Adjusted Reality

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

Month: December 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

Out With the 2012, In With the 2013 – New Years Resolutions

It’s my favorite time of the year!  Ok, not quite better than my birthday.  Or triathlon season.  Or patio weather.  Ok, fine, it’s a time in the winter that I hate less than others, let’s all get excited!  IT’S RESOLUTION RECAP TIME!

Last Years Resolutions:

1. Take care of the weight problem.

–Totally unspecific and total FAIL.  I’m the same weight as I was last year.  July and August were nice on the scale but September, November, and December put it all back on.  Boo.

2. Play more games, read more, make a pitch doc

–Games – check-ish, at least later in the year when I decided to start working my way through Telltale Games library of adventure games on the PS3 and especially now that we have the office set up this last week or so.  Read more, big check.  I’ve read more this year than I have since I was in college.  At least ~20 books.  Pitch doc – total FAIL.  My brain is just not there yet.  However, I have big plans with the office being set up!

3. Race goals:

Finish a marathon, a century ride, and a half ironman.
—Check, check, and check!  (I may have INTENDED a imperial century but I did 2 metrics so I’m totally counting it…)

Note that with this goal, I’m NOT making the next goal to PR everything.
—CHECK. Glad I said this.  My running this year was DISMAL compared to when I just focused on it, but I pulled some other PRs out this year.

Really concentrate on my bike times.
—CHECK. My short game improved a little, but I got MUCH faster at longer distances.  My first 50+ ride was under 12 mph, my half ironman pace 6 months later was about 16 mph.

Complete all TX Tri Series races (6 tris in 5 months).  PR at least 1.
—CHECK!… and PR’d the two I did last year, 40 min Olympic PR, and since I did my first 70.3, that counts as a PR too!

Take at least 3 months of the year not in training (off season) to mentally and physically rest.
—Well, 7 weeks between my marathon and the start of prep is not quite 3 months, but it’s definitely ENOUGH.  Calling it CHECK.

Stretch after every workout.
—Ha!  Ha!  Hahahahahah!!!! Ha- oh wait, I was serious.  Dang it, I REALLY need to be better about this.

Strength train 2x week (catch another crunchtime class at lunch?)
—Up until September, total check.  Usually 3x.  Fell off after vacation though… glad to start back up next week once my back is fixed.

Let’s try this again.  Run a race somewhere outside Texas.  I’ll have some opportunities next year, very likely San Diego.
—CHECK!  America’s Finest Half Marathon, check.

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.
—Ooops.  Racing 24 times really made it hard to volunteer (excuses excuses).  Next year, I already have at least 2 races that since I’m not racing, I want to volunteer at.

4. Start one major house renovation this year.

—Windows (new through the whole house), check!  Started AND finished.  Chigidy check!

5.  One liners (these seem strangely familiar)

Get the office set up as an office/craft room
—Check-ish.  Office is finally set up, there’s more work to be done, but it’s finally in a usable state.  Hooray!

Decide what to do with the savings now that we have some
—Errrr.  We’ve done a little but we could do more.

Do more batch cooking so having healthy lunches and dinners available is easier.
—Big fat fail except one experiment in December which rocked my socks off.  This is a huge goal next year though.

Learn to sew.
—Kinda hard to do without a sewing machine, but now that I have one… yeah.  2013 on this one, bitches!  

-Learn the party rock anthem dance.
—Yeah…no.  But I’ve definitely gotten drunk and PRETENDED that I knew it a lot in 2012 so I’m calling it CHECK! 🙂

So, I hit some pretty big goals last year, but some things definitely fell to the wayside pursuing all those races (note that it actually wasn’t in my resolutions for 2012, because Zliten decided on that one…).  Next year I’d like to be a bit more centered, focused, and balanced.

Without further ado… 2013 Resolutions!!!

1.  Be a serious, focused, well and specifically trained triathlete following the Triathlete’s Training Bible plan.  Make a plan and stick to it. I want a shiny new PR for each tri distance at least, which shouldn’t be difficult.  The goal is to just to do better in each repeated race than I did the year before.  This will be discussed in detail on this blog because this is what I do – so for now we can leave it at that.

2. Probably the single most thing I can do to improve my times is improve body composition.  I’ve had a few false starts at this, but 2013 is my year, I think, partly because I’m finally really getting it in my head that it’s not about looking good in jeans, it’s about PRs – which actually matter a lot to me.  Instead of vague goals, here is what I would like to do:

  • Back to 2012 race weight by Feb 1 (175)
  • Lose 5 more by March 1 (170)
  • Maintain through March (birthday month) and April (cruise)
  • Lose 5 more in May and June (160)
  • Maintain 160 through end of season
  • Don’t go above 165 in offseason

And, I realize that my strength is making goals and plans.  Here are the things I am going to do to get there:

  • Fruit and veggie cleanse first week in January before training starts to get this party started, then no sweet treats in January
  • Batch cooking – having my food mapped out and ready for me ahead of time so the week is just all about execute
  • Allowing just one meal off plan, and one day of drinks that slightly elevate calories per week (not on the same days, and try not to have them be off workout days)
  • Realizing that what goes in Zliten’s mouth does not need to always go in mine and to lose weight I need to eat what makes Zliten lose weight minus 500 calories
  • Careful planning and tracking of calories to make sure I’m getting the right amount, monitoring the food quality to make sure I’m at least 80/20 organic, whole, and healthy food.
  • And, if I inevitably fuck up, get right back on track the next meal

3. Keep taking steps towards making my house not look like a slobby college student is renting it.  Our goals this year are:

  • Get a new stove, couch, front door, and coffee table
  • Get granite counters instead of this white formica crap
  • Spend the year focusing on getting more organized.  Each month, we will pick one room or “zone” (because some rooms need to be divided and some need to be groups) and pull everything out, see what we can get rid of, and buying or utilizing a better way to store and organize it.  The zones are: 1. garage 2. kitchen 3. breakfast nook/bar area 4. living room 5. guest room 6. workout room 7. living room 8. office 9. bedroom 10. bedroom closet 11.patio and mud room 12. all other common areas/bathrooms

4 Social Habits:

a) Get better at being social without drinking like a fish.  With work and training, I can get into a rut where I either want to just get drunk, or just sit on my couch with Zliten and not talk to anyone else because I’m both physically and mentally fatigued.  It got real bad this year to the point where we didn’t see friends for months during peak training unless they came over during our few hours of approved party time.  This year, I would like to get better at two things:

  • Doing at least one non-alcohol related activity with friends per month.  Movie, bowling, pool, dinner, game night, etc etc.
  • Being able to go out, have a few drinks, and then not come home and get sloshed on my patio.  Figure out where I go from happy buzz to catching a second wind and stop just short of that most nights.

That being said – I love my drinking habit!  2013 will definitely involve some patio + vodka time because it makes the soul happy.

b) Completely cut out cigs by April 1.  I know, shocker – I’m an athlete and I still indulge in a few smokes when hitting the bottle.  My goal in 2009 was to run a marathon and still smoke (I know, stupid now), and inadvertently I did it, not really meaning to since I haven’t quite managed to completely cut the cord.  While it really isn’t enough to truly do much damage, and I’ve been smoke-when-I-drink-ing for 3 years so there’s little risk in it coming back as a full blown habit, I’d just like to be done with it (plus, I bet I see some improved times).  Last week, we got e-cigs (a low dose of nicotine, but no other tar/chemicals), and while they are not quite the same and an adjustment, I’ve smoked about 1/4 or less of what I would on comparable nights (and after NYE, I’m going to be a bit more stringent – no “analogs” unless I’m really and truly going to go fucking nuts and hurt someone).  We have one cartridge of the lowest nicotine level, and one of 0 and plan on seeing if it’s the nic we really miss or just the habit and taste.  I love to smoke, but I also like living, so time to deal with this.

5. Do something with the blog.  This space was just really a place for me to learn web design and host my resume and art and crap back in my other life where I was going to be a web designer/artist.  In 2008 after being idle for years I just slapped a blog on it so I could have a little soapbox to the world and be done with LiveJournal.  Zliten and I are working on collaboration between his new GoPro and video making skills and my writing, and I expect to see some changes to my little space here instead of being a dilapidated little shack of a blog that barely still stands and allows me to journal what I’m doing once a week.  Still trying to think up a name though.  All the cool ones are taken.

