Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: offseason (Page 1 of 12)

Winter Solstice Bike Adventure

On December 21st, 12 days into my 24 day winter break, I set my alarm for 7:30 am.

Normally, this would be sacrilege.  The initial reason for it was my bi-annual dentist appointment at 8am and I had to be up and out and not underfoot for our cleaning service at 9am anyway.  However, instead of looking at it as a drag, I figured it was a good opportunity to embark on a bike adventure.

The day started a little rough because I had a few too many beverages and stayed up too late the night before (it’s vacation!), and forgot my backpack (with my ID, credit card, etc) at home.  Not a big deal for the dentist appointment, which went quickly, smoothly, and was over with before 9am and paid up by insurance.  It was only kind of a big deal because I needed it for the rest of the day’s adventures and going back home meant I had to descend the half of Steck-o-slavakia I had already climbed and resummit it.

When I got home, I *almost* thought about just calling it.  The last three days I had spent at home, doing chores, writing my book, working through my To Do list, and I wasn’t even close to complete.  A whole extra day of progress, I thought, that would be incredibly valuable.  Then I realized that was bullshit.  This was my day.  I had been looking forward to this adventure for months.  The weather was AMAZING.  I was just being lazy.  So I grabbed my backpack and took off again.

I had an engagement after work in which I either had to meet Zliten at work at 6pm on my bike, or drive there in my car.  We all know I’m anti-car.  I’d rather bike the 11+ miles unless it was sleeting if I had the option.  So, I had and endpoint and about eight hours to kill with a few destinations:

  • All great bike adventures start, end, or have an interlude with Rudy’s chopped beef breakfast tacos.
  • It was going to be 75 degrees that day.  I would be passing within a mile of the gym.  A swim HAD to happen.
  • Lunch’s destination was Jinya, at the Domain, which seemed like a great place to kill time as well.

Other than that, the town was my oyster.  I had my biggest backpack, the basket on my cruiser bike, a sunny day, enough layers to keep me as warm or cool as needed.  As I cruised down Jollyville with my stomach rumbling (I was approaching three hours awake, over 10 miles ridden, and zero food), I knew the first stop would be Rudy’s.

I pulled into the parking lot and practiced the ritual of the day.  Helmet off, in the basket.  Grab lock and wind it around my bike’s frame (not that anyone was looking to steal my 10 year old rusty Schwinn, my helmet with the headset is worth more than it is, but it would suck to be stuck about town without it).  Make sure to secure key somewhere I wouldn’t lose it.  Garmin off my bike and in my pocket or backpack.  Unzip phone from carrying case.  Switch out sunglasses for glasses.  It felt awkward at first because it’s been a while since I played cruiser bikes, but it became routine after a few stops.

The spicy, meaty, carby taco went down within a minute or so.  I splurged and sipped on a coke (I figured I could use the caffeine) while I tinkered with my phone, updating Zliten with my whereabouts, and surfing instagram.  While I didn’t want to spend all day on this bench, it was a breath of fresh air that I could.  After the conclusion of a very busy work year, a vacation that was FREAKING AMAZING but very active trying to cram in as much water time as possible, and three days of chores and productivity, it was refreshing to take fifteen minutes, just wasting my own time, with nothing, no one, and nowhere specific waiting on me.

My next planned stop was the gym, but I realized that I was also halfway to Cornucopia, one of our holiday traditions, so I set sail north instead of crossing under the freeway.  On the way, I realized that we needed to pick up an Academy gift card, and I figured I’d pop in and take care of that.  An hour later, I emerged with a new pair of swimsuit bottoms, a black hoodie, some new shirts, yoga pants, and said gift card – after trying on a metric butt-load of coats I was hoping would look better than the one I had on (and none did, even if they were cute on the hanger… wah…).

On the way to Cornucopia, I noticed a new indian and BBQ restaurant.  I made a note to check it out later (and that was interesting when we did, but that’s another story), but I had lunch plans already and was full speed ahead to the ‘corn.  I intended on getting maybe 2-3 small bags of different flavors, but I went in hungry and tasted all of them about three times, ending up with six after narrowing it down.  I ate a LOT of popcorn over Christmas break.  Me: I want to try to maintain my weight loss over the holidays.  Also me: *buys approximately 100 cups of popcorn*.  Ah well.

