Adjusted Reality

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

Month: August 2014

I Said Hey, What’s Goin’ On

There’s an order to things, sometimes.  Have to unload the dishes to load the dishwasher so you can clean the counter.  Have to plan the key workouts to plan the other workouts so I can plan the meals so I can write out the grocery list.

One of those order of operations things is that I need to look through and edit almost 1000 pictures and choose which ones I want to display and upload to facebook, and then I can finish my vacation post.  But I have not had those few hours of concentration since… vacation.  And these are worth doing right when you have some awesome shots like this.


So, what else, besides procrastinating photo editing, has been up in the hizzy?

New Stomping Grounds:

We finally ended our time at Body Business and started at Pure Fitness three weeks ago.  It has been… a breath of fresh air.  It’s weird, I don’t know how to express the joy I feel changing to a new gym.  I should have done it long ago but whatever.  Five minutes away from work (or, 10 mins away from home) I have at my disposal: a real lake to swim in, a heated outdoor pool, spin classes that kick my ass, lots of treadmills, and a huge weights floor.

There are also things I haven’t taken advantage of yet – like all sorts of strength classes, free sups and kayak rentals on the lake whenever I want, sup yoga classes (and regular yoga), and rock climbing.  It’s really helping us enjoy loading up training these last few weeks, but I also kinda can’t wait to have some offseason time to PLAY and just take a different class every day.


Hell hath frozen over:

On the vacation, I read Beyond Training, and his book was finally the nail in the coffin.  There are all sorts of athletes around doing things like Whole 30 and going lower carb and minding inflammation and all that, and they seem to be kicking ass and taking names doing it.

So, I decided to give it a month.  I’m three weeks plus into it.  For the most part (let’s say 80% of my meals), I’ve cut out all grains, rice, and beans, and relying on (mostly organic) corn and potatoes and fruit when I need carbs.  I’m finding new ways to incorporate different veggies in my life, like using zucchini and carrots as noodles, cauliflower rice, and roasting every veggie in the oven with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan.  I’ve been drinking (decaf) butter coffee and a piece of fruit for breakfast most days.  Lots of cheese and guac as snackies.  The calories have to come from somewhere to support training.

I’m actually surprised at how EASY it is.   There are so many awesome things to eat, I have not been too bummed about what I am trying to not eat.  I’ve given myself one splurge meal per week, and neither one made me want to stuff myself with bread.  Actually, the opposite – I felt yucky after and realized that most refined carbs are kinda tasteless.  Now – a great sourdough bread with some garlic butter?  Still calls to me.  Crappy white dinner roll?  Not so much.  Not worth it.

Why?  Well, I’ve been feeling pretty great otherwise.  I was worried it would completely zap my energy for workouts but that’s not the case at all.  I’m plenty fueled, getting about 100g carbs per day and about 2000 calories.  My face feels incredibly unpuffy (jawbones, I have them again!), and my stomach has been more even tempered.

I am a little pissed that I haven’t lost weight, but I’m pretty sure dragging myself from zero to full training is definitely inflaming me a bit and my body is in shock, so hopefully as I settle in, that settles as well.

Last Train to Kerrville:

6 more weeks until Kerrville.  That’s sort of terrifying, but it will be an interesting experiment.

Swimming is coming along… swimmingly.  I pretty much picked up where I left off in June and have been building on it.  My pool times are coming down when I swim sets, and while I have to work for it, I’m seeing 1:xx in front of average 100m times and that’s good.  My open water swimming has been slow, but I haven’t done any intentional work on sharpening that knife yet, just logging lake time.  Soon.

Also, since it’s both convenient and pleasing to swim now, I will be doing it more often.  Have I mentioned I love my new gym?


Cycling was another thing I put aside for 5 weeks.  It did NOT exactly pick up from where it left off, or I neglected cycling earlier this year, or probably a little bit of both.  30-40 miles (outdoors) is a long ride for me.  The endurance didn’t just reappear.  I’m going to have to work for that.  Hills are my enemies.  Evilbike and I are just getting back into the swing of things.  This is probably the sport I’m most nervous about coming back around in 6 weeks but we’re going to make that happen.

