Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: vacation (Page 1 of 12)

2019 Goals and Directions

When you have a really successful year that you’re quite happy with, it doesn’t make any sense to throw the baby out with the bathwater and change it all up.  To be perfectly honest, the refrain of, “second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse” will be frequent in this post and that’s a GREAT thing.

However, as someone who isn’t content to rest on her laurels, there are obvious improvements to be made even on the best of years.  Let’s dive in, shall we?

Racing/Training:

For the year I planned to have in 2018, I nailed it.  I loved the shorter, more focused training (both per session and per week).  I enjoyed the stability that weight training and proper recovery afforded me.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ability to podium multiple times this spring and qualify for Nationals.  So, I’m going to do that again.   Yes indeedy, the plan is to do a bunch of short races in the Spring with the goal to get as high on the podium as possible each time and head to Cleveland again in August, but only if my husband and I can BOTH qualify this time.

I’ve had a nice long 10 week offseason where I’ve let it all burn to the ground and it’s felt flippin’ fantastic after some fits and starts with learning to let go.  Tomorrow starts pre-season.  This schedule is slightly different from last year but rejoins it in the spring.  Whereas in January 2018, I was focused on building to a half marathon personal best, my focus THIS winter is purely base building.  I will be running the same half, but my only goal is to survive it, not PR.  This means regular weight training, a moderate amount of base miles, a little speedwork but not much, and getting back to regular testing (100m/300m for time, FTP tests, either run threshold or fast mile tests).  Once spring hits, we’ll shed the volume and train more like we did last year (more fast stuff).

As for racing, I am already signed up or plan to sign up for these races:

  • 3M Half (Jan 20)
  • Lifetime Indoor Tri (Jan 27)
  • Some sort of 5k in late March/early April to test my fitness
  • Possibly the St Patrick’s Day Tri in Dallas
  • Maybe a time trial cycling race if one fits on the schedule
  • Texasman (May 5)
  • Wincrest Freshman (June 8)
  • Lake Pflugerville (June 16)

I’ll probably put a few other triathlons on the calendar between March – June.  I want to race a lot again, but probably no more than two weekends back to back in a row, and I have a 10 day vacation planned in April so we’ll see what happens. 

As for the fall, I *think* I want to do a 70.3, but I’m not sure which one.  There’s my perennial Kerrville, and I’m going for sure, but not certain what distance.  There’s Waco, and though a bad taste still lingers in my mouth from that race, the fact is that it’s close in proximity and the timing is perfect.  There’s Oilman in Houston in November, which I’ve never done and always been interested in trying out.  There’s also Indian Wells in December, which is interesting as well, though the timing kind of sucks and it’s a plane flight.  

The long term goal is to do another full Ironman in 2020.  It’s looking like it will probably be Texas because it’s convenient.  Besides swimming in the sh*tcanal, I like the course, especially if we can maybe refrain from 25 mph winds on the Hardy Toll Road this time, and the time of year (late April) is perfect.  With the weather and my work schedule, training for anything longer than a half late in the season is NOT optimal. 

I also just found out that I’ll be part of #teamnuun in 2019, and I’m super stoked to rep something I’ve been using for many, many years already!  Definitely more to come on this as we get more deets.

#projectraceweight:

After eight years of a swing and a miss here, I finally found some success.  I lost over 20 lbs and (for the most part) kept it off.  I weighed in at 169.5 this weekend, so while I’m probably up just a little from holiday indulgences, I’m well within my goals for concluding offseason/holiday eating. 

As of January 2nd, I’m back on the #projectraceweight train.  I want to see 150 lbs reaaaaaaal bad this year, and for the first time in forever, it’s really within my grasp.  I just have to do exactly what I did last year.  For posterity, that is:

  • Track my calories regularly.  Stick to 1500 most days, 1-2 days closer to 2000 +/- depending on activity level (if I do a long run/bike/race, I’m going to eat a little more).
  • Keep an eye on my diet quality.  I probably won’t be as anal with this all year as I was in (early) 2018 because, honestly, quantity is my biggest problem.  However, I need to be checking every once in a while to make sure I’m right around that 20 mark. 
  • Continue to alternate batch cooking and Snap Kitchen/other healthy prepared meals.  I will honestly probably lean on Snap for most of January and then alternate a bit, but having someone else do the cooking and portioning helps me a lot.  We got takeout SO MUCH LESS than any other year because of this and we both lost weight.
  • Quit drinking like a frat boy It was fun to let loose for a while, but it’s time to reign it back in for season again.

My goal is to hit 150 or a little less by the end of the year and evaluate if that’s my happy forever weight or see if I should push on further. 

Personal Growth:

I need to learn how to be okay with failure.  I’ve found the root of a lot of my hangups rest on my subconscious convincing me that I don’t want something, not because I don’t want it, but I’m scared to try and fail.  This year is about taking chances with the full realization that I may fall flat on my face in some endeavors.  This is the year about eating the sacred cows instead of keeping them on their pedestals. 

And to save myself the trouble of trying once and failing and giving up, I’m also making part of the resolution to FAIL the first time (or two) and still have the courage to pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again.

  • Before the end of 2019, I will send at least THREE pitches out to a publisher about my book. 
  • Before the end of 2019, I will pursue at least THREE other writing opportunities – whether it’s writing for another site, a contest, just something that gets my work out there.
  • Before the end of 2019, I will ask at least THREE people for guidance and mentorship on writing, business, social media, marketing, photography, or something else I’m dying to learn but don’t know much about.
  • Before the end of 2019, I will submit my photography for at least THREE opportunities/contests.
  • Before the end of 2019, I will apply for at least THREE brand ambassadorships/sport opportunities (one down already!!!).
  • Before the end of 2019, I will pursue at least THREE opportunities to get Adjusted Reality social media profiles (probably instagram) shared by a more popular profile.

While I’ve got more detailed goals I’ll share on a monthly basis, I’ve decided 2019 is the year where I stop getting in my own way to get the things I want.  If someone else decides I’m not worthy, that’s fine, it’s just not going to be ME any more.

Hobbies:

These have kind of gotten out of hand but I love the chaos, so I’m not going to quit doing anything.  What I am going to do is stop giving myself crazy goals that stress me out.  Obviously my writing and my photography are the exceptions, which I’ve covered under personal development, but it’s worth a mention below there’s a lot of creativity and adventure to be had this year (so stop wasting time on excessive social media and too much Netflix, woman!).

Camping – go camping at least three times outside of our race trips.  We have one planned in Feb, and our usual July 4th trip, so this means at least one other weekend for funsies.  I’d also like to go at least one new place that will lend itself well to pretty pictures.

Vacations – besides camping, our current plans are a 9 day cruise in April, either Cleveland or some other out of town triathlon over the summer, and TWO weeks in Bonaire.

Gaming – read the entire D&D player handbook and expand my knowledge there, continue to get into and enjoy my silly Bard character who seems to also be a vehicle for self-discovery, for reals reach max level on the games I work on by the end of the year, play more games for research even if I just spend an evening checking them out, and host at least a QUARTERLY game night with friends (and take the opportunity to play more at work during off hours).

Painting – I’m roadblocked here, and I’m not quite sure why.  I want to finish my fish before it’s a year old, start another one, and then do it as often as it’s fun.

Music – I LOVE that I’ve finally picked this up again.  I learned a Christmas Song (Carol of the Bells), and I’m still working on another one with actual singing as well (Colorblind).  I have the next one picked out as well, but I’m not letting myself go ADD on music.  I want to focus on one song until I can play it without errors and pauses.  I want to post at least one “performance” publicly (aka, a video on Youtube/Facebook/Insta) because the idea of it scares the shit out of me.

Videos – I miss doing my one take videos.  I want to do a few more of these as the inspiration and motivations strike.  My husband and I actually talked about making some sort of very short film (not a one take) at some point, so perhaps we’ll focus on that as well.

Writing – While above I’ve focused on non-fiction, I’ve had a BLAST exploring fiction and different writing styles and voices as well.  I definitely want to continue to do.  I wrote a sci-fi adventure over the holiday and also have been writing in my D&D character’s voice.  Moar of this, and I think I have some ideas for opportunities to indulge in this.

Photography – continue to take every opportunity to take footage and work on my editing.  Continue to learn photography and editor techniques.  I want to get back on the horse and submit more stock photos to the sites where I’m accepted (and learn more about hashtagging and how to make them more visible for sales).  I’d also like to set up an online gallery that’s not just my facebook page.

Cycling Adventures – I want to continue to have some rides where I put my camera in my jersey pocket, and venture out on two wheels with the only goals being pretty pictures and beautiful things, not watts.

And last but not least… adulting.  It’s literally three things and a small monthly organizational project and some of them simply involve paying someone to do a thing.  I CAN DO THIS!

  • Financial planner.  For reals.  We will pay off our house soon (about 2 years) and we will have some decisions to make at that point.  We need some guidance.
  • Replace our garage doors.
  • Tear down the bush in the backyard and replace the fence.
  • Pick one manageable-sized organization project each month and do it.  The pantry took like an hour and irked me for 6 months before I did it.  The initial list is:
    • Pick up the pain cave room and fix the broken bike racks
    • Go through our closets and pack up/donate the stuff that doesn’t fit anymore
    • Organize the movie/game racks
    • Finally sell and move the giant terrarium that takes up a corner of our living room
    • Organize the office
    • Etc, etc.  Continue this with one a month all year knowing the projects will need to be reaaaaally small during 70.3 season.

In summary, my overall goal is to build on the courage, confidence, and worthiness I started to cultivate in 2018.  2019, you’re looking pretty awesome already, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

2018 Recap – Finding my Courage, Confidence, and Worthiness

On the heels of a completely epic 2017 where I consistently felt overwhelmed, my biggest goal for 2018 was to do LESS, with focus, purpose, and intention.

#2018bestnine – apparently y’all like bikes, bolts, and selfies with unicorn pants.

In some areas of my life, I succeeded wholeheartedly.  In others, I got waylaid, distracted, or found hidden insecurities keeping me from my goals.  The good news is that it lead me to a lot of soul searching that apparently I needed to do en route to the things I want to accomplish long term.  I feel like I’ve used my words a lot lately, so I’m honestly going to try to keep this one short (er than normal).

While it’s a 3rd, and not a 1st, and I got passed right at the end, I still think this might be the race I was the most proud of this year (Texasman).

Racing/Training:

My big scary goal was to qualify to Nationals and find myself on some age group podiums.  This year, I qualified twice, getting first place in my age group (and third female overall in one of those instances), and hit the podium two other times for 3rd place.  Then, later, I wanted to PR my half ironman and go sub-6:30 in Cozumel.  I went 6:28 on a rather tough day.

Most of the year was just flippin’ phenomenal, and I put together some solid swimming, biking, and running time after time at races.  I had a few spectacular blowups (3M, Nationals Day 2, Waco 70.3), but in the grand scheme of things, the highs were SO MUCH higher than the lows.  It was a stellar way to close out my last year in the 35-39 age group.

How did I accomplish this?  By training so much less than I have in years and years, but more specifically than normal.  Also weight training, massage, rolling, stretching (strength, flexibility, and recovery) played a huge part.

Getting dressed in the morning is much more fun when your clothing fits.

#projectraceweight:

I started 2018 at 188 lbs.  My low weight for the year has been 165.0.  I cannot be more stoked about my progress.  Whatever needed to click finally happened after eight years of things being out of sync.  Before I get played off the stage, I’d like to thank Snap kitchen and portion control for the success.  While I did my best to eat good food, I always come back to the fact that 1500 calories of pizza will do the exact same thing to the scale long term as 1500 calories of carrots.  Diet quality is huge with how I feel, and my energy levels, but as they say, abs are made in the kitchen. 

Also, I’d like to make sure and thank my appetite this year for being a homie.  Most training cycles, I couldn’t eat enough, ever.  First of all, learning to live with “no longer hungry” instead of full helped a lot, as did hitting that appetite thermocline around 170-something lbs, where I just stopped needing (both physically and mentally) so much to eat.

My favorite fish. 🙂

Personal Development:

A year ago, I wrote about wanting to enjoy human connection a bit more.  I had thought it was about being less of an asshole.  It’s not.  I’m not an asshole (I don’t think, and even if I am, it’s not actually the problem I actually wanted to solve).  While I didn’t show up to everyone’s social event (there’s a few I missed that I still feel crappy about) and didn’t all of a sudden become a people pleasing social butterfly or anything, and sometimes I would rather dig through a boatload of documentation before I get up and ask someone a question, I think I was able to foster and find human connection where it mattered.

This year was about finding my confidence and courage.  I found the beginnings of worthiness.   I also found, while digging in my brain, questioning why I do the things I do when they are counterproductive to my goals, found out that I have a lot of really weird subconscious insecurities that drive me to avoid things I want.  At some point, my asshole brain figured out that if I actually figure out the problem is that I’m scared of something, the challenge is ON I will grab that bull by the horns and do it anyway, so it convinces me I *don’t* want it or want to do it.

Just being conscious of that fact has elevated my training, my racing, my #projectraceweight progress (yep, turns out, my idiot grey matter was plotting against me on that one too), and a million billion other things that I’ve tripped over this year, squinted at quizzically and said, “REALLY?  COME ON!” and gone forward with anyway because they were absolutely MORONIC things on which to be hung up.

While it’s still sometimes a fight, and I still find myself puzzled that I’m actually scared of so many stupid things, at least I’m working on conquering this.  Earlier this year, I wrote down in a scratchpad, “Think of all the things I could do if I didn’t let fear stop me.  If I just hit each roadblock, and instead of stopping and pouting because it was a little hard, intimidating, or scary, just strategized about how to get around them and to the next checkpoint.  Think of where I could be then!”

I don’t see myself as a timid person, but I’ve definitely found that in the past, I’ve been meeker than I’ve given myself credit for, but much less so in 2018.  A work in progress, for sure, but it’s better than being in denial.

The wheels started turn, turn, turning this year (in some areas).

Self Enrichment:

2018 was the year that I was looking to either become or make huge strides towards becoming a published author. 

I like my notes here so much I’ll share them: Book complete!  Started editing!  Read a book on the industry!  Got freaked out and still haven’t returned to it after ignoring it for more than 6 months. D’oh.

It’s not all bad.  I did finish an 88k word first draft, and I know a lot more about the book publishing industry than I did this time last year (which was, like, nothing).  I’ve also spent a lot of time delving into other forms of writing.  I’ve been writing a little fiction and even a little poetry, and it’s been a lot of FUN! Finally, I’ve found that when I’m properly inspired, I’ve found my writing voice again rather than just throwing some words on a page, which has made me immeasurably happy.

But, about the book specifically, once it became real, it started to freak me out.  I found out that I’ve got two HUGE hangups here.  I’m confident in my ability to produce the work, even work that will make me proud.  However, I was intimidated by the amount of thoughts and feeling I would be sharing with people who know me IRL (the faceless masses, I’m fine with, but people who I might see at a party or at work freak me right out), and second, that I might write it, and it might be amazing, but no one will read it.

