Adjusted Reality

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

Month: December 2009 Page 2 of 4

Second Half Marathon Training Week 5

Aaaah, vacation.  Being able to run outside in the mid-afternoon when the sun has warmed everything up into the 60s if it’s too cold in the morning.  Being able to not feel rushed out the door, and having the time to do a nice, lengthy stretch before getting cleaned up.  Moments like this could make a gal want to quit her job and…

…yeah, reality check.  Never gonna happen.  But I am certainly going to enjoy the hell out of it for the next 2 weeks.  The only problem is once I get into “relax on the couch” mode, sometimes it’s hard for me to wanna get up.  I could easily sit here and continue to be a lump on the couch and play video games all day, but it’s a nice sunny day and as soon as the sun does it’s warm up thing a little more, I’m gonna head out to the track and do some sprints.

So, last week.  I posted a lot about it.  I always have this weird feeling when something’s good, it’s hard to believe it’s gonna last.  Week 3 I felt so damn strong, finally.  I figured week 4 was gonna trip me up.  Go back to being rough.  Hey, sometimes you just have to have a little faith, I suppose.  I didn’t just continue, I blew the last week out of the water.  Now, week 5 is supposed to be a recovery week.  I’m almost sad – I don’t feel like I need it.  This 3-day a week training keeps me feeling rested, I’m never running and feeling worn down, I’m rocking some of the most amazing paces I ever have, and I like it.

By the day:

Monday: 6×400 sprints  @ 1:58 pace – check.  Not much to say about these except it seems weird when my sprint days feel like my easiest.  Oh well, I’ll take it.

Tuesday: DDR circuit – check.  I probably need to vary my cross training a wee bit more, but for now it’s working.  It’s not as if I’m lacking cardio on the other days…

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo @ 8:55 pace – check (technically 8:56 but who’s counting).  Oh hell yah.  I was dreading this, and it was ROUGH, but I made it.  And I think I could probably tack on another 2 miles if I promised myself something REALLY nice after.  Pain by Jimmy Eat World is always my last song on the playlist for these for a reason, tee hee,

Thursday: 30 Day Shred Level 2 – check.  Had to be up early and off work early so I only had time for a short workout.  For the 30 mins I put into these, I always feel pretty worked.

Saturday: 8 mile run @ 9:40 pace – check.  More than check.  I have NO idea how I accomplished this, but I ran this at a 8:50 pace.  Maybe it was finally getting to run outside.  Maybe it was the gorgeous 60 degree weather.  Maybe it was my awesome new playlist.  But I finished my 8.03 mile course around the neighborhood in 71 minutes.  And – I wasn’t feeling AT ALL like I was on the treadmill.  It was a fast pace that was pushing me, but not uncomfortable and no head games needed.

So, this week is recovery week.  I *almost* wanna keep the building going for the next 2 weeks since I have the time and recover AFTER vacation, but that kinda sounds like playing with fire to me.  So I’ll kick off the first vacation week with a low mileage week to boot.

Monday: 3×1600 sprints (and I even get to do them outside yay!)

Tuesday: DDR circuits

Wednesday: 4 mile tempo (chance of rain that day, but it’s supposed to be warm, so maybe I can squeeze it in outside)

Thursday: 30 day shred/DDR circuits (depending on how the day goes, this is my one 3-ish hour workday)

Saturday: 10k pace (hope to run this outside, but it IS supposed to be chilly that day – I’ll wait until mid-afternoon and see if I can tough out the 50s, heh)

This is all sorta subject to magic hat picks.  This week I hope works out just about the way it should above, because I’ve got set plans on Christmas Eve and Day.  Speaking of magic hat picks, we drew the first one today and it is…

…wait for it…

…wait for it…


Heh, well, at least I have plenty of time to relax, wake up, and run when it’s warmer.  Well, I’m gonna keep things short and sweet because as I mentioned a few times, it’s vacation.  Happy Monday, everyone!

The Bucket List

Glad I posted yesterday.  This one is going to be short.  Last night was a late (epic-ly fun) night, and I’m paying for it today.  I’m not sure at WHAT point last night I forgot it was a Thursday and not a Friday night, but that’s the only possible explanation.  Just another reason why I am not a role model.  Pictures next week when I sum up all the white elephant parties.  This was number two, number three happens tomorrow.

