Adjusted Reality

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

Month: October 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Marathon Season vs Tri Season

As thought about on the run… here are my top ten differences for Marathon Season vs Tri Season…

1. Less overall time spent training (8-10 hrs/week vs 10-12), but way more soreness.  Complete muscle exhaustion efficiency.

2. Different laundry.  Less laundry volume, but it’s WAY more stinky.  I only own 3 sports bras I can run in, so I’d like to say I wash them more often, but I just pick the least stinky/somewhat dry one to wear again later in the week.

3. I actually look forward to running!  It’s not so deathly hot, running more means I’m actually getting better at it, and my legs seem to be recovering faster the more I punish them.

4. No long trips to get to a lake or place to swim/bike.  I can do all the training stepping out my door.  I’m definitely expanding upon my routes from the house and finding less boring ways to get in double digit runs rather than 3-4+ loops around my immediate neighborhood.

5. Major runger.  Biking and swimming don’t really pique my appetite the way that running does.  I really, really have to watch it or I can eat back a 20 mile run plus some without much thought, especially if beer is involved.  Also, I’m way more into sweets when my run miles are up than other times of the year (though this may be a coincidence with marathon season = halloween time).

6. While I’m not that keen on running for hours without music, I’ve found I’m less attached to poppy, peppy music and just need something pleasant and entertaining for most runs.  Also, since I’m listening to 8-10 hours of music a week (instead of very occasionally during tri training as a treat), I need more than just the one playlist.

7. I get a few post-work runs (they’re rare, but very pleasant).  I love that the temps get cooler as the run goes on, and it’s much nicer to have the sun set while pounding out the last few miles rather than getting out in complete darkness.  It’s also nice being completely fueled from breakfast and lunch, and awake and warmed up from just being at work.  Getting some lunch running in again for reasons besides completely punishing myself for heat training is nice too.

8. I will run 1/6th of my run volume in the last 12 months in October, and November won’t be too shabby either.  5 months out of this year, my monthly run volume was under my average run volume for the WEEK since I started marathon training.  However, I haven’t dipped a toe in a pool in a month, and 2 hours on the bike last weekend felt HARD, so there is that.

9.  During tri season, you can at least pretend that you are doing things that other “normal” people consider fun.  “Hey, I went to the lake for a bike ride and swim” sounds like fun (if you casually forget to mention the swim was a mile and a half around the buoys and the bike ride was 50 miles).  “Hey, I ran for 4 hours” doesn’t sound like fun to anyone (even to me, really :D).

10.  Tri season means racing a lot more often is ok, a sprint or an olympic is a great weekend session.  Doesn’t work so well trying to wrap a 5k or 10k race into a training session (trying to run before the races is crazy since races start pretty early, trying to run after sucks since you just sprinted across the finish line… and now you need to run 4, 6, 10 more miles…).

While I’m partial to tri season, there are some awesome things about the temps getting cooler, wearing out my running shoes quicker, and forgetting my bike and goggles for a while.

Question of the day: Running, biking, or swimming – what do you love the most?

Slack-com 1

It’s unfortunate that my inspiration to post more coincided with both peak marathon training weeks AND crazy amounts of stress/craziness due to deadlines at work, so while I have a few other posts percolating, they’ll need to stay on the back burner.

However, since my brain woke me up super early today, let me explain how things go.  My work has a lot of ebb and flow.  Managing people means that I don’t actually do a lot of concrete, measurable work myself, and a lot of my day is talking to people and responding to emails in a way that is unquantifiable in terms of productivity.  Is the team getting their shit done?  Are the execs happy?  Then my job is done.  Occasionally I’ll have reports to do or set goals for myself, but I don’t believe in a lot of busy work for busy work’s sake, so it’s hard to say what I accomplish in a day.

However, I’ve gotten good at measuring how busy it is by how much I can slack at work.  Being constantly interrupted (which is my job) means that I have those little times in between.  A moment or two of silence, but I know that it’s not going to last long enough to actually get stuff done.  Usually, this is when I take a short break to slack to give my brain a break and turn my focus back from communication to passive content consumption and processing (I’m not generally generating content or commenting on things, I’m just seeing what the world is up to for 5 minutes), and then I get back to doing work.  It helps me to turn my brain off for short periods… I process things in the back of my head and figure things out that way.

