Adjusted Reality

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

Month: November 2015


I’m finding myself a little out of sorts this week. I stayed up WAYYYY too late on Saturday, and ended up spending Sunday completely in bed and on the couch, sleeping through most of it.  Yesterday and today, I’ve felt very lethargic and unenthused.


I might have looked cute, but still, feeling kind of meh.

I can explain all of it away with two things: allergies are wicked bad this year (usually it doesn’t start until January but I’ve been on and off the green pills all year), and work is MEGA stressful right now.  However, it doesn’t mean that I’m not a little unsettled by how it’s 5 days until the marathon and I’d really rather just crawl into a ball and sleep for the next month.

All the reasons that I’m glad that I’m doing a training run this weekend and not a race that I’m OMG about.  Until my situation and schedule changes, racing at this time of year in Florida is never going to set me up for an easily successful day.  I’m open to the possibility and going to run smartly and with passion, but the one I really want to count is in March.  So I’m ok with however I end up getting to the finish line.

I’m sure everything will start to fall into place as I leave work for a week tomorrow afternoon and actually get out and run and see that my legs are ready even if the cedar/pollen/mold is literally trying to kill me.  But for now, I’m going to focus on the theme of the week.

While I may have “woe is me” moments when things get crazy around here, I do my best not to lose perspective that my life is pretty dang awesome.


So, here is my list of thankfulness:

Family.  I’m pretty sure I don’t sing the praises of Zliten enough but he is seriously the bestest guy in the whole world.  Sorry ladies and gents.  But it’s true.  Both sets of our parents now live within about an hour of us, and of course your parents can get on your nerves from time to time, they’re all an amazing support crew for our lives and it’s fantastic to be able to see them more often than when we lived 1000s of miles away.

Friends.  I remember feeling a wee bit isolated at some points in my life, but here in Austin, I’ve never had such a large variety of friends.  We game together, we watch movies and share meals, we throw parties and share our homes for an evening, we drink beer together, we triathlon and run together.  Even though we might see each other less than we did years ago because our lives just don’t permit us to be that social all the time, we just pick up right where we left off when we DO get together.


Sport.  There was a point about 6 years ago when I started getting bored with the gym and I realized I would need a higher goal to stick with it.  I ran a 5k, and was hooked.  Now I’m coming up on my 87-ish race since February 2009.  I may have gained a bit of weight since then, but I’m pretty sure I’m wayyyy healthier (and happier) than I was when I toed that first start line.  And, I’m pretty sure I would have gained a lot more if I wouldn’t have discovered the awesome world of racing.

My health.  This year, I’ve stayed relatively injury free and sickness free (knock on wood).  I’m working through some dietary stuff right now, but I have the knowledge and the ability and the means to eat healthy, good, homecooked food.  Or sometimes not-healthy, not-homecooked food.  And I don’t obsess over it (too much).  It’s about balance.


My job.  It’s funny to say it right now because it’s stressing me out, but when things are going well, it’s my favorite thing in the world because I love what I do, I work with amazing people, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it.

Being comfortable.  While we’re not at the “make it rain” level of financial independence (yet?), and the vacation house in Bonaire is still a dream without a date, we’ve got a lot going for us.  We own our cars.  We are still paying mortgage on a nice house in a nice neighborhood, but we’ll own it within 10 years and if we sold it, we’d make a pretty nice profit on our investment.  Someone comes to clean it twice a month.  Pest people make sure it’s bug free.  We have an alarm system to keep it safe.  We have enough savings that something REALLY catastrophic would have to happen to take us down.  I only go through the motions on agonizing about spending money.

Living in the future.  I have a pocket sized device that does just about ANYTHING I could imagine.  Oh, and it also makes phone calls.  Who does that anymore?  I have a house robot that will answer my questions, play me music, read me the news, or tell me a joke by just asking.  Hopefully, my next car will drive itself (but if not, the one after, and my next one will run on electricity).


I am also thankful for YOU!  If you’re reading this, I appreciate you taking the time to come to my corner of the internets and read my ramblings and look at my ridiculous selfies.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  Eat lots of turkey, or tofurkey, or whatever floats your boat, and enjoy the company of your family, friends, pets, or yourself (again, with the boat floating).

If you’re interested in the outcome of the marathon on Sunday, catch me on twitter or Instagram.  Or just wait and I’m sure I’ll blab about it here soon-ish.


I run a marathon in 1 week and 6 days.  That’s kind of soon!


I’m getting a little nerv-cited to do so, but it’s framed in a different way than normal.

  • I’m excited for our day-before movie tradition (Mockingjay Pt 2).
  • I’m excited for Publix sandwiches.
  • I’m excited to drink Corona Lights at the beach bar.
  • I’m excited because we’re meeting Zliten’s friend from college for dinner.
  • I’m excited to see the astronaut museum.
  • I’m looking forward to relaxing on the beach.
  • Also, I’m excited to toe the line of my longest run since Feb 28th and see where I’m at.

Usually this trip is 2 days of nerves and then finally Sunday around noon I get a chance to enjoy myself.  This year, the pressure is off.  I’m just going out for a long run with 1000’s of my friends and people are nice enough to support me with water and gatorade and cheering.

This long run’s plan is not just an easy jog, though.

I plan to run the first… 16-ish? 20-ish? easy pace.  Generally this is around 11:20-30s.  Then, somewhere in the last 6-10 miles, I’d like to do the thing that I’ve practiced in all my long runs and descend the end.   If that means descending from 11:25 to 11:24 averages, so be it.  If I have ONE goal, it’s locking in whatever average pace I am at mile 16, and not letting myself get SLOWER.

