Adjusted Reality

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

Month: May 2022

88 days

Sometimes you know you need a vacation but gosh you don’t know HOW MUCH you needed a vacation until about halfway through.

#mfw I’ve been in the ocean for hours

10 days off – really and truly off – as in we didn’t even really talk or scheme much about work at all beyond poking our nose into work chat a few times to observe (and warm fuzzies about everyone handling things so well while we were out!). I feel like my patience and perspective have been restored. All the time away was very much needed, I had a great and relaxing time, and I actually worked on establishing some good habits including waking up REALLY early most days (6-7am), hitting the gym every day I wasn’t diving/snorkeling and doing strength and stretching sessions daily.

Soon, there will be a post about our vacation, but first I’d like to look beyond. #projectraceweight starts today. Yep, Saturday. This is how I roll.

I have had trouble prioritizing things over work lately. That is in and of itself a thing I need to work on, but for now, I’m just going to use it to my advantage instead of trying to fight against it. There’s a work thing that is more than tentatively planned for the end of August, which could mean meeting a lot of new people and likely some press/interviews. For many reasons – most importantly the confidence that looking my best gives me – there is now a work-related reason and a deadline for me to work on #projectraceweighttakefour

Also a chance to photograph something besides oceans, woods, and sunsets!

So, I’ve got 88 days. I’ve set a very ambitious goal of 20 lbs. This is a “shoot for the moon, end up among the stars” situation that I don’t expect to hit, but I’d like to approach. This is still a safe rate of loss for me (up to 2 lbs/week), though it’s aggressive. It’s up to my tolerance to push as hard as I can without cracking. Now that this is 100% my highest priority (ahead of training for races, even though I am still doing that), I shall pen a reminder to myself on what the next 88 days will entail:

#1 30 mins cardio per day (5-7 days a week)

The cruise proved to me that if I can wake up at sunrise and make time for (and actually super enjoy) 30 mins/day of cardio, there’s just no reason I can’t find 30 mins every day at home to move my arse. When this starts to sound hard, here’s a reminder to future me of all the things I can do to satisfy this goal without driving and/or leaving my neighborhood:

  • Swim treadmill in the backyard pool
  • Trainer ride indoors
  • Put on your shoes and run
  • Put on your shoes and walk
  • Walk to the gym and do a spin class
  • Walk to the gym and do the elliptical
  • Walk to the gym and run on the treadmill
  • Walk to the gym and swim in the crappy pool (and bring backup for something else if the lanes are taken)
  • Walk to the gym and use some other machine for ish and giggles (stairmaster? why not?)
Everything I need is right here. No excuses

This doesn’t even include riding my bike outdoors, swimming in the nicer pools or lake that are a short drive/bike ride away, or whatever other class/equipment options Lifetime fitness has. This here is my lazy list. I can be arsed to do one of these things for 30 mins a day. I *may* have some designs on using some of these sessions to get faster (let me whisper the word speedwork into the universe and see what happens), but the one and only REQUIREMENT is to do them.

#2 1-3x week trainer gym sessions (3x week lifting)

We paused our trainer sessions at the beginning of the year because vacation, then covid was rampant, then race training took precedence, then vacation again, and now FINALLY it’s time to get back to it. We’ll be going at least once a week starting next week, possibly more (depending on whether the sessions expire 1 year after we bought them, I am unclear on this), and aiming to lift whether it’s with our trainer or solo 3x week.

Back to doing this stuff on the regular

These strength sessions include, non-optionally, a stretch and roll. Stretching daily on vacation made my body feel so much better. It’s not hard, it’s just… haaaaaaaard to get myself to plop down on a mat after a long day instead of the couch. From my vacation-rested perspective, this sounds sooooo stupid. But I know how things feel when I’m knee deep in it. It would be neat to stretch daily, do some extra ab work on off days, and do other recovery things daily. However, at minimum, I lift, stretch, and roll 3x week.

So, if we’re at the gym lifting, absolutely no reason we shouldn’t just knock out the cardio at the same time if all we need is 30 extra minutes. This takes care of three sessions per week. Then I just need to figure out the other days. No problem, because I have my low-effort list above to reference. Worst case, just like the cruise, I alternate between the bike and the elliptical for a bit (just like on vacation).

