Adjusted Reality

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

Month: April 2015

Rookie Race Week

It’s weird being in a place where I’m actually excited for a triathlon this short.

Normally, these shorties are a fun diversion from my work building up to 70.3.  This year, I’m spending the spring dedicated to the short and fast stuff and I have.. *shocker* actually been specifically training for THIS COURSE.

Rookie4

My overall goals:

1. Go out hard

2. When it starts to really suck, ingest some caffeine and hang on

3. Come in under 1:09:xx for the 300m swim, 11.2 mile hilly bike, and 2 mile run on sticks.

Here’s some more specific goals, just in case you’re wondering how I’m prepping for such a different race than my usual.

This week:

Race simulation brick: done. (Mon)

This was awesome and I think it will be a staple for all (at least sprint and olympic distance) triathlon race weeks.  We set out all of our transition gear on a towel, just like we would at the race.  Then, we did:

  • ~1.5 mile run.  Warmup to steady run the first 1.25, then a little pickup at the end to simulate the breathlessness of coming into transition after a swim.  However, sadly, there is nothing like coming horizontal out of the water to simulate the disorentation, it did approximate the tiredness.
  • Did all the transition things.  Even put on my helmet and sunglasses (and then took them off).
  • 20 min bike, simulating conditions.  This course has a tendency to be windy so I made sure the resistance stayed down pretty far, and used about the same gearing I expected the day of the race.  We put in a minute out of the saddle at 5 mins in (to simulate a short, steep hill on the course) and lots of resistance 10-12 mins in (to simulate a longer hill later in the course).  18-20 mins, I let off the resistance and spun my legs faster.
  • Transition quickly back to run.
  • 1 mile run about 90% max speed.  I felt AWESOME off the bike but lost my legs a little in the middle but finished strong.

Rookie6

Fast Swimming (Tues lunch)

I headed to the pool and did some pretty high effort fast stuff.  I was supposed to do this on Thursday but due to scheduling it ended up here.

  • 250m warmup (4:50)
  • 300m just slower than race effort (5:30)
  • 100m fast x2 (1:41, 1:40)
  • 50m fast x 2 (:47 and :46)
  • 100m easy (1:49? I swear it FELT easy)
  • 300m race effort (5:22)
  • 100m cooldown
  • ~30 seconds between each set (enough to stop panting hard)

Huge confidence builder.  Unless something weird happens, I should swim a HUGE PR this weekend.

Endurance Spin (Tues PM)

I was fully willing to sandbag this one, and my legs honestly weren’t having the first couple intervals, but about 30 mins in, something clicked and I beat my power goals from two weeks ago.

  • ~10 min warmup
  • 5 mins at FTP/5 mins easy
  • 4 mins at 110% FTP/4 mins easy
  • 3 mins at 110% FTP/3 mins easy
  • 2 mins at 120% FTP/2 mins easy
  • 1 min at 130% FTP/1 min easy
  • 30 sec MAX

Then we worked our way back up (1 min rest, 1 min on, etc).  The target power on the way down was 30 watts under what I was hitting on the way up.  That felt pretty awesome.

Rookie5

Easy run with pickups (Wed)

Ran 5 miles at easy pace, and every .5 to .75 of a mile, picked a spot in the distance to run my 2 mile race effort (about a block or so away).  At first, my legs were not having it after 2 hard days, but got with the program after a mile and 8 min mile pace pickups felt… not so bad.  What I’m now calling my block burners workout did it’s job.  I’ll take that into my race, thanks.

The rest of the week is….

One more OWS with pickups (Today)

Plan to do something similar to the run (in terms of easy, with short race pace bursts), and also my first open water swim sans wetsuit (brrrr) since I’m not putting it on for a (hopefully) under 6 minute swim.

Wash and lube the bikes (Later today)

…or really, play assistant to my lovely bike mechanic husband Zliten.

Nothing, sweet nothing (Friday)

No training.  Maybe a few errands but definitely most of the day planted on my buttocks.

Slightly productive rest (Sat)

Packet pickup, eating all the good things, maybe a quick spin out of the legs, maybe a movie, maybe some light chores, maybe a stand up paddle board…  but definitely not all these things.

Race Goals!!!

Pre-race:

  • Breakfast: Kind bar, purple stuff.  Bring coconut water to sip as I set stuff up
  • Get there at transition open
  • Decent run warmup… half to a mile with strides
  • Soak up race excitement
  • Hopefully pooping as needed

Race!!!

Rookie2

Rookie circa 2011

Swim:

This is a time trial start, which I have come to love… except the fact that this beach is rocky and yucky.  As soon as the gun goes off I seem to have about 100% more toughness in my feet, so here’s hoping.

Either way, I think I’ve dialed in the pace I want to go and I’m not going to have much time to think or warm up so I’m hoping to get to about 1:50/100m pace and just go.  This would get me there in 5:30.

Honestly, if pool times are any indication, this will be easy for me.  I’m just not that practiced in open water so I think this is a good goal to stretch myself there.

EDIT: Looking at the race results from last year… the course HAD to have been long because only one person in my age group swam under 6 minutes.  I’ll keep my expectations real there and go by pace on watch vs finish time.

Transition 1:

The first triathlon of the year, I usually have issues with transition gravity.  I’ve taken steps this year to be ready for it but we’ll see.  First, there is a run up a steep hill.  I need to remember that I can recover on the bike and that being winded here is JUST FINE, because that usually freaks me out and I go too conservatively.  Not this time.  I can catch my breath on the first bike flat.

