Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: Food (Page 1 of 24)

10 things that suck about dieting

Let me preface this with the fact that I’m actually really really really happy with the progress I’m making and that what I’m doing is a) not completely killing me and b) actually working at a rate which is STOKING my motivation vs KILLING it.

How being in the messy middle of #projectraceweight feels.

However, I’m in the *middle* of my diet, the fifth week of nine weeks to vacation, and I’m definitely growing weary.  So, like an April version of Festivus, let me air my grievances about why dieting sucks.

1. “Pick a way to eat for the rest of your life to lose weight” is BULLSHIT.  I’ve heard that advice so many times and do you know what?  Literally following that does not work.  To lose weight, you need to create a calorie debt.  Mine right now, between exercise and my food intake, is  approximately 750.  This is the fine line of “making progress quick enough (1.5 lbs/week) to stay motivated” and “losing my shit (I’m looking at you, 1200 calorie diets)”, so it’s what I’ve picked.

Once I’m done losing weight, that debt will be ZERO.  1500 calories of food is VERY different than 2250.  Yes, I have found some things out about portions (maybe I don’t quite need the VOLUME of healthy food I was eating before) and intake (sadly, my stomach DOES seem to be less bloated when I lay off the wheat at every single meal).  And this sentiment may apply a little more if you’re switching over from a diet solely including McDonalds and Starbux milkshakes coffees to eating a normal healthy diet, but if portions are generally your problem and not the types of food you’re eating?  Dieting will be veeeeeeery different than the way you eat for the rest of your life.

2. Snap Kitchen.  First of all, let me profess my undying love for Snap Kitchen.  They make me perfectly portioned, healthy meals that I don’t have to cook.  However, that perfect portion is perfect for my WEIGHT LOSS, and not what my brain thinks is appropriate for a meal (hence, why I’m in this mess to begin with).  I’m used to mixing bowls full of food (mostly veggies, but still, large portions), and their little containers look so teeny!

Second of all, I like about 10 of their meals right now, and two are conditional (one has ZERO carbs which tends to not stick with me that long, and one has VERY LITTLE protein, to which I can add chicken, but it ups the calories to 550 which is more than I’m eating lately in a meal).  I’m really really looking forward to when they switch around their menu (and it’s only been 19 days since they did it previously) and hoping they don’t take away some of my favorites and replace with things I don’t like as much!

As long as they keep making the almond crusted chicken tenders with turnip mash and collard greens, I’ll be alright though.

3. Eating healthy food can be expensive.  While I admit freely I’m taking the easy way with Snap, it is costing me more than previously when I was batch cooking most of my food and eating meals out about 4 times a week.  While I will maintain that it is indeed possible to eat a healthy diet on a reasonable budget and without too much fuss, I just don’t quite trust myself with portions yet, so I’m leaning on a meal service for a little while (and it helps with #8 – being lazy actually helps me because I’ll eat what’s easy at my fingertips).

For some reason my grocery budget hasn’t gone down much (because I’m still purchasing breakfasts, snacks, and a lot of vegetables for salad fixins and ingredients for one batch cooked meal per week), and Snap is costing approximately ~125$ for us for 8 meals each per week.  The good news is that our going out budget has gone down, so it’s not *that* much more, but it’s definitely not cheap.  The good news is that their rewards program gives you a 50$ credit when you spend 300$, so some weeks it’s actually cheaper!

4. My tendency to revert to BITCH mode.  When you are restricting calories, one can be a little moody.  I have secretly murdered so many people in the last four weeks… in my mind of course… but still, they are SO DEAD.  However, you have to remember to apologize for the things you said when you were hungry (and that’s most of the time) and remember that it’s not your coworkers’ fault your dieting and they don’t deserve to fear your wrath just because they happened to order pizza for lunch.

I miss these days.

5.  Being social is hard.  Here’s another piece of advice that I find bunk for me: it’s about the company, not the food.  I’m sorry, but for me, it’s about the company AND the food.  When I’m in a situation where I’m dieting and there’s a bunch of delicious junk food around tempting me, I’m just not going to be either a nice person (see #4 above) and also not very present in the social experience (my mind is going to be on all the food I can’t have).  It gets better over time, but I have definitely avoided some social situations in the last month where I knew there was going to be food I shouldn’t eat or drinks I shouldn’t drink and I felt my willpower and energy low (this both includes traditional social situations and also group rides with the team where there’s beer after).

