Adjusted Reality

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

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Sail Away

I needed this time away a lot more than I realized. Which I’m sure is a surprise to absolutely no one, not even myself in hindsight. While I find myself thrust back into the craziness of life and required to use my best words other places right now, let me at least share some relatively unedited pictures and tales, disjoined as they may be, from the eleven days I spent footloose and fancy free.

Our adventures the first day were without incident and with only minor turbulence. Happily, all of our seven (!!!) bags consisting of three large suitcases, two carry on suitcases, and two backpacks made it just fine, although my new bubble lens may possibly be considered a threat to national security with the fervor with which they examined our camera bag. While I joked that the kitchen sink might perhaps be in one of them, half of the space is dedicated to diving and photography and video gear so I only felt moderately ridiculous about it.

The inaugural vacation day’s highlights included reading, a nap, two games of cards with the ‘rents (though losing both games was not), and a trip to the deli of all delis for the Publix sub of which I’ve been dreaming for two years.

The next morning began with a sunny and steamy Florida 5k run. The procession from shore to ship was quite smooth and pleasant, and we spent our first moments on the ship exploring all the inside decks with our cameras. This was our inaugural voyage on Celebrity Silhouette, and I found myself wayyyyy too preoccupied in the time leading up to do recon, so everything was new and shiny. It was actually rather novel to discover all the nooks and crannies (and all the nifty art) firsthand over the first few days!

I don’t often get an opportunity to see the sunrise, so when I found myself up fifteen minutes before our expedition to Grand Cayman to shore dive, I trekked up to the top deck. I intended to take just a few pictures but I ended up spending almost half an hour watching it grow even more and more brilliant.

I finished Siddhartha the day before. Loosely quoted from the book, “I can do three things. I can think, I can wait, I can fast.” I had been a little thin on patience lately, it’s a good reminder to practice that a little more. Patience to fully appreciate the sunrise. Patience to get that perfect shot of that wily fish that wants to turn just when you click the shutter. Patience in all things.

It was great to clear my brain in preparation for our descent.  

In Grand Cayman, I met an octopus named Trevor, caused my husband to have to answer the question, “did you get a divorce at sea”, got myself the first inkling of a sunburn (first and last time all trip), and remembered how much I love shore diving with just Zliten instead of with a big group.

It was nice to have a chance to dress up every evening. I got a chance to wear some new, and new old clothes that haven’t fit me in a while. It was also nice to get some compliments on them. I’m so new about actually kind of caring about my appearance again, it’s nice to know I’m doin’ it right when I get out the makeup and do something with my hair.

Besides my octopus, I met plenty of octogenarians (and plenty of younger folks as well, though at forty we were definitely on the younger side of the average age of this ship’s passenger manifest), frolicked in my pajamas on the dance floor while most of the ship was asleep, and viewed a sunrise and sunset on the same day from different sections of the same deck.

During sea days, I feel like I sunk into a relaxed mode fairly quickly. I lost and recovered an hour more times than a reasonable human should, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not. I found a routine involving entirely too much food (though somehow I still find myself a few lbs down at the moment – magic!), some activity, gym-like or not, cards, and jockeying for the primo spot to read my book on the pool deck. I felt the tangles in my soul unwind themselves, which was a relief to me and very possibly everyone else in my life.

The last few days have found a routine involving entirely too much food, some activity, gym-like or not, cards, and jockeying for the primo spot to read my book on the pool deck. I feel like the tangles in my soul have unwound themselves, which is a relief to me and very possibly everyone else in my life.



Diving the ABC islands was excellent, for the most part. I kicked off three sequential days of diving in Aruba, the scene of my first blue water dive, six years ago to the month.

Sadly, Aruba’s visibility was poor, but we had the opportunity to dive two wrecks, the Antilles and the Perdinalles, which was unique. We saw TWO frogfish, a ray, and quite a few other gorgeous sea creatures. Did not love diving with the group. I’ve become a bougie diver. Ah well.

Curacao was the diving situation of dreams. We embarked from a sleepy, chill dive shop with a house reef steps away that I could dive for a week repeatedly. This was the nicest introduction to a new island yet! The staff was friendly, they had a resident parrot that screamed, sang, mooed, meowed, and said hello as the mood struck. They also drove us back to the docks for free instead of calling us a cab, as requested. The Atlantis Dive Shop will hold fond memories for me.