The degree to which I slack just came to me while I was laying in bed, so here I present to you, my Slack-com scale.  Note that each level includes the levels before in slack-dom (so if I’m at slack-com 5, that also means I’m able to check facebook, email, etc).

Slack-com 5:

Nothing is really going on.  We’re in the middle of a milestone, I’ve got all my planning done, everyone is working away happily, I’m caught up on my required reading for work (forums and fansites).  I’m rarely interrupted for even questions or anything to deal with.  At this point, I can indulge in things like typing up full blog posts if the inspiration hits, but if I’m being a good girl, I’m actually in my game playing, trying to stay caught up.  This is rare, a few days to a few weeks a year at best.

Slack-com 4:

I have a few spread out hours in the day that are not dedicated to immediate things that need to get done.  I’m on top of everything work-wise.  I have scanned the work related reading at least once a week.  I have enough slack time to do things like jot down a few notes for myself on topics to flesh out and write out later, plan out a menu for the week and update my grocery list, or update a training plan to resolve a conflict (in like, 5-15 minute chunks).  I try to jump in and play my game when I have anything more than the 15 minute chunks, but I’m not usually able to really get into a groove.  This is about one to two months per year.

Slack-com 3:

Normal work mode.  I’m getting everything I need to get done at work, find time to scan work reading once a week, and find time for the usually 5 minute breaks every once in a while to check facebook or twitter, usually enough to stay caught up.  Once a week, I might find time to dip into slack-con 4 (e.g. spending two full days of slack-time to make a meal plan and update my grocery list).  I may find the occasional special afternoon to play my game largely uninterrupted, but generally at this stage I’m either in game to check new stuff out quickly or too busy.  This is the majority of the year.

Slack-com 2:

Things are busy.  I’m getting everything I need to get done at work.  My work reading is probably spotty.  I’m crashing into 3pm, mentally tired, and have to take a quick break to slack not because I have time, but because my brain needs the time to process and refresh.  I’m probably caught up on my personal email (I don’t get a lot), and maybe have glanced at social media, but I’m not caught up.  This is maybe a month out of the year, usually either while I’m in major planning mode, or we’re getting close to a deadline.  I may be working more than 8 hours at this point.

Slack-com 1:

Crazy-mode.  Work is packed from the minute I get there until the minute I leave (which is typically more than the usual 8 hours).  I forget that other people exist on my computer and that I have an email box that isn’t my work outlook.  The only slacking I might do is to pop onto twitter and post a “Aaaaaaaaaargh!!!!” to vent my frustration and then get back to the cray-cray.

I’ve been at slack-com 1 this week, people, and while the light is at the end of the tunnel, I’ve been in said tunnel for the last two weeks.  In the famous words of Arnold – “I’ll be back” (once things settle a little).

Week 40 and 41: Pina Colada Baths

Training:

Last year, my marathon training cycle was 3 weeks.  I had 6 weeks between Kerrville 70.3 and the Rock and Roll San Antonio Marathon.  So, that really meant one week off, three weeks training, and two weeks taper.  If I picked the same race, I’d be heading into my last week of training again next week.  My thoughts are both a) I’m ready, bring it on, and b) thank the dear fluffy lord I have a few more weeks of mileage.

Yesterday, I ran 20 miles without stopping for the first time ever.  It’s not the first time I’ve traversed 20 miles on foot, in fact, it’s the third, but I finally was able to run it.  Frankly, pretty much every run over 13 miles for me has been a crap shoot for me.  I was almost convinced that I didn’t have it in me to be able to run 15+ miles without walk breaks.  Even just 3 weeks ago (was Kerrville ONLY 3 weeks ago…?), I had very little run confidence.

Two weeks of training later, 10 runs, 73 miles, and about 20 degrees cooler, and I’m pretty much on top of the world.  Instead of dreading shuffling through runs, I’ve gotten the run mojo back.  Doing speedwork again rocks my socks off.  Feeling turnover in my feet that’s faster than molasses, seeing paces that make me happier on the garmin, and being able to cover more miles without wanting to die is amazing.  I covered the easy 20 miler at a pace that was faster than my predicted marathon goal pace – so I’m going to have to revise that.  It’s crazy the difference these 2 weeks of training have made.