At this point, my backpack is fully stuffed and part of my basket is taken as well.  I have to be careful about acquiring anything else large for the rest of the day.  My trunk, it has the junk.

I headed back down south and hit the gym right around 1pm, which was perfect, because all the lunch swimmers were out of the water and I had a lovely pool almost completely to myself.  I’ll admit, on one taco and some popcorn, 90 minutes biking, five hours sleep, an a *wee* hangover from the night before, I was not 100% impressed with my performance, but considering the circumstances, 1k in a little over 19 minutes swim time was just fine.  When I changed back into my clothes, I couldn’t bear to put my jeans back on and was thankful that I had purchased a new pair of yoga-ish capri pants from Academy.

Finally, it was lunch time.  I finally had the opportunity to take the new pedestrian bridge from the quarry to the Domain, and I made it to the holy grail of ramen, Jinya.  Again, I was very glad I was “behind schedule” (I figured I’d be there closer to 12:30-1) because they were still busy and I snagged a seat at the bar.  I was waited on by the spitting image of one of my friends – she had the same look, personality, and even vocal tone.  I had a nice, leisurely lunch, revisiting a favorite meal of mine.  Honestly, if I had a top ten of all time, the spicy umami pork miso ramen would likely be somewhere on there.

I was amazed with how my day had shrank so quickly from “how am I going to fill eight whole hours” to “oh my gosh, I need to leave here in about TWO hours and I could easily amuse myself for another eight”.  It was the ultimate day of freedom.  I am generally a solitary person, and I would have loved my partner in crime if he wasn’t stuck at work (I was doing my best to take him along with me via texts and pictures), but I was having a great day just hanging out with myself.  I was the opposite of lonely.  I was out and about, enjoying someone’s company I don’t often get to spend a whole day with (the last time was Ironman Texas, in a sense).

I popped my head into Bird’s Barbershop, since I had a free haircut coupon, but they were paaaaacked, so I figured that long hair is just fine for colder weather and I’d deal with my mop later.  I was on a mission to find some of the last gifts on my list, ones that I didn’t just want to order on Amazon.  I happened into a new store called Limbo, and found some very beautiful, extremely appropriate, if a little pricey, earrings.  I spent the next hour popping into a million different other stores and found nothing else that even came close, so I went back to Limbo (the first store I visited…) and had the pleasure of purchasing the earrings from the lady who made them and owned the store.  It was definitely worth the extra $$ to avoid the cheap, mass produced crap and get the perfect gifts.

The Domain, that day, had began it’s transformation from work to play for me.  While my old work building loomed in the distance, and I remembered some of the times I walked out of that building to take a walk on those same streets to clear my head, sometimes during the roughest periods not *entirely* sure I could make myself go back, six months of distance definitely helped (and things have been MUCH better since then for me).  I don’t miss the traffic, the rude people, the middle-aged pillheads, and that finding lunch under 10$ a plate is laughable, but as an entertainment destination, it’s a lot of fun.

After I got the gifts worked out, I did a little looking for myself and actually had some restraint, and settled on some peppermint gelato as a snack and fuel for the next bike leg.  I figured I was 7-8 miles away from new work, but I miscalculated and I was almost 11 – plus it was getting windy (and I was heading into it) and daylight was not on my side.  Along with that, I had been on my feet or pedals pretty much all day, so I was not making great time.  This was the first time all day since Steck-o-slavakia that felt like work and took me a little over an hour to roll into the parking lot, when I anticipated maybe 40-45 minutes.  Since it was the shortest day of the year, I was pushing it for the last 15 minutes and it was flat out DARK for the last five.  And, I left my lights at home.  Oops.

I snuck in one more gift shopping stop in our area and met up with Zliten as he left work.  Unfortunately, I forgot to stop my garmin so I don’t have an exact mileage or time, but I think it was about 28 miles in about 2 hours and 45 minutes, both of which are a PR on my cruiser bike.