6. One liners:

Learn to sew.  I got a sweet sewing machine and table for Christmas.  I’d like, by next year, to have produced one article of clothing from scratch that I can wear out of the house.

Take a nice, week long vacation somewhere in November or December once season is over (i.e. not crap both vacations this year into 3 weeks during peak training).  Hawaii? Costa Rica?

Learn to scuba dive before our cruise in April.

Take mental health days when I need them, and make sure that I monitor my crispiness during training to make sure I’m not too fried

Play more games.  Since the office is set up, I can actually play things on my computer and I will continue to work through telltales’ library on the PS3.  Get caught up to level cap in my own game.  Continue to derive inspiration from my industry.

Host a game night once a month.

Continue to read more.  At least 20 books this year.

Volunteer more.  At races, at the park, etc.

…and that’s all!  Time to get the house ready for our awesome apocalypse-end-of-times New Years party!  Question of the day:  what is your biggest 2013 New Years Resolution?

Hobbled (Rant)

So, I had a fantastic amazing Christmas Eve and day.  I was all….

But then on Boxing Day, the day we had planned to wake up and do 100 miles on the trainer, I was all…

Nothing crazy epic, just went to sleep fine and woke up FUCKED.  My back decided to go out and in a bad bad way it hasn’t since 2011.  I’ve been going through 2.5  days of excruciating pain and not being able to get out of bed, shower, dress myself, make food, be awesome, etc.  For someone like me who is all traintraintrain and if not training then partyparty and not really conditioned to restrestrest especially when I’ve been doing that lately and also REALLY not a fan of just staying in bed all day… misery and torture.  Today though, I have finally, after 2 chiropractor visits, lots of ibu and 303 muscle relaxers, finally turned a corner and can sit up for more than 3 minutes at a time without agony.  I expected my Christmas break would be full of epic shit, but instead it’s full of a lot of not doing much.  Bleh.  At least I’m at the point now where drinking and video games are a viable option (hello 2004, missed you maybe?), that last two days was a NIGHTMARE.

Even if I feel better, I’m not cleared to do anything more exciting than casual swimming until at least Wednesday, so it’s another forced week of rest.  Boo.  Training starts Jan 7th, so I don’t see a stupid long trainer in the cards, and, well, that’s ok.  I’ll be doing lots of trainer miles soon enough and I’ll apply this fire to that.  Running I’m most ok with since I have kept up on it a lot late this year (yay marathon), but there have been so many pretty running days in the last 2 weeks I’ve had to stay inside that it makes me sad.  At least I can play with my swimp3 if I feel better and the gym is open.  So wheeee for that!

So, I have two more wrapup posts of our 2012 races started.  Also, the annual 2012 resolution recap, and the 2013 resolution extravaganza started too.  Now that I’m able to sit in front of a computer for a bit, they’re coming, just not as quickly as I would like.  I’m sure no one cares but I, but still, I was excited to get these words down and out there!  Sigh…

Forgive the attitude, but I haven’t ran since Dec 15 (the start of my heel being a jerk), haven’t biked or swam since Christmas Eve, and barely being able to move has me in a little bit of a dark place.  It’s a good thing I was too hobbled to attack all the Christmas sweets too hard.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a new day.  A day where my back isn’t angry as fuck at me.  And I can get on with my life.

Apparently offseason hates me.  Next year, I need to take up epic underwater basket weaving to give my mind a break but keep my body going, because apparently not serious training = injury after injury.  Fuck you, body.  I guess the only consolation is that I’m not ruining any real training – but from the last race until the first day of training, apparently I’m going to be impared.  Is it my body’s way of trying to keep me from doing anything, or finally the permission to break down, or just Murphy’s Law?

Either way, I will listen, even if I’m dragged kicking and screaming, if only to tip the odds to having a fabulous, injury free 2013 season.

Question of the day: what was your worst injury in 2012?

