Adjusted Reality

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

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Week 4 – The Secret to Success

Hi everyone!  I leave for Nationals tomorrow!

All the feels!

I went from zero freakouts to maximum over the course of Monday, so I shut down my planned second workout of the day and just destressed and prepared instead.  I think I’ve even outdone my normal craziness with a 10 page vacation document for 4 nights away, but there’s so much “you must be here at this particular time” going on this weekend, and we don’t have a car, so it’s definitely not our normal getaway.

My goals in Cleveland are to:

#1 Survive racing back to back days.  I think I’m less worried about the actual effort, and more about the back to back 4am wakeups (ughhhh), and all the logistics that go along with racing two different races, so there’s that.

#2 I rarely get to race Olympic distance, so I’d like to take a stab at the holy grail for me, a sub-3 hour race.  The temperatures and the course should lend itself well to it, we’ll see how my legs and brain react to the day.

#3 Have fun!  I don’t have any delusions about actually qualifying for worlds in either category this year, so I’m just here to enjoy the experience and hopefully not come in last (and even if I do, eh, it’s fine, I know I’m a little fish in a big pond again).

This week I’m training fairly minimally because I’m not 100% sure how my body will react to two hard efforts in a row and I want to give it the best fighting chance possible without a real taper.  Also, it’s a great excuse to let some little niggles try and heal.  I’m looking at you, stupid blister on my right arch and cranky left leg (earlier in the week, my glute was bothering me, now it’s my ankle… sigh… the tapers).  I’m doing a bunch of short swims, did one bodyweight session, some bike riding, and trying to stretch and roll and boots as much as possible while I’m at home since all I’m traveling with is my teeny portable roller.

Monday morning bike rides make the entire week better.

Last week was a great training week – I hit every session I planned!

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride, gym weights
  • Tuesday: AM run: 9 miles at 10:30-11:00 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 20 mins swim, 30 min bike, 2 mile run indoor tri at Lifetime (unofficial, of course)
  • Friday: AM weights, PM open water swim
  • Saturday: 45 mile TT ride at the Veloway, 3 mile brick run (9:30-ish/mile goal pace)
  • Sunday: off

Things to note:

Tuesday’s run was the first strugglebus in a while.  I still did the exact run at the exact paces I needed, but the second half was not pleasant and I definitely aggravated my blister doing it.  It was a great mental toughness workout and honestly, I’ve had worse. 

On Thursday, I pulled off just about the exact same paces I did at the Indoor Tri in January but they felt much easier.  I almost hurled after getting off the treadmill earlier this year, keeping the same pace in August felt challenging but not pukeworthy.  The perceived effort on the bike wasn’t even the same zip code.  I was dying the entire time in January, this was a build from steady to sorta challenging by the end now, both ending at 10.1 miles in 30 minutes.

Saturday’s ride was actually super nice – while 15 loops of anything gets monotinous, it was nice not having to dodge cars or stop for anything but bottle fills.  I was able to manage 18.2 mph for the entire ride and the effort felt reasonable.  My legs were a little sore after 45 miles (which makes sense, because this is my longest ride in six months by 10 miles), but I definitely had another 11 miles in me to complete the half ironman distance and my legs ran off that bike just fine (I held 9:50s instead of 9:30s, but heck, it already was feels like 100 when we started, so I’m still pretty proud of that). 

On swimming: I just haven’t been able to manage to get myself to hit the 70.3 race distance yet.  I’ve increased my comfort zone to a little under a mile (1500-1600yd), I just haven’t had the oomph to do that .2 yet.  My glute most commonly starts barking on longer swims (especially towing the safe swimmer – I decided the second lap without it on Friday was worth the risk so I ditched it), so I’ve cut a lot of attempts at 3 lake loops (about 2400 yd) to 2 (1600 yd) because of it.  As long as I get a few 3 loop swims and some longer pool swims before race day, I should be fine (and I have 7 weeks after this one to do it so… not worried yet).

Training requires some substantial high quality food.  Training does not require that chocolate thing, but it did come with the meal so *shrug*.

I’ll announce that I’ve found the answer to weight loss success.  If correlation = causation, then all you need to do is eat two slices of cake, skip your planned workout, and drink whiskey for dinner.

Yep, I’ll be selling this on late night infomercials starting next week.  It’s the path to success!  Actually, I know what I do in the weeks before seems to affect me much more on the scale than what I’m doing immediately (unless it’s drastic like a long hot run or ride or eating a giant bowl of super salty MSG-filled pho), so I don’t want to get cocky, but for better or worse, that was my Monday and I woke up and weighed myself on Tuesday and the scale taunted me with 169.8, 169.9, and then finally settled on 170.2.  While that’s a low swing, my upswing the next day was only back to 173, and my trendweight is actually tilting down rather nicely.

