Adjusted Reality

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

Month: September 2012

We Interrupt This Broadcast… 70.3 Goals Post

…while I’ve loved recapping my vacation, which has allowed me to hold onto a little bit of it, it’s time to get real in the whole foods parking lot.

This is the one for all the marbles.  If someone told me I could only do one race this year, this would have been it.  I’ve been training since April officially, and really since last November when I ramped up my run miles, for this one day.  I’m tapered and ready to go.  I’ve had some weird back issues this week, but nothing that will affect me on race day.

So, since it’s going to be a 7 hour race, it’s worth putting some words to blog about what I hope to accomplish.

Pre-race Plan/Goals:

I think I’ve gotten really good at this but my plan is…

-get packet and check bike in as early as they let us (1pm)
-eat a normal pre-race meal (meat, taters, veggies) early
-get a pre-race swim and short run in since I need to re-lace up my shoes with my trick laces.
-drink sleepyjuice and get to bed around 9pm
-up around 5 to have chai late and bar and bathroom
-set up T1
-get warmup run in late enough so I don’t get cold
-drop warm clothes at the last minute (low of 58….)
-get warmup swim as late as possible
-drop flip flops
-freak out a little that I’m actually doing this race
-calm down and center and get ready to do this shit

Swim Goals:

My problem with the swim is I usually go too easy and leave the water thinking “why didn’t I push myself more?”.  The answer is simple – I’m afraid of blowing up before the bike.  However, this year I’ve discovered that spending money on the swim doesn’t necessarily leave me a deficit on the bike, they’re very different.  However, however, I am not going to really try and test that this race. Also, I loved swimming in that lake last year and felt very peaceful about it, so I’m looking forward to going back.

My swim normally goes:

0-300m – working out junk, I hate swimming, everyone is passing me

300m – end of race – hey, I love swimming!  I’m passing people!  I’m following feets!  I don’t want this to end!

So this time, I’m just going to make two goals: swim strong (swim aggressively and steady) , and don’t get stuck in a rut – if I feel like I can speed up in the second half, I will do so.

Time goal: I’ve said 1 hour for swims + transition.  So, under 50 mins for the swim is my goal as I imagine that I can certainly transition under 5 minutes each time.

Bike Goals:

This was the segment  was most worried about coming into training.  I love swimming long, I’ve done a billion double digit runs, but I did my first ride over 35 miles in March.  And it wore me the fuck out for days.  And then again a month later.  And it still wore me the fuck out, but perhaps a little less.  It took all summer to feel good about the distance, but after over a thousand miles on the bike (seriously), I feel ready to ride 56 miles and live to tell the tale.  I was considering pulling my nice bike shorts over my tri suit, but then I got a new, better tri suit and I did 30 miles with them without much ladybit aggrivation, so what’s 26 more, right?

While the course profile scares me a little, I think I can handle it.  Basically, it 11 miles of elevation going slightly down, and then 12 miles of going slightly up with a few actual “get out of your seat” looking moments.  I think it will be ok.  It’s a two loop course, and I do well knowing what is to come, so I really and truly think miles 12-24 are going to be my roughest ones and that’s usually where I’m the strongest physically.

Foodwise – I’ve done well eating a LOT on the bike.  Goal is putting two chomps down as soon as I get going, and then a chomp every 2-3 miles.  It sounds like a lot of eating but it’s worked well for me.  I’ll have a nuun in my camelback.  As backup, I’ll have a honeystinger waffle (I’ve found these are a nice pick me up around 30-40) and some cheese nips if I want salt.  The goal is to get most of my calories in on the bike.  Love eating on the bike.  Hate eating on the run.

Time goal: I’m torn.  I want to hit 3:30 because that sounds like a nice round number and gets me well on my way to the finish time I want.  However, my goal was a 15 mph pace.  Which is 3:45.  So let’s say 3:30, A goal, 3:45 B goal, and before the bike cutoff is my C goal.  I suppose another goal is to not get off and walk and power up all the hills.

Run Goals:

This is the huge wildcard.  If I’m having an awesome day I could run 2:15 but that’s really rainbows and unicorns talking there.  If I’m dragging, I might be 2:45 but I’m pretty sure I can go faster than that.  However, this is what I’m trying to remember on the run:

-Walking is a choice.  My goal is to not make that choice.
-Running very slowly (12-13 min/miles) actually helps my legs recharge faster than walking, it’s just mentally tougher.
-Pain now is temporary, pushing through this run will make me happy about this race forever.  Champagne is sweeter with a side of unicorns…

My goal is to take in as much aide as possible at stations, but I’ll stash some chomps in case I need a pick-me-up.  They also have a fuel station each lap, so I’ll check my attitude each time I pass it and see if I need to take in more calories.  I don’t plan on bringing my camelback on the run but am leaving the final decision for it as a gametime call.  If I’m feeling overheated or like I need it, I can just open it up at the first water stop and throw a bunch of cups in.

The good news is that it’s a 4 loop course.  I love loops.  I expect this to help me.  I am good at covering the same ground over and over.  I like familiarity.  In my mind I can count down “2 more times up this hill” and somehow it’s better than if it’s unknown.  I’ll know where the aide stations are and can expect them.  I can know where to expect to slow down and speed up.

Time goal: I’m just going to say my A goal is 2:25 – which is 11 min/miles.  My B goal is 2:40 – about 12 min/miles.  My C goal is any pace, but no walking.  I expect around 2:30.

Transition Goals:

These are old hat, and the only thing I’m adding is arm warmers on the bike since biking wet in the 60s is a foreign concept to me.  I just want to be able to check these off as “as expected”.

Secondary goal – catch Zliten in T1 (he starts 4 mins before me)!

Time goal: Giving myself 10 minutes for both, but I think I can get through them around 5.

Overall Goals:

C goal: finish by the cutoff (8:30) crawling across the finish line any which way I can.

B goal: swim strong, bike steady, and run without walk breaks and finish upright.

A goal: finish under 7 hours. (50 min swim + 3:30 bike + 2:30 run + 10 mins transitions)

Parting thoughts:

I know going in this will be the hardest race I will have ever done.  No matter how slow or fast I go, this is going to be incredibly mentally and physically challenging.  The good news is that I know this going  in and this is what I signed up for.  I’ve got 7-8 hours with just me, myself, and my head with no music or Zliten to distract me.  I know I’ve mentally grown as a triathlete this year – now I get to really put it into practice.

So, bring it on.  2.5 more days and counting.  Even my toes are ready!

Epic Vacation Pt2 – Bear Mace, White Knuckles, and Blue Ice

Tuesday: Got your Bear Mace?

Woke up feeling… well, I’d love to say awesome, but the cold weather was making me feel a little off, and I was a little apprehensive – I’ve been heat training for like 5 months, so 40, windy, and rainy was really foreign to me.  I kept saying I was glad I had my adventure pants on when I scheduled this, because I really just wanted hot chocolate, a fireplace, and my book.

But we do these things for the mental fortitude, the blog posts, and the facebook pics, no?  So on we went.

Backing up to the morning, we had a small carby breakfast (taters, english muffin, and of course BACON) and then a safe lunch of white carbs like pasta and bread and potatoes, eschewing all of the delicious spicy food and poop inducing veggies.  We then got off the boat and grabbed a cab to the planned spot.

I had done a ton of researching, and picked the Treadwell Ditch Trail.  It started and ended at a ski resort, and was rated as hiker, runner, and bike friendly, and only had 700 ft of elevation change.  Perfect!  Except….not so much.  At all.  The cabbie started driving us there, and kept asking if we had bear mace, a gun to fight off the bears, any food (yes, which included…HONEYSTINGER WAFFLES AND GELS, which I’m sure the bears would have hated).  Then, after almost 30 bucks of cab fare (I thought the shit was only 6 miles away – maybe 6 miles UP into the sky, but it certainly was further than expected), and the cabbie taking down our descriptions in case we didn’t come back and then losing reception… we called it.

I may think myself a badass, but this was verging on a whole ‘nother level of stupid.  I can do many things, but wrestling a bear is definitely unknown.  Maybe I could, but maybe it would end badly.  So, begrudgingly, we asked the cabbie to turn around and had him let us off close to town.  We got out, it was cold and rainy and windy and I really bummed and thought that I was either going to just go back to the fucking ship and treadmill double digit miles or do what I really wanted to do and drink spiked hot chocolate and cry.  We started running toward the ship and I warmed up and started feeling better.

A backup I had researched was a trail that started just outside town, so we climbed through town and crossed a gorgeous bridge and found said trail waiting for us.  Tim the enchanter dog blocked our path barking at us, but we slowed to a walk and he quieted down, so we knew we were going to be allowed past.   He tried to lead us to a gift shop (shill dog?) but we headed to the trail and told Tim we would be back that way on the way home (it was a lie, we took a different way back and didn’t go past it).

You trail runners may have something here – I am a BIG FAN of pavement and really hate gravel and sticks and shit that is not flat and road normally, but this was pretty magical, if even my slowest 10 miler EVAR.  We passed waterfalls and saw mountains and streams and flowers and plants and amazing cool scenery.  The rain and wind and squishy and rocky footing didn’t even bother me after a few miles, though there was definitely walking at steep or really weird parts.

