Adjusted Reality

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

Author: Quix (Page 1 of 165)

Baby steps

I went and did things on a boat last week.

Let me show you how much it sucked.

And we’ll get to that, but now that today marks 30 days since doing THIS THING, it’s time to take baby steps away from being a slothy mc slotherpants.  It’s Monday, so it’s time for some goals up in here.  However, just like it’s a bad idea to go directly from tallying how many pieces of bread and butter you ate as an appetizer before your appetizer before your second appetizer at dinner (answer: a lot) to eating chicken and quinoa, we’ll be taking some time to get there from here.

Oddly enough (or not so oddly with the three days at the gym and then three days of between 2-4 hours chasing fish with cameras in the water), I seem to have stabilized around the same weight I was at before I left.  I think I’ve *finally* figured out how to not gain the 5-7 lbs typical on a cruise.  That doesn’t mean I’ve got all the answers to life because I’m still looking at about ~35 lbs I’d like to be rid of, but at least I haven’t doubled that in a week somehow.   Baby steps.

So, this week looks like kind of a slow start because these were a lot of things I was doing before.  At least kind of.  But for now, going back from *margaritas the size of my head* to *things that feel like normal healthy life* is plenty enough.  This is the week of baby steps.

You thought I was kidding right there. #senorfrogsdrinkingteam

Movement goals:

Unfuck my poor back.  On day #2 of the cruise my back started hurting and you wouldn’t have guessed it, but a bunch of whisky on the rocks as painkiller and traipsing around in heels all night did not help things.  Day 3-6 it was out of alignment and SUPER cranky when I was not horizontal (swimming or laying) or actively stretching it.  I have a chiropractor appointment today, but since it’s been out for a while, I expect it will not be immediately better and there will be some muscle carnage.  The focus of this week is to stretch and roll for 10-15 mins per day, and do anything else she wants me to do to make it happy.

Status quo.  In this light, I’m going to lay off the weights and running and anything serious for ONE more week.  I plan to ride bikes on Wednesday and maybe once more this weekend and swim as much as I can and MAYBE do some bodyweight stuff or yoga or something fun like playing in the lake later in the week if I feel better.  Or none of this if I don’t feel up to it.

10k+ steps per day.  Normally on cruises this is no problem at all but for some reason, we walked much less than normal (perhaps the back thing, perhaps our room was more conveniently located, perhaps I took my watch off sometimes when I wanted to look fancy so it didn’t count all my steps).  I definitely need to make sure this doesn’t fall off because this is a big part in weight loss when I’m not training as much.  Steps matter!

Fun fact –  it counts as training if you wear your IM shirt to the pool even if you don’t actually swim laps.

Consumption Goals:

On the record. I’ve finished my Ironman.  I’ve had some downtime where I enjoyed myself a bit.  Now, it’s time to get serious about trying to get down to *race weight*.  To this end, tracking food each meal when I eat it (not 2 days later) and daily logging on the scale starts TODAY.  This week, we’ll start with the goal to eat approximately 500-750 calories less than fitbit says I have burned.  If I do better than that, great.

Water water water.  At least 4×24 oz bottles before I leave work for the day.  I’m really bad about this if I don’t pay attention and I think on the cruise I lapsed on this pretty hard.  When beer and bottled water cost the same in Mexico….you know what I’m going to choose, right?

Detox… but just a little. Booze must fit into both the parameter above (calorie deficit goals) and below (sleep goals).  Let’s not go crazy with any further restrictions.  It IS Memorial Day weekend. 🙂

Beer 4$.  Water 4$.  I choose beer.

Life Goals:

All the shut eye.  I’m going to say 8+ hours of sleep a night is something I’ll put out there as a priority this week.  I’m feeling a bit run down after playing hard on vacation and my own bed felt SO AMAZING last night.  So, this week, I make sure I get lots of sleep.

Non-fiction reading.  While I’m relaxing in bed, I’ve got a few books I’d like to work on getting through (the big yellow Maffetone endurance training book, finally cracking something regarding online marketing and PR, etc).  For the next month, I probably need to hold off on reading more “marines in space” books even if they are actual physical paper books and not on my kindle.

The office.  I’m not saying we need to finish it, but so many other things hinge on getting this one space cleaned out that I want us to spend no less than *THREE* hours on it this weekend.  I would love to be able to move the table that’s been sprawled over the side of the guest bed for a year into there.

The kind of non-fiction reading I *don’t* want to do.  Seriously.  We’re a joke everywhere.

And while I have so many other things on my list (financial planner! doctor! hiking! comedy club! creating a business plan! book outline!), these are the things I’m willing to tackle this week.  Laying out ALL THE THINGS like #projectspring last year seems overwhelming and exhausting right now.  I’ll focus a little smaller and revisit the plan again in 7 days.

So I ask… what’s YOUR plan for the next 7 days?

8 reasons why being a prissy pants and a triathlete don’t mix

Triathlon is super fun and awesome, but it’s definitely not a world for someone who doesn’t like getting dirty.  Here are eight things you’ll have to get over if you want to triathlon.

A lovely long row of porta potties is a triathlete’s best friend around 6am race day…

#1 – Porta potties. You’re going to have to use them at some point.  They may not be QUITE as bad as the ones baking all day at an outdoor music festival but by the time the gun goes off, they’re usually pretty, erm, full and usually out of toilet paper.  Also, there’s not generally a place to wash your hands after.  That’s what the lake is for.

#2 – The gauntlet of urine, aka, the swim.  Speaking of the lake, the open water swim is definitely not for the weak of heart.  Besides the fact that you’re going to get hit, kicked, and shoved, you’ll also probably (accidentally) drink some of it.  And people have been peeing in there all day.  You might be swimming in a slipstream of pee at any point.

About to go swim in a lake with a non-zero amount of pee in it and I’m doing just fine, thanks!

#3 – Public indecency.  You’ll have to stick your hand down your pants to apply something called Deez Nutz or Hoohah Glide or Butt Butt’r before you bike and depending on how long you’re riding bikes, during it.  You’ll learn what a snot rocket is and how to properly do them without (regularly) getting boogers on yourself.  In the Ironman, you’ll get buck nekkid to change in front of hundreds of people in the changing tent.  If you have any modesty, go ahead and throw it out the window right now.

#4 – Anti-beauty queen. If you washed your hair every time you worked out, it would fall out.  So, get ready to accept SWEAT as a valid hair product.  Also, since you’re going to be showering at the gym (and at work) more than your house, you’ll need to keep your beauty routine short and to a minimum.  People will probably recognize you better with wet hair than dry hair after a while.

Laying in a park eating a cold cheese sandwich about 50 miles into a bike ride.  This is fine.

#5 -Jack’s utter lack of give-a-shit about appearances. You’ll get to the point where you just DO NOT CARE what you look like to anyone else.  Goggle eyes and looking like a drowned rat coming out of the swim.  Pain faces on the run.  I’ve laid down on the side of the road and shoved food in my mouth a non-zero amount of times in the last year.  You’ll walk into a restaurant sweaty in your clippy cloppy bike shoes, and full kit for a meal and a beer (though it helps to have your whole team with you there).  You’ll learn to own your spandex proudly even in inappropriate places.

#6 – Body problems.  You are going to have a lot of conversations about peeing, pooping, stomach aches, blisters, saddle sores, crotch pain, chafing, road rash, and probably other disgusting things that I haven’t even thought of.  I happily use the bathroom behind the bushes if need be.  Also, the likelihood is that sometime in your career, you’re going to poop your pants.  It’s not happened to me yet, but I’ve had a LOT of close calls so it’s probably going to happen someday.  I’ve made peace with this.

These will absolutely replace your Jimmy Choos.  Or in my case, the Shoe Carnival sale specials.

#7 – Say goodbye to cute shoes.  Heels will not be worth it anymore.  I have so many cute shoes that I just look at and sigh while I choose to wear either running shoes, flat super padded sandals, or flat boots on the daily because I cannot be arsed to walk around on sore and tired legs in anything that doesn’t feel like a pillow giving my feet a hug.

#8 – “She gets too hungry for dinner at 8”. Yep, Frankie is right.  It’s hard to coordinate meals with other people.  I need to eat, I need to eat a lot, and I need to eat right now, and I’m not going to be polite about it.  If you mess with any of these things, we’re probably going to need to have some words and you’ll see my nasty side.  Also, I’m going to be probably be picky about how healthy it is.  I want a giant side of vegetables, some whole grain options, and some protein that isn’t covered in a bunch of fat.  Unless I want the opposite of those things.  And that can flip at any moment depending on the weather, my training, or my whim.

The one thing I will never just “get over” though?  The early morning wakeups.  This priss needs her beauty sleep.

What have YOU given up for sport or fitness?

Invisible Things

If something exists that bothers me, but I don’t really want to prioritize doing anything about it, I can usually make it disappear.  This works on objects, like the dirty half spilled cat litter box in the garage that had been sitting there since when it was cold enough to put the cat inside at night.

Lumpy space princess is not a good look for me.

This also works on mental things as well – for example, during heavy training cycles, I can almost completely ignore the emotional attachment to what’s going on with the scale.  Once you remove the “so there’s a few lumps but we’re going to go bike 100 miles today so who cares?” aspect about life, it’s really hard to not look in the mirror and be really negative and nasty to myself about it.  I’m trying to be patient, I’m trying to be kind, but everything just feels so far away from where I want to be right now.

And oh, the patience part of it is SO HARD.  At least when you’re doing a super tough multi-hour run, you have the direct power to progress it forward.  You’re doing something.  Right now, my body feels and looks like such a mess in so many ways it’s just not cool and the BEST thing I can do isn’t something, but NOT do something.  I can NOT eat a bunch of crap and fill it with too much alcohol.  I can NOT just jump back into multi-hour efforts and keep my workouts short.

That’s ok, I thought, I’ll just convert all that volume over to speed.  Short and NOT so sweet.  Then, I tried to do a splash and dash at the gym expo thingee and I was busting ass to keep my run speed in the 11s for 1 kilometer.  ONE.  I’ve ran marathons that felt less difficult at about the same pace.  In fairness, this was after a little man kicked my ass in 45 minutes with some drumsticks in a class, I did a 750m all out row (3m13sec, not bad!), and then tried halfheartedly to do some standup paddleboard yoga on shaky and tired legs, but STILL.  I honestly thought my garmin was broken.

Scenes from #pureaustinexpo17 – I want that bowl for breakfast EVERY DAY.

So, I really did spend all my cash on race day and now I’m living paycheck to paycheck and I need to calm my shit if I ever want to have a savings account again.  This is SO different than last year’s offseason where I didn’t want to touch a bike for 2 months, I am just so mentally fired up to DO STUFF that it’s excruciating that my body is taking so long to get with the program.  I’m unfairly comparing myself to where I was last year this time – after two months of offseason.  I’ve now just passed two weeks.

One of the coaches at our gym also did IM Texas and looked at us crazy when we told her even the little we’ve been doing.  She said she’s on pizza and beer for AT LEAST another two weeks.  So, fine.  I’m done with the pizza part of the equation, I need to watch what I’m eating because I refuse to gain any MORE weight, a reasonable, healthy human amount of light-moderate activity sounds like where I’m at right now.  Walking for an hour.  Riding bikes to work or on our recovery ride.  Swimming a lap or two around the lake.  Paddleboards and kayaks.  Lighter strength workouts.  Longer and harder efforts and I need to take some time apart, for our own good.

And I need to have faith that my body will let me know when it’s ready for more.  It’s killing me to have my season end just as tri season is ramping up and watching my teammates and friends crush races just stokes the fire to get RECOVERED already and back up and out there.  However, Saturday taught me it will not end well unless I give myself the time and space to do this the right way.  It’s just hard and I feel like such a weenie.

At least I’m an Ironweenie.

So, last week I did these things:

  • One rowing/weights/stretching session (45m)
  • One 18 mile BSS ride (1h30m)
  • One mile swim in the lake (30m)
  • All the crap at the expo (2h30m)

I also walked at least 10k steps each day (an average of about 14.6k actually).

This is definitely the maximum effort I want to be at right now and I’ll probably be dialing it back a little bit this week.  I’m not going to put up a plan because I’m not there yet, but I’m sure I’ll ride bikes a bit, I probably won’t be able to resist the lake being perfect right now at least once this week, I’ll continue to completely ignore running (we’re definitely not on speaking terms after Saturday), and if I feel good later in the week, some light strength work.

Let’s also talk about the realization about how that silly little sticks class kicked my ass.  Of course I’m probably not going to do stuff like that regularly during season, but it opened my eyes a bit.  Ironman training makes you super strong in so many ways, but it makes you so WEAK in others.  If I want to be a more well rounded human and overly stronger, more stable, and functional athlete, I need to do things besides all the miles of run/bike/swim.  To that end, I’m hoping to incorporate some of those types of activities that move my body in different ways over the next few months.

With the nutrition side of things, I’m feeling kind of the same way.

At least I’m cooking up some real foods now that have plants in them, so that’s a step in the right direction.

My mind is ready to cut calories down because oh my stars, I’m ready to start trying to shed some of this unfortunate weight, but I have to make sure I’m allowing myself to actually recover as well and trying to completely underfeed myself would not help me accomplish this end.  I started tracking my food last week, and it went… okay.  I managed to keep approximately a 5000 calorie deficit per fitbit with minimal pain and suffering and my weight stabilized at 189.5.  My appetite is beginning to behave itself, with moments of rebellion.

I’m trying to stay away from a barrage of junk food, drinking plenty of water, and actually quite trying to slowly replace all the carbs all the time with more fruit and veggies, starting with snacks.  I’m back to desert being described as something you have a small amount once or twice a week vs multiple times per day.  I’ve had the same bag of pretzels for two weeks now and there are no other salty snacks around.  My meals are similar, but I’m only eating three of them per day and I’m trying to gravitate towards the more filling ones for the calories because other than plant type snacks, that’s it for the day.

The last thing on the list is our friend alcohol.  I was actually able to celebrate Cinqo de Mayo with tacos and margaritas (homemade for both so they were lower calorie) for the first time in years because I didn’t have some sort of crazy training reason I had to be up super early.  It’s been nice to have a glass of wine here, a beer there, and not worry about how I was going to utterly fuck up tomorrow’s training.  If I actually want to make weight loss progress, I’m going to have to ration this eventually, but we’re still in the “hang loose” phase of this particular adventure for another few weeks.  Track and healthify the food, but enjoy some drinkies.

Sunday was a full on triathlon with volunteering, cleaning up, and a movie.  T1 was chillin’ on the couch with a beer and T2 was dinner and some wine.

My mood and energy level definitely perked up a bit this week.  There was gaming with friends. We went to go see a movie (Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – which I HIGHLY recommend and think might be my favorite Marvel movie so far).  We volunteered at Rookie Tri.  We had an early Mothers Day celebration with the in laws after busting our butts at the expo.  The week before, I think I left the house ONCE on Saturday for a few hours but that was it for plans besides a recurring date with my couch and netflix.  It was exactly what I needed, but it’s too pretty outside to make a habit of that!

We also reached the advanced beginner level of adulting!  I didn’t get that haircut, but I was able to finally CLEAN THE EFFING CAR and we got it washed and I’m dropping it off tonight to be serviced.  We finally made a Costco trip, and bought and installed outdoor lighting we’ve been talking about forever.  Additionally, we did a pretty good job picking up of the house, and cleaned out and blew the leaves out of the garage.  We cooked garlic shrimp pasta with asparagus and spinach, cilantro cajun turkey with rice and veggies, and chicken tacos.

Next week is all about moi.  I can’t do much about my body feeling lumpy, inflamed, and bloated, but I can make myself the best version of me I can.

  • Haircut!  …and after I get it done, consider using hairdye for the first time in about 15 years.  Part of the BLEH I look terrible is my hair and the cut will probably take care of it, but part of me isn’t sure about the Frankenstein’s bride thing I have going on in the front with the grey streak.
  • Pluck my eye caterpillars.
  • Redo my toes and maybe even my nails.
  • Pick up after sun care stuff, because my beloved Clinique is almost out after 4 years of using it…

Maybe more if I get antsy but I’m definitely not ready to graduate to Intermediate level adulting just yet.



The Aftermath

The week after the Ironman was not quite what I expected.

Always expect margaritas though…

I expected to be more tired and sore.  Not to say that I wasn’t, but it was maybe like third-or-fourth-worst-sore-marathon level and not get-me-a-wheelchair level.  Steps were hard for about 2 days, but that was it.  I was more mentally out of it… the day after, I spent 4 hours sitting by the pool kind of staring off into space, not reading, talking much, or anything, just sort of existing.  The extreme tireds caught up pretty quick once the caffiene in the coca cola, the race excitement, and the booze benders wore off.  I have spent quite a few 12 hour+ nights in bed with reading and sleeping combined.

I expected to spend the week sort of in a happy, post-IM bubble.  The day we got back, we had to say goodbye to our little old man schneider skink Lump.  It wasn’t a surprise because he’s not been doing so well, but he went way downhill while we were gone and it was time.  That, plus a bunch of other shitty shit happened last week and I felt like I needed a do-over.  However, the weekend combined leisurely lunches out, getting a few things done that were nagging at me (but not too many things so it didn’t feel like a hassle), and a whole lot of vegging on the couch binge watching Netflix.  We finally drank our post-race champagne on Sunday and I wore my damn medal and screamed YOU ARE AN IRONMAN a lot.  I felt redeemed.

I expected to be a LOT hungrier.  I definitely didn’t limit my portions and may have wanted a full ‘nother meal after my reasonably sized lunch two days after, but I felt less compelled to eat like an asshole because Ironman training actually let me kinda eat that way already.  I actually had vegetables and fruits last week in decent quantities.  By three days out, I split a burger between two meals because it was too much food.  I know when I nail my nutrition in training I’m way less hungry afterward, so this is perhaps confirmation I did just that at the race.

Plenty of foods but I wore my wetsuit and my bike helmet as well.

I expected to want weeks away from my goggles, my bike, and my running shoes.  We rode bikes with the group on Wednesday and it felt good, but 18 miles was PLENTY.  We swam with the tri team in the lake on Friday, but once around the quarry (750m) was enough.  25 minutes on the cruiser to lunch and groceries on Saturday in the heat and the wind tuckered me out.  The will is there, but the body is definitely saying that short bouts a couple times a week are the way to go.

I expected my knee to hurt more.  It’s not been completely pain free, but since the day after, it’s hurt less than any point 2 weeks before the race.  I have no idea what brought it on, like AT ALL, and I have no idea why doing an Ironman made it feel BETTER, but I’m still giving it enough space (read: no running or heavy lifting until after vacation) to repair itself.

I expected some weird body stuff, but not quite what I’ve experienced.  I still feel like a bag of water, literally almost sloshy, STILL a week and a half later.  The inflammation is real with this one, and this week I’m going to take steps to actually try and FIX it instead of probably aggravating it more with junk food and drinking beer and whiskey like water (and forgetting to actually drink water).  I’m hoping its working it’s way out because I have to pee like ALLLLL the time and it’s getting old.  Also – doing an Ironman makes you hair grow.  Literally.  I had an INSANE amount of stubble on my legs the day after, like a week’s worth, and it had been 2.5 days.  Weirdest thing ever.

I might have bought all the merch like I’d never be back but… hurrrr…. I  *really* want to do another one after I get all some of my life shit together…

I expected to be more one-and-done, or at least not wanting to do another one of these for a long time, but then again, I haven’t at any other race distance so I’m not sure why.  I really do feel a draw to do this one again.  That finish line is addictive.  Not next year because I have other priorities, but maybe 2019?  2020?  Definite possibilities.

I expected to have a little more oomph to get stuff done last week, but I always expect that and it never happens.  I was lucky to just do a basic level of adulting.  I might be an advanced beginner adult this week.  I’m adjusting my expectations here and I’ll work on getting to the intermediate/advanced level (read: the big to do list with appointments and house stuff and other projects, oh my) once I’m back from vacation.

So, it’s been about a week and a half.  I am definitely feeling a little of the post Ironman blues because I had absolutely zero things scheduled starting April 23rd.  This was totally intentional for a lot of reasons, but I expected to welcome the break a little more than I actually am right now.  It is completely unreasonable, but I kind of wish I was ready to jump on the swim/bike/run train.  The Ironman marketing team are evil geniuses because today I got an email telling me to NOT let my training die and sign up for IM Boulder this summer.  Argh, yes, that sounds great!!!

But no.  I need to face some other things.  As weird as it sounds, it sounds WAYYY more comfortable right now to jump right back into 12-15 hour weeks and ignoring the rest of my life.  Hopefully, that will pass soon as I remember what it’s like to have my identity not tied to Ironman for a while. As I get over the hump of “I’ve eaten healthy and counted calories for 24 hours, why have I not lost 15 lbs yet?”.  As I remember that it’s actually pretty awesome to just be a person who is active for the fun of it (and maybe sometimes to earn a little extra food) and not just because it’s on the training plan.

So, week one was really just surviving + a small amount of activity.  How about week two?

Definitely bikes.  Because always bikes.

I’m back to tracking food and weighing myself.  No specific calorie goal this week, just get back in the habit and try to keep it reasonable for my activity level. To be honest, I logged my weight the last three mornings without my glasses on so  I couldn’t see it, but I ended up checking it out today and it’s not *quite* as bad as it could be (189.8 which is about 3lbs up but also 5% more bodyfat/bloat than a month ago).  It’s time to shift my eating to mostly fruit and veggies and lean proteins and some grains and eschew the things that have fake orange coloring and come in a plastic tub or crinkly bag.

Water, water, water.  I know this will help with feeling like a water weenie, it’s just haaaaaaard when I don’t really focus on it.  My goal is to have four 24-oz Polar bottles independent of anything I drink while/directly after exercise.  So far this week I’ve done pretty well.

Still on the “whatever, whenever” plan but I’d like to do some of these things:

  • Ride bikes with friends.
  • Get to the lake to Sup or kayak or even maybe swim.
  • Foam roll and stretch a few times.
  • Spend 15-20 mins doing some bodyweight exercises 1-2 times this week
  • Attend the Pure Austin Expo and play.
  • But most importantly, 10k steps per day.  I slacked on it this week.  I need to be taking my 2-3 walks per day at work and maybe one in the evenings if I don’t have enough steps.

In terms of goals and to dos, I’d like to do a little bit more than surviving I did last week:

  • Get a haircut.  It’s time.  I waited until after the race so I didn’t have to worry about an awkward cut that wouldn’t ponytail, but I am definitely in need of my annual shearing.
  • Clean out the Prius and get it washed (or wash it ourselves).  It’s been on my list since January, and we did the Xterra last weekend.  It would be nice to tick this one off the list so we can…
  • Schedule an appointment next week to take it in for it’s 60k service.  It’s only 2k overdue. 😛
  • Gaming on Monday, early mother’s day on Saturday, volunteering for Rookie Tri on Sunday.

Since I’m still operating at the advanced beginner level of adulting, however, I’ll cut myself some slack if I don’t get to everything.

Ironman Texas – Run Party

Part 1 here (pre-race, swim), part 2 here (bike).  Follows is the thrilling (?) conclusion to Ironman Texas.


Getting out to the run was a relief.  At this point, I wasn’t going to get hit, kicked, punched, scratched, drown, or die of dysentery from swallowing canal poop.  I wasn’t going to wreck on my bike, get a flat, have my wheel fall off, fall over unclipping, or have to bike around the world to end up on the other side of a freeway.  You run or you walk (or crawl, but I was hoping I wouldn’t get to that point), and I had almost a full workday to do a combination of those around the 26.2 mile three loop course.

Assessing the situation after running about a mile and then walking through the first aid station I realized that a) my knee wasn’t thrilled with everything but it was holding up and b) the transition from walking to running was the worst part, so I resolved myself to try to run as long as I could and then take decently long walk breaks (about a mile running then 1/3 mile or so walking fast).  My average pace was staying around 12s, so I was fine with how things were progressing.

Let me just say that the run was my favorite part of this race – the course was a PARTY.  There was the sexy nurse helping us up the steep dirt hill.  There was hippie hollow (and there was no walking in hippie hollow, rules are rules).  There was slingshot corner that made you feel like you were in Tour De France with everyone cheering in your face.  There were two girls just standing at a random corner (under a floodlight in the dark) in the middle of a hidden trail encouraging everyone.  The Moxie crew was out having a dance party and slapping asses.  I gave at least a few hundred high fives to random people.  I kind of really want to come back next year, not to race (not yet), but to cheer people on because everyone was having SO MUCH FUN.

On the second lap, I made run friends with a gal from Delaware and a guy from Austin who were running together.  We were right about the same pace, so I hung with them a while and we chatted, for the life of me, I don’t remember about what, but it made the time pass a little faster.  However, we got to a point where handling conversation was hard for me and taking energy instead of helping.  Also, while we were the same pace, I realized I needed to run longer and faster than they were shuffling, and then walk longer, I told them to go ahead and I’d catch up.

I went past special needs again around mile 11.  I did some math, and figured that leaving my stuff there until mile 19 would be good motivation for me to hurry back and not take too many walk breaks.  I ran and walked and ran and walked and kept hearing “Hey Bicycle Sport Shop, your husband’s just a few minutes up ahead” (apparently he stopped a few times and asked spectators to look me up on their trackers and told them to look for me).  I hit the 13 mile marker at 2:43 garmin time, which meant I was on track for about 5:30 if I stayed consistent – the top of my expectations!  Yay!

If we made our own sign are we our own spectators? 🙂

On the third lap, I got to special needs with about 30 minutes to spare (yay), and I straight plunked down on the ground and had a picnic.  I chugged my chicken broth and coconut water, ate some chips, I used my pvc pipe to roll out my back and legs and hips (and then gave it to the volunteers to do the same!), I tied my shirt around my waist, grabbed my headlamp, and got going… like 10-15 minutes later.  Oops.  Apparently Zliten was just leaving special needs when I got there.  We missed each other by just a minute.  I might have had a little less tea time if I knew I could have left more quickly and potentially have caught up with him but I also kinda really needed the break.

I was hoping to be able to run most of the rest of the lap after my little picnic, and I got one good mile in after the stop, but about mile 21-22, my knee just kind of let me know it was DONE.  So, instead of run/walk, I changed to a 13-15 min/mile powerwalk.  I really think that walking a marathon is more painful than run/walking.  Not being able to alternate hurt the rest of my body SO MUCH MORE, all I wanted to do was run a little, but every time I tried, my knee was like HAHAHA NOPE!  Then, the other knee joined in to the NOPE NOPE NOPE party.  Super fun times, but I knew I just needed to press on.

So, I resigned myself to being one of those people you see on the Ironman videos walking in the dark with my glowstick necklace and bracelet (which HAD to be purple, no idea why, but it was VERY important at the time), and just tried to keep it as speedy and with a mission as possible.  The last thing I wanted to do was push it too hard and lose the ability to even walk and miss my chance to finish.  “I’m not in a hurry” didn’t ring QUITE as true in my ears, because damn, I was ready to be done, but I made myself repeat it while I powerwalked and tried to keep the grumbling to a minimum.

I was popular with my headlamp and had some walk buddies for a while, but due to different paces or bathroom stops, I didn’t stick with anyone for long.  I did realize at mile 22, I was sitting in a stinky porta potty longer than necessary just to rest my legs (get up get up GET UP).  The bottoms of my feet were on fire and I couldn’t figure out why – I figured out later that I had a giant blister on the pad of each foot, OW, I’m actually thankful that those didn’t come into focus until after the race.  Other than that, besides just wanting to be DONE and frustrated that my legs wouldn’t cooperate to make with the running motions instead of walking, I was just doing just fine, taking care of business, enjoying the crowds, and soaking the last bit of my first IM in.

Let’s talk about my stomach and nutrition.  I had untold amounts of gatorade and water (but a lot, like *having to pee 3 times* a lot), one coconut water, a cup of coke about every other aid station, salty snacks occasionally when they were available, some fruit, and I had my own chicken broth and two other cups along the way.  I had two gels and a full pack of blocks.  I took two sets of 303 muscle relaxers (one at the start, one at special needs), one tums because it sounded good, and two salt pills at spec needs.  My stomach felt rock solid the entire run.  My only fail was a little bit of self-flagellation on the last 5 miles (if you can’t run you totally don’t need nutrition, right?) but other than that, I couldn’t be happier with how everything but my cranky knees held up.

I wish I had 27.5 miles of 8:30 min/mile pace.  That’s a 5k for me on a really good day…

Let’s also talk about my garmin being EXTREMELY rude.  For the first two loops, it was significantly behind.  For example, I’m hitting the 14 mile marker and my garmin is saying 13.5.  The last lap, at some point it completely flipped the other way and at mile 23, it said 23.5.  I tried to stop looking at my garmin because I knew the course signs were probably right, but by the end, it had me pegged at 27.5 miles…. ><.

I hit the waterway, the crowd support starting to thin out a *little* nearing 10pm, but there was still a lot going on, which helped keep me going.  I did the down, over, saw Zliten heading to the finish and got a hug, then around, rang the last lap bell with fervor, and finally when I made the turn with a quarter mile to go, I started running.  Eff it.  My knees could deal, I wasn’t walking across the finish line.

The finish line is pretty magical and TOTALLY worth it.  You feel like a rockstar.  Hundreds of people are cheering for you, you get the cool red carpet, the lights are bright, the music is loud, and as Mike Reilly calls you an Ironman, you look and feel a lot like this.

Run time: 6:28:04

Total time: 15:56:12

The run was almost 30 mins slower than expected, just like everything else was a little slower than expected.  I really had pegged my finish time to be between 14-15 hours on a good day.  I can nitpick how crappy my swim form was in the washing machine and how I can maybe stay in aero more and have the wind suck less on the bike and try and HTFU a little more on the run, and for eff’s sake, maybe take less of a nap in transitions (and porta potties and special needs…) next time.  None of that matters.  This time, I got my money’s worth and got to savor almost 16 hours of playing triathlon in The Woodlands and then I got to join the exclusive Ironman club at about 10:45pm on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017.

Post Race:

Joining the club means a shit-eating grin on my face and being deliriously happy at my volunteer catcher.  She got me my finisher shirt and hat and some water, and then I went to look for Zliten who sent me back in the picture line and we got pictures together where I just look crazy eyed and sunburnt and bloated and probably won’t buy for 30 bucks each but it was VERY important we did that, apparently.  Then, my salvation… the crappy post race slice of cheese pizza.  I ate three.  It was everything.

The rapid recovery boot people had chairs open, so we ducked in and now THIS was the best thing ever in life.  Then we got our morning clothes bags and I bundled back up in my fleece and pjs, and we made the trek back to T1 to get all our bagsbagsbagsbagsbags.  We had originally planned on walking it all back together but it was a LOT OF CRAP and bikes so I stayed with our mound of stuff and Zliten got the car (thankfully, he got someone to give him a ride back to the garage).  Next time, we’ll stick a key somewhere else we’ll have at the finish so we don’t have to do that.

Late night post race noms.  Notice the bottle opener.  Ironman wanted to prepare us for the next week of beer drinking…

I was prepared for some ugly stomach stuff, either RAVENOUS hunger or extreme distress, and I had neither.  I had an easy mac, watermelon, chips and a beer when I got back to the hotel room at 1:30am, but my fueling and hydration was on point enough that I drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake up in the middle of the night starving.  I ate two big meals and snacks the next day, and some more beer.  Monday was probably the worst of it, where I ate a meal and then immediately wanted another one, but by Tuesday, I got a burger and had to split it into lunch and dinner (with a salad) because it was too much food.

I was prepared to undertake some extremely low points, to have it feel like a long and terrible day.  I was just amazed at how much my training, which I thought was on the minimal side of things, prepared me.  The swim was rough, but at least I wasn’t swimming into the chop at Pflugerville for 2 hours.  Biking into the wind was mentally draining, but it wasn’t like rolling the 6 hour Pace Bend loop 14 times in the wind and the rain and the cold or climbing hills into similar gusts on 360 and Bee Caves halfway into my first century ride.  That TERRIBLE marathon I walked a lot of last year taught me that if your body starts to give out, just keep going towards the finish as fast as you can however you can.  I didn’t ever think about never wanting to swim again, throwing my bike away, or only running 5ks in the future.  In fact, I think I figured out why people really love Ironman races and I’m pretty sure even at the finish line I was plotting my return.

I was also prepared to have some sort of mental revelation or religious experience or feel different or whatever, but I honestly don’t.  Yes, it was a damn big deal to finish this race.  I had convinced myself otherwise the day before “well, if *I’m* doing it, it’s not a big thing” and I realized at the end that it was indeed a huge accomplishment.  But it wasn’t just Saturday that changed me.

It was that after this last 4 months, training for a half ironman will never feel quite as long ever again.  It was becoming a cyclist vs a scaredy triathlete that bikes outside very very occasionally.  It was conquering my first century ride, after a few failed attempts.  It was running 20 miles and getting up to ride bikes the next day.  It was those long days where I triathloned from sun up to after sun down and pushed my limits beyond comprehension.  This was really just a celebration, and a validation, of all that work, that it was enough, that I was enough, to travel 140.6 miles on my own volition in under 17 hours.

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