Bonaire, and returning to Dive Friends, was well worth the mile-each-way hike carrying about 35 lbs of gear on our backs. My dedication to weight training has definitely helped me – even last year I think I would have been miserable ruck sacking all my gear around – and this year it was totally no big deal. While I definitely have a little crush on Curacao after our first encounter, Bonaire is the island that’s stolen my heart. I’m fairly certain I’ll own a little piece of it someday. The dives were spectacular as expected and I can’t wait to return for two weeks in December.

We surpassed over eleven hours underwater in the four days of diving, and then we boarded our vessel once more for the long sail north.

After our last dive in Bonaire, we became acquainted with a large group of Canadians that singlehandedly ran the ship out of Bud Light. The next day, I figured, eff it, why not wear my smallest bikini exposing all my jellyfish stings and diving bloat? Then, because I am an unreasonable and illogical human, I consumed not one, not two, but THREE plates of lobster at dinner. We frolicked for an hour at our first silent disco, and it will not be our last. That was wayyyy too fun.

The last thing I did before bed the last night was sing Black Velvet with a backup band in front of about 100 people. Let me tell you, folks, Bandaoke, as the call it, was a higher degree of difficulty (no lyrics that highlight as the music plays) and for some reason, it was like twenty times more intimidating. Nothing much makes my legs quake these days and that did, although my husband said I hid it well. Feeling that level of (totally irrational) fear was odd for me, and now I need to go sing more because, dang, I could do way better and man, I felt really ALIVE after performing!

It was nice to be, not having to be something, for eleven days. I’m all for growth, but part of growth is rest and recovery. This was a pleasant interlude.

I figured I’d have more deep thoughts this trip, but honestly, the only thing that kept coming to mind was “don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good”. In my pursuit of excellence in things, sometimes it’s grand (and utterly necessary, for sanity’s sake), to take a glance in the rear view mirror to appreciate progress already gained. Cruising on a ship as the youngins reminded me how much more life I still have, even if hitting a certain milestone lately MAY have kicked some ambitions into overdrive. I’ve got time. As Billy Joel says, Vienna waits for me.

I honestly ended this trip excited to get back to it. To return to the crazy of work, eating like a human being that doesn’t need four plates of food at dinner, training for my upcoming race (t-minus 5 days!), and achieving things and being better. It’s in my blood. I just need to remember to be ENOUGH sometimes even when I’m pursuing MORE.

Week 5, 6, and 7 – Woahhhh, halfway there…

Woaaaaah, livin’ on a prayer… take my hand and we’ll make it I swearrrrr…

Trying out all the Roka things.  Do these goggles make my eyes look fat?  And of course a little Wattage Cottage in there because, well, duh.

Yes, I’m going a little nuts.  We’ve just passed the halfway mark in the training plan.  In seven weeks I’ve taken myself from a very sprint focused triathlete to getting some endurance legs without losing much speed.  We’re not there yet, but I feel like if the race was tomorrow I would SURVIVE it.  Barely.  Thankfully, I’ve got two more “blocks” left before the first race and I think I’ve allotted just about the perfect amount of time to build for this race.  Much longer and I’d get burned out and bored.  Less, and I’d be “cramming” endurance.  I’ve done a successful 8 week build to a 70.3 but it is definitely a quick ramp up and a lot of tired and sore and I’ve done 16 weeks successfully but it was after a long offseason.

Week 5 was not supposed to be *quite* as taper-y as it ended up being, but I’m actually glad it went down the way it did.  I only got in a short swim and bike (Tuesday and Wednesday) before heading to Cleveland, but considering how rough I felt after the trip, I’m glad it took it slow the week before.

All the funny faces.

Week 6 was kind of a strategic retreat.  I figured I’d be a little pooped from two hard efforts back to back, and I’m actually pretty proud of how NOT flattened I was from the racing itself.  What took a toll on my was the sheer time on my feet the whole weekend and lack of rest/recovery.  I had almost 20k steps on Friday with no workouts, and Saturday and Sunday I had over 30k both days, when the racing only accounted for about 12k and 6k steps.  All told, I had almost 100k steps during that long weekend trip (92,062 steps per my Garmin from Friday – Monday).  That’s approximately 50 miles, friends!