I made some strides in the first category by being a little more open on Facebook later in the year to test the waters, and I didn’t die!  Hooray!  However, I still have to figure out how to handle the second thing at some point because I will be an author someday and I hope to sell more than 10 books.

And, as always, here’s the lists:

Just occasionally I can look super serious.

Adulting:

  • Wills – done
  • Financial planner – not yet (I definitely have some hangups here, and I’m not sure why)
  • Fix our occasionally around kitty stray – nope (he disappeared for a while, and is not really around enough anymore for him to be “ours”)
  • Organize our entertainment center and pantry – nope and yep! (I swear, the first one will happen in January, it will take less than an hour)
  • Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off – not done (but I did just clean that room, so, that’s something)

Two of my very favorite things this year: diving and photography!

Fun stuff:

  • Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February. – not to the letter, but in spirit.  We did a few game nights at home, some at work, and sort of unrelated, I’ve really gotten more into D&D this year.
  • Camping!so much.  Love the camper.  Can’t wait to see more amazing places in turtlehome!
  • Making videos – I did quite a few early in the year and then stopped.  I’m doing a lot more filming with work now, so that’s something, but I haven’t done much at home.  However, I’ve gotten REALLY into photography and photo editing, to the point where I’ve actually sold three copies of the same crab on stock photo sites, which I didn’t even mention here, so, let’s just say this hobby has kind of morphed?  
  • More video games.  – Yes during the winter, then not again much the rest of the year.  January is almost here and I usually end up gaming a lot then…
  • VacationsCruise in May, Krause Springs Camping in July, Cleveland in August, Cozumel in October, and Fredericksburg Camping in December. I appropriately traveled.
  • Painting – I made one and started another.  Oops.  I really fell off this over the summer and never picked it back up.  Too many hobbies, not enough time, but also, I need to let go of the fact that even if I don’t produce amazing art, it’s still FUN!
  • More bike adventures.  While my original intention was playing on the cruise bikes, which I haven’t ridden much this year,  I’ve really enjoyed playing bikes with my camera, adventuring with my bestest bike buddy and taking pictures of cool stuff.
  • Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps – getting there, especially later in the year when I found my voice and a little fire in my belly again.  While I love a good recap and they’re not going away, my writing gets stale if all I write are status reports.
  • Crafting.  I did some beading, but I have yet to break out my sewing machine, but that’s okay.   So many hobbies, so little time.  

2018 was a lot of things, but one constant?  Bikes.  Always bikes.

This was one of my favorite years yet, and a great way to close out my thirties.  As always, I try to sum up each year with three words, and it wasn’t even difficult this time.

Courage.  Confidence. Worthiness.

While I can’t say I mastered any of these things this year, I am hot on the trail, madly pursuing them into 2019.

Krause Springs Pt 2 – Bikes and Hikes and Hammocks

When last we left off, I was heading to bed early (ish) Thursday night because Friday we had another sort of adventure planned…

This year, instead of our mountain bikes and riding a few miles around the property, we brought our road bikes.  Matt was also on vacation fairly close to us, so we met up to go play bikes.  The weather was supposed to be rainy until 10am, so we planned that as our meetup time, but the sky held out on us so it was just humid and gross and sticky.  At present time, that kind of weather is no big deal, frankly, I’ve not only ridden but ran 10k in worse conditions a few weeks ago, but at that point I hadn’t acclimated yet and was WHINY AS HECK. 

I also started with not very cold water and no ice in my bottles, and one had watered down crystal light ice tea.  This is not the recipe for success.  I had to pull over a few times to cool down when my heart rate spiked.  We tried to get water on the way back at a trailer park but no one was around to let us use their spout, so we rode back to town on fumes and I went immediately to the cold pool.  In my kit.

While at least half of it was a miserable ride, the views were worth the suffering. 

Again, it’s funny how your perspective changes halfway into triathlon season.  Now, this ride wouldn’t have been a big deal.  Seven weeks ago, two hours on my bike in the heat tuckered me out!  Acclimation is real, y’all.  The rest of the day was for eating and reading and some dips in the pool and a side order of napping.  It didn’t suck.

I got up for a few minutes to take pictures of the sunset and then went right back to being a sloth.  It was lovely.

My only goal for the day was to play with the fireworks setting on my camera while burning some sparklers.  It was a super productive evening!

On Saturday, I did have a major thing on my To Do list I needed to check off – take pictures of the falls area.  It was one of my favorite places to take pictures last year, and that was just with my crappy phone camera. 

However, the weather had other plans for the first part of the day.  After a lunch of chicken, sausage, onions, and peppers, we had barely made it out of the pop up to hike down to the lake with our cameras when the storm started to blow in.  It did make some really neat pictures, though.  Maybe not the best quality, most ended up super blown out and I had to massively level and color correct them, but I think they convey how SURREAL it looked out there.

Later in the afternoon, we finally got our window and we hightailed it down to the falls area. 

