Adjusted Reality

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

Month: January 2014 (Page 1 of 2)

Roads

One of my fave blogs to read is this.  She just has a way with words, and makes me think the thinky things.  Usually, with blogs, I do a lot of scanning since I’m busy and read a lot of things.  I usually end up reading her posts at least twice with my full attention.  This is a high compliment from multitasking me.

She posted recently about a dose of perspective – to which I feel like it’s time to treat myself as well.  It’s about that time.  Whenever I start to get nitpicky about the current few extra lbs I’m hauling around that just.don’t.wanna.leave, or the inability to hit a certain time or pace at a race, I just have to remember a few things.

This was me seven years ago.

I’m not sure that one is unflattering enough.  Here’s another….

At 265 lbs, I had trouble walking up a flight of stairs without wheezing, or across the parking lot at work to get to another building.   I spent 100 hour weeks building a career, working my ass off (literally, obviously not figuratively) to climb the ladder and my only outlets were drinking, smoking, eating, and playing video games.  I would occasionally play dance dance revolution, or get on a kick where I’d get on the elliptical, or take a walk, but never regularly, and it’s not as easy to get moving when you weigh approximately one extra person.

I didn’t cook much, and either got takeout, went out, or made something out of a can/box/bag.  Very occasionally I’d get domestic, and make beer cheese soup (with a block of cheese) in a breadbowl, or “healthy” salad with fried chicken strips, bacon, cheese, and ranch on it.  No one where I worked had ever talked about eating healthy, we got pizza delivered for overtime food, had junk food potluck all the time, and we had donuts and bagels delivered every Friday.   No one I knew did anything active.

I enjoyed a lot of aspects of my life, so I can’t say that I was truly unhappy, but something was MISSING.  I had convinced myself that it was just inevitable to get fat and inactive, because that’s what getting old means (said the girl who was in her early/mid 20s).  I never wanted to go out much, it was such a hassle, and it was much easier to get drunk at home and not have to try to find something to wear, and write or play or watch TV.  As such, we didn’t have many close friends.

I remembered being an athlete before, but that’s just something kids did, right? You either were good enough to be a pro or you just faded into obscurity, there was no in-between in my mind.  If you didn’t succeed at making it, you didn’t deserve to continue, I thought.

But, as they say in these stories, there’s a turning point.  Now, I wish I could say that I saw a triathlon and was inspired, or something positive like that, but it was simply that I tried on pants, couldn’t comprehend how I was size 24, and the switch flipped and it was on.  My goal was not to be healthy, strong, active, whatever – I could have given a flying fuck how the weight came off, but my first goal was to be less fat.

I set about doing that.  I lot about 25 lbs, and then got stalled out for a few months because we made the decision to uproot and move states and jobs and I hung onto the wagon (I didn’t gain anything back) by my fingernails (I didn’t lose anything for 4 months).

My second jump start in summer that year, I have to credit to the stomach flu.  My first week of work, I came down with some major major stomach bug where all I could ingest was gatorade and crackers.  I took off 10 lbs and noticed that I could fit in a bunch more clothes I had been saving.  I put them back on quickly because, well, eating again, but I figured new city, new start, new me, and researched how to do it the right way.  Because while 30 lbs down was great, this was not going to be my after picture.

Time passed, and things happened.  We got a house (the one you see me painting above) and did a lot of work on it and moved in).  I joined sparkpeople, and decided to do what spark said for a month.  I lost 9 lbs that month.  This was the first time I had reliably lost weight with any sort of program, I had just been winging it with “go to the gym until you can’t stand it anymore and try not to eat so much you horrible pig” until I settled back into old routine.

Soon, old routine became new routine.  I thought that the 20 mins cardio and 15 mins weights 3xweek were a HUGE commitment, but there was something to checking that off the list for the week and getting my spark points, and then I started upping the cardio a little more once I felt a little stronger. Over the holidays, I was terrified of everyone telling me that gaining weight was inevitable, so I upped the cardio to 45×4 days a week, and mostly stuck with the plan, so I ended up losing 15 lbs instead between Thanksgiving and New Years.

I counted my calories and balanced my eating like a checkbook.  While I ate a lot of crap and I wouldn’t suggest that this is a way to spend the rest of your life, it helped me transition to the seven years ago’s 1000 calorie+ light lunches to the way I eat now, which may look like garbage in seven more years, but seems pretty healthy and balanced right now.  There were hundred calorie packs and light bread and so much diet sodas and things I wouldn’t even go near now, but as they say, baby steps.  The scale continued it’s progress, and I was happy.

I hit “onederland” as people tend to call it a few days before my 29th birthday and it was the best birthday present I’d ever had.  I had so much more energy and felt like a completely different person.  I was eating like a reasonable person, losing weight, and exercising regularly.  I even got a hair up my ass and decided to try to run a mile at the track.  I did it in about 12 minutes, and subsequently died.  Well, almost.  I got better.  I tried it again in a few months and went better, and then all of a sudden I found the treadmill at work and eventually, I was able to run a 5k.

