Adjusted Reality

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

Month: October 2011

10-4 Good Buddy

Today is the second anniversary of my marriage to this guy (which means we’ve been together for about 12 and known each other for like, 16, I’m we’re just slow):

When I was 20, he got me (re) hooked on video games and we thought, hmmm, maybe we can make something out of this.  Now it’s our bread and butter and we’ve been making games (mostly together) for over 10 years, and have definitely built a life around it with most of our friends being in the industry, so we can be unabashedly geeky together!  I can certainly say that I would have never thought of this on my own.  I always knew I wanted to entertain people, but didn’t know exactly HOW I wanted to do it.  Good call on the careers, Zliten!

When I was 30, I got hooked on a little thing called RUNNING.  While Zliten still isn’t a huge fan of the run, I did get him hooked on TRIATHLONS.  So much that we decided on a crazy race goal before 40.   I’m sure you can probably guess what it is, and potentially why all of a sudden I decided on a 2012 marathon.  Good call on the hobby, me!

Two years ago, we got hitched in Vegas in a tiki hut.  While I ended up stressing the details at the end, Zliten came up with the theme and ended up securing the venue.  Even though the lady made it VERY clear she would PREFER TO BE SPEAKING WITH THE BRIDE KTHX.  It was the best day ever.  Good call on the wedding, Zliten!

While we definitely have bad decision nights….

…we’ve gotten all the major ones right.  Most importantly, to spend the rest of our lives together.  Cheers to another year of good (and bad) decisions, my love, my bestest friend and my adventure buddy!

Kerrville Triathlon, or Running Naked (Part 2)

I KNOW, 2 posts in 2 days.  You might think I was a real blogger or something instead of treating this site like LiveJournal.  Enjoy it while you can…

Read the pre-race details here, if you like that sort of thing.

Where we last left this tale of tri… I was feeling very calm and zen (which is unique for me before races, I get lots of nervous and excited energy going, this time it was just… absent…) and the swim had just started…

I should have probably mention that this is the smallest tri I’ve done – only about 250 people signed up and only 208 showed.  However… there were only FOUR swim wave starts.  39 and under had a TON of people and there was a lot of fighting for space.  Oddly enough, while there was a lot of jostling, I found that for the first time in a lake swim, I was getting that “water in my ears” feeling.  Which meant I had settled into a comfortable stroke like in the pool.  Cool.  I took care not to get caught up in the excitement and go too fast, just settle into a steady and relaxed pace even with people swimming over me.

I never really found a pocket, but I made do with what I had – I’ve learned to not expect that in the 500m swims we’ve been doing for these races.  I kind of can’t wait to do another Olympic simply because I loved the long swim section.   However, instead of feeling frustrated this time, I felt… zen.  Peaceful.  I almost didn’t want the swim section to end.  Mostly because I was enjoying it, but also because it was frakking cold and I had a huge hill to run up.  Some people raced past me at the end but I just kept pace.

Swim time: 13:37 for 500m.  While I do want to whittle this down a little bit, I’m pretty happy I had a l33t swim (it’s a dork thing, don’t ask).


The nice volunteers helped me out of the water on the steep ass ramp, I got my flippie floppies on and took it slow up the hill.  No need to get breathless before the bike, energy conservation, yadda yadda.  The few people that passed me on the way up the ramp I beat out of transition.

It went like clockwork.  I struggled with one sock but everything else went on quickly as planned.  I ran the bike out and did a running mount once I cleared the traffic (why oh why people, why do you stop RIGHT at the line, and get on your bike sloooooowly?).

T1 time: 3:12.  Pretty excited – I’m getting the transitions down.  Yeah, thumbs up indeed.


The first mile of the bike was a bit hectic.  I didn’t start the garmin right away.  My glasses were foggy.  It was in the 60s and I was wearing a soaking wet tri suit.  Getting on the bike gloves took a little more time than I thought.  Did I mention it was cold?  I cursed the weather a bit, and was insanely jealous of the girl who I saw throw on a jacket at transition, but in retrospect, I’m not sure that would have been a good idea.