BTW, best running picture of me ever.  Zliten seemed to find the one moment that I don’t look like a special needs kid crossed with a slobbery puppy while running and captured it.  It is proof!  However, it started raining HARDER and we wanted to make sure we got back by dark so we turned around about 5 miles in and headed back just in time for it to start clearing up (oh well).  Apparently, all the Juneau-ians had gotten off work and were running the trails with their dogs.  All Alaskans apparently are required to own at least one gigantic dog.  For bear bait, I guess.

We finished up going through town dodging tourists and finished up our 10.2 miles and ducked into a gift shop to get Zliten some socks.  My legs were seizing up (and understandably – we had 5400 ft of climbing overall, and went from sea level to 1200 ft up at our max elevation so this was not a jaunty 10.2 miler around the house) so I just walked around outside hanging out with the Sarah Palin (not appearing in this post) standee and all the tourists, who I’m sure were wondering why I smelled like trail and sweat.  Sarah Palin herself did not comment on either the tourists or my odor.

Then we headed back to the boat and got some food at the buffet (half a honeystinger waffle in 3 hours does not a satiated Quix make), and then we ran into friends who wanted to go to dinner, so,  yeah, we called that a snack and headed to the dining room with them.  We had some wine and greek salad and soup and some red snapper and some birthday celebrations for our friend P (who we always end up on trip with during his b-day – lucky!!!).

He wanted cigars and cognac for the afterparty, so we obliged and went to that bar.  I didn’t feel right in jeans so I classed it up a bit, but no one told me that I had so much damn ass hanging out.  Oh well.  At first they didn’t want to sell us cigars cause we were too close to port but Zliten made it happen.  We knew we had to ride the next day, so we called it early, after going to the casino to play a bit and letting the boys obsess over the win-an-ipad machine that probably got 100$ collectively from our group.

Wednesday: White Crabby Knuckles

Did the same deal as the day before, carbalicious breakfast and lunch (though I was a little more adventurous, bike butt is less finicky than run butt), and lots of reading ensued (I think I was on about book 3 by that time…. love me some sci fi), and then we headed to town mid-afternoon.

I am a scaredy biker, so again, I was glad I had on my adventure pants when planning this, as the cold and rain made me want to just skip it entirely, especially with the trauma the day before.  However, we kinda figured that back home and we had actually reserved this and paid for it, so off we were, up to bike up a damn mountain in the rain.

We got to the shop, and they got us going… but sadly, they didn’t have the right clips for us so it was Zliten in his running shoes and me in my HIKING SHOES and toe cages going up on rental Trek road bikes.  The first part wasn’t so bad, but then the bike lane collapsed into a teeny tiny strip, the climb got epic, and it started pouring.  We made it up the first two climbs (the first I walked a bit because I am lame and take a while to warm up my legs) and stopped at a vista… it was so pretty and we could see the famous train.

However, then we looked ahead at an epic descent with another epic climb and decided to call it (the smile hides the immense terror I was feeling).  I am ok climbing, but it’s the down that scared me.  So it was time to face the 2000 feet of down.  White knuckles.  OMG.  In the rain, with the tour busses, on the side of a highway, with bikes with questionable breaks.

I think I could have done better on evilbike because I know how she handles, but when I got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t stop when I wanted to, and all I saw ahead was descent, I hopped off and ran my bike down (it was too steep to walk).  When it settled, I got back on, rinse and repeat until I saw town.

Zliten, the bad ass, white knuckled it the whole way down.  Although, here, he his trying not to hurl after a particularly epic climb….

As you can see it was MUDDY.  Gratuitous butt shot.  Also in the mud was gold flecks.  Well, I guess we were in Alaska… not sure what else to expect…

When we got back to the flats we decided to check out town a bit and it was sooooo cute.  There was even a window/door fence!  It almost felt very “little Austin”.

Also, we decided we needed to get a drink to erase the memory of our descent because… OMG FREAKY AS FUCK.  I got a sweet purple shirt from the bike shop to remind me of the trauma fun day and Zliten got some socks.

We went back to the boat, showered and changed, and then went back out to grab an irish coffee and a local beer, shop a bit for bric a brac to bring back, and get some damn CRAB since we had spent 2 days in alaska and no one had yet shoveled it in our face (how rude).  We heard rumors of an awesome place from a drunk guy and got a little lost getting there, but found it eventually, and nomnomed on a plate of expensive red alaskan crab (we split it).  And we hugged the moose.

In case you’re curious, the Skagway bar patio scene is hoppin’.

Then, we got our books, headed up to a bar with a view, and sailed away reading and sipping on mint juleps.  We had a mellow, just us two dinner of soup, salad, and meatloaf with a few bites of pecan pie and lemon sorbet, and I almost crashed in the room.  However, the “White Hot” party was that evening, and I bought a dang pair of white jeans for it so off we went.  Zliten knew I needed to wake up, so he bought me a liquid cocaine shot (which had some 151, jagermeister, and a bit of window cleaner from the taste), which did the trick.

(EDIT: one posted – proof I actually own something white besides tech tees) Waiting for friends to post pics because there are some hilarious ones from that night, but we danced a lot and drank a lot.  We hit the white hot party (in the Spinnaker lounge), the after party (at the night club. more dancing), the after, after party (us, in the casino), the after, after, after party (us, in the cigar bar, which had a table to play dice on, with bar pizza delivered!), and the after, after, after, after party (hitting the mini bar for refills+ the outside decks).  Once I saw the stars start to go to bed, I decided that was it for me and headed to the room.

Thursday: Glaciers are Cold and Loud

Apparently this guy wanted me to wake up and see glaciers at like 7:30 am.

Since he was still up.  Quix-y don’t play that.  I slept.  Until the glacier park tour guide came on to talk about what we were seeing on the ship’s intercom about 9:30 and was loud and crap and I woke up to see what the commotion was about.

Ok, ok, that was worth losing sleep over.  We got up on deck and got some breakfast and froze our tootsies and handsies off and looked at some beautiful pieces of ice.

Me, in my stretchy pants, and Zliten in his track suit.  Can you say fashionable couple?  We then met up with some of our friends who had a balcony, so we had a better view.

More glaciers, and some of my bedhead at the bottom.

Glacier viewing is cold and requires a lot of mint tea.

Then, we left that glacier area and cruised to another one, and we napped in between.  We ended up on another friend’s balcony to view this one.

Mountain peaks and blue snow.  Our pictures suck and don’t really capture it, but it was really cool.

We saw a bear, which I didn’t get a picture of because it was uncapturable by our 79 dollar special underwater camera, but we did see the elusive J-wahl.  A fierce creature.

There’s me with the tiniest iceberg.  I kept saying “I’ll never let go… I’ll never let go… arghlgughlghg”, especially after it broke in half.  Then we had a random elevator encounter with our newlyweds, and they took us up to their suite and we watched the rest from up there, drinking mimosas and eating the rest of the wedding cake.

Had a little bit of lunch around 2:30 from the buffet (if you would have guessed soup and salad and bread….dingdingding) and then took an epic nap of epicness, woke up, read, ordered room service (I was feeling like I just wanted a light dinner because I had eaten so dang much so I ordered an appetizer greek salad and ate half of a turkey sandwich), and read more and went to bed.  After so much excitement the last few days, we crashed hard and it was marvelous.

We had to be up early for our organized shore excursion at 7am, doing one of the typical things that you do when you go to Alaska.

Wait, what?  Not everyone goes snorkeling in Alaska?  More on that next time… (and oh dear, I think this may be a 4 parter depending on how much I can squeeze into the next one.  Sorry!)


Epic Vacation Pt 1 – Seattle, Nuptials, and Sailing North!

Usually, after I come home from vacation having enjoyed, but very happy to be home.  I know this was a particularly fantastic one because even after 11 awesome days of adventures, I wanted moremoremore.  More days.  More adventures!

I’m thinking this is probably going to be about a long, three part post.  So, buckle your seatbelts and expect that this may get pre-empted by some race reports and goal posts and speculating, oh my, because, oh yeah, my HUGE MAJOR A RACE is in 10 days.  *flail*

Saturday: Getting There

I had epic planz to be up at the crack of dawn (literally) and knock out 16 miles.  Well, I slept in and woke up in time for about 12, max.  Then, after I got out, I had a miserable day.  Little body niggles everywhere, heel in effect, and a poor choice of food made it so I just felt ucky.  After the second bathroom stop at 6.35 I called it with approximately a 12 min/mi pace (yeah…).  I wasn’t going to jeopardize my vacation being awesome to get in a certain amount of miles.  I rescheduled 16 for the next Monday and made final preparations and then hopped a plane after a “last Texas meal” of bbq beef, with our lightly packed bags in tow (we each brought 2 bags, and 3 of the 4 were over 45 lbs).

The flights were smooth and uneventful.  Zliten loves talking to people on the plane, and he found a lady with lots of stories to chat with.  I however, was in antisocial book read mode.  I conquered the 8th Galaxy Unknown book and I started another Sci Fi series called Annihilation.  We got there on time, and as we were flying over Seattle, I was impressed at how pretty it was.  The sentiment continued as we taxi’d from the airport to the hotel.  We got a text en route asking if we would make the rehearsal at 6… not so much.  However, right after we checked in and as we headed to the elevator, we saw half of the wedding party!  Success!  We made it to go to dinner with them on time!

We noshed on amazing pizza (my favorite was essentially a greek salad on top of a pie, but no surprise there), and got to hang with some friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and ended up with some gorgeous bridesmaids gifts – the bride had contacted someone on etsy, and gave them some simple descriptions on a necklace for us.  Mine was something like “classic, timeless and sparkly”.  I am in love with what happened.

(EDIT – think this one may show it better…)

And, this was our friends, so there was a lot of wine.  Then, some of us moved up the street to another bar to have the after party, so more wine.  And then a few of us moved back to the hotel bar for the after, after party.  Then, we retired to the room and I made use of the nice garden tub.  There were bath salts.  I didn’t eat anyone’s face though, except maybe the complimentary rubber ducky that we kept.

Sunday: Mawwiage and Hallway Pizza

Woke up feeling a *little* worse for wear, but I can sip wine like a pro without a crushing hangover, so I was up really early, and started getting pretty for the wedding, which involved actually blow drying and straightening my hair.  It happens a few times a year.  Soon, it was time to go, so we cabbed it to the dock and OMG I forgot to check out.  *facepalm*  They were nice enough to do it over the phone at least.

We got there, and we’ve now decided that each cruise, someone needs to get married.  We were given our own little boarding area, and we got to get on the boat first.  It was AWESOME.  Then, we were able to converge on the bride and groom’s suite and HOLY FUCK it was amazing.  It was on the top floor, it had a huge balcony with a hot tub, it was the size of a HUGE hotel room (which, if you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know it’s a BIG DEAL because the rooms are teeny tiny) with a shower and a garden tub.  The gals finished getting ready up there, we donned our peacock feathered hair clips and our awesome homemade bouquets, and we got goin’.

We had practiced how to come in, and as the wedding started… the music we walked in to was the Star Wars Imperial March.  Ha!  They both met doing QA on a Star Wars Game, so while it was good and nerdy, it was also really symbolic (and the music we walked out to was the Cantina Song – loved it!).

It was a very sweet and short ceremony – although the officiant did call my friend Anita (which is NOT her name) during the ceremony, and the ring bearer spent about half of it playing with the petals on the ground, it was just perfect.  Then, our work was over, the bride changed into her sparkly blue converse (and me into my knee high black boots) and we started eating and drinking and toasting and a little dancing.

And hugging.  Somehow, this tradition started at our wedding, I think, and it’s an awesome one! 🙂

All too soon it was over, and our non-sailing friends had to leave.  We decided to go back to the room and check and HELLS YAH we already had our luggage.  Being fairly obsessive about my clothes being straightened, we were able to get completely unpacked and settled by the time we had to do the boat drill.  After that, our duty performed, we sat on the deck drinking champagne and eating french fries and enjoying the fact that we were footloose, fancy free, and setting sail.  However, the minute we set sail it went from nice to COLD and I knew that part of it was already starting (let me tell you, it was weird being on vacay and not breaking out a swim suit and coming back paler than I left).

Pretty soon after we sailed, we hit dinner.  It was a nice first night of cream of broccoli soup, ceasar salad, seafood canneloni, and key lime pie, with a bottle of red wine split between 3 of us.  Our friend J’s wife was tired and went to the room, so we indulged him and went and hung out and watched the end of a football game on the two-story screen.  I gave excellent commentary the whole time and kept myself extremely amused.  Then, we ended up walking through the shops as they were doing a drawing, and I won a bottle of champagne!  This day is even more magical!  We tried to meet up with some friends at the ultralounge/nightclub area, but they all looked pooped and went to bed pretty quickly and it was just J and Zliten and I.  We hung out at the bar after that for an inordinate amount of time, and then had to check out the 24 hour food.  By this time, things are hazy, and I remember being there, and ordering something.  Possibly with cheese?

Then, we hit the mini bar in the room, and hallway pizza happened.  So – they advertised that you could pay 5 dollars, and get a pizza delivered anywhere on the ship.  J was OBSESSED with this and the concept and goal of hallway pizza was born.  A pizza, delivered to the hallway outside our room, just because we could.  And, around 3-something AM, we met our goals.