I’ve also been triathlet-ing up and riding outside.  I did 2 hours at the veloway with the sun and the heat and the wind and I even did a 2h40m ride on a real road with real cars (and a lot of hills).  I know that there is just something about riding outside that I’m not going to be able to replicate by riding on the trainer.  I wanted to disprove that earlier this year and my biking suffered.  So, once a week, I will hit the streets.

Also, as much as I sickly and sadly love nothing more than a trainer, some tri videos or a movie, and my feed bag bento box, these rides can’t be the majority of my sessions.  So, what’s a time-crunched triathlete that lives nowhere near good places to ride do?  Enter the spin classes at my new gym.  Every Tuesday, there is a long 1h15m+ of ass kicking sport focused spin.  I’m trying to make that one each week.  6am, noon, and 6:15pm most every day, there is a 45min spin class and the one last week might have well been one constant hill climb.  So painful, so good, so hopefully will make me a better cyclist.


Running… is coming back at a pace somewhere between the two.  The heat and humidity make it a little harder to judge, but I have had two longer runs (seems silly to say but, it’s the truth) at 7 and 8.5 miles, and on the latter, I would have happily kept going if I had more time.  It’s really and truly just hot as balls, even at sunrise, so I’m just simply trying to get through these at around 11-ish min/mile summer slog pace.

I am taking some miles inside.  On the treadmill, I’m able to remind myself that I know how to run faster if it wasn’t for the oppressive death star in the sky.  Since it’s almost utterly impossible for me to run super slow on a treadmill, I’ve done some nice progression runs as a gentle re-entry to speedwork and plan on continuing that trend of at least one run a week that reminds my legs how to turn over faster, so they remember that 11 min/miles are not the norm once the temps come back into the reasonable range.

I’m also running a lot without music.  Not inside, because that’s torture.  Sometimes on long runs, but not always.  Definitely not every little run I do.  I think it’s going to help me not feel like I’m at such a disadvantage on tri runs when I always have been training with phat beats.  We’ll see.

If you have 5 mins and want to check out our Sunday Funday, Zliten made a mooooovie.

Trying to get a little something strength-ish in each week.  Weights, or like Sunday, ripping it up at the adventure park for an hour and a half (literally, I ripped up my hands like I was back on the bars in gymnastics), etc.  Also, trying to emphasize hill workouts, rough interval stuff, hard swim sets, and other force workouts.  Lifting heavy things in the gym is not the only way to gain strength but I’m still trying to do that once a week if I’m not 100% zapped.  Last week I was, this week I think I’m ok.

Work has been interesting as well.  A little soap-opera-y right now, but nothing tragic.  Lots of people and things changing around.  Lots of *last day* happy hours and welcome to the company announcements.  It’s a little weird, though where I’m at is pretty stable, thankfully.  Could actually be awesome.  We’ll see!  Hello vagueblogging!


In the attempt to cram every bit of fun I can into life and not go into a 70.3 hole, I got to play the first campaign of a dungeons and dragons game.  My friend, who has created the story, has been working on the setting (story and painting EVERY INCH OF IT) for two years.  We all stepped up our game to actually roleplay, and I’ve been doing this “valley elf” magic user that is pretty much like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless and having a lot of fun.  I’ve got a secret though… it should be fun to reveal later.

Also, I finally got to see the Lego Movie with friends.  Everything is Awesome is totally going around mile 17 of my marathon playlist.

…and, that’s sort of life.  Training, eating clean-ish, trying to keep myself out of sleep debt, maintaining social obligations, and hoping I can whip myself into good shape for a 70.3 in 6 weeks while still maintaining my sanity, my relationships, and my job.  Y’know, no big deal.  Just a few plates to spin.  I’m used to it.