Also,  I slept about 4-5 hours both Friday and Saturday nights (thanks wedding DJs!).  Due to late flights and changing time zones, I didn’t have super restful or normal sleep Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night either. In terms of recovery, I didn’t have my normal recovery tools while away, just a dinky travel foam roller.  I survived it, but I was BEAT afterwards.

I made it to my swim that Tuesday, but my heart wasn’t in it.  I dragged myself out for a 6-10 mile run on that Thursday morning and the answer was SIX ABSOLUTELY THE MINIMUM NOT A FOOT MORE and that was even pushing it, and I skipped all sorts of sessions I had penciled in in favor of sleeping in and maybe drinking a little more vodka than I should have some days.  My head, heart, lungs, and legs were all in agreement that I needed a rest week even if the previous week was kind of a rest week too in terms of training hours.

Note to self: Lost Creek after 35 miles of OTHER hills is not advised.  At least on this bike.  Probably on any bike, though.

I did rally for the Wattage Cottage hill challenge that Saturday.  This ride was a brutal 3200 feet of climbing in 40 miles.  I brought my tri bike in hopes of keeping up with the 16-18mph pace (which is easily within my grasp on a ride like Shoal Creek/Veloway/Parmer/etc).  However, the gearing on it is not exactly conducive to things that go up and up and up.  I only held 13.6 mph, and that’s not counting a few stops (and more than a few contemplations on just calling an Uber and forgetting about this whole nonsense).  I finally tackled Lost Creek, which is kind of a big deal around here, and while I’m a little ashamed to say I had to get off and walk one of the hills, it was in the last few miles of the ride.  On completely shredded legs just after I’d powered up the previous killer hill and the 20 million before that.  One day I’ll have my revenge!

Proof I’m not being unreasonably whiny.  This ride almost exactly 2 years ago involved cycling up a freaking mountain in Grand Junction.

This was this weekend.  Similar ride distance, no mountains, but yet still more elevation.

It was an amazing, terrible, wonderful, challenging, and terrifying ride.  Thanks to Wattage Cottage enough for setting it up, and Roka, Floyds of Leadville, Foil Wheels, for providing prizes, and Cryofit for supplying the meet up place.  I feel like I’m a better cyclist and much more comfortable on my TT bike after the last two weekends of riding it in towns.

After the ride, I was smashed.  I ate two whole PBJ sandwiches and drank two bottles of water in about 5 minutes.  We had planned to change and run 3 miles around the area, but the idea of more hills and no shade in that heat just made both of us feel like crying.  However, we are triathletes.  We went from bagging the run, then on the drive home, we decided we could do a mile.  Just twice around the block.  Then, I talked myself into the whole run, but whatever pace.  Slow was fine if I had to.

Then I ran 9:30/mile pace for 3 miles in feels like 103 degrees because either I’m a badass or I really just wanted to be done for the day.  Maybe a little of both.

Week 7 marked the kickoff of the last 3 week block of training before taper.  This is the last push, folks.  I can do it!

When you can’t handle ONE MORE 5:30am alarm you instead start your long brick workout at 7pm Friday after work and finish up around 11:45.

Things I nailed:

  • 11 mile run at 10:42/mile pace, sans music.  While the last two miles started to be a little tough, I was still able to speed up at the end and not fade.  And I’m happy to report that with liberal use of foot powder multiple times, I had ZERO blisters.  Obviously can’t do that during the race, but at that point it won’t matter too much.
  • 2 brick runs off the bike that were in the 9 min/mile pace range.
  • Finally, a more-than-race-distance open water swim!  With my new Roka kit and swim skin and goggles even!  New stuff makes swims better…
  • A three hour trainer ride keeping myself in a power range I decided on beforehand – 150W average.  Though my power meter died 40 minute before the end, my speed held constant without any resistance changes, so I’m confident I did it even though Strava doesn’t say so.  Even if it was THE HARDEST RIDE I’VE EVER DONE OMG I hate the trainer *grumble grumble*.
  • Hitting the other sessions I had planned – one weights session, one pool swim, and an hour easy ride.

Things I did not nail:

  • My brick ride the day after that long run was reallllly sluggish and I could only hold 142W power average which is worse than my 3 hour ride and should not have been.
  • I skipped one weights session because work was crappy, I had a ton of errands, and honestly, a glass of whiskey was higher on my priorities than hitting the gym. 
  • I did not stretch or use the foam roller enough.  I’m very tight today.

All in all, successful week.  Two more like it please!

I had a note on the last two weeks of this block to take stock and decide whether I felt like I needed more speed or endurance.  Normally, around this point, I’m slow as molasses but feel like the distances are no problem.  This year has been all about speed, so I’m in the opposite boat.  I’m actually quite speedy right now (for me), but I definitely feel like I can use some endurance practice. 

Doing a double digit run a few more times at race pace is going to do me more good than hitting shorter speedwork (which I’m kind of doing on my brick runs anyway).  I’ve now done 50 miles once on the bike (and multiple rides in that same 3 hour range that were slower but harder than the race will be), but I’d like to hit 56 at least once or twice more.  Ditto for the swim.  I swam longer than the race distance yesterday, but it was slow.  I’d like to come in closer to 40 minutes than the almost 50 it would have taken me at that cruising pace.

Sometimes #sockdoping is the only thing that helps you make it through.

I’m not going to deviate ALL my training to long and slow(er), but my Tuesday long run and Saturday long bricks will stay long, and I will have to actually do my long swims even if they’re inconvenient, instead of deciding that it’s easier to just swim 1000m over lunch in the pool and calling that good enough.  This week looks like this:

  • Monday: lunch weights, easy ride PM
  • Tuesday: 12 mile run AM (10:30-11 min/mile pace)
  • Wednesday: brick AM, race distance swim lunch or PM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: weights AM, swim lunch (or vice versa)
  • Saturday: 56 mile bike, 2 mile run.
  • Sunday: off

My non-training goal is to stretch and roll at least five times this week.  One down this morning, four to go.

One more week after this one and then it’s time to taper!

As for nutrition, I feel as if this is probably my most successful build in terms of eating mostly not junk food and also actually still making some weight loss progress.  Baby steps, but still in the right direction.

Although, it’s frustrating to be slated to be losing so slow, I’d rather lose 2 lbs per month than maintain or gain.

And, let’s face it, I’m not being perfect, not in the slightest.  I ate with reckless abandon in Cleveland.  I couldn’t stop eating the whole day after the Hill Challenge to the point where I even surprised myself on my food consumption and had no idea how to track it after the fact because I couldn’t remember everything I ate, let alone the quantity.  Let’s face it, while I am eating good food and tracking *most* of the time, I’m not as religious about it as I was in say, April, so I can’t expect those kind of results.

Some of the wonderful and terrible things I put in my mouth in Cleveland.

It’s not really worth it to go back and assess diet quality or calories because I’ve got so much missing data, but it’s encouraging to see the line still going down.  I’m real real real real close to start seeing 169.something.  Even if it’s slow, I’ll keep hanging on to live in the world where that happens.

My head is starting to shift a little.  I am starting to transform from pudgy me to athlete me in my brain.  I’m starting to mentally grow into the current size I am now and it’s pretty nice to have my self-image catch up with the positive changes my body has made.

So, this is life right now.  Work.  Training. Trying not to eat like an asshole.  Showing up for the important stuff for family and friends.  That’s about all that’s above the suck line right now.  During heavy training, and frankly, during HOT training, I feel so zapped after it’s hard for me to rebound and become a person.  As weird as it sounds, my version of self care is sitting on the couch watching Star Trek or reading about sports psychology and drinking whiskey without having to talk to another gorram human for hours.  Quiet, relaxation, silence.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be more of a human person in the coming months, but I need to be a little introverted right now to get through the rest of my training with my sanity intact. 

