Adjusted Reality

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

Month: May 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Week 20: Rebuilding the Castle

My training philosophy this year has been very different than last year.  2012 was about learning to operate on tired legs.  I just kept loading and loading and loading us up until we broke.  It was all about building the confidence that I could tackle 70.3 and then 26.2 miles no problem.  I didn’t do any races last year in which I felt anything but ready for the distance (maybe I was a little sketchy on the marathon, but only because I had trouble making the jump in my head from 20 to 26.2 and now realize it’s no issue).  I walked around in a haze for a few months, completely overloaded, exhausted.

This year, it’s completely different.  Every time I’ve thought “I’m tiiiiired”, it’s been like, “oh schweet, it’s rest week” and I’ve been rarin’ to go after.  The first half marathon I will run this year will be in Lubbock at my 70.3, and by that time, I’ll be able to count the double digit runs I will have done on one hand.  My bike miles have been decent, but mostly on the trainer, and I can count the 50+ rides on one hand as well.  My swimming kicks ass this year, and I have zero worries on that this year.  What I do have a handle on is my head.  Since I’m not spending so much time physically (and mentally) fatiguing myself, I can really concentrate on hurting when it’s time to hurt.

Last year, I built a HUGE tower, but it wasn’t very stable.  It got me to the end of each race, but there were a lot of bricks falling down each time I really tried to test myself, standing in the way of what I wanted and knew I could accomplish on those days.  And it was probably worth it, the first year of pushing my endurance limits so much further than they’ve ever been stretched, to toe those starting lines knowing I had done the distances before, that I was capable, that muscle memory could carry me through.

This year, it’s been about actually erasing some of that muscle memory.  I don’t need to try to practice race pace every day.  I don’t need to be 100% comfortable with race distances.  Frankly, that muscle memory might have been holding me back.  Slowly and carefully putting the blocks in the right places might not build as tall of a castle, and there may be gaps, but hopefully, the thoughtful mix of easy miles with a few strategically long and/or hard (that’s what she said?) workouts will be enough to plop me into race days a little hungry, a little unsure, and a little bit ready to prove things to myself.

Also, essentially missing May, which was supposed to involve a focused effort of more intensity and less sessions with longer distances, doesn’t help with the loads of volume strategy.  I need to BELIEVE I can do next month without proof.

But, at least I’m back.  I built the castle pretty well earlier this year, and while this knee thing has knocked a bit of it down, this week marked the first real week of picking those bricks up.  And I’m pretty happy with the progress.

Training:

Monday: Weights: Upper Body + Stretch 00:45, Swim: Quick Swim 600 m 00:12:00

Went to the doc, hoping for the best.  She looks at me and says, “So, are you just DYING to run?” and I did my best to say, “yes I would like to run please” rather than scream “HELL YES OMG LET ME AT THE ROADZZZZ”, I think it was somewhere in the middle.  I may have had my running clothes and shoes in the car.  She delivered some bad news, “Well, NOT TONIGHT…” and then some good news, “but starting tomorrow, you can.” Wheeeee!  Her instructions were to start with 1.5 miles and to expect stiffness.  If at any point it actually HURT I was to cut my run short.  She also said she’d prefer me running on the treadmill but wouldn’t require it, just asked I stick to even surfaces and not go all offroad trail-y.

So, I did a weights session and swam a very short speedy swim and went to bed dreaming about being able to get up and RUNNNNN!

Tuesday: Run: First Run in a Month 1.5 mi 00:18, Bike: Trainer + Music 6.4 mi 00:20, Bike: Trainer + Arrested Development 8.25 mi 00:30

Got up in the AM and ran outside – part of my normal loop, just up to the south school and back, which is just about exactly 1.5 miles.  I walked to warm up and then started ambling along very awkwardly at about 13 minute miles.  This was NOT the glorious return to running I envisioned.  It was tight and felt weird and I was a little mopey about it at first but then my knee started loosening up a little and went from 13s to 12s to 11s and then I had a little pain… in my freaking quad.  Yes, folks, my uber big and awesome quads were complaining about 1.5 wimpy little easy miles.  That was enough for the day.   I spent the rest of the morning on the trainer, and then got more miles after work.  I was actually sore on the second trainer, which was a bunch of SAD, but hey, first run!

Wednesday: Run: Treadmill Run 2 mi 00:22, Swim: Laps 1680 m 00:38

I skipped weights in favor of getting more run miles.  Still a little stiff and awkward, but felt better than the day before.  Happy that my endurance doesn’t seem to really be having issues, besides the leg muscle and tightness stuff, running isn’t taxing any other systems very much.  Swimming was decent, but I couldn’t get a good rhythm going for most of it, but was pretty happy with that pace being a crappy swim.

Thursday: Bike: Trainer + XxX 28 mi 01:31, Run: EZ Treadmill 2.5 mi 00:29

First 1+ hour trainer ride since the “iiiincident” and my knee had a few stiff moments, but held up pretty well.  I wasn’t sure I felt ready to run off the bike yet but hoped that a few hours rest would be sufficient.  Before lunch, I went on a quick walk around work campus to make sure I was ok, and I was – so I headed to the gym and knocked out 2.5 miles on the treadmill.  I tested out “race pace” at the end for about .1 (just a little sub-10) and it didn’t any more hurty, stiff, or awkward than easy pace.  Probably won’t try that again until race day, just to be safe.

Friday: off

While the body held out fine, I was definitely ready for a rest day Friday, although when I got home from work it was gorgeous and drizzly and cool and I really WANTED to run, but it felt irresponsible to run 5 times in a row on my comeback week when I usually don’t even do that healthy.

Saturday: Bike Trainer + Torchwood 50 mi 02:19, Run: Short Brick 1.7 mi 00:19

I woke up in a terrible mood, had to deal with work stuff early in the AM, and I tweaked my back getting off the toilet (?), and my lovely plan to ride and run out at Plugerville was ruined by thunderstorms.  The cat and I felt the same way about this morning (it was pitifully cute – she kept curling up in these awkward looking positions to nap, getting up after a few minutes, sighing, and sleeping again).  I almost started drinking at 8am instead, but Zliten convinced me to not and just TRY the trainer.  Oddly enough, aero felt WONDERFUL on my back and alternating sitting up stretched it out, so 10, 15, 20 miles ticked by.  I did 5 miles of tempo riding at 20-25, and then increased my easy pace to moderate and finished out 30, 40, and finally stopped at 50 miles as my knee was talking to me just a little bit.