A vacation post will come soon with some awesome aquarium pics.  Pinkie swear.

Oregon Coast – 50 is a Temperature in Summer!

When we last left off, we had taken the max to the bus station just outside Portland proper.


We had about an hour or two of stress here.  First of all, the bus number was not listed on the signs for the ones that stopped there.  We called the bus company, and got transferred to another bus company, and then was told it was cash only.  Zliten was excited because he had saved our cash… but we were about 4 dollars short.

I was trying to figure out what sort of gymnastics/comedy show I was going to have to put on to raise 4 dollars in the next 20 minutes, but instead, he ran the half mile to the nearest ATM and got us squared away.  I let him do that one since… uh… running not in a sports bra would have been painful.  I’ll let him be the hero here.  Glad we are runners!

Then, right before the bus came, I realized I quite needed a bathroom.  I looked around and asked the coffee stand I accidentally walked into looking for one – nothing in the area.  I figured I would have to wait for the bus.  I mean, a 2 hour bus had to have a bathroom, right?


I spent the first hour and a half deep breathing and trying to go to my happy place while we wound through rickety and steep and windy roads on the little cow bus.  I kept envisioning having to ask the driver to pull over and finding a little spot in the woods to claim as my own, but then before it got to that point she pulled us into a forest station area and said “go potty if you need”.

Let me tell you, I bounded off that bus so fast you would think there was a finish line and medals.


Once that was taken care of, I really really enjoyed the scenery in between reading my book.  It was so green and foresty and gorgeous.  Our bus went up and up and down and down and then… we were there!  Our friends were waiting for us with a truck and we loaded our bags in and headed off to explore the Tillamook cheese factory.


It was super busy, but we made sure to get some ice cream (seriously, some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had and so many flavors, I had tiny scoops of cookies and cream, pb chocolate, and pecan praline) and look at the giant conveyor belts and pots of cheese in progress of making it’s way to us consumer people.

The best part was the tasting area.  Everything was awesome, but the chili garlic was especially amazing.  We brought some back with us and it was gone in 3 days (with four people sharing).


Then, we hit the grocery store.  I don’t do well without a list, and I hadn’t prepared for that (for some reason, I figured we’d go out most of the time), so we ended up with way, way too much food combined with what was already at the house.  At no point during this stretch of the vacation was I hungry, because it was always the goal to see how little food we could waste.

Finally, we got to the house.  The view did not disappoint.  At all.  This would be my dream view from my living room (though – probably somewhere a wee bit lot warmer).


My husband saw ocean and wanted to get in it (not that I was far behind with that sentiment).  So, we did that.  He got in first without the wetsuit (to which I put one toe in and said “fuck that shit”), and then we wetsuitted up (and I, with my two swim caps, ear plugs, and lava booties) and took our safe swimmers for a 20 minute “swim” in 55 degree water.  I say “swim” because it took probably 10-15 of those minutes to get my face in the water.  We swam a few lengths of freestyle, but mostly just spent the time splishing in the waves.

Takeaway: 55 degrees is a temperature I could probably swim in, with AMPLE warmup, and some time to acclimate.  And probably a neoprene cap.  Good to know.


The afternoon was for drinking wine, eating cheese, and relaxing.


We tried to fly kites, we (ok, I) took pictures of all the angles of the coast and got really happy when it got clear enough to see the sea monster.


For dinner, we grilled shrimp and fish and made rice and salad, and watched the sunset.  Our friends, who had been there since Thursday with family, said it was the first clear day, I’m glad it was there for us.  It was spectacular to watch… and so weird that it was light until after 10pm.  I know, geography and logic and all that, it’s just hard to wrap my brain around when I thought it was really cool that Austin stayed light until after 9 some days in June.


We went to bed right after a few quick games of Quirkle (I didn’t win ONCE) and some brownies a la mode, because we had a big day ahead, and an early morning.

Tuesday was chilly (50 degrees is a temperature in summer – WHO KNEW?), but as instructed, I dressed in sandals and shorts (and a lot of layers on my top half) because we were getting in a little tiny boat and catching crabs!


We got to the docks, got our licenses, bought some gloves so we wouldn’t tear up our hands, got our crab rings (nets with some really stanky fish heads tied in the middle, and by 7am we were cruising out into the channel.  They had the method down.  Set the pots, drink a beer, and then check em.  I was freeeezing so I let the boys do the first round, but on the second and the third rounds I tossed one and pulled one up.

We ended up with 16!!! keeper crabs.  Hundreds made their way into our nets, but we were instructed to put back anything under a certain size, and females (so they could produce more delicious crab babies), and that still left a sizeable feast for us.


After our two hours, we turned in our crab pots and they boiled them for us.  We drank another beer and talked to a couple, incidentally, from Round Rock (20 mins away from where we live).  They were on their honeymoon, and just came to eat crab (not catch it).

Soon, the crabbies were ready, and I was taught a (probably really gross) trick – if you crack the shell, there is this yellow liquid that tastes like butter.  I told everyone not to tell me exactly what it was (crab pee? crab brain goo?) under penalty of bodily injury because I’m really squeamish about weird animal parts, and used it as dip.  Seriously, no one tell me.  That was delicious.


After that, we stopped to get some more beer and wine, and then our friends took a nap and Zliten and I hung out on the patio and ate lunch (crab was breakfast).  I got sleepy and took a nap, and was woken up with a… very beery Zliten telling me it was time to get in the ocean.  Fine.  I wetsuitted up, put on my booties and safe swimmer, and we played in the waves for another 20 minutes.  Refreshing!

When I warmed up and dried off, our friends were cleaning crabs, so I went to help.  I guess Zliten had gotten a little squeamish with the overwhelming crab smell, so he was outside.  We got those suckers into bowls in no time and we had about a bazillion pounds of crab.  It was insane.


We started the grill and had a feast.  I cooked up everyone crab taco appetizers (crab, onions, peppers, pico, cheese, pineapple), the boys made us some sausage/beef hamburgers, and I gave crab cakes a go… however I forgot to put any sort of pam/oil/butter in the foil, and they stuck to it.  Bleh.  Normally I’d be super upset wasting crab, but we had so much left… I just consoled myself with crab dipped in butter mixed with hot sauce.  So, so good.


Everyone went to sleep early, and I wasn’t tired yet, so I watched the last bits of the sunset and read my book for a while.  Soon, my lids were droopy too, so I crawled into bed.


We woke up fairly early on our own and packed up our stuff.  I took those damn terrible crab cakes and chopped them up with some potatoes and butter and made some AWESOME crab hash.  There was so much food left, even though there was so much food we had eaten, it was sad.  Since we were moving onto another condo-with-a-kitchen scenario, I took with as much as I could.  My backpack looked like a vegetable crisper and our luggage towed things such as red wine and a full family size box of Kix.

We said goodbye to the coast around 11am, and started the drive back to Portland.  We drove the route we were planning on biking… and let me tell you… I’m actually really happy we didn’t.  There were a lot of very narrow two lane roads and steep terrain.  My bike balls are really small and doing that ride would have taken some major cojones.

It was incredibly gorgeous, if rainy and grey.  Texas default is rolling farmland, which is pretty, but nothing like the Oregon uber green rainforest which is everywhere besides civilization.  This is part of what makes me crush a little on the Pacific Northwest – the uber greenery without the swamp-like conditions.


We stopped at Camp 18 to use the bathroom – the plan was to eat brunch there, but we were all way too full from the “eat all the fridge” fest.  It was old logging camp, and the interior had these huge trees used as celing beams.  However, I was more excited about the bathroom signs.


We took pictures with Smokey and Sasquatch and moseyed on to the Portland Airport.  We were going to check out some waterfalls, but we were just on the edge of having enough time, so we decided to have a nice sit down lunch in the terminal instead at Stanford’s.

