Adjusted Reality

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

Month: June 2016

Becoming the storm

Monday, something clicked about one mile into the Monterrey Bay (treadmill course) run.  Studying the bio-mechanics of the body for Personal Training class made me think about extending my hips.  I found that by throwing my legs backward with a little more force to force more extension, I was able to go from 11 minute miles to 9 minute miles with very little extra effort.  It was harder on the hills, and I really had to concentrate on it so I didn’t just dangle my legs like I usually do, but it felt good.  Powerful.  Like the limiter is I need to work on my hamstring strength (totally doable) vs somehow make my lungs not gasp for air sub-10 minute miles with my current form (a lot harder to imagine).


If you ride your bike and don’t take a selfie, did you actually ride your bike?

Also, this week, I just feel like I’m ready to fly a little faster.  Tuesday, I had some thinking to do and my bike to ride on country roads.  Let me tell you – after riding in town for months, being able to ride for 10 miles with two stops was BLISS.  I also found an effort, a zenned out thinking pace with legs pumping and breath just on the edge of aerobic, where I was able to generate some decent power and a speed that is decent, dare I say, not completely laughable for a short trip that included the three bitches sisters hills twice.

I’ve seen this quote appearing in my social media feeds a lot lately (I remember it coming from THIS LADY but I’m sure I’ve seen it a few times elsewhere).  Sometimes the universe puts in front of you exactly what you need rolling around in your brain.


I also love this one as grammar… enthusiast?


But that’s not here nor they’re their there.

I’m at that weird place where I’m no longer hiding inside from the rain.  I’m not yet one with it, but I’m feeling the rain on my skin and thinking… yeah… I want to go there.

So far, the first quarter of thirty seven is either doing or setting myself up to do things that range from slightly intimidating me to holy-shit-this-is-terrifying stuff.  I mean, some of them are little in the grand scheme of things, like riding a bike in traffic or actually digging under the hood and fixing my website without throwing a bunch of money at it, but these are still things I was not willing to tackle even a few months ago because they sounded… hard.

However, there’s bigger stuff.  Some things are uncomfortable, like returning to taking classes while being fully employed and also training for races.  Some things are scary, like actually taking the time off to heal my body and mind this spring and losing ALL THE FITNESS and then plunking down the money to race 140.6 miles next year.  Some things are utterly terrifying, life direction changing, true ventures into the unknown, the kind of thing where even the beginning acts of planning cause both extreme fear and excitement at what could be.

They say every 7 years or so, you go through a big change.  I’d say I was a completely different person on my 30th birthday than I was on my 28th.  New town, 100+ lbs lighter, new job, new priorities.  Unless my crystal ball is completely wrong, I think at age 39, I’ll look back at 37 and go… huh, that was me?  Crazy!

I do well with inertia.  Once I get the ball rolling, I am pretty great at keeping it in motion.  However, I resist change, the start of motion, by digging in my heels and hunkering down where I’m at no matter how bad it is. It can be a boon in endurance sports, but sometimes it’s not so good in life.


For example, the haircut.  I knew it was looking really raggedy.  My long hair was up in a messy bun about 80% of the time.  But it was what I was used to, even if it was ratty and gross, so it stayed until I was practically dragged into the salon chair.

At first the shock of losing about 50% of what was on my head was terrifying.  Within a few days though, I loved it and I had no idea why it had taken me so long to take the plunge.  It’s different, for sure.  It’s harder to put up for workouts, and I cannot go more than two days without washing it or it’s greeeeeasy.  However, I can roll directly from wet to looking really good by the time I get my coffee in the morning without doing anything and that is EVERYTHING to me right now.

Such is life.  Generally, once I make the leap, I’m so happy I did, but getting myself there is such mental gymnastics.  Sometimes it takes the universe (or someone else) smacking you on the head saying “this isn’t fine, as much as you want it to be” and “to resist change and growth means the slow death of your soul”.

A storm is approaching.  The air pressure is just different these days.  Even if I just try to hunker down, I don’t think I can avoid it, I don’t think you can tell the weather to cease to exist.  I can go inside, I can put on a raincoat, I can tolerate the raindrops, but I think the way I really succeed is just to BECOME THE FUCKING STORM.  Embrace the things that are terrifying.  Hold them tight until we know each others innermost fears and desires.  Right now, I need the crazy eyes and the bezerker battle cry.  I need to channel all the volatile, relentless, and brutal energy of the tempest to not only allow the crazy into my life, but chase it down and pin it to the ground.

