Adjusted Reality

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

Page 2 of 175

Looking up the hill…

When I first started racing, my year was pretty periodized by default.

In 2009, I ran a half marathon and then after that, shut it down for a few months. Because that’s what normal people do.

I wasn’t a complete nut yet, and I had these natural cycles before I even knew what periodization and offseason and all those other coach-y schedule-y things meant.

Yearly, I would maintain a baseline fitness level (ten years ago, that looked like 4-5 hours a week – 3x weights, 2x running, and either some arc trainer and/or DDR to round out the hours).  I would sign up for a race occasionally, train 2-3 months for it, and then go back to my base fitness level right after.  There was never any compulsion to “keep what I gained” by boosting my training beyond that 4-5 hours unless it was for a reason.

Then I started racing more.  Since I was racing more than a few times a year (with smaller races to support the bigger ones), and I feel like 2-3 months is the absolutely minimum amount of time I feel like I need to be prepared for a race, I was pretty much constantly training.  It was new and fun and exciting and it made me toy with the fact that I might actually be an athlete!  I remember at one point, I decided to take 5 weeks off because I had been on for something like 17 months.  My body pretty much collapsed that entire offseason – I couldn’t run the whole time because as soon as the heel I injured the last race of the season felt better, my back went out for the entire Christmas break.  The universe was yelling “STAAAHHHHHPPPPP!!!!”.

I’ve learned that for my mental and physical well being, I need to pretend to be a normal mortal human for extended periods of time or I break down.  The length of time I need is predicated by: a) what I have just done to my body and b) the length of time I’ve been “on” and also c) how I feel about life right then/stress levels/etc.

I also have learned that offseason racing is tricky to navigate.  When you sign up for something simply because you do it every year, or because your friends are doing it and you have major FOMO, or because you have a husband that would rather race every weekend vs train, you have to watch your expectations.  For me, FUN racing is when I PR, when I leave it all out there, when I’m a ball of sweat and snot and making the pain face at the end.  Everything else is just paying money to go for a jog with friends.

And sometimes paying money to go for a jog is ok, especially if you get to look like a rainbow threw up everywhere while doing it.

There’s a time and a place for that, for example, the Turkey Trot this year.  I know I’m not going to PR (though I’m pretty sure I’ll beat last year no matter what…), but it’s an excuse to get up, ride my bike ~20 miles and go run 5 before I gorge myself on turkey.  I absolutely and positively plunked down my 25$ registration fee solely to motivate myself to get my ass of the couch that morning.  However, I’m usually not a huge fan of jumping into a race untrained.  Results may vary, but for me, they’re usually not positive.

So, right now I’m mentally and physically stuck in between a rock and a hard place.

Crazy Athlete Me says:

  • I’m mad at my mojo for being absent and I should be making time for more than a few hours a week and maybe 2-3 of the sports instead of just one of them.
  • What I did over the summer is not worthy of an offseason.  Three sprint races, one slow century and one century that got cut short is just maintaining fitness, right?
  • I’ve not run in so long I’ve forgotten what running feels like (it’s been 2 weeks) and I’ll never be able to get back up to 13 miles in time, let alone get faster.
  • All of a sudden I’m going to gain back all the weight I’ve ever lost in my life because I’m only training a few hours a week and I’m not starving myself.

Crazy athlete me likes to go out and try to ride 100 miles on her bike, unready for such a thing, for absolutely no reason.

Coach me knows:

  • I am an athlete that needs time off right now.  Work is crazy and stressful.  We’re starting a kitchen remodel that will upheave our lives for 2+ weeks.  I am working through some rotating pain between my knee and heel which is starting to be on the mend because I’ve resisted being a dumbass and rested it.
  • I should not discount the amount of work I did over the summer on the bike and in triathlon.  Even if Ironman warped me to think so, training an average of 7-8 hours a week is not insignificant and still warrants a break after.
  • I have plenty of time to build towards a good half marathon at the end of January.  I will not lose every morsel of fitness I have earned by taking a few weeks to do whatever.
  • My body is actually responding positively in terms of weight loss over the last month or so… perhaps because I’m listening to it and giving it what it needs?  I *know* it’s not because I’m maintaining more of a deficit (probably less because I’m training less and mostly just trying to eat less crap but not less food).
  • And the biggie I say to everyone else but it’s hard to say to yourself – it is always better to show up uninjured and undertrained vs properly trained and limping.

So, here I am.  I have new running shoes I’ve had for over a week that I haven’t even worn yet.  I haven’t ridden my bike on roads since October 22nd.  I haven’t done weights in over two weeks even though they’ve been on the schedule.  I haven’t swam in almost a month and with the cold snap today… not sure it’s going to happen this week.  My mind is reeling with insecurities about my muscles and endurance shriveling up into nothingness, as well as wasting beautiful days and my gym membership funds not training like crazy this season like I typically do.

I miss dis place – literally the gym and also the figurative place of being so smashed (and accomplished) after a really long hard workout.

However, my mind is also thanking me PROFUSELY that I’m not trying to maintain any sense of a training schedule while shipping an update at work.  I have been much less of a basket case and handling things much better than normal.  I usually have some major breakdowns this time of year when I am in training mode and I’m thankful that hasn’t happened (yet).  My body is LOVING this break.  The weight is falling off (knock on wood, let’s not jinx this) and when I actually do something like the bike intervals I did this morning, I feel GREAT, not tired, not stale, but like my parts are all starting to work in harmony again.  When I DO get back to training, it will be nice to start from a rested, recovered body and see how that feels for once!

As long as my heel continues to cooperate, I have my first run back scheduled for next Monday, but we’ll see how things go from there.  It’s neat to occasionally reap some rewards when you don’t rage against the universe’s wishes and I’m trying hard to listen even if it makes me do things I don’t like from time to time.

I’m at the bottom looking up the hill right now.  Thirteen miles at a fast pace seems super far away right now.  But I’ve been down these roads before.  I know how to climb them.

Playing in the woods at Lake Bastrop

We took our sixth trip in Turtle Home last weekend.

Nice to have a lake in our backyard for a few days!

We left work around 5:45pm and hit a little traffic, so we got to the site around 7.  This meant that a) the mosquitos were out in full force and b) we had to set up in the dark.

Luckily, we’re pretty good at it, managed it in about 45 minutes, and got treated to some pretty sweet full moonlight while we grilled some burgers and had some frosty beverages.

Looks kind of like an oil painting, no?

Saturday, we got up around 9:30 and our friends made us breakfast tacos!  Then, the boys went to get ice and the rest of the party was napping, I put my hokas on and went for a little hike.

I meant to just walk around the campsite but I kept going and going and found a cool trail and took lots of pictures so if I went missing, at least someone would know where I wandered by looking at DropBox.  Also, it was super pretty!

After I collected Zliten, we took Wasp and Yellow Jacket out to go play on trails.  Yes, I’m a priss and accidentally wore jewelry while playing on dirt with bikes.

We hit the Heron Trail, then the Fisherman’s Loop, and then decided to try the South to North Lake trail and it got a little advanced for us, so we just rode the other ones again and returned back with actual mud on our tires!  I still feel noobish at riding bikes on rocks but I’ve learned a few things, most helpfully, I’m much more confident leading than following (or at least leaving a bunch of space in between me and the next rider) so that helps in my quest to get a little braver.

After some delicious sausages from the grill for lunch, and a little too much fudge, Zliten decided it was time for casting.  Note that he didn’t say FISHING, but casting.

Look at that form!

After catching many leaves and twigs but no actual live fish, we watched the sun set, built a fire, and failed to make proper dutch oven popcorn (but had some real corn instead).  Instead, we dined on camping punch, laughter, and plotting and scheming for the future.

Seeing stars!

I was sad we couldn’t get the three day camp effect, but it was a perfect getaway for the time we had allotted.  Care of the time change, we got plenty of sleep on Saturday night, we were able to take the bikes back onto dirt in the morning, and get packed up and out a whole 20 minutes before our checkout time and home by 1pm.  Our heads were clear and it felt less like a chore to exist and do things than it did less than two days ago.

I need every ounce of that going into this next month.  I’m happy I was able to play in the woods for a weekend before a big long month of adulting.

If you’re interested in the full set of pictures, you can see them HERE.

October Wrap Up, November Goals

I like to do shit.

Sometimes that shit is riding my trainer outside the bike store with my teammates blaring music at all the restaurants nearby.  The obnoxious tomatoes ftw!

Goals are, like, my drugs (or anti-drug? or maybe we could with a far more appropriate analogy and say I live for them? …nah).  I love to make them, I love to plan them out, I love to conquer them, and I love to say, “what’s next?”.

I spent the first four months of the year plugging away at a single goal called Ironman.  Then, after a little bit of recovery, I took the blinders off and have been plugging away at a million smaller goals.  Century ride, check!  Getting faster at running short distances and fixing my running form?  Kinda check.  Writing a book?  Getting to the halfway point.  Four usable bedrooms, check!  Twenty million other things I typically ignore during training for a big event?  Either check, in progress, or on the plan.

While I’ll have some days where I feel a little overwhelmed, normally I’m super excited to be progressing towards things I want to do. And then, like late last week, my brain and body pretty much decided that it was time for a complete stop in the way of some MAJOR lack of mojo and heel pain that wasn’t just a twinge.

I committed to waiting until my heel is pain free for 3 days until I run on it.  Even today I’m not quite there yet (close but no cigar), but I think that means the earliest will be next Monday IF I have no twinges this weekend.  I am so frustrated that I’ll be getting a late start preparing for 3M but I’m going to trust that these things happen for a reason.

I had an unplanned day off on Monday and I wanted to do all the things and it was gorgeous outside so I should have ridden my bike everywhere.  Except, I slept until 11 (over 12 hours of sleep).  I read my book in bed and dithered around the house and finished writing a chapter in my book and couldn’t muster any sort of give-a-shit so I rode the trainer while reading more of ROAR (which I have since finished and highly recommend to anyone who is not just a tiny man).  I haven’t done a weights session since early last week.  I haven’t made it to the pool.  I might ride the trainer again sometime this week but it’s also just as likely I’ll sleep in instead.

I feel like I’m letting precious time and beautiful weather slip through my hands.  I feel like I’m in the worst shape of my life for this season (because I’m usually in the best shape right about now).  You’d think I’d feel rested after riding my bike twice in a week and getting lots of sleep but I’ve felt like a frickin’ zombie all day so of course that makes me reconsider resting to begin with and maybe I should just suck it up and muddle through…

“No,” the universe says.  “Hard. Stop.”  It’s not screaming yet, but it’s also not whispering.  And using it’s stern voice.

While I’m trying to discount what I’ve done over the summer/fall as “just having fun”, I averaged 2/3rds of my IM training volume (~30 hours per month from July through October, vs ~45 hours per month from January through April).  Thirty hours per month is actually fairly close to my average 70.3 training volume.  Whether I like to admit it or not, whether it really feels like it or not, even if it was “just” for 3 sprint triathlons and 2 century rides, I just went through a training cycle.  And I need some faffing off time.

I hear you, universe.  No need to yell.  I’ll give you a little more time.

I’ll sum my October totals here:

  • 1000m swim (1 swim)
  • 20 miles run (6 runs)
  • 318 miles biked (17 rides)
  • Weights – 7/8 planned sessions (the last one last week)

Almost 30 hours total.  Even though I feel like I haven’t done much, the numbers don’t lie that it’s 1 hour a day average.  I deserve a little break.

November goals:

  • Swim at least twice.
  • Give myself the rest of this week off and then resume strength training next week and make 8/8 sessions.
  • Allow my heel to heal and then gradually ramp up running, however long that takes (I have 12 weeks until the race, I’d rather train for 8 of them healthy than 11 of them with a hurty heel).  When I do start again, err on the side of more sessions vs big mileage.  3×3 days a week at lunch and then more miles on Saturday is better than 2 longer runs.  My body is used to the 3 mile runs.  It’s not used to much more and yes, an hour lunch run right now is going to feel like a long run until I get some more miles under me.
  • Cycling is now my support sport.  Trainer rides, commutes if I can get up early enough to get mostly home before it’s stinkin’ dark, warmup and cooldown for long runs… I expect it to be my worst mileage month since June and that’s totally fine.

Priority is: 1) healing then running 2) weights 3) cycling 4) swimming (sorry swimming, you’ve been last on the list for a while).  If I can only get to the first part of #1 and #2 in this month, I’ll be a little disappointed, but OK.

Scale/food

I have paid so much attention to this week’s food, the most related picture I have is our D&D costumes.  I mean, my name technically is FORK, but…

Here’s another place where the not-quite-end-of-year-but-close burnout hit me.  But I think it’s working out alright.  I’m actually making some real progress here and it’s encouraging.

I stopped tracking my food around October 22nd and haven’t really restarted yet.  Because of that, it’s just about impossible for me to guess what my overall stats were for October.  However, I didn’t stop weighing at least.

  • Oct 1-7: 185.1 avg
  • Oct 8-14: 186 avg
  • Oct 15-21: 185.7 avg
  • Oct 22 – 28: 184.6 avg

So, I’m looking at 185.3 as my average for the month of October, which is -2.1 lbs from my average last month.  My clothes are fitting better and I was literally walking around yesterday in my underwear asking my husband if he thought the elastic went out (and no, I’ve just lost some belly fat, since my others fit the same way).  The good news is it’s continuing to drop… right now is that lovely wonderful TOM and I’m still averaging less than I was last week.  Momentum is on my side, finally.  Just in time for the holidays.

How do I stay sane and not eff things up and gain 7 lbs like I did last year?

Simplify tracking – only the bad stuff.  I am going to have a hard time tracking calories and diet quality next month with camping and a launch and a remodel and all sorts of other shenanigans going on.  I was trying to figure out how I can still keep myself on the wagon but also not stress myself out and I think I’ve figured it out: only track my negative diet quality points/calories.

If you think about it, it’s actually perfect.  Hopefully, my laziness will take over and if I realize I have to track the fun size snickers and I don’t have to do anything if I eat the apple, I’ll go the way of less resistance.  I’m good at eating the good things.  The meals I cook are all roughly similar amounts of calories.  I’m actually pretty decent at eating the right amount if I eat mostly the good things.  So, hopefully, this will be a low stress way of making sure I stay on track.

They are holi-DAYS not holi-MONTHS.  On Halloween I had 2 ciders and ate a few fun size pieces of candy.  I still have a handful of heath bars left over which I’ll dole out to myself as treats throughout the year.  Thanksgiving is delicious, but I’m not a leftovers gal, so that one is really just about that day for me as long as I don’t bring home half a pie or anything (and if I do, it goes directly in the freezer in bite size portions).  Christmas is a little trickier because we celebrate both Eve (neighbors, ourselves) and Day (family) with food-heavy traditions, but again, it’s two DAYS.

So, in November, I’m committing to these two things:

  • Eating like a normal healthy human being on all days except for Thanksgiving. Even if it’s take out during the kitchen remodel (I’ll get healthy takeout).  Even while camping.  Even when I come up with excuses.
  • Log everything I eat that’s not on the Diet Quality positive points list (sweets, fried, refined grains, massive amounts of calorie laden sauce, super fatty meat, alcohol).

Life

I’ve been told to be myself unless I could be a unicorn, so for Halloween proper, I was BOTH!

Summary – things got done.  Not all of them.  I probably need to narrow my focus a little bit going forward or I’m in danger of getting overwhelmed of OMG ALL THE TO DOs.

  • Writing:
    • Take my old outline and make sure that it’s all absorbed in the new one. (CHECK!)
    • Write at least two chapters.  (DONE!)
    • Bonus: finish the one I started last month and got stuck on. (NOPE!)
  • Reading: Finish A Demon Haunted World (60% – I’ll keep plugging away but it’s hard to read all at once).  Read The 4 Hour Work Week (Saving for December) and You Are An Ironman. (CHECK!)  To be fair, I started and finished ROAR! by Stacy Simms, which I planned to read this month.
  • Wills:  Actually do this! (NOPE, sigh)
  • Business plan/website: NOPE! I literally have a document with eight words.  It’s becoming clear to me that I need to focus on one thing at a time, and my focus right now is the book.  This officially goes on the 2018 plan unless I get a hair up my hiney over Holiday Break.
  • Clean off all the bedroom surfaces.  I was about to make excuses and then realized how close I was so I got up and did it.  At least, on my surfaces and shared surfaces.  I will just ignore the ones on my husband’s side of the bed like I normally do. 🙂 (DONE!-ish)

In November, pretty much the primary focus will be on the kitchen remodel.

Pack up the kitchen between now and November 13.  The goal is to do one box per day.  That should give us more than enough time without getting us overwhelmed and give us the opportunity to go through what we have and get rid of some stuff instead of shoving shit in boxes willy nilly.

Get the cabinets Nov 11.  We plan to rent a trailer and then our cabinets will live in the garage until they are ready to go in the house.

Figure out the counters.  We bought slabs of granite and have since reconsidered being so cheap about it because our counter shape is pretty custom and we’ll already be saving an insane amount of money doing the rest ourselves so we’ll splurge on having someone do the counters.  We have one estimate for about 3 grand, I want to price a few others to see if that’s reasonable.

Figure out the cabinet colors.  These came unfinished, so it’s actually up to us to pick out exactly what we want.  I really liked the ones we got the estimate for, so I’ll probably try to find the slightly off white for the top, and a dark grey/almost black for the bottom (but I also want to nail down the countertop color before we buy them).

Pick out the backsplash and decide if I want to change the wall color.  I love my apple green kitchen walls but I keep thinking about possibly going red, or turquoise.  Even if we stay with the same color, I definitely want to repaint since it’s been 10 years.  Then… we’ll decide what backsplash would go with or if we even have enough place to put a backsplash where it will be worth it.

Purchase an above-the-stove microwave.  I am so ready to have a microwave that doesn’t take 20 minutes to cook something frozen, but we didn’t want to buy a new one until we remodeled.  So, so, so soon.

Look at the actual remodel process like a race.  It’s messy, it’s uncomfortable, I’m going to get cranky about stuff, but the finish line is worth it.  And, we have some pretty awesome and experienced people on our team (Zliten’s parents).

Other productive stuff:

Read books.  Finish Carl Sagan, finally.  Read 7 habits of highly effective people.

Write book.  I think I can commit to two more chapters OR one chapter and finishing the chapter I started and didn’t finish.  I think it’s probably time to start at the beginning with chapter 1, but whatever I’m motivated to write at the time I sit down will totally work.

Non-productive fun stuff:

Camping!  Heading out to the woods this weekend with some friends.  Of course, we picked a weekend in November as they’re not really warm weather people… and the highs are looking like upper 80s.  D’oh!

Comedy.  If we can make it out, we have SEVEN admit-2 comedy tickets left that expire at the end of the year.  To be fair, some of the shows we’ve seen have not allowed us to use the discount passes, but we should probably try to use some of them (and drag along some friends).

Tri Series Party.  It’s always awesome to celebrate a great season and sometimes get cool prizes!

…and that’s a wrap.  Time to go eat healthy food and be productive to start out the month on the right note!

Saving myself from myself

It’s Friday night at 10:50pm.  Typically, at this point, I’m tucked into bed dreaming away about Saturday’s adventures.

Indirectly representative of my evening instead…

Right now, I’m on the couch, and I was trying to read, and failing because my mind wouldn’t quiet, and drinking some wine.  I had planned to be doing the former, but sometimes you have to save yourself from yourself.

See, I had planned on doing about a 90 minute run tomorrow.  Here’s all the reasons:

  • It’s going to be effing gorgeous tomorrow.  Chilly, crisp, and perfect running weather.  I was going to be able to break out the tights and maybe a long sleeve running shirt for the first time in months.
  • I’m going to a wedding tomorrow night.  It’s much easier to justify enjoying some good food and drink after expending some calories.
  • My half is in about 3 months.  I’d like to get my running ramped up a little bit before I start full on training.

However, my body and the universe has other plans.  I’ve been nursing a cranky knee, which has subsided just in time to give way to a cranky heel.  I don’t want to say the PF word, and I’m hoping it’s just that the sandals I live in all summer just need to be replaced or at least varied, but I’m trying to listen to the universe talk instead of waiting for it to shout (and be sidelined for weeks).

I even had an incredibly encouraging run on Wednesday, where the pace for the last mile had an 8 in front.  But, to be honest, I pushed through a little heel discomfort to do it.  And then it didn’t feel great after.

As an athlete that is self coached, I have to sometimes disengage and talk to myself in two personas.

Me: My heel hurts two days after running.

Coach: Then REST it.

Me: But I need to run.

Coach: Why do you need to run?

Me: Because I feel SO BEHIND and I’m worried I’m not going to train enough for this half coming up that I want to PR.

Coach: Didn’t you say this was your little offseason?

Me: Well, yeah, but a short run shouldn’t make a difference.

Coach: So, you’re going to jeopardize your ability to train well over the winter because you feel like you need to build your base during your offseason while you’re hurt?

Me: ….

And just like that, coach (and the wine) wins.  If I had an athlete that had a race three months out and had the same issue, NO EFFING WAY would I say, “well, suck it up, run on that shit, and hope for the best”.  It’s so different when it’s yourself because there are all these mental games of why it’s not so bad and why it feels like the cop out not to train.  We are strong.  We are impervious to bad things.  We persevere (even when persevering is not the sane thing to do).

After being at this stuff for long enough, it becomes the new normal.  Running when your tired.  Biking when your quads are sore.  Swimming when you want to do anything but get in that cold pool.  Pushing through discomfort and pain.  And then, when you make the choice to avoid pain, it’s a lingering question of, “did I make the right decision?”.  It’s what we do.

The epitome of a smart triathlete knows when to say when.  When to tell the lazy thoughts to go the eff away and get ‘er done.  When to succumb to them because they are actually encroaching on burnout.  When to push through aching muscles to simulate race conditions and encourage breakthroughs.  When to hole up on the couch with wine instead (or better yet, ditch the workout to stretch, foam roll, eat healthy food, and get amazing sleep).  The most enlightened among us know the difference or have really good advice from a coach to help discern when we should suck it up, buttercup, or actually effing lay off our crazies and rest.

I’m trying to get there.  I’m definitely not there because I had a little heel discomfort on Tuesday, and went ahead and ran hard at our brick on Wednesday, rolling the dice it was just a niggle.  But I’m trying.

#mfw I want to run and coach (me) tells me not to run because it’s a stupid idea.

Here are the things I try to ask myself to keep myself in check:

What am I feeling?  Is it pain?  Is it soreness?  Is it residual stress from work?  Is it pure laziness?  Is it fear?  What is currently bothering me, because normally training is fun and feels good.  What about this doesn’t feel good?

What do I have to gain from this training session? Is it just “filler”, like an easy run or trainer, like base building?  Is it a key session that’s actually really important to my training like a long run/bike or a speed session?  Have I missed a lot of sessions lately?  Is it offseason? Is it peak?  Is it race week?

Can I reschedule?  If it’s a morning run and I’m super tired, can I just run at lunch instead?  Can I give myself an unscheduled day off and trade it with another off day I don’t need?  Is it a scheduled workout with my team?  Is it a Saturday morning long workout I can’t do any other day of the week?

What do I have to risk by starting?  If I just feel a little bleh, can I just give it a try and bail if I feel bad?  Is it potentially an injury I can train through and make worse later?  Will I risk getting sick or being knocked out of training by pushing through?  Is it something that if I start, I’ll be unable or unlikely to stop even if it’s not good for me to continue?

As much as sport is a labor of love, we run into periods where don’t feel motivated for various reasons.  Maybe we didn’t sleep well and we snooze the alarm instead of hit the pool.  Maybe work has been stressful and the last thing we want to do is put on our kit and ride with the team.  Maybe our legs are sore from a week of training and the last thing we want to do is go crush a track workout.  It. happens. to. everyone.  No matter what social media says, everyone has that day where all they want to do is be a normal human and eff all this training noise.

However, by really concentrating on the HONEST answers to the questions above, you can help coach yourself.

Sometimes I’ll find I’m pushing off a session that intimidates me.  In that case, I’ll suck it up and commit.

Sometimes I’ll find I’m feeling life stress.  That’s a toss up, because stress is stress is stress.  If I’m not feeling completely burnt, I’ll start a workout with the out of bailing.  Sometimes instead I’ll reschedule or bag it if it’s especially bad and/or it’s not a critical session and/or I’m feeling particularly stabby.

Sometimes I’m feeling sore.  Pushing through soreness has lead to some big breakthroughs for me.  Sometimes it’s a great (albeit miserable) race simulation.  Sometimes it’s unnecessary torture.  In that case, it really depends on what the workout means to me and how likely I am to reschedule.

Sometimes I’m feeling something I can’t determine is a niggle or the beginnings of an injury (like this week).  Wednesday, I pushed through because it was a fairly key workout and might have been just a twinge.  I’m still dealing with it two days later.  In that case, nothing is worth a flare up that could sideline me for 2-6 weeks.

Don’t want to eff up this day in January….

At this point, you have to make the plan going forward.  For me, here’s what I’ll do (and I may be posting this so I actually commit…)

  • I will wear supportive shoes for the next week.  No sandals, no cute shoes, I’ll wear one of my three pairs of running shoes at all times.
  • I will not run until my heel is completely pain free for at least three days prior.
  • I will swim, bike, and do weights that don’t aggravate my heel to stay active.
  • I will ice, roll my foot, and stretch at least every other day.
  • I will not be a basket case about it (or at least attempt to not be…).

I’ve been through this one before.  It’s much less frustrating than my back being out, since you can’t do jack or pucky with a hurt back.  I just have to lay off the running for a little bit (and also replace my shoes).  Frustrating, when the weather is perfect for it, but I will live to pound the pavement another day.

Sub-2 plan is not subverted.  Just on hold…

Livestrong Swim.. err Ride

The big biking goal for the year was Hotter’n Hell 100.  Done and dusted.

Been there, done that, spent the night, got the sunburn.

Then, we saw a really great deal (something like 65% off) on another century later in the year on a week that we were available, so I figured it would be motivation to keep riding my bike longer in the beautiful fall weather. However, we’ve alternated between hot and rainy and unseasonably chilly in the mornings, so this mythical unicorn weather has mostly eluded us.  However, our 80 mile ride two weeks ago was pretty amazing, and there’s NO WAY I would have done that unless I was training for something.  So, no matter what, I’m glad we had this on the calendar.

I also thought it would be an interesting experience to fund raise, but apparently when you just ask twice on social media, that doesn’t exactly cut it and we raised approximately 10$ collectively (or my husband raised 10, I raised 0, ahem…).  I suck.  Cancer is not going to get cured because of me.  Sorry.

The day before the race was largely uneventful – we hit packet pickup, had a nice swim at the just slightly below 2:00/100m my offseason pace seems to be settling at (which is just fine), and had lunch with a friend and ate all the things we normally eat and got to bed at a decent hour.

My view for about 2 hours Sunday AM.

We got out of bed around 5:40am, drank some tea (earl grey, hot), ate half a sunbutter+jelly sandwich, and drove downtown.  We half thought about riding there but thought that tacking an extra 20+ miles on a century would have been ridiculous, so we skipped it.  The plan was to park at Pure Austin, but they have new signs up saying “2 Hour Parking”… so we joined our teammates at the BSS store and pulled in just in time to see everyone roll out to avoid the impending rain.  Which was now raining on us.  Oops.

We became drowned rats on the way there, and spent the next hour and a half huddled for warmth under the sheltered area at the Palmer Events Center as they continuously delayed (with good reason) the race 30 minutes, then an hour, then an extra 15 for an 8:45am start.  While it was the right call, it did not make me happy.  First, I doubted they were going to extend the cutoffs, and we were already going to have to watch our aid station times to make sure we were well within them.  Second, standing (especially in cleats) makes my body hate me.

Hi, I am drowned rat!  Nice to meet you!

Finally, the rain started to let up, and we got staged and crossed the line right around 9am.  We started back with the rest of our team and the 65 milers.  I hadn’t 100% yet given up on the 100 miles, but, as I told Zliten as we rolled out, I had was about 80% there and we’d see how things went.

Then we got to doing some cycling, finally.  It was super fun to ride with the team for a while, and apparently we got props from people calling us super safe to ride with (we were screaming and pointing at holes every 5 seconds on South first because it’s habit to do so).  However, my legs just did not want to warm up quickly and they got a little ahead on some of the hills.  We passed them at the aid station but they caught back up and we rode together again for a bit.

Around mile 15 Zliten’s wheel just started clicking.  Click click… click click click…. click.  It was a little… concerning… so we stopped on the side of the road to check it out.  Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary so we click clicked to the next aid station to try to find a bike tech.  We did NOT find one there, but we did find an old buddy of ours and we chatted a bit while we snacked.

Best aid station of the day at approximately 30 miles.  Sadly/luckily, no actual shots were available for consumption. 🙂

Click click click sort of wore on us after 20 more miles.  My back and legs were unreasonably sore for the distance I had ridden. I typically feel this way closer to 80-90 these days (I blame standing in cleats for 2 hours).  The wind was WICKED.  I had no info about if they modified the course closures and the last thing I wanted to do was have to SAG it out, so when the sign came up at around 38 miles to go right for 100, I took a left towards the 65 mile route with no regrets.  I felt crappy and my mood wasn’t great either.

We found out later that they turned everyone back for a maximum distance of 77, so I’m torn between feeling bad that I didn’t at least try, and feeling fine with my decision because I couldn’t have done a full century anyway.  Definitely, mostly the latter.

After making peace with our decision we stopped at the next aid station.  They had bike techs!  Zliten got his steed looked at (yep, spoke out of place, just a little, fixed it right up) and I found some delicious foods and laid in the grass, enjoying the warm sun and a little break.  The break was exactly what I needed, I felt much better and instead of letting my husband pull most of the time, we took turns again.

All of a sudden, we were back in town and in traffic.  Bleh.  I’m sure starting and ending downtown is great for many reasons, but I did not love having to stop at almost every light on a very busy street for about 5-10 miles on the way back up South First.  I would have much rather had the route be more of the beautiful country roads we were on before!  Also, can I complain about the myraid of left turns in this route (on streets that were not blocked off)?  I’m not sure why we didn’t just ride it backwards so we went clockwise and they were rights instead.  Two years ago, I would have been terrified!  Now, it was just… annoying.

Poor dirty Evilbike.  She had a bath the day before and everything! (and obvs, a bath Sunday afternoon as well, approximately an hour after this picture… :P)

We crossed the arch, happy to be done but also feeling a little underwhelmed with our day as we had expected to ride 100 miles and just be exhauuuuuusted.  A beer or two with teammates and friends definitely perked us right up.  They had amazing looking food (both a taco bar and burgers!!), but we had a jalapeno and chorizo pizza at home beckoning to us, so we saved ourselves for it (and it was so freaking worth it!).

The positives of the day, because I feel like I complained a lot above:

  • I actually super love the shirt in terms of fit/design/comfort.
  • Riding 65 miles (plus a mile to and from the car) is a backup plan nowadays and while there were low points, I finished definitely feeling like I had more in me by the end if there was more road to ride (and if there wasn’t pizza and beer waiting for me).
  • It was fun to ride with Team BSS!
  • There aren’t too many 100 mile rides in town.  It was super convenient not to have to travel!
  • We kept up a 15.2 mph average (it was better around mile 55, but the stop and go the last section really tanked it).  We rode for about 4 and a quarter hours, and total time elapsed was 5:15.  Besides the aid station where Zliten had his bike looked at, we did a pretty good job at getting in and out and on with our ride.

The verdict?  I wouldn’t go out of my way to do this race every year, but if a bunch of teammates signed up and it didn’t cost too much and didn’t have alternate plans that weekend and maybe someone could have a chat with the weather for a low around 60, high no higher than 80, and a mix of clouds and sun but no rain?  In.

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