So far, the last two years, I’ve had a bike adventure day on the winter solstice.  I think it’s a fun tradition, bucking the motivation just to stay inside, curled up in bed with a blanket.  For months, I’ve watched the sun dip lower in the sky earlier and earlier, and this is the day I’m out playing bikes celebrating the fact that IT JUST GETS BETTER FROM HERE!!!

I wonder where I’ll ride on December 21st, 2018?

Home Stretch

When you’re at mile 24 of the marathon, no matter how terrible things are, they start to get good again, because you really and truly are ALMOST THERE.

Almost there, even if it feels like we might be painting forever…

When last we spoke I was at the painful point where I hadn’t been able to cook in my kitchen or wash a dish for about 2.5 weeks.  I was prepared for about 2.  It was finally getting to me.  However, between Thursday and Sunday, everything pretty much fell into place.

Thursday, our counters got installed.  While I was bummed we had to wait 24 hours to hook up plumbing, it was so nice to be able to put things on the counter.  It sounds so minor but all of a sudden, I could actually chop up a salad in my kitchen and it was amazing.  Then, on Friday, the in laws came and helped us with a ton of work, including hooking up the plumbing (Zliten wanted me to share that HE helped with that too).  Friday night I loaded the dishwasher and it was the most glorious thing ever.

Saturday, we were supposed to do an 8 mile run but slept until NOON instead (apparently 12 hours of sleep was necessary) and then got right to work on the kitchen.  Throughout the weekend we installed all the cabinet hardware, cabinet shelves, unpacked all the boxes, and got a under-the-sink mounted trash can and installed that.  By Sunday, not only did our kitchen feel like a kitchen with some minor cosmetic issues, the rest of our house was no longer trashed either and we had set up the Christmas tree inside.  Life felt back to normal, pretty much.

I’m proud of how we’ve handled the remodel.  Everyone kept telling us that things would be so crazy, and it was, kind of, but we were ready for (most) of it.  So, one year, I actually got picked for a trial in the Jury Duty pool.  It was something I tried to avoid and dreaded but it actually was an interesting experience that I think everyone should go through once.  I feel like this with the kitchen.  We kept our shit pretty calm.  We were so lucky to have knowledgeable and helpful in laws to guide us through the work, but I think the kitchen will mean more to us when it’s done because it’s got some of our blood, sweat, and (very few) tears in it.

Yesterday, our fabulous in laws put up all the backsplash and after work we painted the walls.  I figured it wouldn’t be that much different (the old color is inside the tape around the green fairy) but going from warm spring green to cool minty green makes the kitchen look SO much better with the other colors we’ve chosen.  We have a little more paint work to finish up (and figure out how we’re framing the fairy), the fam is going to grout and finish the backsplash, and we still need to deal with a few pieces of tile but man, we are close!!!

The rest of my life is sort of limping along behind all this remodel stuff and I’m coming into my last few days of work for the year on fumes.  I haven’t had a workout plan in weeks.  When I do motivate and get my ass moving, I’m enjoying it and it feels great.  However, it’s now week 7 of no schedule and somewhere between 2-4 hours of trackable activity (not counting walks and lifting heavy things during the remodel).  I have to remember that this is how normal humans do things.  Normal people don’t ride their bikes for 5 hours a day.

Still getting to play bikes, but the miles are few and far between.

I do miss being abnormal though.  On the weekend trips to Lowes for ONE MORE THING WE NEEDED, we’d see a billion people riding their bikes and get really sad for a moment.  I miss that stuff.  I just have to remember, besides the kitchen looking amaaaaaazing, these good things have happened to me with 7 weeks off:

#1 – I have lost weight.  Makes absolutely no sense, right?  I stop training and tracking and the magic happens.  The week I did the Livestrong ride, I was 185.7 average.  I’m 182.8 this week and my highest weight this month has been 183.7 so far (and that’s a good sign as my weight usually stabilizes around a number – right now 182-183 – for a bit right before it swings down).  It’s slow going but I’ve made just about as much progress on weight loss in the last 7 weeks than the 6 months prior.

#2 – My body has healed.  My heel is back to 100% now, and I currently don’t have any aches, pains, or niggles.  All the residual fatigue of the Ironman coupled with summer and fall’s training is totally gone.  While I’m sure I’ve lost some fitness, I’m super excited for my body to kind of be a blank slate right now so I can mold it back up into a faster, shorter course athlete for a while.