At this point, I’m hoping that putting on the FOUR things I need to in transition will be rote.  Sock, shoe, sock shoe, sunglasses helmet GO.  I was trying to go sans socks, but I’m just not ready for it.

Bike:

This course is hilly and that is not my forte.  I think my best is like 16 mph from years ago.  I’m a better cyclist now.  I know how to work harder.  It’s really, really hard for me to make a stab in the dark at what pace I want to target.  I don’t have power to target.  As for heart rate, it’s like, get it up there and keep smashing.

However, I can have process goals.  I want to keep high cadence (90 or 100+ as often as possible).  I want to push hard on the flats because I’m good at it and that’s where I gain my speed.  I want to stay strong up carnage and quad buster and push all hills up and over the top and not stop until I am back up to speed.  Caff gel between the two major hills (set to really kick in on the run, but I’ll take some extra energy on the back half on the course.  Spin high cadence and let off resistance the last mile.

In terms of speed/time – I really need to aim for sub-40 mins (16.8 mph) for the 11.2 miles to have a chance at my goal time.  Sub 39 (17.2 mph) would be awesome.  But, this early in the season, all I can really do is go after a high effort and see where that lands me.  If I do something stupid like a 36 minute bike and then jog the run at 10 minute miles… well, that will just be something to work on (and a victory in it’s own right).

Rookie1

Rookie circa 2012

Transition 2:

Every. second. here. is. a. second. I. have. to. run. faster.  Helmet off, shoe, shoe, shoe, shoe, visor, race belt, effing GO.

Run:

Oh, the run.  Two miles.  It seems so short and innocent, but I’ve spent so much mental focus and training just to rock these two little miles.

I want to hammer the shit out of this.  Rocket fuel in, knowing I have such a short time left to the finish line, I’m hoping I can push this as hard as some of the bricks I’ve done.

I’m not entirely sure there is a strategy here besides JUST FUCKING RUN.  I’m going to be in pain face the entire time.  But I’ve done a lot of that lately.  I just need to be ready to run my ass off.

Let’s put a number out there – 17 minutes.  That’s 8:30s.  That is significantly faster than I have ever run in a triathlon before.  Hell, that’s faster than any recent standalone 5k time in the last few years.  However, that’s a pace I’m finding more often in training off the bike this spring.  Let’s seek being faster than I ever have before without fear and find out if I’ve got it.

Rookie3

More Rookie circa 2011.  Third triathlon (Zliten’s first).  How adorbs! (this will be #26 this year!)

Finish Time Goals:

5:30 swim + 40:00 bike + 17:00 run + 5 mins for transitions = 1:07:30.  So, if I hit MOST of my A goals, I’ll get my sub 1:10.  Last year that would have placed me around 7-10th in my division out of 33.  I would be SUPER excited to be in the top 1/3 to 1/4.  Let’s do this!

Week in the life

I try to get here once a week to document what’s going on in my life, and honestly, I’ve got a little bit of writer’s block.

Actually, that’s not accurate.  I have writer’s diarrhea, as gross as that sounds.  I have a very rambly, couple thousand words of thoughts but no coherence.  So, instead, I think I’ll just post up one of those “cop out week in the life” posts.

Saturday:

Apr24-1

Did a practice olympic triathlon out at the lake.  Didn’t get going until almost 1.  These days are numbered, but I’m loving the lack of early alarms.  The swim kind of sucked (I was way underfueled), but after eating stuff, the bike was glorious (outdoor bikes and I usually do not get along that well, so I will take it) and the run started with a whimper and ended…well, maybe not with a bang, but pretty well though it was getting steamy.  I was happy with the effort on all 3.

Finishing around 4:30 meant that we were supah starving and sat out on Baby A’s patio and shared fajitas and had a beer as my first real meal for the day which was not a bar or a gel.  The weather dropped about 10-15 degrees during that time to which I oscillated between thanking the weather for helping me with heat training and cursing the weather for helping me with heat training.

Came home, changed into PJs and loaded up netflix… just as the neighbors sent a “want to go bowling?” text.  We rallied and ended up having to wait through a HAIL storm (which actually left hailstone on the ground all over, crazy considering it was in the 80s earlier), bowling two games, drinking beers, and then staying up hanging out until almost 4am, my late night consciousness care of a caffeinated gel put down on the run around 4pm. 😛

Apr24-2

Sunday:

We had a lazy, late Sunday morning wakeup.  I cooked my protein powder waffles, sausage, and broccoli pancakes and we watched netflix for a bit.  Zliten went to sonic and got tater tots and when they asked if he wanted family size, he said, “yeah, whatever”.  Let me tell you, folks.  Family size tots are no joke – too much for even two people.  Not the healthiest lunch, but whatevs.

Mid-afternoon, Zliten went out to do some yardwork, so I got into my closet and drawers and spent two hours cleaning them out.  I’ve got just a little bit left to do this weekend and I can call that one space DONE!  I already have 3 giant garbage bags to sell/donate.  Win!  Then we ran errands, to REI for gels/nutrition, to the grocery store, and to Target for sunglasses and draino (and… all we walked out with is sunglasses and draino… we should get a medal).

Then, since I had groceries, I guess I had to cook. I made ranch dill potato salad (which sadly went bad because of some icky onions before I got to eat more of it), cauliflower steaks, roasted brussels, cauli-taters, and my homemade version of sirloin burger soup.  My husband kindly fired up the grill and cooked a billion chicken breasts, polish sausage, fish, and hamburgers and we were set for the week with soups, chicken salads, chicken/sausage w/caulitaters and veggies, and some veggie snax.