24 Races In 12 Months Recap (Jan – Apr)

Holy crap. After almost a week, I’ve gotten over the funk I was in and I’m ready to bask in the accomplishment of actually getting to the start (and finish) line of 24 races this year in one piece.  Things I’ve learned overall:

How to get to the start line

  • What works for me to eat the day before and when (meat, taters, veggies or giant sammiches, around 2-4pm is optimal and then a snack before bed).
  • How to warm up for each distance (triathlon, a lot of walking around, then a half mile run with pickups, then as long of a swim as I can get – 100m at least)
  • What to pack for each type of race
  • What to eat for breakfast (oatmega or PR bar, chai tea, and organic lactose free milk or a honeymilk/muscle milk if it’s a distance race) and when (as early as I can)
  • How to calm the race nerves, and know that you’re too burnt and racing too much when you have absolutely zero butterflies.

How to keep my head in the race

  • What to think about before the race (visualizing the whole race going smoothly and going through the entire race plan several times)
  • Being strict about not going out all “happy puppy” (thanks to Libby – I love that expression) and building intensity through the race.  I’m not great at negative splitting races, but I’m getting closer than I ever have and definitely not fizzle-booming like I used to.
  • When your head starts going to the bad place, eat.  Shove something in your mouth.  That’s what that means.
  • Z- EAT MOAR!
  • Even if something goes horribly wrong (lady cramps at mile 16 of a marathon, dizziness and lightheadedness at mile 6 of a 70.3), or it’s just not your day, don’t just give up.  Push as long as you can, slow down, take stock, assess the situation, make steps towards fixing it, and get going again when you can.  Reassess your time goal and make another one.  Even if you have to do this 20 times, I guarantee you’ll get to the finish line faster than if you just say “fuck it, I’m not PRing, I may as well walk it in” and you’ll still have a race to be proud of.
  • Sometimes a victory is finishing a race happy and strong even if your race time isn’t what you expected.

After the race

  • Get some calories in right away even if you’re not hungry and don’t feel like it.  Even with the great stomach debauchle of the half ironman, I ate til I felt sick, let it pass, and continued that cycle to get at least a few hundred calories of food down and as much as I could drink.
  • Every race deserves champagne, from a slow 5k to a triathlon PR to a first marathon.
  • Z- Have some bubbly every race! it is important to celebrate your effort. Before the results come out!
  • Wear your race medal all day, and you’ll probably need to take a picture of yourself biting it.  It’s just tradition!
  • A race day is considered a holiday in my book, and thus I am allowed to eat whatever I want that day.
  • Sunday races suck – but most triathlons are on Sundays, so just get to bed early enough the hangover isn’t TOO heinous the next day.  Nuun while drinking also helps with that.

So, without further ado, here’s a quick play by play:

January 21 – Austin Gorilla Run (5k)

Time: 31 and change

Coolest thing about this race: Running around Austin in a gorilla suit and after training up Zliten all winter, he PR’d his 5k in a gorilla suit at a fun run.  As the kids say, BEAST.

Lessons learned from this race: 5ks in the January cold are much better in a thick gorilla suit.

Zliten notes from the race: 2 years in a row at the gorilla run, and this year it wasn’t in the 20’s. It was still cold, but much better then before. Somehow I ran it faster than any other 5k before, but then again I was in training for a half marathon at that point.

January 29 – 3M Half Marathon

Time: 2:27 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: full on downhill course in our bike stomping grounds so we knew it well, and it was Zliten’s first half!

Lessons learned from this race: Not every race is about my PR attempts – it was a blast just pacing Zliten and dancing around to my music and being silly at the spectators.

Zliten notes from the race: WooHoo all downhill and 13 miles done. The only thing stinky was the school busses they  used to get us back to the start. They had an odor of smelly runner. I really enjoyed the start of this race, getting to run on roads I drive on all the time was neat.

February 20 – Austin Half Marathon

Time: 2:29 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: my fave race shirt and silicone pint glass schwag came from this race.  Also, Zliten almost crushed his PR set a month earlier on a much harder course.

Lessons learned from this race: if you’re not sad when the marathoners split off and you were supposed to be running the marathon, you are totally not ready to run a marathon.