Either way, training resumes December 18, nothing crazy in terms of hours, but I will be maintaining a schedule with actual prescribed workouts instead of “let’s go do something today for a while… or not…”.  I may actually be excited enough about it that I’m working up a schedule now.

I’m hesitant to be all *WOO WOO SUB 2 hour half marathon* anymore at 3M because 5 weeks is not a long time to train, but I’m interested to see what I can mold myself into in that time.  And, of course, I’m going to show up and see what happens, because sometimes what happens is MAGIC.

November wrap up, December goals

Well, it’s now December.  The last month of 2017.  Holy crap, that went FAST!

Fast, unlike the trot of turkeys I did on Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk about what didn’t happen, because it’s kind of a LOT.

  • Swim at least twice.  (I swam ZERO yards.)
  • Ramp up running (at least as much as I had envisioned November 1st)
  • 8 Strength sessions (I think I did… two?)
  • Eating healthy food every day but Thanksgiving
  • Tracking my negative diet quality calories.  I did some days, but fell off after we started remodeling.
  • Finish the Carl Sagan book.  I’m at 70% – I’ve had to do this one in 10% chunks between my other books).
  • Finish 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I’m halfway through and could power through it in a night if I wanted, but I’m actually enjoying reading one section at a time and absorbing it.  So, I’ll try to finish it this week.
  • We did not make it to a comedy show.  So I really need to figure out what to do with my 7 pairs of tickets because that’s a lot to do in one month.

While usually I’d be bummed about admitting all this, not this month.  My body has appreciated the break from formal training and has enjoyed just generally being active a few hours a week.  My give-a-shit is at full capacity with the kitchen remodel and wrapping up work for the year.  Here’s what I have accomplished:

  • I wrote two chapters in my book.  Admittedly enough, I had two random days off, and those were the days I did it, but hey, small victories.  I am now at 8.5 chapters of 15 planned, so I’m over halfway!
  • We went camping and had a lot of fun at the tri series party.
  • I launched one major update at work and am a few days from a smaller one.
  • And, most importantly, we have finished like 95%  of our kitchen remodel.  Which is all the bullet points I need to feel good about what I’ve done or not done this month.  When I wrote my To Dos last month, I seemed really concentrated on the logistics, not realizing EVERYTHING that went into the actual doing.  I basically spent the second half of November painting things while everyone else did the harder stuff.

Holy crap, y’all, it’s a usable kitchen!!! …even if it needs paint and a backsplash and some other stuff…

I’m actually happy to have had the experience.  Would I do it again?  Yes and no.  Doing the cabinets ourselves mostly just took time and having done it once, I would be *ok* trying to do it again if we weren’t under a huge time pressure.  Paint and hardware, no problem.  However, our in-laws replaced all the drywall and did the electrical and the plumbing (changing where the sink and dishwasher were) and I would DEFINITELY not have taken that into our own hands.

I also do not regret paying people to do the counters.  Like, one bit.  They were 3 hours in, out, and on with their lives and apologized to me that it took so long.  No. freaking. problem.

So, while there’s still some minor cosmetic stuff to do, we’ve got a fully functioning kitchen and our house is relatively clean (and will be completely back to normal by the middle of this week).  That’s a huge relief.  I was pretty good about that through most of the process, but when we unpacked the last box yesterday, I felt so much more relaxed, much more than I realized.

So, December.  Last month of the year!  This month is about wrapping all that up and returning to a bit of relaxed normalcy in terms of training, eating, and life.

Let’s talk training. 

My cycling miles have gone from hundreds to tens.  Like last week, I think I literally biked 10 miles.

For sanity’s sake, the OFFICIAL schedule resumes mid-month because, reasons, but from now until then my goals are:

#1 – build up my run miles and start incorporating a little speed 1-2 times a week.  These can be little fartlek sections, track intervals, but I need to start seeing some 9s on my watch in small doses.

#2 – resume strength training – 2x week, even if it’s just a Oiselle dozen or 15 mins of pushups and random stuff, I need this habit back in my life.