  • Average calorie burn: 2519
  • Average calorie intake: 1888 (-631 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.0 to 174.5 (-0.5)
  • Average diet quality: 21.4

So, underneath my “diet by cake and laziness”, I actually have some solid scores for last week.  My goal for the next few months will honestly be to just keep doing pretty much this above and see where it takes me.  I ate mostly healthy food in the proper portions and counted my calories, but this plan also involves a burger and fries, whiskey and wine, a giant bag of BBQ from Rudy’s that consisted of most of this weekend’s protein, one small slice of cake and half a cookie.  So, it’s not all angelic but 9 hours of training means there’s room for a few splurges here and there.

This week, I’m going to have less of a deficit because I’ll be doing less training, and probably not taking the calories down too much lower (both because of racing).  So, I’ll expect to not see too much happening on the scale, but I hope to minimize the asshole eating (but allow for some) while in a new city.

Fun with the fireworks setting…

In life matters that don’t involve triathlon or what I put in my mouth, I edited July 5th and July 6th camping photos.  I still have 51 left for July 7 and 8th, but you can see what’s done HERE.  I’m not sure I’ve ever been so late with a vacation post (I almost want to pre-date it to July to hide my shame :D), so maybe look for a PART ONE coming soon-ish.  Maybe I need to post about my July vacation before I leave town in August.  Maybe I’m ridiculous, but I just love to explore and take photos!  Now, if someone could pay me more than 18 cents for it…

Week 2 of 70.3 training – nailed it!

On the heels of a rough week 1, I’m happy to report my sentiment for Week 2 was, “Nailed it!”

Insert peach emoji here.  If you want a nice looking peach too, you can get this kit of mine HERRRE. And use the code BRIGADELEAH for 25$ off, if you want to be part of our cycle gang!

And not even in the ironic pintrest fail sense.  Except in some instances where it was sort of that exactly. 

As for training, I’m thrilled to report it’s the first time in a long time I’ve put check marks in all the boxes.  That is, all workouts were completed, exactly as planned (if not exactly WHEN).  That’s a HUGE win for me.  I may have rescheduled some things about 23 times before completing it, but all’s well that ends well, yeah?  Even if that ending was 5pm on a Sunday walking back from the lake for a swim I put off since Monday…

Here’s the week 2 summary:

  • Monday: weights (home), 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: 7 mile long run 10:30-11 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: FTP test AM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: gym weights AM, 1500yd pool swim PM
  • Saturday: 35 mile TT bike ride/3 mile brick faster than race pace (sub-10 was the goal, I actually hit sub 9:30s!!!).
  • Sunday: 1600yd lake swim

It really is the swim practice that has been tripping me up.  I don’t have the option to swim at lunch anymore (though that changes soon! yay!) and it’s the least convenient session to get to.  I actually love doing it once I get myself there and going, it’s just the effort to get there… ugh.  It sounds so lazy, but it’s just the truth.

And it makes sense when my swimming spaces are so ugly.  Sigh…

Everything else went rather well!  An hour bike ride after work on Monday is honestly just the thing to shake the blahs.  I’m starting back a little… errr… lot lighter with some things for weights but I’m showing up and doing it.  While the swims were difficult to coordinate, I had two longest swims of the year and they felt pretty good.

The highlights of the week were my cycling and running.  I know, I haven’t said the words “highlight” and “running” in the same sentence for a long time, but it’s true.  As for cycling, I took an FTP test on Wednesday morning, and it went up 7 points, and since I’ve lost weight since my last one, my watts per kg score went up nicely as well (2.15 to 2.25).  I’m now in the middle of the cat-5 or cat-4 category, depending on which version of the chart you’re looking at, so that’s something. 

As for my run, I won’t say the paces I’m doing are effortless, but they are more comfortable than expected.  My 7 mile run at 10:40s ended before I wanted it to, I could have easily continued on another few miles at the same pace and effort if I had time.  Then, Saturday, in feels like 95 degrees in no shade, I ran a 9:28/mile pace for 3 miles off a two hour reasonably challenging bike (18 mph average/1200+ feet of elevation gain in the heat).  Again, this wasn’t EASY but it was doable and at 169 HR average, it was a little high for what I’d hold during the half marathon off the bike but it wasn’t butting up against my racing ceiling either (~175).

This next week is a stepback week, which I don’t feel like I need physically, like, at all, but mentally, I’m ready.  The next few days are already presenting challenges with life not understanding that it’s time for training to be the focus, and not other stuff. ><  However, we’ll get ‘er done, somehow, someway.  Here’s the plan.

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: AM run: 1 mile warmup, 3 miles fast (10k-ish race pace, trying to hold low 9s), 1 mile cooldown, PM home kettlebells
  • Wednesday: ~1500yd swim, lake or pool PM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: AM gym weights
  • Saturday: practice olympic distance (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run)
  • Sunday: off

This is a little bit of scheduling gymnastics from the plan 24 hours ago, but thankfully it’s not the myriad of two-a-days it would be if it was NOT a recovery week, so I’m thankful for a little more leeway.  I have faith all the boxes will be ticked, just not confident everything will happen exactly when it’s supposed to.  And that’s ok.

