Adjusted Reality

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

Month: August 2019

A midsummer weeks training…

To cycle, to run, perhaps, to train…

Commuting means time to stop and take pictures of the flowers. Though, you gotta be careful before smelling them…

While I’ve been really non-attentive to this space in place of other fiction writing and also work, I definitely want to make sure to document this training cycle, even if it’s not with as much scrutiny and obsessiveness as typical in years past.

First, let’s talk details with the actual swim/bike/run stuff. I had some fits and starts with attending every training session and not just blowing off the days I didn’t feel like completing, but it’s now just rote. Six weeks ago, I stood at the bottom of a mountain, looking up at the work to get there, facing the idea and found myself terrified. Even though this is my ninth, this beginning felt different. I couldn’t fathom any of these distances separately let alone together. I couldn’t remember how it felt to train regularly. But you know what? Screw all that. I love to climb.

Now, I swim on Monday, we ride about 60 miles of commuting in 36 hours with a brick run off the morning bike on Tuesday or Wednesday, we long run on Friday morning, and we ride bikes for hours and run in the heat on Saturday. This is simply how it is done. I can barely remember six weeks ago when this wasn’t the norm, but I do remember how scared I was that this was the cycle where I wouldn’t be able to give myself the chance to earn the race I deserved. Not the case at all.

I have five and a half weeks before I toe the start line, and I’ve swam (almost) the race distance, I’ve cycled the approximate race distance twice, I’ve nudged my long run up to 10 miles, and I’ve put together some long bricks – 3 hours of cycling/4 miles running and 2.25 hours of cycling/6 miles of running. I’m happy to have more time to gain more endurance and sharpen the stick, for sure, but if I had to get out there and race tomorrow, I think I’d be in good shape for completion if not a shot for kicking ass. And that’s about a million billion trillion zipcodes away from where I was six weeks ago.

Typical Saturday these days…

I’ve been splitting my rest weeks over two weeks, starting Saturday and ending Friday (honestly, due to scheduling necessity), and I finish my second block in two days. I have three more weekends and two more weeks for the last block, and here’s what I’d like to accomplish:

  • 13.1 long run. Let’s do it at least once.
  • 56 mile bike/6 mile run. This is typically my longest workout of the season and they’re typically big confidence boosters.
  • 1-2 hour intense bike/2 hour run (hopefully twice). I have the major mental issue where I get a few miles into the run and my mind reels at how far I still have to go and I stop and walk and get discouraged, even if I can pick it up and do well the second half. I can trot for a long time in the heat if I get out of my own head. I think preparing myself mentally to run longer off the bike will help.
  • At least 2-3 more ~2000 yd swims in the lake. I wasn’t unhappy with my pace or feeling after the first one, but mentally it was just so LONG. I want to raise my comfort level.

I plan to keep the volume this block about the same, everything seems to be working just fine, and finish things off just in time for a nice 2-week taper. Typically, I taper for three, and I may make the call to cut the last week short anyway, but I think with my 2019 volume (not much) and how my body feels right now (a little tired but pretty good), that seems right.

Since I’ve given a lot of lipservice to mental machinations here on the blog lately, I think I’ll save the bulk of my words here for closer to the race. However, I’ve been pleased to find that when I set myself up for success I do well. This is what I’ve talked about before – focusing on morning training, my weekday bike volume as commutes (even if you don’t effing feel like riding after work you gotta get home somehow), and managing my expectations properly. I’d like to swim more, I’d like to do weights, but something has to give and I am doing enough and the right things with my 7-10 hours per week I can spare.

I’ve also found saving a topic to ponder on long workouts to be a huge win. I spent 10 miles thinking about the cost of hamburgers as it relates to pricing structure and tolerance and I barely remember feeling any malaise on the last long run in feels like a billion degrees at crazy early o’clock. I’ve spent bike rides thinking through conversations my D&D character will have in the next few sessions. Having something mentally challenging to chew on really helps to pass the time. I will definitely put a few subjects in my pocket for race day. Sometimes I’m better living in the moment, sometimes I need the distraction. I plan to be ready for either eventuality.