Also, let me plug ice baths here.  Ice baths may be intense, but they’re tolerable with booze.  Plus my legs feel a lot fresher and seem to be handling the miles better, so it’s worth it.

I’m scared to think about what’s happening to my swim and bike skills, but this is the first time since April, since I surprised myself by PRing at Austin 10/20, that I’ve felt good about my running.  This gorgeous weather is definitely helping the run love along as well.  I’m still waiting a bit to decide, but I’m having high hopes about what I’d like to do this winter training-wise.  I do have a few weeks of high (for me) mileage to get through first, so we’ll see.  I could learn to hate running again yet!

By the numbers…

Week 40

Monday: Run: Progression Run 3 mi 00:32 10:45 pace Weights: Gym 00:45
Tuesday: Run: Easy 3 3 mi 00:34 11:27 pace Run: Lunch Run – Double Run Tuesday 3.1 mi 00:37 11:54 pace
Wednesday: Bike: Spinny Spin – Green Lantern 12.45 mi 00:30 24.9mph pace
Thursday:  Run: Lunch Run 5 mi 00:57 11:22 pace Weights: Home 00:45
Friday: off
Saturday: Run: Long Run 18 mi 03:44 12:26 pace
Sunday: off

32 miles running, 1 cross train, 2 weights.  All according to plan.

Week 41

Monday: Run: 6x800s on the Treadmill 5 mi 00:51 10:15 pace Weights: Quickie 00:30
Tuesday: Run: Easy Run 1 – Morning 5 mi 01:04 12:48 pace Run: Easy Run 2 – Lunch 4.33 mi 00:52 12:07 pace
Wednesday: off
Thursday: Run: Didn’t Wanna Didn’t Wanna OMG… 6 mi 01:05 10:50 pace
Friday: off
Saturday: Run: Gorgeous Day, Happy Run 20 mi 03:54 11:41 pace
Sunday: Bike: Quick Spin 10.36 mi 00:30 20.7mph pace

40 miles, 1 cross training session, 1 weights session.  Skipped one weights session because my legs felt trashed Wednesday and never felt untrashed enough to make it up.  It’s lost to the ages, and that’s ok.

This coming week I am trying out back to back long runs Thursday and Friday (and taking the weekend a lot lighter – I have THREE halloween parties to attend…).  Looking forward to some happy running this week!

Food/Scale:

I’ve been eating what fitbit tells me (or trying to do so).  I wanted to eat the garmin after my 18 mile run, but fitbit said no, so I ate other stuff instead.  I haven’t really lost anything yet, but I know it takes my body about a month to really get with the program, so I’ll be patient.  I just know i have to keep tracking.  Tracking is the key this year to having taken off about 10 lbs, and not gaining it all back during heavy training.  I haven’t been counting DQ the last few weeks – I’ll get back to it – because I have made some less than wise choices (three deserts in one day what what?) nutritionally, but with running so much, I have more calories to play with, so I’m getting good food too.

I keep hearing about runners/triathletes going low carb during the day and only eating carbalicious things during/post intense workouts, and at night.  I’m not entirely sure how to feel about that… I feel like I earn my carbs by the way I plow through miles, and I also feel a lot better when I maintain a steady diet of about ~200g carbs per day (give or take 50).  However, quite a few credible sources swear by it, so maybe it’s something to consider at some point.  Not now.  I’m not ready to do a major upheaval of my diet right now, especially since my running is going really well, I don’t want to screw that up.

Since the fitbit interface is actually pretty amazing, here are my calories in/out for last two weeks:

Week 40:

10-7to10-13

Week 41:

10-14to10-20

This also very, very illuminating – it’s really hard to create a deficit and VERY VERY easy to eat back even 4 hours running without batting an eyelash.  In fact, the longer I’m running, the more likely I am to eat more percentage-wise.  It might also be that I usually cap off my longest run day with a lighter or off day, and have a few adult bevvies.  But that’s probably not it at all, right? 😛

Other stuff:

This summer, I started having half a starbucks mocha as wakeup juice/calories in the morning before races and long workouts – I found a case of peppermint mochas at Costco and I guess I will have to do a lot of long workouts before March (when they expire).  Soooooo good.