I was lucky to have stumbled upon running this way, as 1.5 years of regular strength training really helped me earn my right to run, and I ramped up very slowly and carefully.  I had seen these races people talked about and it made me nervous but also excited, and I figured that I needed to just do one so I could experience it, so I signed up for a little local 5k right before my 30th birthday.  I figured I’d be absolutely last and the oldest person there and embarrassed but whatever.  I was doing it.

Well, come race day, I figured out a few things.  One, I was NOT the last person, or the oldest, though a dude with grey hair totally whooped my ass.  Second, I not only beat my goal time of 30 minutes, I beat it by over 2 minutes and got my first taste of the finish line high.  Third, I kinda really wanted to do another one.  I also ended up with a stray Runner’s World mag that linked a 12 week program to a half marathon.  At first I thought it was crazy, but then I decided to jump in and go for it.

I raced that first half marathon on a hot, sticky late June day, and while at first it made me quit running for a while, it also got me hooked long term because I did another, with shorter races in between.  Then, I stood at the fork of the “what’s next” path, and chose the road that lead away from a full marathon, and got on my bike and pedaled toward triathlon.  They would converge later again, but I would have to take two dead ends before I actually got to marathon-land.

My husband was joining me at the smaller races but didn’t really love the idea of running anything over a 5k, until he decided he wanted to do a triathlon, and then pretty much right after the finish line, he decided he wanted to do that Ironman thing, so he started training with me, and the rest is history.  Getting him on board was awesome, and key to this being a lifestyle.  We now want to grow old and active together so we can potentially qualify for Kona someday (I’m thinking maybe when I’m in my 50s or 60s, heh).

2013-12-01 05.01.58

Through the years, weight has become less of a focus than how this triathlon thing is going.  The two are connected, obviously, but there are (hard for me) ways to productively shed lbs, and there are (much easier) ways to do it that destroy performance.  This has meant my weight has fluctuated from 150 to the high 180s and back down a bit, in this period of discovering a higher purpose of physical movement than how I happen to look in a pair of jeans.

I have felt different things about my body at different weights, sometimes even different things on the same day.  However, no matter how shitty I feel sometimes when I know it would be easier to haul my ass up the hill if I could not eat the fries and eat the kale instead, or if my tri shorts are tight and a little muffin-toppy after the holidays, these are the problems you have when you have built a pretty cool life.  A life that seven years ago seemed beyond unicorns and rainbows.  The fact that I missed my PR last weekend by less than 2 minutes is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, when your life is such that you get to go out to fancy parties looking like this.

2014-01-25 20.27.52

I was asked recently how to not give up.  I said that I’ve seen that road.  The path into gaining weight – it’s a huge downhill, and the incline increases as you go along.  It’s the return trip that’s the bitch.  Uphill.  Incredibly steep.  Even if I take off one lb per YEAR, even if I continue to maintain my current weight of 175 (give or take a few) for a long time, I’ve traveled far from that girl, the one who didn’t want to walk a mile to work because “I’d get sweaty” and “there was a hill”.

And in all this, I am still me.  I still really fucking hate hills.  However, my instinct now isn’t to run from them, it’s to run up them over and over until I conquer them.

3M – The Middle

There are some race reports where I’m excited to tell you how I just flew and exceeded all expectations.  There are some where I am ashamed to come and tell you that I totally crashed and burned, or lost it.

2014-01-19 05.37.28

This is not either of those reports.

Sunday was a good solid effort, that pretty typically represented my current fitness and how my training had gone.  And really, that’s all you can really ask for.  You can hope for some race day magic, but that’s what it is – magic.  Magic does not come when called.  Magic is elusive and wily and shows up when least expected.

Magic did not show up that day, but my brain did, so you’ll have that.  Below, as they say, is the rest of the story.

Day before/pre race:

I got all my errands done last week, so we pretty much got to relax all day Saturday.  It was nice!  I spent most of the day off my feet, we went to see Frozen (which was suuuuuper cute btw), and I climbed into bed early and fell asleep quickly.

Then, I woke up about an hour later with MAD allergy issues.  My nose was whistling, my eyes itched, and sleeping was not happening.  It was too late to really take anything without jeopardizing dragging ass at the race, so I stayed up and read my book for a while, and finally fell asleep a little before 1 in the guest room (so I wouldn’t wake Zliten).

2014-01-18 15.32.42

The alarm came bright and early at 4:45, but I didn’t feel so bad.  The hours I got were pretty solid.  I did the normal half a starbucks and half a cliff bar.  I poo’d and tinkered and we got to the race with plenty of time to park, potty, go back and huddle in the car for a while, potty again, and then line up about 10 mins to race start.

I had some major wardrobe indecision, but I ended up:

a) wearing the Hokas – which was an incredible decision

b) wearing my thin windbreaker jacket and a tank top – which was not the best decision, more below on both…

I tucked in around the 2:05 pace group, and suddenly, we were off!

2014-01-19 06.01.31

Mile 1-5 (9:34, 9:28, 9:35, 9:30, 9:33)

As soon as we started running, I had random heel pain on my left foot.  Uh, WTF?  This is not anything I’ve had to deal with lately.  I’m so over my body feeling different on race day than it does normally, that’s something I need to figure out.

