Adjusted Reality

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

Month: May 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

The Long Slow Climb Back

Finally feeling a little bit of peace (so far) this week.

May31-7

Clearing your head with an hour walk when it looks like this?  Peaceful…

First of all, I feel like I can pretty much claim I’m back where I started a year ago with the adventures in nutrition.   I kinda forgot that new scale weighs heavier than old scale, so my weight right now being 183-187 means on the old scale, I’m about 181-185 (confirmed by stepping on the old scale a few times).  Average of 183.  That’s where I raced at for the beginning of tri season 2015, my average weight at the beginning of June was 182.6.  Taking stock of how I feel in my own skin… yep.  About there.  Finally!

The next step will be tackling the 5 lbs I lost last summer, between June and August, before I started training for Kerrville.  I will breathe easier once that’s behind me, I’ll have undone all the damage that crazy nutrition plan did and as my weight lowers, I’ll look at as actual progress, not just fixing a stupid mistake.  I know it might be healthier to look at ALL of this as progress, but I just can’t.  Gaining so much weight so quickly put me in a mental tailspin, and I just want it gone so I can move on.

May31-2

Achievement unlocked: having the bike handling skills to actually take a picture while riding.  Still quite don’t have the on-the-bike selfies down though…

At this point, I am definitely ready mentally, physically, and logistically to start the long slow climb back to being a triathlete.

Mentally, I think I’m unbroken.  Triathlon videos make me giddy.  I’m resisting the urge (but it’s tough) to start laying out a plan yet because I want to give myself the freedom not to stress about hitting specific workouts for another month at least.  I’m excited to bike, do weights, swim, and run (and that’s about the order of what I’m loving right now).

Physically, I feel weak and strong at the same time.  Let’s be honest, even if my mental game wasn’t in the crapper after the marathon, I needed at least 6-8 weeks of chilling the fuck out to heal that hip issue.  It’s nice not to limp anymore.  My cycling muscles are definitely not at peak or anything, but I feel capable.  I definitely feel more solid and stable overall with the weights sessions.  The swim feels a little slow and crappy but I *KNOW* that comes back quick with regular training.

The run, though.  I can’t remember feeling this out of run shape in a long time.  Yeah, it was feels like somewhere between 90-100 degrees.  Yeah, it was after the longest bike ride I’ve done in a while with some actual hard work intervals.  However, I’ve never ridden such a struggle bus to complete 2 measly running miles at 10:15/mile pace.  This will be a fun and interesting long, hard, slow climb back.

Logistically – I’m finding that logging zero official training hours leads to a greater than zero number of adult beverages being consumed most nights.   Last week, I logged 52 miles/6.5 hours of legitimate run, bike (mostly), swim, or weights time (including commuting on the cruiser bike).  This is more than I intended to do, but it all felt fun, and my body feels like it’s holding together, so we’ll roll with it.  Last week, I also had zero days of being dumb and getting 4 hours of sleep because ONE MORE DRINK.  Coincidence?  I think not.

This week, actually, this month, the goal is the same.  Log some triathlete hours with a very loose plan.  Two weights sessions.  Riding evilbike at least once, and lots of bike miles.  A few runs between 1-3 miles (once this feels easier, I’ll start increasing the distance but I am in NO HURRY since the next race I’ll need to run more than 3 miles is the end of September :P).

May31-1

Bikes = smiles.

Speaking of bikes, one big component to #projectspring was to become a biker chick.  Reading over that post, I just had ZERO clue how hard the bike bug was going to hit me and I love it.

Tuesday, we did our first commute to work and HOLY CRAP, cycling outside in the morning puts me in such a better mood than driving a car.  It’s about 20-25 mins on the bike vs about 10 in the car, so it’s rarely going to be a huge issue to take an extra 10-ish minutes each way.  I get to spend time outside both in the morning, after work, and even at lunch if we decide to do so.

I’ve really realized that there is very little of my life that cannot be on two wheels now, and it’s the best.

Tuesday, we commuted to work and back and it made me so happy all day.  Thursday, we rode to dinner.  I think it took less time to ride there than drive because of the traffic.  Blew my mind… why have I been driving across the street to get food?