The fifth picture in the set will be my new age meditation album cover when I get around to recording it, hah.  The seventh picture in the set is one of my favorite pictures I’ve shot ever of all time.  It looks like fairyland.  I was a little grumpy about the lack of sunlight, but I’m pretty sure they turned out alright.  I think a grey day is kind of a rarity mid-July and I’ll certainly be able to get sunny sunlight pictures next year when we come back (because, yeah, that’s happening).

I’ve never seen the falls and the springs area so empty on a weekend!  I know it was raining, but we don’t melt, people!  I know I don’t, so I enjoyed the extra elbow room.  I tried to not be super pathetic and sad that we were leaving the next day, but it was hard because it was the truth.  I consoled myself with the last of the hot dogs and pasta salad for dinner and stayed up way too late not wanting vacation to end.

While I could have probably used more sleep Sunday morning, I got up around 9am so I could do a bunch of “one last things”.

I took one last read and nap in the hammock (and a few pictures of the view as well).  I took one last dip in the pool.  We made one last batch of bean and cheese breakfast tacos.  I saw one last froggie.  And then, we put turtle home away and drove our hippie selves back home for one of the most satisfying showers in the history of the universe.

If six nights wasn’t enough last year, five nights was DEFINITELY not enough this year.  Obviously, it’s too early to really completely solidify next year’s plans, but I think I’d really like to camp the whole week.  I didn’t get a chance to break open the paints, and we didn’t touch any games we brought, I could have ridden bikes more, and even without all that, I could have just read, relaxed, and taken dips in the pool for another few days, happily. 

Even though it’s just seven weeks removed, this trip feels like a lifetime ago.  My day to day has gotten so hectic, which is absolutely normal for this time of year, but still, it’s a stark contrast to the peace, the easy days, the silence.  I can’t imagine having so little to fill my time, so little to do, but not being bored in the slightest.  I’m looking forward to remembering it all over again next year.

You can see my full gallery HERE.

Cleveland National Championships Race #2

After what I had just done, and what I was to do the next day, I knew I needed some massive food.  My goal was to redo my pre-race meal plan with a turkey sandwich for lunch, and considering I was already in the hole, it needed to be epic.  The Butcher and the Brewer did not disappoint.  It is one, if not THE best sandwich I’ve ever eaten (top left corner).

After lunch, I finally got cleaned up with the most painful bath/shower.  Humidity + my gear not really fitting right because of weight loss = SO MUCH CHAFING.  Ow.  Then, we had a glorious little nap before we had to wake up and do the whole commute to the race thing all over again.

Zliten rode the tri bike, I rode a bike share bike, and he dropped off his steed.  I then rode my ride share bike up to the closest place I could rack it (1 mile away) while he walked there, and then we walked a mile to where there were two bike share bikes, and rode those the two miles back to the hotel.  I had 33k steps that day, and the entirety of my running race was approximately 12k.  It was not exactly super restful!  Good thing I walk A LOT.

We had 15% off at the hotel restaurant, and it sounded like the easy option, so we dined there.  It was actually really, really great and stood on it’s own even without the convenience sake!  We started with salads, and they had super yummy homemade dressings, and then a chicken, mashed potato, asparagus main course with this delicious dijon sauce.  We split some blackberry wine sorbet for dessert that was drool-worthy as well!  It’s actually kind of fun to eat back all those calories versus indulging in post race beers… though I probably won’t make a habit of it.  I really like post race drinks!

I slept a little better that night, even though I think the next night’s wedding DJ was EVEN LOUDER, but still I woke up dragging ass.  I figured it was due to racing the day before, two bad nights of sleep, so I just did all the things I did the day before as if by rote.  The shuttle was just as convenient and we got set up and started to walk down to the water, and then an announcement came through about 10 minutes before the first wave started: the swim had been cancelled due to unsafe currents.

Well, considering my experience the day before was considered SAFE, I was JUST FINE with them cancelling the swim.  However, they decided to make the format a run-bike-run situation, and if there’s something I don’t like lately, it’s running fast (or at all, really) without a bike ride first.  I was happy that today was simply for funsies, and I stayed loose while lining up with my wave of ladies.  We were sent off in groups of 4 per “karate chop”, as they called it.

Just hangin’ out with the leg lamp.  As you do.

Run #1:

I poisitoned myself in the back for various reasons, and it went exactly how I expected it to go… everyone ran out at “sprint to the finish” pace because everyone else next to them was doing the same thing, leaving me in the dust going about 8:45-9 minute miles (which was probably too fast for me anyway, but still felt like I was running through sand compared to everyone else). Then, we hit the first big hill and I passed a bunch of people who did not expect to go up quite so quickly.  I started feeling awful but I figured it was just sprinting upwards faster than I should have and I just tried to run through the terribleness.

But the terribleness didn’t go away like normal.  On that stupid hill of the first run of a sprint duathlon, I got lady cramps that went from zero to 11 in about 2 minutes.  Looking back, Zliten said it makes sense because I was really out of it that morning, but I just figured travel, lack of sleep/rest, and racing two days in a row.  I tried to keep under 10 minute miles, then just tried to keep running, then found a bathroom at 1.2 miles and crashed there.  I couldn’t stop sweating and shaking and just sat hunched over trying to either cry or puke or do SOMETHING to expel the demon from my body.  I had stopped my watch at that point because I was just DONE.

My garmin says I sat there for a little over 6 minutes, but it felt like an eternity.  While I didn’t actually HURL, it was the exact same feeling and situation as this fateful turkey trot.  Just as it passed last time, after a while, I found the ability to at least stand up and take some steps forward.  I was at least going to make it back to transition on my own accord, even if just to hand in the chip.

Once I got out into the fresh air I felt a little better, and I walked a little faster.  And then I tried jogging.  Then, before I knew it, I was back at a steady, if conservative, run clip and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try to ride the 12-ish miles, even if it was slow.

Run time: 23:13.  I came into T1 last by at least 5 minutes.

Transitions:

Note: I’m actually going to skip transitions on this one since I don’t have a record and they don’t either.  My finish time includes about 6 minutes unaccounted for by run/bike/run time, and about 3 minutes each seems reasonable to me considering the size of the transition and the state I was in.

Bike:

I got out, got going, and noted that I felt OKAY, so I got a gel down (I know caffeine is a bit of a painkiller and I didn’t have anything stronger on me…) and got to working.  I had too much chafing to put my heart rate monitor on that morning, so I don’t have any of that data to work with, but I do have power and I averaged 5 more watts THIS day vs the day before (9 more normalized), so I didn’t completely soft pedal, but I would definitely say it’s one of the more conservative sprint rides I’ve done this year.

On the way out, the same headwind plagued us, but I was ready for it.  On the way to the turnaround, I started seeing ladies that looked like they might be in my age group, so at the turn around I went hunting.  I caught 7 people from my wave, 2 of them from my age group.  It was fun racing a similar bike course two days in a row!  I didn’t love some parts of the freeway we rode on, but all in all, it was a pretty great course.

Also, my husband is a rockstar ninja cyclist.  I didn’t see any of this happen, but a woman passed him very aggressively about half a mile to the finish, and then as she flew down the hill, she wrecked her bike by overcorrecting a turn.  She flew off her bike and it skidded across the road.  It actually hit Zliten in the leg and then on his bike frame but he leaned into it and stayed upright.  He actually ran over her skidding bike tire and continued on to the finish without wrecking.

My bike wasn’t so eventful, however, I didn’t have any debilitating cramps and rolled into transition like I might actually finish this race.

Bike time: 39:38 (18.8 mph)

Run #2:

I got back out on the run course and at this point, my goal is just to flipping finish.  When I started on the course the second time, the 60+ year old men were getting their “karate chops” to start the first leg of their race, and some of them just FLEW by me.  I jogged up the first hill very very conservatively and the demon cramps did not appear, so I increased my pace a little.  I worked on hunting people down but I kept the effort to something like a 10k-half marathon paced run versus what I’d normally try to run the closing 2 miles of a sprint triathlon. 

I flew down the last hill for the fourth time in 24 hours and crossed the finish line.

Run #2 time: 16:17 (9:30/mile pace)

Overall time: 1:24:59 – 70/72 AG

If I was able to match Zliten’s time of 1:11 (and we’re usually fairly even so I imagine I would have been close if not a little behind due to fatigue), I would have hit approximately mid-pack for my age group, which I would have been stoked about.  In this case, I was just extremely grateful for my patience to wait until the cramps passed, and my wisdom to not overdo it to try to make up time (or conversely, give up) and have a decent performance when I wasn’t in a bathroom, hoping to die.

After the race we hung out with friends (and I sat two chairs away from THE SISTER MADONNA BUDER at the food tent and was too out of it to realize until later), and puttered around until they let us grab our bikes.  We made the final commute back (four round trips in three days…) to the hotel, with a parade full of people riding on tri bikes.  We got cleaned up and then we spent the next day and a half playing and sightseeing and eating reprehensible bar food in Downtown Cleveland!

We actually even went INSIDE the Rock and Roll hall of fame the next day!

I had a super fun time, and glad that this was just a “for fun” race – the travel delays and the sheer amount of non-race related activity would have frustrated me otherwise, but it was a fantastic training weekend (and practice run) for Cozumel.

The same race is there again next year.  The deal is, if Zliten qualifies, we go!  I have to say I would NOT be disappointed to go back.  The cool temperatures, the fun downtown area, the neat hotel we stayed at, and the AMAZING food definitely made me indeed think, “Cleveland rocks!”.

Cleveland National Championships Race #1

After finishing all the things right on time at work, with a huge sigh of relief, we headed out to the airport to jump on a plane at 6pm to Cleveland, Ohio.

Everyone kind of gives you funny looks when you say that’s where you’re going for the weekend (usually my vacation destinations are a little more… tropical), but then when you say it’s to compete in a National Championship race, they nod and say “good luck”.  I wasn’t expecting much out of Cleveland, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Our flight got in late, around 1am, and that meant we were settling into our room around 2.  Not ideal, but it was much better to get the travel day done with and wake up in the city ready to do all the things vs try to fly in the next morning.  We slept until 11am, and then unpacked and put our bikes together.  Zliten did an amazing job doing it rather quickly, and then we attempted to hightail it down for the official pre-race swim practice that ended at 1.  We left the hotel at 12:30, it was supposedly a 20 minute bike, what could go wrong?