I kept with the pace group, and noted that it was constant, but not debilitating, and my choices were to keep pace or drop out of the race, because going slower wasn’t making any difference, it’s the same amount of steps to the finish line.

Really, in this section, I was just enjoying the run.  Besides what could potentially be a ticking time bomb in my left shoe, I felt pretty good, so I just rolled with the pace group at that fast comfortable place where you feel like you’re working but not working hard.

Mile 6-8 (9:44, 9:44, 9:51)

I lost the pace group around here, they were running a little faster than 9:30s, and I started running a little slower.  The heel pain was starting to affect my stride and we (left this from the first revision, because obviously my mind and body started to separate around here…) worked through a lot of other weird niggles because of it.  Right knee, check.  Ankle, check.  Left knee, check.  All present and acc-owww-nted for.

Somewhere in here are usually my low miles in a half distance race or run, but looking back, I didn’t get too down.  I never gave up.  At one point my head started going south, and Bad Habit (Offspring) came on and I’m glad I loaded it in there, because it picked me up and I ate some chews and didn’t have too many other head issues.  I knew around mile 7 that I would have to fight even for just a PR, and I was prepared to keep my head in the game, and continue on in that proverbial boxing ring.  Marathon training really helped/warped me, as I kept ticking away surprisingly low amounts of time til I was done running (holy crap, only an hour left at 7 miles, etc).

As freezing as I was at the race start in what I was wearing, I had to peel my jacket off and run in just a tank top.  My jacket didn’t want to stay situated around my waist in the back, and I got sick of adjusting it so I just ran with it in front like a skirt.  It was not optimal.  In retrospect, a tee, sleeves, and a garbage bag or throw away clothes would have been a better option, though the jacket has been perfect for a sunny day in the high 40s – low 50s previously.  I guess running a little faster makes you hotter?  I haven’t run a cold race in a while so I’m out of practice here, I’m used to managing heatstroke, not windchill.

2014-01-19 14.29.45

Mile 9-13.1 (10:08, 10:39, 10:18, 9:58, 9:46, 1:42 – last .24 at 9:50 PACE)

Mile 9-10 is where things start to go up a bit (pace and elevation).  Nothing crazy, mind you, but after the majority of the race being a nice gradual decline in elevation, it feels like a mountain.  I was no longer having fun.  My foot hurt.  My legs felt weird and stompy because my gait was so off.  I would blame my legs feeling so heavy on my hokas, but there is ZERO possibility I could have gotten through this race in another shoe with the heel pain, so I was thanking my lucky stars I went with them.

I lost my PR battle in miles 9, 10, and 11, where I retreated to 10+ minute miles.  I know this now, but it was close enough that I kept fighting.  Mile 12 I picked it back up to sub-10, and same with mile 13.  I’m pretty sure race directors cackle and smile evilly when planning courses, because so dang many of them finish UPHILL, and this was no exception.

I had no kick.  There was nothing left, and that’s not normal for me.  As you can see, my last mile was about 9:46 and my .24 (not a stellar running-the-tangents race) was 9:50 average.  My C goal was to give this race my all, and that proves I did.  I came through at 2:10:02.

Post race:

I shuffled along, picked up items to replenish my calories (gatorade, two clementines, bag of chips) and then waited for the rest of the gang.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally around 2:30, I started to walk over to the med tent to see if something happened.  On the way, they all found me.  Apparently they finished just a minute or two after me and I must have missed them in the shuffle.  We got a ride back to our car, got home, had some champagne, and enjoyed our sore muscle Sunday.

IMG_8862

Thoughts:

I figure there are two ways I could look at this race….

a) I failed because I didn’t get a PR or beat 2:05 or sub 2 or even take 3 frakking seconds off and come in at 2:09:xx

b) I did good because I ran a similar level of effort (let’s face it, less than 2 minutes isn’t all that much in 13.1 miles, its roughly 8 seconds per mile) than the best I’ve ever done.

I’m going with option B.  Doesn’t mean I’m not hungry to improve and/or really nail a race, but it means that I’m on a path that’s got me within spitting distance.  The ultimate goal is to NOT choke on the half marathons that come after a long bike ride, and being able to 2:10 in a standalone half this early in the year means great things for that.

I’m really happy with how my head handled things through the race.  I kept fighting.  I never gave up.  I kept the effort as high as I could go without redlining.  I never took my foot off the gas (it may have eased up just a bit a few times, but not for long).

I am disappointed with my body.  I mean, seriously, I did NOTHING to my heel and it just started hurting at mile 1, and it’s fine now (pretty much, it was fine as soon as I stopped running).  The marathon happened just like that too (but with my ankle, a different annoying body part).  As I said before, I’m tired of my body seeming to fall apart on race day at the beginning.  I might have to look at my taper and do some experiments with doing MORE that week.  It’s no use feeling rested if random bad juju is going to explode all over me anyway.  I’m typically able to get through this distance with either gatorade OR one dose of sugar, so both is a treat.