6. Loss of spontaneity.  Look, I’m about as bad at this as they come.  When someone asks me, “hey, do you want to go grab a drink?” my answer typically is something like, “sure, does three Saturdays from now from 3-6pm work?”  However, it gets even WORSE because I have to consider my food intake as well.  Even if I’m free to grab that drink, I have to make sure I am able and willing to spend the calories on it.  If you’re inviting me for dinner and drinks out, forgetaboutit.  I kind of get one or the other nowadays.

And food TIMING is a huge deal.  While I’ve actually been pretty fine with my workouts vs fuel intake right now, it’s because I’m very careful to fuel AROUND the workouts, instead of doing that thing where I eat 2-3 hours later and thus the hunger monster has grown to epic proportions and needs to be satiated with mixing bowls worth of food.  This makes #5 really hard because if you don’t want to hang out right after my workout, I’m very unlikely to have calories for doing anything food or drink related.

Non-dieting me: this looks like a great afternoon.  Dieting me: a whole lot of anxiety about how to navigate this situation while not tanking my calorie balance.

7. Situations getting in the way of letting my laziness work for me.  I freaking love efficiency.  In a vacuum, if everyone in the world would leave me alone in my little bubble, I would tend to make reasonably good choices if only due to laziness.  If the option is eat chicken and vegetables already prepared and easily reheated at home or drag myself out for what I really want, chicken and vegetables will win every time.  I am the poster child for out of sight, out of mind.  If it’s not in my house or easily within reach, I’ll find something that is before I arse myself with getting it.  So, I try to avoid bringing anything that’s not something I want to consume on the regular into my house.

But then we’ll have get togethers and I just can’t politely pass up homemade dessert or your famous bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and of course I’ll take some of that home (my deep freezer is full of this stuff, which actually helps take care of the “out of sight” part of it, but not always).  My husband tends to throw a few things in the cart on grocery days that I wouldn’t and then I end up eating some stale hatch chili oreos (actually better than you think) because they are there.  I have the random snack shelf with a bunch of crap that is left over from parties or things we wanted to try or gifts or freebies (current things there: super stale pretzels, crushed mint oreo thins, a mixed baggie of starbursts and atomic warheads, jelly beans, three year old kale chips and pork rinds) and are still there taunting me and occasionally I’ll give in and instantly regret it because it’s not what I want, but it’s right there (laziness).

8.  Dieting takes up a good portion of your give-a-crap.  I will fully admit that I have given up on some things because my give-a-crap tank is a little lower these days.  I’ve skipped training, I’ve ditched errands or things on my to do list, and even probably been a little less productive at work at times because some of my give-a-crap is being siphoned into NOT EATING THE DAMN CAKE.  Eating healthy food is a huge boost to your mood, energy, and drive.  Restricting portions to have a deficit sucks all that dry.

9.  3-5 is very different than 5-7.  Both of the nutritionists that I’ve worked with have mentioned this hunger scale.  Basically 1 is – I will LITERALLY DIE if I don’t eat soon and 10 is – I will LITERALLY DIE if I eat anything else right now.  Three is solid, healthy hunger, five is not hungry but not full, and seven is that nice, full feeling you get after a big meal and feel satisfied.  Typically, people (i.e. me when training and not dieting) stick between about 5-7, and generally eat when they are no longer full and experience that feeling as “hungry” (or they just eat when it’s time to eat whether they’re hungry or not).  When you are dieting, you should stick between 3-5 – eating just until you aren’t hungry anymore (which can take up to 20 minutes to process if you’re doing it right) and waiting until you feel genuine hunger to eat.  This feels a lot different and can really throw you for a loop until you get used to not feeling full.

#sorrynotsorry, but I’d consider committing a litany of crimes for a calorie-free version of this meal right now.

10. Social media is the worst.  On Instagram, I follow some people that post pictures of delicious foods, like macaroon ice cream sandwiches.  On Facebook, my lovely friends will post buzzfeed recipes for stuff like Cheesy Bacon Monkey Bread.  Again, I know it’s not other people’s faults that I am on a diet and they’re not, but it has not stopped me from throwing some mental daggers at certain internet handles that are making me drool with pictures of foods that cost my entire daily calorie intake or more.

While things absolutely CAN taste better than skinny feels (and Desano’s Pizza is one of them), but for a short time, I can forget about being a spontaneous, happy, carefree person to make that calorie deficit needed to achieve #projectraceweight before I go back to riding my bike all over town and drinking beer and eating pizza after.  Until then, please ignore my mood, and be kind when I have to politely decline your invitation to sit and drink water while we hang out at a brewery, because my other option is not eating all day and you don’t want to see THAT monster either.

Bluebonnets, bikes, and half a cup full of give-a-crap.

Hello, world.  Nice to meet you.  I like riding bikes, if you didn’t know that already.

Bluebonnets and cheese…

However, I like riding bikes a lot less when it’s really cold and windy.  I’ve done plenty of that riding training for Ironman Texas, and I have no issues heading out on my bike into the cold, or into the wind, but both at the same time kind of sucks.

Last year, hardening the eff up was kind of a point of pride and helped me make the jump to the Ironman distance on the bike (which was the discipline I needed the most work on, endurance-wise).  Honestly, it also helped me when Ironman day came and we had 20-30 mph winds on an exposed toll road.  However, this year, I’m training for sprint triathlons, which translates to racing for approximately 40 minutes (vs 7 hours) on my time trial bike.  Then, later this year, I will be training for an approximately 3 hour ride in hot and humid conditions.

So, there was nothing that riding 43 miles in the feels-like-30s and super windy conditions would benefit me, besides the excuse to eat some junk food along the way at aid stations and after (which would probably sabotage my weight loss efforts – I can negate that calorie burn in one aid station full of cookies and PB pretzels).  So, instead of doing any of that, we stayed home.  This is my third DNS over the last 9 years, and the other two were because my knee was so injured I could barely walk.  There was no choice in the matter for the previous two.  On first blush, I figured I should woman the eff up and go.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I should probably miss the start line for things more often than I have.  In this case, for very little gain, I would be subjecting myself to illness (cold and windy riding for hours) and injury (always the risk of it riding outside, but in a group of thousands of other riders it amplifies).  When I signed up, I was super looking forward to it IN SPITE of it not being specific training, and was ok taking a break from hammering the bike to go have a beautiful morning riding outside and supporting the Rosedale school.  When the enjoyment part was removed with the crappy weather, I realized I was still supporting the school with my entry fee and decided that a trainer ride in my living room would be a much better idea.  And that was that.

We don’t want to get here.  We want to keep a reserve of give-a-crap.

I hate giving up, but I had to put it in perspective.  Seven days previous to that would-be ride, my body and mind produced a PR and a first place.  Four days after that, my body and mind ran 8:58 pace (30 seconds better than I raced at) off a challenging bike.  These breakthroughs are coming around for a few reasons, I believe:

  1.  My body (and mind) are strong enough, finally.  Those two months of weighted squats and throwing kettlebells and working the posterior chain and my upper body finally feeling stable enough to be comfortable in aero position and my arms and hips gaining enough flexibility to start approximating a runners stride instead of the marathon shuffle -these things are starting to pay off.  And, I’ll give credit to a little bit of mental work as well.  Figuring out how to get out of my own way and let my body do what it can do without judgement or limitations has been a 2018 focus.
  2. My body (and mind) are RESTED enough to do this kind of thing.  I have learned in life that for me to be successful, I have to walk the line between “we are what we repeatedly do” and “I have a finite-amount-of-give-a-crap”.  If I ask myself to HTFU constantly, and for things that don’t matter, I end up becoming the girl who cried wolf and I won’t show up when the chips are down.  If I give myself a pass on the things that don’t matter, I’m more likely to show up to the things that are more important.  Then again, if I shy away from HTFU moments entirely, I tend to continue to avoid them.  Like I said, it’s about walking that line.

Go ahead and pretend this is a selfie of me in the cold and wind riding outside.  I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

So, I skipped a charity ride (apparently a lot of other folks went outside at 7am, said NOPE, and did the same as well) and life went on.  I had a nice relaxing weekend at home and then in my sleep on Sunday morning, I decided to shove one side of my ribs two inches higher and spent the day spasming in pain.  That was super fun.

I’m all fixed now (chiro put me back the next morning and now I’m feeling reasonably fine), but that was the universe shouting to BACK THE EFF OFF for a day.  I couldn’t run or bike or swim (was actually planning on doing a short session of each that day).  I could barely help with chores – which sounds conveeeeeenient, but I set off a spasm attack by putting a sweatshirt on. 😛 Yeah, it sucked. But, I watched about eight movies this weekend and got reacquainted with my couch and feel like I had some nice, lazy downtime and I’m ready to attack this week.

