, and in general, it was an uneventful flight home besides WAY bad pressure in my ears because of the cold.  Still recovering from that today.  Was neat seeing Christmas lights from the plane on the way into Austin.

So all in all, just the vacation I needed.  Rest, relaxation, no email, no internet, no training, no worrying, just quality time with my Zliten, the ocean, the bar, and some books.  Part 1 of vacation complete, now moving onto part 2 (quality time at home by myself this week).

Did I like Jamaica?  To quote the locals… Yeh mon.  No problem. 🙂

Gimme A Break

My body and mind have decided for me – a bit of a break it is.

Last week, I could barely get myself to the gym to even get on the elliptical.  I did 2 40-45 min sessions, and a 30 min bike, plus crunchtime class.  I had intended to do a big swim and a big run this weekend too, but I just can’t do it.  My hip is feeling a bit better, though still a little tight (major amounts of dance party at/after the work holiday party may have been a factor), but it’s my brain.

I am so over it.  I finally hit the motivation wall.

The good news is since I ramped up the mileage so quick, I just need to do a few more long runs before Feb to really be back in business.  The bad news is it looks like I’m going to be going quite a while in between my disastrous, lots of walking 18, my hip-hurty, slowest half-marathon by 20 minutes race, and my next run.  It was supposed to be today, and my goal was to just get out and run and see what I could do.

I have a sore throat.  Right before vacation.  I seriously think I get sick with LACK of stress.  I’m hoping it’s just a fluke and I feel better tomorrow, but I think a long run outside is just asking for trouble, so instead, I’m going to lift heavy things, and if I feel better, later get on the bike or elliptical.

My body, mind, and motivation are falling apart.  I suppose it was ambitious to give myself 2 weeks off between tri season and ramping up for a marathon, but I was feeling SO DAMN GOOD.  I conquered the summer.  I ran outside.  I got amazingly comfortable with the half marathon distance.

Conquering the winter is so much harder.  Getting going in the cold is SO much harder for me.  Even getting up/out of work and to the gym is harder for me.  Some people have a summer slump.  I have a winter slump.  Usually, though, it waits until January/February.  Boo.

As much as I should probably stress out about the lack of runs, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I’m going to give myself the time I need to mentally and physically be ready to run again, and pick up the mileage when I can muster it.  There may be something to telling 1st time marathon runners to not hit the 20s too quick, and not peak too fast.  It may just be the perfect storm of work stress, approaching my least favorite time of year, and the effects of training all summer to PR sprint tris, and in a perfect world, I’d be fine with lots of miles.  Either way, I needed to find out myself, I guess.

So, I’ll give myself one more week of healing, recovery, activity when I want and only when I want, and not worry (too much) about it.  I’m not a failure because I didn’t run 20 today.  I’m not going to gain a crap ton of weight because I took 2 weeks mellow.

Hopefully I can recenter over the next week and get back to it enthusiastically.  With my mind and body both on board.

Note: pictures are from our company party black and white ball.  We look pretty fabulous but some of our coworkers went all out.  Also, a holiday party that goes from 7-11 pm with light appetizers only is trouble, but I waited to get really obnoxious until dancing at the after party so here we learn 2 things: a) eat something before an epic night of drinking and b) 6 shots of jack daniels (gee, thank you coworker person!!!) after no dinner and you’ve been drinking fairly steadily all night is probably a bad idea even though it seems like a great idea at the time.  Have to say – I held it together pretty well though considering before passing out on the couch at home (or so I hear)!

Uphill Both Ways In The Rain, and Decisions

Quick Recap of Spicewood Half:

Did my pre-race ritual (which is by rote now) of honeymilk and a gluten free breakfast bar, got packed up, got in the car, and got to the race.  Not sure if I was ready for uphill both ways in the rain, but there I was…

My goals for this one were:

A) Get to the finish line without further injury or DNF.  This wasn’t an A race, a B race, or really even a C race, so it wasn’t worth it.  The turn around for the 10k was 3.1 miles in, and unless my hip felt ok (which it did then), I was going to turn around and just finish with Zliten.  Once I started to feel pain, I liberally walked when I had to the rest of the race and though I had some mental anguish taking it so slow, but I successfully fended off megamaniachal competitive Quix.

B) Run them hills and enjoy it!  When Zliten asked me how long I would take to finish, I said 2:15? 2:30?  More?  I really had no time goal on this one (ESPECIALLY once I knew I was going in gimpy).  The first 6 miles I really attacked the hills and worked on refining my stride both up and down to fatigue my quads more and the rest of my body less.  I’m still feeling it in my quads today where my normal tight hammies and calfs are back to normal, so mission accomplished.  Geisha steps, quick little geisha steps!

The race temps were about high 50s-low 60s and spitting (not enough to be considered raining, but definitely wet).  I made the gametime call again to ditch my long sleeve and run pants and tank top, which seemed to be the right call.

Zliten and I ran the first 3.1 together uphill (seriously, some uphills were more severe than others, but this was definitely all UPUPUPUP).  My thought when seeing the elevation was “awesome, I’ll knock out the tough part at the beginning and fly down the hills at the end”.  I was feeling ok, so I left him at the turn around and picked up the pace to about 10:15-11:15s through mile 4-6.