This is one of the good things going into my tummy lately…

The one part of training I’m not nailing, or perhaps nailing a little too hard (TWSS?) is nutrition. Let me tell you, after the majority of the last two years under restriction, being a little freer with my consumption has been AWESOME. It’s been great to get pizza because I feel like it, not carefully scheduled to minimize the calorie deficit impact. I *have* to eat like a trash compactor on Fridays, since I’m running long in the morning and then training for another 3-4 hours the next day.

However, it’s time to shut that unrestricted sh%t down and be a bit smarter. I’ve been gaming and avoiding the scale to stay in the 160-somethings, but I’ve gained a little weight. Like, maybe 2-3 lbs max from my lowest low this year, and I’m probably still under 2018’s Cozumel race weight, but I don’t like the trend. Between training inflammation, eating some stuff I don’t normally eat (simple carbs and more sugar), and short term medication that sent my hormones into a tailspin, I feel like I have this giant gut and I’ve gained like 20 lbs instead of just a few.

I know this makes no sense, and the rational part of my brain is aware of my crazy. However, I know I can do better so I’m back to tracking my food so I can make sure I’m eating enough on the days I should and not too much on my days off. I’m not doing anything utterly nutzo like tracking diet quality, but when I have to log what I eat, I generally eat a little better, so we’ll go with that for now.

Made this after training one Saturday… 🙂

I suppose the last part of training to mention is heat acclimation, which is a huge part of readiness for a six-hour race in late September. Kerrville has the potentiality of a nice cool day, but it’s also been in the 90s/feels like 100s as well. Being ready to run in the hot sun after over 3 hours of exposure to the elements is key, and if the day is temperate, even better.

While last year we were bolstering our heat acclimation with walks, I think we’re doing alright. All our swims are outside in the soup. We bike commute ~4 hours per week. All our runs are outside and not confined to sunrise when it’s the coolest. Last weekend, my AC was set to 78 degrees and I donned a fleece sweatshirt, fuzzy socks, and a blanket. Running and biking when the feels like temperatures are under 90 feel like a breath of fresh air right now.

Oddly enough in the next few weeks, I start to root for summer to stick around a little longer. The worst situation is to suffer through all this heat training and then September is weirdly temperate… typically until race day when we get record heat :P. So, sorry, y’all. Hoping for feels like 100 until the week before the race. I promise after that we can get all pumpkin spice up in this bizness.

Form vs Function

I posted about this on social media and it was like my least popular post ever, so let’s talk more about it, right? The key to being beloved is to keep shouting about random bullhonkey on your mind?

No? Well, let’s go with that anyway.

Right now, I’ve got a disconnect going on between the lump o’ crazy between my ears and some of the facts of actual real life. First, let’s talk about function, specifically function as a triathlete. I’m sure someday I won’t be able to pull these performances out of my behind, as nothing else will explain it, but I’m finding some pixie dust action going on in the first stages of 70.3 training.

Things I have done in the last few weeks:

  • Transitioned very smoothly and happily from almost no workouts, and being very cranky about training, to maintaining a reasonable schedule of ~6-7 hours a week of swim, bike, and run.
  • Extended my long run comfort zone from 3-8 miles.
  • Pulled off a sub-10 minute mile pace for said 8 mile long run in feels like 91 degrees.
  • Somehow increased my FTP PR from 181W to 190W. My last hard ride was Pflugerville June 16th.
  • The last time I rode more than 20 miles before this block was February 2nd. I rode 39 two weekends ago and comfortably ran two miles sub-9:30 at 1pm after. Yesterday, I extended this to 3 hours at race power (so probably about race distance) and three miles at the same pace… at 3:30pm.
  • Have heat acclimated pretty well and haven’t had an issue where I stop sweating in the heat or feel overly overheated.

So, like, this ol’ bod of mine is holding up really well, and honestly? Most of the weird anxiety/stress issues I had earlier this year seem to be dissipating. I mean, it makes sense. I’m spending a lot more hours a week outside than I was previously. Bikes are the cure for everything and I’m doing a lot of that. Outdoor pool swimming makes me happy. I’m not even hating these hot runs, not even a little, and besides the fact that I wish I could be doing more training, I feel awesome. I don’t even have a season training plan, I’m winging it every week, but I still have a high confidence that I’ll have a successful Kerrville this year.

Obviously I still have work to do because I need to be able to run thirteen miles off that bike instead of three, and not to mention putting them together with a 40 minute swim warmup, but I’ve got 8 weeks to go. That’s plenty of time to build.

What’s causing me strife is the mirror. Stupid, I know, but I’m not going to lie about how I feel on my little corner of the internet here. I’m still checking in with the scale every few days, so I know I don’t have a ton to worry about, but the inflammation from ramping up my volume (and the eating to support it) is causing my stomach to feel like a subcutaneous water balloon has been inserted in my midsection. My husband swears he can’t see it and he’s honest AF about that stuff, but I keep making slightly looser clothing choices and giving myself side-eye when I’m getting ready in the morning.

I may be cranky about the fact that I haven’t made any MORE progress towards 150-ish lbs as my ultimate goal, and I’m confusing that with actually gaining weight. I’m frustrated that I was eating like crap before but had no appetite, so the scale was cooperating. Now, I’m eating mostly healthy food but like, the other day, I remembered that I’d crime for a snack even though I just ate one 90 minutes previous. And a normal sized lunch 2 hours before that. And breakfast 2.5 hours before that. And a protein bar an hour before that after my swim… #thestruggleisreal

So, I’ve got this balloon that’s one part training, one part fiber/food bloat, and probably about three parts totally in my mind. As long as the training keeps coming along as it has, I’ll wear some mumus and get over myself for the next two months.

In terms of goals, I’ve been pretty good at the training stuff, the eating stuff, but I’ve balked at the tracking my food stuff. If I want to lose weight, I need to get back to that eventually. However, let’s list the successes here:

  • I’ve been following a schedule well. I’ve rearranged some things, but I’m not regularly skipping scheduled sessions. I wish I could schedule MORE sessions but I’m trying to be realistic and I feel good about what I’m able to accomplish!
  • One reason I’ve been able to do that is I’ve been training before work almost exclusively. I prefer afternoons/evenings in a perfect world but it makes sure it gets done.
  • I’ve swam three times in the last three weeks. While I’d like to be 2x week, just getting there right now is a victory. It’s also the sport that’s the least important (40 minutes vs 2-3 hours for each of the others), and I’m fine just making sure the ~2000m distance is comfortable at a comfortable pace.
  • Recovery – I’ve been sleeping well, I’ve been rolling/stretching/boot massages many more days each week that I have not doing these things.
  • Batch cooking – while we didn’t do much last weekend, it was because our fridge was full of leftovers and easy stuff to cook. This is going well. I feel fueled and happy and my body seems to agree considering how training is going.

So, my brain is torn on what’s next. I have one more 3-week block and a 2-week block with a rest week in between. Do I try to ramp up the sessions? I’m at one swim, three bikes, two runs each week. I would give anything to have time to throw some weights around, and I know I should be doing two swims per week and man, three runs really would be cool too to get more base miles and endurance because that’s always the wildcard in these races. I can usually peg my swim/bike performance within a few minutes, but my run has varied over thirty minutes depending on the day I’m having even at the same level of fitness.

However, I don’t want to overdo it. I found doing success by doing LESS but with more intensity earlier this year. I’m going to try to keep within the spirit of that for the next few weeks.

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