Friday, we almost called off the commute because we had a swim planned after work and errands to run at lunch, but after some logistical considerations, we figured out how to make it work.  It wasn’t the most comfortable, but I had my little backpack stuffed to the gills, and Zliten wore his giant one to haul our gear.  We rode to work, to the bike shop and Whole Paycheck at lunch and made it back to work in an hour, to the gym after work to swim and run, and then home.  We racked up over 17 miles that day just bopping around town.

May31-3

Check out that sweet drink holder!

This weekend, Zliten got his bike set up with some saddlebags (thank you REI sale!), and after some fails and shenanigans to get the equipment work on such and old bike, he made it work.  Today’s commute went pretty solidly, and we’ll be hitting the gym again for some weights after work and testing out the saddlebag capacity by hitting the grocery store after work.  I’m looking forward to being able to commute a few days a week and being able to run most errands on two wheels!

In other productive areas, the Personal Training certification course is going rather well!  We’ve been dedicating about 2 hours every few days to reading, watching the videos, and taking the quizzes, and we’re on schedule to complete it in 2 months total (we have 3).  The first section as all about anatomy and physiology, and it’s been a mix of high school biology and stuff I’ve studied online regarding endurance sports training, so for the most part, it’s gone pretty quickly and easily for me.

That’s not to say that I’m not learning anything new (I am), and some things are just clicking into place.  Studying the way the systems that cause muscles to move makes a whole lot of sense why I feel the way I do in the first few minutes of starting a cardio session.  And why I actually have to sit on my ass for 2 whole minutes in between heavy, heavy weight sets – there are actual physiological reasons for that beyond just annoying me that I can’t finish my workout faster.

It’s also fun to dream about practical applications, about what we might do with all these knowledge nuggets in real life.  It’s really convenient doing the studying with Zliten, and we make time to do it like we were playing a game, or watching TV, and we’ll often spend time discussing it after.  I was worried that it would be a huge imposition into my free time to take a class, but it’s actually not that bad… rather enjoyable, honestly!  I’m already thinking about what I’d like to do next…

Other tidbits:

May31-4

Look at my new sunglasses!

I went to the dentist.  He called my teeth boring.  I’m perfectly happy to have boring teeth.  Also, my resting pulse went up from 42 last time to 47 this time.  Probably time to start training again! 🙂

May31-5

I missed this place….

Hawaiian Falls, the waterpark (henceforth known as wah-pah), opened Saturday.  We were too busy playing bikes and (not playing because play hurts less) running to get there at opening, but we hit all 6 of the slides (minus the ball buster one) and took a trip in the lazy river.

May31-6

Voluntelfie?

We volunteered for the Cap Tex Tri on Sunday morning.  The day started at packet pickup, but they were really low on bike check in people so we headed down there instead.  It was honestly way more fun, I’ll probably sign up for that in the future unless it’s expected to be 1000000 degrees.  Sadly, it was all for naught because the weather yesterday morning turned the race into a 5k/10k run only.  It’s had weather issues the last few years.  It’s haunted.

Then, we went to a friends’ Memorial Day party and played volleyball in the pool… with a real volleyball.  As per normal, I jammed a finger diving for the ball… I’ll live, though.  Then later, we played beer pong with the neighbors and Zliten and I ALMOST won.  I also realized that I’m 37 going on 22 and that’s just fine with me.

I got up on Monday (late) morning and it was too pretty to stay inside (see picture above with the pretty wispy clouds).  I took the long way (about 2 miles total) and walked to the Chinese takeout place near my house and brought it home.  Just like bike commuting, I have NO IDEA why I’ve never done that before.  While I shouldn’t be greedy that I have ANYTHING within walking distance, I sometimes wish there was more around without crossing the main street, but I can make it work.

So, because goals are fun, what’s on tap for this week?

  • Keep doing all the things.
    • 1000 calories, water, vitamins, vegetables and fruits…
    • Staying on top of the class schedule
    • Maintaining a schedule in which I have some triathlete hours
    • Maintaining a schedule in which I get decent (7) to great (8+) sleep every night and I don’t have beer, wine, or liquor more days than I do.
  • Day to day stuff.
    • Bike commute today
    • Go to our first BRICK workout with the BSS team (and hope not to get too, too dropped by all the people who are fit for tri season) weather pending tomorrow.
    • Gaming Thursday.
    • Moar bike commuting Friday (weather pending, looks clear right now).
    • Swim challenge Saturday – I know I can do it, but right now, 2250m sounds like a LONG swim.  We plan to bike there and back or load up the bikes and ride somewhere pretty after.
    • Wah pah this weekend at some point.
    • Profit.

Time to get on with my Tues-monday.  Hey, at least it’s a short week, and if the weather cooperates, I won’t even have to wait until the weekend to #goplayoutside.

Liberty of the Seas

Vacation recaps are a bit of a connundrum.  On one hand, I love having a day-to-day record of what I did, when I re-read this stuff I can remember it more vividly.  On the other hand, it is probably boring as hell for anyone else to read.  So, I think I’ll split the difference this time and give you the highlights (typically, what I have pictures of), but by day.

Sunday: Embarkation Day

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Galveston isn’t exactly the prettiest port, but it was nice to finally be by the sea after a 4 hour drive.

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Royal Caribbean has partnered with Dreamworks and there were characters all over the ship.  This was the sail away party, Fiona and Shrek graced us with their presence.

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I ate so much seafood this trip.  This was dinner the first night, and it was the first time I haven’t been squeamish about oysters.  They were not bad, and the rest of the dish was amazing.

Monday: At Sea

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Slept in, read in the morning, and then hit the gym.  They left the spin bikes out from a class they did earlier, so I did my own for 20 minutes and then lifted weights and stretched for almost an hour.  And, of course on vacation, you break out the unicorn fighting a giant t-rex robot capris.  It’s mandatory.

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Buffet lunches were pretty good (and pretty easy not to eat like an asshole).  This is a pretty good representation of what I ate most days – grilled chicken, some fish with lentils, dragon noodles, lots of mixed veggies, and some roasted potatoes.  Only one plate most days, if I was still hungry, I grabbed soup, but it was amazing how my appetite stayed sane.

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We spent most of the day reading and taking dips in the pool.  This is a necessary part of vacation for me.

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Since it was fancy night, we got all cleaned up and I wore my “diamonds”.  Zliten calls it my VEEP look.  We clean up alright.

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We went dancing and made friends and had a few cocktails, and there may have been a bit of dramatic posing in the photo gallery around 3am.

Tuesday: At Sea

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Another glorious vacation day – slept in, buffet lunch, hanging out at the pool, and playing games with the ‘rents.

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Dinner was great – the crab cakes were OK, but the slaw underneath was to die for.  Zliten and I split the cilantro fish and the chicken cordon bleu and they were both amazing.

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Our table was great, it overlooked the whole dining room and had a good view of the fancy stairs (this was the view from it).  Every other night or so, the waiters would put on a show for us.  Some of them were actually pretty great dancers!

Wednesday: Roatan, Honduras

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Roatan day!  Diving day!  Hooray!  Since we had to be off the ship at 9:30, and diving takes a lot out of you, I had breakfast instead of lunch today.

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Even Roatan gets political.  It was crazy to see these signs all over.

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Diving with a group has it’s drawbacks, but the valet service hauling gear is super nice.

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We had some great dives.  We saw two turtles, and one was feeding so we got to get really close to him!  I also saw a bunch of french angel fish, and if diving in Bonaire hadn’t spoiled me, I would have said it was my favorite dive ever, perhaps.

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The rest of the day, we just chilled on the ship, drinking a few beers, eating dinner, playing games.  Next time, I’m totally doing the zipline at the port (behind me).

Thursday: Belize City, Belize

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We docked in Belize around 9:30am, but we didn’t really have a full day of stuff planned, so we hit the gym in the morning.  It was empty, so I got to play on free weights and got a prime elliptical spot to do intervals.  It was nice, and a way to avoid breakfast.

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After a little snack, we headed to shore on a tender.  Some people gripe about them, but I like boats and enjoyed an extra boat ride in my week.

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When in Belize, we always visit the Wet Lizard bar and get Lighthouse Lagers and Belizean meat pies.  This trip was no exception.  We found our names on the ceiling from two years ago, but unfortunately they’re not letting people mark up the bar anymore, so we’ll probably be but a memory soon.  At least we’re temporarily immortalized.