Normally when we all sit down to eat together, we order a bottle of wine and an appetizer and all sorts of goodness – none of that today.  I got myself a minestrone soup and salad.  It’s odd to say, because I ordered it simply because I wanted *something with vegetables*, but it was one of the best salads I’ve ever had with a super garlic-y dressing and delicious sourdough croutons, and pretty damn stellar minestrone to boot.

Our friends got through security just as their flight started to board back to Austin.  We settled into the gate next to theirs for the next hour and read our book.  Soon, we boarded as well, and we were on our way to the third and final leg of our adventure!

Jack’s Generic Sprint Triathlon – A Breath of Fresh Air

Sometimes it feels like coming home.


This triathlon was a breath of fresh air.  At the end of the season, I had trouble getting really excited or inspired for races.  I had all these expectations, heavy with a season of training and fatigue, and even when I had a pretty darn decent race, I felt disappointed.  I was lucky to end my season on a real high note, and go into offseason feeling blissful, redeemed, satisfied…

…but then there is a whole uncertainty about taking 5 weeks off.  I mean, I ran 6 miles a week and did some weights (that was my one offseason homework assignment to myself).  I biked ONCE because I wanted to watch the tour de France and it felt wrong to do so from my couch.  I did a lot of laps around the lazy river at the water park and splashed around in the ocean a lot on vacation, but I didn’t swim a yard in a pool or a lake.

I felt like an idiot signing up for this one, the week I came back to training.  Why would I do this when I’m obviously not at my full potential?  I’ll probably be exhausted from trying to get back in the swing of things.  I’ll probably just be overwhelmed after this at all the work I have left to do in 8 weeks to put in a good effort at Kerrville.  And… this race and I do not have a great history.

But, yesterday, I got all excited.  It didn’t matter that I hadn’t biked outside since June 21st (and 3 times inside, less than 3 hours total over 6 weeks).  It didn’t matter that I’ve swam less than 2 miles (and all open water, but still).  It didn’t matter that I’ve just pittered around doing lazy 5ks whatever pace I felt like.  I had some race enthusiasm!  It was really nice!  I wasn’t just faking it until I got going!

The goal of last week’s training was to just do enough to feel like we were back into it, but stay fresh for the race.  Ran 10 miles, did 45 easy miles on the trainer, and swam twice in the lake, for about 1.5 miles.  I felt good, my legs felt fresh, but I was really uncertain about what I had to give.



The swim was changed to an out and back because of major hydrilla overgrowth (they had gone in with snorkels and machetes and cleared a path for us, how nice).  It was a time trial start, so when it was my chance I ran in, dolphin dived (sorta), and started passing people.  Sighting was a challenge, and it was harrowing being worried about getting in a head on collision.  A sprint swim always feels like I’m just getting started when I get out.  Swam until I touched fingers (almost ran into a volunteer), swam a little further, then up, out, and across the beach I went.

Swim time: 12:43 for 500m – 13/29 AG, 65/183 Gender

I felt like I was swimming decently, and while this time in and of itself is really, really slow for me, this also includes a fairly long beach run.  There was a question of whether it was a little long too.  Whatever.  I’m happy with it.


The normal Pfluger run from beach, around the path, down the stairs, to transition.  The difference is that this time it was NOT open racking, and I was pretty much on the opposite side I like to be on (very close to swim in, far from bike out).  I did my thing and clip clip clip clomped out, mounted, and was on my way.

T1 time: 2:46 12/29 AG, 60/183 Gender.

A little longer than I’d like, but the whole clomp clomp thing across a whole parking lot.  Someday… I’ll do the shoes in like a pro.  Someday…



I had ZERO expectations for this. But, I got riding, I was feeling good, keeping high cadence, and I just decided to smash myself as best I could. I just wanted to see what was in these legs, and damn the run, I’d get to that when I got to it.  And I actually had more than I expected! I maintained over 20 mph the first 2 miles, over 19 the first 4, and then I hit the wind.  I spent miles 4-10 fighting the wind, the hills, and dodging the noobs on the mountain bikes riding in the middle, and trying to stay out of the way of the dudeholes on their zipp wheelies, I slowed to 18s and then 17s.  The miles ticked past quickly even though I was pushing myself, I did my best just to hammer.