Zliten notes from this race: This course was way harder than the 3m, but it was awesome since I got to run it with Quix and a few co workers. We all stayed together until about mile 6 where I just took off! It was a rough finish but also very fulfilling.

February 26: Lifetime Fitness Indoor Tri (10 mins swim, 30 mins spin bike, 20 mins treadmill run time trial)

Distances: Quix swam 450m in 10 mins, biked 15.5 miles in 30 mins (not accurate distance), ran 2.38 miles in 20 mins – 2nd place under 40 out of 11! (Indoor Tri PR – can I call it that?) Race Report / Zliten swam 325m in 10 mins, biked 22.2 miles in 30 mins (not accurate distance), ran 2.13 miles in 20 mins

Coolest thing about this race: first race in 3 months I was able to just open up and race, loved the format, first place under 40 on the bike!!

Lessons learned from this race: I got really down on myself when I didn’t hit my bike goal and I came in first by a long shot (though I had no idea at the time).  I took out some frustration on the treadmill but a better attitude would have been “hey, I may have not done quite what I wanted on the bike but I did my best, so let’s try to kick some major ass on the run” instead of feeling like I had to make magic on that run or I was worthless.

Zliten notes from the race: Well I had the best distance on the bike by quite a bit on this one. But my swimming was poor and my run was disappointing. That is ok. It was a fun morning and great to see a bunch of people do their first multi-sport event. The crowd was very different from what you see out at a regular triathlon, and there was almost no spandex here. I think Ill wear my tri suit at the next one.

March 11 – Blue Norther Duathlon (5k run, 14 mile bike, 5k run)

Time: Quix 1:58 (Duathlon PR – my first :D) Race Report / Zliten 2:06

Coolest thing about this race: first real sanctioned duathlon, held some really nice 5k paces both times, did not melt or wreck and die riding in the rain for the first time ever ever.

Lessons learned from this race: I needed clipless pedals badly (which I had but hadn’t put on yet), and needed to get on the bike more and ride more hills

Zliten notes from the race: Cold and rainy to start, humid and hot to end. But the bike was all magical unicorns if unicorns were muddy cold rain beasts. I had a few bike malfunctions but was able to stay on it, then the second run and I had some talks about slippery mud but again I stayed upright. We didn’t know how we did placement wise so we stayed until the awards were given out. And of course we didn’t place, but we finished and that is the most important part.

March 24 – Rosedale Ride (62 mile bike)

Time: 5:15 Race Report

Coolest thing about this race: first metric century OMG!  …and we didn’t even go into the race meaning to do the distance.  Crazy/stupid/impulsive/fun.

Lessons learned from this race: holy crapballs, use your new pedals for more than a week before doing a 60+ mile ride with lots of stops (hello 3 crashes), also, more time in the saddle was SO needed because this was the most sore and tired I had ever been in my life after a race, and I was to be doing a 1.2 mile swim before and a half marathon after.  Also, I didn’t die so I’m sticking with the 60 mile turnoff was a good decision.

Zliten notes from this race: Should we turn here? Yeah its the 40 to 60 mile turn we can make the 60 mile choice later. Should we turn, why not we are feeling great! What its only 38 miles in, why am I feeling like I want to die and never ride again? Food, yes oh thank you boy scout troop what ever you were at the next rest stop. I think I had 8 cookies! We finished, I made it a few yards past the finish line and laid down in some grass. I didn’t even care about the ants biting me for a few moments.  The drive home was more difficult than I expected, my legs really didn’t want to work all that well.

April 15 – Austin 10/20 (10 mile run)

Time: Quix – 1:41:51 (auto PR – 1st 10 miler) Race Report / Zliten 1:49:52

Coolest thing about this race: first 10 miler, closest I’ve ever come to negatively splitting a race, kept a great pacing strategy, started in my work parking lot so it was 5 mins away from the house.

Lessons learned from the race: fast and flat doesn’t mean pancake – conserve a little more for second half slight incline of pretty much 5 miles.  A little more speedwork/specific training would have helped me get a little closer to my 1:35 goal.

