Adjusted Reality

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

Month: March 2014 Page 1 of 2

I’m on a boat! (Cozumel/Roatan/Belize Cruise)

If someone asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, and said money was no object, scuba diving in Cozumel would have been pretty near the top of my list.  And, spoilers, that’s exactly how I spent my day.  My life is rad.  But let’s go back to the beginning, because it’s a very good place to start.

This is a long one, campers.  Get a bevvie, a sammich, and a comfy chair as I’m doing this all in one shot.

Saturday: Embarkation


I went and had a little jog that morning, and while a PR or at least a great race would have been a great way to start vacation, any morning I get to run 13 miles and am still upright after is a great one.  The tummy issues started to subside as I got some food in me, and though we had a small wait to get on board, it was handled really really well (unlike ONE YEAR when we had to wait in line for like 9 hours outside and I got sick), and we snagged some lunch (potatoes, aloo, chickpea soup, salad, bread, scallops, stew, veggies – tastes of everything that looked yummy), and then went back to the room and popped the champagne cans we had saved for after the race.  I felt much, much better by then.

The boat drill had us standing for quite a while, and I was really cranky because my legs were sore from racing.  Once I got back to the room and finished my champagne can #2 though, I wasn’t feeling much pain anymore.


We changed for dinner (yay for our bags getting to us quickly) and as we sat down and ordered a glass of wine, we got notification that we had to book it to beat the fog, and we were off!

My plan was this – try not to eat like a complete jerk the rest of the time, but eat whatever I wanted at dinners.  This particular day I enjoyed a roll with butter, spring rolls with peanut sauce, tortellini soup, crawfish etouffe w rice and veggies, split flourless chocolate cake with my mom, and had some bites of honeydew sorbet.  So, yeah – I those carb stores were all back to where they should have been.  Yep.

We saw the welcome show, which was a taste of all sorts of acts and meeting all the major staff.  After that, we played cards with the ‘rents.  Dad and I lost, which did not make us happy, but it was what it was.


Then, we left my parents and went up to the nightclub (the only bar that was still open) and drank a few crown on the rocks.  This was my plan for drinking – mixed drinks I can pound until I can’t see straight, and I was hoping not to come home with another injury.  The straight stuff, I sip like a normal human being, and I look classy.  Bonus.

We weren’t feeling the dancing – running a hard half marathon does that to you, I guess, but we really enjoyed people watching and talking, and later retired to bed to watch TV with a to go drink, and drifted to sleep with the rock of the boat.

Sunday: Sea Day


After a few early wakeups, I really enjoyed sleeping until I couldn’t sleep no more in the dark of the interior cabin.  Good times.  Once I got up, I dithered around a bit, reading, tv, etc, and then finally got myself presentable to leave the cabin and we went to lunch.

Food there was a salad with spectacular tomato basil vinegrette, pea soup, a bite of fettucini, a few bites of some really great (usually cruise mexican food is WAH WAH) chicken enchiladas, and some fajita innards with a few tortilla chips, and more veggies.  Yum.

After lunch we headed to the champagne art auction, because a) champagne and b) we were actually interested in buying some art.  However, the art we wanted didn’t come up, and nothing else struck our fancy.  I was kinda getting grumpy about spending 2 hours at it, but it was kind of fun (the auctioneer made it not so super serious).


We spent the afternoon playing cards with the ‘rents.  I lost.  Again.  Meh.  I was also cranky because I had yet to get any fun in the sun pool time, butt it was ~70 and super windy, so I decided to be patient and not tough it out for the sake of doing it (yes, poor me, pity me please…).

It was a fancy dressup night, so I decided to split the difference with fancy dress and some make up, but I let me hair do the au natural stuff and ended up with a fairly nice picture of us, so I’ll maintain I made the right call.


Dinner was pretty stellar, the requisite bread and butter, chilled corn soup, asparagus and salmon soup, salad w blue cheese, garlic shrimp dinner with rice and veggies, and the BEST desert – Oreo pb pie with a little bit of grapefruit sorbet on the side (not great together, but so so so good individually).


Please keep in mind this picture was AFTER the dinner when looking at the full body shot.

We did a lot of walking around, getting more pictures, drinking a glass of champagne, checking out the art gallery, and then we showed up to a PACKED revue show to which we got crappy seats not together, but it worked.  We couldn’t locate my parents after, so we wandered more and ended up at the majority rules game show. Was not in the majority, lost badly but was a lot of fun.  We decided to try to show up to more gameshows.

We hit the late buffet just to grab some snacks to bring with while diving the next day – but ended up snacking on some greek salad, some brie and blue cheese, green beans, and a potato croquet.  Oops.  We had a discussion over the snack of the idea for a new game feature, which could be promising!  Can I write all this off as a business expense now?

Ended up back at the room really early and zonked out on my last day of being 34.

Monday: Cozumel (Birthday)


It’s fuzzy, but for some reason I look like the girl from She’s All That.

Happy birthday to me!  I woke up semi-on time, and in enough time to fuel up for the day with corned beef hash (this is my cruise breakfast treat – I love it but it’s just so awful, I know), two hashbrown bits, english muffin w/ cream cheese, bacon, and fruit.  It sounds like a lot, but diving REALLY takes a lot out of you.

We waited and then finally got the signal to go and our party was missing one – it happened to be the guy we were talking to that mentioned he was waiting for his wife on the ship because she had his passport.  We relayed the message and she had to run back there and we had a little wait.  It harkened to the days before cell phones.  What did we do without?


We finally got all our peeps, then got out on the water and rode for about 45 mins to the first spot.  I was happy as could be, I could have not asked for a better day, except for ONE THING.


So, my birthday wish was to see a turtle.  Now, on the first dive, I saw MANY COOL THINGS.  I saw a manta ray with a ramora fish attached.  I got to hang out with a 5-6 foot nurse shark for a bit, real close.  So many pretty fishies.  But, after the first dive, when Zliten was like “OMG did you see the turtle?”  I was like… “Whaaaaaa?”  I totally missed him.  He was super far away.  So, I guess I got to SWIM with a turtle, close enough.