I wasn’t sure how a run would feel but I was giving it a try.  The first quarter of a mile felt weird but then it just felt… good.  We set out on my 1.5 mile loop, figuring I could pull the cord early pretty easily if I felt bad, and I could run it twice if I felt great.  Well, it was a day for neither – at about 1.5 miles I got a little twinge, which went away as fast as it came, but to be safe I stopped at the house instead of going out again.  I had accomplished the effort for the day though – I did a solid, long effort on the bike, and I successfully ran off it feeling great.  If not for my knee and my back, I could have gone for many, many more miles at that pace happily.

Sunday: off

Knee was a little stiff, but defnitely not worse for wear.  Enjoyed a righteous day of doing nothing (Arrested Development marathon + played Rift).  It was glorious!

Summary:

Next weekend is the Olympic race, which I feel much better about after this week.  The week after, I’m hoping to get another brick in, but a shorter bike with a longer run.  Then, I think I’ll feel at least somewhat ready for the 70.3 (in the way you can feel confident about a test after slacking and then cramming for it).

While I’d hoped at closer to 10 hours this week – about 8 is pretty great considering the huge run limiter.  I was going to move some training to today, since it’s a holiday, however, volunteering at Cap Tex Tri for 5 hours wiped us out and my knee and back demanded rest, so I’ll hit it tomorrow. (That’s me, below, plotting which expensive bike to…erm… borrow… :D)

Food/Scale:

The good news: I have a new low of 176.0!!! Wheee!

The bad news: I just couldn’t get myself to eat the things I was supposed to for some reason.  Not that I shoved Mexican combo plates down my face (except on Saturday when I did, and it was amaaaaaazing and worth it), but I definitely put together some weird and sometimes somewhat less nutritional meals than I had planned.  Also, there were more random candy attacks due to stress than I would like, and the sad part is it wasn’t like “oh yum that looks good” it was the “i am grumpy and it’s there”.  I mean, not a significant part of my calories at all, I just hate the habit.

The ugly: 750 calories of vodka on a Thursday.  Yeah, it was a stressful week.

I’m happy with the progress of about another 3 lbs down this month.  I had hoped to hit 175 – and I still could, but 176 ain’t so far away.  If June continues with the trend, I’ll be in the low 170s by Buffalo Springs, and the lowest weight I’ve been since I got a real tri suit (and not my fake thrift store onesie – got about 12 lbs to go there…).  That could make me very happy!  I just have to eat the right things, and try to splurge mindfully, and not because my stress levels are at maximum (I can stress eat carrots like a champ, I just need to remember that).  I saw this and it was very appropriate to this week (even though my runs were nowhere near the lovely exhausting ones they mention here)…

By the day:

Monday: 31 DQ, 1490 calories
Tuesday: 23 DQ, 1730 calories
Wednesday: 20 DQ.1444 calories
Thursday: 10 DQ, 2002 calories
Friday: 23 DQ, 1568 calories
Saturday: 3 DQ, 2287 calories
Sunday: 14 DQ, 1507 calories

Average DQ (diet quality score): 17.7 (youch – I haven’t been below 20 in a while, wakeup call for next week!!!)

Average calories per day: 1718.  Not terrible, since I’m training again.

Weight: Low: 176.0.  High: 180.0 (0.4 down from last week).

Milestone: Over the last 10 weeks, I have lost over 5% of my bodyweight.  Yeah!!!

Other things:

Starting to think about what happens after Kerrville/Austin 70.3 because both my parents and friends like to plan vacations way in advanced (I’m officially booked up on PTO pretty much for 2014.  Maybe honeymoon in 2015? :D).  We’re talking about another cruise early in the year with the fam, and a friends’ vacation probably late summer 2014, renting a huge house somewhere fun.  We also have a Zliten and I week to plan in Nov/Dec somewhere warm.  We’re thinking about this (the half) and then a week in the Keys.  Not sure whether we’d be just fun-running it or racing it, but it looks fast and flat and fun!

So, that means, I need to predict the future for where I will be mentally and physically after tri season ends.  My current thoughts:

  • I don’t think I want to try to run RnRSA again.  Probably not another marathon this year.  I don’t see my run training being there without artificially inflating it like I have the last few years at the end of tri season, and I’d really like to see what happens without that pressure.
  • I DO think I want to try to take a crack and see how close I can get to smashing my 2:08 PR and who knows, maybe a sub-2 standalone half.  I also wouldn’t mind taking a crack at my 10k PR as well.
  • I am NOT SURE whether I’ll want or need an offseason right away after my last 70.3.  Especially with this month long injury break and the smart training I’ve been doing this year, I feel remarkably fresh mid-cycle but I’ve still got June, July, August, and September to go.
  • It might be fun to spend the fall doing lots of little races that I don’t care about (Dash for Dads 5k, Turkey Trot 5 miler, etc – Austin has at least 10 races each weekend in Oct and Nov) and just seeing what I can do with rested legs and a “let’s have fun” attitude.
  • We MAY want to do a spring marathon.  And by WE I mean Zliten has brought up doing Austin as his first marathon (insert my requisite *I hate hills* pissing and moaning here).  I’m not sure if it will work timing-wise so we’ll think about it.  There are a lot of options in the area before things get too warm, but we need to consider it now so we’re not on vacation during or in too-close proximity.  It would work best to be right before a vacation week, but we’d need to figure that out NOW if we want to make it happen that way.
  • That begs the question… what’s the goal for 2014 tri season?  Is it IM year (probably not but worth a consider)?  Which one?  What’s the first tri we want to do – Rookie?  One of the April tris?  The HITS tri in Feb? Is it the year we hit triple digits on a bike ride?

Lots to think about but I’m not going to stress.  I’ll see you on the other side of my season opener in (ulp) six days.  Be patient – it’s a Sunday Tri in the Dallas area (so ~4 hour drive away), so my priority after the race will be 1) In n Out 2) making it home safely 3) race day champagne and then 4) blogging.  I’m not sure I’ll get to #4 that day although hopefully I’ll be so compelled by a GIGANTIC PR that I want to share with the world quickly.  One can think positively, right?

Question of the week: If you and your friends could go rent a luxury house anywhere in the US for a week, where would you go and why?

Week 19 – Milestones

I used to work for a company owned by a movie studio, and every holiday, we got to go to a big company meeting where we showed off all our stuff (sadly, MY stuff was too small potatoes to make the dog and pony show so I never got to present), and the parent company showed all their new trailers and early clips.  It was fun all around (plus, that night was always the company holiday party in which there was open bar and we all got way too drunk and embarrassed ourselves, I remember one year crying on my boss’s boss’s boss’s shoulder because I was scared I wouldn’t get hired on full time and have to get a real job… well, hey, it worked…and that’s pretty tame in the way of stories… but I digress…), but I vividly remember one year someone asked the president of the parent company why they gave away all the good scenes in the trailers.

He said simply (this is paraphrased), “everyone does it, and if we didn’t, no one would come to see the movie”.

Well, this blog post, I’m going to spoil all the good news in the intro, and then get to the mundane stuff, so if you have a short attention span, this is the post for you!

Milestone #1: After 3 weeks, 5 days, and 12 hours of not-so patiently waiting, I was able to put full weight, fully extend my knee, and engage my quad with just a little stiffness.  It’s not 100% and still gets stiff and hurty when I don’t move it for a while, but this is major progress folks.  After stretching and getting my tendons worked on for a few seconds, it’s barely injured.  I was cleared Monday for biking outside, and so my bag of tricks this week included upper body weights (I took this as down to my glutes), swimming as long/fast/far as I want, and the ability to lower my bike seat a bit and trainer or ride outside as hard as I want, barring one 6-ish mile ride outside testing the knee before I went and did a century.

Also she said she thinks she’ll clear me for running and release me from care Monday (squeeeeee).  She said by no means will I be 100% for a while (it might be months), but she thinks I’ll be past the point where I can do anything to make it worse.  If you follow me on social media expect a lot of celebration and party rocking.

Milestone #2: Friday, I weighed in at 176.4.  I don’t have great data from early in the year, but 10 weeks ago, I weighed in at 186.4 as my low weight for the week.  I have lost exactly 10 lbs in the last 10 weeks.  This is fairly remarkable, because the last time I lost 10 lbs in the last ANY weeks was 2009.  Also, because I’m still doing great, have a plan that’s working, have momentum, drive, and I’m not at all burned out on the process and it feels sustainable even with heavy training.  I’m not near a period where things are going to change (vacation, end of season, all you can eat shrimp season at Red Lobster season, or whatever), I just have to keep rolling.  I do well with that.  I can CONTINUE doing something very well.  Establishing the process, especially when shit isn’t working, is what makes me want to tear my hair out and just buy a mumu and put a feedback on my face and say fuck it.

So, 10 lbs down.  In my happiest fantasies, I race Kerrville this year weighing 160.  I would be happy racing it in the 160s.  Considering I’m just 6 lbs away from the 160s makes me giddy.  Plants, beans, grains, nuts/seeds, a dash of dairy and meat, and balancing my calorie count like it’s my checkbook.  I’m a believer!

Milestone #2: After 3 weeks, 5 days, and 12 hours of not-so patiently waiting, I was able to put full weight, fully hyperextend my knee, and engage my quad with just a little stiffness.  It’s not 100% and still gets stiff and hurty when I don’t move it for a while, but major progress folks.  After stretching and getting my tendons worked on for a few seconds, it’s barely injured.  I was cleared Monday for biking outside, and so my bag of tricks this week included upper body weights (I took this as down to my glutes), swimming as long/fast/far as I want, and the ability to lower my bike seat a bit and trainer or ride outside as hard as I want, barring one 6-ish mile ride outside testing the knee before I went and did a century.

Also she said she thinks she’ll clear me for running and release me from care Monday (squeeeeee).  She said by no means will I be 100% for a while (it might be months), but she thinks I’ll be past the point where I can do anything to make it worse.  If you follow me on social media expect a lot of celebration and party rocking.

Milestone #3: This would normally be jazzy enough to make me celebrate in and of itself, but it’s definitely down to #3 on the list because of the other awesome.  So, since I couldn’t bike much and couldn’t run at all, I’ve been swimming A LOT.  Like 4 times a week.  Oddly enough, if you swim more, you get better, who knew?  I generally operate on the “how much can I do in 30 mins” workout as my gym limits our lane reservations to 30 mins and my Zliten also rarely wants to swim longer than that even if there is no one in the lane after us.  In January, my norm was about 1050 meters (70 lengths in our little 15m pool).  I’ve gotten better and better, but I really wanted to hit that 1500m mark.

We got the opportunity to swim in my parents’ community pool which is 25m (ahhhh, I love the bigger pools) and I was thinking about a swim test but decided against it.  I took the first 400m easy with some drills, and spent the next 300m doing breath work, and then 200m easy to moderate, and then started doing 300m of some sprints (25 out easy, 25 back hard).  I got to 1200m and realized I was only at about 24-25 mins, and I had a chance to break 30 on my 1500m.  I did a solid, tempo 300m and came in at 30 mins (don’t have seconds, but started at 3:48 and ended at 4:18).  Totally excited!  Thinking of gunning for a sub-35 at the Olympic in 2 weeks.

Milestone #4: It was another hellweek at work, but I think we’ve wrapped up an extremely ambitious chasing-unicorns milestones only about 2 days late, which is an impressive feat.  Trust me.  Also, I didn’t physically hurt anyone or set fire to the building in the process, and neither did my staff – even though they brought in a balance board that on which I was convinced someone would break their neck (but ya know, when working that much overtime, I’m not going to take ANYONES toys away).

And now onto the SCARY STUFF!!!!

June is go time.  Like, 2 weeks from now.  Coming back from injury lala land, I race THREE TIMES in June.

First up for my season opener in 2 weeks- no, not the little super-sprint I usually start with, but an OLYMPIC.  Back when I signed up, my thoughts here were 1) It’s not hot as balls yet, so perhaps I can seriously smoke my 3:25 PR and 2) around this time last year, I was pissed that all we had to race was sprints because we were already training Olympic distances and 3) In n Out is only about 3 miles away from the race finish.

Well, #3 is still absolutely valid and I’m super duper craving it.  However, #1 and #2 are in question.  I’d like the comfort of trying out my knee on a sprint first.  I haven’t run in a month.  I haven’t biked more than 15 miles in over a month.  I certainly haven’t done a brick.  Also, the 64k$ question of how my knee is going to hold up once I start training on it.  And what’s feasible to build up to?  Can I get in a 20 mile ride/5 mile run brick?  Will I even be able to run 5 miles before race day?  How bad will running hurt?  How bad will it hurt after running?

I know in my heart I can easily PR if I can roll into race day feeling good.  I can shave off ~5 mins on my swim, probably 5-10 mins on my bike, and about 5 mins on my run no sweat.  If this race had been 1 month ago, I’d be wondering how close to 3 hours I’d be coming in.  However, it’s all a big question mark right now.  I’m going to roll with the punches and I’m fairly sure I can at the worst kick ass on the swim, get through the bike, and run/walk the rest, but I really hope that I can do more than that.  Training a lot gives me the confidence, and I’m not going to have that.  I’m going to have to come equipped with courage to find the paces I know I can hit, and common sense not to hit them if it’s not my day.  There’s a lot more to my season than this race.

Then, two weeks after that, I race Pfluger.  This was the race last year I chased my unicorns and won.  Last year, it was home turf because we trained there every weekend and knew every hill and elevation change and twist of the course.  This year, we’ve cheated on Pfluger with Pace Bend and Veloway and Shoal Creek and lunch runs and only been out a few times so, while it will be familiar, it’s not the familiarity I had last year.  Also, the knee.  Who knows where it will be in a month?  This one has big meaning to me as it is the sprint I consistently rock each year solidly.  I 1:32’d it last year.  Can I sub 1:30?  What can I do?   I know my head is right this year in a way it hasn’t been before, but a month off serious business training… what has it done to my speed?

Then, skip ahead two weeks and OMG Buffalo Springs 70.3.  The beast.  The heat, the wind, the hills, and the distance that in January for which I had a perfectly laid out training plan.  Then, I took a dive boat to the knee.  I have done TWO 50-60 mile rides and at best, I can hope to get one more.  I have done TWO 10 mile runs, and at best, I can hope to get 1-2 more.  Brick?  My Olympic tri will be the longest brick I’ll do (maybe maybe maybe a short trainer ride and a long run IF I think I can tolerate it).  I know in my heart and my muscle memory and my endurance that I can do it.  I’ll have 6 weeks to get back from zero run + injury + not much training to fit for a half ironman.  I’m looking forward to conquering it but I’m defintiely afraid.

I had a nightmare that I got out of transition and the initial climb was switchbacks up a mountain for miles and miles and I just gave up and walked it.  I know the elevation isn’t that bad, but it is a decent hill up right out of transition and it’s not exactly flat, so I’m just hoping my brain is stronger than that race day.

Really, I’m looking at this as PHASE 1 of this year.  This is survival mode.  I know I can do the distances, I know I can do the paces I want.  It just involves on pulling from my guts, my confidence, my bravado, the fire in my belly, and not relying on specific things I’ve done in training.  I tried that last year.  It didn’t do me all that well.  In June, I have me, my brain, my body, my goals, my muscle memory, and the knowledge that I can indeed outlast the hurt if I so choose.

Phase 2 has another sprint, 2 Olympics, and 1-2 more 70.3s.  I don’t want to use the lack of training or injury as any excuse, but I do want to use common sense as my season isn’t over June 30th.  I have another whole “season” to roll with.  No matter whether I bonk, drop out, or totally underperform, I have another chance to do it again later in the season.  Again, I don’t want to use it as an excuse but I don’t want to end my season by being dumb.

Enough whining, let’s just put some numbers here for posterity and get tomorrow’s run clearance and start the building process.

Training…

Monday: Weights: Upper body + Stretch 00:45, Swim: 3x300s Tempo 1410 m 00:31
Tuesday: Bike: First Real Trainer Ride 15 mi 00:49, Bike: Lunch Ride 6.4 mi 00:20, Swim: Laps 1350 m 00:31
Wednesday: Weights: Same Ol + Stretch 00:45,Swim:  Just More Than Worth It 1170 m 00:25
Thursday: off
Friday: Bike: Trainer + Arrested Development 15 mi 00:46
Saturday: Bike: First ride outside in a while 6.46 mi 00:30, Swim: Woohoo! G town swim 1500 m 00:30, Bike: Parents Stationary Bike 4 mi 00:21
Sunday: Kayak: Pflugerville Kayak 2 mi 01:00

Total time: 7.2 hours

Nutrition…

Monday: 25 DQ, 1286 calories
Tuesday: 21 DQ, 1584 calories
Wednesday: 25 DQ, 1410 calories
Thursday: 13 DQs, 1577 calories
Friday: 26 DQ, 1521 calories
Saturday: 12 DQ, 2093 calories
Sunday: 19 DQ, 1628 calories

Average DQ: 20

Average Calories: 1585

Weight: low 176.4, high 180.8.

Until next time campers… have a great week.  Wish me luck!

Question: What are YOU waiting for?

Week 18 – Wavy Arm Quix

I have discovered that I am now incapable of dealing with stress without running.

I used to drink a fair bit more.  Crazy day/week at work, pop the bourbon, get angry/contemplative/sad/creative drunk, play games/write/design/art something, release some stress, wake up, do it again.