I felt like my nutrition was fine.  I had ~200 calories before the race, 120 calories of gatorade during in my handheld, and 100 calories of chews (half at mile 6, half at mile 9).  I got a little boost from the chews, and perhaps next time I’ll experiment with a few more chews, but I always pay a small price with solid food = upset stomach (the chews are the mildest and tolerable, but still).  I usually take in a little more gatorade but the aid stations were SUPER crowded so I figured the momentum was worth more than the fuel.

Overall, I had a pretty rocky training block.  I got sick, the holidays happened, and if I’m being honest with myself, I think I lost a little motivation near the end.  I could not regularly hit my paces outside, and since I didn’t race on a treadmill, I did not hit them in the race.

It wasn’t all for naught.  I ran a sub-10 min mile pace in a double digit race, which I’ve only done two other times.  Of the 11 times I’ve run a half marathon in a race, this is the second fastest, and I’m doing it a month and a half out from a marathon and after a totally disastrous 2013 season of running.  I rekindled my love for speedwork in a major way (and learned to not totally hate and fear tempos), and I’m faster than I was a month ago, even if most of that speed really came from my head, rather than fitness improvements.

This week I’m taking a rest (my body is surprisingly wrecked from that short of a race), and not doing much structured training (easy swim/bike/run only as motivation dictates), and next week I’ll dive into the first block of my triathlon training – which is bike focused.  I’m ready for the shift.

I am planning on two more half marathons this spring.  I’m not specifically training for them, but it will be a fun experiment how adding swimming and biking (and really maintaining the same amount of run miles) will affect my half times.

T Minus 5

3M approaches, quicker than I’d like, actually, as I forgot how much work it takes to run fast.  It’s easy to equate longer distances and more hours as work, but ~20 hours a week of runs, less than 3.5 hours of actual running work, sounds like playtime to my ears.  Something fun to occupy my time during that weird time between the marathon and actual tri training starting, when I’m not  ready to succumb to the offseason, I thought this endeavor would be.

1-14run

But I haven’t done the “every mile COUNTS” type plan in years, and I remember now that those ~20 miles, they are enough.  I’m fortunate to absolutely <3 speedwork in the form of 3×1600, 8×400, etc at some crazy fast pace.  This is fun to me.  I have no idea why I stopped doing these workouts, but never ever again.

I do remember why I gave up weekly tempo and faster long runs.  They hurt, without much relief.  When you’re in pain on mile 3 of 10 trying to run a pace you haven’t hit in 3 years, there’s not much light at the end of the tunnel.  When you’re pretty much weekly attempting to PR your 5 mile run time, it’s a far cry from those lovely jaunts outside just to get some miles in.  However, as they say, and I paraphrase, what’s hard is what will make you better in the long run, so I will suffer through them today so maybe when I toe the line Sunday, I’ll have a few extra ounces of toughness I can draw upon.

I am definitely in the Goldilocks situation though here with running.  The “no-speedwork and no specific goal besides miles” plan earlier this year was too cold.  The “every mile is calculated out to an exact specific goal pace” is too hot.  I need something that’s just right – a mix between specific goal paces/tough workouts, and sessions that are “just go run 10 happy fun miles easy”.

This year will be about figuring out the balance.  I know the ratio is supposed to be 80 easy/20 hard, but you also need to have enough volume to make that work, which right now, we don’t, so I think there is something to rotating between sports, setting one at maintenance levels (right now, swimming), one working towards distance (right now, bike, sort of), and one working towards speed (right now, run).  It seems to be working thus far, as I am a WAY better runner than I was 4 months ago, and I know I’ve lost just a little in the pool and on the bike, things that seem (and I hope very much) will come back quickly, slower than the nice winter base of running (and running fast) fades.

But, bringing it around to what happens this weekend, my first race of 2014 is a half marathon.  A downhill half marathon, in what looks like to be just about stupid perfect temperatures (45 degrees, cloudy but no rain, not much wind). If I was hitting my workouts perfectly, training for a sub-2, this would be the half marathon in which to do it.

However, my training has not been perfect.  I missed or had to downgrade quite a few runs because I was sick and/or holiday stuff.  I’ve only done two 10 mile runs, and neither of them were at the 9:40 min/miles that is supposed to be my long run pace for a sub-2.  I’ve missed a few runs.  However, the silver lining is I’ve been able to attack a 5 mile tempo each week @ 8:55 pace or below.  I’ve hit every speedwork session on the money.  It’s just when I have to move the belt myself, aka, outside and not on the treadmill, is when I choke.  I can’t quite remember the pace without my mechanical friend.

1-14run2

And I’m out of time.  What I was hoping would be 1-2 tempos on the treadmill and my legs would remember the paces outside just didn’t pan out, because magic doesn’t always happen in a short training cycle in which you catch the plague and get distracted by the holidays.  What I cannot sneeze at is that I have seen some major improvements, and if you would have told tri-season ’13 me that I’d be running around 10 min/mile pace regularly outside and not dying, I would have giggled with glee.  But I’m somewhere between that “most improved kid, fall 2013” and “ready to run my sub-2”.

The man with the hammer seems to have missed me on the treadmill, but has caught me about mile 3-4 on most of my outdoor runs.

So with that in mind, what’s the plan?

The good news is my body has been telling me pretty early how it feels on runs, and 13 miles isn’t terribly long to me right now – it’s the paces that are killing me right now, not the miles, my legs are absorbing those just fine.  Even accounting for some race day happy puppy, I don’t think I’ll start out too quick, and most runs, the last few miles have been the best.  Also, my body’s felt pretty rough the last 2-3 weeks due to holiday sludge, which is not a silver lining in and of itself, but it won’t be a shock if the whole run sucks, like it was at the marathon.

The plan is to start out at 9:30 pace, and hold that for the first 3 miles, no matter how awful or easy it is.  From there, I’ll figure it out.  If I can hold that 9:30, I can come in around 2:05, which is a nice 3+ minute PR (which was 3.5 years ago and about 15 lbs less, so you’ll have that).  I need to maintain at least a 9:40 average overall (that fateful 9:40 pace I have not been able yet to conquer) to PR with some time to spare.  I’ll need to pick it up to about 9:05s to sub-2.

I intended to go completely balls out into this race, but I’m not sure my training and body condition supports that.  However, I don’t want to risk having the day of my life and sandbagging it, so I think this plan strikes a good middle balance.

I’m also having trouble with the wardrobe choices – mostly the shoes.  I ran one week with the hokas, and one week with the Asics.  The Hokas feel like wonderful little trampolines, and my feet feel cuddled, protected, and I’m not feeling like I am being held back by them (I ran speedwork, a tempo, and two outdoor 6ers).  The Asics do feel sexy, light, and extremely comfortable, but my heel was aching a bit by mile 9 of the outdoor run.  Hokas, I know I’ll be comfortable the entire time, but I don’t have enough experience in either of them to know what I’ll feel like at the end, or if racing in the Hokas will leave some speed on the table.  I’m still not sure yet.

The other factors in what sort of a day I might have is allergies (I was knocked out Saturday, and better this week, but still experiencing symptoms).   I’m planning not to spend much time outside this week, but cedar is supposed to be killer and not letting up for a while.  Also, nutrition.  I’m still working my way through detoxing all the holiday junk out of my body, and I’m hoping 2 weeks of being a good little girl is enough to feel like myself on race day.

I haven’t had the stars align to have a better-than-expected race in quite a while, so I’ll totally take it if it comes my way, but I’m also ready to fight for just squeaking by with a PR and suffering the entire time.  T minus 5 until I toe the line and face that evil, nasty man with the hammer.

How It Is, And How It Has Been, Winter Blahs Edition

In 2013, I set monthly goals.  In retrospect, I really liked the idea of having monthly goals and checking in with myself on them monthly, for many reasons.

I’m a procrastinator.  Even if I pushed things like, “go make an eye appointment” to the end of the month, at least it got done.  Previously, I’d just let those hang out for months/years.

If I saw something appear over and over undone, it made me look at the undone thing and decide what was happening.  Was it just not enough of a priority (in which case, I should forget about it)?  Was something standing in my way I needed to resolve first?  Was it just not worth the time and effort investment (in which case, I should forget about it)?  Previously, I’d just get annoyed and go into a minor shame spiral about NOT BEING ABLE TO GET SHIT DONE.

I also have the memory of a goldfish.  If something is on a list, I’ll remember to at least consider doing it.

However, I didn’t love some things about it.  It was yet another list, which I have too many of on my blog.  I don’t need another.  Also, I tried the gimmick of 13 each month (in ’13) and found myself making stupid goals just to fill out the list.  Finally, it feels like I didn’t focus on all of my yearly goals each month, or at least consider how they fit into the plan.

So, this year, I’m going to try to do a monthly dialogue here.  A conversation over (decaf tea or) coffee as if I was catching up with an old friend on how my month had gone, and how I wanted my next one to go.

December:

1-8santa

Ah, December.  I love the month because it means time off, Christmas and holidays, with the cheer, presents, twinkly lights, family, food, and fun.  I hate this month (ok, my waistline, training, and sleep schedule hate this month) because of deviation from routine, fun food, celebrations, letting go, and hiding in my hidey hole because it’s vacation.  Also, it goes from HAPPY FUN HOLIDAY straight into worst depressing awful yucky time of year so there’s that.  Post holiday blues, going from happy twinky lights to blah, bad allergies, cold weather, grey days, and all that nonsense.

I ran the marathon, I felt rebounded real quick (like, after about a week), and then I started training for 3M Half Marathon.  I was actually doing really, really well, hitting some really great paces for me, but then I got sick.  Not sick enough to really fuck shit up, but enough to disrupt my awesome weekend I had planned and then wreck my mojo for about a week after.  However, I still got in just about everything.

Then holiday break hit.  I did my best, but this last week was just a mess.  Too much to do, body finally hitting the breaking point with all the crap that’s being put in it food and booze-wise, and I have a lot of red (not complete) or yellow boxes (not completed as planned) on my schedule, and that’s not good for 1 week out of a 4 week + taper cycle.