The gorgeous Hyatt Regency at the Arcade where we stayed.  Half my pictures are just of the hotel…

The one thing I can report is that I have edited all my photos!  Krause is HERE, my (much smaller) Cleveland set is HERE.  While I hope to chip away at getting the best ones up to my iStock, Adobe, and Shutterstock sites, it’s nice to know that I won’t have any more editing to do until I get back from Cozumel.  I also sold one more photo, the same one (the crab) on the same service (Adobe).  I thought that was a little bizarre until I went searching for it myself and it’s the second photo that comes up when you search “crab underwater” so I got the keywords right on that one at least!

12 days until I’m officially in taper.  Approximately 15 more workouts.  A few hundred more miles.  Only about 4 more pre-sunrise wakeups.  I can do this! 

Krause Springs Part 1 – fourth of July, butterfly gardens, and wonderful laziness

I had magical memories of our 2017 Krause Springs trip.

I was wondering, even if a little bit, whether the magic I felt was the newness of camping with the popup.  It was just an entirely different experience than any other vacation I had taken in my life and I was hoping that essence would still be there at Krause.

And it totally was.  Even if this trip was different, it wasn’t any less amazing.

After a super smooth set up, we enjoyed our fairly standard first night meal when we don’t race the next day – hot dogs and veggie pasta salad, with an adult beverage this time because we could!  Usually, the first night of camping means being good, because we have to swim, bike, run, or do all of the three the next day, and in this case, we had ZERO plans.  However, our lack of sleep the night before limited it to just ONE and after the little fireworks show, we crawled in bed with our books and proceeded to sleep blissfully for 10 hours.

Wednesday was the fourth of July holiday proper, and we woke up to rain.  We had a delicious breakfast of bean and cheese tacos, and I spent some time coloring, intending to get warmed up to paint later in the week.  Then we took a walk to the butterfly garden.  Zliten spent some time drawing and I ran around and photographed everything. 

I wasn’t patient enough to get a picture of an actual butterfly or hummingbird, but I got some nice scenery before it started to POUR.  We hung back in the camper and made some fairly epic campfire stew and read and relaxed watching the rain drip outside our open camper windows. 

The persistent rain forced us to cook our first meal in the camper, and it actually worked out quite well.  When you don’t have to deal with the wind on the stove, you get a nice even temperature.

We lucked out and got a break in the rain pretty much JUST for the fireworks setup and show.  The rain had kept it cool and I’m sure there was less potential for fire hazards, so it worked out for everyone.  So much BIG KABOOMS!

The fireworks shows here are just plain epic, and I had so much fun playing with my new camera’s fireworks mode.  Zliten had to remind me to actually sit back and WATCH a bit instead of take pictures of every firework.

The next day, we slept until we couldn’t possibly stay in bed any longer, listening to the sounds of  a light drizzle on the popup canvas.  Once it cleared up, we had some breakfast and soon after, lunch because we were still hungry.

There was a lot of wonderful laziness on Thursday.  I read and napped and read and jumped in the pool and then read a little more, but I did take a hike to get some pretty footage of the area around the tent camping areas.

Our one big food experiment was campfire pizza.  It ended up a little burnt on the bottom, and it was more like a pizza inspired casserole, but all the delicious tastes were there.  Would totally make again.

Later, we headed down to the falls.

I neglected to bring the strap for my camera this vacation, so I spent the entire time in the natural springs clutching my camera for dear life.  I can report that I still have it! Success!

As the sun went down, I had to run around the campsite once again to see where the light was pretty and take more photos.  These weren’t the best grounds for epic sunset photos, but I enjoyed watching them each evening!

We took it easy that night and went to bed early to be ready for adventures in the morning.  But for that, you’ll need to skip to Part 2.

If you want to skip the words and just see all the photos, click here.

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 3 – feels like coming home

Three weeks down, nine to go to Cozumel 70.3, thirteen to Waco 70.3.

I’m feeling pretty good about things right now.  I’m not feeling ready to race a 70.3 yet, but with six weeks of solid training left + three weeks of taper, I think I have enough time to get my legs under me.

After my first block (two weeks build, one week stepback), here’s how I feel about the various sports.

Swimming, I used to love you the most.  About 5 years ago, it was my best sport of the three and I enjoyed practicing it, especially once we started at Pure Austin and I had the beautiful pool and lake handy to paddle in.  For some reason, over the last two years, I’ve fallen out of love with swimming (and my slightly worsening times in the pool have reflected this).

However, the good news is that a) summer is here and while my motivation is lower than previous years, it’s at this year’s peak to be in the water and b) while my pool times are not great, I’m actually working REALLY HARD on my open water form and those times are actually coming down.  Funny, when you swim with your head down and try to emulate your form in the pool even when you can’t see the black line, things get more efficient.  Rather than something like a 30 sec/100m discrepancy between pool and open water, I’m closer to like 10.  While it’s partly the product of not doing speedwork and getting slower in the pool, it’s also attention to better form all around and I’m racing in open water the rest of the year (so the pool times don’t matter) so I’ll call it a win.

Biking, is it possible to miss you even though I ride three times a week?  I’m feeling rather wistful for last year’s cycling training (for the Hotter’n’Hell 100) which was: ride bikes.  A lot.  Preferably in the heat.  I miss the commuting, I miss taking off early in the morning to ride for hours and hours on a Saturday (with no impending brick run after), and I miss bike adventures and group rides with the goals of just to GET LOTS OF MILES ON MY BUTT.

However, this entire year is about sharpening the stick.  I’ve allowed myself one ride per week with the goal just to enjoy being outside on Evilbike, and I’m finding I rarely want to stop.  I know there will be more time for this later in the year, and I’m sticking to my specific goals involving shorter melt-your-face-off TT speed sessions and longer brick workout riding places where I don’t have to stop much to simulate race efforts.  But… man, I’m looking forward to some times in November/December where we hop on our bikes and go ride with some stops to take pictures of cool things and eat food with no pace or time goals.

That being said, it was nice that 17.2 mph on the Shoal Creek loop felt. like. holding. back. like. woah.  So the effort I’m putting in is worth it.

Running is a surprise.  It’s been the bane of my existence for years, both with my slowing paces and random minor but annoying injuries and imbalances.  Even earlier this year, my take on running was that I should do it as little and fast as possible.  My meager 5-ish miles a week (but mostly faster) returned enough dividends that I wasn’t going to change things.

I’m running about 2-3 times a week now, which isn’t that much different than before, but the runs are longer (last week I did a whole ELEVEN miles for almost TWO HOURS of running).  Oddly enough, or maybe just as a surprise to no one but me, since I’m a little lighter and have new shoes, both my legs and brain have taken to some additional miles as if they’re coming home from a long time away.  In fact, these longer hours in general feels like coming home, as it’s been a while.  Intentional absence, for sure, but it’s fun to train a lot.  I digress.

The cool thing is that I am completing pretty much all of my runs at the pace goals I’m setting, even after time away, even in the heat, even when I have the ability to make excuses why it’s too fast – it’s not.  While I know 7 miles is way shorter than 13, I felt like 10:40/mile was a nice relaxed pace that I did not want to stop when I finished (and spoilers, I held a slightly faster pace for 9 this week though I was 100% READY TO STOP after).  In the feels like 100+ degree heat, I was able to maintain a 10:30/mile pace for a 10k off the bike (with a few water stops).  In the insane humidity, I was able to descend, not quite to 10k but to at least slightly under half marathon pace (9:30-9:45), for the middle three miles of last week’s run on Tuesday even though it felt like running through soup.

Weights is a thing in which I am still doing because I know I need to, but I don’t have too much love for it right now.  I know it’s one of my most important sessions of the week, but that doesn’t mean the illogical part of my brain wants to skip it to go do other things.  I’m definitely moved past the “heavy lifting” part of the year and probably have to let go of the fact that deadlifting/squatting any signficant weight is going to need to be on pause until after Waco and recovery, but I’m still showing up and doing the things.  The default workout right now is:

  • 5 min row warmup, then 3x everything below….
  • 10@40# kb squats
  • 10@40# kb side leans
  • 10@40# kb rows
  • 10@20# shoulder press with dumbbells
  • 10@25# kb single leg deadlifts
  • 10 ball pass crunches
  • 10 ball hamstring curls
  • 10 ball inverted v-ups
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 single leg calf raises
  • Streeetchy stretch!

I can roll through this in about 35-40 minutes, and while it’s not the kind of PUMP that deadlifting 150 lbs is, I definitely feel it, especially in my weak spots like my hamstrings and lower back.  I’m pretty confident this will help me at least maintain if not make small gains if I stick with it through tri season.