I could talk for a whole post about diving, but I’ll give the short version.  The crew was pretty cool and did a lot of the heavy lifting for us.  We got to go in the group that was first off and last back on, so lots of water time.  We drift dove in the Cozumel currents, which meant we started at point A and the boat picked us up at point B.  I fumbled a bit with my new camera, but got some great shots.  This was not my favorite diving experience (it will take a lot to top Bonaire) but it was solid.  Never a bad day when you get to spend time like this.


The boat dropped us off, we did a quick change, and went to one of those super touristy bars on the pier.  It was my birthday, I wanted a big sugary fruity drink.  I had some restraint though, I only had one.  We met a couple from Oregon and talked a bit.  We saw them throughout the cruise, but they always looked either super drunk or super hung over and cranky, so we didn’t really become cruise friends.  On the way back to the ship, I picked up some rum cakes for souveniers and we waved bye bye to Cozumel.

A quick change, and then we toasted my birthday before dinner with champagne with the family.  I got some earrings and socks.  I’m a simple girl.  I was happy.


Birthday dinner was ultimately spectacular.  I’ll say it was my favorite, but I may contradict this later in the writeup.  So much good food.  On the menu: crab dip w/bread, Caesar salad, filet mignon and gorgeous shrimp, chocolate birthday cake, and butter pecan ice cream.

We played yet another round of cards and yet again I lost.  No birthday luck there.  We had originally planned on being super good that night because I wanted to spend EVERY MOMENT POSSIBLE in Roatan, but we got there later than I thought, so we went back to the nightclub bar to hang out and people watch for a bit, but then realized that the room bottle service was a MUCH better deal and we weren’t feeling social, so we got that (and maybe some fries for electrolyte purposes) delivered to the room.

Tuesday: Roatan


I got up super duper excited for the day and fueled up with a similar healthy breakfast except I had a strawberry pancake instead of hashed browns.

Once it was FINALLY TIME we got off the ship, we took a gondola ride seeing some gorgeous views (fun fact: I booked the gondola ride because I got the impression it was the only way to get to the private beach.  My parents walked and made it there before us.) and then it was SNORKEL TIME!  I love diving, but it is such a hassle to deal with equipment and snorkeling you can just get in the water with a few things and GO.  It’s like comparing triathon to running.


Again, I could do a whole post about this day, but here’s the highlights.  At first, we got in and explored the swimming area and it was kinda snoozey.  Then, we cut across to the slightly deeper area and RIGHT THERE was this HUGE reef.  It took everything I could to not go find a phone, tell everyone I wasn’t coming home, and move to Roatan.


We spent two hours out there exploring and finally I got dragged out of the water by Zliten for a rest.  Boo.  We found my mom lounging on the chair reading under the clamshell and Zliten got us a plate of smoked jerk chicken, beans and rice, pico, and fried plantains to nibble on for lunch.  While that digested I went for a float w Joel and then we decided to go back out to the reef.


The second time we got a LOT better pictures and got a lot more bold.  We both free dove probably about 20 feet down to look at stuff, we saw lobsters and crabs and creeped on a school of fish playing paparazzi, and I saw my octopus buddy again!


I also saw a HUGE spotted ray whiz right by me, and I tried to chase it down… and ended up WAYYY out in the boat lane and the kayaker yelled at me to come back.  Oops.


Zliten was done with the water, so he did the reading thing, and I went to go float with my mom for a while.  I noticed my heels were chafed from my fins… or so I though.  Nope, HOLY BACK OF THE LEGS SUNBURN.  It was bad.  It’s STILL peeling, and I spend a lot of time in the sun so it takes a lot to burn me.

We had to say goodbye to our pretty beach, and we ended up meeting a couple from San Diego on the gondola ride back and shot the shit with them.  I looked into every little shop for a tee to bring back and finally found my birthday turtle on a shirt.  I was satiated.

We had a little wine, and then went to dinner.  It was italian night.  I love italian night!  I had a little spaghetti and meat ball appetier (I meant to get it to taste it but ate the whole damn thing because it was GREAT), minestrone soup, salad with cheese and bacon, tilapia, and limoncello sorbet with a bit of tiramasu.

After dinner, I was having food hallucinations.  I was so tired from so much sun and fun and a huge meal.  We went to the show (it was called Calliente – some really cool costumes!) – Zliten couldn’t keep his eyes open waiting for it to start, I made it through – but begged off right after and retired to the room to watch TV and read and sleep super early.

Wednesday: Belize


Yep, someone still had the red filter on from the day before…

We were booked for an early ruins tour, so I slept like a sleep monster until 5 minutes before I had to go, thus skipping breakfast.  We had some emergency snacks packed, so I shared a bar with Zliten on the bus and life was fine.  The bus ride was about an hour to get to the ruins site, and the tour guides entertained us with stories about Belize.


There were so many schools and churches, and while a lot of the houses were rickety, we found out at 18, they get to apply for land granted by the government and get 5 years to build on it.  So they all pretty much know how to build a house.  So useful!  Also, there were some sweet houses for the rich people – mostly government officials.  The day was gorgeous, about 80 and humid, but the sky was SO BLUE and the trees were so GREEN.  I just couldn’t get over it.


We got to the ruins of Alten-ha and got more stories about what they were used for – I’m going to gloss over this part because I don’t remember a lot of it and this is already epic-length (and that’s what google is for), but we got to climb a bunch of them and look out… so pretty.


It was a nice reinforcement of fitness because the climbs were NO PROBLEM for us but hard for a lot of the group.  I guess I’m not THAT bad at hills? 🙂


Our bus broke down, so we had a bit of a wait after the tour so we grabbed a beer (BELIKIN! Yay!) and soon we were on our way.  Zliten napped on the way back, I took pictures, and then we were all of a sudden back at the docks.

We hit up the Wet Lizard – a totally tourist bar, but we had met the owner last time so we were hoping to see her and say hi.  We did – she probably didn’t remember us (it had been 3 years) but talked to her for a bit.  Being that it was late afternoon and all we had was half a bar and one beer, we indulged in some belizian meat pies, fish and chicken tacos, and a bucket or two of Belikins (we mixed a few lighthouse lagers in there too), watching the ocean and the construction workers next door.  It was a nice, relaxing afternoon.