It’s not all terrible – I did get one solid 10 miler in, plenty of 6 milers, and wrecked the crap out of some speedwork and tempos on the treadmill.  I dipped my toe into weights, but that’s about it, to wake up my abs and my arms and tell them they won’t be putty forever.  I also did another 110 mile trainer ride, just to remind my quads what would be to come this season.

The good news is that the scale doesn’t think I’m that terrible of a person.  On NYE, after not weighing regularly for a while and fearing for the worst, I weighed in at 176.  Now, I’ve seen a few numbers AFTER that day that don’t make me very happy, but I’m pretty sure that a week of drinking water (not wine), batch cooked healthy meals, and counting calories, and I’ll have this under control.

The other good news is I really, really enjoyed my happy fun break of hanging out with friends, playing games (video, board, and tabletop), reading, eating amazing food, cuddling my husband, and relaxing.  There was a point where I had no idea what day it was, and had no to do list.  That was refreshing, to just be and exist and not worry.  I miss it already.

A few things I didn’t get done that I wanted to: go use my iFly cert, finish (I started, but have a long way to go) my Savage Worlds story, and figure out a way to make the break longer.

January:

1-8jan

A new year, a new start.  2013 was generally awesome but had some sucktastic moments.  I love the new year, the calendar pages blank and ready to be scribbled upon, like new fallen snow… if I liked snow.  So far, it’s been a little rough transitioning from vacation to real life.  I don’t mind the routine, I actually like it, I just… am not quite ready for things to wratchet up to 11.  January has not been terribly kind thus far, but I’m hoping I’m through the worst of it, and we can call a do-over with a slower crescendo.

In terms of the sporty spice side of life, this month will have peaks and valleys.  In 1.5 weeks, I’m running 3M, my first race of the year, and the first half marathon I’ve race-raced since 2010, which happens to be my PR of 2:08:08.  Then, I plan on taking a week or two a little lax (honestly, my goal is to swim a shit ton since I have my new swimp3 player and it could use the kick start since I’ve swam TWICE since Kerrville), and then starting to ramp up for tri season.

I’m going to stay run-focused the first part of the year, but I’ll have to sacrifice some of that lovely hoka time for lovely bike (maybe some OUTSIDE) or lovely pool time.  It is really nice to be a triathlete right now that loves all 3 sports.  None of them are on my shit list, or in the doghouse.  I have a feeling it won’t take until February, and my guess is that either biking or swimming (or both) will reside there for a while while I shake off the maintenance cobwebs into real work, but it’s all part of the fun.

I have the first part of my season narrowed down to a sane racing schedule, now it’s time to just make sure it’s sane in terms of travel and money.  The plan is to do 2-3 half marathons early in the year to keep the legs sharp.  I want major run motivation, and I also really want a good shot to PR my half before summer hits.  I’ve got a few bike rides as well.  Neither of them are full centuries, but they’ll get me some nice outdoor miles.   Then, an April triathlon, one in May, and two in June.  I’m still debating distances, but it looks like one sprint, two x-50s (1 mile swim, 40 mile bike, and 9 mile run), and one either olympic or 70.3 (which is my season opener – otherwise the 70.3 would be a no-brainer).  I hope to get the registrations done this month, before a lot of them go up in price.

In terms of healthy eating, I’m enjoying the January cliche.  I fell off the wagon a bit, and now it’s time to jump back on.  I’m the most ready for this.  I miss good healthy food.  I batch cooked this weekend and now I have meals that are delicious and just a microwave oven away.  This month has to be strict for me.  Logging every calorie and diet quality score.  No sugar except on the bike.  I need an ass kicking to get myself back to… myself.

My weight is hanging out right now about 179.  So, I’m not going to make a numerical goal because I’ve seen that’s pointless, but if I follow everything above, it should equate to LESS.  I’m hoping significantly less.

In domestic affairs, my biggest goal is to get the house back in order.  Getting Christmas and NYE decorations down and stored (they’re down but not stored), cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer (again) to make my healthy food accessible and get rid of the junk, and keep the house (relatively) neat in between cleanings.  I’ve gotten a little better at this over 2013, but I could be better.

Thing of the month for January is replacing the front door.  New cracks appear in it every month as we slam it closed three times before it actually takes.  It’s time.  I’ll have to deal with having an ugly white door until we decide what to do with the exterior, but functionality is more important now.  A bonus goal?  Cleaning out my car.  I kept it SO clean for the first five years of it’s life but now it’s my junk bucket.  It will take 15 minutes to do, I just need to make it happen.

In social matters, January should be a nicely balanced month.  I have parent plans, friend plans, and game night or two on the horizon.  I definitely am going to need to take care to not get overextended though – my training volume isn’t high enough that I’m physically exhausted all the time, so I need to artificially engineer days of relaxation to keep the mental fatigue in check.

In social media – I need to be good about blackout days.  For example, Sunday at home.  This was harder than I expected.  I loaded it up, checked everything, closed it down…. and later in the day I had the itch… and caved.  It was much better than having it open all day though.  This is the big focus this month… not bending to the time-waster will.  On Sunday, I got a LOT of shit done that I might not have if I was tied to my laptop all day, so it was at least a partial win.

