Adjusted Reality

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

Month: October 2010

A Big Pile of Awesome

I run my third half marathon in 2.5 weeks.  The first time, I had so many butterflies running around in my stomach.  The second time, I felt determined, strong, confident, and powerful.  This third time, I just feel tired.

My body is holding up fine, for the most part.  My brain is just fried.  The only physical issue I’m finding is that my normal socks all of a sudden became inadequate and I can only run in the 12 dollar a pair nike dri fit socks.  Which is fine – but I lost my only pair, so I had to do without until I got to the store, and ended up with blisters the size of quarters on my arches after my 11 mile run.  No wonder I slowed down at the end!  Anyhoo, I’ve rectified the sock thing and splurged on two more pairs, so I should be good.

The brain thing is more disturbing.  Going into that second half earlier this year, I may have been sick as a dog physically, to the point where I PROBABLY shouldn’t have ran, but I was mentally tough and that’s what carried me through.  I’m having the opposite problem now.  My body is fine.  I’m barely feeling the miles.  I just can’t get my ass in gear to do them at a pace that I want.  I’m only aiming for 10 minute miles this time.  I want to PR, and I want to run a good strong race, but I also have to recognize that this is my fourth major distance race in 10 months.  My last few long runs have been great starting out, but after the 10k mark I get mentally tired and start slipping.  First my pace creeps into the 10+ mins regularly, then I start seeing 11’s occasionally, then I have a hard time breaking OUT of the 11’s.  The last mile is always the fastest because I have tons of juice left, but I can’t quite make up my pace and end up with a 10:30+ pace.  No bueno.

I have hope though.  First of all, I have had some of my best competitions after crappy, crappy practices.  So maybe my dear ol’ bod is saving the mojo for the race.  Second, I had a GREAT run yesterday, first “great” run since before the tri.  I found 1 mile intervals to be the hardest last time, this time they were almost easy.  Where I was struggling to keep an 8 min/mi pace for a quarter mile, I had less trouble keeping an 8:30 for a mile.  I may just operate my race like that – push the pace for a mile, take a break.  I had one of my best run times/paces in a while – about a 46 minute 5 miler, even with 1 mile of that being at 12 min/mi pace.  And I felt like I still had juice at the end.  I may give that another try tomorrow.

Regardless, I feel healthy and though work is crazypants and life is crazypants, I’m keeping things going a-ok.  Sometimes, that means skipping cross training days if I’m at work ’til 9:30.  Sometimes that means a fast 10k at 9pm after getting out of work late.  Sometimes that means taking a half day Friday so I can get my long run out of the way that morning so I can Halloween party all weekend.  It’s about balance.

I am kind of over this whole mental fog thing though.  I am totally and completely still sticking with the story that I love my life and everything I’m doing is just a big pile of awesome, but that pile has just become a mountain.  I’m just not able to put 100% into anything lately.  Hopefully I can pull it together on race day because… it’s the last push.  Cross your fingers for me!

That being said, here is the workout stats from last week:

Monday: 6 x 800m sprints (6 miles, 60 mins)
Tuesday: 30 min swim (1 mile), 30 mins weights
Wednesday: off, worked until 9:30pm
Thursday: 6 mile tempo (after working til 8:30) – just under 10 min/mi pace
Friday: off
Saturday: 11 mile run @ about 10:30 min/mi pace
Sunday: off

This is the last serious bidness pants training week:

Monday: 4 x 1 mile sprints (8-8:30 pace) – 5.5 miles total, 53 mins
Tuesday: 30 mins weights (had to work late)
Wednesday: 7 mile tempo run
Thursday: bike? swim? some sort of x train
Friday: 12 mile run (aiming for 10 min/mi)
Saturday: off
Sunday: off

Yes, I am taking off a half day on Friday to do my long run before having a short day at work and get costumed up and party all weekend.  I think after all the work I’ve put in, I deserve it.

However, let’s not talk about food tracking or weight.  I actually just can’t bring myself to track my food or get on the scale.  I don’t think I’m doing horribly or anything, I just am not ready to face it.  My clothes seem to be fitting ok – and I’m eating my normal mostly healthy (with maybe a few not-so-healthy things occasionally), so I think I’ll worry about it when I’m ready.  Maybe that will be tomorrow.  Maybe after Thanksgiving.  Who knows.

On Doing Shit

My house was literally a disaster area before the maid came last week.  Laundry was in piles all over the floor in 3 different rooms (2 of them being the living room and kitchen).  My coffee table had plates and sauces and condiments and trash that had been there for weeks.  I’m not really wanting to brag about what a complete SLOB I am, I’m trying to illustrate a point.

This is how much I had been home.  I’m lucky if, since last month this time, I’ve gotten 1-2 hours at home per day before bed each weekday (some days I just ate dinner, watched TV for about 20 minutes and then crashed).  Weekends have either been work, out of town, family in town, or full of training/social engagements/etc.  I’m not sure how the Triathlon and our biggest milestone of the year AND a game conference I was to attend ended up being the same week, and before that was Vegas and after that was family visiting, but I guess when it rains, it pours.  We’ve now got Halloween, a birthday, my half marathon, the warrior dash, and all the thanksgiving craziness in the next month or so.

Even in the haze of exhaustion I realized something today.  I do a lot of shit (both personally and professionally).  I aim big.  I’m not happy going for the safe bet or what’s good enough.  And even though sometimes I want to invent a time machine and kick my past self square in the shins, it’s my life.  If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it.  If I thrived in peace and tranquility, I’d surround myself with it.  I don’t.  I like a great day of nothing here and there (a movie marathon on the couch with some takeout is one of my occasional pleasures), but damned if I don’t get antsy if it’s more than one day.

I like doing shit.  A lot.  I like the act of planning shit.  I like the act of weighing the pros and cons of one event or gathering vs another or planning an itenerary.  I like trying to figure out the most elegant way to fit the most doing into my life.  I like the actual doing.  I like the new experiences and stretching my boundaries – I used to not – it scared me, but now I live for this.  I like being done and reflecting on having done shit.  I like having a reason to toast champagne on a Sunday afternoon.  Or basking in the afterglow of a great run or a milestone complete flopped on the couch thinking, “wheeee, I DID IT”.  I like posting the pictures, wearing the t-shirt, and bragging about it on my blog.  Rinse, recycle, and repeat.  If I have NOTHING coming up, I get depressed.

I’ll even go so far as to say I am at my best when I am overextended, stressed, pushed to the limit, exhausted and want to quit.  I may not feel it in that moment, but stretched thin, I am able to react quickly, with instinct, and trust my intuition.  Some decisions or activities are best left to a rested body and a clear head, but I have a tendency to overthink things.  Little things.  The blue shirt or the red shirt.  Soup or salad.  When there are 1000 different things to make calls on each day, you can’t get hung up on one.

You have to make the right decision at the time, and move on.  If it wasn’t ACTUALLY the right decision and bites you in the ass, you take a lesson from it, and move on.  When all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, as fast as you can, there is no time for thinking.  You rely on your training, your past experiences, the effort you’ve put into getting *to that point* right now, and your mental fortitude to keep one foot going in front of the other.  From back in my gymnastics or diving days – your head goes crazy while you stand still setting up for the trick or the dive, but once you set yourself in motion, your *head* turns off and your *body* turns on.  I mean, you have to.  No rational thinking person would do any of that.  You can’t think.  You just do shit.

I may at times wish for less hectic-ness in my life, but I have to remember there are always finish lines.  I can always choose not to do the next race.  The fact that I continue means that I recognize where I do my best work.  At a slow, even, comfortable pace – I do not excel.  I need fires lit in my path, barking dogs nashing their teeth at my back, a gnawing feeling at the pit of my stomach that I am in over my head, and a stopwatch furiously ticking away.  I need to be like this guy.  I need adrenaline.

This is where I truly live instead of just exist.  Welcome to my life.

Forgive me, I must be off.  Shit to do and all.

Ending With a Bang

Holy schneike – how has it been a week since I posted?  A blink of the eye, perhaps.  I don’t even understand how it’s October, let alone two weeks until Halloween?  Yikes.  Someone has been a slacker in the worst way and will have to end up being something I put together from my closet if I don’t hurry up with it.

What I’m not really sad about is that it also means I have two weeks left of serious business training for the half, one week at about 70%, and then a super light taper week for the race.  I am almost regretting signing up.  Yes, it’s true that I am really and truly capitalizing on the endurance I built up for the triathlon, but I am also *tired*.   And it’s not even really physical… it’s totally mental.

It’s been a heck of a year.  Since February, it’s been non-stop crazy at work.  It has not let up.  There have been crazy weeks and SUPER crazy weeks.  That’s about it.  In ten months, I’ll have run 2 half marathons and 2 triathlons.  Not to mention my first duathlon, I PR’d a 5k, ran another one for fun, will have done 3 adventure races, and will finish up the year with a 5 miler on Thanksgiving.  Rarely ever do we have a weekend where we don’t have things to do on one or both days.  I have only taken 3.5 days off this year – half a sick day in February, and 3 days for traveling.  It’s been a heck of a year.  I am BEAT.

However, I know I’m only regretting it NOW on whiny days when I have to get up and run (poor baby, I know).  October is going to end with a BANG and then things should get a little quieter in November (work, life, and training) I’m hoping for things to go the opposite way they did earlier this year.  Y’know – awesome training, shite on race day.  All my runs since the tri have been ok to meh.  Maybe I can save it all for race day and really rock it there.

Let’s not even go into the food.  I spent the weekend showing family how awesome Austin is – which means BBQ, tex mex, alcohol, and deep dish pizza.  I did not eat like a complete idiot, but I did indulge more than normal.  Lots of heavier than normal meals, lots of spicy… I’m happy to be back to normal food consumption today.

I didn’t exactly hit the workout schedule I had laid out, but after considering, I think it was just too much.

Monday: 9 x 400m sprints (5.25 miles)
Tuesday: 30 min swim (1200 yds), 30 mins weights
Wednesday: 60 mins yoga
Thursday: 5 mile tempo (9:40 pace)
Friday: off (2 mile walk)
Saturday: 10 mile run (10:48 pace)
Sunday: off

This week, same schedule, upping the miles a little, and adding a bike ride.  I miss my happy little bike.

Monday: 6 x 800m sprints (6 miles, 60 mins)
Tuesday: 30 min swim (1200 yds), 30 mins weights
Wednesday: 60 mins yoga
Thursday: 6 mile tempo
Friday: 45 mile bike ride
Saturday: 11 mile run
Sunday: off

In other random non-half-training news, I am going to be in another magazine (well, same mag, different issue) with some folks on my team for work.  We took the pictures today, and through all the nitpicking I do of my training and weight and accomplishments and such – I looked at the 5 they picked and I didn’t hate any of them.  Life is good when you’re featured in a mag twice in a few months AND feel like you look good enough to enjoy it.  Even though my hair WAS a little poofier than normal today.  Glad I reconsidered the dress with slightly too much cleavage to feel appropriate for work.

Last Monday, we had a service show up and clean the house for us.  We spent all weekend picking up for them because our house was a disaster, and then they came and did the two bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, dusting, sweeping, and mopping.  I was going to wait until next year to start doing something like this, but honestly?  This is something now that I do not ever want to live without.  It’s been a week and our house is still SO CLEAN (because we are motivated to keep it clean because it’s already clean, odd how that works) and if I could just have someone come do this once a month?  I wish to never not have this.  It was SO AMAZING to be able to enjoy my clean house without being frazzled and frustrated at having to actually have done it!

One more random thought: sherbert.  How have I not seen this before?  1 whole cup is 140 calories.  I usually eat about half a cup.  It’s delicious!  I can see this sticking around as a nummy treat.

Ok, one more – time off.  I mentioned it earlier, but I have to get my days off scheduled before the end of the year (I have to take 8).  Going to take a day or 2 and go visit some friends in AZ probably, might take a day or 2 off after my half in November just to chillax at home, and while I could do the “every friday in Nov/Dec” thing, I think what my body and brain is calling for right now is a good long stretch in a row.  I could augment the holiday time off and give myself almost 3 weeks off in a row, but I dunno – I think I’d be bleh because the weather is never great around then and I’d get bored.  Yeah, again, I know, poor me.  But I do have to decide in the next week or 2.

I’m going to now play myself off – time for bed.  So, I ask – what’s your favorite low calorie treat?  Anyone have experience with maid service?  Any suggestions on what I should do with my vacay days?

Post Tri-Season Thoughts/Moving On

What I conquered this summer:

-Swimming in general.  When I started considering the idea of a tri – about 500m of easy laps had me winded.  I haven’t gone much beyond the olympic tri distance of about a mile, but I’ve become very comfortable with it.  In the off season, I’m going to work on my stroke and getting faster.  I think if I could get myself down to about a 20 minute mile I could do 25-30 in races (adding the open water and not pushing off the side makes it go slower)

-Open water swimming.  I didn’t think it would be a big deal until I had to conquer barton springs and almost had a panic attack less than two weeks before the first tri.  Flash forward to the end of summer, diving off big boat into 100 ft deep water and the last tri I didn’t even think about the depth or the open water being scary at all.  While there was definitely some use in swimming that way to get used to not pushing off the side, I don’t think it will be a vital part of next year’s training (beyond a refresher trip or two just to make sure I don’t forget what it’s like).

-Biking for exercise – just started this summer.  Don’t know how to really push through the tough stuff (like uh 10 miles of continual ascent) yet, will just take practice.  I see this as absolutely my weak link in the tri – and it’s the one that matters the most because it’s the majority of your time.  I will be really pushing getting faster on the bike in the off season.  Anyone with suggestions for gym workouts or outside workouts lemme know, but I think I just need more experience overall.  And I’ll be a regular at spin class, fo sho.

-Brick workouts good.  Even though it was a requirement to learn how to switch my body from one mode to another in a 3-discipline race, I found I really really enjoyed these workouts most.  It helped me not skip a beat from the bike to the run, although I can certainly work on my transition time from swim to bike (mostly better planning and some new trick gear like easy close shoelaces).  While I doubt I’m going to keep doing 20+ mile rides followed by 10k runs each week, I like them too much to completely drop them.

-Coming in very close to last at something I’m very new at but doing it anyway and not really getting buggered about it, just motivated.  When I started running, I spent a full year on it before I entered any races, and besides half marathons, I’ve been INTIMATELY familiar with the distance (as in, can get through it in my sleep)  With tri training, I started a few months before the race and left key items until almost race day (open water swim training and a new bike much?).  When I ran my first 5k, I was definitely middle-of-the-pack and I’ve just improved – I can’t think of the last running race I’ve place in the lower half.  Sometimes even in the top third or close to age group medals for small ones.  However, at tris?  I SUCK.  I’ve not hit DFL for biking or swimming, but both races I’ve been close.  With another year of practice though?  Maybe I can make middle of the pack!  I’m just happy the fact that I am SO MUCH WORSE at it than the average bear has not discouraged me.

So, in the words of my favorite writer Aaron Sorkin on West Wing, What’s Next?

I took last week just about completely off.  Of everything.  I ate a lot, I didn’t try to do any sort of calorie restriction.  Just whatever my body needed to get through.  I worked out formally once (and it was a 1.2 mile swim which is :D), and generally spent the week living at work, traipsing around conventions when I could, cleaning my nasty ass grody house (yay for coming home only to eat, sleep, and unload crap from traveling/being out for the last 3 weeks or so), and RESTING when I could.

This week, it’s back to tracking and training for the half marathon which is in less than 5 weeks (eek).  I have the endurance, I just have to channel it into running instead of 3 disciplines and work on the “faster” part.


