Adjusted Reality

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

Month: August 2021

Lights and tunnels and things

I ran yesterday.

And I felt pretty smiley about it.

Note that I didn’t say I ran/walked. I ran. Period. It was hot and sweaty and kinda difficult and slow but it felt oh. so. good.

I woke up with the intent to do a 1.5 hour (TT trainer) ride and 1.5 hour run. That was when I was hoping to be on the bike at about 7am. I slept in, partially due to it being a hell of a week (I know I say that every week but I REALLY mean it with this one), partially due to the 90 minute walk we took the night before that ended after dark, and partially because I’m just not a zero dark thirty riser even on a good day. When I got on the trainer at 8:45 (oops), I was DREADING the run. Even just going outside to feed Nachokitty that morning reminded me of soup.

So, I decided to break it up a bit. Running 90 minutes at 10:15am when it would be already feels like 100 sounded like the worst idea ever, but running 30 minutes at a time after some bike breaks in the AC sounded at least doable. I spent the first bike segment warming my legs up and watching some Bloodbowl. I suppose the combination of the Super Go-Go Juice Coffee (we were gifted some Starbucks coffee pods and WHEW they are only for long workout days), half a bagel, and watching Elves murder each other had a nice effect because I hopped off the bike at 14.2 mph (which, in trainer speeds, is pretty fast). My legs were into the run, they even felt good starting uphill and I kept pushing off my planned walk break until it was pretty obvious I just wasn’t going to take it, when I was cruising downhill feeling absolutely great. I even passed someone running! She was probably about 30 years older than me, but still. IT FELT LIKE RUNNING NOT REHAB.


Absolutely chuffed from the first segment, I hopped back on the bike and raised my average speed to 14.6 mph for the hour, and ran the same 2.5 miles in 30 minutes again without stopping. As you can see, it wasn’t fast, but there was no walking! I ran low on time for the third brick, so I did 15 more minutes on the bike (raising my average to 14.8 mph), and 15 on the run. I ended with 6.3 miles, or 11:54 pace, for the 75 minutes on the run total.

Two years ago, I would have been disappointed with this. I was running about 2-3 minutes/mile faster. Today, I’m just thrilled I was able to run. It’s the longest (without walking) since March 2020. My stride is nowhere even close to efficient or strong, but I was able to put together a nice, steady clip and get into that zen space for a while.

I have missed that place so, so, so much. I would process a lot of my life on the run. I would come up with silly big dreams. I’d sort through problems, dissecting them mile by mile. I’d tell myself stories. I’d get ridiculously into my music and kind of… feel through it on the run when I needed to hide somewhere. ‘Tis one of those things that you don’t realize how much you miss it until it’s gone. At first I neglected it because I didn’t think I needed it, then it was stolen from me via injury, and now I’ve fought hard to find my way back there and it feels sooooo good.

Run/walking isn’t the same. It’s not even a pride thing, it’s a perception thing. I lack the ability to get lost when I’m pulled out of the same repetitive motion of running for a break every 5-10 minutes. Part of that zen is when the miles sort of unconsciously fly by and you realize you’ve storyboarded a music video for your ridiculous bard from D&D or solved a tricky problem you’ve been chewing on all week at work or sometimes on those ridiculously lovely cold and foggy days, you just get lost running through the mists to a Pink Floyd concert in your headphones. Run/walk is better than nothing, but it’s not that, not that at all.

Not quite running 9 minute miles for 2 hours yet but so much closer than when I was hobbling to get out of bed.

There have been a lot of lights at the end of a lot of tunnels during this zero to Ironman in a year thing, and running off the bike for 2.5 miles at a time without walking is just another one of them. I still do not anticipate running the entirety of either my 70.3 race next month or the whole enchilada next April, so run/walking in training actually has a level of strategic use. However, even just the idea that I can now set out for a short training run and get lost in it sounds like utter bliss… and maybe when the weather turns cooler I can start stretching those a little bit longer and longer.

Note the lack of verbiage paid to speed. I don’t care right now. If my body wants to continue to produce 12 minute miles until the Ironman, I’ll gladly welcome it. There’s a time and a place for picking up the pace, and that’s in 2022.

Today, I am unscathed from the effort. I had feared that I’d wake up barely able to walk, but I’m just a little sore, which is absolutely normal, in the “that was a different thing you did with your body” not “holy hell your back is effed again” way. I punted on a swim this week and am seriously considering making it up today because I feel a lot less wrecked than I figured I would.

I should want to go to here more than I do right now.

Now, let’s talk about that. If I don’t go make it up, this will be 3 weeks in a row where I have bailed on swimming. It was my happy sport for a while, earlier in this training cycle, but now it’s difficult for me to motivate myself to the pool or lake. I had some success with scheduling my training sessions on my work calendar, and it’s working super well for the bike, run, and weights portions, but it’s been difficult to get to the pool.

Swimming at lunch is optimal, but that means tearing myself away from what I’m doing, and a 30 minute pool swim takes about 75 minutes round trip, which means I’m usually pushing right up into a meeting and I feel rushed and behind all day. We’ve just accepted that after work doesn’t happen. I’m always too mentally toasted to do anything but walk. In the morning, I’m good to go but it’s very difficult to drag Joel out of the house with enough time to get back before work. We solved the problem for at least one swim a week by going on the weekend, but with longer workouts on Saturdays now, the Sunday swim is almost always punted as a rest day.

Then, there’s the whole Covid Stage 5 thing in Austin. I’m trying not to let that get to me too much, I’ve done what I can by getting vaccinated, I’m wearing masks everywhere in public, and I’m not doing large groups things. However, I may be avoiding the gym unconsciously because it’s lots of people. While I’m not worried about swimming the distance, I need to be swimming again. I’ll have to sort it out. Probably starting by getting my arse off the couch and going today.

Then, it looks like this for the week:

  • Monday: 1h trainer
  • Tuesday: 8 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike, 15 min run
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: 1.5h TT bike, 1.5 hour run Triple Brick (30 min bike/30 min run x2, 15 min bike/15 min run)
  • Sunday: off go swimming you fool!

So, yeah. Five weeks to go. Two more weeks until taper. I think I may have this thing. Let’s try this for next week…

  • Monday: 1 hour trainer, weights
  • Tuesday: 9 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: practice tri! (1000m swim, 30 min bike, 2 mile run), weights
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: lake swim, weights
  • Saturday: Real triple bricks (1 hour bike, 30 min run x 3)
  • Sunday: off

As for the other stuff – I’m going to give myself a thumbs up and a B for effort. I haven’t necessarily made time to do full stretch sessions but I do a little bit whenever I think about it. I sit on an icepack most days and use the boots more days than not. I’ve been tracking my food, typically staying under my calorie range. Uncoincidentally, the scale, which I have been facing a few days per week at least, has been showing me slightly lower numbers, reminiscent of before I decided to eat way too much on two back to back vacations in June and July. I feel a bit less like a bag of water stuffed into a meat shell, and that’s helpful for many reasons.

Spoiler alert: needed a rest week

Here I was, two weeks ago, saying “wheee, I don’t feel like I need a rest week”.

Spoiler alert, I so needed a rest week. As they stay stress is stress is stress, mental or physical, and I finally hit my limit. Physically, I just felt like I was dragging ass on the daily, and I was working a lot of hours and had a lot on my mind so I was mentally shot as well. I needed a little reprieve from the 630am alarms and it felt SO GOOD.

But, going back to the week before, I bailed on a few things but got the important workouts done. I skipped a swim, honestly intending to make it up on Saturday with another race distance lake swim because I super enjoyed that the week before. Saturday showed up, I was sooooo tired. Like, you know, the kind of tired where your BONES just feel exhausted? That kind of tired. I bailed on the swim and also the weights. It paid off, because I felt fresher for the brick the next day and we rocked a race distance bike (on the road bike, so it took like 4 hours) instead of just the 45 miles planned. We did shorten the run because DAUYUM it was hot at 1pm, but still. Confidence, she has been built.

Every other session that week was super solid if slow. No issues besides both mental and physical fatigue and that’s normal around this time of the training cycle so no worries (yawn).

8/2-8/8 – Still building

  • Monday: 1.5k-2k swim, weights
  • Tuesday: 1 hour TT bike/3-4 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 1.5-2k 1.2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: off/heat acclimation walk
  • Friday: 6 mile run/walk
  • Saturday: weights
  • Sunday: 45 56 mile bike (TT or road), 4 2 mile run/walk

My stress levels could be summarized by last Sunday: I got up at 6am, did a 4.5 hour workout and then I immediately went to work and didn’t finish until 11pm. Monday was just as long, just not quite as early and I’m not sure I’ve ever been so tired in my life as Monday night. I. was. toast. I took the rest of the week very, very easy, converting every other session to a (40-60+ min) walk but my kept my two most important sessions, the long run and the weekend brick, intact. I just didn’t have the mental capacity to do much else.

Such. a. slog.

The long run was rough and I had to talk myself into it in stages. I slept in and almost skipped it. I got myself out the door, willing myself to go 3 miles. Then I talked myself into 5 after a pit stop. Then I found myself far enough away from the house at 5 that I put together the whole 7, but it wasn’t a run/walk in the park, that’s for sure.

8/9-8/15 – Rest week

  • Monday: walk
  • Tuesday: walk
  • Wednesday: 7 mile run/walk
  • Thursday: walk
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: 42 mile TT bike, 4 mile run/walk
  • Sunday: off

Lest you think I devolved into bad behavior, I did not. I did a decent job getting some rest and relaxation, and didn’t stay up too late or have a multitude of adult beverages because I had more time off. In fact, I had fewer than normal. It was definitely not party time, it was recovery time.

I have tracked my food every day (yay) and have maintained a really solid deficit most days (super yay!). I’ve been icing and using the boots a few days a week. I’m not 100% without pain but my back is handling the training well and I feel nothing like I did six, or even three months ago. I can get up and out to train in the morning, which was one of my greatest fears when I signed up for a fall race. It’s just un-possible to train at any other time in the summer when it’s eleventy-billion degrees after 10am. It’s either run in the morning or don’t run at all. This wasn’t an option when I signed up, I’m glad my hard work has made it one now.

I haven’t been the greatest at stretching or weighing myself – a few times a week for both at most. So, I just need to, like Nike says, do it.

So, what’s next? I’ve got this week, the next week, and the week after until we taper. Holy crap! It feels like forever but also how did it get here so quickly? With three more long workouts, we decided this week that we feel pretty confident on the bike now, but could use some more run miles. So, we’ll do a brick with a longer run this week, something TBD next week, and then our big brick (56 miles on the TT bike, 10k on the run) Labor Day weekend.

It’s all coming together! I just gotta survive August and early September and I’ll make it to my first friggin’ triathlon in 2 years (OMG).

8/16-8/22 – Three weeks to go til TAPER!

  • Monday: 1h trainer
  • Tuesday: 8 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike, 15 min run
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: 1.5h TT bike, 1.5 hour run
  • Sunday: off

And, because it’s time to get up at like zero dark thirty, it’s time to roll into bed at 9pm and conk out. Gnite!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén