Three weeks down, nine to go to Cozumel 70.3, thirteen to Waco 70.3.

I’m feeling pretty good about things right now.  I’m not feeling ready to race a 70.3 yet, but with six weeks of solid training left + three weeks of taper, I think I have enough time to get my legs under me.

After my first block (two weeks build, one week stepback), here’s how I feel about the various sports.

Swimming, I used to love you the most.  About 5 years ago, it was my best sport of the three and I enjoyed practicing it, especially once we started at Pure Austin and I had the beautiful pool and lake handy to paddle in.  For some reason, over the last two years, I’ve fallen out of love with swimming (and my slightly worsening times in the pool have reflected this).

However, the good news is that a) summer is here and while my motivation is lower than previous years, it’s at this year’s peak to be in the water and b) while my pool times are not great, I’m actually working REALLY HARD on my open water form and those times are actually coming down.  Funny, when you swim with your head down and try to emulate your form in the pool even when you can’t see the black line, things get more efficient.  Rather than something like a 30 sec/100m discrepancy between pool and open water, I’m closer to like 10.  While it’s partly the product of not doing speedwork and getting slower in the pool, it’s also attention to better form all around and I’m racing in open water the rest of the year (so the pool times don’t matter) so I’ll call it a win.

Biking, is it possible to miss you even though I ride three times a week?  I’m feeling rather wistful for last year’s cycling training (for the Hotter’n’Hell 100) which was: ride bikes.  A lot.  Preferably in the heat.  I miss the commuting, I miss taking off early in the morning to ride for hours and hours on a Saturday (with no impending brick run after), and I miss bike adventures and group rides with the goals of just to GET LOTS OF MILES ON MY BUTT.

However, this entire year is about sharpening the stick.  I’ve allowed myself one ride per week with the goal just to enjoy being outside on Evilbike, and I’m finding I rarely want to stop.  I know there will be more time for this later in the year, and I’m sticking to my specific goals involving shorter melt-your-face-off TT speed sessions and longer brick workout riding places where I don’t have to stop much to simulate race efforts.  But… man, I’m looking forward to some times in November/December where we hop on our bikes and go ride with some stops to take pictures of cool things and eat food with no pace or time goals.

That being said, it was nice that 17.2 mph on the Shoal Creek loop felt. like. holding. back. like. woah.  So the effort I’m putting in is worth it.

Running is a surprise.  It’s been the bane of my existence for years, both with my slowing paces and random minor but annoying injuries and imbalances.  Even earlier this year, my take on running was that I should do it as little and fast as possible.  My meager 5-ish miles a week (but mostly faster) returned enough dividends that I wasn’t going to change things.

I’m running about 2-3 times a week now, which isn’t that much different than before, but the runs are longer (last week I did a whole ELEVEN miles for almost TWO HOURS of running).  Oddly enough, or maybe just as a surprise to no one but me, since I’m a little lighter and have new shoes, both my legs and brain have taken to some additional miles as if they’re coming home from a long time away.  In fact, these longer hours in general feels like coming home, as it’s been a while.  Intentional absence, for sure, but it’s fun to train a lot.  I digress.

The cool thing is that I am completing pretty much all of my runs at the pace goals I’m setting, even after time away, even in the heat, even when I have the ability to make excuses why it’s too fast – it’s not.  While I know 7 miles is way shorter than 13, I felt like 10:40/mile was a nice relaxed pace that I did not want to stop when I finished (and spoilers, I held a slightly faster pace for 9 this week though I was 100% READY TO STOP after).  In the feels like 100+ degree heat, I was able to maintain a 10:30/mile pace for a 10k off the bike (with a few water stops).  In the insane humidity, I was able to descend, not quite to 10k but to at least slightly under half marathon pace (9:30-9:45), for the middle three miles of last week’s run on Tuesday even though it felt like running through soup.

Weights is a thing in which I am still doing because I know I need to, but I don’t have too much love for it right now.  I know it’s one of my most important sessions of the week, but that doesn’t mean the illogical part of my brain wants to skip it to go do other things.  I’m definitely moved past the “heavy lifting” part of the year and probably have to let go of the fact that deadlifting/squatting any signficant weight is going to need to be on pause until after Waco and recovery, but I’m still showing up and doing the things.  The default workout right now is:

  • 5 min row warmup, then 3x everything below….
  • 10@40# kb squats
  • 10@40# kb side leans
  • 10@40# kb rows
  • 10@20# shoulder press with dumbbells
  • 10@25# kb single leg deadlifts
  • 10 ball pass crunches
  • 10 ball hamstring curls
  • 10 ball inverted v-ups
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 single leg calf raises
  • Streeetchy stretch!