#3 Food, and tracking it

Nothing revolutionary shall be said here, and if you’re getting sick of reading it, I’m getting sick of SAYING it. I just need to DO IT:

  • 4-5 days/week: 1200-1400 calories (1200+ a little bit more for exercise if needed)
  • 1-2 days/week: 1500 calories (a little bit more on days I exercise intensely or just feel extra hungry)
  • up to 1 day/week: up to 2000 calories (longer exercise/splurge day)

I’ll be tracking daily and aim that my weeks average out around 1400 cal/day.

Good thing the grill is going to get fired up more often for this sort of deliciousness

I’m not going to impose any other restrictions, but to keep myself sane/not hungry at this level, I need to employ all my dirty calorie-saving tricks like:

  • Eating spicy food usually satiates you for fewer calories
  • Abusing the hell out of salads full of veggies and lite italian dressing, vegetables, chicken broth, and pickles as very low calorie but super filling snacks
  • Being nitpicky about minor calorie additions (aka – my sandwich doesn’t neeeeed cheese or mayo, my salad doesn’t neeeeed croutons)
  • Lots of zero calorie tasty beverages like fizzy water, tea, and an occasional diet soda if I want something sweet with flavor.

I also need to remember that the next three months on the hunger scale, I should be aiming for a max of 5 out of 10 (no longer hungry) vs any level of feeling “full”, and that being hungry is not an emergency to be avoided at all costs, it’s totally natural. And yes, yes, I know complex carbs, green plants, and lean proteins will fill me up on fewer calories than simple carbs, processed foods, and fatty meats, so of course I’ll trend towards the former. But… not in any exclusionary way. Calorie count is king, diet quality is merely its squire.

#4 *Grumble grumble something something less alcohol grumble grumble*

‘Tis the last priority on the list, I’d rather clean up everything else about my diet before this, but I could probably do away with fewer empty calories that take the form of my favorite brown liquid-y relaxant, bourbon.

Up to 3 nights per week, when the mood strikes, I’ll have a few drinks. I’d like to cut that down to up to 2 nights per week as long as that doesn’t mean I increase the number of drinks I have on those days to balance the scales (cramming the “fun” into fewer days). I am lucky that even at 43, I can easily have some drinks a few times a week and still get up in the morning and get on with my triathlete and work life – it takes a LOT for me to have a hangover that impairs my daily functions. So, it’s rare that cutting down on it crosses my mind.

However, my tolerance also means I ingest a lot of empty calories without any sort of satiety or nutritional benefit. Also, let’s be real – while I can get by, I’m not at peak performance those mornings so maybe an extra day of being 100% raring to go per week will benefit me in other ways.

Here we begin yet again. 88 days for 20 lbs. Let’s do this thing once more with feeling, shall we?

I have done it before

It only made me go a LITTLE crazy

I didn’t (quite) kill anyone

But it definitely changed my headspace

So, once more, onto the breach, and let’s see how my life changes this time in the next three months.

Power of the mornings

I’m back off my BS and had a pretty solid week!

I remembered to harness the power of the mornings and accomplished four morning workouts this week! I didn’t hit my exact plan, but here’s what we’re looking at:

  • Monday: 30 min run, weights AM
  • Tuesday: off
  • Wednesday: 30 min run, weights AM
  • Thursday: 30 min trainer ride AM
  • Friday: 40 min walk
  • Saturday: ~1 hour outdoor ride, 20 min lake swim
  • Sunday: TBD, probably a walk, maybe some weights

Considering what I was up against the last month or two with almost nothing during the weekdays, I will take this any week in 2022!

Want to keep up weeks like this one, not the previous ones…

Trying to reserve weekends for a while to get myself in the lake and outdoor bike rides. I can do brick workouts (since they’re short now!) during the week once I get back to it, this at least gets me out on the roads and in open water once a week.

Speaking of that calendar, notice I have a weight every day! I also found the site I used to track my trendweight and good news, it’s going down!

My trendweight went down 0.9 this week (from 191.8 to 190.9), which is very exciting. It’s also that fantastic time of the month where I’m extra bloaty, so I expect even more progress next week! While I didn’t make MUCH progress in the two months I effed off of tracking, I didn’t backslide.

I have tracked my calories every day for a week as well, and I’m averaging around 1600. Not terrible, I’m certainly not going to gain weight on that intake, but losses will be slow. When I get back from vacation, I’ll try to take that down a little bit, seems like the tipping point to really lose weight is when I can average under 1500/day. Considering my high weight in January was 9 lbs higher than my low weight this week, progress is happening. It’s just time to go quicker!

I am signed up for two races (since the Wurst Tri is still “coming soon”):

And I’m keeping my eye out for more (possibly Marble Falls in late July), I’d just like to nail down my work travel schedule first so I don’t pay 100$ for a race I have to miss.

In other news, we finally cleaned out the pain cave and I got my bike desk set up last weekend. I only got to use it once this week but it’s sooooo nice to not have my laptop balanced precariously on top of my fan anymore. I *could* potentially take a meeting (that I was a secondary participant in) there now, but most likely it will just make watching Bloodbowl games much easier. 🙂

Week 1 down, if I can model them all after this one, I’ll be doing just fine!

What comes next?

Some of you are singing Hamilton now, and some of you are just wrong.

Next next is some of these type of views, but after that…

It is clear to me that I need some racing in my life for motivation to do something besides work and sit on my couch after work and play Bloodbowl. It’s also crystal clear that training for longer races right now is the height of folly. The dominos are starting to fall into place where I may downgrade my level of WOAH from bananapants to just busy this summer, and I’d like to enjoy that for a month or two instead of deciding my vacation of working 40 hours a week should be bookended by doubles and multi-hour training sessions.

So, sprints it is! I’m about to give the credit card a workout and sign up for:

I had thoughts about wanting to do a longer distance at Kerrville but y’know what? I’m good with 60-90 minutes of pain right now vs 6-7 hours. My goal is to participate at Pflugerville for funsies, and then get serious about trying to race Kerrville and Wurst Tri. Well, as serious as one can get whilst starting the race descending a 2-story water slide, as that certainly adds some levity to the competition, heh.

And you know we love waterslides around here…

How do I get there? Hey, remember all those big words about #projectraceweighttakefiftyorwhatever I had earlier in the year? Pitter patter (I need this shirt). It’s time to fully focus on this. If I do nothing more than maintain some level of cardio fitness, lift heavy things, and lose weight, this is probably the best training I can do for a sprint later this year.

So, if this sounds like more words about the same ol’ same ol’, it totally is. And obviously, I need to say ’em a few more times at least until I start doing them.

Tracking my food starts TODAY (and weighing starts tomorrow since I’ve already eaten). I initially said “Monday” but who gives a crap that it’s a weekend? Why wait longer to pursue my goals? From now until the end of the month (with a little break, you’ll see soon why I’m giving myself some leniency initially here) is to re-establish the habit and quantify my intake vs exercise and weight. I got on the scale on a random day in late April and it read 190.2, so that would make my trendweight go down… if I could find the damn site that I was tracking it on. Maybe I’ll just start over and make my own trendweight tracker, that way I’ll never lose it. Either way, thankfully I haven’t gained but there’s no more ignoring it.

More fun days playing here, please!

Going forward, the workout plan is vague but the scheduling won’t be.

  • 5x week 30+ mins of cardio
  • 3x week weights session
  • 3x week stretch/roll

This will be a fight of wants vs musts. Now that it’s all nice and summery out, what my doe-eyed self currently wants to plan is all manner of swimming in lakes and outdoor pools, outdoor bike rides, sunrise jaunts with my running shoes, spin classes, etc. Middle-of-the-day-Wednesday me, fighting with my to-do list, is probably going to get on the trainer for 30 mins exactly working from my phone half the time. And that’s okay. This plan allows for both methods to be valid ways to check the box. Move my arse for 30 mins? Check.

Some days/weeks it be like this…

So, I’ll ask for the happy and settle for the mildly crappy. As of now, next week looks oddly sane. I won’t believe it yet, but it makes me think perhaps we can do such things as:

  • Monday – weights AM, outdoor ride lunch
  • Tuesday – trainer ride lunch
  • Wednesday – run 2-3 miles, weights AM
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – run 2-3 miles, weights AM
  • Saturday or Sunday – outdoor bike ride, swim in the lake

However, could be:

  • Monday – weights AM, trainer ride whenever
  • Tuesday – trainer ride lunch
  • Wednesday – weights AM, trainer ride whenever
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – weights AM, walk after work
  • Saturday or Sunday – trainer ride

…and that’s fine too. It just can’t be:

  • Monday – oops
  • Tuesday – oops
  • Wednesday – oops
  • Thursday – oops
  • Friday – oops
  • Saturday or Sunday – finally, we do something

So, why am I not hopping 100% in immediately? Well, we’re on vacation later this month. Another cruise (aka, floating cavalcade of food stuffs). My goal this time is to not look at this as “one last hurrah” before I really buckle down, but to start AHEAD of the cruise and eat like a reasonable human being and not be an arsehole.

Maybe not so much of these types of breakfasts…

All words I have said before, but bear repeating to remind myself:

  • On sea days, snack size breakfast at most or skip entirely, and for lunch, one plate of food + a soup or salad
  • On diving days, significant enough breakfast to fuel diving (somewhere between the snack and a full plate), and lunch when I get back
  • One piece of bread with dinner, and try to err on the side of entrees that aren’t fried, creamy, or otherwise high calorie unless they seem like they’ll be really worth it
  • One dessert per day, maximum
  • Try to lay off the snackses. And if I need to have them, eat less at a meal.
  • Gym every day that I’m not diving

And while I’m not going to track my food in the app (no internet), I’m going to log each day what I eat and bring the travel scale to keep myself in check. Notice I’m not mentioning alcohol. I don’t aim to go crazy or anything, and I plan to stick to lower calorie drinks like hard seltzers, wine, and whisky on the rocks, but it’s still vacation. 🙂

Then, when we return, back to the plan immediately (tracking, weighing, consistent exercise), which should just feel like normal, just a little bit of a reduction of portion sizes from vacation. It is time to create the habits that brought me to success before. While they may be more challenging to get started, start again I shall.

Time to get back to this again. It starts today! 🙂

Texasman X-50 – stubborn AF

Sometimes you’re rewarded just by showing up and being too damn stupid to quit even when you are broken.

Backing up a bit, we knew that everything being EVERYTHING lately, we needed to take some extra time around this race to relax and I’m so glad we did. We cruised into the end of Thursday EXHAUSTED after a launch, putting out fires, and a live stream so we halfarsed the packing and slept instead and did the drive Friday morning after a few hours of work (on our day off :P) and then a hour of packing. Please note that this also came after a week of good intentions of getting some activity, but not following through yet again. It’s ridiculous that I even finished this race but I digress.

The week was a big ol’ goose egg.

We cruised up to the campsite north of Denton, Texas, in good time (4-ish hours with a lunch stop) and enjoyed chatting, developing Joel’s new lunchtime game D&D system, and otherwise not looking at screens. We had the usual first night of camping hot dogs for dinner, and read and slept early, often, and very well. Saturday was the day to shake everything out, and THANK THE UNIVERSE we did, as we discovered my bike tire was utterly shredded and very likely would have caused a blowout mid-race. No idea how I was riding on that. Also, during the practice swim, I brought out my old race goggles, which leaked immediately. As in, I had to doggie paddle back to shore, grab my backups, and use those. A lot of normal race prep went by the wayside this time and it really showed. All was well though, the bike shop got me some sweet looking tires, I scrubbed out and defogged my old goggles, and I was prepared to race!

Saturday was a super-duper long day though. We were up and swam/biked in the morning and left the campsite around 11:30. After an hour long drive, the packet pickup line with the dearest older lady who was manning the table taking her sweet time, lunch at the New York Deli (nomnomnom), getting my tires fixed, obtaining some nutrition from the run store, procuring camping groceries, and the hour long drive back to camp, I think we arrived at 6:30 and ate just after dark around 8:30. I was very glad for the time to relax the evening before!

I did not get the most excellent sleep, but some coffee and race morning jitters got me out of bed at 5am just fine. It felt weird to be doing all this stuff but also kind of normal and it was an interesting mix of feelers. I may not be who I once was – staring myself down in the same mirror three years ago I was hoping to win the race. This year, it’s like, “I can haz finish plz?” However, it was still nice to be there, at 5:30am, having a conversation with myself before a race. I may be highly distracted with other things right now, but I recognize I need some of this in my life.

All the pre-race setup went like clockwork, except I had to run back into transition 5 minutes before it closed because I left my bike nutrition in my backpack (that would have been bad news!). I regretted not being able to have my phone at the beach, pre-race, as I’ll remember that sunrise forever – the sun shone hot pink and reflected corals and reds and oranges on the water. Ah well, memories.

Here, instead have a sunset from the other side of the lake!

I will mention at this point that my cranky heel, which I had been abusing with all the standing and walking and all other manner of being an upright human more than normal over the last few days, was just over it already by the time I ducked into the crowd of neoprene sausages in our wetsuits waiting to dive into the lake. I just hoped it would decide to let me through 9 miles later in the day, but that was problems for later me. Now, it was time to swim.

…and the swim went really well! I felt super comfortable in the water, my wetsuit, and cruised from the back of the pack passing people. Which was a little bit WTF because I’ve been swimming so slow lately, but also a lot of YAY because I’ve been swimming so slow lately. It was a two loop swim and I actually walked the beach instead of running it, I figured keeping my heart rate down to swim faster would be better. I ended up at a 2:07/100y pace, which is actually damn decent even in my prime for a race in open water, especially feeling like I exited the water warmed up, not in the least bit shelled.

Almost always but not today!

I transitioned with decent haste, and set off on what is normally my favorite sport. Spoiler alert: it was my least favorite today. Something was just *off*, and I don’t think Deathstar is to blame, though I will need to make sure nothing was funky with the new tires/bike set up. By mile 5 or 6 I had no oomph and it just got worse and worse. My head tanked hard.

Joel passed me around mile 10 having a great day and was all smiles and love and I retorted with several choice f-words about the course (what can I say, I’m a gem). There was one section, from about mile 12-15, where the road smoothed out from the constant bumpbumpbump and the wind wasn’t buffeting us for just a moment. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought MAYBE the worst was over. Then, we made a turn back into the happy horsecrap which was the rest of the bike course (chipseal and hills and wind, oh my!) At the 20 mile turn around I fought the demons saying, “just go back and beg someone to enroll you in the Olympic distance race instead” and went back out for another loop, convinced it would be better.

Spoiler alert: it was not. I just kept telling the bike course it was rude and if I possessed tear ducts and adequate hydration, I probably would have cried multiple times going 8 mph uphill into the wind with just nothing left in me mentally or physically. I. was. done. I normally roll courses like this at 17-18+ mph and I came in under 15 mph. Garmin says 2:42 for the bike (at 14.9 mph) and I was hoping and expecting closer to 2:20.

At least it was a pretty place to be miserable!

In transition I sat on the ground and contemplated life. My heel/ankle was already toast, both calves on the verge of cramping, and I really had a moment where I thought I might try to convince someone to let me into the aquabike division instead (aka, end the race there). However, out of habit I put on my run gear and I decided I would go for a little walk and shove my “cocktail” (2 advil, 2 salt pills, and two herbal muscle relaxers) down the hatch and see what happened. Note: I pack this every time and normally toss the advil. Not this day. I don’t condone throwing painkillers at pain you have for a good reason very often but it saved my race.

The “run” started without much fanfare. I walked most of mile 1, I would try running about 10 steps and nope out, but soon my legs loosened up and I tried some run/walk intervals, and they were okay. After the first few miles, I decided I was too stubborn not to finish this $&^tshow of a race and also, I was going to make friends with everyone on the course while I did so. I ran the flats and downhills and walked up. I got to know all the volunteers at the aid stations. During the second half of the second lap I noticed no one was behind me so I sped up as much as I could, and somehow my heel went from craaaaanky to letting me run the whole last mile and squeaked in DFL (dead %$#@ing last, yeah that’s the official racing term) as they were deflating the finishers arch (which they were nice enough to inflate when they saw me coming since I did make it in time). My “run” was about 2:21 or 15:50/mile pace, to complete my race in about 5 hours and 51 minutes which shows that it was really just about survival and not racing at all.

Joel told me he placed first out of three (one dropped on the bike, one on the run) and encouraged me to check my age group even though I was like, yeah, whatever. Well, I was the only female 40-44 that showed up and didn’t drop out either, so hey, first place! So very many things I need to work on for next time, I’m trying not to look at racing a full HOUR longer than I did in 2014 as a huge success but as a stay of execution for my triathlon ego. However, sometimes showing up and being stubborn AF is rewarded and failing any race prep or conditioning, I can always at least give that.

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