However, in those days, a hangover didn’t feel all that much worse than normal life, being a billion lbs overweight and unhealthy and all.   Not really an option nowadays to shuffle through life feeling about 50%.  The occasional day, fine.  But in my old age, I’ve learned that it’s generally not worth it the next day very often.  Also, triathlete training doesn’t leave me much time to feel like that without missing or having subpar training days, and some days, that’s the ONLY thing stopping me from a few stiff drinks or 12 due to stress (and yeah, that’s typically a good thing)

As things got different, I found a healthier outlet for a stressful day – a good run.  I am a triathlete, and have equal love for the swim and bike on good days, but there is nothing like a good run to destress in a way that biking and swimming don’t do it.  Swimming is great for thinking, processing, having conversations with yourself, and just letting go.  Biking sort of keeps me in the moment outdoors (cars, traffic lights, curbs, potholes, hills, nature, etc), and indoors I usually use a movie to distract me.  But, a good run… nothin’ like a good run.  Some days, a super easy run in the sunshine is what I need.  Some days, you just need to take it out on the road and run hard until you’re too tired to be angry or sad and just feel at peace.

But as we know for me, no running this week.  None at all.  And this was the week from hell.  I got through it, but just barely.  Let me just recap it quick, and let’s move on.  Next week has to has to has to be better.

Knee/Training:

Chiro-cracker says the knee is getting better with each visit (I’m seeing her twice a week), but this is the point where I’m feeling better-ish and I’m not completely healed where I could do a lot of damage.  So, no running as above, and no real biking.  I am able to swim easy as much as my knee tolerates, and for 20-30 mins per day, I can get on the trainer with the seat set uber-high so my leg is forced to fully extend, and continue with weights that don’t stress out my knee.  Each visit, she’s adjusting me, stretching my knee and massaging it, and doing ultrasound.  The ultrasound feels great, but as lovely as a stretch and massage sounds like – it’s not.  Pain.  Good pain, but PAIN.

It feels at it’s worst after the abuse (the stretching and massaging on Thursday left me soooooore) and after it’s been stationary for a long time (when I wake up, meetings/long days at work, etc).  It feels freakin’ awesome after the trainer sessions and being active.  I wish the option was to just continue moving all the time but that’s just not possible, so I’ll just continue to move as much as the chiro lets me (30 mins daily on the trainer, doing about 4 days a week swimming, 1-2 days a week of weights) until I can do more.  She’s thinking I may get to ride for real this week, and she predicted next week for running but it all depends on how the healing goes.  So send happy vibes my way please!

By the day:

Monday: off (recovering from Rookie celebrating)
Tuesday: Swim: Easy Laps with a few pickups 1500 m 00:34
Wednesday: Weights: Upper Body Weights 00:45, Swim: Moar Laps 1200 m 00:27, Bike: Leg Extension 3.75 mi 00:15:00
Thursday: Swim: Rude Morning Pool People 975 m 00:25, Bike: More leg stretching 4 mi 00:15
Friday: off (day from hell at work)
Saturday: Dancing and cheering my ass off for 1.5 hours at the finish line, Bike: Leg Stretch 6.31 mi 00:30, Swim: Slow and Strong 1000 m 00:20
Sunday: Bike: Leg Stretch 8 mi 00:31

So, 4 hours is not exactly a super training week, but it’s what I can do right now, so there it is.  Hopefully I can get more in next week.  I’m three weeks from Playtri, and hoping I’ll remember what it feels like to run 6 miles, since it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve ran a step.

Food/Scale:

I’m just taking the week off really going into this.  I’ve eaten relatively healthy and lower calories  (estimate – 1550 per day) with a few not-completely-angelic things, but let’s call it definitely in the 80/20 realm.  I had a low weight of 177.2 Monday, but the rest of the week it was 179.0-180.8.  I have been pretty stressed all week.  Perhaps these things are correlated?

With the not-running, knee stuff, work stress, and weight not cooperating, I just got a little blah about the whole thing and didn’t track this weekend or pre-track this week.  Giving myself a pass this week and I’ve got a food plan and will pre-track tonight and be back into it tomorrow.  This is not to say I’ve been tossing back pizza and burgers or anything, but it feels like unless I’m very, very careful, the weight does not go anywhere.  I’m not ready to give up, I just needed a weekend reprieve of counting.

Other Stuff:

While I’ve had a very meh week, I had a pretty amazing Saturday.  It started out rocky – I left work after 11pm, and we had a 6am wakeup to volunteer, but once we got up and out, it was a great morning.  Let me tell ya – there is a cure to the blahs, and that cure is dancing and cheering and making a fool of yourself at the finish line welcoming hundreds of puppies and runners to the end of their 5k and trying to make them look happy for pictures.  Above is me doing my best “wavy arm man” impression.  It was a beautiful morning and definitely made me a billion degrees happier.  Never pass up the opportunity to volunteer when it involves puppies and racing at the same time.  However, when the national anthem played, my first thought was, “the next time I hear this I better have a fucking timing chip on my ankle”.

We had TWO game nights this week.  The first, we played a Savage Worlds campagn (role playing game nerdery) in which we fought werechickens.  It was a lot of fun.  The second, we played a boardgame called Lords of Waterdeep – I won the first game and didn’t do so well at the second, but that’s ok.  Then, around midnight, we started playing Life and holy crap, that game takes forever, and had a ton of pieces I don’t remember using as a kid.  We were all happy to retire so we could retire to bed.  I really have enjoyed the more games this year!

And, that’s it for last week.  Question: have you volunteered at a race? (if you haven’t, you totally should – it’s a great experience and great race karma!)

Week 17 – Back to Not-Normal

So, this post should have been about how I kicked some ass at the second century ride of the year, and then turned around and PR’d the shit out of Rookie Tri.

But we all know that’s not how the story goes.  Let me now educate you on the Saga of the Knee TM.

Last Week:

The initial injury is shrouded in mystery.  I had a fair bit to drink so the end of the fateful evening is in question, but I have no recollection of falling down.  This isn’t my first cocktail party so I have some familiarity with drinking too much and falling down, frankly, it used to be a birthday tradition.  However – a good smack to the knee/butt/whatever is usually enough to break through the booze haze into memory territory.  So, I was very CONFUSED in the morning when I felt like someone had replaced my knee with a ball of white hot pain whenever I thought about it wrong and had no recollection of doing anything to damage it.