I can roll through this in about 35-40 minutes, and while it’s not the kind of PUMP that deadlifting 150 lbs is, I definitely feel it, especially in my weak spots like my hamstrings and lower back.  I’m pretty confident this will help me at least maintain if not make small gains if I stick with it through tri season.

That’s a lot of words about sports so let’s put up some schedules and move on…

Last week:

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: AM run: 1 mile warmup, 3 miles fast (10k-ish race pace, trying to hold low 9s), 1 mile cooldown
  • Wednesday: home weights
  • Thursday: 1600yd lake swim
  • Friday: AM gym weights
  • Saturday: practice olympic distance (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run)
  • Sunday: off

I had to shift things around a little bit, but I got in all the sessions.  Hooray!  This resulted in 6.5 hours, which was also about what I’d planned.  Stepback week + finally getting my morning person thing on = success!

This week’s plan:

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride, weights
  • Tuesday: AM run: 9 miles at 10:30-11:00 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: brick workout, swim (maybe all together)
  • Friday: AM gym weights, PM open water swim
  • Saturday: 45 mile TT ride at the Veloway, 3 mile brick run (9:30-ish/mile goal pace)
  • Sunday: off

Looks like about 9 hours and a nice peak week before heading into Nationals race week next week.  I can’t believe it’s almost here!

As for the non-training training goals:

  • Hit all the sessions. (CHECK)
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person) (CHECK)
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day. (mostly check – I think I skipped a day or two but I also visited the chiropractor AND got a massage so that makes up for something…)

My weight loss efforts have dropped from about 1 lb per week to 1 lb per month, however, it’s still going in the right direction.  At 1 lb per month, I’ll see the 160’s in 2018.  So, that’s still motivation to keep at it.  What I’m currently doing does not seem to be affecting my training or general happiness and well being, so it continues.

  • Average calorie burn: 2404
  • Average calorie intake: 1794 (-609 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.1 to 175.0 (-0.1… sigh… at least it’s not +)
  • Average diet quality: 19.7

So, at this point, I’ve had two weeks where I’ve done deeeeecently, and no progress.  I can only assume that life is punishing me (or, more likely, that I was selectively weighing on good days before and now that I’m back to every day, it will take some time to stabilize). 

Goals for the next week:

  • Salads every day.  I missed my veggies goal more than I have in a long time.  Eat your veggies (and fruit, those were lacking too) woman!
  • I had a cadence before.  Yogurt and berries in the morning.  Lunch.  Salad.  Fruit and nuts snack before I left work or right when I got home.  Dinner.  Post dinner snack in whatever categories I was lacking.  I’m not eating all that much more, but I am finding I’m not quite eating the right things.  I’m going to try to establish that cadence again.
  • Saturdays are going to be a challenge now that I’m onto long workouts.  I need to make sure I have plans for something reasonably healthy/easy, if not for the meal immediately after said long workout, for the rest of the day instead of eating crackers and cheese like I did this week… ahem.

It’s official, I’m a PAID stock photographer.  I made my first sale… of 18 cents!  I’m rich!  Where’s my mansion?  While it’s kind of laughable, it’s nice to know that someone was able to find my picture and for one reason or another, purchased it.  Besides the work of uploading and setting key words, this is stuff I’d do anyway with my photography, so I’ll keep building a stock library and who knows, maybe someday I’ll make 1.18$ #shootforthemoon

In terms of photo goals, here’s what I’ve done:

  • I submitted (and got accepted) the remaining 12 left from my “second best” May 2018 vacation set to two out of the three sites (Adobe seems to be the pickiest, so I left them for last).
  • Narrow down my photos from about 700 (with my cell phone shots as well) to under 200.
  • I’ve edited and processed everything from July 4th.

I know, the typical thing to post here would be a firework photo, but I loved this one from the butterfly gardens a lot.

This week, I’d like to:

  • Submit those 12 “second best” photos to Adobe and wait for my inevitable rejections.
  • Finish at least through July 5th.  And even if I don’t finish, make some progress by not being against the idea of sitting down and editing three photos a night if that’s the amount of time I have between dinner and bed.
  • Holding on the book until I finish these photos.  However, after this batch… it’s on!

In terms of other IRL things, we had our first weekend at home and no plans since June 2nd.  The last time that happened was April 21.  Before that, March.  No wonder we’re feeling a little crispy and protective of our time lately.  It was nice to come home after smashing myself against a long workout in the heat and barely have to make words at anyone for two days.  With work and training and life the way it is right now I really need some time for my sanity to be silent and just focus on something relaxing like editing, TV, a book, etc. 

And on that note, I’ll take my wordy self and do just that…

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