Workouts last week:

  • ~1 hour lifting Monday/Friday
  • 90 min bike commute Tuesday
  • 1k swim and 60 min team BSS brick Wednesday
  • planned day off Thursday
  • 1 hour trainer ride with 3×5 min race power and 3×1 min 200+ power Saturday
  • Trying not to anger the rib dieties by looking at anything funny (off) Sunday

And that’s it. 6 hours of training (I missed a short run, bike, and swim, 1.5 hours total).  I’m aiming to do a little this week and the week after (but not too too much) and then a rest week to prepare for Texasman.  This week’s plan:

  • 3 runs: two speedy (2-3 miles) off the bike (Wed/Sat) and one easier 4 miler (done!)
  • 3 bikes: 40 min trainer ride- 3x (5 min hill (~200W at low cadence)/2 min easy) (done!), two 45-60 min brick rides (Wed/Sat) with some spice as well.
  • 2 swims: probably both in the pool, around 1k meters, maybe up to 1.5k if I get enough time one morning… (Wed/Fri)
  • 2 weights sessions: kettlebells (done!), lifting (Thurs), maybe a bonus core session (Sat) if I can.

Looks like a lot, but it comes out to around 7 hours, give or take, because a lot of these sessions are 20-30 minutes.  I also slacked a little last week, so I’m recommitting to hit my shoulder and ankle exercises AT LEAST 5x this week and either a stretch or roll every day if not both.

I run (and bike and swim) on chicken and potatoes.

On the body composition facet of project #getfaster – I’m actually seeing some results on the scale, and weirdly enough, without affecting my training efforts.  Unicorn status: reached.  I know this is ONLY the case because I am not training all that much, this dive would be a much harder degree of difficulty if I was attempting this while training for something longer, but it’s… like… working!  I’m doing the things I am supposed to do and my body is responding.  This is revolutionary, y’all!

  • Last week’s average calories: 1659
  • Last week’s average daily burn: 2214
  • Average deficit: 555
  • Average diet quality: 21
  • Average weight: 181.8

My weight graph is going the right way as well.  This week officially gets me back to the weight I raced Austin 70.3 at in October 2016.  Referencing my progress HERE, its nice to note that I have lost 4 lbs in two weeks.  I’ve also dipped into the 170s a few times in the last week, which happened last in October 2016 (and like, twice before I ate my way through the holidays/offseason and gained almost 10 lbs).

If I can keep with the rate of loss here, I may be able to be in the low 170s, maybe even high 160s by vacation… and that’s a place I haven’t been in many, many years.  So, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.  Can do.  It’s challenging but not impossible.  Progress breeds inspiration for me, so it’s been a little easier to keep going this time.

Things get created here.  And not just dust.

In other news, I have a hit another huge milestone – I have officially, as of Saturday, April 7th, finished the first draft of my book.  Now it’s done and ready to publish, right?

Totally kidding.  I know I’ve got a long way to go.

My next steps are:

1. Take a first editing pass on each chapter to clean it up a little so it doesn’t hurt the eyeballs to read.  However, I know I’ll want to canoodle with this forever if I don’t set a time limit, so I will start with that in mind.  I’m not sure what that is yet, but I don’t want to still be doing a first pass on this in December.

2. Read it myself.  Like, laying in bed, on my kindle, like I read other books.  Trying to distance myself from the fact that *I* actually wrote the thing and see how it reads overall.

3.  Read The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published.  And maybe do some internet research and poking some of my author friends as well on learning all the things about getting published.

I’m hoping to complete all these steps within the next month or so.  Then… my first beta reader (my husband).  Eeep!

I have lots of other video and painting plans to tackle later this month, but I’m happy to have knocked out my April writing goal on the 7th.  Take that, procrastination!

Time Marches on, and now it is April…

I love March – Spring finally springs, the trees get green, things actually seem to start for the year (January and February are warmups, really), and there’s a lot to celebrate.

Celebrating another strength workout down with Black Betty.

If only just the fact that I tend to, this month, get older than I have ever been.

Lifting heavy has been fun, but my body decided about a week earlier than planned to be done with it.  I’m hoping to be a little more successful at it next go around, if I maintain my once-a-week work in the weightroom with the same lifts, but my body just did not appreciate lifting heavy things at low reps that many weeks in a row.  OR it might be that I didn’t take the rest week as prescribed.  Nah, can’t be that.  I’ll heed that advice next time I go into a lift-all-the-things block.

I hit 100# on my bench press, 90# on my incline bench, 145# on my squat, and 155# on my deadlifts successfully at 3×4 reps.  I now own a 40# kettlebell that I can do swings with, and if I can borrow the 55# one from a coworker, I can squat and deadlift that no problem.  I am both rowing and overhead pressing 60# for 3×8 right now.

It makes sense in hindsight, because every other sport I have done required daily strength work, but it took a long time for me to connect the dots that lifting heavy things + actually getting to a RESTED state for one = being a better triathlete.  I have seen the payoff with an increased ability to produce watts on the bike and leg strength and proper stride on my run.  I’m just starting to test the waters now, and I look forward to digging into the pain cave this spring, because I like what I see so far.  Swimming, like the poor red-headed stepchild it is right now, is what it is.  We’ll get there now that 70-80 degree days are more of a thing and I’m actually trying to triathlete again.

But, I got to stand on top of a podium, so there is that. 🙂

April will be a fairly balanced month.  Training SOLELY for sprints (not sprints and a half marathon or sprints and a century ride or sprints AND anything) affords me the opportunity to stick with the weights, and keep all the runs, bikes, and swims short for the most part.  If I’m not killing myself with volume, I can do that hurt-so-good speedwork and concentrate on drills and form and pre-hab and stretching and for the love of god actually get back to run warmups if I’m not running directly off the bike.

Work, yes, but obviously there will still be some time for playing bikes on beautiful days chasing sunsets and twinning our #wattagecottage socks because that is necessary for survival.

What it will look like, for the most part:

Swimming: twice a week. If I want my swim to stop sucking, I need to do it, even if it’s the least convenient sport on the planet.

  • 20-30 min swim focusing on drills and form and longer efforts (300-500m at race pace, etc).
  • 20-30 min swim focusing on speedwork (25-100m repeats).

When it stops being super chilly, I will try to take one of these per week into the lake.

Biking: three times a week.  I really want to PLAY bikes right now, but I need to limit that and actually WORK on building watts and stuff with harder, more focused, melt your face off rides.  But not too many, I want to still love bikes and also not get burnt out. So, I’ll split it up as such each week.

  • One happy fun longer play bikes with the group with the group type ride.
  • One brick workout with the speed circles in the middle (or similar if we don’t make the team brick).
  • Split the difference on the third ride – maybe a commute with some harder intervals on the way to work, or a trainer ride with some spicy stuff in it, or maybe even endurance cycle class.

Also, I must be on my tri bike once a week, preferably outside if at all possible.

Running: two to three per week.

  • Brick workout – typically a few miles all out off the bike.
  • Longer and easier (maybe work up to an hour or so…)
  • Then if I get a chance to do the third one… it will probably vary by week depending on whatever else is on the docket.  I’d love to work some track work back into my life but due to convenience it will probably be more running off the bike.

Weights: hoping to keep the three sessions per week but shorten them.

  • One medium-heavy session in the gym with the typical lifts I’ve been doing (squats, deadlifts, bench, rows, presses, woodchoppers, etc, at the weight I can do 8-10 reps).  The priority here are lifts I can’t do elsewhere.
  • Lunchtime kettlebell routine/core workout I’ve done twice and liked (kb squats, swings, deadlifts, side rocks, pushups, planks, etc) OR another gym session if I can make it.
  • The Oiselle Dozen or something similar, very short, mainly focused on core and another excuse to stretch after.

It sounds like a lot but each session is actually pretty short, and I want to combine them when possible.  If I’m going to the gym for lifting, I’ll can warm up with some running or cool down with a swim if I have time.  I can probably do a short run at lunch AND that kettlebell workout in an hour if I hustle.  Bricks are great efficient workouts that knock out two sports and I run best off the bike because I’m already warmed up.  And it creates less laundry.  Win, win, win.

Yes, this is all super healthy food (almond crusted chicken and turnip mash with collard greens).  I love me the heck out of some Snap Kitchen.

I’ve talked a ton and a half already about nutrition, so let me just say that the scale is going the correct way, and I think I’ll probably continue with these goals through April:

  • 1500 calories, good diet quality.  In that order.
  • Batch cook 1-2 meals that are approximately 300-400 calories per serving, and supplement the rest of the week with Snap Kitchen foods.  I was balking at the cost and then I realized I’ve not gone out to eat except grabbing a turkey sandwich on the way to the race and splitting a chopped beef sandwich on the way back (under 25$) and on a good week before I’d spend at least 100$ (if not more) on takeout or restaurant food.
  • I’m just not doing desserts except on extreme special occasions (read: family member made it and maybe a few times on vacation).  Once I detox my food intake a little, I find I don’t really need to be eating cake or cookies or sugary crap.  I do not gain anything but a headache and regret when I eat a slice of cake.  However, most every evening, I do have dark chocolate, either via split a piece of Sees Candy with my husband or a square from a good chocolate bar.  I will cut you if you get between me and my half piece of chocolate. ><
  • Really, what I need to do is limit my indulgences to my two nights a week where I get to drink some whiskey.  I’ve learned that at the bottom of it all, I can totally cut out everything else and this is the last thing to go.

This month, I will need to navigate:

  • Two game days (bringing a veggie tray. and trying not to cry too loudly in front of any potato chips that may or may not be there that I WILL NOT EAT)
  • Not eating like a complete asshole after a 40 mile bike ride + brick (planning an acceptable amount of calories for lunch and probably Snap Kitchen for dinner).
  • A birthday/Easter family celebration (though *we* are cooking this one so I will have lots of lean protein and veggies available and I’ll probably just cook myself a healthy dessert so I can have something to do with my hands while the rest of the family goes into sugar overload)
  • Another race camping trip (with the same issue of finishing a sprint at 9am and then not just commencing with the eating junk food and drinking beer until I pass out)
  • Possibly another birthday shindig, monthly cake day and cheese day at work, and whatever else life wants to throw at me.

So, I just need to remember all the reasons I’d like to take some weight off and that if I really focus for a few months it will save me years of half assing it and being disappointed with my results.  That’s worth ten orders of fries and an ice cream sundae.

On the general life stuff front – I’ll give myself an A+ on the fun stuff, D on the adulting.  That’s about par for the course.

Creative/fun/learny stuff –

Reference here.   Also, it’s incredibly hard to photograph canvas well.

I painted a thing, see?  I’m actually super happy with it, which is an outcome I didn’t expect when I started.  My art-ing muscle is a little weak and atrophied, but I’m looking forward to flexing it a little more to strengthen it.  The process is fun!

To keep from freezing up choosing a subject, my husband is picking them.  So, next up, I have a snorkeling picture from Roatan featuring some very curious Sergeant Majors.  I’d love to do one painting a month, so that’s my goal for April.

I read two books, Angel and You Do You.

Angel gave me a really great insight into Angel investing, which is something I either would love to do or might be on the receiving end of someday.  While I feel like I learned a lot, I probably need to focus my attention elsewhere because I am neither rich enough to really jump in with both feet (minimum requirement to be accredited is 200k annual salary) nor ready to launch anything that would need Angel investors for a minute.

You Do You was a really fun anti-self help book that had me nodding my head with it and laughing.  She talks about how to take risks, stop worrying about what Judgy Mcjudgersons are thinking or saying about you, and basically own your own quirks and let your freak flag fly.  I wouldn’t say it’s life changing for me, but I’m the kid that roller skated down the block with a refrigerator box on my head pretending to be a robot who really never gave that kind of shit up.

In April, I have Operation Ironman and The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published on the docket.  I might have already finished the first one but I’ll save my discussion for later.

I wrote a chapter (chapter 10).  I’m growing increasingly unhappy with my writing, which means I’m probably on the right track and getting close to wrapping things up.  I’m torn.  I really am super excited that April will see my last book chapter done and I’ll have, for the first time in my life, completed a book, all 80k or so words of it.  However, then, holy shit, it’s real, and I need to actually do something with it and, ulp, maybe someday someone will actually read the thing?  Why didn’t I go into writing pulpy sci fi instead of non-fiction about myself?  Ack!

I made three more videos!  I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, and I’ve been learning a lot about the process.  For some reason, I have to constantly remind myself that I don’t need to be AWESOME at it right now, because again, like the painting, I’m having fun working on getting better by practicing. 🙂

I have notes written out for at least two more (part 1 and part 2), and I’ll make it a goal to do at least one additional video by the end of April on *something*.

Adulting –

We need some bodies to help us with the cabinet (we will have a captive audience on April 14 and will do it then), and then the garage will be done in a few minutes after that.  I’m ignoring that corner of the world until then.

My pantry will survive in it’s current state until I actually give a fig about doing it, which is obviously not any time soon.  I think I have to face facts that I used up about two years of give-a-shit doing my kitchen and there’s no way I’m going to be able to bring myself to be on a diet and in training and also domestic AF and I’m okay with that.

I’ll just continue to revel in the fact that I have a renovated kitchen and ignore all the other crap outside of it for another few years.  I think that’s a sound plan.

I feel slightly bad that I’m doing a fairly craptastic job at the adulting list, but it seems that 2018 has been about flexing my creative muscles again, and manifesting some progress on some long time goals I’ve wanted to achieve.  I’ll give up all the organized spaces in my house to make that happen.

That’s not what I’m doing right now.

Spring has sprung.  The flowers are blooming, the trees are getting gussied up for the year, and the sun is actually warm and happy and shining instead of a dirty liar or just GONE for days at a time.

Kettlebells in the sun are the best kettlebells!

Spring for triathletes means that allllll the social medias are a-twitters (or a-grams, or a-books) about their 60 mile rides with stops for donuts and pizza and beer at the end.  Or maybe even the serious ones riding centuries or more (with or without the junk food stops) now that the weather is primed and ready for riding bikes all day.

And then, here I am, spending a majority of my scant 4-6 hours a week (like, less than the time of some of my long rides last year) training, with the vast majority of it indoors, lifting heavy things in the gym.  Do we still say FOMO?  Is that still a thing?  Well, either way, I have some major lust to be doing all that stuff again.  I really wanted to just take my bike and go for hours and hours.  I wanted to go find a pretty place in the country and go run until my watch ticks over to double digits.  I think the only reason I’m not compelled to swim lap after lap in the lake is that the temperature starts with a 6 and that’s cold for me but soon that will be a thing as well.

And, let’s be honest, I miss the other aspect of that – the refueling.  Stopping mid-long-ride for a Rudy’s chopped beef taco and a Coke.  Ending a multi-hour ride at Desanos for a pie and a pint.  Opening up a new bag of Baked Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles and cracking whatever’s cold in the beer fridge after a run that’s taken me from the morning to the afternoon.  Oh, how I miss Ironman training, if especially the “eat anything anything ANYTHING you want and not gain weight” aspect.

However, that’s not what I’m doing right now.

I spent the last 7 weeks in the gym lifting heavy as my major form of exercise.  My biking, running, and swimming were minimal, and I called it cardio instead of training.  It’s definitely not where I’m usually at this time of year, although, my spring training has varied so much over the last five years, I don’t know that there is a usual, but this is DEFINITELY not it.

While it also gave me a chance to let my cranky left leg heal up without pounding on it all the time, my body needed a reset.  I could run or bike or swim for hours without any real issue.  I just couldn’t do it very fast.  The limiter on both how far and how fast I was going was muscular, not endurance based.  I was having trouble getting my heart rate up and hitting paces because my LEGS didn’t want to cooperate.  The cue to stop running and biking was not when I got tired, but when my legs and lower back hurt too much to continue.  My form sucked on my run because I didn’t have the strength and flexibility to fully correct it.

Basically, staying out of the weightroom for a year and a half made me a fragile little flower that was only good at one thing – doing things slowly, for a moderately long time.  Because we are what we repeatedly do.

To paraphrase another oft-used quote – to do the same thing over and over and expect different results is madness.  While I really want to just go run pretty places at a comfortable speed and ride bikes with friends at a conversational pace from the morning until the late afternoon, THIS IS NOT WHAT I’M DOING RIGHT NOW.  There’s a big disconnect between that sort of training and standing on sprint triathlon podiums.  And while I want to just go play, my spring goals state that I should be doing a little more work than that.

And those goal are to have this kit see Cleveland Ohio for Nationals. 

The good news is that my body is responding to the stimulus.  I went out for my first team BSS brick workout of the year on Wednesday.  While I’m not *quite* where I was at the end of the season last year, my ability to ride my TT bike around 18 mph in traffic and then hold a 9:30/min mile for 2 miles after (with a few gears left on each discipline, this was going moderately hard but not puke pace) shows promise.  My endurance may suck right now, but I’m sharpening up for the shorter races quite nicely.

The most encouraging thing is not necessarily the paces, but the feeling.  My body feels strong as hell right now.  I was pushing 10 more watts last week than I was on that same ride last year.  My speed just sucked because it got windy and I also got myself a little turned around and had to slow down and backtrack.  Twice.  Because I’m dumb.  On the run, I was sucking wind, but my legs felt strong and capable, not like they were dragging to keep up, like they have the last year or two.  As my endurance grows back again, I have a feeling my speed will coincide this time.  And that’s exciting!

Also, just in the last week, my left knee/ankle/heel have started to cooperate.  It took a massage and then an adjustment and some new ankle strengthening exercises, but I think it’s gotten the hint that it’s triathlon season and it’s no longer welcome to hinder me.  Or, it’s that the chiropractor, stumped as to what the problem was, said “maybe it’s a little early arthritis?” to which my body said “hell no, we’re not that old” and fixed it’s malfunction.  Either way, I was a much happier person last week because of it.  I’ll joyfully go through a little bit of daily/monthly maintenance so I can play pain free.

My plan this week is recovery.  It sounds weird to me with such minimal training, but I feel a little beat up from the heavy weights.  I plan to mostly lay off the iron, with some short rides, runs, and swims to keep it fresh.  Next week, when I’m recovered from the race, I’ll start resuming a normal spring training schedule with a balance of both.

If I haven’t mentioned a race plan, it’s because I don’t really have one besides going as close to that sweet sweet pukepace as possible the whole time to establish some metrics via heart rate and watts and actually how fast I move from point A to B to build upon for the rest of the season.  This is a true “rust buster” race.

Actually completely pro #projectraceweight – almond crusted chicken, turnip mash, collard greens from Snap Kitchen.  So, so good.

I have the number 56 on my whiteboard at work.  It means 56 days until vacation, and I have 56 days left to be really strict with my diet.  7 down, 56 to go.

Last week was definitely an adjustment period.  1500 calories is challenging, but most days, it’s doable.  Snap Kitchen for most meals really helped the initial break in period, and helped us “blame” something else for our smaller portion sizes.  Don’t get me wrong, the food is actually pretty yummy and it was suuuuuper convenient not to have to do any cooking, but sometimes we’d just open up one of the meals and laugh at how small they were (before crying, because it’s our ENTIRE meal).

This was a pretty good representation of what I’ve been normally eating on a daily basis.  The exceptions were Thursday, when I had some drinks after work.  I had planned on it, so I just eliminated all my snacks that day, and ended up right at my 1500 calories anyway.  On Saturday, we had birthday celebrations.  I did my best to eat like a normal human being with what was offered, but I knew I was going to go over on calories unless I skipped dinner (and ending my day with cake at 4pm would set me up to feel flippin’ awful), so I sucked it up and called it a “maintenance calorie day” at 2300 (500 of that was dessert that if it wasn’t homemade by my family, I would have skipped, so I can pretty much see what I would normally eliminate to stay in my range).  Sunday, I was right back to it, so we’ll call it a successful week.

For funsies, the numbers went like this:

  • Average calories: 1646
  • Average Diet Quality Score: 22
  • Average Calorie Burn (per Garmin): 2346
  • Average Deficit: -700
  • Average Weight: 185.7

This next week presents it’s own challenges.  There are no family parties to navigate, but I am racing.  It’s so not an A race, but I definitely don’t want to go too low in terms of calorie consumption both the day before and the day of the race (but I’d also like to not to sabotage my weight loss efforts either).

So, my goal will be to eat normally today through Thursday.  Friday, I’ll eat my normal, pre-race routine of a normal breakfast, a turkey sandwich for lunch (somewhere on the way down to Katy, TX), and then grill up some chicken, potatoes, and a salad for dinner.  Honestly, I will probably be able to get by on around 1500 calories, give or take a little for snacks if I’m feeling hungry.

Race day will probably be the biggest challenge.  I’ll have my normal sunbutter jelly half sandwich in the morning with a coconut water and probably 1 gel and a little sports drink during (probably about 500 calories total).  The race is sponsored by a brewery, so I’m imagining there will be beer after, and that will be happening.  But I’ll try to limit it to ONE (~150 calories) even if they’re serving up all you can drink, because I can easily drink most of the calories I can eat in a day with good beer.  With these races, the food is always questionable – if its something AMAZING I’ll indulge but if it’s crappy lukewarm pizza or something, I’ll come prepared with a protein bar or jerky and nuts or something to have something down the hatch to rebuild (200 calories).

Avoiding these.  Because they are crack.

Once we get back to our campsite, I’m planning the attack two ways:

#1 – I plan to go for a little hike and hit the pool and I’m bringing some games and my painting supplies so I don’t just kick off the day with a beer at 9am when I finish and then continue doing that while just sitting in my camp chair.  And, if I do end up sipping stuff all day, I’m making some very diluted punch and having a bunch of non-alcoholic fizzy water options so if I want to catch a buzz I’ll need to stay very very very very hydrated!  Win win!

#2 – I plan to bring really healthy food as my only options.  Veggies and fruit and nuts and jerky to snack on.  Small steaks with potatoes and veggies for lunch (good high quality carbs and protein and nutrition for recovery).  Fish tacos with coleslaw on the side for dinner or pre-made chicken salads if we can’t be arsed to cook again.  I’m going to leave the chips and smores and all the other crap that’s just (delicious) extra calories without any nutritional value at home so I’m not even tempted.

And, if I end up going a little overboard anyway, it is just one day in the grand scheme of things and I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to it again the next day.

Someday, the long days of training and the ability to make a few gluttonous food choices will return.  But, that’s not what I’m doing right now.  And I’ll be fine with it, if for only 56 more days.

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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