Adjusted Reality

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

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Changing the Narrative…

It’s offseason, which means it’s time to dust off the cobwebs in the psyche and really dig around in there. Peeking out of my hole to share some insights…

Also, it’s been a nice excuse to get caught up on diving photos just in time for my holiday trip, where I’ll take two weeks of footage and get blissfully behind again…

It’s been a little over a year since my focus on Courage and Confidence. My headspace has changed so much in some regards, my prior thoughts and feeling ring so foreign to me. I remember a time when my head was full of negative and self-deprecating sentiments. I remember having little confidence in my capabilities and suffering from constant and overpowering imposter syndrome. I remember internalizing things that happened to go wrong in my life even if they weren’t my fault. I remember feeling numb, disinterested, and disengaged with many things in my life and sort of… floating.

I remember being paralyzed by a subconscious fear that I wasn’t good enough at something, at anything, at everything. I remember shying away from activities where I didn’t find immediate success. I remember being afraid to speak my mind, stand up for my opinion, and stick my neck out for things I believe in, because people would think I was just a dumb stupid girl that didn’t know anything.

I know that was my reality. I just don’t feel like that anymore.

I also remember sleeping well and not waking up in the middle of the night with worries, thoughts, ideas, and schemes. Numbness is a mixed bag, but one I very much like being absent in my life right now. I’ll take a little overthinking at 2am because it means I CARE ABOUT SHIT.

One thing I’ve started doing is trying to use that overactive imagination and the asshole voice in my head for the powers of good. You know the one I’m talking about, the one that spouts things like “you’re not worth it” or “don’t even bother, you won’t be good enough” or “everyone will make fun of you” or “you’re a terrible person”. The obvious thing is to combat this with lukewarm statements like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” I’m trying a new thing… taking my silent pep talks to the next level. Instead of mild platitudes, I tell myself things like “I’m fucking amazing at things when I give them enough effort and time, my brain is a work of wonder when I really focus, and it’s awesome to be in my orbit.”

I’m taking precautions to avoid stepping over the line into narcissism – I’m focusing on myself and not any sort of value judgements on other people (no way do I want to start down the terrifying and dark rabbit hole ranking myself against anyone else). But, by striking this hyper confident tone in my personal head narrative that I’m awesome and confident and good and worthy and capable and competent, I think I’ve made huge steps towards actually believing I can be and becoming these things. I’m internalizing my successes and externalizing my failures (while analyzing what happened so I do my best not to repeat a flailing performance). I no longer feel fragile enough that criticism of some work I hold dear could fell me.

This has helped me more confidently orate at work. I don’t cower when I need to state my opinions (which are based on a heck of a lot of knowledge and experience) at work in front of superiors. Earlier in the year, I held back a lot because I felt the sword of Damocles hanging over my head, just waiting for me to mess up, get something wrong, and be called out as incompetent. While I always need to practice my presentations, it also has become natural for me to get up in front of the entire company and talk competently without notes. Earlier in the year I literally almost had a panic attack when I had to condense my six pages of SXSW panel notes into one crib sheet. I’ve been on camera this year than I probably have collectively in my whole life, leading or co-anchoring the dialogue. Years gone by, I would have passed up these opportunities instead of embracing each one and asking for more.

Also, I’ve learned how to be vulnerable and ask for help and enjoy NOT being amazing at things in public. I started playing this ridiculous game called Blood Bowl (think elves and orcs playing a hyper-violent version of Rugby) with the league at work. The camaraderie and trash talking has been a blast, but I was easily one of the worst players in the league last season. So, past me would have just NOPED out after that, scared of flailing and showing people how badly I suck at a thing.

Instead, I saw myself get a LITTLE better at the end of the season, and got hooked hard. I play or watch games almost every day now, and I recruited one of the best players in the league to give me some advice. We chat about the game almost daily as well and he answers all manner of my inane questions and seems to be happy to do so. Past me would have likely just spun myself up having to learn everything in secret both because I felt like I’d annoy anyone who I’d ask for help and also I didn’t want to look like I didn’t know everything about something. THIS IS A HUGE STEP FOR ME.

At the beginning of the year, I hadn’t shared any of my (not blog) writing with anyone. That’s not the case now. I’ve written voraciously (not here though, sorry), and shared it selectively with folks I thought might be interested, and in some cases, I think I may have overwhelmed them by dropping too many words in their lap. Earlier in the year, I felt mortified about it, like “my writing sucks, who would want to read so much of it, I can’t believe I sent someone the burden of all these words of mine”. Now, I’m like, “huh, maybe it’s not their cup of tea and/or they don’t have time to read it”. I had someone reciprocate and send me a link to their writing. It’s sitting open, and unread. I’m looking forward to it. I just haven’t had time.

Earlier in the year, I was worried when my diving photos got very few likes on Facebook, like way less than when I post about anything else. I almost thought about posting them elsewhere instead, taking the lack of response as people rolling their eyes at my content. Then, several people, not the same ones that hit that precious FB thumbs up button tied to self worth, over the last few months tell me how much they enjoyed seeing them. That made me more motivated to keep sharing… just because people don’t obviously and visibly appreciate the things you do don’t mean you shouldn’t keep enjoying them publicly. Posting my photos is not an imposition to anyone.

Instead of letting that overactive imagination in my head come up with these unlikely narratives where people now think I’m a horrible person who is crap at everything, I’m trying to follow the Occam’s Razor principle, that is, that the simplest theory is usually the right one.

At least, that’s what I’m inking in my narrative and will confidently go forth believing until convinced otherwise.

Kerrville 70.3

When it’s one of those races where I can’t get excited nor angry about the result, it’s the hardest to get motivated to write a recap. And thus, it’s been like 16 days.

A lot of the details have surely faded in that time, it feels like it’s been offseason forever right about now, but, in the interest of having a record of days of consequence, here I am. Also, as MEH as I was about the race itself, the bike at mile 6 was pretty dramatic. But I digress.

The day before was by rote. Normal breakfast (greek yogurt and berries), lunch (sandwich), dinner (chicken taters salad). Lots of snacks. I definitely had an appetite even with so little training that week, my body seemed to understand what it was in for and attempted to greedily grasp at any calorie in my vicinity. Bags were packed, bikes were delivered, and I was in bed and asleep by 9.

Then I woke up as my husband crawled over me in the camper to go pee, and I couldn’t fall asleep for hours. D’oh. Not his fault, my brain just wouldn’t shut off.

The morning went by rote as well, doing all the normal pre-race dinking around. It was already warm, the lake was not wetsuit legal (actually, it was the warmest it’s ever been), and it was going to be a day – the high was slated to be in the 90s and with humidity and rain… yeah. It was going to be a fight.

But, I was there, and ready to do battle.

Swim:

Sixteen days out, I have very little of note on the swim except:

  • It was long. The leader of my age group, with the fastest swim time, clocked over 42 minutes for the supposed 1.2 miles, not buying it.
  • It was slow. 47:03 was not a time I expected to see when I emerged from the water.
  • I couldn’t friggin’ pee. I even stopped kicking a few times to try and it just didn’t happen. Whomp, whomp.

Swim: 47:03 for (ahem, probably more than) 1.2 miles.

T1:

Kicked ass, went fast while I saw other people hanging out, and beat everyone in my age group but one person. Rock!

T1: 2:53

Bike:

I started out super confident, ready to make up some time and find the girls in my age group leading the race and get in the hunt. I peed on the bike on the first straightaway when I had some personal space (yay!), and I got to work, feeling good at my expected pace and power.

Then, at mile 6, as I went to pass someone up a hill, shifting both my big and little gears at the same time, I dropped my chain. No big deal, right, easy to fix a dropped chain, this should be seconds, right? Well, instead of simply dropping my chain, it was wrapped around the back of my crank twice. I tried to get enough slack to unravel it, and after a few minutes of making sure I wasn’t being a dumbass, I sat by the side of the road with my poor, crippled Deathstar, waiting for SAG.

I was most pissed at that point because I spent days carbing up and had just popped an energy gel. If I had to get pulled, I was still going to go run that effing half marathon even if it didn’t count.

Within five minutes (!!!) the on-course bike mechanics came by and then spent 11 minutes first attempting to do the same thing I did, and then after a while cut my chain and reattached it, sending me on my way. I was thrilled to get a chance to continue to race, but unfortunately, sixteen minutes back meant I was out of contention for most any goals I had that day, except mayyyyybe sneaking in just under my PR if I really really fought for it for the next five hours.

I did my best to continue the ride just as planned, fighting off cranky brain demons, and went into the tactic I took occasionally in training. I delved into stories, thought about other stuff, and just made sure that power stayed where it should. My power was 140W (154W normalized) which I believe is my best 70.3 showing. My speed – 18mph (not counting the stop) definitely did not represent this effort (especially when my husband rolled in 3 minutes slower than me at at least 20 less power, 25 lbs heavier). My bike was not 100%, my brain was not 100%, but I’m happy with the underlying tones of the things in this ride that went right.

Bike time: 3:25:20 (3:08:13 garmin time)

T2:

It was already super hot. I was already a little demoralized. I took some extra time to sit down to put on my shoes, drink an entire Gatorade, and go for my salt pills and 303s… which were ruined by a leaky biofreeze. I had to throw them out. Awesome.

T2: 5:35

Run:

I was going to give it a go. I ran the first two miles fast – total time in the 10s, even stopping at every aid station. Somewhere in between mile 3 and mile 4, I broke. Looking at the total time, I needed to get close to a half marathon PR to PR my race, and that wasn’t going to happen in the 90+ degree and humid day we were facing. So, instead, I decided to take my time and have fun.

Four years ago, facing the same type of bullshit, I spent half the run almost crying. This time, instead, I made friends, joked with volunteers, made a run wife, made copious use of the aid station buffets, and rolled in with a time, while not my best, definitely not my worst, and actually pretty impressive with all the walking I did.

Run time: 2:47:54. Let me note here that my moving time was over seven and a half minutes shorter than my actual time. I spent THAT LONG stuffing ice down my kit and once retying my shoe.

Overall time: 7:08:47. Meh.

All in all, it was a day. That’s about what I have for you. I finished, which I didn’t think was possible at mile 6 of the bike. I made a conscious choice to tank my race and have fun instead of annihilate myself once my day took a turn for the worse. The frustrating thing? 3rd in my age group was over 7 minutes slower than my Cozumel race last year. I’m very certain if I came off the bike when I should have (under 4 hours), I definitely had a 2:35 half marathon in me, and I could have podiumed. However, coming off the bike at almost 4:30, there was no 2:05 half marathon for me in that heat.

I’m more than happy about the potential that my body and mind showed me this training cycle, though I’m a little sad I didn’t get to realize it race day. This year, however, this was the build for something bigger, and now it’s time to focus on Ironman Texas in April, that is, after some rest and playing bikes this fall!

Ring the bells that still will ring

Alrighty folks, it’s race week. It’s been both a lifetime and a wink since I started this training cycle, but whatever has transpired in the last few months, here it is!

70.3 training, conquered.

It’s been over a month since I’ve penned anything in this space, fiction is simply holding my interest a little more than status reports, but I would be remiss to completely abandon a training log. So, let’s catch up.

In my last post, I was incredibly proud of how my brain quieted down a bit and training felt fantastically familiar. I was practically at my typical maximum training distances already and feeling confident. Then, I had some rough days at work and things went a little sideways with the training schedule. I took an extra day off the week of August 20th, and my long training that weekend took an unfortunate turn – I had a pretty great bike but took a digger at mile 2 of my run and bruised the heck out of my knee and elbow. While I could tell I had no permanent injury from the tumble, my body reminded me each step of what had transpired. I also felt weirdly dehydrated, had to take lot of breaks to drink, putting down almost a full bottle per mile. I had to cut it short due to both time and bodily conditions, clocking 9 miles instead of 11.

I took the next week almost completely off. It was supposed to be a rest week, but I had a little more planned than a one hour run Thursday and a long workout Saturday. I fared much better on that one, though. My bike was a wee bit under race power, but I had a much more successful run, finishing out my 2 hours at 11.56 miles in much hotter conditions. I’d be more than thrilled with this pace at the race.

September 2nd kicked off my last peak week. I hit every workout planned, for 10.5 hours total. I hit two long back to back swims. I ran a speedy almost-half marathon, clocking 2 hours and 5 minutes exactly for 12.5 miles (about 10 min/mile pace). Then, while I had flagging motivation to start the session, once I got going, I absolutely crushed my long day – 57 miles with a faster pace and higher power output for the distance than ever before, and a 6 mile run conquering the noonday heat in feels like 105 degrees. It was confidence-building and great problem solving practice should the race be this sweltering (though please no!!!).

Labor day bike and run play time. Every Monday should be like this…

Two weeks ago, I had a resurgence of work stuff going on, so I missed a few sessions. It was taper, I completed the big stuff, I wasn’t too concerned. Unfortunately, I ended up having to cut my long workout a bit short as well, which caused me a little consternation. The hour bike went fantastically, easily holding race power, but I got out on the run really late, it was really hot, I wasn’t feeling 100%. I pushed through whininess and uncomfortable feelings, but when I started getting goosebumps and feeling dizzy, I called the run at 90 minutes instead of 2 hours.

Last week started with the same chaos, but thankfully my workout plans were simply to do something for between 30-60 minutes most days this week, and the only non-negotiable was a race distance, race pace swim. I had a pretty fantastic brick, clocking 3 miles around sprint distance pace off race power (I’ve slowed a little as it was 9:12/mile instead of in the 8s but DANG IT’S HOT, I’m going with that as my excuse) and that swim yesterday, clearing race distance in just under 41 minutes. My PR is just over 40, and I’m nowhere near as trained as I was at that time (and also the water was at least 10 degrees hotter), so the final piece fell into place with that workout.

I’ve probably clocked less midweek miles than typical, especially some of those work-crazy weeks, but in recollect, I’ve never climbed to race distances so quickly in the training cycle with such ease, and I’ve never completed so many long runs, especially off the bike. Holding race power (140-150 watts) feels natural both indoors and out (though outside is always easier). I’ve spent plenty of time in the heat, and I’m as acclimated as I could possibly be. I didn’t swim that much this cycle but I did put up four 2k+ swims, three of those in open water.

I do believe I’m ready to race in seven days.

I’m going to refrain from laying out my entire strategy from Saturday morning until the finish line since we’ve done this many, many times and I don’t plan to fix what isn’t broken, but let’s talk a bit about the swim/bike/run plan even if we’ve heard this all before a million times. It’s a good reminder.

If you’re going to ask about #projectraceweight, see my answer in the bottom left. I’ll get back to that after the race…

Swim:

If it’s legal, even by 0.1 degrees, I’ll wear my wetsuit. It helped a lot yesterday. Either way, my goal is to not get caught up in the craziness and to swim like it’s a warmup. If it takes an extra minute or two, that’s fine. I’ll make up that time before I hit a few miles in on the bike if I feel warmed up and refreshed instead of gassed.

I’d love to see under 40 minutes, but only if it’s at the proper effort. I’m guessing closer to 40-42 if all goes well.

Bike:

Give myself some time to warm up, but by the bottom of the first lap (around mile 13 I believe), I should be at race power and maintain it the rest of the ride UNLESS it feels particularly awful and like I’m trashing my race to do so. That means pushing downhills as well as uphills, and passing aggressively as needed. Gel as quickly as I can stomach one, and then every 45 minutes after for the entirety of the race. One bottle of electrolytes every bottle stop. Depending on the weather, I may take 1-2 salt pills per hour for the remainder of the race as well, and I’ll have 303 muscle relaxers on hand in case I need them. Though I’ve been blessedly pain free most training days, I know ish can go sideways during a six hour race.

I really really really want to see a sub-3 hour split here, finally. I rode 3:01 in practice in what I expect were more difficult conditions than the race, so if all goes well, I’m gunning for 2:59:59 or bust! Well, as long as it’s not going to tank my run. Again, I’ll sacrifice a few minutes to feel fresher if I need. Though I do covet a bike PR, you place in the race with your overall time, not your bike split, much as I try to will that change into existence.

Guys, this is really fast for me in feels like 90s…

Run:

This is always my wildcard. I can peg my swim and bike times within a few minutes maximum. I know I have a ~2:10 run in me right now if I can keep my cool, literally (core temperature) and figuratively (quieting the arsehole voice in my brain telling me it’s okay to stop and walk). I’ve also had over 3 hour run split days when everything falls apart. So, the goal is not to do that. Keep it together, woman!

Every long run has me pegged to finish between about 2:10-2:20. I know this is within my reach if I can simply keep myself from walking. If that means taking an extra few seconds to shove ice in my kit and pound three cups of electrolytes every aid station, I’ve proven to myself that it’s worth it.

Transitions:

Are lava. Get in, get out, get on with your life.

Overall:

I’ve definitely in a different place than I’ve been with racing as of late. I’ve not had the mental gymnastics of last year’s race prep. There was something in me that so badly needed to prove my competency by having a stellar race. I felt an inkling of self worth for the first time, and I was grasping it so tightly it could barely breathe. A year removed, I have more faith and confidence in the fact that in many facets of life, I am putting forth a lot of effort and kicking some ass on the daily. While I really do quite want to showcase my true potential next Sunday, I don’t feel like the entirety of my ego is on the line.

I don’t know that there’s any way I could want a PR more than I did at Cozumel without my heart actually exploding, so I’ll say I’ve got a little less hunger, but in reality, it may be the same level, just in a different fashion. It feels quieter, it feels calmer, but that fire in my belly is super totally there. I am a little behind on race visualization, I’ve been distracting myself to get through sessions, this week I will concentrate on being wholly inside myself.

This one last year was a freaking warrior. I can only hope to do the same this year and make past me proud!

I’ve been listening to Leonard Cohen – Anthem a lot this cycle. It’s got the famous quote, yeah, the one with the crack and the light, but I believe it’s the first part of the lyric spoke to me more.

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in

There will be a point in which the race will stop feeling good and nice and fun. It might be two seconds into the swim, or perhaps I’ll have a banner day and it won’t arrive until the second hour of the run. That’s the point in which I need to forget perfection, and ring those dang bells that still will ring. Whatever cylinders I have at the time, I will be running on all of them, whatever that looks like on September 29th.

And if that looks like a unicorn day clocking sub-6 hours, a solid day putting up a PR (sub 6:28), or a day full of challenges where getting to the finish at all is a mountain in and of itself, I’ll be content as long as I don’t lose my fight.

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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