That’s a lot of words about sports so let’s put up some schedules and move on…

Last week:

  • 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
  • Wednesday: home weights
  • Thursday: 1600yd lake swim
  • Friday: AM gym weights
  • Saturday: practice olympic distance (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run)
  • Sunday: off

I had to shift things around a little bit, but I got in all the sessions.  Hooray!  This resulted in 6.5 hours, which was also about what I’d planned.  Stepback week + finally getting my morning person thing on = success!

This week’s plan:

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride, weights
  • Tuesday: AM run: 9 miles at 10:30-11:00 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: brick workout, swim (maybe all together)
  • Friday: AM gym 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

Looks like about 9 hours and a nice peak week before heading into Nationals race week next week.  I can’t believe it’s almost here!

As for the non-training training goals:

  • Hit all the sessions. (CHECK)
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person) (CHECK)
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day. (mostly check – I think I skipped a day or two but I also visited the chiropractor AND got a massage so that makes up for something…)

My weight loss efforts have dropped from about 1 lb per week to 1 lb per month, however, it’s still going in the right direction.  At 1 lb per month, I’ll see the 160’s in 2018.  So, that’s still motivation to keep at it.  What I’m currently doing does not seem to be affecting my training or general happiness and well being, so it continues.

  • Average calorie burn: 2404
  • Average calorie intake: 1794 (-609 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.1 to 175.0 (-0.1… sigh… at least it’s not +)
  • Average diet quality: 19.7

So, at this point, I’ve had two weeks where I’ve done deeeeecently, and no progress.  I can only assume that life is punishing me (or, more likely, that I was selectively weighing on good days before and now that I’m back to every day, it will take some time to stabilize). 

Goals for the next week:

  • Salads every day.  I missed my veggies goal more than I have in a long time.  Eat your veggies (and fruit, those were lacking too) woman!
  • I had a cadence before.  Yogurt and berries in the morning.  Lunch.  Salad.  Fruit and nuts snack before I left work or right when I got home.  Dinner.  Post dinner snack in whatever categories I was lacking.  I’m not eating all that much more, but I am finding I’m not quite eating the right things.  I’m going to try to establish that cadence again.
  • Saturdays are going to be a challenge now that I’m onto long workouts.  I need to make sure I have plans for something reasonably healthy/easy, if not for the meal immediately after said long workout, for the rest of the day instead of eating crackers and cheese like I did this week… ahem.

It’s official, I’m a PAID stock photographer.  I made my first sale… of 18 cents!  I’m rich!  Where’s my mansion?  While it’s kind of laughable, it’s nice to know that someone was able to find my picture and for one reason or another, purchased it.  Besides the work of uploading and setting key words, this is stuff I’d do anyway with my photography, so I’ll keep building a stock library and who knows, maybe someday I’ll make 1.18$ #shootforthemoon

In terms of photo goals, here’s what I’ve done:

  • I submitted (and got accepted) the remaining 12 left from my “second best” May 2018 vacation set to two out of the three sites (Adobe seems to be the pickiest, so I left them for last).
  • Narrow down my photos from about 700 (with my cell phone shots as well) to under 200.
  • I’ve edited and processed everything from July 4th.

I know, the typical thing to post here would be a firework photo, but I loved this one from the butterfly gardens a lot.

This week, I’d like to:

  • Submit those 12 “second best” photos to Adobe and wait for my inevitable rejections.
  • Finish at least through July 5th.  And even if I don’t finish, make some progress by not being against the idea of sitting down and editing three photos a night if that’s the amount of time I have between dinner and bed.
  • Holding on the book until I finish these photos.  However, after this batch… it’s on!

In terms of other IRL things, we had our first weekend at home and no plans since June 2nd.  The last time that happened was April 21.  Before that, March.  No wonder we’re feeling a little crispy and protective of our time lately.  It was nice to come home after smashing myself against a long workout in the heat and barely have to make words at anyone for two days.  With work and training and life the way it is right now I really need some time for my sanity to be silent and just focus on something relaxing like editing, TV, a book, etc. 

And on that note, I’ll take my wordy self and do just that…

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