Everything else will come later.  I miss the pool.  I miss playing bikes for hours on end.  I miss lifting heavy.  But right now I’ve got a bit of the run love back and I’m excited to nurture that!

Food/Scale

I give myself about a… B- for nutrition last month.  I am so glad I cooked up so much healthy food – we ate almost everything, minus one soup I’ve got thawing for tomorrow.  During the weekdays, we ate reasonably well when we were eating at work.  However, at home, on the weekends, we definitely reverted to pizza (twice) and italian sandwiches on french bread and some other super yummy but admittedly junk foods to keep everyone fed and without prep or cleanup.  I don’t regret it at all, but I remember one Saturday thinking that my intake for the day had been a kolache and four slices of pizza and a small salad.  Not my normal eating patterns for sure.

My official weight average this month is 184.1.  I weighed 24 times so it’s a pretty good average.  That’s -1.2 lbs down.  As frustrating as this slow going progress is, it’s still progress.  And I know because this morning, when I weighed 184.7, I was like, ack, that’s up a bit.  Last month this time I would have been stoked.  I’m really hoping I can see a 170-something number this month, if I made it through Thanksgiving and a remodel with a weight loss, surely I can make it through December with the scale continuing to be my friend, right?

So, I’m making the same goals this month as last month.

  • I will track all negative diet quality foods for this month starting today.
  • Exceptions: vacation, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve.  Vacation, I’ll be diving too much to gain weight, and I’ll allow myself those other days to celebrate and not worry about calories or the quality of my food.  Every other day is normal healthy eating because these are the holi-DAYS, not holi-MONTHS.

Life!

Hoping to get back to more of this in December!

December is a good month progress here because I’m off work for most of it so I can actually do stuff but also have time to relax.  Last year I powered through a lot of my triathlon coach training.  This year, I hope to make a bunch of progress on my book in a similar fashion.

I have 7.5 chapters left.  I would like to knock out at least FOUR of them.  I have five days off while Zliten is at work, and I’m giving myself one of those days where I just can’t even and not making any progress between Christmas and New Years.  If I can get more, great.  The overall goal: it would be a nice birthday present to finish the first draft by next March.

Finish all the little kitchen things and get my house back to it’s normal organized chaos.  What’s left:

  • Bolster kick plate on the peninsula so we don’t need extra tile
  • Fix tile spots
  • Backsplash
  • Touch up cabinets
  • Paint walls

I have a little bit of organizing I’d like to do with the spice rack and pantry but that’s all future goals.

Write a personal mission statement.  In reading 7 Habits of Effective People, I see a lot of things I do well and a lot of things I could do better.  Establishing a core set of principles in an easily distilled statement I can refer to when I’m making decisions in all aspects of life sounds like a good idea.  While my husband kindly brought up that I sort of do that on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, I feel like crystallizing words around who I aim to be is a good exercise.  Of course, this also includes coming up with 2018’s map and plan like normal.

We get to go back to one of my favorite places in the world!!!

Figure out how to travel lightly.  For this vacation, we purchased BCDs and regulators for diving (they cost only double the gear rental fee for just that week and we’ll never have to rent again).  However, that means our scuba gear now takes up most of two large suitcases and the camera equipment takes a small one.  We are going to have to travel REALLY sparsely otherwise.  Good thing four swimsuits, two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, two pairs of sandals, and a cover up doesn’t take much room (but I need to limit it to pretty much that).

Take my annual facebook/twitter break.  It was mentally necessary last year.  This year, I’ve found some awesome groups to be a part of, so these sites don’t stress me out as much as they did last year this time with all the political BS, but I still .  It will get logged out on my phone the day I leave for vacation and I’ll limit myself to it when I’m in front of my actual desktop for a while.

Play some GAMES!  This is usually the month I actually get a chance to lose myself in some video games and I really am looking forward to it!

Catch up on my reading.  Finish Carl Sagan, The 7 Habits, and choose at least two more – probably the 4 hour work week and Bedtime Stories for Triathletes, but I also just bought two running books that probably would make sense to read while I’m training for a half marathon, not to mention some new fiction I’m looking forward to… ah, the life of a hangry bookworm.

I’m looking forward to enjoying another month of THIS beauty we put up yesterday…

Relax.  I have 24 days off work starting at 6-ish PM on Friday.  While I’ve made it through a little less haggard than I have in some previous years, I definitely need some time to recharge and become a patient, pleasant, and kind human being again.

Happy December, everyone.  What’s up in your neck of the woods?  Fun holiday plans?  Heading to a tropical destination? Netflix and PJs? Becoming a ski instructor for the winter?

Mile 18

It’s like Mile 18 of the marathon up in here.

Getting there!  Also, I made everyone stop working to go look at the amazing sunset because I am THAT PERSON.

I’m so done with running at this point.  And there’s still 8.2 more miles to go and that feels like the LONGEST time ever and I just want it to be over NOAW.  However, since I’ve been through this type of thing before as an endurance athlete, I know it’s the home stretch, I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s a little dim, and we will survive and get to that finish line.

Let me get my crankies out of the way.  I have not minded doing the work.  I have not minded the mess around the house (much… I sigh at it once in a while when I have to step over boxes to get around or can’t find something I need, but I gave the house permission to be a mess while we did this, so it’s fine).  However, I want my effing kitchen back.  I want to cook.  I want to chop veggies on a counter.  I want a dishwasher that can get caked on food out of a dish without having to soak it in a bathtub.  I’ve eaten more junk food than I should, not because I don’t have healthy food to eat, it’s just a PITA to prepare and more importantly clean up without a fully functioning kitchen.

So, I went full lazy this week.  I got some healthy prepared meals for dinner that take no real prep or cleanup on my part.  And… I should have full cooking capabilities really soon since the counter folks are currently here RIGHT NOW installing my happy fun sparkly quartz counter.  So, mile 18. It sucks right now in this moment but it will get better really really really soon.

What’s left?  After the counters and sink are installed, we need to hook up the garbage disposal, dishwasher, and then honestly, everything else is completely cosmetic and I have a kitchen again in practical terms again.  I can start unpacking all those boxes.  All that’s left after that is:

  • Some minor trim work
  • Finishing up some painting (walls and outsides of cabinets that are exposed)
  • Putting on the hardware
  • Kickplate for the cabinet bottoms
  • Make shelves for the custom bar cabinets that don’t have them
  • Mounting the backsplash
  • Fixing the tile (and of course we are ONE short of what we need and have to go hunt it down or get creative)
  • Mounting the light strips under the cabinets

…and I think that’s it.  I’m sure other stuff will come up but at some point soon, we’ll be able to call it finished!

My #IMTexas finisher shirt finally fits!

The good news is that I don’t think it’s negatively impacting my other efforts.  Apparently, this project came at the point where my body decided it needed and can appreciate a break from formal training.  My weight continues to trend downward even though I’m definitely not consuming as much healthy stuff as I should and probably less of a calorie deficit overall.  I haven’t tinkered with FAST yet but I have had some great runs lately where if it wasn’t for some other commitments (work/remodel/plans), I would have EASILY run a lot longer.  That’s a good feeling for when I really start getting back to it.

I’ve trotted 5 miles with turkeys in about 53 minutes, chatting with friends the whole way (with a 17 mile bike ride wrapped around it), and done various hour+ runs with no problem.  This weekend, I plan to go a little longer and do something between 7-10.  Every other sport I have slacked on since October 22nd.  That’s ok.  I feel the pull to start doing a regular schedule, which is nice, but life has not yet given me the room for that, so at the very least, I’ll have five weeks of focused training when I get back from vacation.  That should be enough to make a go at a PR, at the very least.  No matter what, as long as I’m healthy, Sapphyra will show up and do battle on January 21st.

And, just because we’re us, we had to take a remodel break on Sunday and put up our lights.  Priorities.

So, it’s a little rough, a little chaotic, and a little messy-middle right now.  But I know by going forward, I’ll get to the light, I’ll get to the finish line, and I can go back to playing bikes and cooking healthy food and training for reals again with a shiny new kitchen and clean house.

 

Looking up the hill…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crazy Athlete Me says:

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

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

Coach me knows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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