Zliten notes from the race: First race where I had to take a stop and find a porta potty. Also my glasses fogged up real bad in said porta potty and were useless the rest of the race. The organizers did a great job with this one. A band every .5 miles and plenty of water stops, there was even an ice cold towel stop at mile 8ish. Just great!

April 25 – Georgetown Red Poppy Ride (66 mile bike)

Time: 5:05 (Metric century PR) Race Report

Coolest thing about this race:  the second time wasn’t nearly as hard (I felt like maybe I could have ran a few slow miles off the bike instead of just dropping to the ground in exhaustion), and no crashes on the pedals!

Lessons learned from the race: EAT EAT EAT a lot on the bike.  Feeling like a little piggy in the first half = energy in the second half.  Also, no matter how well you plan, you’ll want whatever isn’t in your bento box.  Also, as before OMG more long bike rides needed.  Also, also – WIND SUCKS.

Zliten notes from the race: Wind wind wind and a little bit of a mental breakdown at one point. I did not eat nearly enough. I had to stop 3 times and just sit down until I felt better. I learned from it though and did better on every long ride after. I would love to do this ride again but with a little less wind. It was beautiful to be out riding in farmland.

When our bike shoes touched down at that finish line, it became officially tri season!  Look for the next post for our summer of triathlet-ing!

The Tipping Point

We’ll get to the massive amount of end of year recapping that happens around this here blog soon – but I had to share this one as it’s in my brain.

I’m finally at that point where I am really, really ready to get down and dirty and do something about this extra flubber.

My intention was to give myself a week after the marathon and then really hop on the train.  However, that didn’t work once I realized I had all this pent up partying and stress relief and just letting loose a bit, I needed to do and it wouldn’t be healthy for me to clamp down immediately and become a food nazi.  My diet has been at least in the “fair to okay” range (I’m not eating burgers and mexican combo plates and pizza every day or anything), but I’m finding that I am popping out for takeout more than I’d like because I’ll have shit to do, and then by the time I get home, I’m starving and don’t want to take the 30 mins+ to cook something.  Also, with all the celebratory stuff going on around the holidays, I want in like a kid outside a candy store because I have spent a lot of the year watching celebrations and social events go by that I didn’t have the time or energy for, and now I do.

So I’ve given myself some latitude the last few weeks.  Somehow latitude + celebration + offseason short basic fitness workouts = nothing fits right anymore.  I had a small breakdown on Saturday when I couldn’t find anything to run my second 5k in that didn’t make me feel like a major before picture and jokingly threatened that I was going to stay home and not take race pictures.  That’s when the tipping point happened.  This is no longer a “lalala I’d like to improve my body comp” type thing.  It’s now an action item.

I have two big motivations:

1. I believe the single thing I could do to improve my times in tris next year is safely and healthily shed some weight and turn more flubber into muscle.  For someone who loves to attack a training schedule, I fall flat on my face lately when trying to do this simple thing of “put just a little bit less than my body wants of good things in my mouth”.  When I decide to screw the pooch and make bad food and drink choices, I need to remember that this is akin to skipping or cheesing out on a training session.  Sometimes it’s necessary.  Most often, it’s not, and I need to imagine that delicious looking cake adding seconds to my race times.

2. Zliten got a GoPro camera for xmas (don’t worry, he’s already unwrapped it so I’m not ruining the surprise).  Now he’s dreaming about all sorts of videos to make, and filmed both of our races yesterday.  Let’s just say I’m not happy with what’s on camera, and if I’m going to be the star of the show, I refuse to look the way I do now.  I’m actually incredibly thankful for this motivation.  Clothes don’t motivate me as much – I can always buy new ones.  I still take a pretty keen picture from the right angles.  However, video is way less forgiving and just as I refused to get married until I was sure I’d treasure those wedding photos and not just hide them under the bed, I don’t want to be pasting my ass all over the internet the way it looks right now.  And since I don’t get to set the time line on that one, I better get on it.  ASAP.

This is a lot of talk from someone who has been here quite a few times in the last few years.  All you can do is fall down seven times, get back up eight, right?

So, here is my plan for success and timeline.  I am nothing if not a planner.