We ate amazingly well, and were set up for the week, but dang, it was kind of exhausting to be so adult and productive for so many hours on a Sunday.

Monday:

We intentionally made this day pretty low key, especially when it was just busy busy busy at work.  We rode the trainer for an hour, sharing a bag of popcorn as ride fuel (chased it with an angelic chicken salad after though, balance in all things).  We kept it easy peasy, and Zliten actually hopped off early.  Recovery day is for recovery.  I followed it up with some core/arms and stretching.  It was one of those “work, ride, eat, sleep” days.  I was not up for much more.

Tuesday:

This was work launch day!  Finally, the update that we’ve been working on for the last, oh, 6 months went out for release!  Oh happy day!

However, let’s not get ahead of things.  I woke up and kinda stumbled around a bit but found myself on the bike and I actually had some legs, so I went through my speed workout (almost – cut it a little short) as planned.  10 mins high cadence fast bike, 1 mile fast run x2.  The bikes set a PR for me.  The runs weren’t the fastest ever, but pretty solid at 8:32 and 8:20 off fast bikes.

After a quick cooldown, shower, and trip to work, I spent the day on the edge of my chair, waiting to see how everyone reacted to the update.  I’m pleased to say that there were no fires, and nothing was bad enough that we had to go through the fire drill of putting together an emergency patch.  That’s pretty rare and awesome, considering both our really high quality standards and how large this one was.

Apr24-3

It was also incredibly convenient, because we were able to actually get out of work and make use of the free Yelp Elite tickets to see Annie.  First, we stopped at Naanful, since I’ve had a wicked Indian food craving.  I got my usual – Zliten and I split an appetizer of gobi manchurian (cauliflower dusted in rice flower, fried, and coated with this amazing sauce), and an appetizer of chicken tikka just for me.

Annie was spectacular!  The 12th row seats for free did not suck, the cast was just ON, the sets were awesome, and I just felt like a kid again.  Sometimes during shows, I’ll glance at my watch.  Not because I’m not enjoying, but me sitting in a (kind of uncomfortable) seat for 2.5 hours without moving… not normal to me.  For this one, it was like… “what, it’s over already”?

Though… getting home at 11pm on a “school night” definitely is not normal for me and I think I was snoring within 30 mins of the car pulling in the garage.

Wednesday:

This was a weird week for me.  I’m usually WAY more than 2 hours into training by this point.  Sometimes I’m closer to 4-5 hours of training by the time I get to work on Wednesday.  Since it was a planned recovery week, I wasn’t stressing about it, but it seemed like a good day to put in some work.

I continued to be busy and stressed at work, and almost didn’t get out the door to swim, but Zliten dragged me.  I swam 5x300s.  It may not be a coincidence that I’m racing a triathlon next weekend (!!) with a 300m swim (so short and adorable/painful).

I took the first as a warmup, but I always swim warmup fast in the cold pool (5:31), the second and third focusing on form (arm turnover and long and lean strokes, (5:36, 5:35), the fourth at a little slower than race effort but pushing it a little more (5:25) and the last as cooldown (5:43).  I took a very short break in between each (15 secs or so). Keeping track of times is kind of new for me and fun.

Apr24-4

Better yet, the swim in the outdoor pool in the 70s and sunshine cured most of my ills.  I felt so, so much better after that swim.  The afternoon continued to be busy and I felt a little meh about my planned evening run, but I just went with it and shoveled myself out the door and actually had an incredibly pleasant run chasing the sunset.

First half was with Zliten a little slower, then the last half was ~1 min per mile faster (top of my easy pace instead of the bottom) and I cruised into the house at 6.4 miles in 1:11, as it had gotten too dark at exactly 8:17pm to see through my prescription sunglasses (and I’m blind without them).  I love love love sunset runs.  I’ll be so sad when it gets too hot to do this, and I have a feeling I’ll probably push it into slightly hotter temps than I’m really comfortable with to continue.

I stretched and coconut water’d on our patio.  I decided Amy’s black bean and veggie enchiladas sounded like the perfect dinner, I didn’t feel like meat after my run.  Sleeping in the next morning and the new bottle of Texas whiskey sounded better than a run in the morning, so I spent the evening having a few sips and playing Clash of Clans outside until rain sprinkles drove us inside.

Thursday:

Slept in until 9am and it was glorious.  Work had actually calmed down, but I was feeling kind of antsy.  I didn’t really move much from my office.  Weird day.

However, once it ended, we got Freebirds and headed to game night!  I stayed good on my entree with chicken salad with guacamole and black beans… but we got chips and queso to share with everyone and I had a lot of those.  It’s a tradition now that we all bring cheese to share, and wow… I overate.  I mean, in the grand scheme of things my calories for the day weren’t off the charts, but my stomach hurt because of it.  I think next time, I’m going to bring veggies and hopefully I won’t get kicked out of nerd nite for it.

Apr24-5

Being overcheesed didn’t get me down though, we laughed really hard all night.  We are all full of zingers and puns and it was the best.  I play a very weird caster hybrid who can do some particularly wicked damage with a crossbow and I may have stolen the show in terms of damage.  Usually my dice roll terribly, but I was ON!

Today:

I fell asleep with a quickness (it’s another “out until 11 on a schoolnight” day – rare I have two in a week), but woke up at 2am with stomach bleh.  I took something for it and grabbed an ice pack, and thankfully found sleep quickly again.

Today has been a pretty mellow day and I’m about to head out the door to make up for that run I decided to skip yesterday, hit up costco, have some dinner, and then pack up our Xterra so we can get out and ride and run tomorrow morning!

…maybe something more deep next week on race week.  Happy weekending, everyone!

Slice of Life

Now that all the recapping and vacation and race report posts are done, here’s just a random update on things and stuff as tri season is beginning.  Since it’s been a super busy week, hallo, this is a brain dump.

Apr5-4

Swimming:

The water is a magical place for me right now.  I’m not sure WHAT happened over this winter (and it certainly wasn’t heavy amounts of meters), but my pace has just… dropped.  Paces that would have scared the shit out of me last year are easy.  I would comment that why the hell can’t this just happen with my running, but I won’t look a gifthorse in the mouth, so I WON’T say that, but try to figure out why (so I can apply it to the rest of my training or something).

I’m just going to drop some theories as to why because it’s quite honestly puzzling.

  • I never completely ditched swimming (though I only swam once in October, and twice in November) like I do every year after tri season is over.
  • I’m keepin’ it real.  All my swims are at a mile or under, not trying to break any distance records for zero reason.  That lets me play with some speed and still use it as recovery for other sports.
  • Maybe something in my form clicked.  I haven’t specifically been working on drills much, but I definitely have been trying to pay attention to form and not swim sloppy.
  • All the run endurance might be paying dividends in the pool, and harder swims just feel easier because I’m fitter overall?
  • The 10 extra lbs I’m carrying are working like a floatation device?

I *do* know that I’m much more comfortable pushing myself both in the pool and the lake.  I’m much less likely to just space out and swim.  My easiest efforts are really what I’d consider *steady* (feel like I had a workout, but on the level of a recovery run), and I have no problems picking it up when that’s happens.

I am also much more comfortable, somehow, with speeding up more quickly.  The last few years, it would take me most of a sprint swim to get warmed up.  Now, since I regularly swim ~1000 meters, I don’t have the luxury to spend half of that getting up to speed – especially in a chilly pool. 🙂

Anyway, I’m pleasantly happy with my swimming progress and paces and feel like I’m uniquely ready to tackle the swim leg of the triathlon this year for some rippin’ PRs.

Apr17-2

Biking:

Here’s the sport I ignored all winter.  Something had to give with marathon training, and it was cycling.  I used it mainly on days when I couldn’t run but still wanted to do *something*, and to warm up/cool down after long runs.  So, I didn’t expect to be in a good place with it.

However, we’re not at odds with each other as much as I expected.  If I was ramping up for an early season 70.3 I would be in trouble, but since the most I’ll be racing is ~25 miles until September, the run fitness seems to be carrying over to predict decent short course bike splits.

I’m back at Endurance Cycling (or, as they call it, the Pure Pain Cave) once a week again getting my ass handed to me with great bike workouts.  I believe, if nothing else, this is the key to being a better cyclist.

We rode outside at Lake Pflugerville and I felt a lot stronger than I expected.  Zliten lead on the way out and decided to do hill sprints without telling anyone, so that was a few miles of “what the fuck” pace on the hills and “what in the actual fuck are you doing” pace on the flats.  When we got near the half point, we stopped a few times for a mechanical and to check out the goats, and then for something else if I remember correctly, and then I decided I was leading on the way back and we rode steady efforts.

Outdoor efforts that are not races are really never the ones I push the hardest, because of the traffic and roads and distractions and people in the way and not dropping or getting dropped by people that you ride with and maybe that’s the reason that my bike rank is typically on the lower side.  But it’s the reality I live in right now.  The WORK predominantly needs to happen indoors.  Or on a deck, this week. <3 outdoor spin.

However, when I *do* get to get out on the roads, I should probably not waste those 2-4 times per month fucking around and easy riding.

As per typical in early season triathlons, my bike is the biggest question mark.  I definitely have a lalalala lot less bike miles under me this year, but I’m doing lots more quality.  I think I just have to be open to digging a little deeper into the hurt than I did last year (I’m much more familiar with “throw up pace” than I was last year) and I may be able to pull out some good performances.  Having less miles on my legs might be a *good* thing.  We’ll see.

mar31-3

Running:

Whereas I’m training really specifically for the other two sports, I’m trying to continue to maintain a good run base in preparation for the fall/winter.  So, where on all the other sports I’m doing just enough to prepare for the event, I’m piling on the run miles.  My average is about 28.5 miles per week so far this year which is PHENOMENAL for me.  If I can keep up even 25 miles per week average, I can hit 1300 this year which is like a 40% increase from last year, which was a mileage PR already.

My running stick is definitely not completely sharpened yet after the marathon, but I’ve been seeing some pointy bits sticking out.

I ran a 9:36 pace 10 mile race, which is the fastest pace thus far I’ve run 10+ miles EVER.

I did a 8:50-pace 5k (split into two for double bricks).  Nothing compared to last year’s 7:40-something mile, but my legs have finally come around again from the ramp up and I think I have a lot more speed in me, I just need to strike the right balance with training (enough miles, but not too much, enough speed to practice going faster than a jog, not enough to burn out/injure myself).

I’ve been doing these fast finish long runs, and they are going REALLY well.

  • After running 6 miles easy, I was able to run 4 miles at around 10:20s.  I had no idea what pace it was since my garmin was dead, I just ran whatever felt on the edge of comfortable (high zone 2).
  • After running 9 miles easy, I was able to pick it up and run the last 4.25 miles at 9:40 pace.  Which, actually, happens to 6 seconds faster than my half marathon PR pace.  And this was some random Saturday with no caffeine and not a lot of fuel (1 gel, 1 gatorade).

While I’d like to be rocking more speedwork, I think these are probably some of the best ways to get my legs ready to rock off the bike while still maintaining my long run.

Overall:

I had a lot of “now, who’s legs do I use to do this workout?” moments in early April, but I feel like I’ve absorbed the ramp up and I’m feeling pretty fresh at this balance and I’ll try to roll this way (with a taper week before each tri) through mid-June.

Looking at the massive amount of burnout I was facing last year at this time, I’m glad that life conspired to make me take March a little easy.  I definitely am happy I’m not going into another full build cycle right now, but I’m totally stoked to play at sprint and olympics for the spring.

This is pretty much the plan, minus a rest week here and there…

25 run miles

  • 1 long run at least every 2 weeks
  • 1 run with some ~10k to 13.1 pace miles in it (can be long run)
  • 1 dose of FAST speedwork (track, double/triple bricks, 5k time trial, etc)
  • Everything else easy

3 bikes

  • 1 Endurance Cycle class OR similarly ass kicking 90 mins at home if I have to miss it.
  • 1 easy hour
  • 1 outdoor ride or video.  Outdoor at least a few times a month.

2 swims per week

  • 1 pool swim.  Sets of stuff.
  • 1 OWS.  Keep the gas on.
  • One of these needs to be at least ~1500m.

Other stuff

  • Stretching, rolling, easy spins before and after long runs.  Body preservation type of stuff.
  • Strength stuff like core work, weights, kayak, s’up, yoga, etc.
  • Try to get 1-2 hours of this stuff per week.  10-20 mins at a time is fine.

Apr17-3

About that 10 lbs…

I had my first week of tracking 100% of the food I eat.  And do you know what?  I really think just the act of staying on top of that helped me make *some* better choices.  I flat out made terrible choices on Saturday after my 13 mile long run and I can say it’s because we were at a party and that’s what was there, but I need to remember it’s MY responsibility to not eat like a jerk and remember vegetables are better than potato chips even if I did run for 2.5 hours that day.

I am stuck around 181-183 since post marathon/vacation/birthdays.  This is not my happy weight.  All my clothes fit like ass right now.  I feel like I look a little pregnant (which I am not, thxuverymuch).  This isn’t manifesting itself that much in my workouts, though I can only imagine it would be super nice to drag less of me up hills on bikes and what my run paces could be if I was back to my 173 Kerrville race weight.

This is about week #3 of really giving it an effort, so this should be the week I start seeing some results if I’m doing it right.  It’s always really fucking disheartening to not see a damn change for 2 weeks, but it is what it is and I know to expect it.

If I don’t feel like I’m making enough progress I start investigating dieticians again in May (probably starting with the ones at my gym since that’s convenient).

Last week I ate approximately 2000 calories per day (average worked out to 2033 with some light days being around 1600, and Saturday being over 3000).  I did 9 hours of training.  Let’s call that approximately 4500 calories, at 500 calories an hour (on the range of probably burning about 300 biking easy to about 700 running fast).  This should show a fairly decent deficit.  So, body, let’s start seeing it, please!

I’m ready to work on this one.  I have no idea why, sometimes, I just don’t give a shit about this stuff, and if I held back just a little, I might not have to lose the same damn 10 lbs over and over.  Sigh.

And, there’s a little slice of my life.  Heading back into the fray!

Cruise Highlights: Turtles, Rays, and Drunk Grannies, Oh My!

I usually type out these long winded “what I did every day on vacation” recaps, which get almost exactly 0 comments because, well, who cares what I ate at the buffet for lunch on Thursday or that I spent Tuesday afternoon reading.  So, let’s try the high points instead.

Post marathon and cruising:

Saturday after the marathon I set pretty good expectations with my parents about my potential mental and physical state.  So, when I was able to only deal with about 20 mins of hanging out in the afternoon, going to dinner and eating an embarrassing portion, and then one game of cards after, they were pleasantly surprised instead of upset about it.

The next day, embarkation day was kind of rough.  Let me tell you the tale of pain of having to stand for 30 minutes for a boat drill the day after a marathon.  It’s probably about as painful as the last 10k of the race, but you don’t get a medal at the end.  Though, there is beer.  So, sort of the same?  By the afternoon, I felt like this…

cruise01

…cranky, tired, and not really wanting to play reindeer games with anyone but having to accommodate my parents by actually going to fancy dinner and with a little bit of QT when all I wanted to do was to be horizontal somewhere.

However, after a lengthy sleep and the next day of mainly laying on deck and reading my book, I felt better.

cruise02

Actually taking the time to get to the gym Wednesday to spin out my legs and stretch and roll made me feel like a whole new person.  I didn’t plan on doing any structured workouts, but next time, I would try to do that sooner if just to improve my mood and stiffness.

Food highlights:

  • The buffalo chicken strips, fries, and salad I had in The Woodlands for dinner after the race at Willie’s Icehouse were tip top.  I will definitely consider returning there for post-race festivities if I’m in the area.
  • Waffles with nutella, butter, and syrup for the day after m-day at Springhill Suites breakfast bar.  Game changer.  All the carbs.
  • All the indian food at the buffet was EXCELLENT.  Masala fish, butter chicken…
  • They had weird pizzas every day, some were good, some were… interesting.  I tried thai chicken (awesome), beef teriyaki (pretty good), and shrimp (ehhh).
  • The jerk chicken I got in Jamaica.  So spicy and delicious.
  • They brought fully cooked meals to your room for breakfast (most cruises just do continental breakfast).  So, most mornings, I woke up with two strips of bacon or sausage, a bite of hashed browns, some fruit, and tea.
  • The dining room food was certainly just fine, but not a lot stood out as awesome. The list that rocked my socks off: garlic soup, tandoori chicken salad, flourless chocolate cake, chicken cordon bleu, and key lime pie.
  • The most EXPENSIVE for-the-value thing we did was one margarita, 2 beers, and chips and salsa in Grand Cayman cost us about 50 bucks US.

We clean up OK:

One reason I love cruises is that we actually get a chance to wear clothes that are not a) spandex b) pajamas or c) tees and jeans.  I have to record these moments.

Night 1:

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Night 2 (formal night):

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Night 4:

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Night 6 (formal night 2):

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Adult Bevvie Action:

I had some post race beers on Saturday, but it was more of a “caaaaaalories” thing and relaxing a little than a “get drunk” thing.

My parents have been on a million cruises, and one of their perks was free drinks from 4:30-8 every day.  They let us in on it some of the time.  Considering the prices, it was very nice (drinks were generally 7 bucks or more). So, we saw this a lot…

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One of my favorite drinks on cruise ships is Crown on the rocks.  Generally, its reasonably priced, and bartenders are usually pretty impressed with a girl ordering it, so I get hefty pours.

I always try to get a local beer if I can (even if it’s the equivalent of Budweiser, because most countries make MUCH BETTER mass market beer).  In Jamaica, you get a Red Stripe.  In Grand Cayman, you get a White Tip Lager.  In Cozumel, when you are at an all-inclusive… you get whatever they’re pouring you (I think Dos Equis).

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I enjoyed my bevvies responsibly until the second to last day (with the all-inclusive package).  I started the fun by forgetting to eat lunch.  Priorities were 1. snorkeling 2. booze… and then everything else fell off.  Then, we had more beers with our new friends Mary and Chris, and then somehow I ended up in my red formal dress at fancy dinner… and then the night gets a little hazy.  I crashed out early and didn’t injure anything this time so life is good.

Birthday Shenanigans:

I spent most of my birthday in a bathing suit, reading, napping, and swimming.  No complaints.  Happy Quix is happy.  However, the night before was… interesting.

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We headed up to the lounge/dance area and spent an interesting and exciting night people watching.  We got a seat in the back, which made it a little hard to see the people on the dance floor, but easy to see out the window to the pool.

At the pool, a drunk, greyhaired lady with one of those swimsuit coverup with an airbrushed bikini on it, was trying to get into the water.  It was closed, and security was there escorting her out.  She was NOT having it, and threw her sandal in the water.  They fished it out and she threw the other one in.  As they fished that one out, they had to lift the net up, and she went for a dive to get in… and she fell.  She was ok, but she was a little subdued after that and decided to leave.

Shortly after that, a party of drunk girls showed up to the table next to us.  The tables had some ambient lighting on them, and the one next to us was broken.  It didn’t have a lampshade or bulb in it, which is actually why we didn’t sit there, even though it was a better seat.  One of the girls decided to stick her finger in the socket, and… as you would guess, it had electricity going to it.  She was yelling and shaking until someone pulled her away… and it sounded like her finger got cracked pretty good.  It smelled all to burned flesh and they had to bring the lights up to take care of her for a few minutes, but I was pretty amazed how “the show went on” rather quickly.  The people up front probably didn’t know what happened.

I toasted my birthday at midnight being that perfect age where I don’t go sticking my fingers in light sockets OR harassing security guards at pools while drinking.  The sweet spot.

Falmouth, Jamaica:

Apparently, the thing to do in Jamaica is to see the falls.  However, with Zliten just recovering from his bear fight and subsequent broken leg, and the travel time necessary, we decided to find the closest beach the cruise would take us to and just do that.  This beach was Red Stripe beach.

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When we got there around noon, it was truly just that – a little beach with a snack stand and waiters, a lifeguard, and massage services.  The water was rough, it was cloudy and a little stormy, the swimming area roped off was very small, and there was ZIP to see in the water.  We gave open water swimming a go and ended up spending 30 seconds to get 500m down and spent another 15 minutes getting back to where we started.  I gave up and walked some of it.

However, you’re in Jamaica, on a beach.  You enjoy being in/around the ocean, drink a red stripe, eat jerked chicken, and realize that your life is not so bad at all.

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Grand Cayman:

We had an early, early 6am wakeup call so we could eat breakfast and be ready for an 8am dive excursion.  We chose Grand Cayman instead of Cozumel for diving this time because it offered a one tank shore dive, which we’ve never done in the ocean before.  It was really cheap, considering, and after researching, we figured we could get a second tank and go off on our own after.

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Getting equalized sometime is a huge noob moment for me because it can take me a while, and diving from shore means plenty of time to get adjusted and chillin’ while everyone else gets acclimated.

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And…. happy birthday to meeeee (well, a few days late, but), I finally got to see a turtle.  He played with us for a while.  I think we all would have continued to chase him down and play paparazzi, but the divemaster kept us on course.

We also got to see a trumpet fishie and play with some angel fish but… turtle!

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Zliten didn’t want to risk injuring his leg again (dive gear is like 60-70 extra lbs, and it was a decent walk from loading it up to shore), and our day was already made, so we called it.  We bought shirts, and headed to tourist trap central (Margaritaville) to get a drink and a snack.

It was a blast, but definitely a one-time thing.  Grand Cayman had dollar amounts on the menu, which looked like pricey but typical… until they mentioned the fact that they also had to be translated to GC dollars.  As I mentioned before, two local beers, 1 margarita, and chips and salsa cost 50 bucks.

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However, they had a waterslide, and it was early enough not to be clogged up with drunk people, so I made liberal use of it before we left.

Cozumel:

While I had no idea how I could top seeing a turtle in GC, I think the best day of vacation was here in Cozumel.

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We went to an all-inclusive resort called Playa Mia.  All you can eat, drink, lounge, snorkel (well, with your own gear or rent it), play on the inflatable water slides… we were most looking forward to this day.

Of all these things, for us, snorkeling is priority number one, so we got there, got geared and sunscreened up, and headed into the water for the vaaaaast majority of the day.

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First, we found this pot that were protected by the blue fishies.  The seargent majors wanted to party but the other ones kept nipping them away. We saw a purple spot, which meant breeding area, Zliten said, so it made sense.

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We found these awesome red starfish all over.  After a while, someone yelled at us for picking them up, but I promise we were careful.  We made sure to hold them delicately, and swim them back down instead of dropping them.

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The biggest spotted eagle ray we’ve ever seen visited us in less than 20 feet of water!  He probably had a bigger wingspan than I do, and was 10 feet tip to tail.  I’m really glad I do sprints in the pool because otherwise I would have never been able to catch this guy, and calm down enough to get pictures that actually were focused.  We followed him around like that for about 5 minutes, and then had to take a rest.  They swim fast!

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I found the most chill yellow spotted stingray in very shallow water.  Zliten and our buddy Chris were still gearing up and getting in.  I kept tabs on him for about 10 mins waiting for them.  He was either very mellow, or was scared of me and didn’t want to move too much.

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Also in very shallow water, I found a brown spotted eel.  Usually these guys hide well, and you can only see them poke out of nooks and crannies, but he was just hanging out for everyone to see.  I’m pretty sure the people hanging out and having drinks in the ocean around here probably would have freaked out about seeing an eel right below them, but I was excited!

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Sergent majors are my favorite, and I think they know it too, because this school led me around when I went back in by myself after Zliten and Chris had enough.  They got right up next to my camera.  It was super fun!

The rest of the day was for priority 2: drinks.  Since we only had about 1 hour left, and ship drinks were expensive, I put back quite a few dos equis!  We had a great time drying out and chatting with Chris and Mary, and all of a sudden, it was last call for the bus, I forgot to eat, and we had to leave paradise.  Sad.

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We prolonged it a little by having some more beers by the boat, and I got some chips and guac.  We took a little dip into the ocean right off the pier (it may or may not have been the most convenient place to pee), got fed lots of free shots, danced, and enjoyed our last minutes of our last day in port.

Fun things we did on the ship:

If we weren’t doing anything else, we were up on the Lido deck with our kindles, in swimsuits, reading and taking dips in the pool.  That is the core of vacation relaxation for me.

Somehow this cruise, on the sea days, became all about the art.  We went to the art auction, drank some champagne, and then “let’s not buy any more art” turned into “wow what a deal for 3 more Krasnyansky pictures” and we just got them in a tube yesterday ;D.  Ah well.  Obtaining stuff for our wall of Kras is now pretty complete, we just need to get it framed and put up.

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The shows were pretty fun, but the Ice Show was actually pretty spectacular (yeah, the ship had an ice skating rink).  Lots of ambitious choreography for a rocky ship and there was even a gal who hula hooped and did tricks while skating.

We went to the Majority Rules game show and paired up with some other random people.  The point of the game is to guess what the majority of the groups are going to say to something – for example – What do you tell your boss when you can’t come to work?  The majority said “I’m Sick” (and we got that one), but there were some people that said weird stuff like “I quit” or “I’m dead” or something like that.  They did NOT get a point.  We did well, but didn’t win.  Oh well.

Lots of games with my parents.  I won all but one!  Birthday luck!

In Summary…

All in all, it was a great trip with much excitement, but I definitely didn’t come back feeling rested and refreshed. The silver lining there is it made us take March a little easier than normal, which seemed to be a GOOD THING in the grand scheme.

Question: What cruise port would you be most excited to visit for a day?

March Wrap Up, April Goals

My next post is my vacation one.  Honest.  However, I’m actually properly motivated to do THIS post so let’s make it happen!

Apr5-3

March is always both awesome and challenging.  Awesome, because we have all sorts of birthday celebrations, vacations, racing, the weather shifts to spring and it’s all, like TRI SEASON and junk.  Challenging because it’s usually sooooooo busy and impossible to get into a routine.

The first week was vacation.  For various reasons (it was kicked off with a marathon, somehow I felt like I didn’t get much R&R during it, we came back on a Sunday afternoon and then went to work the next day), I really spent the next week trying to continue to recover and feel anything like normal, and then it was Zliten birthday weekend.  Then, I immediately got hit with a stomach bug where I couldn’t eat healthy food for a week.  It was really only the last week of the month where I was able to get back to any sort of normalcy, and eat good food and train like a normal me.

Saying all that, I’m actually especially proud I was able to hit so many of my March goals.

Training:

Priority was recovery.  My numbers will definitely show you that I held up this end of the bargain.  I didn’t try to push through when I was sick, and I did what sounded fun and good for my body.

  • Run: 51 miles, 9h30min (considering this was pretty much squeezed into 2 weeks, not too, too bad)
  • Bike: 131 miles, 6h (even got outside once!)
  • Swim: about 5500 meters, 2h (two open water swims!)
  • Other: 6h30min (this includes stretching, strength, playing on or in the water but not lap swimming)

24 hours total, so not bad for an active recovery month with almost 2 weeks of down time.

I also wanted to get back into it with swimming and biking, which I have, though admittedly the ramp up was slower than I’d like.  I’m fully back into a tri schedule now as of this week, so I’ll take it.

The speedwork fell off the radar, prioritizing recovery, but it seems to have worked out for the best considering my race result.

Training: adhering to plan: C.  adapting for my body’s condition: A.  I think the last one is more important.

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Racing:

Let’s just say I’m really happy with this one.  Being gentle with training last month helped me pull out a great race because I wasn’t beat up.

Racing: A

Food/Scale:

I had a bunch of false starts, I couldn’t get myself to track my food or stop eating fucking cake and french fries or drinking more days than I should, so I got a little stricter with myself.

I’m on this plan, and the only thing I’ve cheated on is a few more post-race alcoholic bevvies than I should have.  It’s been 2 weeks and I’ve seen no change, but I know this is just how I roll.  If I actually stick with it, I have faith I’ll be down a significant chunk by the end of this month.

Food/Scale: C- (which is probably generous)

Work:

Sometimes you do the exact bare minimum you plan for.  I got ONE game level, and I got it March 31st.  However, I did get a lot of planning done for what’s next and hope to kinda get to help my team play the hero by finding some loopholes/low hanging fruit that will help us get a lot more done for this summer than we expected.

Work: A

Apr5-2

Life:

I ditched a camping trip I really wanted to do just because it would have made everything too crazy.  I’m sad I did because I didn’t get to see two friends get engaged (surprise!) but for my physical and mental well being, it was the right call.

I also (3 days before the deadline) cleared off the butcher block.  That’s it, that’s all.  The things on it went into storage under it, and the things that were under it went into the garage and kind of still need to be dealt with, but, baby steps.  There’s no longer a bunch of plastic tupperware right by my stove.

We did NOT do the office, but I didn’t expect to.

Life: A-

The choices I made have left me actually refreshed, excited, and motivated to KICK SOME ASS in April.  Here’s what’s shakin…

Apr5-4

Training:

Tri season, mother effers! Time to swim in the lake, pull harder swim sets in the pool, go back to spin class and harder efforts on the bike, and ride my bike outside.

But… I do want to maintain a good run base even though my planned events for spring involve only a 2 mile, 3 mile, and 10k run.  I think this is going to be key to have a successful marathon in November and probably will help with Kerrville later in the year.

So, here we go:

Run: Maintain 25 miles per week average.  Never feel like a half marathon distance is out of reach.  Do speedwork at least once per week.

Bike: Bike at least 3-4 times a week, one at least 1.5 hours.  Cycle endurance class every week, or a similarly ass-kicking effort on the trainer.  One outdoor ride per week, whether its a serious one or just tooling around the neighborhood.

Swim: At least 2 swims per week, one being at least 1500m.  One OWS per week.  One set in the pool with harder efforts.

Other: Rack up at least 2 hours a week between these things: stretching, strength, yoga, stand up paddleboard, kayak/canoing.  What I can, when I can.

Racing:

I would *love* to jump into a 5k, 10k, or half marathon if I can find one middle of this month in town, but I’m not going to taper for it, or stress out if I can’t find one.

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Food/Scale:

Stick to the plan.  That is all.  About 30 days until I have to run around in full tri-kit.

Work:

This is going to be a challenging month.  One game has an update that we’re taking live – it’s going well, but there’s always the last minute crazies and emergencies to deal with.  Now, we’re bringing the second game into the mix and finishing up a milestone here at the end of the month.  So, primarily, my work life will be dedicated to really splitting my time between two different projects well.

I’m going to aim a little higher and say I’ll get THREE levels for Game 2 to bring me to an even 20.  Though I did actually hit my goal, I could have done better with this last month.  Then, I’ll go back to Game 1 and work on leveling there but that might be for  May.

Life:

Going to try to keep things reasonably mellow in terms of social life, because I am smashing myself with the training a bit and want to accomplish a bit at home (below).  I’ve got 3 social commitments that I know of, and I’m going to try to keep it to that.

In terms of cleaning all the things, we’re going to do a little more in April.

Goal: Prepare for a garage sale.

We plan to vacate one of the vehicles in the garage, and set up space to move all the things we don’t want anymore.  In the past, we’ve failed at this because we didn’t have space to quarantine all the things we didn’t want, so this will help us.

The plan is to dedicate AT LEAST 1 hour per week (hopefully more) to grabbing things to sell, putting them aside as we can and storing them in the garage.

The things I can think of offhand which should be easy pickings:

  • Old Red Couch
  • Old TV
  • Curtains
  • Extra leezard cage
  • Extra dressers/table stored in the guest room (that doesn’t really fit)
  • Old luggage
  • My rusty hybrid bike
  • Extra games/peripherals/figurines/knick nacks we don’t need anymore (letting Zliten decide these)
  • Doing a sweep of the closets and figuring out what clothes can go.  If it doesn’t fit and I don’t have a specific attachment to it, it’s gone.  If I lose more weight, I can go shopping.
  • My vanity – getting rid of all the crap I have around that I don’t use in terms of unopened samples, hair and makeup stuff, etc
  • Getting rid of dishes/tupperware/kitchen appliances we don’t use

…and this is just what I’m coming up with now.  I’m sure there’s more.

Now, not included is organizing or cleaning anything.  This is simply purging.  Taking a bag or box, going into a room, and filling it up and putting it in the garage.

Train lots.  Social some, but not that much.  Not losing my mind at work.  Focusing on purging, not organizing.  Rock and roll.  Let’s go April!

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