Adjusted Reality

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

Month: May 2012

Dancing With The Stars, And Drinking Under Them

Pretty much lately, when I think about my weekend, it’s about planning the logistics of whatever race and/or training we’re heading to, and where the drinks are after.

This weekend, it was time for something completely different.  Well, there was still training.  And drinks.  And logistics.  But COMPLETELY different, I swear.

First of all, there had to be training (of course!).  We decided to abandon the swim and the bike and do a nice long run around Towne Lake.  Just like the old days (aka – Jan/Feb).    And just like the old days, we slept in and didn’t get going until about 9:40.  In the winter, that’s actually advisable.  In the (almost) summer, that’s death.  We ran 10 miserable miles in mid to upper 80s, with high humidity and no wind.  I swore my garmin was playing tricks on me (that’s all we’ve run???) and we went from respectable pace to slog to run/slog to “omg no more walking so we can put this run out of it’s misery” slog.  We learned that a) get your ass up when the alarm goes off and take a nap later instead of sleeping in and b) it’s that time of the year to get heat acclimated! Woo!  June is gonna *suck* but the rest of the summer will be worth it.

However, we couldn’t be too upset because after our run, it was time for a long weekend away!  Real, non sarcastic woo!  We grabbed some lunch, did final packings and got cleaned up, and then hopped in the car and headed down to San Antonio.  The goal was just to get away as close as possible (read: not much travel time), while still being “away” (read: not at home, hence not getting distracted with chores or plans or projects or extra training), so 1.5 hours away at a fancy spa resort sounded like exactly what the doctor ordered.  We got there around 4pm, had a little bit of trouble finding the place and found out how very new it was (no signage, not even “grand opened” yet, etc).  Finally, after getting it all sorted, we got to our room, headed to the pool, and spent some quality time reading, drinking margaritas, and lounging in the sweet cabanas.  I have decided we need one of these for our backyard.

Normally, I’d be all up in the pool but we had planz… our little package deal included a dance lesson.  Totally random, but it had been a while since we’d taken classes so we were down.  When we get there, we find out that the owner would be giving us the lessons, and that owner was Corky Ballas – who apparently was on Dancing with the Stars this season.  Sweet!  We were a little stumbly at first (and yeah, I haven’t spent much time in heels for quite a while since I ramped up my running) but it all came back to us and by the end of the 45 mins we were able to complete the little routine a few times and I only had 2 toes stepped on as casualties!  We even got invited back for a special performance in a few weeks (though it’s doubtful we will make it).

After that, we headed to the bar for some pre-dinner drinks.  The place was super fancy and focused on sustainable, local food (which was cool).  We had a few cocktails and decided to snag an order of hummus.  It ended up being so freaking tasty and filling that we had a few more drinks and split a chicken pesto flatbread appetizer instead of foods.  The bartenders were super busy and it looked like the were way understaffed, but as the night went on and it got a little less crazy they were pretty cool.  Since the place had wifi we um… watched Olympic videos on youtube.  Because we’re huge nerds and CAN’T FREAKING WAIT for August.  The bar closed around 12:30, so we took our last drink and headed up to the terrace lounge.  While it was tempting to order their 24 hour bottle o champagne room service, we were strong and headed to bed instead.

Day 2 was a major milestone as I slept in until 10am.  Crazy.  No matter what I’ve gotten up to the night before nowadays, I’m up at 9 or earlier.  I credit the super comfy bed and dark curtains.  I woke up feeling pretty awesome, and it was time to head back into the sun for some pool and reading time.  We ordered a chicken caesar salad to split for lunch, and to be honest… notsogood.  We nommed on some jerky and nuts we brought from home to fill the void, and at 2pm we headed to the spa for our couples massage.  Oh, I had been looking forward to this since we booked it.  We got changed into robes, relaxed in the relaxation room, then got to go back to get worked on.  Of course, I picked Deep Tissue because I like the abuse.  Dude knew what he was doing.  He spent a long time on my neck and shoulders, probably 10 mins just kneading my back, and also did my extremities.  My legs are EXTREMELY ticklish and dude barely triggered my giggle reflex.  So, so good.

We hit the sauna after and then showered and headed out to late late lunch around 5.  So, dinner really.  We decided on Tex Mex simply due to the virtue of the fact that they would bring us chips and salsa right away and we were HUNGRY!  The first place was a bust (it ended up just being a burrito shop, and not what we were in the mood for), and then saw a listing for a place called Alamo Tortilla Factory, and heralded their amazing tortillas and queso.  Sold!  It may just have been our hungries, but their food was totally excellent.  I always covet veggie fajitas but need some meat in there – they had a chicken and veggie fajita platter.  It was the balance to the fact that we had taken down a boatload of chips and queso.  After gorging ourselves, we needed to settle our tummies, so we headed to the grocery store.  We picked up breakfast for the morning (fruit and yogurt for me, donuts for Zliten), sandwiches to eat later, and most importantly, some wine and beer to take to the pool.  We spent about 30 bucks on the booze, plus coolers/transport, and since beer/wine was 5$ per glass, I think we scored.

We spent the rest of the evening, from about 7pm on, feet in the water, reading our respective books, lounging either in a cushy cabana or nearer the pool, taking a few dips to cool off.   The pool lights were amazing – in the waterfalls and the fountains and even just in the pool, they changed from green to blue to purple to pink and back.  It was truly a wonderful, relaxing night.  When they kicked us out around 11, we headed back up to the lounge area and I read on the lounger until I started going cross eyed drinking from my “baba” (my insulated plastic bottle my wine was in), and headed up to the room and drifted off to sleep.

This morning, I slept in until 10:30.  Bliss.  I was so ingrained in my book  I woke up and immediately fixed myself my yogurt and fruit breakfast, decaf coffee (a huge treat for me), and read for 2 hours.  We felt a little slothy, so around 1, we found the weights room and did a nice 30 min lifting session.  It was a nice facility and cold and it felt wonderful.  We took a look at the indoor pool and it looked amazing for lap swimming, but decided instead on a nice 40 minute leisurely swim outside.  Zliten always has to drag me out of the water and today was no exception.  We took the quickest showers ever, got our bags downstairs and into the car, and left our happy weekend getaway weekend feeling super destressed and happy.

The trip home was uneventful, we grabbed lunch at Red Robin (again, it was 4pm lunch time so I went crazy and got a cheeseburger and fries and ate it ALL), ran a few errands when we got into town, and got home in time to feed the pets, do some laundry, and chill on the couch.  Best Memorial Day Weekend Vacay Ever.

Other things that happened this week:

-I started tracking again this week and trying to make a serious dent in the extra fluff.  I’m not entirely sure what damage vacation did, but I did pretty good last week.  Each weight I took was in the 179s, and 178-something on Saturday after the run (even after re-hydrating).  That’s better than it has been.  Even though the first day I was trying to be good my loving husband brought this into my office.  Sigh.

-Two favorite things foodwise this week: cilantro lime shrimp from Costco and vanilla maple Arctic Zero (the 150 calories per pint frozen desert).  The shrimp was an awesome, ez meal for a few days and snacks (and would have been a few more if we didn’t leave town), in tacos, on salad, with homemade cocktail sauce as a snack.  I will get them again when I’m in the mood for a shrimp fest.  The Arctic Zero – the other flavors range from ok to pretty yummy, and this one is AWESOME.  Its the creamiest and it tastes like pancakes.  Nomnomnom!

-The video game studio across the street laid off a bunch of their staff, and a day later, two huge studios shut down.  There are a lot of folks looking for work right now.  I feel bad for ’em, and very very happy to have a job, which seems to be pretty stead, which I enjoy.  The early part of the week was frustrating for me due to some folks and I not seeing eye to eye, but I’m just very appreciative of being gainfully employees right now.  Perspective, I has it.

-Last weeks workouts: Monday – 30 mins weights at the gym, 30 min swim after work, Tuesday – long trainer (27.25 miles in 1:34) ride before work, Wednesday – morning weights at home, evening triple brick (15 mins on the trainer at about 20mph, run 1 mile fast ~9 off the bike, repeat 3 times), Thursday – OFF (oops – tiiiiired), Friday – off (oops – was going to make up Thursday’s workout but work got in the way), Saturday – 10 miserable miles in 2:02, 1 hour dance lesson, Sunday – OFF.

This week I’m playing it by ear a bit, my back feels a little tweaked for various reasons, so it may be a run tomorrow, may be a trainer ride, and we’ll see what happens from there.  The goal this weekend is to do ~3-4 hours of swim/bike/run goodness at the lake, and I think the ratio will depend on what we get in during the week.  For now though – it’s bedtime for bonzo, and time to finish my darn book.

No more swanky vacations until August, however, we are going camping soon, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.  Question of the week: what’s your next vacation planned.  If you don’t have one planned, where would you LIKE to go?

Bring the Pain!

It’s been a while since I did a standalone 5k all out… and when you race as much as we do, that’s saying something.  I really don’t like 5ks.  I’m not working speed right now – it’s killer for me to run even a mile in the 8s (and my fastest mile is 7:07), but give me some time to get warmed up and accelerate and on the good days, it’s not all that much slower.

However, this is the race that fit well into our month, plus Zliten wanted to soundly thrash his 5k PR, plus it was a dollar to enter, so we headed to Berry Springs Park in Georgetown and prepared to race.  Plus, with all the tris and splash and dashes where I’ll be wearing the same thing over and over, I wanted a chance for a race day pic in my new fave nike shirt.  IT’S PURPLE and STRIPEY, people!

I had been mentally preparing myself, even if I haven’t been training speed.  I know the 5k is a huge mental game for me.  I don’t mind a moderate amount of pain, but 5ks are INTENSE.  There is a point where things go from hard to unbearable, and it’s a small window, and somewhere around mile 1.5-1.75, it changes even if my pace doesn’t.  That’s typically my despair point, where I slow down and lose it a little after running way too hard in mile 1.

I have found now that reigning myself in on mile 1 and speeding up from there is my ace in the hole.  I decided my goal would be a 9 minute mile for mile #1, 8:45 for mile #2, and fast as I could fly for #3 on in.  Considering the fastest mile I’ve ran in the last few weeks was a 1 mile 8:58 off the bike (which was honestly kinda brutal), I wasn’t sure how this plan would end up working. Oh yeah – and I’d been out drinking TWICE this week (not the night before, but still), and eating way too much restaurant food.  So I was TOTALLY primed for success here.

My fears got worse that morning, as I a) had a slightly unhappy tummy, which is never a good sign for 5k all out pace and b) in the warmup, my legs were rough… I ran about .5 mile in the 11s because nothing faster my legs would have, and then struggled like hell to get under 9s for some race pace striders.  Let’s just say I’ve started races a little more confident about my upcoming performance.  However, messed up head aside, the race still started and off we went.

We got going and looked down at my watch expecting to see 10s… I saw 7s.  That was not going to work.  “Slowing down!” I told Zliten and he followed suit.  I settled in a little under 9s feeling pretty good, and we ran together for a bit, but then he dropped back and I kept going.  Proud as hell of that guy, he kept me in his sights the entire time, we got to hi-5 at both turnarounds, and he got a huge PR (and he’s noting this is our TENTH race this year… crazy… or maybe he’s waving his hands in the air like he just don’t care…).  But anyhoo, this is MY race recap.

The first mile it was definitely a struggle to not go too fast, but I conquered and ran it in about 8:54.  One down, two to go.  I started magnet-ing (seeing someone in front of me, attracting myself to them, passing them, picking someone else, etc).  Some went quick, some went slow (most notably the 16 year old in front of me around mile 1.25, and the 7 foot tall dude took quite a while to pass around mile 1.5).  Just as expected, around 1.6 it started getting rough.  I tried to come up with a mantra to get me through the second half – the first one I came up with was “go faster and you’ll be done quicker” but yeah, I’ve tried that before and it doesn’t work.  I was thinking “Bring the pain” that morning before the race, but what really got me through was “Expect the pain, manage the pain, push through the pain”.

I felt pretty darn good after mile 2.  At a 9 minute mile, I obvs didn’t actually speed up any, but it contained a big hill and some slight uphills that did not rock my world.  The last mile is usually pretty good for me, and while I wasn’t running lightning speed, I wasn’t sputtering out either.  I played leapfrog with a guy this mile that was walking, then sprinting, then walking, but I am happy to report that everyone that I passed on the course stayed behind me besides this guy.  The last turn around had another decent incline, so I maintained up that and put the gas on when I crested it, for an 8:58 third mile and a 8:20 pace for the last .13.  I took the final turn and powered to the finish for a 27:58 garmin time for 3.13 miles – 8:55 average pace.

My 5ks since 2009 have been as such: 27:48, 27:19, 26:31, 25:10, 27:51, 28:26, 29:26, 27:58.  The first 4 I actually trained for, the last 4 were just “hey let’s do a 5k”.  So while it’s not my best, it’s definitely not my worst, and I’m pretty happy that I’m not just consistently getting WORSE at them.  And have an 8-something as avg pace, at this point in my volume build for the half iron, makes me very happy.  One workout that seems to be keeping me conditioned for a little speed too are these double (and this week we make them triple) bricks – 15 mins on the bike trainer, 1 mile run at like 90% effort x2 (or 3).  Do believe that these will stay in the rotation for a while.

Of course, we can’t just leave well enough alone, and 4-ish miles with warmup and cooldown are just not enough for a Saturday, so we did a wicked 25 mile hill ride around my parents area.  Let me tell you, it sounded like a great logistical idea at the time (hey, we’ll be in the area, and only have done a few miles!) but these were two back-to-back leg thrashing workouts.  We were going to do 30, but it just worked out that we were back at the house at 25 and we were both just *DONE*. We gained and lost 1800 feet in 25 miles, that was enough thxuverymuch.  Slow as molasses with an avg speed of around 14mph, but it was good hill training.  Aero bars are my friend and I found a great new way to pedal up hills that uses my calves more when the other stuff gets tired.

Other stuff I have done this week:

-Went to a high school production of Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog.  Those kids were pretty talented!  I wish I would have had the option to go to an “arts” high school!

-Drank fancy cocktails in a room that used to be a happy ending type massage parlor called the Midnight Cowboy.  The two drinks I got there, the Jinx remover and Lindsay’s Lament, were both fantastic!  I would have taken pictures, but the place asked that you not use your cell phone to keep it quiet and mellow.  It was a great 2 hours for our reservation of quietness and intimate chatter with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and then we stepped out onto 6th street and… CHAOS.  It was so bizarre.  I would definitely go there again.

-Actually made it to a game developer beer night at Mr. Tramps and didn’t overdo it!  Only 4 glasses of wine…

-Discovered a fantastic place with 5$ happy hour burgers and drinks called the Park – and the burgers are so big Zliten and I found we could split one and be full.  Fun evening – and I totally earned half a burger and some fried pickles after a good 10k run that morning.

-We lost power on Wednesday night and didn’t get it back until the morning.  It was a trip to be so… unconnected.  Also, it meant that I really couldn’t cook dinner so it was another unexpected night of eating out.

-Got in some good training.  30 mins weights and 25 min 1400 yd swim Monday, 10k (supposed to be 10 miles, but I didn’t wake up in time Tuesday, off Wednesday, group power class and double bricks Thursday, and a 30 min swim Friday.  I missed one weights workout and missed a few running miles, but all in all I’m pretty happy with my week.

I also slacked on tracking food for the last two weeks, and certainly haven’t been pigging on junk 24/7, but I have ate and drank not like my normal self, especially this last week (see above).  Back to it this week, and going to stop using the awful body bugg software and track on again.

And of course to support me, my husband brings THIS into my office today.  I actually made him remove it, or threatened to take a big ass bite out of it or lick it and he didn’t want that (his idea was to slice it like a cake) so it has left my office and I feel better.

This week, changing it up a bit and doing a long 2 hour trainer ride tomorrow morning, and a longer run (10-14 miles) on Saturday, along with the rest of the normal schedule (M: swim+weights PM, W: triple brick AM+weights PM, Th: weights class AM + swim PM).  Looking forward to a little R+R this 3 day weekend.  Should be nice!

Questions of the Week: What’s your plans for the long weekend?  What 5k training or pacing tips do you have for me?

You May Be A Tri-Nerd If…

Idea from Charlotte.  I was having too much fun with my comments on her blog and decided to make my own.

You may be a triathlon nerd if….

-You make all your other social plans around what race/training you’re doing on the weekend (sorry folks, racing Sunday, can’t go out with you Saturday night, but let’s meet up for Sunday champagne brunch for which I may or may not shower…).
-You have a full laundry basket of workout clothes between you and your spouse every week.
-The impetus for doing laundry is only when you run out of good running socks and bras (or perhaps have worn said items more than once…)
-The stuff in the kitchen and your meals are all healthy, but you have a bunch of pure sugar and junk food reserved for long rides/runs.

-Your bikes are cleaned more often than your kitchen.
-Spandex is your right AND your privilege 🙂
-You have race numbers instead of pictures on your fridge.
-Your alarm is set for earlier on the weekend than the weekdays during the spring and summer.

-Packing for a week vacation takes less time and you take less than packing for a 3 hour out-of-town triathlon overnight trip.
-You burn more calories before work than most people do all week.
-Your rule is at least one shower between sweating and work and/or social events, and sometimes that = 2-3 workouts of sweat before the shower.  And an outdoor rinse off at the lake TOTALLY counts.
-A brick isn’t what you build your house out of, it’s a workout, DUH.

-Two a days?  Isn’t that cute.  Let’s talk when your sport gets you to do 4 different workouts in 24 hours.  On weekdays.
-At least every other week or so, you don’t have to decide what to wear to work on Monday.  This weekend’s race shirt, of course…
-The idea of doing a run on rested legs mystifies you.  Who does that?
-You indeed have become those freaky looking spandex rat people on the bikes you used to make fun of, and now, you just covet their spandex if it’s an especially interesting color/pattern.

-You drive past a hill and think that you just HAVE to return to run or bike up it over and over for hill repeats.
-Instead of shore excursions for the cruise you’re taking during training season, you look up cycle shops, running routes, and snorkeling trips to get your run/bike/swim on.
-The first tri of the season is more exciting than Christmas.
-Half marathon and marathon training is just “something to keep you occupied in the offseason”.

-You have actually spent some time practicing running in bike cleats.
-You wish EVERY race made you write your age on your calf so you knew who you needed to pass to move up in your age group.
-You actually start thinking about the logistics of doing things on your bike that normal humans wouldn’t.  Eating on it.  Drinking on it.  Peeing on it.  Attaching a tom tom GPS to it.  Doing bike yoga on it during really long rides to stretch out.
-Valid training for your hobby includes practicing putting on and taking off clothing really quick, and you’re not in the adult entertainment industry.

What kind of nerd are you?


Well, Aren’t We Just Olympic…

This week started a little off (racing, and thus drinking copious amounts of champagne on a Sunday always does that to me), but we rocked it out of the park anyway.

Monday, we were pretty sore so we decided to skip kickboxing or any other formal exercise.  Instead, we hit up Costco for some bulk shopping goodness.  After a day of rest I was ready for a run Tuesday morning – it was definitely a run roulette, there’s been rain on the forecast just about every day this week, and it was cloudy and ready to dump.  However, I discovered that I don’t melt, and since my electronics are waterproof, I was able to knock out 7.1 miles slow (around 11 min mile pace).  It was a nice pace for me, I felt like I could go forever, but my legs didn’t want to go faster.  It was a great morning run!

I was going to spin that evening to make up for missing Monday, but I was pretty tired so I just rested.  Wednesday was a nice long strength session at the gym in the evening (pushups have made a comeback – I need to get better at them – I used to be able to do 3×20 no problem, and right now I barely have 3×12 in me…), and decided to just knock out a half-iron distance swim (2000 yds) – 200 EZ, 200 drill, 200 fast, repeat 3x, cooldown 200 EZ.  Thursday ended up being my epic day of making up workouts, with a 60 min group power class in the morning, and a double brick in the evening (15 mins on bike trainer, 1 mile all out run x 2).

After this epic 4-workouts in 24 hours thing, I was pretty exhausted and took a rest day on Friday.  Oddly enough, ended up at Costco again.  We washed the bikes and packed up for the next morning.  Almost felt like packing up for a race – except without the packet pickup and race shirt (maybe we should make our own, heh).

First Annual Lake Zliten and Quix Lake Pflugerville Practice Olympic Triathlon GO!

We had a back to back to back day of plans so our goal was to get out to Lake Pflugerville and be swimming by 8am.  Well, we slept in and couldn’t get going, so we got there more like 9:15 and were in the water closer to 9:30.  However, there was a “Walk for the Kidneys” event going on, plus there were a few tri groups training, so it was probably for the best that we got a late start.

We took the swim nice and slow.  This was Zliten’s first open water swim over 500m, and his longest swim to date, so I stayed with him.  We practiced stretches of freestyle between breaststroke breaks, and sighting.  Often he was going out to oblivion and I had to call him back.  However, we made it through 3 laps of the 500m course in about 45 mins (a guess, we didn’t pay attention to time) and got out and got ready for the bike.

We did not do traditional fast-as-you-can transitions, we probably took about 20 mins slowly getting ready, getting the bikes off the rack, pumping up  the tires, reparking the car not in the mud (since a lot of the kidney walk peeps had left), etc.  Once we finished all that, we were off.  It was a beautiful day, and we took our usual course for the first 7-ish miles, then made a left instead of a straight to get extra distance.  We held a 17-ish mph pace for the first half, but slowed on the second half as we came back right into the headwind.  The goal was 15 mph, and we hit it at an average speed of 15.3 for 20.15 miles.  An Olympic is usually closer to 25 miles, but we didn’t want to deal with busy roads, and really? 20 was close enough.

I was worried that we might be beat after the bike, especially Zliten after his longest swim ever, but we felt pretty good.  I had eaten 3 nutter butter cookies and had a few sport beans, and had a 200-cal bar for breakfast + some caffeine, so I felt pretty fueled and peppy, but the last time I ran after biking out here I felt soooo terrible and could barely make myself go.

Not the case that day.  We started out slow, around 11:20s, but quickly found our pace that day around 10:50s.  I think my avg pace read 10:52 from about mile 2-5.  I think there were both times that we felt like we could go faster, but tried to hold it to easy pace.  Zliten commented that it was a shame that we had people waiting for us, because he wanted to try to do a longer run after having a really nice, comfortable first lap around 32-ish min for 3 miles.  Then, the sun came out and started beating down on us – mile 5 was the longest mile EVAR.

However, I started feeling peppy again in the last mile and around 5.5 I broke away and started sprinting for 6.  I was actually hungry (the only thing I ate on the run was a small squish of Zliten’s gel) and in my head, the sooner I finished, the sooner I could eat.  I finished around 1:04 for the 6 miles – avg 10:45 pace.  With more nutrition… maybe I could have done another lap?

I was tired, but not exhausted-collapse-at-the-finish-and-lay-there-for-an-hour like I did at the TX Olympic Tri a year and a half ago, not to mention that we finished almost an hour quicker (I was 4:04 for that, and we did this in 3:08-ish, not counting transitions).

I feel pretty confident after that practice that the half iron is actually in my grasp this year.  The bike is still what I feel like I need the most work at (I’m super comfortable with the swim and run distance stand alone, but biking 56 miles is only something I’ve done twice and been uber tired after), but I’ve got a few months.

I feel like I need to work on 3 aspects the most – 1) cycling longer distances and time in the saddle, need to get used to a few hours (read: 40-50 miles) of cycling 2) running on tired legs and keeping up my distances and 3) strength… the stronger I am overall, the better equipped I will be to maintain a 7-ish hour effort.

No Rest For The Wicked

We rinsed off in the outdoor shower and changed and headed to early Mother’s Day lunch with my parents.  We had packed a sunbutter and jelly sandwich, and while I felt kinda silly eating on the way to lunch, I had a PIT in my stomach from an approximate 2000 calorie burn that morning, so it worked.  We enjoyed many, many plates of food at the soup and salad bar, and relaxed the afternoon away playing games.  I even had the energy to be bouncy.

We got home about 7:30, and we had a graduation party to go to, but we decided first we needed a quiet drink on the patio first.  It was a nice breath of calm before we headed back out into the crazy, and found that since the party was going for about 4 hours, it was pretty raging.  We weren’t sure if we were going to stay long (ya know, epic day and all), but I ended up being able to push through and we had quite a good time!

Today we have done a whole lotta nothing.  We attempted to pick up our disaster of a house and deal with the laundry pile, and we made a little progress, but that fell by the wayside due to important duties like eating, napping, and watching TV in bed.  Y’know, the important stuff.

While I enjoyed my day o relaxing a LOT, I also felt really bummed that it was such a beautiful day and I culdn’t be out again at the lake swimming, biking, or runniing.  A sickness, I has it.


I want to stay here – it’s only 15k per person for a week.  No big d.  What wealthy benefactor wants to surprise us with 2 tickets?  For that price, their private jet picks you up, you get a stay for 2 nights in the underwater room, 4 nights on land, all the water activities you can do (lookie Zliten I didn’t say watersports, apparently that means something dirty and not, like, scuba diving, snorkeling, and personal sub-ing), all your food, drink, and most spa treatments.  I want to do this so badly… I’m not sure the price of a car is ever something I could consider dropping on a 1 week vacation, but it definitely would be an experience.

I cooked some freaking awesome black pepper chicken with baby bok choy in garlic sauce tonight, and served it with this brown rice/quinoa stuff I found at Costco.  Om. Nom. Nom.  So good.  I haven’t cooked Asian-y food much lately, and I may have to change that.

Is there anything you can do with old spoiled wine?  We found some in the garage that had been there for a few years in the hot and cold and hot and cold.  It was cheap wine to begin with, but now it’s probably spoiled.  Any suggestions on how to use it, or should I just dump it out?

Nacho kitty (other-wise known as kittyface this week) and Iguana Donna met today (through the glass, the iguana is strictly indoor except for rare, very supervised and short trips outside and the cat is strictly outdoor).  There was much hissing and puffing, but dang she looked pretty.  I do not think they are going to be BFFs, which is fine.

Speaking of Nacho, she has become extremely friendly and expects love and pets when we’re outside and pretty much exclusively lives in our mud room.  She likes to headbutt the sliding glass door when we come by, and actually is entrance and meows at me when I sing Nyan Cat to her.  Never thought I’d enjoy having a cat, but this one is a pretty bomb diggety feline.  I’m definitely in camp dog still, but… this one seriously might be part dog.


Rookie Tri – Tri Smarter

Back to back races can’t get much more different than a slow metric century ride one weekend, and a super sprint tri the next, but that’s how the schedule lined up.  Until last week, my goal was just to make a strong effort, and then, I got wicked stupid times in my head with my performance lately on the trainer and some superfast run speeds.  I even took an extra rest day to see if I could be even more rested to kick my 1:17:43 square in the ass (though, to be fair, I spent the morning before the race cleaning the garage and the afternoon running errands… so…).

We were UNREASONABLY excited for this race.  First (real) tri of the season, we’re both feeling great, and there were many chants of ROOKIE ROOKIE ROOKIE ROOKIE around the Quix-Zliten household.


Then, Friday, I feel like UTTER SHIT.  Sore throat, achey, ex-friggen-hausted, and I got really bummed because I figured I had to be coming down with something.  Skipped everything besides work that I planned to do for the day, went to bed at 10pm, and slept 10.5 hours and THANKFULLY woke up feeling like myself.  Really weird.

We’re refining the pre-race strategy.  Having a really big late lunch and not much dinner worked for us.  I had yogurt/apple/pb for breakfast, and steak, bread, salad, potato, a few bites of desert around 3:30pm, and that was most of my food for the day.  I had a roll with cream cheese a few hours before bed, but that’s it.  I felt GREAT both the day before and on race day.  Poo happened in the AM well before the race, no tummy issues during the whole thing, and I didn’t feel like SUPER BLOAT like I do sometimes when fueling up.


Sadly, the weather outlook went from ok, to sketchy, to terrifying.  Enter 2:45 am thunderbooms, lightning lighting up the bedroom, and torrential rains.  I got up, checked the weather, checked social media for any race updates, and then tried to go back to bed.  Instead, I just kept practicing the transitions in my head for 30 mins until the alarm went off.  Worst night of pre-race sleep EVER.

However, I was UP and AWAKE and we were actually ready so early we sat around after loading the bikes and stuff up because the parking wouldn’t be open yet.  That is a race first for us non-early birds.  I kept relentlessly checking the weather, and it said it would stop around 7.  Race was around 8.  I had faith.

We got there, got a pretty pimp parking spot, and decided on what to do.  I wanted to claim a bike spot but not set up transition yet, and Zliten wanted to set up transition.  After walking over in the rain, we decided that my course of action was the most prudent.  We were WET and had not thought to bring a tarp like some folks.  Then, it was more time sitting in the car, bouncing up and down, and willing the weather to be better.

At 7am, we just had to bite the bullet and do it.  I laid out my stuff, but instead of as planned, put my shoes upside down and my socks inside them, and covered everything with my backpack.  I also left the plastic bags tied on over my seat and aero bars/bento box.  Oops.

We found a dry overhang and chilled there, and the rain got a little lighter.  Then, we walked down to the water and met up with a few friends who were also there, and just tried to keep moving and stay loose.  The race was delayed 30 mins due to lightning to the south east, just to make sure it didn’t blow in our way.  With all this excitement, I didn’t get a warmup bike, run, and they weren’t letting people in the water early, so no swim.  I should have ran, especially once the race was delayed, but I didn’t put together the fact that I should actually have done it until it was too late.  Oh well.

Finally, we got the word that we were a-go.  Zliten was in the third wave, so I watched him go off, and then just ran through the race in my head.  Back and outside on the swim, don’t worry about finding a lane on the swim or getting ahead, just swim smart.  Cap and goggles off on the run up to t1, 5 (racks up) 2 (racks across).  Garmin, sock, shoe, sock, shoe, helmet, glasses, grab bike, go.  Bike safe in the rain.  Stop pushing hard on the bike on the last mile.  Rack bike, shoe off, shoe on, shoe off, shoe on, grab race belt + visor and run.  Run as hard as you can, don’t save anything.  You can do anything for 2 miles, you can guts out a 2 mile run no big d.  Finish with everything you have!

Then, as the wave before us went, and we stepped into the water, I turned off my brain and went into execution mode.  I found a good spot in the back half on the outside, waited for the countdown, and off we went.  I felt more comfortable swimming in open water that day than I ever had, no nerves at all.  There was some jostling for most of the short 300m swim, and some people SWIMMING BACKSTROKE AND BREAST STROKE in the middle of the pack (grr) but I just kept on going.  I remember last year I got out completely brain-out-of-my-body winded, this year I swam more conservatively and got out feeling warmed up.  I ran up the hill, hit transition, and didn’t execute perfectly (fumbled with garmin, had to HULK SMASH rip bags off my bike I forgot about :P), but did MUCH better than last year, and got out to the road quickly.

I also fumbled a little bit mounting the bike.  I was on the wrong side, my pedals didn’t want to clip in after running through the mud, but I got going.  I had just the night before set a new field on my garmin: average speed.  THIS.  THIS A LOT.  It’s easy to get frustrated seeing a low speed going up a hill, or get lulled into a false sense of security seeing high numbers on a downhill, but it was nice to see it start around 15 mph and slowly creep towards 18, and then almost 20 as I got going.  I rocked the rollers in the first 5 miles, though I did take the downhills slow because, y’know, riding through little streams makes me nervous.

Then, we got to what they named Carnage Hill.  You have to slow to take the sharp right turn, and then it’s a STEEP ASS LONG HILL.  Couple that with the rain, I got around it, got a little up it, and unclipped and ran instead.  I had visions of getting so slow I was wobbling and my legs being too tired to unclip and falling over and getting run over by eager cyclists… yeah, no.  I felt like a wuss doing it, but it was the safe bet.  And, I passed most of the jerks that passed me chugging up the hill within a mile because my legs were fresh. 🙂

I ate a few powerbar cola caff chews, and note to self: eating on a hard fast ride is not as easy as a slow one – I almost choked a few times.  Maybe gels are better for sprints.  I also got a little stitch in my side – my hindsight guess is not enough hydration.  This stuck with me for the rest of the race, but it wasn’t too bad.  The second half of the course was hillier, and I had forgotten about the double hill of doom (you ride up one, and as you’re about to breathe a sigh of relief as you crest, you see a worse one), but 11 miles passed quickly.  I saw Zliten on the run as I was coming in with the bike and shouted at him and he waved.  I unclipped well before the line and dismounted and headed into t2.

This one went like clockwork.  Bike racked, helmet off, shoe off, shoe on, shoe off, shoe on, grab race belt and visor and roll out.  For those of you who have never done a tri you won’t understand (as I didn’t before), but the best way I’ve heard it described is that the gravity in transition feels about 5x as heavy as it does on the course.  Everything in you wants you to stop and rest, or at least slow down.  However, it’s SO MUCH MORE EFFICIENT to fly through transitions and recover on the course at 15mph or 10 min/miles while you get your bearings.

I got on the run course, and saw my pace dropping to where it should and then the hill of doom, which made my stitch go OWWWW.  I powered through the best I could and got ready to kill it on the downhill – which I had forgotten was on STICKS and now MUD.  And I chose to wear my minimalist shoes.  I flew as fast as I could, but I almost twisted my ankle 5 times and got a little discouraged in the first mile.  I fought a few negative thoughts halfway through, and just concentrated on going as fast as I could.  Once I hit the pavement and solid ground, I starting fucking flying to the finish.  I went from about a 10:15 avg overall to sub 10 in that last stretch (haven’t analyzed the garmin data, but I imagine it’s all 8s and 7s the last 1/3 mile).  I sprinted my ass into the finish and for the first time in a tri – Zliten was at the finish to cheer me in!

Results were:

1:14:12 overall (1:17:43 last year, so 3:31 faster)

SWIM: 7:31 for 300m – 2:30 per 100 (7:14 last year, so 17 seconds slower.  Oops, a little more juice on the swim next time)

T1 – 3:18 (6:30 last year – so 3:12 faster!!!)

BIKE: 42:19 for 11.2 miles – 15.9 mph (42:31 last year, so 13 seconds faster.  Last year was in perfect conditions, where this year was a mess.  I’ll take it, especially because some time here was due to pedal awkwardness)

T2 – 1:32 (2:04 last year – 32 seconds faster.  Even changing shoes, where I didn’t last year)

RUN: 19:31 for the 2 miles – 9:46 pace (19:21 last year, so 10 seconds slower. Bah)

The rankings are confusing.  For 30-34 women that have completed a tri before, I was 15/28.  I was 238 overall out of 815.  I was 6 mins faster than the average woman.

So as you can see, I pretty much PR’d by fixing my transitions!  I went from happy I PR’d to sad I didn’t PR more to content with my performance.  I’m really hungry to just NAIL one of these sprint tris and have the combo of a perfect day + perfect weather = ridic PR, but my eyes are on the prize.  Sept 30th is the half iron, the rest of these are playtime.

Also 10 lbs heavier this year did not impact my performance in the slightest.  Even though I had some lower numbers in my head that were reasonable if I had a stellar race day, but once the pouring rain started, I abandoned them for simply a PR and a safe finish and I have to remember that.  I have 3 more sprints this year to tear up!

Next major race is Pflugerville in 40-ish days.  Goals are:

-Beat my time last year – 1:40:35 (they didn’t record splits, just overall due to a timing chip error)

-Run the 5k under 10 min miles.  The last leg of my tri is the bane of my existence.  I lose it.  It’s part mental, and it’s part chowing down on the bike so I don’t hit the despair point that I’ve found is related to low blood sugar.  Also, this trail slows me down.  I will be running it a few times before race day.  I know I have WAY more than a sub 10 minute 5k in me on tired legs, but I have yet to execute, so let’s start there.

-18 mph on the bike.  This course doesn’t have stupid hills, and as long as we don’t get hit with 20+ mph winds like last year, I should dominate this.  We do EZ rides on this at 15mph+ now.

-11 min swim.  I want to push a little harder on the swim.  It’s all well and good to save myself for later, but it is a race..

-Transitions that feel as expedient.  Also, getting there super early so I can get a spot right next to the bike out/bike in.

-I may change my mind on this, but conquering the party trick of rubber banding my shoes to the pedals and putting them on after I get on the course instead of struggling with them at the mount line.

That looks like about a 1:33.  So A+) under 1:30, A) under 1:35, B) PR, C) Strong finish.

This weekend we’re doing a practice Olympic tri, and the next weekend we’re racing a 5k.  All race recaps all the time around here, but hey, it’s what I do. 🙂

This was an outtake, but I have to share.  I’m not sure what sort of look I’m giving Evilbike, or why, but it’s not good.  Hahaha!

So all in all, a great first tri of the season, and in 6 weeks, I’ll be ready to crush another one!

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