Now – Dec 31:

1. Now that the holiday parties and work treats and such are over, stop eating that crap.  The only exception is the requisite tin of holiday popcorn which I will portion out like a snack and not sit and stuff my face at and pretend like it doesn’t have calories because I’m having a handful here and there.  Other things, if I want it, buy it and save it for bike fuel next year.

2. Actually track my food and try to keep the calorie count and quality reasonable (for my activity level right now, I will not keel over and die if consume about 1500 calories).

3. The exceptions to this rule: Christmas eve (try to keep the food in check, but definitely drink all the absinthes as is per household tradition), Christmas day (no drinking, and be reasonable, but enjoy the family’s traditional lasagna, salad, garlic bread, and desserts), the day of our epic 100 mile trainer ride/movie marathon because I’ll be burning more than that, and New Years Eve (good healthy food, but in enough quantity that when the champers starts flowing, I don’t make a fool of myself  at the party we’re hosting).

4. My food weaknesses are getting too hungry to make rational food choices and eating everything that Zliten eats (not accepting that as a female, I burn ~500 calories less than he does – how rude).  My food strengths are that I really like a lot of healthy foods and it’s not challenging for me to find a whole plethora of things that are both good for me and delicious), and that I’m lazy.  If what I’m craving is separated from me by a car, and I have something that sounds halfway decent in the fridge ready to heat up, I’m 99% of the time going for what’s in front of me.  I think this is the second part of the equation of why I lost weight during peak training season (besides training volume) – Zliten was crunching at work and I had to fend for myself for most meals, and I ended up eating a lot of “what’s around” instead of being motivated to get food from a eatery place.

Identifying that, I think I have the answer, and it’s something I resisted for a long time: batch cooking.  After purchasing enough My Fit Foods and liking them well enough but they always needed a little something, I’m going to make My Own Fit Foods – I even saved the containers.  So the plan is – Friday is grocery day.  Then, every weekend, we’re going to cook 3 meals that each has 6 servings (3 for me, 3 for Zliten) and store them away for lunches and dinners (I’m aware that 9 != 14, but that leaves me 5 meals to either whip something else up or go out).  I plan to do one soup/stew, and have Zliten pick one meal and I’ll pick one meal.  For example, next week, we’ll make pork noodle soup + stir fry, shepard’s pie, and chicken taco/burrito/salad filling.  We’ll probably go out a few times and make fish for the rest of them.  The awesome part of all this is I will know exactly how many calories I will be eating because I already have the food made and portioned out and I can then figure out what I have left for snacks.

These are the first steps.  Then, January I’ll kick it up a notch.

Jan 2-4: fruit and veggie cleanse.

I’m doing this not so much as a way to actually lose weight, but as a way to sort of reset my body and set it up for success.  Also, if I spend 3 days eating just fruits and veg, then I’ll be really happy adding good, healthy carbs, organic dairy, and organic lean meats back.  Also, this would be good repentance for the sins I have put my body through in offseason.

After that:

Continue with batch cooking, and keeping calories between 1500-1800 (prep month in training means only 6.5 hours per week of not crazy intense stuff, so this should be fine to just underfuel me a little bit)

No sweets.  I haven’t done a month of that for a while and I can tell, something sweet has crept into my diet every day, sometimes every meal.  I’ll allow fruit, greek yogurt with stevia + fruit, smoothies, and arctic zero treats if I need a little something something.  No candy, cookies, ice cream, cake, pie, etc.  The only exception is 1 jelly bean on the bike per mile.

Limit snacks.  I just do better eating a solid meal every few hours rather than grazing – that’s what makes me freak out on the fridge immediately upon arrival home from work and/or declare that we need to go out instead of cook.  Breakfast around 10, lunch around 1, second lunch around 4, dinner around 8.  Lunch is the biggest, dinner second biggest, breakfast and second lunch are a bit smaller.

At the end of January I’ll assess where I’m at and see what tweaks I need to make to get to my goals.

Questions of the day: What was your last tipping point to get you back on the wagon?  What’s your best flubber shedding tip you can share?