Around 6, my hip started to go from stiff to hurty, so I started to take walk breaks.  Then the hurty stayed constant but didn’t get worse, so I definitely took liberal walk breaks and just enjoyed the scenery.  It was freaking beautiful.  The quote was, “after climbing the hills you will be rewarded with some awesome views” (paraphrased), and it was so true.  My anticipated finish time went quickly from 2:15 to 2:30 to 2:40.

I’m not sure how to put this tactfully, but I’m usually the biggest one among my finisher group.  I usually finish with the skinny folk, but not this time.  Yes, this time, I was definitely with those of my stocky stature.  I finished at 2:40 and some change, 2nd to last in my AG.

However, I did accomplish some awesome goals: a) my quads were WAY sorer than the rest of my legs the next day, which means I’m successful in trying to change my stride and b) my hip actually felt GREAT the next day.  It was not exactly the big bang I wanted to end the last race of 2011 on, but it was definitely a different, more mature, more patient Quix that day than I have ever been even if I had to fight my head the last few miles to not push through the pain.

Decision Time:

Now, I have to make some hard decisions in how I continue with my training.  I am DEFINITELY at that point of training where I just feel BLEH.  Not close enough to the race to be excited about it yet, and far enough into training that I just want some time off.  I made the decision to ramp up my long run EARLY, and I completed 18 miles 9 days ago, and have my first 20 on the schedule for this coming weekend (it will actually be Monday but close enough).

I am less broken than I thought I would be right now – I thought I’d be limping after racing injured on hills but I took it slow and cautious enough to feel better post-race than I had during any run last week.  Now that I have no scheduled races for a while, I want to be VERY careful to take care of it now.  If I slip a week of training right now it’s no big D.  I’ll take that over dealing with a nagging tight/painful hip for the next 2 months.

I’m just wondering how WISE it is now to be going out to run 20 over 2 months out from my race.  I plan to do 20, and then relax most of the week, and chase that with a 10-15 the next.  Then, over my holiday break, I plan on doing a 21 and 22.  Then probably another stepback week of 10-15, run my 23 mid-Jan, and then start tapering.  I may just have to go out on those runs and see what my body can do.  As long as I hit 20 one of those days, beginner marathon training dictates that I should be able to finish.  More than 1 is gravy.  This feels so weird to be playing it so fast and loose with my first marathon (I have a tried and true half training schedule), but there was not a plan that really felt right for me, so I had to tinker with my own concoction.

I am hanging on with the tempo/hills/speedwork during the week.  It’s not much harder than what I was doing to train for the half and though some of the runs have been tough, I’ve not felt like I’m out of my league (and I’m doing the advanced speedwork, not the beginner training). After 5 halfs now and really pushing longer distances this year, I’m very comfortable running up to about 2 hours, but doubling that is REALLY HARD.  I don’t remember going from 10k to half being this hard on my body.

I’m really not concerned about the time on my marathon, because as much as I want to earn the 26.2 sticker for my car, it’s really part of a grander plan.  It will be nice to know what 4-5 hours on my feet feels like because I predict 6-7 for a half ironman.  And that is (possibly) the goal this year.

What I did do is take this week easy.  I plan to do two elliptical sessions, 2 weights sessions, 1 bike session, and a long swim – so not sitting on my ass, but definitely ramping down the intensity.  I’ll resume the pounding on Monday and see how I hold up.  It always freaks me out during training, but I’ve learned that taking time off never hurts me if it’s to prevent an injury.

Nutritionista:

So the first calorie counting week has come and gone.  I reliably ate between 1700-1900 calories (right around 1800 most days) each day besides my long run day (2400, lots of this booze).  She asked this week for me to cut to 1600 calories except on long run days.  No problem, right?

Two challenges:

-It’s SO HARD to fill up on just a few calories without bread.  Low cal filling lunch? 2 slices sprouted grain, 4 oz turkey, mustard, veggies.  Boom, done for about 350 calories.  The legumes and oils and nuts I’m filling the carb void with have SO MANY MORE CALORIES and 1600 is so so so so so hard.

-Habit.  I wasn’t tracking calories with a goal to hit 1800, that’s just where I landed.  Every freakin’ day.  Cutting 200 calories when you’ve established a habit is HARD.  Guess it’s time to make a new habit.

This week is going to be a practice run at it, because next week I’m on vacation and while the goal is to mitigate weight gain with lots of activity and be reasonable stuffing my cakehole – I am not going to be tracking and I’m not going to be training.  The week before Christmas I’ll start for real.

I know that sounds stupid, but I’m not usually a huge OMG HOLIDAY I MUST EAT EVERYTHING person, so hopefully I can get a jump on two weeks of weight loss before Jan 1st.  I’m sick of looking like an overweight special needs kid in my race photos (let’s just say I will NOT be purchasing any of these…) and this is getting ridiculous.  150-160, I was upset with the number on the scale, but nothing else affected me.  160-170, I was upset that some things in my closet didn’t fit, but not really upset with the mirror.  At 175 I am consistently unhappy with what’s in the mirror, and I need to fix it.

So, 1600 calories.  Let’s do this…

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