So, anyhoo, every time we have time off at home over the holidays, we have *big plans*.  We never travel anywhere because traveling this time of year is for the crazy, and our families are both firm believers in “it’s a holiday when we visit no matter what time of year”.  So both in San Diego and Austin, we’ve had a week off (at least) together each December’s end.  And nothing major to do.

We say to ourselves – this will be the year we do <insert lots of random awesome plans here>.  We do one, maybe two things, and then end up with our butts planted on the couch, playing video games and watching movie marathons.  Soul soothing in it’s own right, sure, but not very memorable.  I can honestly not remember much about those weeks beyond takeout, the couch, and the TV, and alcohol.

This year, I’m not settling.  Oh, there will be all those things above, for sure, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.  Some people think of Santa and presents and reindeer and crap, my favorite holiday tradition is the week of freedom and loafing after the Christmas Stouffers lasagna is consumed.  However, upwards of two weeks of it sound like excess.  I want stories.  I want something blogworthy and more important, memorable.  Without leaving a reasonable driving radius.  So I present to you our concept: the magic hat.

We will be picking one thing out each day and doing it.  Most are fun things, a few are just things we need to get done, but they’re all going in a hat.  We’re not being super strict on it (because what fun would that be), so if we pick something that just doesn’t make sense (a bike adventure after a long run day) or the weather isn’t cooperating for (a day roadtrip on a crappy rainy cold day) or we just plain don’t feel like it, (a beautiful day we wanna get outside and we pick something that doesn’t have us leave the house) we can put it back.  Or save it for tomorrow.  Or something, we haven’t figure out all the rules yet.

Some are all day adventures (or even overnight).  Some are just an hour or two, so if we’re feeling frisky, we might do two in one day!  I do have to work half training in there, but considering that’s my ONLY obligation, I’m feelin’ pretty confident I’ll be ok.

The Awesometastic Holiday Magic Hat Bucket List of Awesomeness:

-Beer and Breakfast in Fredricksburg (like bed and breakfast, but better!)
-BBQ in Lockhart (apparently this is the best place in Texas to get BBQ)
-Salsa dancing at Copa
-Regular silly dancing at a random club
-Gaming all day, ordering delivery, no interruptions, no leaving PJs
-Rock climbing
-Bike adventure
-Roller Skating
-Watch all 3 lord of the rings in one day
-Go to a museum (Austinites, any suggestions?)
-Clean out the pantry (exciting I know)
-Space museum in Houston
-Steak and crab night
-Make a movie
-Upscale thrift shopping (not an oxymoron, I swear.  Hitting the cute little second hand boutiques I see everywhere)
-Esther’s Follies (a comedy show downtown we’ve wanted to see)
-Afternoon cocktails somewhere

We’re adding to the list as we think of things, but that’s what we have so far.  So, I ask, what’s in your bucket?  Any suggestions (keep in mind we are broke so the cheaper the better) for what I should add to mine?

Happy weekend.  Just found out my vacation begins tonight (the shippable is delayed, which is yay), so after last night, I’m thinking the perfect way to kick off vacation is dinner and card games with the parents.

Cool Runnings

So I swear it’s been at least two days since I posted.  The last few days before vacation are just DRAAAAGGGGIIIINNNGGGG along.  So even though I rarely post on Thursdays, I figure I might as well give it a go.


I want to shout this from the mountain tops.  This is a HUGE breakthrough for me speed-wise.  I shattered my previous 10k record by over THREE minutes (my best 10k is 56:54 and I ran 6 miles in 53:36 yesterday – I know not QUITE a 10k so it’s probably less than 3 minutes better but DON’T RAIN ON MY PARADE, ok?).  And normally I have trouble keeping my pace under 10 minute miles when I hit 6 miles and above.  So I’m incredibly thrilled.

However, unlike last week, this was a freaking test of my mettle.  So many points, I wanted to slow down.  The first 5k I slogged through ok but mile 4, it seemed like the treadmill just forgot to add distance at some points.  Mile 5 I just kept repeating to myself that I could do anything for 1.4 miles (and somehow tricked myself that at .6 miles to go I had to start INCREASING the speed, and not decreasing).  Mile 6 I just repeated to myself that it was the last mile and I wasn’t quitting now and somehow got through the speed increases up to 8.0 again and BAM!  Another tempo in the books.  And actually, I started a little faster so I knocked my pace down by 1 second – 8:56 miles.

It’s really coming into focus how mental running is.  I mean, not so much on those nice, easy, enjoy the weather runs.   Those are just lovely.  I miss those, but it’s fun to dive into something completely different.  I’m realizing my body is capable of so much more than my mind gives it credit for, if I’m able to push through some mild discomfort and doubt and fear.  I’m always scared I won’t be able to duplicate my effort or improve on it.  For these crazy runs, so fucking what?  The more miles I can pile on under 9 minute pace, the better.  The only thing I can do is get my ass on the treadmill when I’m supposed to, push the buttons to make it go the speed it’s supposed to, and work through my mental running demons a step at a time.

Next week is a recovery week at 4 miles, but the week after is 8 miles.  What happened to 7?  This is going to be brutal.  But ya know what?  I can do anything for 2 more miles.  And if I can do 8 miles at that pace, why can’t I do 13.1 close to it, right?  I get a warmup on Saturday of 8 miles at 9:40 pace.  After the rest of this training, that’s going to feel like skipping through the park (or I can hope).  I am going to run that one outside so that will bring challenges of its own, but I’m looking forward to it.

That, a weigh in on Tuesday of 153.0, and the fact that I’m sitting here munching on a bag of raw california stir fry (broccoli, carrots, and pea pods) the way I used to mow through a bag of chips 3 years ago?  It’s been a pretty awesome week healthy-wise.

Your reward for making it to the bottom of the post?

Happy Thursday. May it finish swiftly and without incident so we can go about getting our Fridays on.

5 Random Things – Braindead Edition

Since I haven’t been pulled in one way or another with a post to write today, I think I’m going to pull out a 5 random things day and hope y’all will forgive me.

1.  I rocked the sprints Monday.  I actually ran them at 1:57 per 400m because that’s the closest I could do via the treadmill.  7.7.  Is it odd that my EASIST days are my sprints?  Today, I’m going to tackle a 6 mile tempo and feeling really nervous even though I rocked the 5 miler.  Can I add a mile and still maintain my pace?  We shall see.

2.  It seems that the closer to Christmas you get, the more CRAP FOOD is around.  And by crap I mean so-yummy-but-bad-for-you.  So far, some gourmet popcorn, a few rum balls, and a small tin of homemade Christmas cookies have made it into the fortress of casa de Quix and Zliten.   I’ve decided it’s not the end of the world.  Yesterday I had a cookie and a rum ball while the rest of my food was totally rockin’ (protien bar, homemade chili, the rest of the bag of carrots, super veggie homemade chicken noodle soup, blackberries, and a laughing cow, melba toast, and turkey summer sausage).

Today, I had half a tiny piece of cake for desert with lunch, and I will probably allow one tiny cookie after a healthy dinner.  I think the key is not to try to stoically deny myself, but definitely limit myself.  I think denying myself now will backfire once next month hits and the mileage goes up.  THAT is when I will need the most resolve, when I actually feel the hunger and my body crying out to feed it sugar.   But who knows, maybe training this way will cut out the desire to stand in front of the freezer and shovel in chocolate chips and make me crave more sane things like whole cows and 1 lb bags of veggies.

3.  I’m trying to look forward to Holiday break, but today I’m in limbo because I don’t know what day it starts.  I was originally going to be off starting Friday (minus Christmas Eve – they are not giving it to us off, but typically send us home at lunch…I live 5 minutes away from work so I’ll come in for 3 hours and save the time off for a full day, thank you very much).  However, I have a deliverable that MIGHT be due 12/22 or it might be delayed until next year.  If it’s not delayed, I’ll work 12/21 and 12/22 at least half days.

Hopefully I’ll know within the next day or 2 so I can really and truly look forward to a certain date!  One of the things I love about vacation is the anticipation counting down the days before and the “last day of school” feeling when you walk out of the building on the last day (I’ve been known to do that toe-tap jiggy thing before on my way out).  I’m really looking forward to some quality time off without traveling or obligations – just FUN TIMES.  Well, we might do a night stay somewhere, but nothing crazy.

4.  I’ve been doing a lot of navel gazing lately so I’m going to spare you a 2009 wrap up (this week at least), but I have started to think about what’s next.  The half marathon and marathon for sure.  Finishing what I started during NaNo and getting myself on a consistent schedule with my fiction/memoir/whatever writing.  Then there are the unknowns… should I give myself a year off really pushing weight loss and maintain and work on my running and my head?  I think it’s about time to start figuring out what’s next career-wise.  Do I want to stay here and gun for a promotion?  Do I want to stick my toes in somewhere else?  Back to school?  I do know it’s time to at least coast towards a path.  I’m 30 – no longer a spring chicken.  I have lingered in lower-middle management long enough.

And what do I want to do with this blog?  I love my lovely gaggle of wonderful people that comment here, but I feel like I’m doing something wrong because sometimes I feel like the dorky kid with the glasses and the braces that gets picked last for teams.  I’d love to have a bit larger exposure on the interwebs simply because I am a closet fame whore, but I just haven’t figured that one out yet.  And I’m not sure the level of effort I am willing to put forth to make it happen.  And I’m not sure even WHY I want this, as this place just started as a soapbox for me to shout on.  Maybe it’s that I feel like it’s not worth as much not shouting AT anyone.

Yeah, ok, expect a 2009 wrap up and 2010 resolution post coming up.  There is obviously more for me to say here.  We’ll just call this Navel Gazing December.

5.  I hope to wrap up all that navel gazing soon, and will be taking things a little lighter during the next 2 weeks.  What that means is I have a bunch of recipe posts I’ve been meaning to do.  I’ve even got a fashion-y one planned.  I think I’m going to try and join in MizFit’s virtual talent show.  So what am I saying?  Expect some fluff starting next week through the end of the year, and if you get super awesome well-thought-out posts, be happy!  Because this one is so well thought out and intelligible.  MMmmmhmmm.

I guess that about wraps up my world.  Off to finish out the day, knock out my tempo (cross your fingers I don’t die at that pace), clean more of my messy house (love when my parents want to drop by randomly on a Friday), make some dinner, pack my lunch for tomorrow, and fall down tired and zonk out!  At least tomorrow = happy fun white elephant party and Friday should be pretty mellow.

How is your week going?  Got any ideas for posts for me so it’s not all recipes all the time?  Crazy questions or stories I should tell?  Wanna tell me how to become one of the popular kids?

Second Half Marathon Training: Week 4

I want to bottle this feeling I had about this week’s runs.  Just the sense of pride I have right now.  Week 1 of training was a little mixed up because of the Turkey Trot.  Week 2 was screwed up because of illness.  Having the first two weeks not go as planned did not do well for my confidence.  The training plan I picked makes each and every run TOUGH.  In these 12 weeks, there are no happy fun lazy runs around the neighborhood.  The SLOWEST goal pace is 9:40, and that’s on my long runs (which are 8-12 miles here on out).  My tempo runs, which are up to 8 miles, are at 8:55.  The sprints are even faster and get longer and longer.

This week I finally got the chance to do a normal week of training.  Monday, it was sprints. which is honestly the thing I am MOST confident with keeping the required pace.  This week, it was mile sprints.  I have to say, I LOVED this workout.  It was difficult but the rest intervals made it tolerable.  The first mile was felt great.  The second and third was TOUGH by the end but not falling-of-the-treadmill hard.  It’s going to be brutal to tack one and then two more mile sprints at the end of this, but I look forward to the challenge.

Wednesday was COLD as HELL (ok, I don’t want to hear from you people with windchills below 0, it’s cold for me) and was in the low 30s in the morning.  I was planning to get up and run.  I even got dressed in my running gear, poked my head outside, and went right back in.  I left my running gear on, put a sweater over it, packed my bag, and headed to work.  I would conquer the cold at lunch.  I ended up out in about 40 degree weather.  At first it was a little chilly, but it was a huge breakthrough – it wasn’t that bad at all!  Also, I had planned to do my 5 mile tempo but ended up actually going 7 (my route went NOTHING as planned because of construction and I ended up on the other side of our office area at 5 miles so I just kept going).  I really enjoyed knocking my long run out in the middle of the week!  The mileage was estimated – I spent a lot of time running circles around parking lots – but I was bookin it and ran for 70 minutes.  I definitely don’t PREFER running in the cold (give me a 70 degree morning ANY DAY) but I felt awesome that I conquered my hesitation to run in winter temps.

By Friday, I was SO dreading this run.  Five miles.  Under 9 minute pace.  I didn’t even get that on race day.  It was Friday night, I was a little bummed that we were missing a fun-sounding holiday party, but I just kept telling myself that I had 5 miles between me and my weekend.  And if I made my pace, I would celebrate somehow.  I did a 5 minute warmup, reset the treadmill, and started again at 6.0.  I decided that I was gonna attempt a true tempo, so after the first .75 of a mile of ramping up, I hit 6.7 and just WENT.  I felt strong, I felt confident, and most importantly, I felt like I could hold the pace even if it was tough.  So I did it.  For 3.5 miles.  Then, at 4.25 miles I knew I had some time to make up, so I started ramping it up again, and by the end I was going 8.0.  My final pace? 8:57 miles.  Under 9.  I beat my race time 2 weeks ago by 1:05.

Then, we made amazingly delicious homemade pizza for dinner/breakfast the next day, which was much better than any crazy holiday party.  Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The DDR circuits were in there too (Tuesday and Thursday) and I yoga’d Monday.  I meant to do another yoga session but got busy with holiday stuff.  Oops.  MUST YOGA TWICE THIS WEEK SOMEHOW.  I stretched well after each run but I can still feel tension.  MUST YOGA.

I went into this week scared.  I am coming out of this week feeling like a badass.  I am ready to conquer these next 9 weeks because I have it in me.  Sub 2 hour half, here I come!

Training for week 4:

Monday – 6×400 sprints @ 1:58 pace (with one mile warmup and one mile cooldown and 400 rest in between) = 5 miles

Tuesday – DDR circuits

Wednesday – 6 mile tempo run @ 8:55 pace

Thursday – off (holiday party)

Friday – 30 day shred (need something effective and quick as I have dinner plans)

Saturday – 8 mile nice outside long run @ 9:40 pace

Sunday – rest

Next week in theory should start my holiday break and I should be back to 2 weeks of training on whatever schedule I want, but since I have a shippable at work I’m in charge of that has to be done by the end of the year, I might have to work some half days that week.  But we shall see.

This is the week where the appetite starts to kick in too.  I can already feel it.  At least this time, I’m craving boatloads of protien, more dairy, and veggies instead of all carbs all the time.  I’m sure that will come later, or perhaps training this way is changing the way I crave.  It could make sense.  Each workout is brutal, so protein/dairy helps build my body back up stronger, but I have enough rest time that I don’t need to be pumping constant FUEL ME NOW energy into my body.

The problem is I’m sitting here at my desk, having eaten a 20g protien bar this morning, a huge buffalo chicken lunch meat sammich for lunch, and I’m currently destroying a full 1 lb bag of baby carrots.  It is not long for this world, folks.  And I’m pretty sure before the workout, I’ll be digging into the pistachios and the blackberries too.  I mean – it’s all ridici-healthy and all (minus the nummy onion bun instead of the normal horkin’ fiber bread), so I can’t be too upset.

The plan is to really watch it this month.  Eat super healthy on most days so I can just kinda let myself graze until I feel fueled without being restrictive.  On days I have holiday plan-type-things, make sure I watch my portions and fill up on all the healthy stuff I can.  Or moderate.  Like last night’s party where there were 4 appetizers and 3 desserts and NOTHING was healthy and the meatballs actually ended up being the best option.  Or Saturday night when bacon fudge made an appearance.  It was AMAZING.  I broke my no sweets/drinking in the same day rule twice this weekend, but it was totally worth it.

So I’ve got my playlists set, my gymbag with me, and I’m ready to rock some sprints tonight.  Hopefully I can stop shoveling carrots into my mouth by that time.

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