I lost pace all the way to 17.1 mph but knew I’d get some love soon.  While Pflugerville wind sometimes blows at you from all directions, this was not one of those days. Once we turned and got the tailwind I breathed a sigh of relief to not be fighting the wind (and got some nice flat miles), so I saw awesome paces like 23 mph, and I just kept cranking.

I did make the mistake of tucking in behind a slow guy too early, and had to stay there so I didn’t make a dick move to dart out in front of him right before rolling into transition.  While I wasted a few seconds there, I was hoping it would help my legs on the run, having a quick little break.

Bike time: 43:54 – 7/29 AG, 40/183 Gender

I kept the exact same pace as the last race on this course – when I was primed for racing, and even specifically training for shorter courses. I can’t even… I’m just thrilled.  I did the BEST overall in the bike course when I expected to do the worst.  Rested legs for the win!

…and I beat this guy on the bike.  He normally eeks out a few MPH more than me (at least short course, longer courses it’s a toss up) but I beat him by about 1.5 minutes.


He had a really good race though and beat me over a minute on the run, so there’s that.


Dismounted as normal, had an close encounter of the T2 kind with another guy cutting in front of me going to the other side of the lot, but found my way to the rack in one piece.  I had a few issues, I was a little shell shocked from hammering the bike, also the run all the way back down the parking lot in the clip clip clips took a while, but I was off and running pretty quick.

Transition 2: 1:47 – 13/29 AG, 85/183  Not my best, but not my worst.  My worst placement of the day, oddly enough.


I was REALLY shelled from the bike but I just kept willing my legs to turn over as quickly as I could make them. I don’t think Hokas were doing me a service here on the slippy trail but they also probably helped my legs not fall over. Honestly – I made the call to wear them because they already had my quick laces.  That is how seriously I was taking this triathlon yesterday.

Stayed just about 10 minute miles for the first two – the leggies just wouldn’t go faster. I ran behind, and then eventually passed a really fit looking guy (looked like he should have been running 7 min miles but he was just clipping along at my pace).  I just worked on keeping him in my sights and I finally found a gear that was slightly faster. I thought he would see himself getting chicked and pass me right back, but I kept the lead in our unofficial, undocumented competition of two.  Solid.

Then, I saw my friend Brian up ahead and just reeled him in over about half a mile. After the last turn onto the home stretch, I caught him and grunted a hello, and passed him. He found HIS next gear and said he would try to hang on, then passed ME back. I tried to hang to his pace, but I had nothing left. The legs were at max capacity.  I let him go and he finished about 10 seconds before I crossed the finish.

Run Time: 28:48 12/29 AG, 70/183 Gender

Exact same split as Pfluger. When I was really trying to push my 5k pace in training.  Again, I can’t even. I’m incredibly happy.


Total time: 1:29:56.  I have nothing to compare it against.  2012 was a different course but same distances – I beat that time by over 10 minutes today.  It’s my best total time in a regular sprint to date, so I’ll celebrate a PR.  Why not?  Wheeee!

I’m so excited to finally break 1:30, and jazzed to have placed in the top 1/3 (almost top quarter) of my AG and Gender (7/29 and 48/183 respectively).  It’s also nice to break the curse of JGT.  If I had a bad race this year I may have packed it in on this one (even if it’s at my fave venue).

I don’t race again until my 70.3 in Kerrville in 8 weeks, but this is a nice little boost of confidence to keep me motivated to get back there.  Even though I’m happy with my sprint distance performance and didn’t lose any speed at the short course – I definitely have some endurance to recover.  Cheers to the next 8 weeks!  Nose, meet grindstone.  Break’s over, it’s time to put in the work!

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