I made these pumpkin protein cookies.  The batter was amazing, the cookies right out of the oven… just ok.  I tend to like them better cold so they’re in the fridge.  Next time, I might try something similar, but raw?  Zliten loves them though!

Had fun watching Kona last Saturday.  How about that Rinny, huh?  Man, it was an intense day!  I enjoyed the heck out of watching the race start to finish (well, the pros, I couldn’t stay up til 5am to see the 17 hour finishers).  I love the spirit of that race and it’s amazing to watch triathletes conquer one of the toughest days of their lives.

I’ve got my costume all set besides one little thing I have to sew.  I’ll share with you soon, for now, it’s a surprise (if only because I don’t have a picture of it yet! :D) So I better get on it!  Off to be productive, see y’all soon!

Question of the week: Pumpkin spice – amazing or overrated?

September Recap, October Goals

Now that October is about half over, time to at least record these for posterity!

September Goals:

1. Shake off all the cobwebs in my brain.  Focus on the next two weeks of training, getting solid work done, and then let it go and taper and don’t get tempted to squeeze more in.  As of Sept 14, the hay is in the barn, and wherever I am, I am (and wherever that is, it’s WAY better off than I was going into BSLT in June).

Yep.  I did pretty good at not letting the taper crazies get the best of me even though I was pretty sure I was dying the last week.  I went in mentally strong and was ready to kick ass.

2. Race Kerrville the way it deserves to be raced.  Rock the swim and the bike with the new abilities you have gained this year, and draw strength of will from your running past and the longer runs you have completed in August and will in September.  Find your edge and keep going until you fall off.  Persevere.  Your body can keep going on that run as long as your brain can.  Kerrville is the race where I get comfy in the pain cave and either end up at the finish line or the med tent.

Well, I raced this hard and came up with a 29 minute PR.  No complaints.  However, just the work I’ve done in the last week makes me realize that I did not find my edge, I could have pulled a little more out on the run, and there’s more work to be done here.  I raced smart though, and I never gave up, so I’m proud of that.

3. Eat good food.  Eat enough to fuel the training, but not any more.  Realize that taper the second two weeks of the month means less calories needed.  Make good choices, but allow some times to go out to eat or eat cake pops and stuff.  Pie in the sky: weigh 169.something before Kerrville.  Realistic: maintain 173-176.  Do something between that.  Also, don’t stress too much about food this month beyond making sure the calories are in line – trying to get bad calories down to 10% made me a bitchy bitch.

I hit 172 this month.  Race day, I was probably sitting around 175-ish.  I ate decently, just as expected.  After the race I ate crap for a week, then ate good for a week, and landed back around 175-177.

4. Buy myself something with those 75$ gift certs so Zliten stops telling me useful things I can use them on.  Try not to buy a bunch of junk otherwise.

I bought a new pair of my favorite running tights and a purple hat and some crazy sunglasses.  DONE!

5.  Clean out rest of pantry.  Gold star if we go through and reorganize the tupperware section so we can fit all of it into the cabinet instead of it spilling out onto the counter.

Pantry done.  No gold star though.  Baby steps!

6. Continue working on 2014 plan for races.  Nothing needs to be decided this month, but work on getting ideas.

I really wanted to get through Kerrville and see how I felt.  I went through a period where I wanted to RUN ALL THE RUNNING RACES in spring.  Then I sort of had a reality check where I really like to have longer training blocks and not race every other weekend.  I also am not sure how much offseason I want and whether I want to focus on speed (sub 2 half marathon? sub 50-something 10k?) or distance (more marathons and a 50k?).

7. Finish book.  Start another.

I’ve forgotten which book I was on last month, but I didn’t read that much, so I am guessing I didn’t get through this.  Ah well, next month!  I’d like to get through this series this year.