So, watch out sunshine – this storm is coming.

Life on two wheels

The #projectspring agenda item of becoming a biker chick adept cyclist loomed out there a little dauntingly for many months.  I definitely procrastinated that in favor of tackling other items that didn’t intimidate me so much first – I knew it was bad when I redesigned my website completely before commuting to work ONCE.  While it was definitely productive procrastination, it’s taken a while to transition to a life (more) on two wheels.


Earlier this year, she was the only one riding my bike.

First, I forgave my bike for getting in a crash and making the last 6 miles of Kerrville so difficult and making me feel so horrible on the group ride in February.  This sounds stupid, but I actually resented the actual bike for a while.  I don’t remember exactly what day it was that I let it go, but I held that resentment for months.  Getting evilbike fixed was the final mend of this rift, it never felt right after the crash and sure enough, some ball bearings were missing.  Bicycle Sport Shop worked their magic and evilbike is as good (evil?) as new.

Second, I started tooling around the neighborhood on my cruiser.  No plan, no pace goals, no garmin, no clipless pedals, just enjoying getting a little activity and being outside.  5 miles here, 3 miles there, nothing earth shattering, just the act of riding a bike again without being scared or angry or frustrated at it was healing.

Then, and this is important, I ACTUALLY LEARNED HOW TO RIDE A BIKE WITH CLIPLESS PEDALS THE RIGHT WAY.  Yes, I’m shouting this.  I cannot believe I spent 4 years without somehow figuring this out, or having someone I was riding with correct what I was doing.

What you’re supposed to do – unclip one pedal while riding, and while still barely in motion, shift your weight over to stand on the unclipped leg.


This guy is doin’ it right.  Credit HERE.

What I was trying to do – unclip one pedal while almost stopped, and then keeping my crotch over the seat, somehow force my bike to shift to the unclipped leg (while the motion of unclipping actually sort of makes you want to go the other way at a standstill).

What I ended up doing after falling a few times – unclipping both feet wayyyy before I stopped and keeping my crotch over the seat, so which ever way I landed would be fine.  Which looked a lot like this…


Stolen from somewhere on Pintrest….oops.

Once I learned this and practiced it a lot (like, spent 20 minutes riding around my block, unclipping at EVERY stop sign), and it felt decently natural, we started riding in traffic.  Oddly enough, most of the fear I had was with the clipless pedals, and not the actual act of cycling.  When I felt in control of that motion, the act of cycling went from something that always held a little/lot of fear for me to something that was super enjoyable.  It was like a huge load being lifted off my shoulders.

While I’ll still maintain that going out to a country road with ~4 stops for a 40 mile ride (vs 4 stops for a 4 mile ride AT BEST around our neighborhood) is much better, I can’t do that every day.  Now, I can easily do recovery rides or rides with short intervals starting from my house, the gym, work, or actually anywhere.


One thing that has ALWAYS bothered me is that 90% of the places I go on a daily basis are definitely within cycling distance.  My job is 3 miles away from where I live, my gym is 1 mile away from work, and that’s the majority of my driving each week.  The grocery, bars, restaurants, other stores that I frequent are also within cycling distance.  However, the problems have always been a) being scared of riding in traffic, b) worrying about cycling back home after eating/drinking, and c) not having a way to transport shit for errands.

I decided that we needed to figure out  b) and c) now that a) wasn’t really a thing anymore.  Two weeks ago, I decided we were cycling to lunch.  A little string backpack worked just fine to carry the few things I needed that didn’t fit in my short pockets, and cycling home on a full belly was just a little slower.   Then, we got an invite to a brewery that was just a few miles away, and decided to ride there as well.  The rule of thumb seems to be on par with driving a car safely – a few beers over a few hours?  Fine.  Especially when home was downhill!


After that test run, we decided to take the next step and commute to work.  Doing things in the morning is not always my strong suit, but it just took getting on the bike and going… and realizing that it takes me only 10-ish more minutes to ride to work than drive.  NBD.  To bring everything I needed with me, I stuffed my little string backpack to the gills, but it was fine.  The absolutely amazing mood enhancer of getting in about 20-25 mins of cycling and fresh air before work made me so friggin’ happy at work.  Totally worth it.

It was so great, we decided to do it again that week, with a PM trip to the gym in the mix.  Zliten wore his giant backpack, and said it wasn’t bad, but wanted a better solution.  Also, I’m pretty sure that any time there’s an excuse to buy new gear, he’s going to take the opportunity.  That’s just how it goes.

Last week, we bike commuted once, and found out about the dark side of cycling to work… unexpected rain.  In the morning, it looked like it was going to be clear for us, and then, it POURED all afternoon.  We had to hole up at work for a few extra minutes while it cleared up, and then race home before the next storm hit, getting extremely wet from puddles.  The backup plan was to take the bus if we couldn’t find a decent 20 mins to get home, and I’m sure we’ll have to enact that plan someday, but so far, we’re 3 for 3 on successful commutes in 2 weeks.


Saturday was my first test on evilbike riding out of my comfort zone – from the gym with more than just Zliten on busy streets where I’d never been before.  The choice to getting anywhere from there is crossing a freeway overpass, or riding on a very busy road.  Not optimal.  However, our friend Matt showed us a great little bike path that takes the rest of the ride from looking super sketchy to actually quite perfectly the way to get home from the gym.  We wound our way down to our normal neighborhood route, stopped for a pizza and beer lunch break, and started back to the gym (where our Xterra was).

Then, the rain just DUMPED on us.  The first time it was hilarious, the second time, there was so much water my contact flipped out.  We called it and rode the half mile back to our house, and we were going to drive Matt and his bike home in the Prius… and then we realized both of our sets of keys were at the gym in the Xterra.  D’oh!  Only two bikes fit in the back, so I let them go and changed into dry clothes and did the Oiselle Dozen and some chores in lieu of the extra 5 miles.


Yesterday was our first test of really being able to live on two wheels… brunch and grocery shopping.  We cycled down to a taco place and fueled up first, and then hit the grocery store with a fairly normal sized list.  Luckily, everything totally fit in our new bike bag and basket.  We probably could have squeezed a little more in if we had to, but let me tell you, 6-8 mph was about the top of my comfort zone on the way back uphill fully loaded.  It was just fine for a nice afternoon 2.5 mile ride where pace didn’t matter at all.

Two things I have left on the “be a biker chick” list:

  1. Go on group rides.  I’m planning to do my first Parmer brick with the team this week (third attempt – first one we bailed, second, it got rained out).  After that gets comfortable (and I get a little fitter), I’d like to do some recovery rides and eventually some of the longer stuff with the cycle group.
  2. Get a tri bike.  I should be just ecstatic at doing this one, but I think I still feel lost about what to get and maybe subconsciously like I still don’t deserve one somehow.  Step #1 is going to be renting one for the race in 2 weeks.  I’m hoping that’s an amazing experience and will make me want to find my forever TT bike like, yesterday.

#projectspring is still definitely in effect, so I still have time to conquer these last two, and get better at the rest.

#projectspring update

It’s been just about exactly 2.5 months since I started this thing, so it’s time to check in.  Spoiler alert: I’ve not slacked.  I’ve actually made some pretty good progress.

Getting my mojo back:


Happy face.  I was just in the water.  This is not a coincidence…

Wow, it’s incredible to think how mentally (and physically, but mostly mentally) exhausted I was.  And how amazing it is to be a generally happy, positive person that likes being around people and doesn’t just want to sit on the couch and hide all day and sleep forever.  I need to remember if I get that way again… I need a break.  I may not leaaaaap out of bed every morning, but I’m not dragging myself by the nose through my days anymore.  Check and check.

Project race weight:

I’ve discussed this in depth elsewhere.  It’s going slower than I’d like, but I am making progress.  Since it is going slower, I’m hoping to roll slowly from -1000 to 0 deficit over the first few months of season (knowing it may slightly negatively impact my race times) to get a little residual loss during the summer.  I’m realistically going to settle somewhere in the 170s or maybe the high 160s, and that is OK with me.  Will I probably do #projectraceweight2017 after IM recovery?  Yeah.  But I’m just happy to be on the way back down (and hopefully past) last year’s low.

House Projects:


This makes me so happy every day that crap isn’t all over the place…

We’ve had a few priority shifts here (probably don’t want to spend ALL THE MONEYS considering), but we’ve made some progress.  Of the more time but less money intensive list, we’ve done 2/4 things:

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

Still on the list are:

  • Guest room closet
  • Office

The guest closet will probably just take a few weekend hours.  The office is kind of where we’ve been dumping everything that doesn’t belong elsewhere.  For many reasons, we need to get it set up, but it will either take a VALIANT weekend effort or picking at it over a few weekends.

On the money intensive list:

Kitchen remodel: we’ve got an estimate and it seems reasonable (also, looks like the work can be done in less than a week).  We’ll look to get a few more and then pull the trigger and figure out the logistics.  At first, I was mandating that we get it done before season, but I can see dealing with it in EARLY season if it takes that long.

Back patio remodel is on hold.  It’s the one thing on the list that’s the least immediately necessary.  I’d rather spend the time and money on the kitchen and getting more outdoor gear storage than messing with this right now.

Setting up the workout room as a pain cave is in process – we’re procuring a free computer and just need to snag a cheapish flat screen and mount before we can really get this done.  This also goes hand in hand with getting a (locking) shed where we can store most of our camping/outdoor gear, our cruiser bikes, and anything else that we don’t use *that* often to make room.

Biker Chick:


I’ve been (ridin’) everywhere, man…

I wouldn’t say the transition is complete, but the love is there.  I don’t plan on stopping this process.  I haven’t yet ridden with the group (logistics and SO MUCH RAIN lately), but we’ve been riding everywhere and it’s been awesome.

I haven’t pulled the trigger on a tri bike, but we’re going to rent one for the Pflugerville Triathlon and see how it feels.  Hopefully the feeling of racing on an actual tri bike will influence us to drop the cash and get our own.

Website revamp:

Check and check.  I love it.  I’m sure there’s more I can do with it, but I’m very happy for now that I was able to put together a list of what I wanted the site to be and get 90% of it done with only Zliten’s help (or figuring it out myself).

Diving Pictures:

Well, I finished up my Bonaire pictures, but now I need to process my Roatan and Cozumel pics.  It’s a terrible wonderful cycle.



Home away from home for a weekend.

I got the camping bug hard and went twice, and then we had a bunch of weekends where we were busy or on vacation.  Then, two things happened.  First, it got buggy and muggy, second, the waterpark opened.  So, unless we decide to go later this month, I think camping season may be over.   I am HIGHLY looking forward to making some plans for September and into the fall.

Doing Things:


Steady now…

While I always want to do more (until I actually have to go do it), here’s some of the cool things we’ve done lately.

  • Emo Phillips at the comedy club
  • Went fishing.  Twice.
  • Played frisbee golf
  • Played giant jenga at the bar
  • SUP paddleboard yoga
  • Dance class and dancing
  • Water volleyball
  • Beer Pong

I’d say with everything else going on in life, we’re doing great.

Being Crafty:

It’s last on this list because it was kind of an afterthought.  We really and truly have done a lot of shit this #offseason, and besides one night where I sat down (drunkenly) and tried to make sense of the piano, I haven’t done any of this.

However, I did pick up the personal trainer class, am taking my CPR certification this week, and plan to do some other classes as these finish.  I’d say this sort of takes the place of something to do at home that’s not dork on social media and watch TV.

Things I’d really like to accomplish in the next month:


I don’t have a great picture that sums up a month of accomplishments, so here’s an iguana on a bike.

  • Continue to focus on #projectraceweight – I think I’m doing about the best I can without losing my mind, so I’ll keep at it.
  • Get at least two more projects in the house list done.
  • Continue with the bike love, hit at least ONE group ride, and try out at least TWO triathlon bikes.
  • Add at least THREE things to the “doing things” list above.
  • Be about 3/4 of the way through the personal training class and have our CPR cert.
  • Finish and post my diving/snorkeling pics

June is going to be a great month, starting with NATIONAL RUNNING DAY yesterday (where my run fitness decided to remind me it’s not 100% completely in the toilet, just mostly), so I’m excited to see what it holds.  It has to be less dramatic than May… please?

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