Things that have tripped me up in the past:

  • Hills 8-10, 14-16 – they’re not enough to really notice like “oh, I’m going up a hill”, but it’s enough to make running feel a little harder and make my brain go “it’s so early, why is this hard?” and flip out.  I just have to know that these miles are going to feel a little worse and not freak out.
  • The half walkers right at 13 (people who are ~3 hour half people start to cross my path on the out and back right around my halfway point).  Watching people walk sometime makes me want to walk too.  At this point, if it bugs me, I’ll do the visor trick (push my visor down and only look at the feet in front of me).
  • Losing a specific pacer or spending too much effort trying to keep up with a pacer.  My own pace is my own.  I may need to drop behind at first to get warmed up.  I need to cruise a little faster when I feel like I need to go.  At the end, I may need a little motivation to keep my pace up and a pacer may save my life, but I’m not sticking with one at all costs.
  • Don’t fuck with the nutrition program unless my stomach is legit rebelling.  Not feeling like taking my gel doesn’t mean I get to not take my gel.  Once an hour MINIMUM.  Don’t be afraid of caffeine – it will be out of my system WELL before I actually need to be asleep (I seem to retain it for about 12 hours).
  • I took my Garmin off autopause during runs after the race last year.  I want to know how much time I’m taking fucking around with my socks/stretching/water stations/whatever so I don’t end up thinking I crushed my goal but actually was 58 seconds short.

As for gear, I’m going to stick with what I run my normal long runs in – north face capris and a tank, no compression socks.  I love them, but they’re too hot – if I do end up with a huge weather break, I may do compression SLEEVES – I’ll probably never race with compression socks again after what happened last year though.  I’ll bring my handheld with sports drink that can be pitched if I’m over it.


However, I have two things I’m pondering.

Number 1: My shoes.  They are at approximately 250 miles and will be about at 300 at the end of the race if I continue with normal wear.  They’re definitely not completely toast, but I can feel the wear a little bit by the end of long runs.  I figured I would just get a new pair and break them in to run the race in.

Well… none exist anymore in the world in my size.  I have to move to the next version (Clifton 2s).  And they’ve made some changes.  I suppose my only option is to get them, run in them, and decide whether I want to go for it.  I figure in about 20-30 miles I’ll be pretty informed if they work or not.

Number 2: Running with my big heavy phone for 5 hours sounds like a huge drag.  I keep saying I’m going to get a small mp3 player for when I need music (usually seems to be around the 3 hour mark) and I haven’t yet.  I need to get on that.

As for actual training, I missed a few easy miles last week, but hit all the major workouts.

Fast run: mile repeats

I was having a huge case of didn’t wannas, but got out to the track anyway and kind of crushed these.  The workout was – half mile warmup and cooldown (ish – whatever it took to jog to the track).  1 mile ~5k-10k pace (faster than I normally run)x3 with half mile jog recovery.

  • Mile 1: 9:23 (went really conservative because I felt SO not into it, I just wanted to make sure I could finish).
  • Mile 2: 9:08 (felt pretty good after this one, like I hit that 5 mile to 10k race pace)
  • Mile 3: 8:56 (had one more gear here, but this is probably my 5k pace right now)

Long run: 16 miles, last 6 faster

Started out in the upper 50s and cloudy… some of my favorite running weather for training, I like racing in colder weather but it’s much easier to get out the door when it’s not 30 degrees. Anyway, I wore capris, a tee, and a long sleeve… for about a minute, and then it went around my waist. At 5, I changed into a tank top. It was fun to pretend it was fall I guess.

At 10, stopped back by the house to grab music and a bottle fill, and then took off for the last 6 faster. My average for the first section was ~11:25… then…
Mile 10: 10:58, Mile 11: 10:46, Mile 12: 10:44, Mile 13: 11:02, Mile 14: 11:04, Mile 15: 10:54, Mile 16: 10:36.

Pretty happy with this to close out my longer-than-half-marathon runs for a little bit.

13.5-ish other miles of easy running, a quickie open water swim to test out my new wetsuit (that doesn’t exist… it’s a Christmas present but the window to return it if it didn’t fit was closing), and one dozen set rounds out my week.


Somehow, it ended up being another stepback week in terms of hours (about 7).  It is what it is.  I had a pretty stellar first 20 on like… no training, so hopefully being fresher vs actually being trained will work out well.

Then again, I was so excited to hit a 50 mile week last fall… and then my body revolted and I missed a long run and most of a week of running.  I’ve been consistent this time.  Only runs I’ve missed are a few miles here and there during the easy weekday ones but I’ve been putting in 35+ most weeks (just not a lot more).  Maybe my ennui lately is keeping me from getting injured!

Last week: 35 miles

This week’s plan:

Faster runs:

  • 3 mile treadmill run.  Let’s face it.  This is turning into speedwork so I may as well plan for it.  Probably a small amount of quarter mile repeats to keep the legs fresh.
  • 3 tempo miles in a 5 mile run.  Goal will be about 9:30s or whatever feels comfortably hard.

Long run:

10 miles race simulation.  Wearing what I plan to wear (as much as possible pending: weather), warm up a little on the treadmill, try to poop BEFORE my run, not take a break at mile 2 to do it so I can get out earlier, eating what I plan to eat and drink in the morning.  First 5 easy, second 5 faster.  Hide a bottle so I don’t have to stop.

Other stuff:

  • 2 swims.  This so helps me recover. I wish I could have swam more this cycle.
  • 2 dozens.  One down, one to go!
  • ~13 other easy miles to round out the total at ~31.
  • Hop on the trainers and pedal easy while watching Kona.

Life stuff!

The highlights of the week were…


Got to go see Kinky Boots at the Long Center, thanks to Yelp, who treats us so well with amazing seats!

Fancy dinner at Trulucks just because.  They asked if we were celebrating something.  We said we were celebrating CRAB!  Basically, this is my favorite place in the world and since I’ve been out of town for the last two birthdays and anniversaries (boo, I know my life is sooooooo rough), I haven’t had an excuse to go back.  We made one.  We spent way too much money on dinner and it was fabulous.

All day gaming with our Dungeons and Dragons crew for the DM’s birthday.  It was super fun and nerdy!

The lowlights of the week were…

Work is stressful.  We have a deadline tomorrow.  Last week was a lot of pain fun getting there. Cross your fingers for success and my continued sanity.

Wednesday post-speedwork: Let’s have one glass of wine, shall we? It’s pretty late, so just not getting crazy.  Sounds like fun! *fast forward* Awww, crap, I have to be up for work in 5 hours. *grumble*.  Oops.

Sports bra shopping.  It goes like this when you have teh boobs…

  • Stuff stuff stuff poke poke poke… ok, all in!
  • Ack, how do I deal with this clasp?
  • Ok… can I breathe?  Yeah?  Maybe?
  • Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle
  • Jumpy jumpy jump jump jump
  • Running the tiniest laps in the world around the dressing room.
  • Take it off, inspect for potential chafing spots.
  • Know that no matter what you do, it’s a 50 dollar crap shoot.

And with that, I’ll leave you to your Monday.



If We Had (Decaf) Coffee

Whew!  This week is nearing closer to a big deadline at work, one more big marathon training week before shutting it down, and some social/fun stuff going on.  All good stuff, but peeps, I’m super busy-cakes and focus is at a premium right now (isn’t it always?).

I like Carla’s “if we sat down to have (decaf) coffee” (the decaf is my addition) posts, so I’m going to borrow the format.


I’d tell you that due to schedules and weather, we ran 15 miles on the treadmill on Saturday morning/afternoon. 

This was wayyyy harder mentally than physically.  Running is running is running, right?  But staring at the same window or same space on the wall or same bad TV just makes it HARDER. By the end it was MSNBC with a special on some judge filmed for beating his kids – NOT what I want to see at mile 13, thank you!  I prefer cartoons or food network so I can dream about what I’m going to eat after, thxuverymuch.

But, I did it, I did it decently fast, I got faster as I went along, I was able to get on with the rest of my day instead of postponing, and hopefully it will be a +1 increase to my mental toughness Nov 29th.

I’d tell you that HOLY CRAP Nov 29th is coming too fast and can’t come fast enough at the same time.

I’m feeling a little crispy with work and 4 months (minus 2 weeks) being ON specific race prep training all the time.  I’m ready to go out and run 26.2 miles as a yardstick to see where I’m at in Florida.  I also (always in the fall) fight that 6-8 weeks is not enough time to prep for a marathon from 70.3 fitness to rock it, but it’s enough to complete it.  So here we are.

I’d tell you, speaking of work, it’s been a stressful but successful year.

As things are sort of winding down for a bit (please for the love of all that’s dear and fluffy), I’m getting news that the year has gone really well.  I started the year with a new promotion (yay!) more games to focus on (yay!) but let’ say… creative staffing solutions to get the work done (boo!).

There were two choices – allow the staffing changes to affect the projects by being less productive, or kicking ass and being creative, and MacGyvering our way through the year doing way more than expected at the cost of some chaos and stress and stretching and learning and growing.

Because it’s me, I took route 2 because it’s not in my nature to let things wither if I can help it.  All signs are pointing to things having gone pretty swimmingly, and that good deeds will be rewarded.  We shall see.


I would tell you that I’m both ready for the season to change and not at the same time.

I love running in (Austin’s version of) the cold.  I love running in the rain.  I love running under grey skies.  I love the simplicity of this time of year… do I run or do I not (there is no tri)?  I like being able to do a lunch run and then not shower (sorry/not sorry) because I am barely glistening.

But… leaving work every day when it’s dark sucks.  I’m learning to embrace my headlamp and doing lots of night runs, and getting out for walks during the day, but the early nights still just happen all of a sudden and kind of sucks.  Running in the cold is awesome, but getting myself out and going in the cold is kind of rough.  The grey makes it hard to get going.

There’s not a whole lot of awesome going on in terms of playing outside.  No waterpark, no lake (ok, I’m taking an OWS this weekend but ONLY to test a new wetsuit and I don’t expect to last too long), no summer happy fun times.  Though… maybe that’s ok.  It may be time to hibernate for a while.

I’d tell you that I am unhappy with my body right now.

Let’s not get this twisted.  I am thrilled with the feats my body can accomplish.  I’m not in some self-destructive depressive mood over it.

However, I don’t look like me.  It’s rare that I get ready for work or going out and go “damn, I look cute today”.  It ranges from “ugh, whatever I guess I have to wear clothes” to “I guess this doesn’t look TOO horrible today” lately.  I’m dreading holiday parties this year because I LOVE getting dressed up and this year nothing will look good.

While I have run endurance for days (and my speed ain’t too shabby), I feel incredibly sluggish in daily life lately.  I can’t ignore that this might have something to do with the 10-14 extra lbs I’m carrying that came on like ALL OF A SUDDEN.  I mean, marathon training and all, but bleh.

My gums got ALL puffy this dental check like all of a sudden too.  The only thing that really changed in the last 6 months has been my diet and weight.  Hmmm.  Inflammation?

This week, my mid-section is doing this puffy, irritated, sore, water balloon thing where I wake up in the middle of the night and need to either ice it or ibuprofen it to get back to sleep.  This might be compounding the sluggish.  I’m not sure if this is related to doing the dozen for the first time in 2 weeks and just being a whole bag of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), or more manifestations of this new eating regiment (or maybe just *something* I ate?).

So, thus continues the attempt to figure out how the fuck to be an endurance athlete and have a happy body and not be 2000000 lbs, which somehow everyone else in the world has figured out besides me.

I don’t need any encouragement here.  I know I look different (in the wrong direction) from how I looked a few months ago and it’s on me for jumping on an experiment that didn’t really work out.  I don’t need anyone saying “but you look FINE” or “10 lbs doesn’t matter”.  I don’t need anyone to come sit with me in my tent of feeling super schlumpy.  I’ll figure it out and emerge eventually.  This is just where I am right now.


I’d tell you I’m a *little* worried about my iguana.

She ripped off a toenail and was bleeding everywhere two weeks ago.  She was fine and spent some time on painkillers and is not eating much (’tis the season for it, but not quite THIS little) and is being very nomadic all over the house.  That in and of itself is not bad, but she is supposed to get certain types of light for 6-8 hours a day, and if she doesn’t go to them… sigh.

Pretty sure she just needs some iguana ex-lax and to get over herself.

I’d tell you I’m plotting and scheming for all things 2016.

At work for our next milestones.  At home for resolutions, race schedules, and vacation plans.  I don’t have a lot of concrete answers for the first 3, but I think this will be next year’s trip.


I’ve been to Roatan twice on a cruise, and have always wanted to go back for a longer vacation.  The snorkeling has been divine, I’ve been told the diving is top notch, and I’m pretty sure I won’t want to leave there either.

I’d tell you that one recent morning, bleary-eyed, I mistook the Ben Gay for the toothpaste, and almost made a HORRIBLE mistake.

I lost a toothbrush over it, not my teeth, so there’s that.  And that’s pretty much where I’m at lately.

Now, your turn.  If we were having coffee, what would you tell me?


I haven’t been very 2015 goal oriented this year.  I mean, I’m always goal oriented, but I haven’t been doing the monthly wrap ups and incremental goals and such.  I tried and got really frustrated and hated it and threw it to the ground like an adult and just did my thing.  I mean, looking at it, I did a lot of the stuff I wanted to (e.g. scuba dive in lake travis to keep skills up), or at least the spirit of the thing I wanted to do (get rid of one thing per day kinda = have a giant garage sale in July and not do anything since, right?), but I haven’t made a thing of it.

The one thing I have kept my eye on is my goal of 1000 running miles in 2015.  Last winter started strong, and I was on target for wayyyy more than 1k.  Then in Spring, I went for shorter and speedier stuff, which meant less miles and more intensity. Summer is always lower because of… hot (and hiatus), and then it picks up in the Fall for marathon season.  Now, early November, I’m at just a little over 200 miles to go.

It sounds like a lot, but unless the unthinkable happens, I’m for it.  My planned miles in November will take me to about 85 left for December.  Last December I ran 91 and I don’t see any reason why I’ll be running any less this year.  Either way, I’m only working about 9 days in December and I have no races to worry about, so I’m game to get this done even if I have to cram a little at the end.

I’m way off on my bike and swim volume goals (made when I thought I would have a slightly different focus this year), but I’m going to hold onto this running one.


Marathon Training:

I’m just settling in for the season.  Riding through the highs and lows.  Last week was a little more of the latter, but ‘sok.  Happens.  Hanging on until the upswing.

Training becomes standard after a while.  Generally, I vary the miles a bit but each month is a pretty standard template of miles, more miles, even more miles, and then a stepback week.  This was the first *even more miles* week, and as such, it was rough.  8.5 hours of running is no joke (at least the first time), especially on the third week of a build and when you’re still ramping up.

Most of my mid-week runs this week can be characterized with “meh, I did some miles and it was ok”, but I got my 5, 5, 8, and 5 faster done.  I did one dozen set on Monday morning and felt great about it, but the rest of the week, I couldn’t find a time where I was not just too tired or sore to get the second set done.  Baby steps.

The weekend run really flattened me.  We decided because… schedules and stuff, we were going to do back to back 20 mile runs.  Usually I have at least one week of recovery between.  Highest mileage week in a LONG time + 4 hour run fatigue from last week = not the best run in the world.

First, let’s talk about the bad.  At first it was really hot and humid (then THANKFULLY a cold front came through but it was looking dicey).  My stomach wasn’t 100% thrilled with me at points.  Around mile 5 the miles started to be the longest miles ever.  I almost started crying when we started the 4 mile uphill charge around mile 11.  The back of my legs started cramping trying to hold onto the meager 11:30/mile pace I wanted.  At mile 15 we had to stop at home for liquid and I literally laid on the floor for 5 minutes willing myself to get up and run AT LEAST ONE MORE MILE.


Had to summon my inner badass…

The positives are two.  But two pretty big deals.