We picked up a souvenir tee shirt for Zliten, then picked up a tender boat back to the ship, and relaxed in the room for a bit (potentially with some Crown on the rocks, because, why not, we were done with responsible stuff).

Night came, so we washed up for dinner, which was goat cheese tart with bread, butter lettuce salad with an amazing shalot vinegrette, orange roughy with rice and veggies, and bites of creme brule, amaretto ice cream, and a chocolate haystack for desert.  Y’know, a light dinner.  We followed that up with some great big band music, and convinced my parents to stay for the YES/NO gameshow.

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The host asked you questions and you had to last two minutes without saying yes or no.  I lasted about a minute, my mom lasted just over a minute, Zliten got screwed on the second question, and my dad convientently went to the bathroom when his name was called.  We also did the “jingle” trivia test, and got really close to winning since we had a lot of decades covered, but some others beat us.

We hit the buffet late night style but I kept myself to veggies and hummus and a little salad.  Two more crown on the rocks were needed in the room (yay more bottle service) to wind down with TV and books, and then we drifted to sleepyland.

Thursday: At Sea


Another sleep until we couldn’t day.  Ahhhhh.  We got up and got on our pool attire and headed up to deck to read.  We were unfortunately treated to cloudy skies and some wind.  Booooo!  Then, it started to rain.  Double booo!  It was about lunch time so we headed indoors and I had some salad, catfish, bites of lasagna, amazing ginger chicken stir fry, veggies, and bread.


It was not great weather, but it stopped with the raining, so I went out and chilled and read more.  Since my Zliten had recently decided to shave his legs for triathlete purposes, I poked him to join in the sexy legs contest.  He did alright, but he didn’t strut enough and some 16 year old kid won.  Whomp whomp.  We had many people come up and say later that they cheered for him though, so that was good.


Finally the sun came out, and we continued with the reading by the pool.  I heard they were doing a contest called “Bar Wars” and I was all in for that, so I got to be a judge and got to grade the Mai Tai category.  I did end up giving a point to the guys (they made it stronger) and the two teams tied.  Oh well.  Went back to reading, and then retired back to the cabin and had a few more adult bevvies and more book.  I usually read SO MUCH on vacation and I barely got through ONE.


It was fancy night #2 – and this time I actually did my hair and stuff.  I felt a little less than sexy due to the cruise bloat (not a whole lot of weight gain, just the rich food bleh), but my dress was forgiving so out we went for din dins.  A quick stop in the cabin to have some wine with the parents, and we arrived for the feast.


Dinner was bread and butter, cheese from a cheese plate, Thai rolls, tomato soup, salad w vinaigrette, shrimp and lobster, pralines and cream ice cream, pb haystack.  I suppose I should mention that these things are portioned out nicely.  You’re getting a five course meal – they know you don’t need any of them to be gigantic.

We finished up the domino game and I finally won something!!! Woohoo!!!  We started a new game and it was looking promising for me again, but put a pin in it to go elsewhere.  We were looking to have one more night of debauchery, but it was hard to motivate.  We spent HOURS digesting and reading in the cabin, but finally got back up to the dance club.


It was packed.  We barely found a table.  This was some FUN people watching.  A group of older ladies were dancing, and one fell as Zliten walked by and he caught her.  What a shining night in armor!  She just got back up and kept dancing though, she was a trooper.

Finally, a song caught us and we danced.  And danced.  And danced.  It was a blast!  The DJ actually cut us off after hours and we begged him for more music but it was not to be. I joke that we close out the gym instead of the club nowadays (truth-I got the lights turned off on me in the pool the other day while I was swimming laps) so it was nice to have a flashback of previous selves.

We went back to the room to keep imbibing.  We called room service for some drunk food – actually twice.  We ordered fries and a salad to split, but when they came, we got like, five fries and a tiny side salad.  We tried to go to the little cafe but the food didn’t look appetizing, so we called again for more food.  Gluttons.  However, since dinner was at 5:30pm and it was 4am, it was time for a feeding, especially after dancing for hours.  Once the hunger beasts were satiated, we slept.

Friday: at sea


Slept until 10, which sadly was only 5.5 hours.  My mom called and was like, “Hey there’s this sale, let’s go check it out”, to which I reluctantly, but dutifully like a good daughter got up ad checked out.  Didn’t buy anything, I wasn’t really in the market for anything there, but it was fun to look.  We then caught the end of the kitchen demo, and headed to the galley tour.  I mean, I know they need huge kitchens to produce that sort of gluttony, but HOLY WOW the kitchen was big, and we only saw the “production floor”, there was a whole ‘nother level or two of food stores.  Just wow.

It was time to feed the beasts, so we headed to lunch… shrimp fry, bite o mashed potato, bite spinach lasagna, pineapple, cauliflower, spinach, green beans, veggie soup, bread, bites of Asian food, and bite of coconut mousse thing.   One thing I loved about the cruise food was the amount of healthy food that was just readily available at the buffets.  Sure, I had bites of lots of things, but I was able to load my plate up with mostly veggies and a little fruit, and then a small corner of other things to nom on.  I’m pretty sure that’s why I haven’t gained the “cruise 10” the last times I went.  Also, not being afraid to skip meals.  Lunch OR breakfast was perfectly adequate when I had super rich, big, 5:30pm dinners.

We did the read and nap thing a bit (in the cabin – bad weather – boo), and then the captain came on to announce we found something in the water and we were circling back to check it out!  We went up to deck and it was an abandoned small boat – no one in it – but still… crazy!


Being the last day, we packed up our stuff (it all seemed to fit as it did before, which was nice).  We decided to treat ourselves to a slice of pizza as a midday snack.  Oh, woodfired pepperoni pizza, you’re my only friend. Back to the cabin, and we watched a movie – Red 2 – and I napped a little.  Because that’s what you do the last day of vacation when it’s crappy out.

We just couldn’t do any more wine, so we gave my parents the last of our leftovers to drink before dinner, and then had a last feast – lingine w clam sauce appetizer (I didn’t expect to love it and got it just to have a taste – but OMG SO GOOD I finished the whole thing, oops), shrimp cocktail, salad w eggplant, zuccini, asparagus, tomato, which wasn’t really my thing, curry fish with rice and veggies , bday cake (we wanted to celebrate Zliten’s which was next week), baked Alaska, and a bite of cherry sorbet.