My other goals for last week continue to be goals for this week:

  • Hit all the sessions. (CHECK)
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person) (CHECK)
    • My worst night of sleep was 6h43m, and I just stayed up later than normal, nothing sinister.  Saturday night, I got 6 hours and 41 minutes of DEEP sleep (for about 9 hours total), waking up at 11:30am.  My body is doing all the right things, and I’m finding waking up in the 7am hour much easier.
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day.
    • I didn’t hit it every day, but I stretched twice, rolled twice, and hit the boots once.  Five out of seven days isn’t bad!

Let’s see how this week goes!

As for the scale-y side of things…

Wait, that’s not what I mean… hehe…

Let’s just go to the numbers…

  • Average calorie burn: 2480
  • Average calorie intake: 1805 (-674 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.6 to 175.1 (-0.6)
  • Average diet quality: 22.1

I had typed this thing about making zero, zip, nada, zilch in the way of progress, but I’m going to dig a little bit into there because that’s not entirely true.  My trendweight is hovering right in the 175.somethings, where it has for pretty much all July.  Right now it’s the LOWEST it’s been with 175.1, so that’s a thing.  However, I’m not entirely sure if I’m goosing the numbers a little bit by selectively weighing on days when I think it will be a good result (I weighed Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Sunday, which coincided with either morning workouts or days I went light on dinner).

Either way, the process numbers above look in order for the last week.  I have a feeling I’m still paying for vacation week and the week after where things went all to hell with my eating.  My progress is slow.  My progress is stalled.  But, there is still progress and even if it takes me 10 weeks to lose 5 more lbs while not negatively impacting my 70.3 training, that’s fine and dandy.  I didn’t gain this particular weight overnight, so I know I’m not going to lose it that way either.

A summary of #projectraceweight in graph form.

This week, I’ve batch cooked some meals instead of just scrounging, I’m grabbing some snap kitchen for the first time in a while.  I don’t have any parties or plans this week that involve gluttonous meals.  In the monthly cycle of being a woman, this should be a week that my hormones won’t hamper my efforts.  This should be a good week for me if I can play by my old rules where I was doing well.  So I shall.

Speaking of rules… I’m trying not to break them.  I really am.  I drew my suck lines in sharpie two months ago and I’m really trying to abide by that decree.  It let me let go of a few things that while I really want to do, I don’t have the time or attention for at the moment AND THAT’S OK.  I will be a famous You Tube star, painter, jewelry designer, have a fabulously renovated and organized house, and whatever else some day when I have all the time in the world.

Trying to be legit with a watermark and everything.  However, this one got rejected by two out of the three stock sites. I still like it so I’m posting it here.

However, photography keeps creeping up above the line by nature.  I keep going places and taking pretty pictures, and that means I have photos to edit, and if I’m going to go through all that, I might as well submit them to build my stock portfolio, right?  It sounds like a natural thing to do but then it takes time, I’m estimating that the process of making it ready for the three photo sites is at least 30 minutes PER PICTURE beyond what I’d do just to put it in a personal album. 

Right now, it means that I prioritized those submissions over my Krause Springs pictures and all I’ve done with that set is narrow 500+ pictures down to about 200 that were decent. 

Still with the phone pictures, but I miss my tree and my hammock.

Because this seems to be the thing I want to focus on/procrastinate editing my book with right now, I’ll indulge it for a little bit, if that I won’t have another big batch of pretty pictures to edit probably until October, so it won’t be a constant distraction.  My next goals are:

  • Further narrow that down to a reasonable amount of photos to take the time to run through the editor, hopefully 100 or less.
  • Upload those to facebook and do a (maybe a few) Krause Springs posts.
  • Pick the ones that are on the level of the first batch I submitted to each stock photo site (with the rejections in the second batch, I think I’ve found the edge).
  • Upload the best 10 to ONE of the sites and see if any get rejected.  If they all pass, upload them everywhere.
  • Pick the next best 10-15 if I think I have any more that are good quality.  Upload them to one site and see if any get rejected.  If they all pass, upload them everywhere and repeat the process as deep as I want to go into my stock.

If this takes me a month or two, so be it, but there’s the map and the plan.

The book editing process is going slowly, but one more session and I can probably call myself one-third of the way through the first rough pass.  That’s the benchmark I’ll focus on.  I’m hoping I can carve out some time this weekend or next but again, I’m not giving myself a set timetable for this stuff lest I get overwhelmed.

And in the spirit of not overwhelming myself, th-th-th-that’s all folks!

Chopping the wood and carrying the water

Marathons hit me right in the feels.

Not entirely sure there’s a better feeling than at the end of 26.some miles.

I mean, after running 26.2 miles, you are raw.  You’ve gone through periods where you’ve felt amazing and then subsequently wanted to give anything just to lie down on the side of the road and die for a little bit or maybe even forever.  You’ve felt the highest highs and the lowest lows.  You’ve spent a few hours with yourself and only your two feet (and maybe a kickass playlist, if that’s an option) and that finish line is the most glorious thing in the entire world.   This is a fact both when it’s a standalone run and especially when it’s after a long swim and bike.

I mean, I love shorter races.  There are so many benefits.  You can race them more often without falling apart (mentally AND physically).  You can be to the beer tent by NINE AM.  Specifically for me, my body handles going short and fast (ish) muuuuuch better than going long.  At least right now.  And, I’m more competitive at these distances.  I’ve never even been within spitting distance of a podium if there’s an Iron or marathon anywhere in the name (even with a half qualifier).

But, there’s something about those longer races.  Maybe it’s the glory (my mother, when hearing how long the race was that I won, was like, “oh, that’s all?”).  But I also love the type two fun of the long days of training, maybe even more than racing.  Even when it’s running for hours in the rain (ok, maybe I *especially* like this one).  Or riding my bike for the majority of a workday, even if it’s in 3 mile circles.  Or losing count of how many laps I’ve done in the lake when it’s the temperature of bathwater.  I live for this stuff.

One thing I have to keep reminding myself is that the ultimate goal isn’t to *RETIRE* from those type of races.  I have no qualms that I’ll be back at the marathon and Ironman distances someday.  However, I want to do more than limp through them.  I want to be strong and fit and light enough to maintain a good stride and pace through 26 miles.  I want to be flexible enough that my range of motion isn’t limiting my power on the bike or my hip extension on the run.  I want my core and upper body to be strong to push the bike in aero for 56 or 112 miles like I do for 14 in a sprint.  I don’t want to train through a bunch of niggling injuries, I want to feel good and ready for training days and when I step up to the start line instead of wondering what will break on me this time.

So, the reminder to myself is to chop the wood and carry the water.  I need to get STRONG before I go LONG.  It will be interesting to test the waters with a half ironman in September and see if I can pull off the run I know is in there if my body would stop being such a flimsy and rigid little jerk.  It will be a higher degree of difficulty dive being in Cozumel (hot/humid), but my two best half iron races have been in similar conditions, so we’ll see how that little experiment of one goes.

This probably isn’t going to happen for a while so I’m going to use this picture a few times.  Get comfortable with it. 🙂

However, the focus right now is getting ready for the first two back to back races next weekend and the weekend after.  I am much less likely to win either of these but if I have a great day, like a really great day, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to stand on the podium.  It’s going to be all about the bike on these.  They’re both on the hillier side.  It’s really hard to catch me on the flats but going up?  Yeah… not so much… and then it’s all about what’s left over on the run.  I’ve got a stronger run game than I ever have right now, but my legs have not yet figured out how to match that 6- or 7-minute mile pace (I’m barely able to hold 8-something and not consistently), which standing on the top-step sometimes takes.

Backing up a bit again, I hit most of my training last week with some modifications.

  • I did a harder trainer ride with less recovery than I expected on Monday, so I went 40 instead of 60 minutes.
  • I did both sessions of weights at work with kettlebells instead of lifting once at the gym.
  • We had to work late on Wednesday and missed the team brick, but made up for it with a shorty brick on the top of our parking garage at work.  It ended up being more cornering practice on the bike than anything, but I ran a nice 9 minute flat mile off the bike.  And, it made my mood go from >:( to 🙂 so it was worth it just for that.

However, I think the happiest thing last week was those run miles off the bike.  I ran three more over the weekend, and the splits were 9:07, 9:01, and 8:59.  I’m consistently able to approximately hit that 9 minute mile and in most cases, I have another gear that I could summon on race day.  I’m still not running a lot, but it’s been quality.

Cycling seems to be going well, I’m getting better at the ability to hold higher power for longer instead of just in short intervals.  It’s been nice training on the TT bike outside with the team and trying to chase the faster riders!  Weights work is still continuing even though I’m going through the same phase I always do around this time – where my mentality switches from “OMG I love weights, I need to prioritize this work year round” to “man, it’s really hard to lift, run, bike AND swim all in the same week…. hmmm…”.  But, I’ve committed to 2x week, even if some of those weeks end up me just throwing around kettlebells in my work parking lot, it’s better than what I’ve done previously.

And I do <3 me some Black Betty.

Swimming is just a solid fourth right now.  I made it to the pool twice last week.  I didn’t swim fast or far, but I swam.  At some point, I need to do sets.  At some point, I need to swim in the lake.  But, for now, I’m showing up, and that’s a start.

This week’s plan:

  • 2 weights sessions (1 DONE!)
  • 2 20-30 min swims (maybe one of these in the lake, perhaps)
  • 3 bike rides – one 90 min commute (DONE – that was rough), one 45 min smashy brick, and the weekend’s ride is TBD depending on the weather.
  • 3 runs – two easy with some more miles (one 4 miler DONE, one more planned), one fast 2 mile brick
  • Stretch + roll + boots and ankle/shoulder exercises almost every day.

It feels like nothing in terms of hours when I’m planning it, then my week gets super busy and it’s all I can and want to do right now.  And it seems to be working, so I’ll take it and not try to pile on a million more hours.  Yet.

Our post-Easter Easter feast.  My only indiscretion was a tiny sliver of chocolate cake and ice cream, which was plenty.

In the other front to #getfaster, I hit a nice milestone last week.  My average weight is finally back in the 170s (179.6, but still).  Keeping score – this is 6.1 lbs in 4 weeks.  I am now officially lighter than I’ve been since the beginning of August 2015.  I expect this week to be an exercise in frustration because it’s that time of the month in which I feel like a water balloon, but we’ll see how much of that is giving into crappy cravings and eating badly and how much of that is actually my body.

I have five weeks before vacation, and I should be faiiiiirly close to seeing an odd 169.9 on the scale the week before I go if my progress stays even.  That would be RAD!  To keep myself motivated, I’ll remind myself about the fact that about 30 seconds has melted off my running paces in the last 4-5 weeks, and if I don’t eff it all up, another 30 seconds could magically melt off by my last race of the spring.  How cool would that be?

Last week’s numbers:

  • Last week’s average calories: 1607
  • Last week’s average daily burn: 2301
  • Average deficit: -693
  • Average diet quality: 22.8
  • Average weight: 179.6

This week should be fairly easy in the grand scheme of things.  I don’t have any social functions, and my only planned splurge is lunch out on the day we ride bikes.  I just have to stay the course and hopefully I can report similar numbers to those above, with a lower average weight!

I’ve got nothing related to this section so please enjoy this view of two canoes on a lake.

I am happy to report that we have two CLEAN cars in our garage now.  The kitchen remodel is 100% fully and finally over. *cue the angels’ chorus*

I’m making my way through The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and I’ve gotten to the chapter about how to pitch your book and what you should send in a package to a publisher.  The good news is that this is some GREAT information.  The bad news is that for non-fiction books, you’re supposed to do this stuff BEFORE you write the whole book.

I decided it wasn’t a terrible thing.  I have proved to myself that I could finish a first draft.  For my own confidence, that’s a wonderful step.  However, I will probably never put together almost 300 word doc pages again before I do this again because it’s a great judgement on whether you SHOULD EVEN WRITE THE BOOK.  It will be a great exercise with the 3-5 other ones knocking around my head before I dive into the deep end with them.

However, first on the docket is editing and reading and letting my husband read it.  He’s getting antsy.

By the end of this weekend, I would like to have another video recorded and at least the background of my next painting done and our workout room tidied up.  But only if it’s not stressing me out to do all that stuff.  Because it’s triathlon season, and that means adulting and crafts get ignored unless I feel like it.

Also, I’ve currently decided that I’m going to look into is selling my digital photography.  My husband, under the influence of vodka, bought me a really nice new fancy digital underwater camera that actually takes pictures in the proper format to do this, so my goal is to see how long it will take to make back the money it cost to order it!

I figure this *might* be worth something to someone besides just looking pretty on my social media and blogs.

And on that note, I’m going to take my unfocused self (squirrel!) and go focus on something.  Happy Wednesday!

#projectraceweight, take three

I am not an idiot.

A pizza-eating-sunglasses-inside-wearing giant dork?  Sure.  But not an idiot.

I mean, sure, I do stupid things.  I make bad decisions.  I go with the “feels good now” choice versus the “will actually push me towards my goals” choice more often than I’d like to admit.  Sometimes I eat birthday cake even though I KNOW I will instantly regret that decision (stomachache, calories, etc).  Sometimes I stay downtown and party with the band that we just met and go into questionable dive bars and play flippy cup with the bartenders instead of going home before sundown like a good little triathlete.  Sometimes I’ll go for the fun bike ride with the team instead of doing my speedwork.  Sometimes I binge watch a season of a show on Netflix I’ve seen five times instead of finishing a writing, movie, or art project.

However, I do these knowing full well that I am making the “right now” choice vs the actual right choice.  So, I’m not an idiot.  I promise.  I’m just GREAT at self sabotage.

Delicious, amazing, decadent self-sabotage.

I know the reason I haven’t been losing weight even if I’d rather bitch about it the last few months than actually DO anything.  My calorie output is approximately 2200 per day (and that’s improved from the roughly 2k or less I was seeing when the air was trying to kill me with either allergies or freezing temperatures), and I’m TRACKING 1800-1900 average per day, which means I’m probably consuming a little more than that.  Studies show that even dieticians under-track their consumption so I am sure I’m doing that too.  It’s just hard to be so meticulous.

Instead of getting batshit crazy and tracking every crumb (I just had a conversation with my husband about whether he should track his GUM intake since he’s on this crazy handbasket to hell with me this time…), I’m just going to aim for a lower number to make sure, errors or not, I maintain a deficit.  This week begins the attempt at 1500 calories average per day.   The last two months have been pushing an importance of #1 – diet quality and then #2 – calories.  Now, I’m reversing the order.  The most important thing is to stay as close to the 1500 number as possible.  Of close second importance is diet quality, but if one has to win over the other, calorie count is king.

This sounds like a very subtle difference, but it’s actually pretty significant in how I handle situations that challenge me vs my goals.  It feels a little bit dirty sometimes (I really want a bottle glass of whiskey, and I’m going to not eat dinner an apple so I have those calories).  In all honesty, it’s not the best long term solution, but it is the *only* way I lose weight that doesn’t make me go completely bonkers.

Not an apple, but about as many calories as a large one.

When I eat super clean, 1500 is plenty for nutritional purposes.  For example, yesterday I ate:

  • Breakfast (10:30am): 1 mug of green tea + 1 cup Greek Fage 0% Yogurt with 1/2 cup berries and 2 tbsp powdered PB (270 cal)
  • Lunch (12:30pm): Snap Kitchen Supreme Pasta (340 cal)*
  • Second Lunch (3pm): giant mixing bowl salad with lettuce, broccoli slaw, cucumber, tomato, corn, peas, pepperchinis, olives, reduced fat feta, and lite italian dressing (150 calories)
  • Snacks (4pm-8pm):  1/2 oz pistachios (75 cal), sliced apple with powdered pb and cinnamon (100 cal), corn tortilla with beans and lite jarlsberg cheese (175 cal)
  • Dinner (8pm): Snap Kitchen Shrimp Paella (360 cal)*
  • Before bed (10pm): Sleepytime Tea (0 cal) and a square of dark chocolate (40 cal)

*Yep, I’m making this week a no brainer by using a meal service.  I <3 Snap Kitchen when kickstarting something like #projectraceweight because it’s easy to eat healthy food that’s pretty flippin’ delicious.

This works out to about 1500 calories and 31 DQ points.  One off a perfect score – just can’t justify switching out that last dark chocolate square for a piece of fruit instead to hit that +1.  I’ll live with that.

I rode my bike for 45 minutes easy-peasy-like in the evening and got my 10k steps for the day with walks, burning approximately 2300 calories and with a -800 calorie deficit.  Day one done.  If I can do this 5 days in a row, I will mathematically have lost just a little over 1 lb.  If I can keep this up consistently for the nine weeks before I go on vacation, I can lose almost 15 lbs.

However, I know how this goes.  I need to have an escape hatch every once in a while.  Sometimes you have to splurge.  So, once a week, I’ll allow myself to take in closer to maintenance calories – or around 2000.  I can attempt to make that up, by eating a little less on the days around it, burning a little more (though my training schedule is pretty set and intentionally fairly consistent), or just accept that I’ll go a little slower.  If I eat 2000 calories once a week for the next 9 weeks, I’ll lose 13.5 lbs instead of 15.  However, that math is a great reminder that every little decision I make counts.  Passing on an order of fries once a week is the difference of 1.5 lbs of fat loss over two months.  That doesn’t suck.

My lovely french fry friends… it’s not you.  It’s me.  I just need some space.  We’ll be together again soon.

So, I embark on #projectraceweight for the third time (and many other times before that under a different name).  While it’s frustrating that none of them have actually succeeded, I’m starting a little lighter (186.0 today) and in better shape each time (I’m coming off six weeks of heavy weight training, BULKING, if you will, not couch sitting like the previous two years).  And that doesn’t suck either.

It’s easy to be weak willed when faced with a goal months away vs the chocolate cake in my face (one slip up can’t hurt, right?), so I’m going to write out all the reasons why losing that 15 lbs would be awesome, in no particular order.

  • I’d like all the clothes I have in my closet/drawers fit me, and not pick the same few things over and over.  I have some really cute clothes I can’t wear because of the extra spare tire I’m carrying around.
  • When we lost weight, we stopped snoring.  The snore monster is creeping back into the bedroom.  I’d like to stop waking Zliten up at night (and vice versa).
  • Actually maybe someday wanting to purchase a race picture instead of them making me barf.  It would be awesome to be proud of how I look on the course vs embarrassed at looking like a sausage in my team kit.
  • I’m sure this knee/ankle/heel thing could be much improved with less constant pressure and pounding from my bodyweight.  Being able to run pain free again would be worth saying no to every junk food in the world.
  • A free 30 seconds per mile running.  Just for saying no to the chips or seconds at dinner for the next nine weeks is totally worth free speed.  I just need to remember that junk food = slower runs.
  • Confidence.  It feels really vain to say, but I’ll feel less hesitant about being on camera, putting myself out there as a brand ambassador and health and fitness mentor, and maybe even asking for help and mentorship myself if I feel better about my body.

So key points for me to remember until May 20th:

  • Eat 1500 calories or less UNLESS it’s that special once a week splurge day IF you need it.
  • Eat good quality food 90% of the time.
  • Don’t eat random crap just because it’s there.  If you splurge, do it because you absolutely MUST HAVE THE THING and do that not very often.
  • This actually means a lot to you, so don’t fuck it up with self sabotage.
  • This is temporary and you are really good at maintaining your weight once you settle somewhere, so you won’t have to be this neurotic forever.

Like I said, day one is done.  And I didn’t fall face first onto a plate of french fries.  Day two has started.  Six-one more to go.

Total Randomness

Whew, ok, the last post gave me the willies.  Talkin’ about humans and feelings and stuff.

Things that do not impress me – arm day noodles and also feels like 30 degrees.  C’mon winter.  You had your time.  Spring please!

Today, I’m going to go with total randomness.

Last week was the first week in a long time that I have barely noticed my heel being cranky.  I was feeling some pretty big feelings about this earlier in the month, but I’m hoping between rest and dutifully wearing my insoles, its healed.  Not to mention about missing out on some killer running weather, I’ve missed most of the season where I actually wear clothes that look somewhat put together since it’s not 200000 degrees outside.  Why bother looking nice if I have to complete the ensemble with running shoes?  Oh well.  I can be a fashion police fugitive if it means a year of injury free training and racing.  I’m willing to make that sacrifice, so it’s been a winter of mostly the same five hoodies and two pairs of jeans every week.

Speaking of things that should set a good tone for the upcoming season… I am really really really really really really enjoying heavy weights (as much as I like to make faces while doing it on the Instagrams).  I forget how much I actually like taking the time to lift.  It’s just as achievement based as run/bike/swim, it’s super fun to keep those weights numbers going up, and you really and truly can’t overdo it.  I’m doing one hour three times per week, and I can see that’s pretty much the top limit on what’s useful.  Unlike riding my bike, which I want to do as much as humanly possible until I collapse into a puddle of quivering goo.

I’m starting week #4 today and my gains right now are probably more based on remembering how to actually do the exercises (muscle memory) than actual strength.  However, even if it’s totally subconscious, I do feel more sturdy and a little more definition in the marshmallow fluff all over my body.  If I could eat a little less, I’m sure it would help but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.  I’m hoping to stick with the lifting more throughout season – 1-2 times a week.  Honestly, coach-me thinks lifting probably does me more good than a random 3-5 mile jog, but it’s hard to convince athlete-me of that when the thing I compete at is swim bike RUN.

A day of happy.  Bikes, weights, unicorns fighting robots, and good food.

Obviously, since I’m just mandating that I do “cardio” 3xweek for 30 minutes, I’ve been riding my bike and that’s it.  Because of the heel shenanigans, I decided to lay off the running, but I am looking forward to getting back to it in the next week or so.  I’ve had some plans to hit the pool but then it will be cold or rainy or the sky will be blue or the day will end in -y and I do something else instead.  Hopping on the trainer takes so little prep time.  Swimming for 30 minutes is like a 75 minute commitment.  I know I’ll get back to it when I need to, I’ll whine about being slow for a month, and then things will go back to normal.

Here’s a weird thing – my bike rides have actually gotten really GOOD lately.  Over the last week, I’ve noticed that I’m putting in less effort to get the same power numbers and speed.  I’ve also been having less trouble waking up in the morning, and actually have been able to hit the workouts before work fairly regularly.  Ladies and gentlemen, I think I have hit the mythical place I haven’t seen in years: BEING RESTED!  It actually feels great!

It’s like all the things are coming together.  Weights make me feel great.  Shorter bouts of cardio with some intensity is awesome.  The other key is that I’m handling some shit in my personal life a little better which is a little tough for my BRAIN but fantastic for my body.

As an endurance athlete, I’m used to constantly feeling beat up.  I’m actually more comfortable feeling a little tired and sore.  During season, the punishment is mostly from workouts and a little fun when I can fit it in.  During offseason, it’s adventures and enjoying the freedom to have beers more often and not being the best at sleeping and of course junk food because I don’t have to care what I feel like when I wake up in the morning because I’m not training.

I mean, after you earn an “Official Badass” mug you have to break it in at least once, right?

This has been a weird situation where I’m not training hard but also under a strict embargo to not eat and drink like an asshole because I’d really like to see the other mythical place called: AT RACE WEIGHT.  It’s quite weird.  Usually I have a reason not to go home and have glasses of whiskey like, “I have to get up and train for two hours tomorrow and you know how miserable that feels”.  Now, I’m having to come home to “Yes you CAN have beers tonight but should you?”  It’s like college, where all of a sudden you have freedom to do whatever, but then this big goal in the distance, and your job is to not to eff it all up by pursuing short term pleasure instead of long term goals too often.

It’s been a weird handful of weeks trying to sort this one out.  I figured this would be a little easier, but it’s the end of February (two months later) and I’m still struggling with this one at times.  In my quest to analyze what my malfunction is here, I’ve come up with a few things.  Alcohol is fun.  Just like Sleepytime Tea and my book and a square or two of dark chocolate now mean bed, a glass of whiskey means it’s an evening off goals and to dos, and it’s time to relax and unwind.

I’ve also learned if I let myself sit on the couch being bored watching bad TV surfing the net, I’m more likely to want to have a glass of wine to make that more exciting.  If I do something engaging, like beading, playing games, etc, I’m generally pretty engrossed as is.  Idle hands, and such.

Along with all this other healthy living noise, I’ve been doing a decent job at the QUALITY of what I’m putting in my mouth, if not the quantity.  I have been reliably eating about 1900-2000 calories per day average, which I know at my current level of activity is just about maintenance level if not mayyyybe a little under.  So, I’m not losing weight and that’s okay, because I’m not currently doing the things to lose weight.  I’m a little grumpy about that, but at least it makes sense.  Between a new lifting program and trying to eat the good food and not be a jerk and have vodka for dinner every few days, I’ll give myself some grace to allow myself to eat enough not to feel (too) hungry as long as it’s good quality food, for the most part.

I have been tracking and quantifying all my food, so that’s a huge step in the right direction.  Next week, I’m bringing out some of the big guns – food that is lower in calorie but should be just as filling.  I’m going to try to stay away from overloading on full fat cheese and high calorie sauces/dressings, and really stress less sweet fruits like berries and plums that are higher in fiber but not as many calories.  Still the same method of tracking calories and/or diet quality, I’m just trying to play the game a little better.  At some points in my life, at this level of activity, 1200-1500 was a normal day – not that I want to go that low, but 1600-1800 should not be THIS HARD.

Tacos often save my life for meals these days.  Whole grain (corn tortilla).  Lean protein (organic beef).  Dairy (light organic sour cream and cheese).  Veggies?  Well, I get lots of veggies elsewhere. 🙂

Speaking of hard… I’ve really got a block about this learning to do video thing.  I have no problems with pictures (I mean, obviously).  I actually have gotten comfortable with the live streaming thing – both on a professional capacity and now at home streaming driving games (most Saturdays at 6pm – come watch us drive badly for a few hours).  Making what I’m considering “video content” (at my desk, about a topic, with some picture references) is a little harder.  My husband was terribly kind to set it up for me, and then I realized how GROSS that view of the office is (the background is a bunch of papers and mess and the closet door) and now I’m self conscious about that.  Since that’s what I have to work with, I’m going to have to figure it out.

Then, of course, there’s all this crap.  For the moment, I’m mostly going to leave it alone or I’m going to have to go back on that drinking thing… y’know…  My baby steps are going to be:

I took the first step and applied for a brand ambassadorship for a small company I like and respect.  My goal is to keep an eye out for other ones that come up that I’m interested in (though I missed the window for a lot of them by waiting until after the first of the year).

I plan to be more interactive on social media.  I think I’ve finally gotten over feeling like an internet weirdo about commenting on people’s instagrams and twitters and stuff.  It feels like this is what blogs used to be, and the best way for me to feel like part of a group instead of an outsider looking in is to be a participant and just clicking <3 does not count.

I think I feel so awkward about asking for help because I haven’t paid it forward enough yet.  So, I’m going to look for opportunities to offer help where and when I can.  I may not have copious free time, but I’m happy to offer advice on shit I know about – being a productive and efficient human (even if I don’t always follow through I know HOW), advice on the video game industry, advice on training or healthy diets and at least casual advice on helpful things to do to make that thing stop hurting or feeling weak or being a beta reader for a book or whatever.  I’m going to look for opportunities to help and mentor and maybe I’ll be more comfortable asking for it myself.

Whew, ok, getting heavy again.  Reading these non-fiction books is making me think too much.  At least the one I’m reading right now (Run Fast, Run Forever) is just kind of making me nod along going “yep, I’ve followed this training plan before, I know I like it…”.

The one day where we were not either freezing or raining we went and played bikes in the woods.  And it was glorious!

It’s not been all business time.   I’ve played a lot of games.  Video games, table top games, some board games, and we even went bowling with some friends.  I had one of my best scores in a while, something like 145 (and of course, I forgot to get photographic evidence).  We saw Brian Posehn on Friday (with tickets practically right on the stage, it was awesome).  We had lunch and game with the family on Saturday.  We saw Black Panther on Sunday and it was really powerful.  I’m so close to actually breaking out my canvases and paints and my beads.  We played mountain bikes last weekend on a day that was actually not cold or rainy.  I have spent a few rainy mornings in bed reading, and sometimes it’s even fluffy sci-fi fiction! There is downtime being had, folks.

It feels like winter is starting to come to an end, even if technically we have another month, and even if the weather surprises us like crap days with rain and 30 degrees.  I’m really looking forward to Spring – in that I’ll be training (aka, get to play outside in the pretty weather) but not training TOO much (aka, get to play outside in the pretty weather occasionally doing things that don’t include watts/pace suggestions).  First, though, I need to sort out two things – my spring training plan and my spring race schedule.  Then the season can ACTUALLY change.

What are you most looking forward to about Spring?

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