  1. I did actually got up off the floor, ripped off the top of a salted caramel caffeinated GU, and went out and did not one, but 5.25 more miles to round out my 20 (my garmin took a nap for a bit, I mapped it out and I ran that much or maybe even more).
  2. It was my fastest 20 mile training run yet, it was a negative split even though the second half included the 4 mile uphill, and the last 5 miles collectively were the fastest.

When I was running up that long hill, Zliten tried to talk to me and cheer me up since I was grumpy.  I told him I didn’t need cheering up.  I just needed to suffer over here, within my self, and I could be done suffering once my run was over.  That’s where I was.  That’s ok.  That’s what got me through.  Sometimes you have to pitch a tent in the pain cave, and you don’t need anything but that and to know that it will end.

My rose-colored glasses made me remember beautiful chilly-but-not-too-chilly sunset runs, the moment when you finish a long run and drink a coconut water, running in the rain, cold and sunny days where you play the jacket zipper game, and the awesomeness where a 40 mile week is kinda no big deal by February.

I forgot about that other aspect of marathon training.  You can’t get ready for 26.2 miles (especially as quickly as I’m ramping up) without a little bit (lot) of suffering. Days like Saturday where your brain is like “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE IT STOP” but you do it anyway.  Days like yesterday where I’m in the midst of a recovery week but not recovered yet, and I’d much rather crawl into my PJs and sleep for 24 hours but instead I had a 5 mile headlamp run on the plan, so out I went.

October’s training made me what I called “shallow tired”.  My muscles were a little tense after runs and it was a little creaky to get going some days, but I felt fairly fresh underneath it all.

November is starting in the realm of “deep tired”.  My legs are actually pretty conditioned – but I’m just exhausted.  My bones feel tired.  Nothing is really wrong, but there’s a really low level dull ache going on all over and it just feels like each limb weighs a little more than it normally does.

Soon comes the period where I’ll feel the adaption.  I know.  It happens every time.  It’s just hard to be in the hole going “what if it doesn’t this time and I feel this way forever?” because that’s what happens every time too.

The good news is that I’ve done some good work in my cave of tireds.  If I could maintain the speed I ran my awful, cranky, tired 20 miler at, I’ll PR by 5 minutes, and more importantly, come in under 5 hours and get that 5:00:xx off the PR charts. 🙂

But, if it’s not my day, it’s not my day.  This is still a training run, I just have hopes it will be a good one!  I’ll have another crack at the distance after a LOT more training, likely on a day with weather more suited to me.



I’ll sum this area up in one French phrase: Comme ci, comme ca.

The good:

Adjusting to less calories hasn’t been too hard.  I feel like if it was hard, I’d probably be doing myself harm, but it’s been no big deal.  Predictably, the only day of the week I’m wanting to fall face down in an extra large pizza is Saturday, when I’m running for 3-4 hours.  Which is actually pretty justified and I’m indulging that.

I’m getting pretty good at fueling directly after workouts.  Run in the morning?  Drink my smoothie on the way to work.  Run at lunch?  Eat lunch right after (or at least shove part of it in my face on the way to a meeting).  Run at night?  End it at the house where I snack or warm up a batch cooked meal.  I feel MUCH better than when I’d run in the morning and accidentally not eat until 11.  Or long run and forget to eat for hours and get lightheaded and crashy.

Long run fueling has gone well.  Giant bowl of cereal before.  One gel per hour and a gatorade, gu, or heed bottle per hour.  Immediately after, GU chocolate recovery drink.  Then beer and snacks.  Then with two hours, a real meal.

The bad:

I have gotten to the point where I am having to limit myself to one treat per day starting this week.  I’m running enough to support not being PERFECT with my diet, but I’ve given up treats for a MONTH before.  Once a day should be an indulgence, not tightening the belt.

My weight is stabilizing a little bit, but I’m still about 10 lbs up from August 1st.  Hoping to shed some of those before the end of the year.

Still kind of coming to grips with what I’m eating being “healthy”.  I am getting plenty of fiber (for example, I was at 26g fiber yesterday BEFORE dinner), but I’m eating a lot of stuff like non-whole wheat things and white rice and stuff.  I can’t find any real reasons to eat whole grains vs other grains besides “it has more fiber”, which I don’t need.  I run a lot so I’m supposed to carbs and I run so I don’t need to explode my colon with fiber.  So… yeah.

The ugly:

A 20 mile run gives you a lot of calories to play with.  I out ate my run and daily burn by about 500 calories on Saturday (about 4000 burned + 4500 eaten/drank).  Halloween.  Oops.


Life Stuff:

I got a new commuter bike (Fuji Boulevard – we think she’s an ’84) for 40 bucks at the pawn shop.  I have ridden… around the block twice.  Stupid time change (and… marathon training).  Looking forward to playing more.  It’s a very comfortable ride!

I love halloween. I dressed up my bard (D&D character) on Thursday, Gwenevere (with my Lancelot and brought my iguana dragon to prentend to slay) on Friday, and then a vegetarian zombie (graaaaaaaains) on Saturday.  I also randomly picked up a pink wig that was on sale because… wigs!

I have always <3 ed REI, but I love them so much more because they are closing on Black Friday and telling their employees to go play outside (with pay).

Lots of sleep lately.  I slept 12 hours Friday night, and I have barely been able to haul my ass out of bed to run in the morning.  I spent Sunday entirely cooking food, doing laundry, watching TV, and playing video games.  I guess I’m going into hibernation early?

And with that, I’m off to conquer the world, or at least stay awake. 🙂  Happy November!

Why I am moving to Bonaire… (Vacation Part 2)

The first part of my vacation in Bonaire is HERE.  Let’s pick up Wednesday morning when I woke up, hoping my ears would be OK…


I woke up, and honestly, my ears didn’t feel that great.  They also did not feel any worse, so I figured the most terrible thing that could happen is I’d try to descend, my ears wouldn’t let me, and I’d have to snorkel the shallower stuff.  Life would go on.

Cereal and yogurt, my new official diving breakfast, went down the hatch, and we headed out to catch the boat and head up to the North side of the island.  The boat was just our dive friends by proximity (we saw them evvvverywhere) Dave and Ang, the crew, and us.  Good stuff.


It made for a GREAT morning diving Country Garden and Small Wall. One thing you don’t realize when you mostly do cruise ship diving or one day boat trips, is how awesome it is to not have 5 million other people around, scaring the fish, kicking you, getting in your way (it happens).

Our first divemaster kinda left us in the dust on the way back, but we were all big enough adults to handle it.

Small wall was pretty cool, as it’s the wall pictured on all the dive textbooks for the certification classes.  It was pretty amazing to see – though there wasn’t all that much fauna.

I rolled sans wetsuit again, and it worked out ok for me.  I did put my knee into some coral that stung (I actually had some rash from it for a few weeks), but that’s how you learn how to be careful, right?  After the dive, I went and scoped out some rash guards, but deemed them to be unnecessary and too expensive.


Instead of a huge lunch, we just snacked a bit to get some calories down, and went to the Cliff dive site at the Hamlet Dive Inn.  This was our most challenging entry yet.  You had to tank up at the top of some rocky stairs and walk everything down, and the entry itself was pretty rocky.  Balancing 60+ more lbs then you’re used to in the surge and slippery rocks… makes me really glad I’m not as heavy as I was in my mid-20s!

Another energy bar went down the hatch, and we decided to make it our first 4-dive day.  We hit up the house reef and went out with the intention to find the octopus we saw hiding in the tire, but instead found our turtle friend to play with.  This time, I had plenty of camera battery, so I got to play paparazzi and had a blast.


We saw our boat friends hanging out at the dive center, and when we all confirmed we were done diving for the day, we had a few beers together.  The coolest thing about diver friends is that they LOVE hearing about what you saw in the water, instead of their eyes glazing over when you talk about the specific type of nudibranch you saw at 35 feet down or whatever.  We chatted until they had to go for their fancy reservations and then got ready for a dinner of our own.


We just went to the bar/restaurant on the property, which also houses the resort’s pool.  It was very Bonaire.  We started with some delicious beef empanadas and fried plantains and some margs.  Over 3 hours of diving = you get to have guilt free fruity drinks.  I got them to combine two dishes for me because I am obnoxious but cajun veggie pasta with shrimp was EXACTLY what I was craving and it was amazing.

We spent the evening drinking a bottle of wine with all the windows open listening to a very LOUD concert happening up the street and checking out footage.  Vacation mode was definitely in full effect – the music made it just that much more awesome.


I was out of yogurt, so I had an Oatmega bar and cereal as replacement dive breakfast.  Funny story about those bars – we encountered a gal in our work parking garage with boxes and boxes of them and commented that we liked them!  Apparently she was a promoter and had them packed up to give out at a race that weekend, so she sent us on our way with about 20 various bars.  We thought they’d be perfect for vacation.

Well, some of them were a little… stale.  And when Oatmega bars get stale, they get FISHY.  I was able to stomach some of them, but some I just took a bite and threw away.

The combo of beer/wine/margs and the late night of music thumping meant we were up a little later than expected, so we were UP a little later than expected, so we were the last ones on the boat.  Oh well.  They didn’t leave without us, and we had our gear set up quickly and didn’t mess up the schedule, so all was well.


It was a totally full boat, so not as nice as the day before, but still had two great dives at Monty’s Divi and Carl’s Hill back out at Klein Bonaire.  I feel like I’m usually pretty decent at scuba, but I did almost sit on one girl’s head underwater on accident.  *shrug* scuba is a little awkward.

Being underwater ~3 hours every day just started to feel natural.  I remember feeling such LOVE for it right then, and that my (scuba) life goal was to take pictures that were so beautiful, more people wanted to get over their fears and uncertainties (and, frankly, annoyances… dealing with scuba gear is not easy) and get certified and become divers.

Just as I was in my euphoric state of bliss, Zliten’s pressure gauge started leaking.  He went from half a tank to a third of a tank REAL quick-like.  I was about to give him my extra air and go with him back to the boat, but when we asked the dive master to point the way back, he ended up taking Zliten himself.  That’s fine.  That’s why they’re there.  It was nice to be calm about the whole thing.


At Carl’s hill, right at the end, we saw this GIANT turtle!  I was nice and let all the other people get pictures of it first, and then I booked it out to him so I could get some good shots.  A lot of these people were just doing day trips and not diving all week, so I wanted to make sure they got their shot and I thought it was very nice and adult of me to show restraint.  But… GIANT TURTLE!  Only so much restraint possible.

By that point, I was 7 dives in without a rash guard or wetsuit and realized they DO actually have a point, even in 85 degree water.  I was getting really chafed on my shoulders from the BCD (buoyancy control device), so I relented and we got two Bonaire rashguards even though I was grumbly about the expense.


We ate up the rest of our lunchmeat with a sandwich, made a salad, and some snacks and rested a bit.

Because it was easy, we dove Bari again and saw TWO separate turtles.  One was new, it was bigger and he tried to play hide and seek with us in a bush (but he was too big to fit).  The second, we think, was our turtle, we found him in the same place as we did the day before.

We were out of a lot of stuff, so we went to the little store and picked up more bread, some tuna (which I still have in my pantry, oops), popcorn, fruit, and a bunch of crazy flavors of soda to try.  Cassis ended up being my favorite.  By the way – diet soda does not seem to exist in Bonaire.  I don’t drink it often, sometimes in mixed drinks, but it was weird – just NO diet coke, diet sprite, etc.  Probably for the best in the grand scheme of health.


We then went out for a night dive just as the sun was setting.  Let me tell you, I’m at about dive number 40 by this point, and I’m pretty comfortable with day diving in decent conditions.  This felt scary and exciting like Dive #2 or 3 of my life.  First of all, my primary light (the big one on my camera) wouldn’t stay on for more than 5 seconds.  That’s why you bring backup, but that made it a little awkward and I didn’t really get any pictures because of it.  My backlight also wasn’t working on my dive computer and I couldn’t see it.

Since you always proceed with caution, especially when things don’t go to plan, we kept it very shallow and short.  We checked out the very top of the reef at Bari and then navigated back and spent some time in ~10 feet of water.  We saw our first jellyfish and decided that was it, since we were just in our rashguards.  Oh well!  First official night dive in the logs.


We hit up a place called Pasa Bon Pizza for dinner, which advertises itself as located at Bonaire’s only stoplight (…and it’s a fake stoplight, there are actually none on the island).  It was open air and there were tons of people smoking in the restaurant and tons of incense blowing around which kicked up our congestion pretty quickly.  The pizza itself was pretty great, and we got our first taste of Amstel Bright and we wondered why we had been drinking anything else!  It was definitely your “relaxing on an island in the sun” type light-ish beer.

We cracked the vodka at home, but barely had any, and drifted off to sleep totally worn out – 4 dives a day x 2 days in a row = one killer workout!


Since it was vacation, even though it was our last day of diving, we decided to sleep in.  Not that 9:30 is suuuuper late, but it felt incredibly decadent after 7am wakeup calls.

We had coffee and ate up a bunch of random food around the house for breakfast (salad, cheese, etc) before we set out for our adventure day.  We went down to the dive shop, and asked for advice on what to do, and he set us up with two dive sites that would work for us.


Our first dive was the most south, at Salt Pier.  It’s actually a fairly famous site when you look up Bonaire diving.  Also, it’s a friggin’ pier that’s in use some days of the week transporting salt from the flats.

This was my favorite dive of the vacation.  First of all, in 5 feet of water, at minute ONE of the dive, we saw a turtle feeding and got super close and he was like “I don’t give a fuck, I’m eating, paparazzi all you want”.  Second, the backdrop of the pier made for amazing scenery and actually made the dive SUPER easy to navigate, and there were tons of nooks and crannies for fish to live.


We saw a bunch of eels, some huge tarpin, tons of shrimp, some of my favorite Angels…it was the best.  If it wasn’t the last day, I would have dragged us back there to dive again.

Second, we went to Angel City just a bit north.  I ate an oatmega bar and we scoped out the entry.  It was a little rocky but we thought it was doable.  Sadly, I fell on my ass in about 2 feet of water, but I just let the surge do its thing and pulled myself a little deeper and… voila.  Dive time.

Right away, we saw the BIGGEST green eel I’ve ever seen.  He was longer than me and super fat.  We were at about 50-ish feet down and he was closer to 60, so we gave him his space.  My pictures didn’t come at all, but Zliten got an AWESOME video.  I think Angel City had the prettiest coral formations we’ve seen on any dive.  Otherwise, the dive was pretty standard (beautiful) in terms of fauna.


We swapped out tanks at the Port Bonaire Dive Friends location and had some tea and a snack, and tried to head to Bachelor Beach.  Upon inspection, we found that the tide was out so far, we would have had to do some crazy gymnastics to get off the platform to the water, so we decided to head north to Andrea I.  We almost got lost and decided to head back to our home reef instead for our last dive, but after giving up, we found it by accident.  Yay!

Andrea was a pretty solid dive, mostly more of the same stuff we’d been seeing, but we closed out the day with a new turtle friend!  When we got out, we were both sad to be done diving, but super hungry and ready to relax.

We rinsed and stored our gear for the last time (sad), and then sat outside at the shop and ate some snacks and drank some beers (caaaaaalories) and talked with people.  We planned to meet up with our boat friends for dinner, so we returned to Rum Runners.  I liked the fish tacos so much the first time, I got them again.  I had two fruity mango drinks and every time, they gave me turtle toppers and that made me happy, because turtles.  They’re sitting on my desk at work to remind me of Bonaire fun.

After that, we all grabbed our leftover bottles of liquor and sat by the ocean until about 3 in the morning looking at dive pictures and shooting the shit.  Vacations are fun. 🙂


I was only able to sleep in until 9:30, so I got up and brewed coffee and had a snack and looked through the real estate guide  and dreamed a bit.  Of all the vacations I’ve taken lately, I really feel like this is somewhere I could end up someday.  I’d love to be like the 85 year old guy we met, who flew the same week as us for a winter of diving here (but hopefully a little earlier in my life).


Once Zliten got up, we got going – we hit up a place downtown Kralendijk on the water for lunch.  Justine’s served a lunch plate, a soda, and a dessert for 11 bucks which in Bonaire terms was a value meal.  I got this amazing mahi with pesto garlic, rice, and salad I will be dreaming about.  And the carrot cake was pretty dreamy too.  While eating, we watched a dude climb over a bar railing to get into his boat.  #bonairethings I guess.


Cool downtown street art.

After lunch, we headed out to tour the island.  And I really do mean the whole island.  Bonaire is about 24 miles long and 3-7 miles wide (111 square miles total), so we set out to see what we could see from the truck.  First, we headed north which turned into this long, tiny, one way road (but, still the main road of the island).  We passed the 1000 steps dive site – glad we decided to skip this one this time.  It’s a long way down hauling gear.


The one place we skipped was the far north of the island – the nature preserve.  It is probably a whole day trip on it’s own (next time, maybe).  We turned inland and stopped for some donkeys, and then hit the scenic spot to see Rincon before we headed into the valley and passed through it.  Tiny little town!


Then, we hit the east coast.  Only one company on the island dives there and they were all from a boat.  We could see why – it’s REALLY rough out there.  Very rocky, a lot of surge… but gorgeous.  We admired the seven seas monument and the ocean and I conquered a rock and then we moved on.


We decided to skip the donkey and iguana sanctuary because, time, drove past a cool lighthouse at the southern tip and then we made our way back into more familiar territory.


It’s an odd thing to say – but the Slave Huts are actually a big touristy thing to stop at, so we did and took pictures.  There were 4 different types of salt, and thus there were 4 different colors of huts and a tall monument of the same color by them, so boats knew where to pull in to get the type of salt they wanted.  We stopped at the orange ones because they were so striking against the coast and wanted to read some of the history (and scope out the associated dive site).  They were so tiny! We passed by the white ones a little bit up the coast, and I believe the other 2 no longer exist.

We stopped for a while at the Salt Pier to watch it do it’s thing.  I’m really glad we were able to dive it the day before, because when the boats are in, they don’t let you (for good reason).


We rolled back into downtown Kralendijk, avoiding more donkeys and dremples (signs all over said Let Op! Dremples!  which means, Watch Out! Bumps!), and hit up Whatta Burger.  Texans will understand why this is funny.  However, in my opinion, superior because a) by the ocean, b) had hammocks, c) curry fries.


Sadly, it was time to get packed (nooooo) and then watch the sun set on our last day of vacation from Bari beach with our feet in the water chasing iguanas.


One place that was on our list was It Rains Fishes (because of the name, and their menu looked yummy), so we headed back downtown.  They started us with a delicious sushi taster and some bread, and finished with amazing shrimp, veggies, and a little pasta.  We had our last glass of wine at the condo, experiencing one more night with everything opened up and breezy, listening to the last concert… and fell asleep a little to late for our super early wake up call.


Since this is already a novel, I will not belabor the details of another travel day, minus the fact that our diving suitcase wanted more vacation as it took an extra day to arrive.  Other than that, it was just a looooong morning (3:30am, home around 2pm our time) and we thoroughly enjoyed sinking into our couch and bed that evening.



Things I’d do differently next time:

  1. More snacks during the day, less meals.  A big breakfast, a big dinner, and then things I could eat after each dive (energy bar, pretzels, whatever) would mean less downtime and I’d be willing to adventure more.
  2. I would actually plan the groceries and food a little beforehand.  I tried to totally type B this vacation, and it worked in the sense that I didn’t have a set schedule of “I have to eat this, this, this, and this at this time”, but we did waste a little food because we went to the grocery store without a plan and Zliten got a lot of “I don’t know…” when he asked me what I wanted to eat.
  3. Bring my rashguard and maybe my cheapo running tights – in 85 degree water, there was no need to hassle with a wetsuit but some protection was nice.
  4. I will definitely buy a BCD before I go on another dive vacation like this.  The rental fee would have been a good chunk of the price of the one we found on sale.  The regulator would be nice to have, but they cost a chunk to get serviced once a year so the cost of renting vs owning is probably negligible if we only do this like once a year.
  5. We did 3 days of boat diving.  I might next time decide to do 2, or even 1.  I like being on the boat and being able to see normally inaccessible places, and it gave me a good excuse to get up and going early, but we really enjoyed the day where we went exploring by ourselves.
  6. Change my camera lights before a night dive even if I think they are ok.  And maybe do one of those group UV night dives with the dive shop.  Those looked super fun.
  7. Clothes – half of what I brought I didn’t wear, but I know better for next time.  Less real clothes, more swim suit cover ups and lounge wear.  I was legit in bringing 4 swim suits though!

FYI: if anyone is interested in food cost – we spent nearly 200 bucks on groceries (that included the beer and wine and vodka).  A cheapish meal for 2 (think burgers, sandwiches, lunch type places, chinese food) was around 20-30 bucks (we did this about 3-4 times).  A typical sit down, nice place with a drink or two was about 70 bucks for the two of us (I think we did this about 3-4 times).  You could probably be more frugal than us and eat most of your meals in the condo, but we wanted to see what was out there.

Also, if you’ve made it this far (congrats!) and are interested, there is an album here where I will put all my underwater photos (the good ones, that have been edited).  I’m through Day 1 + 2 right now, more to come as my lazy ass edits my pictures!

All in all – this is not the place if you just want to lie on the beach.  There’s not much beach.  However, if you like to be active on the water (boating, diving, snorkeling, fishing, kite surfing, etc), Bonaire is an awesome, kick ass, low pressure vacation.

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