It hurt like hell initially, but I’m used to acute injuries hurting.  It sucked, but every day it was getting a little better and I had hope that it was going to be magically better by the time I got home.  Well, that didn’t happen, I was still definitely limpy and couldn’t straighten it.  That plus being at the peak of a cold, I DNS’d my first race (Georgetown Red Poppy Ride) and hoped that smart decision would help me toe the start line of Rookie.  I tried to back off on the activity, so I did total that week:

  • One upper body weights session (45 mins)
  • One easy spin (25 mins)
  • Two handcycle workouts (40 mins)
  • Snorkeling (2 hours)
  • Lots of walking.  Less than I could have healthy, but it’s just hard to get around that on vacation when you are unwilling to waste it sitting in the cabin.

So, basically nothing for me, but probably more than I *should* have done on a freshly injured appendage.  I was attached to my icepack pretty much at all times so there’s that.

Monday:

I had a chiro-cracker appointment already just for maintenace, so she looked at my knee and gave it a 50/50 chance it was just tweaked or I actually had a tear.  She was particularly interested in a knot I had on the inside of my knee and thought I might have a knee mouse (a free floating piece of cartilage inside my knee).  None of this sounded great, and she advised me to 100% do not race Rookie (even taking it easy) and said to come back if the doc couldn’t find anything really wrong and she could do some stuff to speed up the process.  She said swimming and upper body weights ONLY.  Not even the trainer.

Let me tell you, I was in a GREAT mood after that.  Thinking about worst case scenario, I started googling masters swim classes and found some 10 mile swim and 5-day stage multi-mile goal races.  If all I was going to be able to do this year was swim, then I was going to learn how to swim LONG and get FASTER.  Having a plan made me feel better, on a scale of 1 -10 it was more like a 2 instead of a -5.

Tuesday:

I had the appointment at 11:15.  Well, I get there at 11:10 and realize that my insurance card is at home still in my vacation stuff, and they have a rule where you have to show your insurance card once a year or the doc won’t see you.  The receptionist almost cancelled my appointment until I begged her to let me grab it.  I raced home and got back in time (thank goodness the appointment was across the street from my house).  They took my blood pressure and it was 140/80 and pulse was in the high 70s!!! (my norm is about 110/65 and my resting relaxed pulse is ~45)

The doc finally saw me and poked and prodded and stretched and played with my knee for about 15 minutes and told me it could not be a tear with what hurt and what didn’t, and there was no need for an orthro referral or MRI.  I was just to stay off it for about 2 weeks, do contrast therapy at night (ice/heat/ice), and take lots of muscle relaxers and anti inflammatory stuff.  She thinks it was just overuse from two days of rocky dive boats and a rocky ship (lots of stabilizing, sometimes with 60-80 more lbs on me than normal, and in different ways than triathlon which is pretty much a go forward and not side to side sport).

The good news: my season wasn’t over.  I’ll be fine soon.  The bad news: definitely, definitely no Rookie if I wanted it to heal properly.  I emailed later that day about options (deferment, any refund), and the Jack and Adams folks were amazing and gave me a 50% refund even though the deadline had passed.  I asked about volunteering and… um… they said they were full.  Crazy!  To get my TX Tri Series credit, I’m helping out this coming weekend at a 5k.

Later that week:

Went to the chiro again, she did ultrasound therapy on my knee and good news – it’s a GIRL! (hehe, that’s my new favorite joke)  The ultrasound actually helps break up scar tissue and swelling.  It felt so good after, I asked if I could just strap it to my knee for the next few days and then found out it can possibly melt bone if you leave it on too long, so I’ll let them administer it.  If it were up to me, my knee would be a pile of goo.

I did one 30 minute swim and weights, and had planned to hit it hard in the pool every day, but then the knee felt tighter in the AM, so I rested.  I did get another 30 minute open water swim in and another weight session, we took our new kayak out for 30 mins on the lake, and I played paparazzi to 3 different triathletes in 3 different waves Sunday, so that was definitely a workout as well.

I’m not going to do any sort of formal training plan until I am cleared to go wild, so expect another week like that of doing what I can, when I can.  As much as the instinct is there to swim every moment of the day I can, I’m just trying to use this as mental rest as well so I can really hit it hard when I’m better.

Yesterday (I know it’s not technically week 17… but relevant):

Chiro again, she was very very please with how I was walking and healing, and that I almost had full range of motion back.  She seemed a little skeptical last week of my primary doc’s diagnosis, but was now on board with it too – which made me feel way, way better.

I’m doing ultrasound twice a week for this week and maybe next, I am to keep up with the contrast therapy, and ice/heat/ice/heat/ice if possible (there goes my evening social life, oh wait, I don’t really have one, heheh), keep massaging and stretching it.

I asked the 64 thousand dollar question about getting back to running and biking and the answer is “not until Thursday, at least”.  I got the “let’s make this a 2-3 week injury, not a 2-3 month injury” talk, and while I’m antsy, I’d rather roll into the next few races a little undertrained than either hurting or worse, more DNSs.

I am still cleared to swim as much as the leg tolerates, weights that are not stressful on the knee, and she asked me to do the trainer but there’s a catch – I have to set the seat up super high so I’m really reaching to push the pedals and that should help stretch things out.  She expects I may be able to tolerate 15 minutes of that before I want to throw my bike out the window, so we’ll see how that goes.

Food and the Scale:

Once the injury hit on vacation, I knew I had two options.  First, I could drown my sorrows in ice cream and vodka and pizza and french fries gain all that weight I lost back because I was pity partying.  I really did want to do that, and on vacation, it wasn’t even a matter of purchasing them, just walking up to a counter and taking them.  The second option was really dialing back my portions – when I can’t train, I can definitely go a little lower with the calories without consequence – and stuffing myself with every veggie I could find instead of said junk food.

I went with #2.  I ate either breakfast or lunch most days after I got injured (and lunch was really a plate of veggies with a few other things to taste), I didn’t snack a lot, but I did eat whatever the hell I wanted for dinner with the only caveat being when I was really full, to stop shoving shit in my mouth.  I still ate reprehensible things, but I didn’t eat a LOT of each reprehensible thing.

That paid off with a net LOSS in weight over two weeks of potential food orgies.  Seriously, I looked at my last cruise notes and NO WONDER I gained so much weight, we ate like 5 times a day and not a small amount each time!  This time, I ate typically twice a day, with a *small* snack in the middle of the day which typically was a bite of someone else’s stuff.