May19-1

After a while, we realized there was free wifi, and logged on to check facebook and post a braggy picture in Belize, and this is how we learned about layoffs and I sent some messages and made some calls.  I intended to have one drink, I may have had a few more. Simultaneously.

We made it back on the last tender, making us late for dinner.  Once I told my parents, they understood, and had ordered food for us.  We got two orders of lobster and shrimp (I enjoyed it and didn’t eat my side dishes).  After dinner, we headed out to hit the casino, and then to dance again, and we may have stayed up WAYYYY too late for the early wakeup we had.

Friday: Cozumel, Mexico

Oh my.  7am came really early, and we hadn’t gotten our shit packed or electronics charging, so we spent the morning scrambling.  However, we made it to the bus on time, and if I had to spend anywhere in the world hungover and mad at something thousands of miles away, snorkeling in Cozumel isn’t a bad place to be.

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We took a break mid-snorkel to try out the waterslides.  They were super fun!  Also, we made iguana friends.  Or enemies.  They ran away, but maybe with love?

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We snorkeled for 3 hours.  We saw many cool things, but this spotted ray was the highlight of the day.  We also randomly met triathletes who live in Austin and spent hours sipping beers, eating lunch, and relaxing in the pool chatting with them.

After getting back to the ship, we relaxed in the pool with more drinks and soaked up the last of the sun, and then met my parents for dinner.  After our bellies were full, we both realized how freakin’ tired we were on 4 hours sleep and being in the sun all day and went to bed around 7pm.

Saturday: At Sea

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We read and slept away the morning, but we couldn’t hibernate the whole last day of vacation!  We decided to go play in the water.  We hit both waterslides, and the green one had DISCO LIGHTS.  Hawaiian Falls needs to take notes and incorporate this into their 2017 plan.

I also decided to try the Wave Rider (on the last day just in case), and pretty quickly wiped out.  But hey, I got to try it!  I’d do it again, it was probably one of the most fun ways to fall on my ass yet…

This was the first and only day I ate like an asshole.  I had breakfast, lunch, and two dinners.  We also had to drink the rest of the wine we brought on board with us, but I didn’t order any more once that was gone.

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We played games with the ‘rents (since we had kind of ditched them for the last two days), and then went with them to go watch a comedy show -we saw a comedy magician (sorry, don’t recall the name and google is not my friend today), which sounds a little hokey, but it totally works for him.  And since you can’t take photos of the stage, instead, you get a selfie.

Sunday: Disembarkation 🙁

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Other than Buc’ee getting fresh with me at the potty stop, it was uneventful.

If you’ve read this far and want more, you can see my full vacation album HERE (no snorkeling or diving photos yet but COMING SOOOON).

 

The show must go on…

This is my motto this year week.  I’ve given myself time to throw a pity party about everything, and now it’s time to put on my big girl panties and move on.  Drinking more days than not over the last two weeks finally made me crash HARD yesterday (woke up at 10:30, took a nap from 1-3, took another from 5-6:30, and was asleep by 11).  I still felt tired this morning.  It’s time to start doing good shit for myself.

May23-2

The last couple weeks have been kinda like this – the awesome healthy veggie/hummus/turkey sandwich, but also the fries.  And the not-pictured beers later.

#projectraceweight took a back seat the last two weeks.  I don’t think I’ve gained anything, but losses have been minimal if any, and I haven’t been tracking my calories.  I didn’t hit the gym for about a week.  While my consumption post-cruise has not been reprehensibly bad, I’ve been forgetting things like water, vitamins, veggies, and some things have been fried or slathered in BBQ sauce or covered in cheese.

However, there’s no day like today to start again.  This week, I’m hoping to remember what it was like to be at least a recreational triathlete.  I’m ready to turn it up a notch, though that notch is from 2 to 3, not to 11 or anything.  I need to start tracking my intake again, it’s the only way I make progress.  I’m also ready to go to bed at a reasonable hour and stop pretending I’m in college again.

So, here’s where I’d like to reset with next week’s goals.