In general, my goal will be to get back into routine, and have it be just that by the end of the month.  Eating good food, following a training plan, getting back into old, good habits, and minus a few goals, saving the revolutionary stuff for another month.  Keeping a to do list (both at work and at home) so that when I have small chunks of free time, I don’t flail as much at being productive.  Y’know, that kind of goodness.

Thanks for indulging me, now it’s your turn!  Tell me… how was your December?  What do you hope to accomplish in January?

New Years 2014 Roadmap

Instead of posting on Dec 31 or Jan 1 like I usually do, I had to take some extra time on this.  I had this great ordered list written out, but it looked and felt to me like a schedule or an outline, impersonal and to-do-list-y.  I wanted to take some time and really reset and explore the thoughts behind each thing, and I really wanted to give myself a roadmap for the year rather than a list of shit I won’t care about in a month.

1.  Training, racing, being generally a triathlete.

Jan3-1

I have mixed feelings about 2013.  I shouldn’t, because I made some pretty good swim and bike progress, and running got happy late in the year and I’m kinda back to where I was 3 years ago (finallllly), but I don’t feel like I really nailed a lot of my races and running was really miserable for so long.

First of all, I’ve found that my focus this year needs to be the run, then the bike, then the swim, at least the first half of the year.  I’ve been making amazing run gains simply by running more, and then with my big base, running faster.  I want to maintain a good base, and pull some nice big weeks during peak training.  I’m finding the run is the first to go and the last to come back, so it needs the most attention.  I’m not losing that much on the bike (if anything) just keeping one long trainer ride per week, and I pretty much quit swimming for 3 months and I picked up almost where I left off once I got back in the water (I’m a little slower, but a week or two of multiple swims a week should fix that).

Goal #1: maintain a 20 mile/week run base, pull some 40+ weeks during peak training.

Each workout needs a specific goal.  I’m not seeing much improvement with workouts like “run 10 miles” or “bike on the trainer for 2 hours”.  I saw some amazing run improvement when I incorporated specific speedwork (aka – 8×400 @ 7:50 pace), and started tempos again (either as part of a longer run or the whole run itself).  I’m hoping to transfer that work over to the bike and the swim as I start focusing there.

I want to really focus on nailing training.  I missed my goal time for the marathon by 22 minutes.  I just was not having a super day, my legs forgot to show up.  Rather than it being a disaster, I just thought back on the AMAZING training I had done, and was extremely happy.

Goal #2: have a specific workout planned for each session with pace goals (unless it’s truly a recovery day, then EASY will suffice).  Do not neglect speedwork on any of the three disciplines.  Show up and conquer each training session.

I’m still planning out my race schedule, but this year, I’m not locked into racing anything because it’s part of a series, and I didn’t jump on any presales.  2014 truly is my oyster at this point.  I want to race enough to keep me motivated and interested, but also remember that I LOVED the 2 month training block and not to let my race FOMO get the best of me. Racing during the hot summer doesn’t make me happy, so I’m not going to do it, I’m going to focus around a spring season and fall season taking the summer as a break from serious training.

Specifically, I want to PR my half marathon, do a full century outdoors (either standalone or as a full IM aquabike), and complete a 70.3 where I feel as if I raced it (which should assuredly result in a PR, but a PR in and of itself is not exactly what I’m chasing), but I’m sure other goals will come up as the year progresses.

Goal #3: plan out a reasonable season with adequate training time and enough offseason to keep me from being crispy.  Figure out what the A, B, and C races are and set appropriate goals.

2.  Eating/the scale/diet quality

Jan3-2

2013 was the first year I saw some actual downward progress since 2009, when I finished losing all the weights.  I lost 10 lbs in the spring, and I’ve kept it off.  I’d like to do the same this year (I’m not picky about which season, I’d be ok if this happened in Jan and Feb ;D).  So, a lot of this will be more of the same (as that period of time), which is helpful.

The real key here is accountability and data.  I can lose weight when I track both the quantity and the quality of what is going in my mouth, and set appropriate goals by my current training level.   I need some flexibility, as I get really crazy if I try to be perfect, but I do best with numerical goals here and sometimes just having to own up to logging the calorie damage and/or negative diet quality points will stop me from making crappy decisions.

Goal #1: track calories and diet quality all year, minus vacations and/or periods where I am on break.

Batch cooking was a major success.  Having something that I wanted to eat on hand to throw in the microwave was a huge proponent in me eating good food in proper portions.  Let me tell you what I don’t want to do after an early morning run, a full day at work, and then a night session?  Cook.  However, my laziness usually works to my advantage here, because nuking something that I may not be 100% thrilled with will usually win over going to purchase something else or making something else from scratch.

I have a great repository of batch recipes now, but I’d like to start working on incorporating and trying to like some foods that are super healthy, but I’m not so keen on, or actually like, but rarely eat.  I conquered avocados and kale last year, I’d like to see if I can incorporate sweet potatoes and see if I can do anything with eggs that mask their taste and texture to be a meaningful addition to a recipe.  In the latter category, I’d like to eat brussel sprouts more – I love them, but I always forget about them.