Now that we are back, I’ve ticked off another lb (low weight week 16 – 179.0  Low weight week 17 – 178.0), and I already have a new low weight this week in the 177s.  I’ve also been sticking in the 1400-1500 range most days – and my appetite hasn’t really argued and I haven’t felt weak or tired, so I’m sticking with it until I’m off and running (literally) again.

Sadly, it seems that the quality of food has little to no bearing on my ability to lose weight.  It has every influence on how I feel and perform in training, and I’m certainly happier eating fruit and veggies and whole grains because I can eat more volume, but I think I could probably just eat 4 snickers bars a day and lose weight, no problem.  I’m finding it challenging to transition back to more vegetarian stuff, and it’s not really what my body is wanting while I’m not training hard, so I’m cutting myself some slack there.

By Day:

Monday: 25 DQs, 1460 calories
Tuesday: 29 DQ, 1590 calories
Wednesday: 27 DQs, 1490 calories
Thursday: 23 DQ, 1419 calories
Friday: 19 DQ, 1342 calories
Saturday: 14 DQ, 1281 calories
Sunday: -2 DQ, 2121 calories

Average DQ: 19.2 (not great but not too bad considering less calories and horrible diet choices on cinqo de drinko)

Average Calories: 1529 (assume 2000 calories burned per day since I’m not really doing anything…so… about 500 cal deficit per day or 1 lb lost)

Weight: low, 178.0 – high 181.8 (TOM bloaty day)

Overall, I’m super pleased and just hope to continue with this.  It seems to be working.  I may not be hitting my super aggressive goals, but we live in a world now where I can envision racing Kerrville in the 160-somethings.  And I like that world.

Rookie:

I thought race spectating would be kinda boring but it was SO MUCH FUN to play paparazzi.  I even brought a book because I figured I’d have downtime, but it was all run here, run there to get people in and out of each transition.  I’d definitely do it again if I wasn’t racing.

I was initially a little sad and kinda got bummed on Saturday when all the pre-race prep was going on but the day of it was cold and windy, and I was kinda happy not to have to strip down to my spandex and get in the freezing cold water.  Also, that let me get some great pictures of Zliten and friends kicking ass that day.  Not that I’ll be trading my timing chip for my camera too often, but I realized it wasn’t the most horrible thing in the world, especially that day, and especially if I wasn’t going to be able to race hard anyway.  Just limping through it probably would have been worse for my psyche and certainly my knee, and I don’t think that it would have done anything for me training-wise, so I’m content with my decision to skip it.

My only regret is I will not have a full set of TX Tri series times to judge against last year, but I’ll still get credit for completing the series since I’m volunteering.  So, as persnickety as I got about it, in hindsight, it was a great decision.

Question of the week: what’s the best decision you made last week?

 

Week 16 – The Vacationing, Part 2

When last we left off, I’d hurt my knee and was nursing a pretty bad hangover.  With one week left, would that kill my vacation mojo?  Read on…

Monday: Dominica (182.0)

When I woke up, I was pleased that my knee was a little better, but still hurt and I couldn’t walk properly.  So that was :(.  I spent the morning pouting and reading in the cabin, and finally dragged myself up to the buffet for lunch, more of the same – plate of veggies including salad, spinach, soup, and a few bites of fish and pasta.  My appetite definitely got the hint that my knee was keeping me from epic doings and it was probably HALF of what it was days before.

Instead of getting off the boat and possibly injuring my knee, we just looked at Dominica from the boat (it was pretty – I definitely want to go back and do some snorkeling there) and swam and read and enjoyed the sun on deck. So it wasn’t a horrible afternoon, just not the epic adventure I was hoping for here.  I consoled myself with a small vanilla soft serve cone for a snack and a bite of Zliten’s pizza (mainly, I wanted to see if it was crappy or I was off the day before – well, either I was off or just got a bad slice, because it was yummy).

After getting our fill of sun, we retired back to the room for more reading and showers and got changed for dinner.  It was Italian night – so I went with minestrone soup, bacon + greens salad, spicy pasta (this was definitely memorable, good stuff), and stuffed zucchini and white beans (I only ate half of this because I was stuffed), and just some limoncello sorbet for dessert.  I do miss my world where I had delicious, homemade ice cream in amazing flavors each night, let me tell you!

After dinner, we played a game of dominos (train – got about half way through) with the ‘rents and had some peppermint tea and headed to bed for more reading and then drifting off.

Tuesday: St. Thomas (183.0)

Woke up around 8:30, read and iced my knee until about 10.  It had a better range of motion, but still hurt.  I was bound and determined to get off and check out St. Thomas and to not be a slug.  I had been hurt and pouty for 2 days and it was time to get over it.  We hit the gym and I did about 45 mins of arms/abs/back and then 20 mins on the handcycle (this, folks, is WAY harder than it looks – mad respect to the handcycle racers out there).

We had lunch from the buffet, the normal salad/veggies/soup, and bites of fish, shrimp pasta, fettuccine, bread, fruit, and half a cookie made it down my piehole and then we headed off the boat with my parents.  We had thought about going to Blackbeard’s Castle, which I had THOUGHT would be a quick walk from the ship, but apparently we docked on the other side and it was a 3 mile walk up mad hills.  Considering that was not happening with my knee, and no one seemed excited about paying 20 bucks to get a cab there, we just walked around the shops by the port.

Then, I got kind of fed up.  My knee was hurting standing and I was tired of looking at the same crap in the shops I’d seen three other places so I said we were doing something because we were on an island and I didn’t want to hurt and be bored.  So, instead, we found a gondola and took a ride up to Paradise Point and soaked in the gorgeous views and got a family photo care of the go pro.  I was much happier.  All in all, we walked about 3 miles that day, not bad for a gimp!

On the way back I picked up a diet sprite from a pharmacy.  I hadn’t had anything with bubbles in over a week and I was craving it.  Totally delicious.  We spent the rest of the afternoon reading and swimming (this week, if I didn’t make record of what I was doing, it was probably either me with my kindle and a deck chair, or me in the pool :D) and then got showered and changed for dinner.

I had lots of food.  We started with bread and a goat cheese tart (so rich – so amazing, especially with the bread dipped in it), bib lettuce with vinegrette, a few bites of tomato gnocci, strawberry lemon basil sorbet as a palate cleanser, orange roughy and some chicken skewers as the main course, and then a small chocolate haystack and chocolate pb ice cream that was to die for… let’s just say I was quite full.

After dinner – hey, we read more in the cabin.  Surprise, surprise.  Then, we went to a damn funny ventriloquist, but Zliten started feeling yucky and the lighting at the show really made me start yawning, so we headed to bed early.

Wednesday: At Sea (going North away from the pretty islands) (181.0)

I had no idea how I ate THAT dinner and lost 2 lbs, but we’ll call it vacation magic!  Knee status: still hurts, can almost straighten sitting down, bending better.  Zliten felt like crap (he was coming down with a cold), so we stayed in bed and read in the morning until about 11.  We hit the buffet right as lunch was being served and had my usual plate of veggies, thai salad, gumbo, some other stuff (nothing remarkable).  There was a big sale in the cruise shops, but I didn’t find anything worthwhile to spend money on, so we left, got bathing-suited up, and split a delicious watermelon guava cocktail and read, sunned, and then some crazy animal show from the BBC came on (I wish I could remember what it was) and it was HILARIOUS!  Soon after, they played Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, and I watched most of it from the pool.  Yep, my afternoon sucked. 🙂

We headed to the gym late afternoon and I did a 20 minute handcycle hill workout (ow.) and I did a light spin on the stationary bike for 25 mins – and it didn’t feel too bad.  I was hoping this would bode well for the ride Saturday (and we all know that didn’t pan out, but, whatevs).

We then got ready, got fancy, and took more pictures since my mom didn’t like the one from the last formal night because she didn’t have enough lipstick on.  It actually turned out quite a bit better and we ended up getting that one.

Dinner was great – I got thai rolls with satay sauce, tomato basil soup, greens with vinaigrette, and it was lobster night, so of course, I got lobster and shrimp with butter.  So, so good.  I rarely find it worthwhile to pay for lobster (I’d much rather have crab) when I’m eating out, but on a cruise, I’ll take it any day.  For desert, more ice cream!  Pralines and cream and mandarin sorbet was today’s flavors, and the mandarin was a total winner.

Zliten’s cold caught up with him, so I left him in the room and went with my parents to see the show – a tribute to pop music with the singers and dancers.  I could tell that “cruise bitchiness” had officially and totally set in because my mother was complaining that one of the singers wasn’t very good.  If that’s your complaint of the day, then you have, indeed, as Princess says, “escaped completely”.  After, guess what… I read and then zonked out.

Thursday: Princess Cays (181.2)

I was really excited for this day.  Most places, it’s definitely a *thing* to get to the beach from the boat – an excursion, a taxi, or navigating it yourself means you need to have done your homework (and involve a lot of walking or bus).  This island is owned by the cruise line, so you tender to shore in a little boat, get off, and immediately walk onto a gorgeous white sandy beach.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  We woke up, read a bit, and got breakfast today instead of lunch since we wanted to get off the boat early – I had some corned beef hash (cruise guilty pleasure), an english muffin with cream cheese, some bacon, fruit, and half a small waffle.  We headed off the boat around 11, got my parents situated in some beach chairs in the shade, and headed into the water with my mom to snorkel.  She spent about 10 mins in and then got out, but Zliten and I explored for about an hour.  It was AMAZING.  The water was super clear, and just right near the shore in less than 10 feet deep water were SO MANY FISHIES!!!  I took what felt like a billion pictures.  Zliten dragged me out asking for a quick break.

They had buffet lunch set up, but I was still full from breakfast (I know, who am I?), but Zliten procured a coconut fruity drink for us to share, and then we found a cute little leezard that Zliten made friends with, and then I dragged him back into the water for another hour of exploring – I found a super awesome shell that I brought home (and sadly, I figured out there was actually something in it, I thought it was empty, I feel pretty bad about that and also it’s stinky), we saw remains of a lobster, a crab, an invisible fish, and so much more.  This was EASILY the highlight of week 2.

I was dragged yet again from the water so we could dry off and make the last ferry back around 2:30pm (believe me, I didn’t want to go – if it were up to me I’d still be on that beach).

Once we got back, we spent some time packing up our cabin which was a mad-stuff-splosion, and then we decided to take the afternoon to ourselves – we had some drinks on deck, watched the ship pull away from the island, and enjoyed our last afternoon of sun.  After a few drinks though, we quickly realized we forgot lunch, and had a quick snack of curry chicken salad and french fries to sober a little bit, and then we finished packing and headed to our last feast.

Dinner was the classic shrimp cocktail and ceasar salad, some curried pumpkin soup, meatloaf, and the traditional baked Alaska.  We then wandered to the casino and cashed out, yep, still 3 bucks up for the trip.  Niiiice.  We wandered to the photo gallery and bought photos.  Actually finally finished packing and set our bags out.  Something was a little off, and my nose was runny, and I hoped it was allergies (spoiler: it wasn’t… stupid cold).  We played our last game of hand and foot and the men won (so… ladies 3, men 3), and then unspectacularly ended our last night with icing the knee, reading, and love boat reruns.

Friday:  Bye bye Emerald Princess!

To keep it short – we had breakfast, getting off the ship was a breeze, we killed time in the airport, the travel was uneventful, and got home and worshipped our comfy couch and bed and hugged our leezards and kitty.  We spent the weekend recovering from colds and just relaxing and getting our tummies slowly ready for good healthy food again – no epic adventures or training.

And now, it’s back to life, reality, and dealing with recooping from a stupid injury, which I will talk more about next post.  However, I will report that I weighed in the day after we got home and I was 179 and have been maintaining a weight in the high 170s this week, so my fears of gaining a billion lbs on vacation?  No big deal.  Just needed a plan, and to follow it and eat like a normal human being not gone loco.

Besides the whole knee incident (and catching a cold at the end, but whatevs), and a little bit of parental stress – it was a perfect vacation.  I’m already dreaming about visiting some of those islands again!

Question: What is your favorite place to vacation?

 

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