8.  Make a new music playlist on the zune or 3.  Marathon training is coming up, which means lots of quality hours with the zune, unlike now, when it’s a treat the few hours a week I get to listen to the same playlist I’ve been using for 6 months.  That will get old if I don’t change it up.

I made a few new ones and added some music to my main one.  We’ll see how this goes (I just need to now not just automagically load up my main playlist each time).

9. I’m trying out probiotics and digestive enzymes on the recommendation of some research I’ve been doing.  My most recent “cleanse” (stomach flu) coupled with the fact that it’s one possible reason I might be holding onto some weight, and the fact that the vitamin store had a buy one get one half off sale makes me feel like I don’t have much to lose.  Keep on these for the 15 day supply you have, and if it’s awesome, go get more.  If it makes me ill, stop it.

This was AWESOME!  I was super regular and felt a lot less tummy bloat.  Right before Kerrville I stopped it and haven’t resumed, and though my weight hasn’t changed much, I feel like I’m way stopped up and my tummy is hanging out further.  Resuming for the rest of October!

10.  Lots of sleep.  Lots of relaxing.  If something is stressful, avoid if at all possible. I have no race in October so I can go be a spaz then if I have the energy to do so with marathon training.

Did my best, work didn’t help, and neither did everything falling apart the week of the race, but I think I was able to get some good quality chill time in.

11.  Gaming!  Gaming is high quality relaxing feet up type activity.  Let’s make some more progress in my game, play some Disney Infinity, etc etc.

Ehhh… a little bit.  Not much.  I really don’t know what happens during taper, when you halve (or less) your training hours, you would think you would have all this time, but not so much.

12.  Sometime before the end of the month, pull all the summer shirts/tech tees I haven’t worn lately and box them up or donate them (if I love but they don’t fit, box them up, if I just don’t love, send them onto someone who will love them).  Also, since I’ve lost about 15 lbs this year (yeah yeah yeah YEAH!), try on some of the stuff I have boxed up to see if I have gained more wardrobe!

I did this, however, since it was after a week of eating bad food and drinking beer, I just pulled the stuff that was only a little tight back into the mix.  We’ll see how that holds up.

13.  Find a day that I can justify the calories and eat the damn desert I got in August. :)

Oops. 😛  However, you can take solace in the fact that I ate many other deserts, I just forgot about this one.

October is half over, but, there is still time for goals!

1. Train smart.  Do your 5-6 runs per week and check the boxes.  Easy on the easy days.  Speedwork on the speedwork days.  Go into tempo days and focused long run days with a plan in mind and communicate that to Zliten ahead of time to not disrupt marital bliss.  If things start to fall apart, first drop back to easy, then drop mileage, then miss runs.  Missing runs = more bike, not buttsitting, unless the only option is buttsitting.

2. No getting sucked into racing anything this month. Use the money and the time to plan for next year’s race schedule.  Keep adding to the list of ALL THE RACES and try to consider what my goals are before signing up for a bunch of races that I have to try and train around.

3. Eat what fitbit tells me to.  It’s actually pretty magical, fitbit tracks my steps/activity, and translates that into calories.  I set my weight loss goals to the “pretty hard” setting (-750 calories per day, losing 1.5 lbs per week), and it changes my food goals throughout the day depending on my activity.  It has more than once made me get off my ass so I can eat more.   So, that being said… the goal would be at this point to get back into the low 170s by the end of the month.  I’ll be more specific next month.

4.  Also track food quality as a secondary measurement.  While keeping calories in check is what makes me lose weight (and I will overeat whether you give me carrots or chocolate after running, I have talent), keeping that DQ score up will make me feel better.

5.  Get the Halloween costume settled (almost there).  Sew the patch on the shirt.  Since you have to sew the patch on the shirt, also mend the items piling up on that table.

6. Probiotics and digestive enzymes for the rest of the month starting today.

7. Finish this book, start the next.

8. Stressing recovery.  Ice baths every week after 15+ miles.  Compression sox/sleeves the day before and after long runs if not during.  Stretching after weights sessions and after long run.  Shockies and foam rolling as necessary.

9.  Make progress on the story I’m supposed to be writing for our gaming session next month.   I’m going to run a game for the first time for people sometime soon and it’s scary!  I love telling stories for people in text, but I’m terrified (in a good way) of doing one interactively.

10.  Write stuff on the blog that’s not a status report.  I’ve found lately that I’ve thought of nifty things to write about and by the time I get to do them, I squeeze them into these long posts and don’t give the thoughts the time the deserve.  I still feel like it’s important for me to catalogue my weeks of training and eating for posterity, but I also feel like maybe I should spend some more time refinding my writing voice.  I used to be a decent writer!

11.  Quarterly maintenance – nails, toes, and brows.  I’m getting scruffy and since I live in Texas, sandal season doesn’t end for another month or two.  On the upside, my nails are in lovely shape since I cut them all down to nubs for wetsuit ease a few weeks ago, so they’re mostly all the same size (minus the index… always the index).

12.  While I’m not confident I’ll actually settle on a theme for my blog this month (and who knows, maybe I’ll keep switching it around!), I want to update my pages, especially my RACE RESULTS page, I haven’t done that since tri season.

13. Make some sort of healthy pumpkin spice desert thing.  Tis the season.  If I make it at home I’ll be less tempted to eat the pumpkin everything out there in the world.

What is your October goal?

The Mind Thinks, The Body Does

So back in the day, I used to write a lot more thoughtful things than just race recaps and weekly status updates.  I actually used to have a writing style and have posts motivated by more than just “oh, it’s been a week, I should tell people what I’m up to”, or more accurately, I should write down what happened so in 3 years when I go… what was I doing October 10th 2013, I can have some sort of recollection.  For me, I remember (generally) the important stuff, but the details… well… the little plastic castle is a surprise every time.

For some reason, I stopped.  I wanted posts to be more thought out.  I felt like a few hundred words wasn’t enough, so it was like, 2k or bust.  The problem with this is I always forget the little nuggets I think of on a run on Thursday by the time I do a weekly recap.  For some reason, I was thinking this needed to be a 2014 resolution and I would start doing shorter, more frequent posts then, but then I realized, no time like the present.  So, if I can hack it (it, meaning, not being exceptionally wordy and also remembering to open the wordpress console more often), expect that.

So, with that out of the way, today’s thought…

I was lunch running (a 5 miler) with Zliten, and this week we have taken turns feeling crappy on runs, and this was his turn, I was feeling great. The schedule said 5 miles with last 3 at tempo.  I went out all happy puppy to try and catch the girls that were running only 2.5 and realized that was tempo pace, but it felt nice to be going fast, so I kept it up until I noticed I was pulling away and slowed it down to keep up with him and then I started feeling rough as he started feeling better.

We were chatting and I said the run was kinda not going the way I had planned (out too fast, now we were slowing and I felt bleh).  I told him, on the last downhill stretch (half to three quarters of a mile?), let’s pick up the pace.  He started running faster.  I lugged myself after him and complained that he was not listening.  He said that his brain must have heard hill (which we were on) and faster, so his legs started turning over.  I did my best to follow suit.

I got through the rest of the run and made it to the downhill stretch (which is conveniently after a steep uphill) feeling mehhhhh and wanted to just jog it in.  However, something in my brain just said “time to go faster” and my legs went with it.  10s, then even 9s, and I felt like I was flying and happy and peaceful and free, the kind of bliss you can only find in that spot where you’re going just hard enough to feel fast and badass, but not redlining.  The mind thinks it, and the body does it.  Novel concept!

It felt nice to have my brain and legs connect again.  They’ve really been out of sync since I got injured in April.  I haven’t felt fast or free or wonderful or speedy on a run, really, since then.  It’s been oppressive heat or long distances or after a long bike ride or just trying to slog through whatever miles I could.  Losing my base just as summer came on sucked, and it really made me limp along during tri season on the run leg, and it feels really, really good to see pieces of light in the corners of the universe that my run love might just be back.

I expect to see this feeling smashed to smithereens, as I’m heading out for a really long run Saturday and figure I’ll probably want to quit running forever after slogging through a upper teens amount of miles I don’t feel ready for (brain, not body), but for just one day, for one stretch, I felt like maybe I’ll be able to feel fast and competent at running again someday.

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