  • Go back to doing the things that were working.  Water, vitamins, veggies/fruits, tracking calories, 10k steps.
  • Gently start a schedule again.  I’d like to hit somewhere between 3-5 hours of things a triathlete would actually do (run, bike, swim, weights) on top of otherwise being active.
  • I also want to start getting up and doing some of it in the morning.  My schedule has definitely shifted to bedtime at midnight or later most nights.  I’d like to start thinking of 7:30-ish as a reasonable time to get up, not the middle of the night, so I can do a little cardio or weights before work and still get there at a decent hour.
  • Bike commute once.  This is the week it happens.  I practiced over the weekend and I really enjoyed using my bike as transportation.
  • Go play outside as much as possible.  It’s been really nice outside but I’ve been staying up too late and been too bleh to really enjoy it this week.  Next week, it’s on.  Also – WAH PAHHHH!  I’ll be at the waterpark when it opens at 10am on Saturday.
  • Volunteer for Packet Pickup for Cap Tex the day before (Sunday).  Not doing the 5am wakeup call this time. Maybe even ride bikes there if we’re feeling saucy, perhaps?
  • Stay on the 60 day schedule completion for my Personal Training class.  I have 90 days to do it but I’d like to be done in 60.

So far, I got up early enough to get a quick run in before work, and I plan to hit the gym for weights after work before we stock up on groceries, so it’s off to a good start!

Here’s a few other things that have happened in my life the last two weeks besides vacation, work crap, and vodka…

Short Hair Kinda Care

May23-3

Recursive me is recursive.

It freaked me the fuck out the day I got it cut.  It’s the shortest it’s been in my adult life.  I think it may have been the way it was styled or just the huge difference in length, there may have been a bottle or wine that night instead of the gym to cope.  But a few weeks later?  I love it and wish someone would have tied me down to a stylist’s chair earlier.  The jury is out on whether it’s going to be great for training because it just sort of almost doesn’t go back (if I really need it out of my face it takes a clip and multiple Rey ponytails).  However, I love that I can wash my hair in the morning before work, and it is mostly air dried before I can finish my coffee.

SUP Paddleboard Yoga

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It’s hard enough to just do this… right?

I like to paddleboard.  I like to yoga.  I’m not particularly good at either, but I figured, why not try both at the same time?  I suppose it’s the same logic as triathlon (why not suck at 3 sports at the same time?).  At first it felt super awkward, but then I realized something – while some of the things I lack (strength, flexibility, balance, etc) kept me from succeeding at every pose, I tried it all.  I found that I could get up into a backbend on a paddleboard.  I got up into a headstand for about .2 seconds.  I also fell in the lake three times and slipped on my board a bit as well.

One of the girls gave me huge props when she found out it was my first class.  She said that she was scared of falling off.  I told her I figured that I had been in the lake all morning, so that didn’t bother me.  I guess sometimes it’s just about not letting the fear of failing falling keep you from trying something fun.

Bike Adventures

May23-1

Not all bike rides need spandex and garmins.

I’ve come to love my bike more lately, but one thing I really wanted to get into this Spring is using my bike as transportation.  This weekend, we finally did that.  We took a 5 mile ride on the cruisers down to a new lunch spot (and then back a little more slowly with full bellies).  Then, we got a call that some friends were hanging out at a brewery 3 miles away, and we biked there and back as well (about 16 miles in total).  It felt very Austin.

I will start riding my bike more.  I really enjoy it.  I didn’t even mind traffic *that* much, especially on the no-clips cruiser.  We’ll see how rush hour traffic makes me feel but I’m ready to give it a try!

And with that, I’m off to make the most of my week, the show must go on, y’know.

 

On jumping off a cliff…

When I was super young, what I wanted to be when I grew up changed daily.  I wanted to be a singer.  I wanted to be a dancer.  I wanted to be a famous Olympic gymnast.  I wanted to be a best selling author.  I wanted to be an actress.  I wanted to be an artist.  I wanted to perform (either directly or indirectly) and entertain.

May19-2

Can I have that flexibility again?  There’s a reason gymnasts don’t run much…

While I always pictured myself being more than comfortable, it was rarely about the money.  I always wanted to be well known, the best at something, to be famous.  As I grew older, and got a little taste of it on a localized level, I realized it has it’s ups and downs.  It’s kind of enthralling, but it’s also got a whole lot of bullshit baggage.  So, maybe, I’ve gotten a bit complacent as of late with my head telling me that pretty good is good enough.  Giving up on outlandish childhood dreams was fine because maybe I just didn’t want that anyway.