Goal #2: batch cook the majority of 2014, and make use of my fit/snap kitchen when I’m too busy to do so.  Try some new recipes, and try to incorporate foods that I don’t 100% love but want to love, to see if I can make myself love them.  Keep variety in my fruits and veggies – man cannot live on spinach, mixed veggies, apples, and berries alone.

3. Organization/House/Renovations

Jan3-4

I bit off more than I could chew last year.  Guess what a busy triathlete wants to do on precious free time during the season?  I can tell you for certain that it’s NOT spend the weekend cleaning shit.  This year, I want to renew the theme of trying to do something per month, but scope it to the amount of time I reasonably have to dedicate to it.  If that’s reordering a room, great.  If it’s just cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen, that’s fine too.

Goal #1: set one goal per month to clean/organize/redo something.  It can be as small or large as I choose.

Last year was the money suck of everything breaking (our house, electronics, random things, us…) and I’m not sure how much we’ll have to really spend on a bunch of remodel this year.  However, it would be nice to scope out and start planning some of the larger projects we want to do and keep an eye out for deals.

Goal #2: We must fix the shingle in the roof and replace the front door.  Scope out redoing the slab on the patio and covering it, repainting/brick work the exterior, kitchen counters and if we want to redo anything else there (gold stars for completing).

4.  Social/Social Media Habits

Jan3-3

 

Pic shamelessly stolen from my friend, A.  Also, sad that I had to go back to 2012 for a friends picture, I have been really bad about taking group pics this last year.

2013 was the year I figured out responsible drinking, quit smoking, and really found a balance between going into a training hole and being so social I wasn’t rested and wanted everyone to go the fuck away.  This is a lot of same-as-it-was with a few additions, mostly on online habits.  I don’t have that much in the way of long thoughts here, so I’ll just number these.

Goal #1: continue to host game nights with our Savage Worlds crew.  Actually finish my story and GM for the first time with our SW campaign.  Do an occasional game night with other board games.

Goal #2: we only had ONE large party at our house this year.  That made me sad.  This year, I’d like to host at least 3 – one for our birthday (March), one to celebrate the first part of the season being over (July), and NYE (December).

Goal #3: no matter how busy I am, I need to hang out with people who are not my family at least twice a month.

Goal #4: social media blackout days.  I waste WAY too much time on twitter and facebook when I have them open all the time.  I’m declaring Wednesday and Sunday blackout days.  I can open them once in the morning to scan/to make sure I’m not missing messages or somethin’, and then they stay closed all day.

Goal #5: start following more triathlete/runner people and actually interacting with them.  Purge my twitter feed of shit I don’t care about.  Comment on a larger variety of blogs so maybe more than 2 people might read this stuff.

Goal #6: write shit that’s not just race/training recaps and ordered lists.  Yeah, that stuff is important because it helps me analyze data and reflect and grow and maybe share some of my successes and fails with other people, but it gets duuuuuulll.  I’d like to err on the side of doing these less often, quarantining them to maybe a once a month data dump, and that frees me up for more posts about the random thing that I was thinking about during my run and delicious recipes and my newfound love for Hokas.  I’d like to find my writing voice again, and report-posts take me away from that.

Goal #7 upload the photos I use HERE instead of linking from facebook, because apparently they go away after a while (looking through my archives, anything over 2 years old seems to have no photos, which I assure you – they had).

5.  Bric-a-brac/One Liners

Jan3-5

Goal #1: Get through my coaching class.  Look into both being mentored by other, more experienced coaches, and working with some athletes besides my husband and my friend M.  Start at least working through what it might be to make this a business if/when the opportunity presents itself.

Goal #2: Go somewhere epic.  Right now, the current thought is Australia for the 70.3 there, but if that doesn’t work out – something similar.  Marathon in Europe perhaps?

Goal #3: Make something on the sewing machine that can be worn out of the house, from scratch.  Make at least a few new necklaces.  Figure out a better way to store my necklaces, or at least organize them in a way which makes sense.

Goal #4: Start an outline and working doc for a personal game project that we came up with last year and got really excited about, but have not committed to paper yet.

Goal #5: Scuba dive at least once over the summer to keep our skills sharp (and of course, on vacation in March and in December).  Maybe get nitrox certified so we can dive longer/lower.

Goal #6: Complete the TX Tri Series.  Considering I’m only signing up to race 2 of them, that means volunteering for 4 of them.  Volunteer as the opportunity presents itself otherwise.

Goal #7: Take care of myself to avoid mental crispiness.  One day a month needs to be off.  Like, completely.  No chores, no shopping, no training, no major cooking, just pure relaxation.  Take mental health days as necessary from work, or at least clue my boss and assistant in on days I feel really really mentally thin so they can help me.

Goal #8: Play games, read, go to movies… don’t get stuck in a “watch endless seasons of things” rut.  Try to do other stuff too that’s relaxing.

Goal #9: Do something really, super, over the top nice for someone that they don’t expect that doesn’t benefit me at all.

Hopefully, this map gets me to the place where I go, “Damn, I ROCKED 2014!”.

Question: Where does your 2014 roadmap take you?

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén