Adjusted Reality

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

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The show must go on…

This is my motto this year week.  I’ve given myself time to throw a pity party about everything, and now it’s time to put on my big girl panties and move on.  Drinking more days than not over the last two weeks finally made me crash HARD yesterday (woke up at 10:30, took a nap from 1-3, took another from 5-6:30, and was asleep by 11).  I still felt tired this morning.  It’s time to start doing good shit for myself.


The last couple weeks have been kinda like this – the awesome healthy veggie/hummus/turkey sandwich, but also the fries.  And the not-pictured beers later.

#projectraceweight took a back seat the last two weeks.  I don’t think I’ve gained anything, but losses have been minimal if any, and I haven’t been tracking my calories.  I didn’t hit the gym for about a week.  While my consumption post-cruise has not been reprehensibly bad, I’ve been forgetting things like water, vitamins, veggies, and some things have been fried or slathered in BBQ sauce or covered in cheese.

However, there’s no day like today to start again.  This week, I’m hoping to remember what it was like to be at least a recreational triathlete.  I’m ready to turn it up a notch, though that notch is from 2 to 3, not to 11 or anything.  I need to start tracking my intake again, it’s the only way I make progress.  I’m also ready to go to bed at a reasonable hour and stop pretending I’m in college again.

So, here’s where I’d like to reset with next week’s goals.

  • Go back to doing the things that were working.  Water, vitamins, veggies/fruits, tracking calories, 10k steps.
  • Gently start a schedule again.  I’d like to hit somewhere between 3-5 hours of things a triathlete would actually do (run, bike, swim, weights) on top of otherwise being active.
  • I also want to start getting up and doing some of it in the morning.  My schedule has definitely shifted to bedtime at midnight or later most nights.  I’d like to start thinking of 7:30-ish as a reasonable time to get up, not the middle of the night, so I can do a little cardio or weights before work and still get there at a decent hour.
  • Bike commute once.  This is the week it happens.  I practiced over the weekend and I really enjoyed using my bike as transportation.
  • Go play outside as much as possible.  It’s been really nice outside but I’ve been staying up too late and been too bleh to really enjoy it this week.  Next week, it’s on.  Also – WAH PAHHHH!  I’ll be at the waterpark when it opens at 10am on Saturday.
  • Volunteer for Packet Pickup for Cap Tex the day before (Sunday).  Not doing the 5am wakeup call this time. Maybe even ride bikes there if we’re feeling saucy, perhaps?
  • Stay on the 60 day schedule completion for my Personal Training class.  I have 90 days to do it but I’d like to be done in 60.

So far, I got up early enough to get a quick run in before work, and I plan to hit the gym for weights after work before we stock up on groceries, so it’s off to a good start!

Here’s a few other things that have happened in my life the last two weeks besides vacation, work crap, and vodka…

Short Hair Kinda Care


Recursive me is recursive.

It freaked me the fuck out the day I got it cut.  It’s the shortest it’s been in my adult life.  I think it may have been the way it was styled or just the huge difference in length, there may have been a bottle or wine that night instead of the gym to cope.  But a few weeks later?  I love it and wish someone would have tied me down to a stylist’s chair earlier.  The jury is out on whether it’s going to be great for training because it just sort of almost doesn’t go back (if I really need it out of my face it takes a clip and multiple Rey ponytails).  However, I love that I can wash my hair in the morning before work, and it is mostly air dried before I can finish my coffee.

SUP Paddleboard Yoga

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It’s hard enough to just do this… right?

I like to paddleboard.  I like to yoga.  I’m not particularly good at either, but I figured, why not try both at the same time?  I suppose it’s the same logic as triathlon (why not suck at 3 sports at the same time?).  At first it felt super awkward, but then I realized something – while some of the things I lack (strength, flexibility, balance, etc) kept me from succeeding at every pose, I tried it all.  I found that I could get up into a backbend on a paddleboard.  I got up into a headstand for about .2 seconds.  I also fell in the lake three times and slipped on my board a bit as well.

One of the girls gave me huge props when she found out it was my first class.  She said that she was scared of falling off.  I told her I figured that I had been in the lake all morning, so that didn’t bother me.  I guess sometimes it’s just about not letting the fear of failing falling keep you from trying something fun.

Bike Adventures


Not all bike rides need spandex and garmins.

I’ve come to love my bike more lately, but one thing I really wanted to get into this Spring is using my bike as transportation.  This weekend, we finally did that.  We took a 5 mile ride on the cruisers down to a new lunch spot (and then back a little more slowly with full bellies).  Then, we got a call that some friends were hanging out at a brewery 3 miles away, and we biked there and back as well (about 16 miles in total).  It felt very Austin.

I will start riding my bike more.  I really enjoy it.  I didn’t even mind traffic *that* much, especially on the no-clips cruiser.  We’ll see how rush hour traffic makes me feel but I’m ready to give it a try!

And with that, I’m off to make the most of my week, the show must go on, y’know.


Second Half Marathon Training: Week 12

Well, this is it.  My race is in less than a week.  I’ve made it through all those crucial runs – the 5 – 1 mile sprints, the 8 mile tempo, the 12 mile long run, and everything in between.  I just have a few easy runs left and then it’s go time.  I am staring down that 2 hour half marathon and sizing it up.  It looks like a fierce competitor, but I also have all these things I’ve learned in the last three months.

I’ve learned that I can push through a lot of discomfort – usually what stops me is the voice in my head, not necessarily my physical capacity.  But I’ve run into both.  And I’ve learned the difference.

I’ve learned I can hold the pace I need to do it for 8 miles.  What’s another 5, right?

I’ve learned about how fast I can start out and not want to die at the end.  Running a couple good, speedy miles at the beginning actually boosts my confidence and helps me not feel behind.

I’ve learned that I run faster in the cold even though I hate getting out there.  Which is a good thing – since I’ll be running at 7am, it’s certainly not going to be very warm.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to sacrifice speed for distance, as long as I train smart.  Distance speedwork is AWESOME.

I’ve learned that not running two days in a row means much better quality runs and way less burnout.  I cannot foresee running more than 3 days a week ever again.  I guess technically I will this week but it barely counts.

I’ve learned that not worrying about a few extra pounds close to race day actually makes me a better runner.

I’ve learned that feeling like a human garbage disposal about a month out will happen every long distance race, and I just need to make sure to feed my body mostly good stuff.  And sugar is not the enemy, but it needs to be moderated.

I’ve learned that training my head is as important as training my body.

I’ve learned a lot.  And now it’s time to put it to the test.  So I am going to go for it at the race, and take all these things I’ve learned and bust ass.  Under 2 hours, here I come.  More importantly, cute little running skirt, here I come!  (priorities, right?)

Last week by the numbers:

Monday – 4×800 @ 4:02 per sprint, 400m recovery in between, 1 mile warmup and cooldown – done.  Easy peasy.

Tuesday – ditched serious business cross training to go to Adult Skate Night for an hour.  Totally decent workout.

Wednesday – 3 mile tempo @ 8:55 – done.  Also did abs and some legs after since 26 minutes doesn’t feel like enough punishment at the gym at all.  Woke up the next morning at 6:45 am because my abs hurt.  Must get back into lifting and pressing heavy things.

Thursday – 30 mins on the arc trainer, arms, and other leg muscles.

Friday – off

Saturday – 8 mile long run @ 9:40 pace (kinda demolished that at 9:27 pace).

Sunday – off

This week coming up it’s all about:

-No smokes or drinks until after the race.  I am in goody two shoes mode.

-Lotsa yoga to stay limber.  Every day if I can.

-No weights this week.

-Hydration and good nutrition, and no restriction on calories.  If I’m hungry, I must eat.


Monday: 4×400 sprints @ 1:58 per 400, 400 rest in between, 1 mile warm up and cool down

Tuesday: 30 mins cross training

Wednesday: 2 mile tempo @ 8:55 per mile.

Thursday: rest

Friday: 2.5 mile easy run in the neighborhood.  At 7am.  No matter the weather or temp.  I have never run this early before and I don’t want the first time to be on race day.

Saturday: rest

Sunday: 13.1!  Race day, BABY!

Last time I was really freaked out about the taper, but my legs felt SO FRESH and SO GOOD out there on Saturday’s run, that only putting in a few short miles this week seems like the right thing to do.  So good thing that’s the plan!

So, anyone out there with some karma to spare, send good running vibes my way., please!  Any last minute tips from you veteran runners out there?  Anyone want to lend me their morning-person-ness for a day so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the race (seriously, 7am = the middle of the night for me)?  Anyone running this race here in Austin this weekend?

Second Half Marathon Training: Week 11

It was a weird week – I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel at the end of it.  Monday, I rocked my sprints.  I completely and totally rocked them.  I rocked them like Amadaus (come and rock me Amadeus… and total tangent, did anyone else used to sing “I’m a danish, I’m a danish…I’m a danish?).  Anyhoo – sadly, I had given myself permission to fail at them.  I was going to be ok if I was about to die after 4, quit there.  Or if I had to take the last 2 a little slower, I was going to be ok with that.  I had a helluva day at work, I even kinda did something I haven’t done in a while and ate some cake because I was pissed off after I was totally full from lunch, and then for some reason it became REALLY important to me to do this.  Just to show myself I could.  Just to take control of SOMETHING that day when everything else was out in orbit.

And honestly – it almost felt easier than it should have.  Sure, it was tough, but it wasn’t TOUGH.  Maybe that’s me getting stronger.  Maybe it was me refusing to let the run beat me.  Whatever it was, it was damn nice.  It was one important crazy run down, one to go.

Tuesday and Wednesday were more crappy crazy days   I was in such a mood, never mind the working late, so I just managed to get about 30 mins half assed weight training in and take the other day off.  These strength exercises may or may not have been between/during drinks on the patio.  I may possibly be insane and completely irresponsible, but I was getting a kick out of doing  lat raises in my skirt and heels with a bourbon chaser.

Thursday I knew I had to get back to it, and it wasn’t SUCH a bad day, and it was 4 mile tempo day.  As I said last week, it was pretty cake.  Instead of just being a ball of limp putty, I was able to do 30 mins on the arc trainer after.  To make up for the severe lack of any other movement beyond runs.  The plan was to do some circuit training but I was soooo done with doing anything but dinner and chillin’ on the couch, and figured I’d just rest up for Saturday’s run.  So my cross training this week?  30 mins weights, 30 mins arc trainer.  Not optimal.  Not at all.  I was feeling pretty meh about it all this week but then Saturday came.

I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.  The weather report was not looking kind – there were very few hours of the day that would feel like they were above freezing with the wind.  I got up in the morning and we grabbed some early lunch – tuna sammiches from Schlotzky’s – oddly enough they are the only tuna I will eat out because they do albacore and light mayo (so the sandwiches aren’t like 50000 calories), and they are taaassssty.  So I ate that around 11, and we sorta bopped around the neighborhood, and then I got home and very very leisurely got ready and I set out around 1:30.

It was a little cold when I first set out, but once I got running it wasn’t so bad.  I decided to just do my neighborhood laps over and over so I could drop by the house if I needed to pick up or drop off layers.  I set out with warm water in my camelback, swedish fish for rocket fuel, and the promise to myself that I would treat myself to the hot chocolate I was craving, but only if I made my pace goal of 9:40.  I felt super strong the first lap and went well below pace, the second lap I slowed a bit, the third – around mile 6, the tuna really started talking to me.  I don’t usually eat so much before a run, usually a protein bar and maaaaybe some fruit if it’s later in the day, so at first I was cursing myself.  Then after I got through the cramps I realized that I was feeling something different than normal – I wasn’t hungry.   Usually around then I’d pop my rocketfuel.  I didn’t actually use it at all.  I ran 12 miles hard with no sugar.  That was pretty incredible.

So besides figuring out that eating a big meal is good if I can let it settle/deal with the possible side cramps (probably not for the race at 7am, but for future reference), what else?  Well, I’ve also learned another interesting thing about my running for long races… I went out really fast (about 9 minute miles the first lap) and was a little worried, but it was a MUCH better run than the last one where I tried to save it all for the end.  I seem to self correct my pace pretty well.  So my strategy is to go out as fast as it’s comfortable and don’t try to stay one pace and bust ass if I need a quick slowdown.  I was running 10:30 miles on the uphill parts and the short time where my side cramps flared up.  When I felt good and it was flat or downhill, I went closer to 9 minute miles or even faster.  As long as it averages out to the pace I want, it’s fine.  And that’s why I’m training those sprints and tempos – so I’m comfortable running faster than the pace I need to go for an extended period of time.

I finished the run in 1:55:10.  9:35 pace.  I am thrilled and feel quite confident now about the race.  I definitely feel like I had a bit of oomph left at the end, and if I was running to feel entirely wasted and spent at the end I might have been able to go faster.  So under 2 hours?  Still possible.  I’m thinking under 2:05 is more reasonable.

Next week – taper week 1.  I still can’t believe I’m just 2 weeks out.  I’m definitely ready for it, I’d like to do something different for a while.  3 months of pace pace pace has been awesome for improving my running, but it’s been a little tedious.  I so enjoyed my scenic and slow 9 miler last weekend, and look forward to more of those as I work on getting used to being on my feet for 4 hours at a time.  But first things first – lets rest up those legs.

Monday: 4×800 sprints @ 4:02 per, 400m recovery in between, 1 mile warmup and cooldown.  Easy peasy, nice and short.  I’m not sure when 5 miles with 2 of them sprinting because a stroll through the park but hey, I’ll take it.

Tuesday: DDR circuits (I was going to taper strength 2 weeks ahead of time but I think 1 week will be fine)

Wednesday: 3 mile tempo @ 8:55 min/mile pace – it’s like a 5k, pretty close to my PR pace from last summer.  Again, when did that become easy?

Thursday: DDR circuits

Friday: off

Saturday: 8 mile run @ 9:40  min/mile pace

Sunday: off

Fairly easy week.  I really slacked on yoga this week (though I DID stretch really well every running day), I need to not do that this week.  No injuries please!

Second Half Marathon Training: Week 9

Well, this week was the week of almosts.  Of getting about 90%.  Of testing my limits and finding them.  Of just not quite having the juice to put up rock solid times, but close enough that I feel good about it.  The saying is close only counts for horseshoes and hand grenades, but I think it works for training too.  When close is still putting in the miles, and still feeling pushed to the limit, I’ll take it.

Monday’s run foretold a lot.  As I complained about here, I was just not recovered from my long run + epic night of drinking + crap food.  I’ve done that same workout before minus a mile, and I’ve never felt so bleh during a sprint before.  I made it through the first two, and *probably* could have held on during the third, but since I had four to do, I went ahead and slowed from sprint to tempo pace.  I was a little disappointed, but overall, it was not so bad.  I put in the miles, and just barely missed the mark.

Wednesday was the run I was super excited/nervous about.  I totally prepared, did everything right, and then I got to mile 6 and had to slow down or I was not going to make it.  On that day, I was simply unable to run that pace for that many miles.  6 miles or 7 miles?  I could have done it.  Not 8.

Saturday’s 11 mile run, I made the awesome decision/mistake to tackle the hill that fucked me up last week TWICE.  I just didn’t recover well after it, and most of my latter miles were either just under or just over the 10 min/mile pace.  I did finish the run at a 9:57 pace, and considering miles 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10 were uphill, I”m calling this a win.  I think I’m going to pick something a little flatter for my 12 miler to see if I can hit the 9:40 pace.

So that being said, I’m feeling like I did what I could, though I am definitely starting to feel some muscle fatigue that isn’t recovering in my days between runs.  So – this training method is MUCH better than the run-more one, but it is not impervious.  Oh well.  The good news is that now my tempo runs start to taper, and two weeks from now, so does everything else.  So I just have to tell my stumps-for-legs that they just have to hold out a LITTLE longer, and then we can start getting rested for the race.

I still feel badass, I still feel strong, but I don’t really feel untouchable anymore.  Which is ok.  I was getting to be a little Cockypants McGee and while confidence is good, having some runs that don’t go your way helps you learn.  I learned a lot from the runs this week.  And though I could certainly have hoped for a little more out of all three, I definitely refreshed my memory on how to recover a run that’s not going my way and still kick about 90% as much ass.

By the numbers:

Monday: 4x 1600 sprints @ 8:25 pace  – check (did 2 @ pace and then 2 @ 8:50)

Tuesday: DDR circuits – check

Wednesday: 8 mile tempo @ 8:55 pace – check (ended up at 9:07 pace)

Thursday: DDR circuits – check

Friday: off

Saturday: 11 mile run @ 9:40 pace – check (ended up at 9:57 pace)

Sunday: off – actually cross trained (6 mile hike around the hood) for next week due to a) beautimous day and b) weekday shenanigans, so I can have an extra day off.

So, next week.  This week and next week, and then it’s taper.  Getting close!  Less than a month away!

Monday: 6×800 sprints @ 8:10 pace (4:05 per 800)

Tuesday: DDR circuits

Wednesday: yoga/off

Thursday: 6 mile tempo run

Friday: yoga/off

Saturday: 15k race pace (shooting for somewhere under 9:40)

Sunday: off

So a little less mileage, but 3 super intense fast pace runs.  If I can get through Monday’s on not-completely-rested legs, I think I will be alright.  Send good, happy, zippy thoughts!  What do you do when you’re partway through a run (or workout) and don’t think you’re going to make it?

Second Half Marathon Training: Week 8

I try to refrain from prolific cussing here, but it must be said.  Holy fuck, my half marathon is a month from Saturday.  Last year during this week I was just saying to myself, “just hang on a few more weeks and you get to taper”.  I was exhausted.  This half, I barely feel like I’ve been training.  Sure, I’ve missed 3 training runs, but that’s not much.  I definitely have some tough stuff to go, but beyond the silly injuries, I am overwhelmed at how STRONG I feel.

What’s turning my crank the right way?

1.  The FIRST program.  Running hard 3 days a week just works for me.  It might have done me good the first time to really get some road time in to get used to it, but now this is really helping me train SMART and HARD.  During the spring, I loved the nice fa-la-la happy fun scenery runs outside, but now my choice is treadmill or freezypop weather.  I want to get it in get it on (all night long – or not, hehe) and get it DONE.  My running time is right around 3-4 hours per week and I’ve never felt stronger or faster.   I’m so happy I decided to make the jump and try it for my half, I will SO be following this program for my marathon.

2.  Body fuel.  I’m eating a lot more and cleaner than I used to, though there was definitely a pizza incident Saturday night after my run.  Instead of sticking with my sillypants cutting calorie regiment and then binging on buffets and handfuls of chocolate chips when my body is about to break down, I’m eating good food until my body tells me I’m full.  For the most part.  I am paying a price for it.  I’m carrying about 5 more lbs than I was last time.  I don’t think I look quite as fit as I did this time in the training (though I could be wrong).  But I have knocked off 1-2 mins per mile on my mid-distance runs.  That right there is worth it.

3.  Pace goals.  Even though the treadmill is booooring compared to my happy fun little running route, it does help me learn how to run at one pace/a certain pace.  Though I did finally get to to my inaugural run with the garmin (I named it Gypsy) and it is AMAZING to be able to have constant feedback on my pace.  But it’s different than being dragged along by a conveyor belt – which is honestly good for me sometimes.  Having a pace goal determined by my race goal means I’m training just as hard as I need to be (not too hard or hard enough).  Last time I was doing 2 runs per week where I could go as slow as I wanted, 1 tempo run (which honestly, I rarely did a REAL tempo and at max it was 35 minutes – in comparison I have done 4 tempos so far that have been longer and faster), and 1 sprint day (where I didn’t really have a specific pace goal, just *faster* for 400 meters).

4.  Working my brain too.  Not that I didn’t do this last time, but I am really testing my mettle with some of these paces and lengths.  I’m starting to learn what I can really put myself through and still come out smiling and happy after.  Last week’s 6 mile tempo was SO HARD.  I can’t remember a time where I felt like I ran harder.  Maaaaybe the last mile of my half, but honestly, it would be a toss up.  I wanted to quit so so so so so so so many times but I kept doing the injury check and it wasn’t there, it was just wah and general discomfort, so I made it non-negotiable.  I don’t even know if I was in full control of my legs by the end, but I was of my fingers.  So I just upped the speed like I needed to and somehow I didn’t die.

One big realization:  I’m not going to remember how I felt during the tough run.  I’m convinced that good runners need short memories.  I’m not going to remember that the gym smelled like burnt hotdogs and chlorine (I had a few miles to pinpoint the specific aroma).  Or that I had the wrong water bottle.  Or that I accidentally pulled the emergency stop reaching for my towel and had to restart, and it was long enough my legs got stiff and hurt the rest of the run.  Or that I had a major stitch in my side for about the last 4 miles.  That special hell is reserved during running times only (thank you, short memory).   I’m only going to remember if I did what I set out to do or not.   And screw you, problems working against me, I did it anyway.

The rose colored glasses come on later and I remember “Oh, it wasn’t THAT bad, sure I can add 2 miles next week and not drop my pace, I can do anything for 18 minutes, whatevs.”  And then I go back into that special hell that’s an 8 mile tempo 20 second faster than race pace, and somehow, I will conquer.

I think last week and this week are the most pivotal runs of the program.  For my confidence.  Last week’s second 6 mile tempo made me realize that the pace on the first one wasn’t a fluke.  If I can do it twice, I can do it anytime I want.  Last week’s 10 mile run showed me that I can break into double digits and still keep a wicked pace.  This week, I have that scaryscary 8 mile tempo.  I’m of the opinion if I can tough it out through that, somehow, I can do anything.  Then, I’ve got another double digit (11 miles) to reinforce my confidence that I can keep my pace at long distances.

Honestly, from there it’s all gravy.  If I can complete this next week at the required paces, I can honestly feel confident that I can do a sub 2-hour half even if the rest of my training somehow goes to shite.  I will even put that out there now, feel free to remind me of that if it happens.

By the numbers:

Monday: 6×400 sprints @ 1:58 pace (with the requisite 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down, and 400 recovery in the middle) – check.

Tuesday: DDR circuits – check.

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo (tempted to make up the 8 mile tempo but I think I’ll refrain) – check.

Thursday: DDR circuits – check.

Friday: off – check (yay)!

Saturday: 10 mile run @ 9:40 pace – mostly check.  I ended up at a 9:47 pace, but considering my path had a mile long hill I wasn’t expecting, I am so not complaining.

Sunday: off

One more week with the goal simply to rock the paces as planned.  Here is the plan:

Monday: 4x 1600 sprints @ 8:25 pace (with the requisite 1 mile warm up, 1 mile cool down, and 400 recovery in the middle)

Tuesday: DDR circuits

Wednesday: 8 mile tempo (*eek*)

Thursday: DDR circuits

Friday: off

Saturday: 11 mile run

Sunday: off

This is a really tough week, adding another mile to Monday’s run, the epic tempo, and then another double digit run this weekend.  I just gotta approach this week with the confident swagger it deserves, stare it in the eyes, grab it by the balls, and tell it how much it doesn’t intimidate me and it better watch out because I’m gonna kick it’s butt.  Wish me luck!

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