Monday – 5 miles 400m sprints
Tuesday – group power
Wednesday – yoga/swim
Thursday – 5 mile tempo
Friday – 45 min bike ride
Saturday – 10 mile run
Sunday – off

This is a *little* ambitious, and my goal is to complete the 3 main runs per week and see what else makes sense to do.  I’d like to add back weights once a week (power), and I’d like to keep with the yoga, and I want to bike and swim because I’ll miss it if I don’t.  However, this looks like a recipe for burnout to me right now, so I’ll play it by ear.

This week is going to kinda be a wash (have family in town from Thursday on so we’ll be eating out a lot), but starting next week I want to get back to tracking and staying in a calorie range which both keeps me fueled and also doesn’t make me gain gain gain.

That’s about it for now.  I may have more thoughts about the tri that I’d like to share, but I think that about wraps it up for this season.  Is anyone interested in a what to do/what not to do type post on tris?  Anyone have suggestions for becoming a faster swimmer or biker?  Wanna tell me my training is way too crazy?  Hit me up. 🙂

I am an (Olympic Distance) Triathlete: The Short Version

Totally busy/hectic/crazy/fun week up in this piece, so you get the short version for now….


It was 1500m (just short of 1 mile) completed it in about 43 minutes.  Considering 6 weeks ago me going all out for 1/3 the distance was 19 minutes, I’m stoked.  I did the whole thing (minus a few times when I had to stop to catch my breath cuz I swallowed water or something) freestyle and I felt really, really good about it.


Let’s just label this section: Purgatory.  This course was FUCKING brutal.  The first 10 miles was a gradual to steep ascent with very little respite.  The next 5 miles or so was pretty nice – fairly flat, with a few rolling hills.  Next came purgatory – after turning off this road, it was such a steep downhill I rode the breaks the entire time and I’m pretty sure I was pushing 30 mph.  One dude hit 40 going down and apparently just kept it up the entire way in (crazy cool).  I had to get off and walk the bike twice on the uphills – so did everyone around me.  When you’re riding uphill slower than walking, it’s a sign just to give in and get off.  I don’t remember much about the last 6 miles, other than just wanting to be done and back in my comfort zone (running) with just about all my being.  I took about 2 hours and 7 minutes for 26.2 miles.  At the last minute, they decided not to close the bike course, which is great, because I *never* would have made it.  I was about 30 mins off.


I started this ready to die, but I made sure I hobbled along and once I got started running, I was ok.  Sure, I was sore and tired and just desperately wanted to be not upright, but I can work with that better running than biking up crazy hills.  It was a 2 loop course and by the second loop, I was up to normal (10 min mile-ish) speeds but there was no way I was going to make up for going slooooow at first so I ended with 1:07 for the 10k run.

Total time, 4:04 and change.  It’s long than I hoped but seriously?  Don’t care.  I finished.  They didn’t close the course on me.  And since only 3 Athenas registered as such?  I got a SWEET third place medal!  I didn’t DNF or DFL (did not finish or came in dead fucking last), and considering the course difficulty (this was not playskool’s first olympic tri, people…the majority of the age group awards were between 2:45 and 3:20 and that is pretty slooooooow)

I’m going to take most of this week off serious business training to rest (I am BEAT), but starting next week it’s all out half marathon training time baby!  I’ll probably post something a little bit more introspective and thorough later, but the readers digest version – I loved the training, I loved the challenge of the distance, I will definitely do another one of these again.  I am totally and completely satisfied with this being the omg crazy big goal instead of a marathon.  I’ve now really hit the top of the distances I want to do right now.  No marathons or ironmans in my near future – I want to work on getting FASTER.

This week a video game developer convention is in town and I’m at that most of the week while trying to wrangle deadlines back here in the office (HORRIBLE TIMING!!!), so sleep and relax time will be at a major premium this week.  If I do not die from exhaustion, we’ll chat soon, lovelies!

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