And then, having eaten and drank like an asshole all day, I passed the hell out.  Check my soft hands.  Thank you gymnastics and dance for perfect form!

Monday: Don’t Rock The Boat.  Really.

…and slept until 11AM.  I can’t remember the last time I slept that late – some people begrudge the interior rooms of the cruise ship because they can’t see light – I enjoy the hell out of it since my bedroom wakes me up no later than 9 most days unless I try reallyrealyreally hard.  We both woke up going “FOOD NAOW” because obviously 3 meals and pizza wasn’t sufficient yesterday, so we grabbed some soup, and I made an epic salad from their salad bar, and I noshed on some fresh bread.  However, the captain rudely did not understand that I had tied one on last night and kept rocking the boat which was not making me thrilled, and I couldn’t eat very much of it.

I pushed through and we met up with J and M to play some Phase 10.  J had beginners luck and he won… sadly I never got a rematch.  After enough hot tea and adrenaline pumping game playing, I started feeling better.  Since I couldn’t eat my lunch, we hit up the 24 hour diner and I snacked on some wonton soup, fish, and coleslaw.  We retired to the room after and I curled up with my book and napped and read and napped and read all afternoon.  It was fabulous!

It was dress up (or not) night, and we brought lots of fancy clothings, so we got up and put on our fancy duds but I got lazy with the makeup and didn’t even put in contacts.  I think I did alright.  We took fancy pics and one actually turned out, so we got it.  We swang by the karaoke and found the bride and groom and hung out with them for a while waiting for dinner – we were all going to teppanyaki that night.  When we met up with the flower boy and A, she and I were wearing the exact same setup, same color/cut of dress, same black bolero, same color shoes and tights, and practically the same jewelry.  It was uncanny how good her taste is!  Sadly, no pics (EDIT: of both of us but here’s Zliten and I lookin’ swanky)

But oh, the teppanyaki was pretty epic.  We started with miso soup and seaweed salad, and then we got veggies, fried rice, and I got filet and shrimp.  Perfectly cooked, and the show was fun – he tossed eggs at the boys to catch in their mouths, and was incredibly talented.  Then, we got some amazing green tea cake and ice cream.  So, so, so good, and it was fun to dine as a group – the whole wedding party and both sets of parents, our whole cruising party.

After that, our peeps headed to the bar to drink a bit, however, since we had tied one on two days in a row, and we were running long the next day, we sipped mint tea while we chatted, and bowed out early.  More reading in bed, and then we drifted off dreaming of what adventures we’d have on the Juneau trails tomorrow.  If only we knew what was in store…

Part 2 of the Epic Vacation saga soon!


I Been Everywhere, Man

Hey dudes and dudettes!

I’ve been in Seattle, Alaska, Canada, on planes, boats, bikes, running trails and even on a spaceship on stilts!

(ganked picture courtesy of the lovely bride…)

I saw glaciers, bears, sea lions, otters, puffins, jellyfish, and the best wildlife of all, my good friends get mawwied.

I wore everything from a bridesmaid dress to a wetsuit.

Right now, though, since I completely unplug on vacation, I am behind on everything from email to laundry to cycling miles on evilbike… so let’s chat more this weekend, eh? (I was in Canada for 5 hours, I’m allowed)

Band on a Boat – Tri Rock Austin (Olympic)

Races on a Monday on a holiday weekend make me sad.

I love racing, but I also love the champagne and patio time and deconstruction and playing music and basking in the glow of an awesome race or plotting how to do better that comes after.  And this is much better done with a day of recovery after.  Normal Sunday races are definitely offenders, but putting a race on a Monday of a holiday weekend is just extremely cruel.  I have Friday, and Saturday AND Sunday night to be good and not do anything above PG-13, and it sucks.  It’s a perfect opportunity for a Sunday race not to make Monday at work evil.  I’ve actually looked at this race 2 years in a row and nixed it because of what day it fell on.  Actually, both Austin Olympic distance races are on Mondays (CapTex on Memorial Day, and this one).  Mean, mean race directors.

But then it showed up on the TX Tri series.  So my race registration hand was forced.  I have vacation to look forward to soon, and I’ve become accomplished at learning how to not have my post-race Sunday fundays really fuck up my next day (read: nuun, eating a lot, and early sleep), and it actually worked out because Saturday became the RUN ALL THE ERRANDS day (not kidding, we left the house at noon, and didn’t finish until 9, it was ridiculous!) and having that be the day before a race would have blown.  Sunday was a run all over town day, but mostly in the car and sitting type stuff so my legs felt pretty rested.  I had put a 15 min swim/bike/run shakeout on the schedule but after the exhausting day Saturday and lack of time, we called it an extra rest day.  I’m pretty sure that 45 mins of easy multisporting w/pickups would not have made or broken my day, though it’s something I’d like to try to get in the habit of doing to see if it does good things for me (I usually go pretty heavy handed on rest days pre-race week except when I’m dumb, like Jack’s Utter Lack of Rest Days Generic Tri).