2012 Finish Line! (Vern’s 5k, Trail of Lights 5k)

As I said before, we were seeking the epic end to an epic year, but in a “I’m not training anymore” way.  No PRs, no marathons, no centuries… what to do?  Well, I’ve toyed with the idea of doing two races in one day before, but have never done it.  So, when the Trail of Lights 5k and Vern’s 5k were on the same day 10 hours apart, it seemed like the best thing to do!

Also let me call out here that it was right around mid to upper 60s for both races.  That’s pretty awesome for December 15th.  I was sure I was going to have to dig out the long sleeve and jacket and running tights type apparel but the weather looked kindly on us.

The day started early (again, triathlete summer me is laughing but, DAMN it was hard to get out of bed at 6:10 after really adjusting to a midnight+ bedtime this offseason).  We got going a little late, but I had a small 100 calorie breakfast bar and some chai tea and water and we got up there.  On the way, I was having a bit of a bathroom emergency, and then Zliten took the wrong road and got turned around, so I made him stop at a gas station for me.  I felt like a different person after that, and apologized for being snippy, and we got there in just enough time to register, take a quick warmup (maybe 1/2 mile), realize that race pace was going to be challenging, line up, and get going.

I held a sub-9 minute mile pace as planned, but instead of feeling like I was just getting going, it was torture right out of the gate.  I knew at half a mile in I was just going to have to do what I could do that day.  The first mile was 9:13 after slowing a bit.  I just kept chugging away – not letting off the gas and staying at least at the edge of the pain place, but I could tell I’m out of shape (physically and mentally).  The second mile was about 9:40-ish, and I was able to rally for the 3rd and knock out about 9:20.  I finished 3.13 miles in 29:46 – 9:30s exactly average – and if not my personal worst racing a 5k, pretty close, and just shy of 2 minutes slower than the same course in May.  However, it’s offseason, so I was fine with this.  I wanted to see what my legs and lungs had in them and it was this and that’s ok.

We then changed, and headed to my parents for salad bar and cards that afternoon.  The food did not sit well with Zliten, and for some reason my heel started hurting.  By the time we got home and changed, I was freaking out due to my heel and nothing looked right on my fleshy pile of offseason bloat, and we went into race #24 grumpy.

Then, we showed up to one of the most disorganized races I’ve seen in a while, which totally improved my mood (/sarcasm).  I guess I’m spoiled – triathlons typically go off without a hitch, everything is organized, the races HAVE to go off on time to the second (unless there is an intentional delay).  This race had 5000 people and didn’t have any corrals or any guidance to where to be if you’re a walker, or in a stroller, so of course those people started up front and caused a clusterfuck for those of us who wanted to, y’know, actually run a 5k.  There were parts of the run that were not well lit, and I walked to make sure I wasn’t going to twist my ankle in a pothole.  Plus, the race started 20 mins late.  This made me extra cranky, especially because my heel was hurting and standing was horrible and I had already been there for 2 hours because parking closed super early and let’s just say, I had some choice words for the human race about then.

However, it all disappeared once a) I started running and got warmed up, instant mood elevator and then b) we got to the actual Trail of Lights.  That one mile stretch was the happiest part of a 5k I’ve ever had.  Movie below is very long and a little rough, but if you’re interested in what it was like, you can skip around.

We then ran the 1 mile back and I just really wanted to do more loops around the pretty lights, but away we went.  We crossed the line unceremoniously at about 40 mins (we stopped to pee, then walked in the dark spots, then walked when we got stalled by people walking or stopping in front of us, etc, but I think we were chugging along at 10-11 min miles when we could run), walked to the lighted tree to take a spin for the camera, looked at the long ass refreshment line, and headed out to the car.

We got cleaned up, toasted with some champagne at a friends’ housewarming party, then toasted with more champagne at home, and then passed out and slept a lot!

It’s pretty amazing to have been able to have kept ourselves fit, healthy, relatively injury free, and racing for a whole year, and even tackle some new distances and PRs along the way.  I’m definitely glad to be at the finish line, and very incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished this year.  And, since I can’t leave well enough alone, look forward to me belaboring the point over the next two weeks (I’m off work on vacation, as such, more blog posts, wheeee!)

Question of the day: what was your biggest accomplishment in 2012?

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