Well, we got HORRIBLY lost, had to backtrack a bunch, and then ran into construction on the bike path.  It took us 45 minutes to go the 4 miles to the race, and we OBVIOUSLY missed the swim, so we just splashed around in Lake Erie for a few and then headed to packet pickup.  After that, we dropped Death Star off for her weekend at sleepaway camp, and split a burger for lunch from a food truck on site because we were DYYYYING by that point and just needed something… anything.  We made the journey back to the hotel, which involved walking about 2 miles and then picking up a bikeshare and riding that 2 miles back with my husband on his tri bike (since he couldn’t drop it off until the next day).  It was suuuuuper fun hauling ass and huffing and puffing my way up the bridge while my husband was taunting me about averaging 17 watts.

By that point we were back on the verge of hangry, and after perusing the area, settled on an Irish Pub for pre-race food.  I had a salad, and then this amazingly decadent meatloaf filled with bacon and gouda.  I would have felt guilty about eating the entire enormous brick of it, but I knew what I had done today and what I was about to go do tomorrow, and did not feel bad in the slightest.  We stopped by Heiman’s, a pretty fancy grocery store, and got some breakfast for the morning and snacks and random essentials, and then headed back to the room to prep all the things and relax.

Then the wedding DJ started in.  Our room opened to this beautiful arcade, which was awesome.  However, they host events there every weekend.  The rooms were these old converted offices from the old Arcade, so they were super substantial, but even through two heavy doors, I could hear the *thump thump* of the wedding DJ until 11pm when it ended.  I did not sleep well the night before the race, for various reasons, and that being one.

4:30am came super early, but I’ve got this pre-race thing down to a science, and this morning was no different.  Caff beans. Tea. Sunbutter honey english muffin.  Bathroom and contacts.  Quick appointment with the foam roller.  One more bathroom.  Kit up and go.  The shuttle situation was REALLY convenient, it took about 20 minutes from hotel to race site, and I was in transition setting up before I knew it. 

I had decided to do a really dumb thing and wear my new kit (just took the tags off) on race day since it was rushed to me.  Do as I say, not as I do… but honestly, I justified it because this race was for funsies and I just wanted to wear my new and shiny, damn the conseqences.  I got nervous about it while I was lying awake in bed the night before and I packed a backup kit just in case. 

Well, I’m super glad I did, because as I zipped it back up after using the porta potty, the zipper failed in the same spot it did on the last one.  I was SUPER frustrated, and I chided myself for being too effing fat for the kit (which, I’m not… my measurements put me one size DOWN).  This started a cascade of all the negative bullshit in my head.  My specially cultivated calm, confident, and slightly egotistical race day persona went right the hell out the window to “what the hell are you doing here, fatty mc fatterson?”.

I changed and tried to clear my head and headed down to the race start about a 10 minute walk away.  However, my head was too clear, and I left my swim cap, goggles, and earplugs in my morning bag, which I had in the bag I had checked.  We walked alllll the way there and back, and I had to run to join my wave and missed the warmup swim.  Oh well, it was consistent with the shit show the morning had become.  Oddly enough, I traded stories about popped zippers with the girl next to me (her wetsuit, my kit, I hoped it made her feel better), and then it was 3, 2, 1… GO TIME!

Hey, look at me, almost the only idiot in Lake Erie without a wetsuit! 😛

Swim:

Lake. Erie.  All the fun of an ocean swim without the salt water.  It had looked deceptively calm in the early morning, but as we headed out, the waves and current picked up.  I cursed myself for not bringing my wetsuit.  It took up a bunch of room in my suitcase, last water temperature reported before I left was NOT legal, and I rarely use it, so I just left it home,  However, some extra buoyancy would have been REALLY REALLY nice in the chop.  I swallowed a crap ton of lake, once even choking on it to the point of ALMOST hurling in the water.  I took a few seconds to breast stroke while I hacked and coughed and then got going again, albiet slower as I continued to try not to yak.

Then we hit the turn buoy and I was fairly impressed with my time at the moment, thinking I was swimming against the current and would have an easier time from then on.  I turned and found that was not the case.  The next 12 minutes felt like the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knights run at the castle and it never gets any closer.  The chop often was above the buoy when I’d try to sight.  I almost ran into some boats and had to stop and ask which way to go (I wasn’t far off course, thankfully they were just very tight in directing us).   The swim back was a little faster but I was TIRED from fighting that current and by the time I got to shore I was very frustrated with the swim in general and especially the time it took.

Swim time: 44:06.  My garmin registered 2052 yards which means it was about 400m long.  Some of this might be sighting but I’m confident most of it was not, I stayed on the right path fairly well.  Still, I’d be at least mildly disappointed by this time for a 70.3 swim (which was actually only about three pool lengths longer than this…), so I’ve gotta hope Cozumel is a little less rough.  Or I’m a little better.  Or both.