After dinner, we walked around, bought souvenirs, picked out our picture for the cruise (from the first formal night), and then went to finale show.  It was called born to be wild, and was a lot of fun.  Probably one of the best we’ve seen on a cruise.  They had a for reals pink cadillac on stage the whole time.  Legit.

We finished up domino game #2 and I won again!  There was my mojo back! After trouncing the ‘rents and Zliten, we went back to the cabin and did final packing.  Zliten decided to be indulgent and grab something from the cafe, and I told him to surprise me, and he came back with a black and white mousse to split.  I had a few bites, cried fatty pants uncle, and then we went to sleep.

Saturday: Go Home (BOO)

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Up at 745 (latest possible time I could) and showered just in time to get out of the room by 8.  I had one last breakfast of the typical fare:corned beef hash (ahhh, til next cruise), bacon, half an english muffin, pineapple, waffle, and a hash brown.  We got off the boat as scheduled at 9:45, drove home uneventfully except driving through a huge cloud which was scary, and got home around 1:30 and hugged our couch and bed.

I was lucky that this was a rest week for me, so no formal run/bike/swim – though I did rack up quite a few steps walking around the boat, and over 5 hours of active water time with snorkeling and diving (and dancing).  I was a little up when I hit the scale Monday – but it took 3-4 days of normal eating to see normal numbers on the scale, so it was a total success!  I highly recommend an intense long run before vacation to rev up your metabolism to fight off greedy eating weight gain.  No injuries to report, and no nights I don’t remember.  35 is about being old enough to know where the line is better, I suppose!

Also, I just want to be back in Roatan with the fishies.  Until next time…

If you’d like to see more diving/snorkeling pics, click here

Rosedale Ride: Didn’t Bug Me

It’s really all about the day you have.  I’m starting to realize this.  Sure, you can be super careful and baby yourself and do all the right things and train perfect and taper perfect and get all the sleep and eat all the right things.  And you can still wake up on race day without legs or a brain or whatever.  It’s happened to me a lot lately.


It seems to be about:

1. Seeing what you show up with.

2. Making the most of THAT.

It really didn’t make sense.  I have been eschewing bike miles for run miles lately, though I did do a big base build in February, and I did do a lot of bike work last summer, but that was, like, LAST SUMMER.  October – January, I rode once a week, about 20-40 miles max easy on the trainer.  I did not expect much out of such an early spring bike ride when I’ve ridden outside only ONCE since my last tri of the season.

Also, I stayed up Thursday and had a few adult bevvies, ran 5 miles on Friday in which I usually take the day before a race off, and got TERRIBLE sleep that night, also staying up too late getting things ready for the party we were hosting the night after the ride, and then waking up and not being able to get back to sleep around 4am.  I’m a baby without my sleep, and since I’ve been such a sleep monster lately, I honestly kind of wrote off the day a bit in my head when I woke up in the morning.  I did all the things though – I rolled out of bed, made some wardrobe choices, used the potty, ate half a bar and drank some purple stuff, and we were off.

Rosedale has unpredictable weather.  This year, it wasn’t so bad.  We had really bad morning fog, which held up the start a bit, but I was happy in my pearl izumi shorts, my neon jacket zipped into a vest (more for rain protection and visibility than warmth), my rainbow sleeves (they’re easier to get on and off than the jacket sleeves), and my blue rookie tech tee.  The only change I’d make to my wardrobe was my sunglasses, I couldn’t find my good ones, so I just grabbed a rando pair.  Unfortunately, they tried to slip off my face all day.

We got to the race, we did our thing, we snuck up to the 60 miler start even though we heard it was “closed because it was too full” so we didn’t start with the crush of the people on cruiser bikes.  We didn’t find our friend that we were going to ride with (she was up closer to the start line) and figured we’d catch her since we ride about the same pace.  And then… we were off.


And somehow, I had bike legs.  They decided to show up.  Awesome.

Usually Zliten spends the first 5-10 miles of a long ride dragging me, and I yell at him not to go out too fast, that I need a warm up, and all sorts of other random excuses.  Today, he was trying to keep up with me.  I didn’t love the crush of the start, but it was nice taking off with people that were more our pace and the temps were pretty perfect and it wasn’t windy and somehow in the blink of an eye it was mile 10.

Here’s how a winter of serious trainer time has affected me: I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY good at the flats.  Don’t laugh.  Let me explain.  When we were on flat ground, even false flats, even flats into the wind – I flew.  Just that constant, steady, rhythmic pedaling is my jam.  Zliten could not keep up with me on those and he is typically a bit faster than me on the bike.

However, dragging my ass up significant hills was hard.  That’s what I need to work on this spring – high resistance intervals inside, and actually riding my bike outside (because in Austin, you’re going to find some hills no matter where you go).

By mile ~25 I was actually holding over 17 mph average and remembered that the last year, I got better as the course went on.  I was getting excited – I might actually be able to break my Kerrville bike split (which when I set this goal arbitrarily, I didn’t realize that I’d have to break 18 mph to do so).  Then, the wind started, and while it was nice to have some breeze, as it was getting hot and muggy, it definitely pushed the speeds down a bit.


We stopped at the boy scout aide station – it has the best bike buffet with pickles, pb pretzels, cookies, mnms, etc – and pottied and examined the sheer amount of bugs on our bodies, and then got going and my legs felt like lead.  They put a pretty sizeable hill after that stop, which is kinda rude, but within another mile I was dragging Zliten again.  We agreed if I got ahead we’d meet up at the next aide station.

I biked, I stopped around 45 and waited for him, when he got there, he waved me ahead signalling he didn’t need to stop.  We stayed together for a bit, and then I got to the miles where if I’m not going my own speed, whatever that is that day, it’s like mental torture, so I just went.

A quick nutrition note – I seem to have this down pretty well.   I had a pb pretzel bar from the start through about mile 25 (200 cal), then some caffeinated chompies (about ~50 calories worth), and I chowed on the pb pretzels (~200 cal, spread through miles 40-60), and 2 oreos (~150 cal, one at 40, one at 50).  With my gatorade (~100 cal) that ran out around mile 55, I appear to have gotten down about 700 calories during the race.  That’s about 200 cal an hour.  Not bad, without a specific plan.

That’s where Zliten had issues.  He forgot to eat for a while.  He was mentally bonking, couldn’t figure out why, and then remembered to EAT and was better.  He did get a few calories from all the BUGS though, so there was that.


The garmin started to drag for a few miles in the early 50s, but, all of a sudden, we were almost at the main road, and I pulled over and stopped and waited for Zliten.  We always cross together (and since it’s not timed and it’s all about what the garmin says, I just stopped it).  All the people I passed – the two recumbent bike guys playing music, the girl with coach across her butt, cool jacket girl, guy I was ping ponging with… I saw them and many more.  I can’t say it didn’t feel a little weird letting people go after I worked my way up the line, but I just had to tell myself there are no rankings here.

Zliten caught up, we rode together for a bit but then I took off again once we got to the main street and ended up having to wait again right before the finish.  He got me again, we rode across together and my garmin said 3:44.  A solid 16.3 mph against winds and honestly, I still had some reserve.

We tested that reserve by going out for a run, and I happily clipped along at a 10:30 pace in my hokas feeling pretty wonderful for a pretty hilly 2 miles.  I could have gone longer, but I was hungry and wanted a beer and we were hosting a party in a few hours so we spent a few moments saying hello to our friend (we never found her during the race)and cooling down and then drove home and got on with our day.


This was a really great reinforcement of my bike improvement over the last year.  The first year I did this ride it was my first 35+ bike ride ever and wanted to die at the end and finished in about 5:15.  Last year, I had really let my bike fitness go over the winter, and while I was better than the year before, I was still pretty slow at 4:29.  This year validated that biking once a week, and then one month of bike focus was plenty to get me back in tri shape, and it’s awesome to have accomplished this by March (plus a 45 minute PR is not shabby, not at all).

It’s also great validation that the trainer, when used properly, is a fine way to do the bulk of your bike training.  I know it sounds weird to most of y’all, but its just so much EASIER to ride inside than packing up the bikes, hauling them out somewhere, or worse, dealing with the crappy traffic near my area to get somewhere closer to ride.  I’ll ride outside more in the late spring/summer because it’s pretty and fun, but for now, as long as I push the intensity, I can hibernate in my living room without seeing bad results.

However, it was pretty apparent that I need to do some more high resistance work/riding the hills outside, because I used to be WAYYYY better at attacking hills than I am now.  If I could get that portion settled, I have a chance at a pretty stellar bike season this year!

(Next is vacation blog.  Promise.  Swear it!)

Ides-ish of March

I’m working on the vacation blog – but being that work and life are cray cray and it was an epic time, I really want to get the details right – you get a brain dump of the here and now first.

Sleep Monster:

2014-03-13 09.23.09

I am loving my new haircut, even though sleep sometimes does this to it…

I LOVE LOVE LOVE daylight savings time because it makes me not feel like I work until midnight.  However, the adjustment for a not-natural morning person is… an adjustment.  Couple that with vacation being not-so-restful, said work stress, and training stress, and ALL I WANT IS SLEEP.  It’s silly.  Like – 9 hours a night minimum or I’m a grumperpuss.

So, our schedule has been odd – sleep until the very very last second before work, and get our training in at lunch or after work.  This has made for some wonderful beautiful lunch runs in the sunshine, and some gorgeous sunset runs where it starts warm and gets chillier as you finish.  Delicious.  I know the time will be on us so soon where it’s temperate for me to be outside from about 5am to 8am, so I’m just loving this up right now.


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It’s weird to be training this volume this early in the year.  I kind of love it, but it’s definitely *different*.  My first tri of the year is on the same day as it usually is, but this year it’s a 50 mile venture, not a super sprint.  Which is awesome, because this is the time of the year I *WANT* to be outside doing long runs and bricks and the like, but it’s just… different.

The different bad part is I just can’t bring myself to confine myself to the pool for laps and laps and laps, and wasting time pumping iron when I could be running in the perfect temps is torture.  Instead of worrying about it, I’m going for it.  All I will want to do over the summer is ride my bike and swim and running will be HARD so I may as well just accumulate that training now. In May, will I be a slower swimmer than I could be?  Probably.  However, I’m banking on the fact that I’m feeling SO STRONG with my running, espcially off the bike, and this will make up more time than I’ll lose.

Not that I have any qualms about being able to rock a one mile swim, I just think I’m going to maintain what I’ve got rather than improve.  The bike is a question mark I’ll have an answer to closer to race day.  I’m working hard on my trainer, and I’m the best biker I have been this early in the year, but I am really going to be answering the question of “how does the trainer convert to race day fitness” because I’m not going to have a lot of outdoor miles before the race.

But, the run.  All the work I’ve put into improving what has went from my strong leg years ago to my weak leg, I’m hoping to bring back to being where I’m confident and strong and passing people and feel at home.  It is still inconsistent (some days my legs/brain show up, some days they forget), but I’m seeing the light.  My best pace in an Olympic is about 10:30s, and my best pace in a 70.3 is just dismal fall-apart 12-somethings.  I’m looking to be able to crush both of those if I don’t fall apart.


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I never feel like I have enough time, but it’s especially bad lately.  I have so many things I want to do, but between work (and this is working just a normal 40 hours a week) training, cooking healthy food, socializing, social media’ing and blogging, sleeping like a sleep monster, and keeping the house not being a total disaster, and having just a little bit of time to unwind, I’m tapped.

My poor sewing machine is unloved.  I’m struggling to finish up a story I’ve been working on for SIX MONTHS.  The house projects I want to do are laying undone.  It’s sad.

I’m not sure what the answer is to this, but consider this my rant.  I NEED MORE TIME IN THE DAY.  I’m just happy that triathlon is my retirement plan, in that when I finally can retire, I’ll be fit and healthy enough to actually enjoy my time.  The money?  Well, let’s just say I hope I have a rich relative I don’t know about that wants to leave me their fortune… (just kidding, I have a 401k and savings but ya know…).

Random Good Things:

The track at night is one of my favorite places.  It must be the middle school track star (hah) in me, but it makes me happy to run around that little oval, and it feels so… scandalous somehow in the dark.

New favorite running song, and love the video… (slightly NSFW)

Came up with a new bike/weights program – in 5 mile segments:

  • Mile 1: pick up weights (I used 12s) and do bicep curls, tricep curls, raises, etc while pedalling
  • Mile 2: ab work – lean over like you’re going to put your hands on the hoods, but don’t.  Do this until you want to cry (about 1/2 mile) and then recover
  • Mile 3: one leg drills… works every muscle in your legs and improves form
  • Mile 4: high cadence
  • Mile 5: recovery

I did 30 miles of that with 5 miles warmup and 5 miles cooldown and it was the bomb.

We smoked all the meats on Saturday, and I’ve been enjoying smoked chicken tacos with corn/bean/avocado salsa, smoked indian chicken chana saag, turkey w/southwestern bean pasta salad, and have smoked chicken strips for a salad in the freezer.  Yeah, this week’s eats have not sucked.  No pictures because I eat too fast.

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Purple plaid golf pants.  Because… why not.

On Tap:

This weekend, we’ve got the Rosedale Ride.  I’m excited to go ride Evilbike outside for 60-some miles on a supported ride.  This will be a great test of my bike fitness.  We’re riding with a friend from work who rides about our pace, we’re going to start together and see how it goes.  I want to try and race this and see if I can beat my Kerrville bike split of 3:22, usually this is so early in the year I’m DYING at 60 miles but I think I’m pretty good this year.  However, I can’t not take advantage of some aid station cookies and don’t want to bring my riding buddies down with my competitive nature, so we’ll see how it goes.

I may be bringing my running shoes and contemplating a few brick miles after, but tacos and beer might win.  We’ll see.

After, we will be grillin’ and chillin’ with a big group of our friends to belatedly celebrate our birthdays (again) (yes, March is just one big party).  Saturday looks to be epic fun.

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…and, that’s all I got.  Back to producing, training, and trying not to go insane while I’m building the castle.  Thanks to bad TV, bingo, the internet, and various adult bevvies for keeping me sane.

How goes your March?

The Woodlands Half Marathon: It Happened

I almost don’t feel like writing this, because it really just felt like a nice long run to engage my metabolism to make the first couple days of cruise eating a little less damaging to the waistline.  But, a race is a race, and a recap we will have.  Same with goofy pictures.  It’s tradition.  This is why you’re all here, right? 🙂


Typically, I try to baby myself with rest, recovery, all the right foods at all the right times, but this day just didn’t work out so well.  The night before the night before saw us packing and up until about 2 am when we had to be up at 6:30, and we had some wine.  Like, a decent amount.  Typically this is a huge NONO for us race week, but we were stressed, we broke down, and even if not the best physical decision it was a good mental one.

Then, we ended up driving and picking up packets and getting to dinner around 8pm and I was STARRRRRVED.  I had so much bread, all the pasta, salad, and I KNEW it was a gamble being so late, but I also knew going to bed starving was a gamble so I indulged.  Then, we had a hotel snafu – we were booked in the SOUTH location, not the north, so the nice 1.7 mile walk to the start line?  Not so much.  Oh well.

The good news was being so tired, I slept well in spite of eating late, hotel stress, and everything else, and woke up feeling fairly decent.   My hair, however, was a different story.


I did the normal morning things (poop, half a starbux mocha, half a bar, etc etc) and got to the start line feeling… there.  Earlier in the week, it had called for about 45 and I was thinking “ok, more PR weather, I’ll give it a go”, but I showed up to high 60s/low 70s, and 100% humidity (which is a weird state of weather where it’s not raining, but you can see water in the air – bizaaaaare).  Between where I was at and where the weather was at, I decided that “go out fast, hang on” was not going to be a good strategy today.

I decided to institute two goals:

1. Stay in the moment.  Often I sabotage a race by focusing on how far I have left to go, so I wanted to just think about the mile, the song, the moment I was in.

2. Negative split.  I didn’t feel like I had the juice to rock the whole race, but I wanted to try and put the hurt on the back half of the course.


Zliten and I started together, and I just attempted to run a smidge beyond comfortable.  I also rocked out to my tunes and had karaoke party, and was having way too much fun.  I think Zliten thought I was a little nuts (I was galloping to Dark Horse and dancing to What the Fox Say?).  We ping ponged back and forth a bit, and he took off like a bullet up a hill around mile 3 and I lost him.

I also switched my handheld to the other side around there for a break and ca-thunk… my mid back (which usually gives me no issues) decided to erupt in a ball of pain.  I started thinking “OMG 10 miles of this?” and then remembered goal 1.  I changed my thinking “ok, mile 3-4, figure out what the back problem is and fix it”.  I switched my handheld back to my right hand, and stretched out a bit and it didn’t feel *fine* but it felt *better* and *tolerable*, aka, no permanent damage, I was just going to be a little sore for a day or 2 after.

Zliten was wearing a green top and for some reason half the race was, so I kept fishing for people wearing green and came up dry.  I was not yet at the point where I wanted to turn on the heat though, so I kept running that fast/comfortable pace, not worrying about my watch.  I kept setting goals each mile to focus on which kept me amused and not flailing, though it does seem like a mile in the Woodlands is longer than a mile in Austin.

I had decided that I was going to run the first half easy, and then at mile 6.5 hit it hard.  I hit 6.5, my power song came on, and I kicked it down to ~9:30 to see how it felt.  I held that for about half a mile until I realized I hadn’t had any gels/chews, and only some of my gatorade, so I did that… and then my stomach REVOLTED.  I almost had to find a tree.  The feeling came and went, so I never actually dropped the kids at the pool, but I really thought I might be in trouble at some points.  I never found porta potty without a line, and didn’t think that this late in the game relieving myself would equate to a time gain, so I dealt with it.

Considering I had half a gatorade and two 10 calorie chews, and I was pushing as hard as possible through some severe GI distress, there was no way anything else was going in there.  I even tried water around mile 9, and paid dearly.  So, I decided that I would just ride it out sans calories, and see where the bonk happened.