I always figured I’d have a damn good story.  I think I have the beginnings of one, but I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be happy with “and then she made pretty good money at a job she liked well enough, and was moderately good at triathlons, the end”.  I used to believe in mad passionate extraordinary love or nothing.  Excellence or die trying.  Sometimes being mega maniacal and driven to your craft to the point of insanity brings your wings too close to the fire and makes you fall, but the other option is flying low.  Sometimes, you miss the heights, the heat, and the sizzle.  Sometimes the lack of mad passion puts you in a very comfortable and very safe rut.

On Thursday last week, while on vacation, I got some pretty terrible work news about my job that makes pretty good money doing something I like.  Luckily, Zliten and I are just fine, but a lot of people I consider friends, perhaps kind of like family even after working with them for almost a decade, were not.  I don’t comment on work that often, and I’ll leave it at that about what went down, but I was sad, then mad, then exhausted, and then it really sparked a “what if” moment for us.

May19-1

This is what mourning your friends becoming ex-employees and contemplating your life decisions looks like done in Belize.

In my industry, layoffs are as common as a cold.  While I haven’t experienced this firsthand, it absolutely does happen.  Companies crunch employees to ship games and then reward them for their hard work with a pink slip.  CEOs restrategize and downsize.  A game doesn’t get the right score on metacritic and half the team gets cut and the other half doesn’t get bonuses.   Funding gets pulled and your paycheck mysteriously doesn’t show up in your bank account.

I’m either lucky, or damn good at my job, or both, so I’ve never had to hastily pack my things and go.  It’s always been a huge and careful deliberation with a target destination, and it’s only happened twice.  I’ve only made the leap with a parachute and a backup.  I’ve never been pushed off the cliff.  I’m probably a statistical anomaly that I’ve been gainfully employed in the game industry for 15 years and never laid off, but I’m not naive.  Someday, my number will come up.

These things make you look around and take stock.  What if I was on the other side of the chopping block? What would I do?  What’s my backup plan?  Of course, the traditional route is applying for similar jobs.  However, there are many reasons why working at what I do is a job I like, but getting a similar one would be a nightmare.  Even beyond the fact that I’ve finally started accruing 25 days of vacation a year and have stolen a comfortable office chair from someone who left earlier in the year.

I can’t lie – the job hunt process exhausts me and I’d rather do it as little as possible.  While neither of us have a shortage of recruitment pings, most of them are not local, and it’s not in the cards to move cities since now BOTH of our families are here.  My title belies my actual duties a little bit, so I’m worried that what I’m getting headhunted for, while definitely bumps in pay and title and responsibility, are reaching further away from the creative, where my passion lies. On top of that, building/learning a team and becoming an expert on your subject is a lot of work.  Starting from zero doesn’t really appeal to me right now.

On the other hand, I’ve realized that I’ve sort of plateaued in life right now.  I’m what you would call a goal oriented person.  I’m all about harder, better, faster, stronger.  I’m all about becoming just a little better than I was yesterday.  For a while, I focused all those efforts on essentially losing half a person.  Then, for a while, I focused on racing, and PRs, and new distances.  I feel like it’s time to tackle something new.

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The last really new thing I learned was scuba diving.  That was 2013…

This may be a weird thing to say as someone who’s gotten two promotions in the last six years, and is planning to race an Ironman in about 11 months, but I can’t help but feel stagnated.  It’s not enough.  The promotions, the racing, it all feels like logical, still-in-my-comfort-zone expansion.  It may just be the offseason talking, but I’m ready to expand my expertise in other ways as well.

The upshot is that after a lot of soul searching, I’m not looking to do a complete life upheaval right at this moment.  So far, what’s left after the dust has cleared is not untenable, and I have cautious optimism that it will get better, so I’m staying put. None of the monsters chasing me are so terrifying and horrible that the cliff is the best option right now.

However, it was enough of a shock to realize that if it’s not in my nature to randomly jump off a cliff myself, I should probably start obtaining the materials to make my parachute and learning the basics of how to skydive in case the ground crumbles out from under me one day.  I’ve not learned a whole lot of tangible skills or made myself more useful in the last few years.  That’s a problem.  You need to keep learning and growing even if it sounds exhausting because it’s actually probably what really makes you alive.

So, to diversify our personal human portfolios, we’ve signed up to do our personal training certification and follow up with triathlon coaching this summer.  After thinking about it, it seems like a better investment than hiring a coach right now.  If I’m going to spend the money, I want the knowledge, and with us BOTH doing the classes, I think we can check each other.  In the long term, am I looking to start working at a gym recruiting clients?  Hell to the no.  But what does sound fun is coaching novice runners or triathletes,  developing an app, or building some sort of community.

I also plan to start getting my hands dirty again learning Unity (moblie game creation software).  I don’t plan on taking any paid classes, but I’d like to have some more current knowledge about how to make a game rather than *ten years ago I used a proprietary editor and then I became manager so I didn’t really do it that much*.  I never wanted to be one of those people who just told everyone what to do, but it’s gotten to be that way lately.  For my soul, I need to get back under the hood and starting throwing parts around and turning wrenches again.

Light and fluffy vacation pictures and photos post will be coming soon, but I wanted to get this one off my chest first.

Chasing Fishies is Calorie Free

I’m going on vacation soon.  I’m super excited about it – a week of no work, all play. There will be scuba diving, snorkeling, being by the ocean.  There will be games with family, shows, entertainment, dancing, lounging by the pool and reading.  I cannot wait so hard, I actually lost sleep over it one day last week.  Christmas morning syndrome… I guess you still get it at 37 years old…

Sunday-1

I love to be on a boat!

However, the fact remains that I’ve worked hard this spring and lost some weight and want to continue to make progress.  Slightly related, a huge part of cruising is the sheer amount of AMAZING food and drink available.  Not just available… but kinda sorta of pushed on you.  I’ve gotten better about this in my daily life.  If it were up to me, I’d be ready to make the cruise more about fun and less about food.

However, I’m traveling with family, and they are REALLY into the food part of cruising.  Their favorite part is the fancy sit-down dinner every night, and they tend to do breakfast, lunch, snacks, ice cream, and extra post-dinner buffet sometimes as well.  If I follow suit, I’ll gain all the weight back, and I’ll probably end up throwing myself off the side of the ship.

To keep me from being fish food, I’ve come up with some strategy on how to do the all inclusive thing without gaining a bunch of weight.

Breakfast

cruise19

More books, less pancakes…

I plan to skip breakfast every day that I can.  I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day blah blah blah, but the problem is the cross section of a) healthy breakfast food I like and b) food they serve on a cruise includes fruit, and perhaps some turkey sausage and that’s about it.

I’m HOPING to do that by avoiding it altogether on sea days.  I don’t plan to get up before 10am on vacation unless I have a good reason to do so. I’d like to start my mornings when we aren’t in port with a little gym session, and if I have more time to kill, relax and read by (or go swim in) the pool.  I’m going to tell my family about my plans.  However, if I *have* to join someone at breakfast, I’ll just grab a coffee and maybe some fruit and bide my time until lunch.

The exceptions are: shore days and the last day.  On shore days, I’ll be up and out playing before the noon lunch bell, so I’ll probably split my calories and have a small breakfast and lunch.  The last day, I’ll splurge and eat whatever I want for breakfast, because pancakes are fucking yummy and I’ll be home for a healthy lunch/dinner.

Lunch

Mar16

Salads will be key here… maybe *slightly* smaller though…

The great thing about cruise food is that they have tons of vegetable-filled options available at the lunch buffets.  There’s a lot of unhealthy stuff as well, but it’s generally easy for me to fill my plate with mostly good stuff. Lunch should be the easiest meal for me to navigate as long as I make good choices and eat reasonable portions.

My strategy: start with one plate, half full of vegetables or salad, a quarter full of good protein, and then the last quarter can be whatever I want.  If I’m still wanting food, I’ll get one more soup-sized item (soup, or something that fits in that bowl).

If I’m still hungry after that, I need to calm the fuck down, take ~30 minutes to digest and drink a bunch of water/tea/coffee/whatevs, because no matter what the content of those plates were, that’s plenty of food.  I’m now eating things only because they’re around, and none of us want that (because you’ll have to listen to me bitch about my weight that much longer).

If I’m still hungry after that – see the snack section.

Dinner

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You don’t pass this up, but maybe you accommodate by eating lighter the rest of the meal.