T1:

I had been thinking “say something nice to Zliten, say something nice to Zliten” the whole way in, and what came out of my mouth was something like “don’t let me fucking forget my wetsuit ever again, that was bullshit”.  Oops.  Transition was a long run but it gave me time to check my head and realize I was about to start my best sport and I was going to be happy about it. 

On the way out, I shouted again to Zliten, “Yay, I get to ride my bike now!” and took off on Death Star to try and catch someone in my age group, as I was fairly convinced I was in last place at that point.  The truth is, I wasn’t quite, there were three people in my age group that took over an hour to complete the swim, and I heard accounts of people (who had legit qualified for the National Championships here, not newbies) getting towed in by kayak or even just making it to shore and handing in their chip for the day after completing the swim.  Regardless, I certainly wasn’t in the normal position I’d be in at this point and I was looking forward to chasing people down on the bike.

T1 time: 5:01.  Honestly, my garmin clocked the transition at almost a third of a mile.  I’m okay with five minutes for that length.

Smiles because I did. not. drown.

Bike:

I ate my gel and I worked the pedals and my speed was just NOT coming up for the level of effort I was putting out.  I was wondering if something was wrong… and then I realized it wasn’t me, it was the weather.  Headwind.  Cool.  17 mph into that isn’t too bad.  I went up and down the hills at the beginning and then got onto a freeway (cool!) and then made my way onto a crazy narrow single lane interchange thing that was super bumpy (scary!) and was relived when we headed into a neighborhood onto better roads.

My speed came up and my legs got under me, and I hit the turn around seeing about 18 mph on the garmin.  Ok, I could deal with that when I knew I had some help on the way back.  I just got to work and ate some blocks and passed everyone I could.  My bike was still doing the delayed shifting thing it has been lately but besides that everything felt nice and smooth and I just kept working my average up until I crossed the line.

The most obvious thing I learned on the bike ride?  If I leave my top tube straw out, instead of tucking it in after each sip, I will drink much more liquid over the course of a bike ride.  If nothing else, this race has taught me that. *captain obvious salute*

Bike time: 1:19:15 (18.9 mph).  Honestly, I paced the thing more like a 70.3 (155W/172W normalized @ 158 BMP AVG HR), because that’s what I’m practicing for right now.  The other “gear” I have is to race a sprint, and I knew going out like that would be a bad idea.  I’d love to race more Olympics and nail what that 25 mile race effort feels like, but for now, I’ll just be happy with that.

T2:

Again violating the “nothing new on race day”, I was feeling incredibly protective of my feet and doing everything I could to avoid blisters.  Even though I knew it would cost me time, I ditched the quick laces for regular ones.  Also, I left my socks OFF for the bike ride, and set them in my run shoes covered in powder so they’d be dry.  I can report that I got ZERO blisters on my feet during the two days of racing so it was worth it.

T2 time: 3:27. Big transition was big.

This is what a happy runner en route to the finish line looks like!

Run:

I got out and my legs felt pretty darn decent.  And then they sent us directly up a big hill.  D’oh!  I knew I only had to contend with it twice so I charged up the best I could without burning too many matches, and picked up my pace once it evened out.  I realized that my legs were definitely carrying me at a Olympic run PR at this point, but feeling like they had a lot more in them.  My options at this point were to pick up the pace or to cruise a bit, and considering I am inexperienced at this distance and also was racing the next day, I kind of cruised. 

All the lifting this year, and following my mountain goat husband up hills with less complaining has made me a better hill runner this year, apparently.  Everyone was complaining about the hills and I managed them just fine.  There was that first one, and then a short steep-ish one around mile 2, and the third, which I called optional hill because you went off the path simply just to go down and back up a steep hill.  Race directors are mean. 

There was no walking today, besides a few steps at one crowded aid station to get some water down.  I kept my pace fairly even – 9:45s to 10:15s (with a speedier 9:30 for my last mile).  Even though I didn’t feel like I needed it, I ate a gel halfway though just like I planned.  I finished feeling like I had a lot left in the tank, at least one more of the 3 mile loops, without needing to slow down.  For an Olympic run PR, I’ll totally take it!

Run time: 1:00:09 (9:42 average pace).  First sub-10 minute mile Olympic run!  I’m stoked!  And it wasn’t even all out racing.  I’m excited to see what I can do for my half ironman races this year if this is any indication of where my run fitness is…

Overall time: 3:11:58. 138/162 AG.  So close to those top 18 slots that qualify for worlds, hahaha!

I’d say overall, I put about 80-85% into this race, but besides the pre-race BS and the fallacious swim, I had a total blast on this course and couldn’t wait to race it again the next day.  After some food.  And sleep.

Dear self, medals are not food.

After wandering aimlessly for a bit, I picked up my bag and changed into clothes.  We waited around for a while hanging out with friends and then when transition opened, I moved my bike to the place it was supposed to be for the next day.  For our commute, we walked two miles to get to the city bikes, and then rode them back to the hotel.  Next on the agenda was to get cleaned up and food in my face to fuel tomorrow’s race!

Part two coming soon…

Page 1 of 12

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén