Adjusted Reality

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

Page 2 of 184

Florida Cruise Part 2: Roatan and Costa Maya

Last I left off, we were in not-so-sunny Cozumel.

However, rainy Cozumel is just fine with me.

Especially, just fine for enjoying some tasty beverages at Senior Frogs in port after a successful diving day.

Can’t wait to come back in the fall for the Ironman 70.3, so I had to become the M dot in anticipation!  After a fantastic day of diving and drinks, all we really could do was just enjoy another delicious dinner and then head to bed.

Thursday was another early wakeup for Tabyata Beach.  While I love diving, I was most excited for this port.  Last year I snorkeled here for about four hours and ended up seeing some amazing things!

More lobster friends.

Blue angelfish being just a little coy.

Balloonfish!  I see Porcupine fish everywhere but rarely their darker cousins.

Squid!  I danced with their pod for a bit and even got to see them shoot ink and swim away… and then get curious again and come back.

We got out around noon to eat lunch, one that I had been looking forward to all year.  BBQ chicken, rice and beans, and coleslaw sounds like nothing special, doubly so when it’s dark meat chicken (which usually is a deal breaker for me), but something about it (maybe the ocean air, but probably just the delicious sauce) makes it magical.

We went back into the ocean for what we hoped would be another great snorkeling session, but the seas got rough, and instead, we just got raked over a bunch of coral in the current.  Y’all know me.  I’m a strong swimmer and I can persevere in just about any conditions.  This was bad.  When we got caught, all we could do is just hope the surge sent us in the direction where the least amount of pokey and scratchy things were at.  I wore my long sleeved rashguard, which saved me from most of it because I aimed my back at the reef, but I wasn’t wearing my long pants so some particularly feisty coral caught my knee right before we found clearer water.

We dried off, got Zliten patched up, and then took our toys and went home.  You KNOW it’s a bummer of a day when I don’t spend every last minute in the water.  The rest of the day was spent playing cards, seeing a really kick ass aqua show involving high diving, trampolines, and gymnastics (so, pretty much teenage me’s dream, and even 39-year-old me kinda wanted to go play if they would have let me), and another great dinner and bed for one more early wake up.

Friday was our last port, Costa Maya.  I actually got myself to the breakfast buffet instead of having my butler Zliten deliver it to my room and found all the veggies (and bacon).

I had zero expectations at this port.  I booked a snorkel and open bar tour mostly because I wanted transport to a beach and a place to sit and have some drinkies and it cost about the same as just that.  The snorkel tour was predictably terrible with a giant group of mostly newbies (the times I got kicked in the head  = much greater than zero), but we went back out after and saw some cool stuff.

Lionfish!

These yellow stingrays were everywhere.  I’ve never seen so many!

And after two and a half hours of snorkeling, right as I was getting out, I saw something I’d never seen before in about a foot of water.  My new camera rocks for getting such a great picture in the silty murky water.  After looking it up, it’s an albino mantis shrimp!  Holy crap!

I got dragged out of the water since Zliten’s owies from yesterday were hurting him, and we spent the rest of the day on the beach.  It oscillated between sun and rain, and we were served margaritas as quickly as we could finish them.

We got super authentic nachos with the local “plastic” cheese. 😛

These fine folks gave us a fantastic massage in the rain.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed.  Happy.  Place.

And then we spent some time at the pool bar before we absolutely had to go and the ship would leave us there.  I had much more fun in Costa Maya than I expected and would definitely consider going back to that same beach next time.

It was fancy night #2, and somehow I have zero pictures of that, but we enjoyed a lobster dinner.  This was from last year, but we can just pretend.

Then, we visited theater one more time for the Blue Planet show which was amazing – I was most impressed that the same folks from Mama Mia and some of the acrobats also were in this show as well.  Busy performers!  We hit the outdoor dance party next in the Solarium and danced and had fun, but my stomach wasn’t feeling super great so I headed to bed well before everything closed down.

Saturday, I slept in until I couldn’t sleep anymore.  I think I made it until about 10am.

First on the agenda was hitting the pool.  Instead, we ran for the hot tub because it was windy, rainy, and nasty out.

We grabbed a little lunch and then atoned for my sins with a pretty hard (for a stationary bike) 30 minute ride and 45 minutes of kettlebells. These statues we called “flower butts” greeted us before and after every workout.

It was gross and rainy and they actually even closed off the outer decks in the afternoon, and I was kind of over my camera at that point, so please enjoy this (still cloudy but not as nasty of a day) picture from earlier in the week.  Instead, we played cards all afternoon.  I think we got in 9 games total through the whole week, and I don’t remember the win/loss ratio, but I’m pretty sure it favored my Dad. 🙂  After a while, we tried to go to the ice show, but we couldn’t get seats together, so instead we packed up our suitcases, lounged a bit, and headed out for one more delicious meal.

I was feeling really yucky after dinner but a little lounging in bed made me feel better, so we went to the last comedy show of the cruise.  The comic was very good, but I felt even worse by the end of it, and spent the night sweating through my pajamas and then freezing and then tossing and turning and I was not thrilled with the situation in the slightest.

Sunday, we said goodbye to the ship.

…and our nice view from our central park room.  The rest of the day involved a very very tired, sick, and whiny me spending 2 hours in line for customs, then about 6 hours at the airport waiting for our flight to Austin.  I can’t think of a time when I was more ready to be home from a trip and I was immensely happy we were off for Memorial Day so I didn’t have to drag my sick ass to work the next day.

Even though the last half had a few bummers, I thoroughly enjoyed the vacation, the itinerary, the ship, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.  My parents are actually flying back to do it again in September.  The ginormous ship did mean a lot more people and lines and crowds in places, but that was balanced out with a bigger selection of things to do and eat than the smaller ships, many places to jump in the pool, and a super nice gym, so it worked out.

I say I’d like to take it a little easier next time, but the thing is – if there’s water with fishies, I’m going to drag my camera rig and swim in it as long as humanly possible.  It’s just in my nature.  However, next time, I’d like to request some better conditions, less stormy skies, and skip the side of getting sick at the end!

Florida Cruise Part 1: Allure of the Seas, Nassau, Cozumel

I don’t know why I’ve put this one off for so long.  I think I’ve written so many cruise recaps that I was trying to figure out how to make this one more interesting, but I think you’ll just have to indulge me on this travel log.

Saturday, we flew to Florida, and entertained ourselves in extremely rainy weather by eating at the Sweet Tomatoes salad buffet after a soggy three quarter mile walk, playing cards, and having taco bell for dinner because, lazy (it was right next to the hotel).

Sunday morning, we planned to run, but it was still so rainy we went back to sleep instead.  I did get in a swim in the hotel pool even though it looked like this.

Between the rain and the humidity, my hair looked like I stuck my hand in a light socket the whole time.  *shrug*.  The good news is that from hotel to shuttle to port, we were on the ship and eating lunch in about an hour which is just friggin’ amazing, especially considering the size of the humongous Allure of the Seas.

Then, we checked out the gym, which was actually FABULOUS, and we spent more time there over the cruise than we expected.  I knocked out a nice progression 5k run (shorter than I had wanted but I didn’t feel like an hour on the treadmill) and then about 45 minutes of weights.  They had a great set of kettlebells which I made copious use of during the week.

Then, we did the normal boat drills, unpacking, cards with the fam, and then dinner.  Our waiters John and Simon were some of the best and most fun we’ve ever had, and we looked forward to dinner every day.  While it’s been too long for me to list out everything I ate, or even the highlights, really (if I didn’t take a picture of it), but we thought the food on this ship was a little better, even if the dishes were mostly the same, than our normal ship out of Galveston.

Normally, we go explore the ship and stay up and play a bit, but not this evening.  Instead of two sea days, this itinerary started bright and early in Nassau for diving the next day, so we went to bed pretty much right after supper and prepping our gear.

Monday was an early alarm (6:30 which was 5:30 back home).  I groggily did the wake up things while my husband was up and peppy and got us a plate of breakfast to split.

The giant tropical storm really mucked with our weather all week.  Don’t let some of these photographs lie – I edited the heck out of things so it looks all sunny and gorgeous, and while there were some moments of sun, it rained every day – at least a little, some days a LOT.

Nassau diving with Stuart’s Cove was something I remembered fondly from a previous trip, it actually made us choose this cruise.  However, this specific day, the conditions were crappy, we dove with a bunch of newbies, and the divemaster seemed to be over it – he went very quickly.  He said “follow ME not the fish” to which I muttered “yeah, we’re going to have problems” because I will always (in conditions I feel safe in) follow the fish.

It was not a complete bust.  I got some nice photos.

Quite a few gorgeous grouper.

Usually these crabs like to hide, but this one posed for me right on top of the reef.

However, overall, I felt kind of rushed and the visibility was just not great.  All dives can’t be Bonaire dives, I guess!

After dropping our gear and grabbing a very quick snack on board, we consoled ourselves with some Nassau beers at a bar in an alley.  Please pity us.

We dressed up for fancy dinner.  I had some super yummy cilantro crusted cod, but my husband ended up with some prime rib that he said was one of the best he’s ever had.

This is as dressed up as my parents get.  Aren’t they adorable though?

We had a few more drinks after dinner, perhaps tried out the late night pizza place like I totally said I was not going to do, and tucked ourselves into bed just after midnight.

Tuesday was an At Sea day which meant sleeping in and then really getting to explore the ship.

We hit the gym again and then tried out the “healthy” lunch area (which, I’ll give them credit, had some good choices like baked fish and brown rice and all sorts of veggies and fruit), and then went mini golfing with the family.  We lost terribly to my parents, which is not a-typical when competing against them at games. 🙂

The giant theater was gorgeous and we enjoyed a full production of Mama Mia before dinner.

I found some chairs to be really small in while we waited for dinner.

Hot. harissa. chicken.  With yogurt sauce.  Then bed.  Because more diving in the AM.

Wednesday, we docked in Cozumel and were excited for a second diving day, because #divingdaysarethebestdays

Our dive shop was right at the docks which was convenient, and our divemaster was AWESOME.  He saw I had a pretty sweet camera set up and pointed me in the direction of a lot of cool (small) stuff to photograph.

Seahorse!  Finally, Zliten doesn’t have to resent me for seeing them in Bonaire when he was sick and couldn’t dive.  I wish my lights wouldn’t have been acting up at that point, but this is an improvement over the last seahorse picture (actually not appearing in that post because it was so poor).

Red lipped blenny!  He kept poking his head out and taunting us with his adorably grumpy little face.

All the lobster.  With the new camera, it really picks up some great detail on subjects that are curious and friendly and pose for me.

This lionfish decided to pose with a gorgeous red coral background.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the bunch.

Clingy crab.

I’ve never seen such a big hermit crab in a his shell.  I love his little eye stalks.

And… a gorgeous eel.  This was with my macro.  Crazy.  For such crappy conditions, we actually had a pretty amazing diving day!

For the rest of my day in Cozumel, the ocean being unkind in Roatan, and a really rare find in Costa Maya in about a foot of water, check out Part 2.

Eighth time’s a charm – Lake Pflugerville Sprint Triathlon

Saturday morning at 5:30am I was awake popping copious amounts of aleve and cursing being a girl.

Post swim was the best I felt yesterday.  I truly am a fish.

I’m not entirely sure why my body, which is usually a trooper, has to go into conniption fits for about a day once a month, but it’s just one of those things that it means to be me.  I’ve asked multiple doctors and health professionals about it (since all my exams have come back normal) and I’ve gotten answers from “well, just start taking painkillers when you THINK you’re about to start” (no) and “it’s just part of the process” (sad trombone).

This is all well and good until you wake up on race day feeling like a bloated, exhausted, painful monster.  I’m thankful it was the day before instead, but it hit me really really hard this month and I was a zombie on Saturday.  I woke up at 10:30am, and barely dragged my ass around to do all the packet pickup and lunch (Jason’s Deli) and swim and groceries things, and was pretty much ready to be back in bed after. I watched some TV and had dinner (chicken and air-fried potatoes) and did my normal transition practice and sadly, when I got to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep right away, but I did get almost 6.5 hours and I upgraded to halfway zombified when I woke up at 5am Sunday morning.

For some reason, waking up in the camper is a little easier, but with our own walls we were able to blare the music nice and loud and enjoy a cup of tea, the typical sunbutter honey english muffin, and two caff beans sitting at my counter.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it was enough that morning but I told myself I could have more once I got to my bike.

We lucked out and two people on the primo rack (closest to bike out) had taken up ENTIRELY too much room, so we squeezed our bikes in (I take up about 1 ft of space) and filled bottles and pottied and did all the normal pre-race stuff in what felt like the perfect amount of time (getting to transition about 45 minutes before closing seems to be the sweet spot – not being rushed but not too much standing around).  At the last minute I popped two 303 (herbal muscle relaxers) to hedge my bets on any residual cramps.  I was the first one of our little group taking off in wave 8, so I wandered over to the start, and spent a little time psyching myself up.  I wasn’t sure if today was going to be a complete shitshow or a decent day but it would all be over in about 90 minutes, give or take.

Love all these goofballs that came to cheer us on!!!

Swim:

Wave starts always catch me off guard, they used to be the norm and I’ve done plenty, but I’ve gotten spoiled with time trial starts and I forgot how combative they are.  Not Ironman-level kung fu judo chopping or anything, but definitely a lot of jostling for position.  I made it a goal to try and find feet to draft on, and I was actually fairly successful for the first half, but after the turnaround I just kept knocking into people or finding open water, so I just kept my efforts calm and tried to focus on good body position.

I swam until my body didn’t really fit in the water anymore and then high-kneed it out to transition.

Swim time: 11:05 (2:13/100m) 3/10 AG  This is my best in 8 years by 5 seconds (it’s always a little long, my Garmin recorded 596 yards and my sighting was pretty spot on).  To be fair, it’s only 40 seconds better than my worst showing in 2013.  I’m pretty consistent and I haven’t put much work over the years into swimming, and that goes doubly so this season.  I will say I think I got out of the water a lot fresher than I have in the past, as I really do think of the swim as a warmup for the rest of the race and rarely push it past the “I’m doing some work” feeling.

T1:

I think a spring of walking on the Addisage sandals have toughened up my feet, as I felt like I could run at a pretty nice clip even on the gravel sections.  Everything went smoothly and I got out of T1 quickly.  Technically, this is part of my bike time since I was over the mount line, but the only noob thing I did was not adjust my gearing (my TT bike had just been sitting in the garage since the last race) and it was very hard to get clipped in and going because I was in a very big gear and that was a few seconds of futzing.

T1 time: 2:13 6/10 AG.  I’m actually kind of confused by this because I thought I was pretty speedy and efficient, and it’s my best here yet by 2 seconds, but apparently I sucked compared to my 35-39 ladies.  *shrug*

No bike pics yet so you get my “stock footage” from the last race.  Are you sick of this one yet?  I’m not!

Bike:

After the clipping fiasco, I got going.  I know this course like the back of my hand (it’s the Jack’s Generic course and we ride the first half of it all the time), so I knew there was no reason to do anything but coast down the first hill into the turn.  Two girls passed me in that section, and as soon as I hit the turn, I went hunting.  I caught them within half a mile and just concentrated on eating my gel ASAP (cracking it open before the race REALLY helps a lot).  That went down fine, but I had oopsed and made my gatorade too strong.  It was undrinkable.  I took a few sips of it and almost spit it out because it was like sludge, but that’s ok on a sprint (I barely drink anything anyway).

Even with the questionable body condition and the lack of palatable hydration, I was feeling rather strong so I went to war.  I concentrated on staying in aero and passing as many people as I could.  Some of the super fast guys caught me but I was not passed by anyone of my gender again.  My goal was to try to hold 20 mph on the way out because I usually slow down on the way back (that tends to be where the wind is), but we actually ended up with it from the northeast, which meant the almost 20 mph I held the first half was with a headwind or crosswind, and made for a nice trip back.

I should have probably pushed the last couple miles harder if I was looking for the absolute best bike split, but the roads were so terrible and bumpy.  I let myself take my foot off the gas for a bit from the gasp-fest that was the first half and instead watched the road and prepared my legs (and brain) for the run.

Bike time: 39:55 for 21 mph 2/10 AG (10th overall female bike split).   My Garmin said right about 20, so I think this is a little generous, but just like Kerrville last year, I will take it.  I improved upon last year’s ride by five whole minutes (same course, just backwards).  Zliten put it best by saying that he feels like he’s one with his TT bike when he rides it now.  I feel the same way this season.  Death Star and I are pretty in sync now.

T2:

Everything went without incident.  I had planned on grabbing my frozen water bottle but I didn’t feel that hot and I hadn’t ran with it in months, so I took a few seconds to take a cold sip of nuun and left it.

T2 time: 1:17 5/10 AG  Seriously, I don’t know.  I know I took 5 extra seconds getting a sip of my bottle but I usually place HIGHER in transition than the actual sports.  Maybe the spot I thought was primo was actually further away?  Again, *shrug*.  Best here by 2 seconds.

How strong does BSS member Rachel (with smiley Courtney behind her) look finishing her first triathlon? 🙂

Run:

I ran out and up the hill and got going and everything felt predictably awful.  I had reminded myself the night before when going through my race plan that it would, so it didn’t freak me out as much as normal.  I hate this run.  I’ve done it a lot, so I’m comfortable with it’s suck, but I really really really hate running on kitty litter with no shade.

Physically, to keep myself running as well as possible, I tried to stay more up on my toes, keep driving with my hips to lengthen my stride, and swing my arms to touch my waistband.  Mentally, I kept reminding myself that I had just completed a friggin’ phenomenal bike ride, and I probably had a place on the podium if I could hang on, dig in, and not let any girls in my age group pass me.

Only two women passed me, and both were in their 50s and running like wild badasses, so I tried to ride their momentum for a while and then let them go.  Near the end, my teammate Lewis passed me and I tried to latch onto him but all that I had was the steady pace that did not waver the whole time.  Running in the heat and the suck felt painful but also somehow methodical – I kept thinking “just keep doing this for 20 more minutes, 17, 15, 10” and my legs kept moving.  They wouldn’t speed up for any sort of finishing kick, but all 3 mile splits were within 3 seconds of each other so I’d call that some even pacing.

Run time: 27:50 (9:16/mile) 4/10 AG.  This is a run PR for me here.  Technically by only 17 seconds, but that was from 6 years ago when I considered myself a runner who dabbled in triathlons vs running now being my weakest sport.  While I keep getting down on myself for not being able to hold that 8 minute/mile pace in races that I have sometimes in practice, I am showing steady improvement.  I have long term plans on how to make this better but for right now, I’m happy that my run has been SOLID this season, if not super fast.

Overall time: 1:22:21 3/10 AG. 

Look at my shiny plastic thingeeee!

I am over the moon with this result.  I feel like I nailed the bike even better than I have been.  I fought hard for that run, even if it wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked.  I PR’d all three legs of the race (+ transitions), and for one that I’ve done for eight years in a row in various states of form and fitness, that’s actually quite a big accomplishment.  This resulted in an over 8 minute PR at this particular race (previously 1:30:30, Pflugerville 2015), and an over 4 minute PR on this course (1:26:33, Jack’s Generic 2016).  I also took back the house Lake Pflugerville title by 30 seconds, which hasn’t been mine in a long time.  Sorry, Zliten.  Better luck next year. 🙂

And, finally, with this fourth podium out of the five races this spring, I think I can finally dismiss the feeling of it all being a big fluke.  I think I can finally say out loud and with confidence that my case of the proverbial triathlon yips has passed for now.  At the local sprint triathlon level, I can put together a solid race that I’m proud of time and time again.  I’m good enough at this particular thing now to race for the podium, with an 80% success rate.  I think I can finally stick that feather in my cap and call it macaroni.

Lucky #wattagecottage hat and socks. 

It was a really great day racing with Team Bicycle Sport Shop.  We had a big handful of teammates racing and also a bunch of supporters.  Can’t thank everyone enough who just came to cheer! It’s always a little boost on the run when you know you’re going to see some friendly faces yelling your name at the finish.

Now I’m looking forward to a quick summer’s nap before hitting Coz 70.3 training hard – the next three weeks, the only requirement on the schedule is lifting at least twice a week, swim bike and run are to be applied AS DESIRED (sessions, distances, paces).  I already want to swim and ride today, which is a good sign, but with how SORE and TIRED I am, I’m taking myself right to bed after supper and getting one more long night of sleep first.

Kick the tires and start the pfires

Pflugerville is my 8th race this year.  I’ve had a lot of fun this spring, and I feel like I’ve gotten decent at the whole sprint triathlon process by repetition, but I’m ready for a little break.

One more outing for this kit and then it gets a rest.

However, let’s kick the tires and light the fires one more time, because Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY, we race our 8th Lake Pflugerville Tri.  At this point, my legs pretty much have what they have, so this week has been more about doing stuff I feel like doing when I feel like doing it.  I am the most meticulous coach ever but it’s officially my last week of season Pt 1, and I’m ready for it.

Last week

  • 15 min bike, 30 min bike, 32 min bike (race)
  • 1 weights session (race week, that’s fine)
  • 2 mile run, 2 mile run (race)
  • 1050yd swim, 200m swim (race)

So yeah, not much.  3.25 hours.  There will be plenty of time to smash myself, right now is not one of them.

This week has been/will be:

  • Monday: Shoal Roll!  Bikes with friends.  This also counts as my heat training for the week.
  • Tuesday: weights at the gym (early enough in the week so I won’t be affected race day)
  • Thursday: AM 3 mile run with striders (working on the feeling I need during the race)
  • Friday: random outdoor 45 min bike ride
  • Saturday: swim (probably open water)
  • Sunday: RACE!

Looking at last year’s results, with what I know I can do on an average day this year, I’ll be in the mix for a podium slot.   I should be through the swim and out of transition in about 13-14 minutes.  I’m hoping to bike about 19 mph, which would have me through transition two in a little under an hour.  If I can do that, which is well within my capabilities, it’s all about the run I can produce.  I’m probably going to have to set a run PR here to do it, but honestly, it’s not going to be that hard because I’m in better shape than I have been in years.  So, it’s all up to how bad I want it, chasing down people on the stupid kitty litter trail.

On one hand, it would be nice to cap the season pt 1 with a podium, and prove to myself I can do that in Austin races, and not just out of town.  On the other hand, I’ve had such a great spring I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t.  All I can do is go out there and race my ass off, which I plan to do!

Hopefully with much less heel striking…

I’m actually mimicing a body shape and preparation from 2014, when I was weighing in the low to mid-170s and specifically trained for short course triathlon, where I did really really well.  So, I have high hopes.

I didn’t have the most stellar week in nutrition land last week.  I did just fine on the weekdays, but our grill going out/being so hangry I needed a salad and an appetizer made Friday night’s meal WAYYYY more calories than normal.  Then, after the race Saturday, vegetables were positively repulsive to me but I was super hungry, so that went to the tune of about an 800 calorie surplus over what I burned.  Sunday, I let myself indulge a little bit and ate some pizza I was craving and went slightly over the calories I burned as well.  So, my numbers are going to look like crap, but here they are:

  • Average Calorie Burn: 2190
  • Average Calories Eaten: 1924 (-266 deficit)
  • Average Diet Quality: 19
  • Weight trend change: -0.4 (176.9 to 176.5)

All I can do is own it.  I should have packed up half my dinner on Friday, but I ate it to the point of being uncomfortably stuffed, probably influenced by the fact that I was peeved about the situation.  I tried to eat immediately post race on Saturday, but a spicy kielbasa wrap did not sit well at 8:30am, so I made it through barely half and didn’t eat again til 1pm when I was utterly starving and remained in that state pretty much all day.  I have just recently found these protein chips and I think I will be packing a bag of them for after every race from now on, just in case the food is unappealing.  Maybe that will help?  And then, my husband is the opposite – not much appetite the day of, but the day after he’s a hunger monster, which leads me to overeat that day too sometimes (this being one of them).

In the grand scheme of things, it’s one weekend.  But I have a few of these “just one weekends” coming up and unless I want to call the weight loss progress right here right now (and I don’t), I need to step it up.

It’s still going down, but flattening out a bit.  I’m going to endeavor to work a little harder the rest of the month to increase the angle downward a bit.

Besides just the normal, I know I need to do these things on Sunday:

  • Eat a thing as quickly as possible after the race.  They always have pizza, half a slice of that should actually be wonderful post race filling fuel and I can usually stomach that post race.
  • When I get home, have food ready that’s at my fingertips that is both filling and voluminous and also low calorie.  My goal will be to plow through as many positive diet quality points as possible (fruit, veggies, whole grains, lean protein) as possible quickly in as few calories as possible.
  • Stop at 1 post race beer (so many calories!) until I can get home and have much lower calorie beverages (or bring light beers to put in the team cooler).

This next week is that wonderful week where I make no progress because my body is angry about the lack of my procreation, so I’ll probably get back to this reporting (not logging, I do that daily still) in two weeks when the curve starts to slope down again.

I finally culled, edited, and posted my vacation photos from my camera.  I was hoping to get maybe half a dozen to a dozen shots I wanted to submit to various photo sites and I came up with 28.  Most sites want something like 10-15 for the application process, so at least I have something to work with.  Submitting photos that are rejected doesn’t preclude me from trying again after the next vacation with a new set, so worst case I get some feedback on what I’m doing wrong and become a better photographer.  Best case, they like my photos and I can make a little money doing something I love anyway.

Also, that means I’ll post about my vacation next week.  Honestly, I’ve written about cruises so much, it will be a photo dump with some words. 😉

Randomly, I can check two of my adulting things off my 2018 list.  Zliten found us a “do your own will” site, and in less than 30 minutes I had that done.  My situation is pretty simple so it was easy to do.  Also, they had a optional pain management section, to which I succinctly said, “I’m an Ironman, I can take it”, so I took it SUPER seriously, but the important parts are filled out and official.

Sadly, I haven’t seen our feral cat, Wookie, since we came back from vacation (and he was around at least every other day before).  I’m hoping someone took him in and gave him a forever home, but I’m not that optimistic about that.  This one wasn’t really “our” cat, and was definitely feral and not friendly, but he visited enough I wanted to make sure he got fixed.

So, potentially sad circumstances aside – 2/5ths done.  Financial planner, organization, and a small construction/cleaning projected to go.  If I was motivated I could probably knock all this out in a weekend but I’m… not.

And, that’s not a bad way to leave a Friday.  See you on the other side!

All’s well that ends well – Windcrest Freshman Tri

It’s always weird when the drive to the venue is longer than the race, and this one was no exception.

But it worked out in the end, so let me tell you my tale of the Windcrest Freshman Triathlon.

The day before started completely by rote (yogurt and berries for breakfast, sandwich and salad for lunch), and we even got out of work a little early to make packet pickup and drive the course to scope it out.  Nice roads and nice little community to race in, and the turns didn’t seem AS BAD as I had feared.

We got to camp and got set up and then turned on the grill… nothing.  I finished unpacking while Zliten dithered with it for about 30 minutes and finally we gave up after 8pm and headed out for a pre-race dinner.  When your alarm is set for 4:45am, this is fairly tragic.  We went to Applebees (somewhere reasonably safe) and ordered too much food because by that point, we were HANGRY.  I ate a giant caesar salad, half an order of fries, and almost my entire dinner of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.

Supposed to be my pre-race meal. 🙁  It was good post race though when we finally got the stove working!

I returned to the camper around 9:30, settled into bed around 10, wondering how badly I’d effed up my race with that super late, super giant meal.

The camper is magical, as I ended up getting some fairly decent sleep (if not quite enough of it at 6 hours), and my body didn’t protest TOO hard when the alarm went off.  I did the normal things – earl grey tea, hot, a sunbutter honey wheat english muffin (I figured I wouldn’t want much of it but the whole thing disappeared in the blink of an eye), two caff beans, and the normal morning dithering.  We left around 5:50 and got to the parking lot just after 6.

This race had us parking at a church a few blocks away and walking our bikes down an alley.  It didn’t look far on the map but seemed never ending in practice.  We got there at 6:20 and the announcer was saying transition was closing in 10 minutes (website said 6:45 so I was confused, I think he was just trying to get people dithering around in there OUT), so we picked a spot on the rack, quickly but deliberately set up our stuff, and hit the potty line.  During the pre-race meeting, my tummy started to rumble again, and during the pre-race prayer, I HAD to run to the bathroom.  No line at least! (No offense to God or whatever, I really really really had to go)

Swim:

We lined up by approximate swim times but that’s always kind of a cluster$%^#.  We ended up about 30th in line (out of 151), and my thought was “gee we’re up far” but my husband was “we should be up further”,  so we stayed there.  They let us go once every 10 seconds, and soon it was my turn and I waded into the pool and then they said START, so I did.

The thing I love about these pool swims is once you get in the water, your path is sort of set.  You can pass people, sure (I did once), and you do if they are significantly slower, but it’s a pain so everyone is just sort of going the same speed.  I don’t like to shell myself on the swim, I think of it as the warmup for when the race really starts, so I was happy to cruise near 2 min/100 pace.

Zliten was right behind me and tickled my toes a few times but I think I successfully let him draft the whole way (which was the plan, I wanted to give him every advantage this time to qualify for Nationals).  I could have pushed it a little more the last lap but I was behind a dude going *slightly* slower so I just cruised it into the wall instead.  Up the stairs (oh yeah, it was a super regulation pool – not really – one side was about 3 feet deep, that was fun), and onto the next.

Swim time: 4:36  2:17/100m. 2/9 AG, 10/69 gender.  IIRC, this also included some of the run to transition because my garmin said it was significantly faster.

T1:

They were kind enough to carpet the entire path to transition.  I suppose this is the one time they actually permit running at the pool!  I had no issues quickly and efficiently transitioning, the only thing that took me an extra second was I was unracking my bike and then Zliten unracked his next to me, so out of habit and politeness, I let him go first.  Not sure why.  I’m not usually that nice.

T1 time: 58 seconds. 1/9 AG, 2/69 gender.  Yeah!

This may be the nicest pictures that anyone’s ever taken of me on the bike.  Expect to see this one as “bike stock footage” over and over. 🙂

Bike:

I started out on the course and something just didn’t feel right.  Not like WRONG but I didn’t feel snappy.  Just one week ago, I was completely laid out with a cold, and while I felt better, this was my first hard effort since, and I think what I thought was feeling 100% was really closer to 90-95%.  I felt like I was pushing hard, but the speed just didn’t match up.  Looking back at my heart rate data, I rolled about 3 bpm higher than normal and I had a weird catch in my breath when I was really pushing it, so yeah, maybe I was just a few shades off complete recovery.  Or, there’s a chance my brakes were slightly rubbing (I haven’t looked yet), or something was just a little bit randomly off with my bike.  I’m banking on ME being the problem though.

Also, this course was not my strength.  I am a wimp when it comes to cornering, I slow down a LOT at turns, and this course had 28 of them in 10 miles.  I tried to push it a little bit more than normal, but a few of the right turns had me shrieking like a little girl due to debris in the road.  Meh.

While I was not super thrilled with my speed, I only had two guys pass me (one of which I passed back).  However, the guy I was concerned about – my husband- was way far ahead.  He’s less of a weenie on the turns.  Also, on the first lap, I got stuck behind a car and he was just ahead, and I had to chug up a (ok, THE ONE) hill while he kept his momentum.  Overall, he just had a little more OOMPH than I did.  I never was able to reel him in and he was out of sight by the end of the second lap.

Bike time: 32:32 – 18.4mph. 1/9 AG, 2/69 gender.  While this PLACEMENT is typically not something to complain about, I’m not thrilled about the pace.  Also, my garmin said the course was short, so my actual pace was closer to 18mph.  There were only about 10 people that went over 20 mph, and the first girl only beat me by about 45 seconds, so it was probably just a hard course but still, I just don’t feel like I did my best here.

T2:

I rolled into transition on a mission to get through quickly.  Racked my bike, shoe off, shoe on, shoe off, shoe on, race belt… race belt?  Where’s my race belt?  My area was kind of destroyed with everything askew, so I rooted around through my area and my husband’s area, and the girl next to me just in case, and I had NO race belt.  At this point, all I could do was go without it, so I ran up to run out and yelled over at the race director “my belt is missing” to which he said, not quite understanding, “where’s your number?” which I answered, “on my race belt, which is missing”, and he waved me through anyway.

T2 time: 1:04. 7/9 AG, 32/69 gender.  A lot more dithering than optimal.  I bet I could have been in and out in 40 seconds. 24 extra seconds actually isn’t that much, but it felt like an eternity.

No race belt, and what the eff am I doing with my arms?

Run:

I think the kerfuffle in T2 affected me more mentally than anything.  I ran out feeling annoyed, and defeated.  In my head, I had lost so much time, I was angry at some external force effing up my race, and the legs that didn’t really want to bike as hard as normal were having trouble with the run too.  I won’t say I gave up, because I was still pushing, but my brain went to some weird scattered places I don’t even remember.

I realize that on the bike, I play offense (chasing people down).  On the run, I play defense (running to not get caught).  Maybe it’s a mindset I should work on, but it really plays to my strengths (or weaknesses), and I spent the first half mile with a dude breathing over my shoulder.  As I approached the golf course, I saw tiny girl that had one of the professional suits with her name on the butt making her way back.  My first thought was “I’m not first female” (not that I expected to be) but then I thought “I bet she’s first, so I’m not that far behind”.

I tried to book the whole way up the golf course, but it was enough of a hill that dude passed me and got ahead.  Once we turned to go back down, the downhill started and I felt oh so relived.  I worked on fixing my stride and arm swing (which I should have done earlier but I got grumpy and distracted) and caught one guy who complimented my pace (gave him a thumbs up) and asked if I wanted to do two more loops (to which I grunted HELL NO), and circled back around to head down to the stick of the lollipop.

On the run back, people who were racing kept cheering for me.  At the time, I was super impressed with how friendly everyone was, and while I didn’t really have any breath to talk, I waved or gave them the thumbs up and smiled before getting back to the pain pace.  Upon reflection later, I realized that because I was the second girl in, they were cheering for me because I was one of the people leading the woman’s race.  That was pretty cool.

Finally the turn came and there was the arch and I could stop running and while I wasn’t stoked about a lot of the race, I was super excited about THAT.

Run time: 20:34 – 9:47/mile. 3/9 AG, 14/69 gender.  Garmin showed slightly faster (9:27/mile).  I didn’t push enough going up the hill (HR, cadence, and stride length show that clearly) and I need to remember to put crap I can’t control out of my head quicker.  In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t have changed anything, but seeing 15-20 sec per mile faster on my garmin would have made me feel better about the run in retrospect

Overall finish: 59:41.  1/9 AG, 3/69 gender.

My time goal was under an hour, and I made it, so I was happy there (though I thought I’d have more wiggle room than 19 seconds…).

While nothing about this race felt stellar, I was able to win my age group.  Eight other people showed up and I took first by over 8 minutes for women 35-39.  Not only that, sixty-eight other women showed up, and I was able to out-triathlon all but two of them.  While this is a triathlon that is very newbie friendly, there were plenty of people in team kits and when the race director asked “how many people have done an Ironman” about a quarter of us raised our hands, so it wasn’t as if I was the sore thumb sticking out as a vet triathlete at the race.

And here’s the conundrum.  On one hand, my confidence is a little shot because I felt like my bike performance sucked and I sandbagged myself on the first half of the run.  On the other hand, I didn’t have a perfect day (or lead up), and I was third overall for my gender, and fourth was about four minutes back.  I know it’s a big fish in a little pond scenario, but it’s still a nice feather in the cap.

However, I’m not quite sure how to feel.  I’m trying to go with super frickin’ proud, and I am, but for some reason, I’m missing the validation that this “actually maybe being decent at triathlons” thing isn’t a big fluke that I thought would come with the third podium, second age group win, and first top three gender placement.  Maybe that’s on my brain more than my actual race performance, though I just keep thinking about that bike and run pace and uggggggh, I do better in practice.  See, conundrum!

The good news is I race again in five days, so I don’t have too long to ruminate on this one.

EDIT: oh, the other good news is I got my race belt back.  Someone else grabbed it thinking it was theirs.  Oops!  Hooray!

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