Adjusted Reality

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

Month: March 2016


I’m super de duper excited to shift my focus away from serious endurance sports training and towards tackling some other stuff I want to accomplish in my life that don’t involve running, biking, and swimming really fast or far.  I’m dubbing it – #projectspring.  At first I was super bummed about missing my favorite time of the year to train and race, but realizing that I can do so many other awesome things outside (and inside) helped a lot!


Step one, be able to produce this level of excitement for ANYTHING.

My first order of business is to get my energy and enthusiasm back.  This starts immediately.  My goal is to get to the point where I’m waking up before my alarm or at the very least up and at ’em the minute it goes off most mornings.  Monday night I fell asleep for over 10 hours, and I still snoozed for 40 mins before I dragged myself out of bed.  I just feel kind of beat up.  My goal in March is to sleep until I can’t sleep no mo’.  I miss having energy.


Missing THESE days where my clothes fit.

After finishing birthdaymas celebrations, March 15th, I start #projectraceweight.   Yes, it’s a Tuesday, Zliten’s birthday is on that Monday.  No judgies.

This is the ultimate goal of these next 4 months and the reason I decided to take the spring completely off.  I’m not trying to eliminate food groups or demonize junk food or eliminate gluten or white colored food or whatever from my diet.  But I’m going to lose some fucking weight.  There is no “try my best if I can” here, it’s time to DO IT.  The specific goal is to make the number on the scale go down as quickly as possible/reasonable while not sabotaging my health (or fall season).

I know how to do this.  I lost 5 lbs in July without losing my mind.  Sadly, I put that and more back on with the failed fueling experiment, but it is proof that I know how to do this.

The plan is:

  • 1200-1500 calories 5 days a week.  1200 is HARD but will get me results quicker.  1500 is much more doable but will take longer.  I’m hoping to hit somewhere in this zone, as low as possible, without eating inanimate objects.
  • 1500-2000 calories 2 days a week.  I’m hoping to time this with slightly higher activity days, but either way, I know myself and I have to allow a few indulgences or I will go fucking crazy.
  • Attempting to hit my macros (100g protein, 40-60g fat, 25g fiber).  On 1200 days it will be challenging but that will keep me eating mostly good food and not junk.
  • Detraining but not completely.  I’ll introduce these things once I’m fully and completely healed from the marathon.  I know that the best ways for me to not be 100% complete jello when I return to being an endurance athlete in July are:
    • Short HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts a few times a week – I’m thinking 20 mins max.  One minute sprint, one minute easy type things.
    • Weights/conditioning – while I know it’s hard to lose weight while building muscle, I don’t want to lose what I’ve got.  The goal is more maintenance than killing myself in the gym lifting heavy here.
    • 10k steps per day goal – it’s actually pretty easy to hit this with just a few walks per day at work even on days off training.  This is just a constant reminder to stay active.

The mindset:

When I was first on my way down weight-wise, I definitely had some negative type reinforcement with myself and mental issues to work through.  Not to say that I don’t have separate shit to work through (hello, disappointment in my fall 2015 winter 2016 season), but I understand the process a little better and hopefully I can be a little more gentle on my psyche.  Though the action still is the same, the message is different.

2007 me: You don’t deserve that piece of cake because you’re a worthless fat piece of shit.  Eat celery forever and cry, fucker.

2016 me: You don’t deserve that piece of cake because you’re choosing to invest your time and effort into #projectspring.  You deserve better than to sabotage your hard work.  Cake will still exist in 4 months.

And this is the truth.  If it’s hard – that’s fine.  Because this is my project. I am training to not fall face down on a bag of chips or a pie or a bottle of vodka.  This is the hard I am choosing to tackle right now and I can deal with it.

I suppose if I had to put a number on it, I’d like to weigh no more than 160-something (169.9 is acceptable) come July 1st.  My wildest dreams would be seeing 150 lbs.  Either way, I’ll feel so much better than I do now not carrying around a bunch of extra sacks of flour on my body.


This is a before shot of our workout room.  Just enough space had been cleared to make the treadmill usable.


Let’s call this a progress picture from the same angle – after 2 hours of work, it’s not yet the pain cave we want it to be, but it is an organized and usable room!  Wheee!

I want to make some progress on house projects.  This involves two categories:

Cleaning and organizing (need only time)

  • Vanity area in the bathroom
  • Office
  • Workout room (DONE!)
  • Guest room closet

Bigger projects (need time and money):

  • Kitchen remodel – new cabinets, new counters, potentially a new floor, paint, and backsplash
  • Back patio remodel – repouring the concrete, maybe sprucing it up a little, possibly adding a cover to the patio and also a space for a future hot tub.
  • Replacing the shed we had torn down with one that closes and locks to store bikes (increasing the potential for more bikes down the road :D), camping equipment, kayak stuff, etc.
  • Workout room as a pain cave set up – we need one cheapo computer to be a Zwift machine, one TV on swiveling mount, some inspirational decorations, and probably a better ceiling fan (the organization is done, now we just need to buy all the stuff).

I talked about it in depth here but this spring is when I become a biker chick.  I want to become less of a scaredy biker and bike with groups more. I really want to start using my cruiser bike (and feet) to commute and transport myself whenever possible.  I rarely venture more than a few miles from where I live and it’s ridiculous to drive everywhere.

I want to get a for real triathlon bike, with the right tri bike geometry.  I need to do all my research so I spend money on what matters and not just because it’s 2 grams lighter and 3 grand more.

I’d really like to do something with this site.  After I decompress enough to get a little bored in the evenings, I want to make this site into something a little less… eclectic.  Something more intentional than a hodgepodge of my attempt at a artsy web design job application in 2004 and a very haphazard theme and awkward set up with a blog jammed into the middle of it.  It still works as a place to vomit my thoughts every once in a while, but I’d like to actually give this place a makeover.  Y’know, make her fit into 2016… either under my own power or spend a little $$$ to get someone to do it for me if I give up.


It may have been cute to wait a little while to process my Bonaire pics because I didn’t want the vacation to end, but it’s been months.  It’s time to dig through the 800 or so I have left and then count the days until I can go back.

I want to go camping once a month.  It soothes my soul even if my body gets tired from roughing it.  Potential targets include:
-March, Sherwood Forest
-April, enchanted rock
-May/June, Inks Lake? Pace Bend?

While I doubt I’ll keep this up during the heat of summer, I’d like to remember it’s an option even during training season, because it’s an AWESOME way to go run and ride in new and interesting places.  We just get lazy about it.

I may not want to be IN the water just yet but it’s getting close to time to be ON the water, which means I’ll be sup’ing and kayaking as much as I can once the lake is closer to 70 degrees and not 60.  And, of course, this will transition into waterpark and snorkeling in the lake as it becomes warmer.


I want to go do things!  There are so many things in Austin to do.  They all sound fun!  The kite festival!  The weiner dog races!  Eeyore’s birthday!  Some random band is playing somewhere!  I mean, maybe not THOSE SPECIFIC THINGS, but THINGS!  They sound much less desirable after beating the hell out of myself on the road all morning/afternoon/week.  I’m looking forward to combining this with locomotion without cars (cruiser bikes + walking + train) and doing more fun things around town.  I’m also looking forward to having the spontaneity, energy, and flexibility to go do random shit that comes up instead of choosing my couch.

I miss being crafty and creative in my spare time.  Coloring has filled the void in a nicely mindless way right now, but I miss stuff like making jewelry.  I would like to refresh my memory at the piano, it’s been years, and it’s sitting there staring at me, taunting me.  I would like to make some progress with sewing, another inanimate object that mocks me constantly.  I have a book idea that woke me up in the middle of the night last week and I’d like to make some progress with it.  I am actually a creative person when I don’t beat all the enthusiasm out of myself.

I’m so excited to start on all these things right away, which is a good sign that #projectspring step 1 (get my mojo back) is already in the works.

Question: what’s your biggest goal this spring?

The Woodlands Marathon

It was an interesting weekend, I’ll say that.  I’m still exhausted. 🙂  Instead of a chronological account of everything, I feel like I need to do this in categories, because it was the best and worst of times… at times.


Pre Race Nutrition: A+

I think I’ve figured out the optimal day before and morning of nutrition.

  • Day before breakfast: something hearty that makes the stomach happy.  More like 500 calories rather than my normal 200-300.  I had leftover “light take” chicken parm and it was spectacular.  Pretty sure a bagel with turkey sausage and cream cheese would be a good go to as well, since I probably won’t luck out and have leftover chicken parm again.
  • Lunch: I wasn’t feeling that hungry after the big breakfast, so I went for a 6 inch turkey no mayo no cheese with baked chips and a powerade.
  • Snacks: Random pretzels and baked cheetos and some jerky while driving there and navigating to packet pick up.
  • Dinner: My tried and true – salad, chicken, and mashed potatoes (above).  We went to Omega Grill and it was one of the best pieces of chicken I have ever had.
  • Race day breakfast: two belvita breakfast cookies with a slather of chocolate almond butter and two caffinated powerbar chews.