Dinner is a little trickier, because with the family, it’s formal dining at a set time (5:30pm), served in courses, all at the breakneck speed of whomever eats the slowest at the large table.  It’s going to be a challenge, so I have to be smart and have a plan here, or I can easily consume a full day’s calories in one meal.

Rolls and butter are served before dinner, and great bread is my fucking kryponite.  If they’re amazing, I’ll indulge.  If they aren’t, I will attempt to skip it.

Then, comes appetizers and entrees.  If I’m debating between main courses, I’ll always pick the one that sounds like it has the least calories, but I won’t forego something I really want for something I don’t.  For appetizers, since lunches are going to be very salad heavy, I’m skipping those in the dining room.  I’ll choose either one or two appetizers/soups, depending on how light it sounds, and what else I’ve consumed that day.

As for dessert – I’m going to listen to my stomach and my heart.  If I’m full – just coffee.  If I’m not stuffed, or there’s something I *HAVE* to have, I’ll order it and attempt to eat just enough to get a taste of it.  I’ll consider this an opportunity to get better resisting eating things just because it exists.

Snacks

cruise16

Trying to concentrate more on the scenery than the eateries…

Here be dragons.  Even if you manage to eat sensible meals, there’s always other ways to completely overeat.  Room service breakfast.  24-hour snack station with sandwiches, cookies, deserts, etc.  Burgers and dogs and fries at the pool.  Pizza parlor.  In between buffet lunch and dinner is a magical thing called the snack buffet and sometimes there’s the midnight chocolate buffet.  Dinner buffet after formal dinner.  Late night room service.  It doesn’t end.

While these indulgences are all tempting, the fact is, I’m losing weight by giving up snacks at home, so I plan to mostly stick with that on vacation.

I’m enforcing one and only one rule here.  First, I must check in with myself, and ask if I am really and truly hungry right then.  If “I could eat” or “that looks yummy” or “that smells good”, then I’ll get myself some coffee, tea, or water.  If I am actually going to eat a deck chair, I will get myself a fucking snack and probably eat a little less at the next meal to compensate.

It sounds counter intuitive on an all inclusive situation like the cruise to bring my own snack options, but I am.  I’ve got some mini bags of pretzels, pita chips, and jerky.  I may not touch them at all.  Hear me out.  I think it could save me a bunch of calories when I just want a SMALL snack and don’t need something like a plate at the buffet.

Alcohol

Wed-6

Cheers to Belize beer!

I would like to strike the balance of enjoying myself and not sabotaging the rest of my efforts.  Things I have to remember:

  1. Bar drinks are way more potent than you make at home.  Drink them slower and have a water between each.
  2. Stay away from the fruity drinks and heavy beer (as the rule, the rare exception is another story).  Stick to liquor either with soda or on the rocks, wine, or light beer.
  3. While there will be imbibing, it’s also something I can do just fine when I’m NOT on vacation.  So enjoy, but not to the point where I waste a day hungover.

Activity

Wed-5

You’re naturally pretty active on the cruise ship because you walk everywhere, but I’d like to make sure I keep the kind of activity up that I have now:

  • 10k steps per day.  Non negotiable.  Cruise ships and ports provide AWESOME walking opportunities and there is zero reason this should not be effortless.
  • 2-3 weights sessions (there are 3 sea days…)
  • Maybe some stationary bike or elliptical during sea days just for funsies unless that ends up being lame.
  • Go play outside on the ship – water slides, rock climbing, wave rider, etc.
  • Snorkeling, scuba, and adventuring in port, oh my!

The great thing about not recovering from a marathon on a cruise ship is that I’ll have tons of energy to go do all the things.  I’m really looking forward to it!

And when it comes down to it – I know what I’m going to look back on in years to come and it’s not really the food.  I remember dancing with my husband until 3am until the DJ kicked us out.  I remember winning just about every single card and domino game I played with the family one year (and one year I didn’t win once until the last day).  I remember the descent on my first dive ever in Bonaire.  I remember playing the Yes/No gameshow as a family and doing horribly.

cruise19

Yes, I remember the food as a whole, and yes, even some specific dishes come to mind, but not even the amazing steak and lobster dish compares to chasing down a stingray in Cozumel.  So, this time, I’ll focus more on that, because chasing fishies is calorie free.

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