It happened at mile 11.  It felt like quicksand.  And instead of getting stressed about it, I just decided to have fun.  I got two strings of beads.  I high fived kids.  I hit the *POW* signs.  I saw my pace drop back into the 10s and 11s even at times, and that was fine.  I ran as hard as I could, but I didn’t stress.  Finally, the end of the race came, I hit the finish, and found Zliten.

He PR’d like a mofo – 2:11.  This race (hot, hills, humid) was his jam.  Not mine.  I immediately got my medal and two full waters (so dehydrated, and now I could shit my shorts if I had to), and did the stupid line shuffle for finisher shirts.  Dear race organizers – after a race I want my medal, WATER, GATORADE, and FOOD in that order, and then after that, I’ll take care of any other bullshit like lines for shirts.  Don’t make me wait 20 mins post race for my shirt before I can get calories in.  I seriously made Zliten wait in line and I curled up on the grass.


Got my shirt, and was a little disappointed that the guys were AWESOME BLUE and the women’s were WHITE.  Bleh.  We went to the beer tent and I forced down a beer curled up in a fetal position because the food line was so long and at least it was calories.  Then, I found some porta potties and it was a fine line between horrifying (me) and beautiful (the relief I felt).  I can NEVER poo right after a race, sometimes it’s a whole day, so something DEFINITELY was afoot at the circle P.

The result: 2:19:34 for 13.21 miles.  While I’m not overjoyed about the result, and I definitely didn’t have a good race, I’ll take 2:19 for not-a-good race.  I know I would have been capable of better on a different day where my stomach cooperated and I could have gotten in calories and it was just me vs the road and how much I could push myself.

This was also good fortitude training for tris – the run part is very hit or miss for me, especially with how I feel, and I was able to work through a good amount of distress without slowing too much or walking.  I definitely didn’t negative split, but I did keep myself in the moment, so one out of two isn’t bad.  Also, I got to go here immediately after – so I had zero complaints.


I have the Fairview Half Marathon in 3 weeks, and Austin 10/20 the week after, so I’ll have two more cracks at a really stellar double digit run pace.  The next three weeks will be pretty high run volume, so I’ll either come into those feeling awesome and capable, or burnt or tired.  Neither are my A race, so we’ll just see how the legs show up!

Februrary Nerd Numbers, Chart, Graphs, Stats, Etc.

A little late, but I was on vacation, so here it is!

Sweaty stuff:


This was definitely the first full month of full-load, triathlon training.  I averaged 10 hours per week, with one EPIC 15 hour week.  How do I feel overall?  Well, a little bit broken (in a good way), but a lot more confident I can put together a good triathlon here later this spring.

The two highlights of February?  Honestly, my two bike-run bricks.  I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my running, but I was kinda afraid that biking before it would send me right back into the 11-12+ pace I was running last year.  Spoiler: it didn’t.  Even dealing with my heel issues, that actually felt *better* off the bike and after a little bit of wobbly legs, I was able to get into a slightly over 10 minute mile pace, and actually improve over the miles, not fizzle out and die like I had been.

Run: 71.5 miles – 13 hours (avg ~10:55 pace)

This month, the focus was just on maintaining an easy 20 mile per week base.  If you count the half marathon on March 1, I did that.  I missed out on a few runs earlier in the month due to my back AND heel acting up, but changing out shoes, and being conscious of the shoes I wear during my non-running times, seems to help.  Honestly, after a full week off running it feels AWESOME, so hopefully it just needed time to *heal* (badup CHING!).  We’ll see once I start running again this week, so far so good.

My easy pace was all over this month depending on temperature, body condition, and training load – anywhere from just over 10 min miles to 11:30s.  I’m not worried about it, especially when the best miles came after bikes, and the shitty ones seemed to have a good reason for them.

At this point, I’m past the honeymoon stage – I think I’ve made the gains I’m going to make right now in running until I get through another high mileage month, recover, and play with speed.  That’s the plan for March/April.  I’m going into it rested, and excited to see what happens with my running over the next few months.

Bike: 423 miles – 18.5 hours (22.8 mph avg)

Yep, it was bike focus month.  I got a lot of saddle time, though most of it (all but a 43 mile ride) was indoors.  This would worry me, because inside ride time =! outside ride time, but I have two things making me happy:

1. I haven’t just been easy riding inside, I’ve been making use of the Sufferfest (hurt so good) and also doing intervals on my own.  While my indoor mileage is inflated because I go faster on my trainer, the fact is I did get 18.5 solid hours of saddle time this month and I’d say at least 50% of that was with some decent intensity.

2. My first outdoor easy ride of the year was at 16 mph avg for 40+ miles.  While the Veloway doesn’t have a whole lot of elevation overall, it does have a decent hill (either mild and long-ish or short and steep) each mile so it keeps it interesting.  I cut it short from the 60 I had planned because I was pooped from the volume (this was the end of the 15 hour week) and wanted a quality run (which I got, so it was a good decision).

I am the best cyclist I’ve been in Februray any year thus far, and that’s happy.  I’m looking forward to more outdoor riding here in the next few months, but I feel like I’ve got a good winter base under me now.

Swim: 19km – 7.5 hours

Swimming went on maintenance mode this month – I just didn’t have the time to devote a lot to it, although I definitely enjoyed getting in the pool and doing hour+ swims most days that I did go.

I’m not really getting faster, but I’m getting comfortable with 3000+m at a time, which is not really that helpful for the triathlons coming up first, but will pay dividends in the future.  Getting closer to the race, I need to maintain some long sessions, but also work in some short sessions that really tax my endurance, that I don’t have to worry about “saving” anything.

Weights – 5 sessions – 3.5 hours

I did weights, yeah.  Skipped one session due to back recovery, and didn’t do weights as normal the week before the race.  Feeling pretty ok with this.  I’m not going anywhere, really, with these, but I don’t expect to right now.

Total Sporty Spice Hours: 42.5 – a pretty nice increase from 26 hours last week.  An average of 1.5 hours of training per day.  A great first build month.

March won’t hold a candle to the amount of hours (1 week missing from vacation, though I’m TOTALLY counting scuba, snorkeling, and dance time in overall activity!), but here’s what I hope to do:

1. Run mileage.  I want to put in some frequent running – marathon training without the long long long runs on the weekend.  I’d like to hit 30s and maybe even 40 in a week this month.  I’d also like to work in some specifically planned tempo miles and a little speedwork too, but not at the cost of more miles.  Let’s try for at least 100 miles in March.

2. Bike speed and outdoor riding.  I don’t plan on putting in the volume I did last month, but I want to make the riding I do quality.  I should be doing one of three rides this month: a) outdoor riding, b) kicking my ass, dripping pools of sweat on the trainer, or c) easy, low resistance spins for run recovery purposes.

3. 2 Strengths a week.  Even if it’s weights at home.  I can fit it in.

4.  Swim at least once a week for an hour.  It’s weaksauce to not fit in more, but if I can get at least one long session in, I’ll maintain some semblance of being a swimmer.  I’ll do my best to get in two, but that second might be short.

5. Figure out a training plan through at least the first X-50 (May 4).  It’s less than two months away, and I’m pretty sure I know what I need to hit training-wise between now and then.

No races, so no rating there.  It was nice to have a month to just TRAIN.

Body: 2/5.  Not happy with the heel stuff that happened, but I have to give the ol’ bod for some credit carrying me through a 15 hour week and two killer awesome bricks.  Hopefully we’re on the up and up now, cross your fingers!

Mental game: 4/5  Handling training volume like a boss.  No crazy mental breakdowns, though I didn’t show up at Woodlands ready to fight for a PR (but that wasn’t the goal).  Looking to keep my head in it this month for the run-stravaganza!

Food/Scale/Kitchen Stuff:


February was pretty good most of the time, but REALLY BAD sometimes.  V-day celebrations ended up stretching across a full long weekend.  Looking back on my food intake, I was like “yay, I did so good all week” then “Boo, what was I THINKING eating all that crap and drinking a lot the same day”.

What did save me was the 1 fried/chip/junk food and 1 dessert per week.  No, I ate more than that, but it actually helped me to not be as bad as I could have been.  I think that’s a reasonable rule to live with the majority of the time, so I’ll keep at it.  However, I think I’ll introduce also the 1 refined grain per week rule.  It snuck in there more than I’d like, so I’ll call it out and see if that helps.

I was great at tracking calories, but bad at DQ, I had to go back and do that for the full month, and honestly?  It wasn’t pretty some days.  It reinforced that if I want to party all day with the boozes, I really also need to eat super duper clean or my body gets in a tired little hole and revolts because it’s been stressed (long workout), stressed (booze all day), and then more stress (crappy or inadequate food).  So that’s a goal for March – lets eat healthy on drinking days.

Calorie Counts:

Week 1:


Avg Calories/DQ: 1891/21.4

Scale High/Low: 180.2/176.6

Week 2:


Avg Calories/DQ: 2180/18.1

Scale High/Low: 179.2/175.6

Week 3:


Avg Calories/DQ: 2004/18

Scale High/Low: 178.4/175.2

Week 4:


Avg Calories/DQ: 1983/24

Scale High/Low: 180.2/177.6

Overall – High Weight: 180.2, Low Weight: 175.2 (it’s the right direction, so I’ll take it).

The funny thing was I was going to tell you I ate AWESOME in February, but it’s easy to have rose colored glasses.  There’s still a lot of improvement to be made.  Coming back from vacation, I’ve had my fill of butter, refined flour, and sugar, and I’m ready to eat more veggies, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, etc.  We have a birthday celebration for Zliten this month, but the rest of the time, I’m aiming to stay on the straight and narrow.  One junk food, one refined grain, one sweet per week, max.

Best new food I made: Chicken Broccoli Potato Soup

Other things I cooked:

  • Meatloaf, caulitaters, green beans
  • Homemade manwich
  • Ancient grain spaghetti, cajun sauce, turkey mb, mixed veggies
  • V-day dinner #1 – arugala + ricotta ravioli w/two sauces and caesar salad

Best thing that was cooked for me:

Grilled bacon wrapped filet, grilled lobster tail w/garlic butter, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and asparagus (v-day dinner #2, pictured above)

We didn’t batch cook as much this month, but we had a TON of leftovers from January.  We’re now down to not much left, so it’s time to build those stores back up with a few good ol’ fashioned cooking sprees this month

I’m going to go with a 3/5 rating here.  Same as January, some moments were great, some were terrible, and hopefully March will be awesomesauce!



February recap…

  • Hit training hard this month. Yep, been there, spent the night, bought the tee-shirt.  Next.
  • Weigh less than 177 when February is over.  This one is a little tricky to judge – the second to last week in Feb, I was 175-176, so yeah.  Right now, I’m up because of bloat and vacation.  I’ll get back to you on this.
  • Figure out the door (nope) and clean off my vanity area (nope).
  • Finish my savage worlds story (nope).
  • No social media on Wednesday and Sunday (ehhhh, about half the time, when I didn’t forget).
  • Figure out birthday plans (yep – party at the house, people invited, etc etc)
  • Quarterly maintenance + hair cut (yep, brows, toes, nails, and HAIR are all spiffy)
  • Keep taking a picture a day and posting on Instagram (yep, mostly)

March stuff:

  • Weigh less than 176 at the end of March.  Do this by holding FIRM to the goals of tracking calories, diet quality, trying to eat like an angel if I’m going to drink like a devil, and sticking with my 1s per week (sweet, junk, refined).
  • Figure out the door and clean off my vanity area.  Let’s try this again.
  • Savage worlds GMing is now firmly scheduled for the week of March 24th.  Get it together, woman!
  • I’ve had a good start for no social media Wednesdays and Sundays since I was on vacation.  Let’s continue the trend.  I’m so much more productive if I ignore twitter/fb!
  • Get back to the picture a day on Instagram since I’m back from vacation.
  • See if I can beat my Kerrville bike split of 3:22 for the Rosedale Ride, or at least ride it like I want to do that (treat it like a bike race, not a pleasure cruise).
  • Re-acquaint myself with an early wakeup time and going to bed shortly after the sun sets.
  • Finish my book that I started over vacation.

Aight, onto the other posts I need to catch up with – see ya soon, folks!

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