I felt topped off but not sick.  A little caffeinated, but not jittery.  I was able to use the bathroom before the race and didn’t have to stop during.  If nothing else went right this race, it’s really nice to have a pre-race routine that rocked, because that’s been hit or miss lately.

Race Nutrition: B

I took all the gels I had, and expected to potentially pick one up at the gel stop around 20 or grab an extra somewhere if I needed it.  Well, they were out of gels, and the only food offered to me was a tub of PB.  Hmmm, no thanks, I’ve never had that while running.  I made sure to get extra gatorades and I think I did fine, but I did feel a TOUCH lightheaded for a sec around mile 21-ish.  Next time, bring the extra gel just in case.

Post Race Nutrition: B

It always goes water, gatorade, then beer, and this was no exception.  The food tent was a little sparse by the time I got there, but they had garlic toast left, and I think I crammed them two pieces in my mouth before I chewed anything.  On the walk home we picked up some Taco Bell, which I usually think is the nastiest thing in the world, but that Quesalupa was LIFE.

Since then I’ve just kind of made sure to eat something every few hours.  I haven’t gotten to the point of getting so hungry I’m shaking, and I also haven’t felt like I’ve eaten like an asshole, though I have had 4 different fried things already today and it’s lunch, so maybe that isn’t entirely true.  The QUANTITY hasn’t been assholish, but the quality kinda has been.

We had a few adult bevvies with dinner post marathon, but actually saved the CELEBRATION for the next day, which I actually think worked out better for recovery.

Gear minus my shoes: A

I know I can buy contact lenses easily for the race, but I wore new sunglasses instead (I know, I know, nothing new the day of the race…), and they worked out great, thankfully.  I wore the same tried and true kit I wore at SpaceCoast, down to the same socks (but probably not underwear).  I lubed up enough so I got almost ZERO chafing, and that’s pretty damn impressive for a warm marathon.  I missed a few spots with the sunscreen, but I got most of the surface area and it stayed put.  I’m sold on the race belt for my number thing now.  It looks a little doofy but it’s SO nice to have space for gels.


Shoes: D-

I barely passed them because they got me to the end of the race, but I think it might have been IN SPITE of that, and I might have been better off barefoot.  My entire left arch and left toe have become blisters, not those cute ones you just notice after you finish a run, but the kind that show up at mile 10 and go, hey lady, you have to run 16 more miles, fuck you.  I got a blood blister on my right foot as well.  Sorry Clifton 2s, you’re shit and I’m donating you and never running in you again (though I’ll probably still go for another pair of Hokas, just not THOSE).

Lesson learned: when your shoes just don’t work out, it’s not worth toughing out a season in them hoping they get better.  Live, learn, use them for short runs and buy more shoes.  In hindsight, I’m pretty sure this was part of my hip problem, and I’m hoping that staying out of them for the next 2 weeks/rest of my life will prove that.

My actual race performance: D

Here’s that bit where I usually focus on and it really is a small part of Saturday’s story.  I held sub-5 hour pace through mile 11, where it became abundantly clear to me that my body was not going to continue with that much longer.  The hammies and glutes cramping started at mile 5 and never got better, even though I shoved 303s (herbal muscle relaxers), caffiene, and the super electrolyte gel.

I was able to keep it under control at first by backing off the pace by a little up hills, but once the blisters kicked in, my gait adjusted, and other things started to hurt too.  I went from a goal of 4:59:59 to hoping I would be able to finish before I was swept off the course because there was very little running left in my legs even before I hit the halfway mark.

My attitude: A

I won’t give myself a plus here, because there were a few miles in which I really did contemplate DNFing, but it was more along the lines of adhering to my c goal, which was do no lasting harm to my body.

I started with a true open mind, ready to take whatever cards the day gave me and make the best of it.  If my body said running the whole thing was possible, I was ready to go all in.  Until it became obvious that it was time to fold. (ok, I’ve finished with the poker metaphors here, moving on)

I was a little salty with myself at first, but it became crystal clear very quickly that my mind was not giving up.  It was my body.  This was not my day.  And that became OK.  I decided I wanted my finisher shirt so I was going to continue until either I could not go forward without risking further injury or I was pulled from the course.

Then, I realized, I had no idea what to do with myself for the amount of time I realized I was going to be on course.  I only had a ~2 hour music playlist I planned on bringing out at mile 13, and it was weird hearing all these super pump up songs while I was intentionally walking, not out of failure, but preservation.  I had no concept of intentionally taking 6 hours-ish to complete a marathon and being ok with it.

And then I ended up walking next to and met… Aubrey?  I think?  Marathon brain.  And we talked for a few miles about other marathons and training and all sorts of random stuff.  I started to feel better and told her I was going to run a bit and I hope she’d catch up with me later.  Sadly, I didn’t see her again, but I hope she had a great day!

Between the blisters and the other pains, it was more painful to START running than anything, so once I got going, I tried to keep it up as long as I could, because the walk breaks had to be long too with the blisters and the cramping.

After 30k, I made a turn and there was a spectator that I thought was being super nice, talking and encouraging me and offering me food.  Then I realized that she was talking to the gal behind me.  Embarrassing!  However, I made friends with both of them (Sadie!  I remembered a name of someone I met that late in the marathon!) and we walked and ran a bit together through early 20s, until I decided that we were probably holding each other back enjoying our walk and talk, so I decided to run ahead and we ping ponged back and forth until the end.

I figured a little more running couldn’t hurt, so I ran the last mile and a half and made it to the end.  I found Zliten and said something like “I finished! I made friends!  I can has offseason now!”, to which I’m sure he was super happy not to have to deal with a super pissed off emotional mess, which I was absolutely not.  I came in with hope for a great day but I was absolutely prepared for many situations, and finishing in about 6 hours was absolutely not the worst of them.


Proof I was hoping for the best!

Body Condition After: D

Let me tell you, walking most of the second half of a marathon was no easier on me than running the full race last year, probably WORSE.  I won’t say this is the sorest I’ve ever been in my life, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I can remember ever being more creaky 2 days removed from any race yet.  I went from baby giraffe on day 1 of life, to baby giraffe on day 2, and today, I feel as if I can upgrade my condition to old man with a walker.

There is no ANNOYINGLY FINE going on here.  I am physically and mentally spent.


Course: B-.  The elevation profile makes it look deceptively flat, which is in the sense that there are no big hills, but you are always going up or down.  Not my favorite.  However, you get to run through the woods.  It’s gorgeous.  I can train differently to make the hill problem go away so it’s not a dealbreaker.

Course Support: B.  They never ran out of water/gatorade, which was solid, but being out of gels at mile 20 sucked.  They extended the cutoff because it was warm, which was nice of them, and even finishing at 6 hours, I felt like they were still supporting the back of the packers well.

Spectator Support: A.  The course is one loop, but it seemed like it was fairly easy to get around, because I saw many people cheering multiple times.  The town really comes out to cheer people on!  It’s awesome!

Hotel: A.  We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn.  It was about half a mile from the race start – perfect warmup walk, and painful cooldown but probably actually probably great for me in the long run hobble back from the race.  The restaurant had great food in a pinch when we were too… marathoned to go anywhere else for dinner.  It was extremely QUIET and the room was comfortable, and I got decent pre-race sleep and AWESOME post race sleep, and both of those are hit or miss.

All’s well that ends well.  It’s done.  I’m FREE.  It’s offseason.  Cheers to that.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever been less sad not to be training for something.


While I gave marathons up about 20 billion times on the course, I can’t 100% be done with them forever.  Zliten had a great day and beat my PR by like 40 seconds.  I will qualify that it was on a slightly short course though – I registered 26.08, he registered 26.0 – so the jury is out whether it ACTUALLY counts as a house PR.  We’ll leave it at that and say we both have the pleasure/pain of running 5 hour + a few seconds marathon times.

And, sure, there’s a voice in my head that wishes I could have been dealt some different cards, but that is just not how the day played out.  And I am TOTALLY ok with it.  Frankly, I’m just ready for this blog post to be over, because I’m so super excited about moving on and what’s next.

It’s time to heal, it’s time to rest, it’s time to grow (and shrink) in other areas, it’s time to fix things, and it’s time to do something completely different.  I’m SO pumped about this. #projectspring, GO!

Birthday Boxes

It’s my birthday today.  It’s not a big one, I’m not moving age groups, my (haha) BQ time isn’t getting longer, but it is always time to pause and reflect on things.


52 weeks and 5 days ago.

First of all, I’m running a marathon in two days.  At first I was kind of bummed with the timing (you can’t really celebrate a birthday properly when you have to avoid booze and spicy food and anything too overly fatty or rich).  However, I think I’m actually happy about it because of the idea of mental boxes.

One way for me to look at this race is to look at this race is as the culmination of the last 7 months.  Normally, I’m all bubbly and talking about the race as a celebration of your training and popping champagne all over the course.  Unfortunately, this last cycle has been more about overcoming obstacles than happily checking boxes, so I’m more than ready to put it away.

The last 7 months has seen an experiment with nutrition gone completely awry, causing me to swiftly gain about 12 lbs.  It delivered me feeling great and confident to my first race (70.3), and gifted me with that specific 12 hours per month where all I want to do is curl up and die, and then a bike crash, causing me to finish OVER AN HOUR slower than my goal.

After that, my head and heart quit on me for a while, causing me to be completely unenthused with training, and hit a pretty low point with a personal worst at the 26.2 distance at the end of November.  After some time, I found some new enthusiasm skewing my training towards chasing a PR at the half marathon distance.  I didn’t quite hit it, but I felt like I ran well and showed I wasn’t too far off my game.


Thumbs up indeed.

Then, with my head and my heart pretty well in it, I spent the prettiest (for running) 3 weeks of the year on the treadmill, and then my body quit on me – specifically my hip.  I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about it, but it’s really frustrating to have to cut a marathon training plan down from running 6-7 days a week to 3 planned runs, where one usually ended up getting cut short or cut altogether to attempt to heal the stupid him of doom.

These are all things that happened in the last half of my 36th year.  The good news?  Today I start my 37th.  I can officially package up age 36 and put it in a box with a bow and put it in the closet.  Will the choices I made last year affect me?  Absolutely.  However, I can choose to leave the baggage that doesn’t matter, the mental bullshit, the doubts, the fears, and the negativity in that box and start with a fresh attitude.

I embark on a romp through the woods, not as a culmination of these things, but 2 days after the start of a fresh year.  I like that better.

There are a few things I’d like to put in this new box to bring with me on Saturday.

The body does not forget.  I feel like I am incredibly undertrained because I like checking all the boxes and proving that I’m a workhorse and I can go all the miles because miles are actually pretty awesome.  In the last five weeks, I’ve gone a lot less miles, which feels less than awesome.  But over the last 7 months, I’ve ran double digits NINETEEN TIMES.  This weekend will make 20.  That doesn’t suck.  The body does not forget how even if it feels like there is NO WAY I’ll remember how to run long right now.

This race is about working with my body and mind, not fighting them.  I’m ready for a few arguments near the end, around mile 20-something, when they SHOULD pop up, but I’m hoping to spend most of it just focused on my stride, my breathing, and the course.  I want to quiet my mind and just run with no expectations or judgements.

I gave 7 months of focus on these races instead of focusing on fat loss or time off or learning how to line dance or anything else.  My goal is to at least honor that focus, even if it all didn’t go as planned, and run the best I can with the cards I’m dealt that day and end the day satisfied.


This day’s cards were a REALLY hot day and a sock that wanted some sort of revenge…

I have a general plan.  My goal is to run without looking at my watch for the first 5 miles. I warm up reaaaaaaaal slow nowadays, and I’m forcing myself to not care if some of those miles tick by in the 12s.

From then until halfway, I’d like to judge where I’m at, and work on cutting my average pace to 11:15/mile if it seems reasonable to do so.  It may not be any increase whatsoever, or it may be a little bit of a challenge.  I’m typically strongest at this point of the race, so I’d like to set myself up for success.

13.1 through about mile 20 is where things get sticky for me.  My goal is to simply not slow down if at all possible.

Usually, somewhere in the 20s I get a second wind.  If that comes, I’ll harness that and speed up as much as I can or at least try to keep it together.

My A goal is 4:xx:xx.  My B goal is to finish before the cutoff.  I’m striving for the former, but I definitely will back off if anything feels acutely injured.  I’ll do this distance again (though maybe not for a while…) and I’d rather miss it this time and live to fight again if that’s what it takes.  Franky, my C goal is “do no lasting harm to my body”.  My mind is not allowed to quit, but if my body does, after the last 6 weeks of hobbling through some parts of runs, I have to respect that.

No matter what happens, I have to have a little perspective, which is also something I want to make sure comes with me into my new box.  A disappointing time or walking a lot or even if the dreaded DNF happens to preserve myself from injury will suck.  No doubt.  However, I read on the internet (so you know it’s true) that only something like a fifth of a percent of people have finished even ONE marathon and I’m toeing the line of my sixth in 3 years and 4 months.  That doesn’t suck.  Not one bit.

It will be an opportunity to go out and test myself and see where 37 starts.  Where 37’s head is at.  Where 37’s heart is at.  It is not a measurement of self worth.  I am not Saturday’s race time.  For my birthday, I paid someone to close off the roads for me and give me gatorade and a t-shirt and a medal, and I could have an awesome run or a shitty run, but I’m going to go play on the roads for 5 hours, give or take, because I CAN.


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