At the expo, I picked up one of those nifty TYR carbon tri suits for half off!  It’s a little snug, but apparently it’s supposed to be, and it looks pretty good.  Zliten and I will probably be sporting matching suits for Kerrville!  The shirts kinda sucked, I loved the color and the design, but it wasn’t girly fit and the shirts ran super big – like my medium fit Zliten.  Oh well, PJ shirt or maybe I’ll wash it and dry it on hot and hope it shrinks.  Also got a sweet hat, a water bottle, some bars, and some other random stuff in the packets.  We also had to rack our bikes the day before, and had assigned racking with very little space.  Also, we got race tattoos instead of body marking.  Crazy!

We didn’t get to sleep until about 10, but I got 6 SOLID hours and woke up feeling pretty great.  It’s been months since I was really excited about a race, and I think with all the racing I’ve forgotten how to be nervous, but I was really stoked to be racing an Olympic for the first time in almost 2 years.

Pre-race pretty much goes like clockwork nowadays.  Oatmega mint breakfast bar, chai late, put on peppy tunez, try to poo a bunch, get dressed and fill camelback and bottles, put the bags in the car, get to the race, set up transition, use the porta potty, warmup run, porta potty again, run into people we know… we saw our coworker/friend J, and I saw Maureen in line for the potties the second time, and then after Zliten’s wave started I found our tri-friend Brian and his mom.  It’s nice after a few years of doing this to have friends.  I remember my first year of doing this it was kinda lonely.

The only difference this time was no warmup swim.  Boo.  However, there was a band… on a boat!  Definitely a first for me.  Very quickly, we made our way down to the water, I placed my flippie floppie, they sang the national anthem, and the open wave was off, then the young uns, then Zliten and J.  Fast forward 20 minutes, I’m jumping off the dock, treading water, and then the horn goes, just as someone kicks me HARD in the heel that’s been a little touchy.  Yay!

It wasn’t the nicest lake swim ever, it had a whole lot of nature.  However, I do love a nice long swim and after 300m or so I found my stroke and just swam steady.  It felt slow, sustainable, and comfortable.  I had no idea if I was the last person in my wave or what, but I passed a few people in waves before me and had not too many other color caps pass me.  I ate some lake water as it started to get choppy but I made it out and felt barely winded though a little disorented being upright after just under 40 mins of paddling.

Swim time: 39:39 for 1500m

T1 went according to plan.  Camelback and helmet/glasses on the bike itself was sort of nice – I wasn’t bent over stressing my back as long.  I will probably continue this.  Exiting what I thought was the mount line wasn’t – you had a HUGE LONG run with your bike to actually get to the mount line which was annoying with clompy clomper bike shoes.  I expected this to be longer than normal and it was.

T1: 4:35

The bike was a joy, minus perhaps that first hill climb right at mile 2.  The majority of people seem to hate loop courses, but for me, the more the merrier.  The more times I ride terrain, the better and speedier I get each lap.  When I know what to expect I can use my energy more wisely, and while some people can study maps and elevation charts and understand from driving it, I really only know what it is to bike a place if I’ve biked it.  My goal was to ride the first loop sustainable pace that felt like I could go forever, and speed up from there.

Well, I didn’t really do that.  I did ride at what felt like sustainable pace, but it certainly wasn’t 15mph like I’d planned, it was closer to 16.  I didn’t fight it, and the second lap I was right about 16.5, and then I knocked out a little more speed on the third and spun the last mile or so easy to get my legs ready to run and ended up with a 16.69 pace.

I was scared as all get out about this bike course because I just don’t understand damn elevation charts.  This one looked like a wicked course, but I loved it more than every other course I’ve ridden except maybe Kerrville sprint.  I could have eeked out a few more tenths of MPH but I was really enjoying myself, I had more than beat my speed and time goal, and it was getting hot, I knew the run would be brutal.

The only negatives are that a huge tri with a 3 loop course, you’re always drafting a little even if you’re trying not to, rude people with 10k$ bikes, rude people with 10$ bikes riding on the left, and the fact that I am dumb and thought I dropped my chain but instead I just was going down a hill and had no resistance.  Duh.  I swear I’ve been riding my bike for more than 2 days.

Bike time: 1:29:54 for 25 miles

T2, I realized after doing my normal switcheroo and grab that I had way too many things in my hands to deal with, because I had added a wristband gel holder, a baggie of ice, and a frozen water bottle to my normal race belt and visor, and made the call to take some extra time to sort shit out.  Baggie went down the back of my shirt, freezy bottle went down my cleavage, gel and holder went on, visor, and belt, and I was off.

T2: 3:45 (see, long.  But it was a choice, not a fuckup).

That water bottle and baggie was my savior for the first 3 miles.  The sun was beating down and it was hot as balls.  My goal this time was to do everything I could to make it not an excuse, but something I could overcome.  A lot of the run is kind of a blur, especially the last few miles, but here are the high/low points.

-Friend filled run: I saw C and M cheering for us!  That was a huge boost, both on the first lap when they were there, and the second, even though they had left already, I was like “I can’t walk by them” and once I had made it by that spot, I felt better.  I ran into Maureen about mile 1 who tried to get me to run faster with her, but I was just lucky to maintain where I was at.  I ran into our tri friend quite a few times, he caught up to me at a point where I was really hurting, I picked it up for a while, but he had to take off.  It helped me not to walk.  Oh, I wanted to walk.  So badly.  But I read something that really stuck with me HERE (which btw is my new favorite blog), is she mentions that walking is a choice.  Well, I may have been shuffling in the 12s at times, but I was not ready to make the walking choice.  I’m still pissed at walking at Couples, and I think that is going to stick with me for a long time and keep me at least pretend running when the going gets tough.

-However, with a 3 loop course and a 2 loop run that doubles back on itself over and over, I never once saw Zliten (or J for that matter).  We both were a little worried about each other until we met up at the finish.

-Ice ice baby: A frozen solid water bottle lasted me 3 miles.  That’s how dang hot it was.  However, I kept fairly decent pace those 3 miles (~10:30s) and just started to fade once my freezy friend was gone.

-The epic hill at the end of both loops was just mean.  Especially the second time with no water and all the hot.

-I passed two girls in my age group on the way to the finish.

-My goal was under 11 min miles, and I just eeked out 10:57 pace.  Yay!

Run time: 1:07:56 for 10k. 

Total time: 3:25:52. 

Considering my pie in the sky goal was 3:30, and my first effort 2 years ago was 4:04 and change, I am over the moon!  A 39 minute PR! Simple math at the end of a race is hard.  I spent lots of time in my head trying to figure out my times from pieces of information I recalled (what wave was being called when I exited the swim, what the clock said at mile 3.something calculating how long I started after the first wave and adding what I thought the rest of my run time was), but thankfully the results were up quickly and I just kept high fiving Zliten all day saying “3:25!!!”.

Next up is the race for all the pistachios.  The A race of all A races for 2012.

With this fucker to conquer on the bike (2 loops).

Considering how my body feels this week so far (freaking fantastic – almost no carnage from the race at all), and the fact that I just have a little bit of hay left to shovel into the barn, I’m ready.  Bring it on.  I’m ready for half iron day.

Training recap:

Last week:

MONDAY: 1650m swim + weights
TUESDAY: 45 mile trainer (30)
WEDNESDAY: triple bricks (20 mile bike, 3 mile run) double bricks (10 mile ride, 2 mile run)+ weights
THURSDAY: 10 mile run  (6 mile run + 25 mile bike)
FRIDAY: 1500m swim
SUNDAY: 15 mins swim/bike/run w/pickups extra rest day

This week:

MONDAY: OLYMPIC TRI (1500m, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run)
TUESDAY: 1050m swim + weights
WEDNESDAY: 35 mile trainer
THURSDAY: 6 mile run + weights
SATURDAY: 16 mile run

As you can see, training last week did not go according to plan.  I cut some bike miles due to schedule crap so I could get 8 hours of sleep.  Then my heel decided to act up a bit and to be careful, I cut some run miles and added back the bike miles.  I think I ended up flush with the bike and about ~5 down on the run.  I also cut the day before the race as my off day actually ended up being RUN ALL THE ERRANDS for 10 hours (literally), so rest was better than some arbitrary miles.  I wanted to make sure I was excited and hungry for this.

This week should go more according to plan-ish.  This week is also my first real definitely longer than half marathon run without a race to help me.  It says 16 miles, but I’m considering just changing that to 3 hours, putting on something to zone out to, changing my garmin to just display time and HR, and just being one with the road.

For now, I have a crap ton of stuff to do and not much time in which to do it.

**Note: I swear I have post race pictures.  Can’t find em.  For now, please take this offering of a picture of mah new hair did (Birds fixed my layers).

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