What may have been a good idea is the duct-tape-over-the-top of my shoes trick, with wet socks and a chilly breeze, my feet were VERY cold.  Considering I expect to have clip-in pedals and bike shoes next year it’s probably not a consideration, but even by the end I had frozen feet and was hoping it wouldn’t affect me in the run too badly.

Getting back to the bike, it was a 2-loop course, and we didn’t drive it ahead of time like we did the run course.  While there were some rolling hills, it was generally a slight downhill one way, slight uphill the other way.  I was pleased as hell with this.  When I told people I was tri-ing in Kerrville they’re like “oh… watch out for the hills”.  Luckily, the sprint distance was all in town which either wasn’t so bad or I just rock hills so hard it felt flat.  Probably the former, but I can dream.

I just kept getting happier and happier as the miles went on.  My pace was often above 20-22 mph and rarely noticed anything below 16 mph even on the hills.  I took the first lap MUCH faster than the second, and slowed down not because I was tired, but because I wanted to save something for the run and wanted to make sure my back wouldn’t flip out.

I started picking people off left and right at the start.  There was so much “on your left” (what’s said to warn someone you’re coming up to pass them) I started having to change it up and say “good  morning” and “awesome job”.  No one from my age group passed me the whole course, it was only masters folks on really really fancy bikes.  It was also a product of the fact that I took the swim really mellow, but my swim was middle of the pack, and I was fast out of transition.  There were plenty of people that could have passed me.

I had the bike of my life and I was freaking pumped as I finished.  I was also super excited that I didn’t pass Zliten – which meant he was having a great race too.  Most bike tri segments I’m REALLY ready to be done.  It used to be my worst worst worst of the three.  It’s now my best.

Bike time: 49:01 for 15 miles.  That’s freaking 18.4 MPH average.  This makes me happy in the tri shorts.  Speaking of tri apparel, look who FINALLY got himself a real tri shirt?


I was so jazzed about the bike I sort of lost my head here.  My time was great, but it could have been better – I fumbled things a few times grabbing them out of my bag.  I dropped my wristband multiple times.  I halfway considered leaving the bike gloves on for extra warmth, but I knew I was warm up way quick on the run so I ditched them.

I practiced this transition a lot less both mentally and physically (read: besides packing the bag, not at all).  How it went: ditch bike gloves, grab race belt, grab head and wrist band, drop head band, pick it up, drop race belt, pick it up, run for the exit, cross line, realize I dropped wristband again, consider leaving it, realize it could be a penalty, run back and grab it, and then finally get out on the road.

T2 time: 1:46.  Not too shabby but could have been better.  I may go for a race hat next time, it would be easier to grab, especially if it comes out of a bag and isn’t laid out.


I got a few blocks away from transition and realized I should check my pace.  I looked down at my wrist and holy crap, it was NEKKID.  Making the last minute decision to mount the garmin on the bike was AWESOME… except I forgot to grab it since I’ve never had to deal with it at transition and I didn’t practice.  FAIL.  I was running naked.

Past the initial freakout, I convinced myself it was a good thing.  I had to rely on perceived effort which meant I’d be really in tune with my body and how it was feeling.  Since I couldn’t dig into my music and rely on that for pace either, I turned my running more external.

While I’m a big fan of running my own race, I had to do something to stay motivated.  I started playing the age group game.  If someone passed me who was under 30 or over 34, I let it go.  If someone with a 30, 31, 32, 33, or 34 on their calf passed me, I kicked it up a notch.  I ran with a really super peppy girl named Whitney for about a half mile, but she got ahead of me on a hilly bit I just wasn’t ready for (she was only 21 so it was ok).  During this time I passed Zliten at about mile 1.3, he was having a great race and keeping around 12-13 min miles and feeling great and looking strong.  We gave each other some encouragement and I took off (it was very tempting to run with him for a bit, but I just had to keep pushing).

A 30 passed me and I tried, but couldn’t catch her.  Now that I’m looking at the results, she was definitely the one who finished right above me in the AG rankings and ran a very fast 5k (pretty close to my non-tri PR).  However, the next one was a 34.  She was booking it too.  I got a little sad until she started walking, and I caught her and passed her.  Then she passed me.  Then I passed her.  Finally she started running with me and was asking me about my camelback and oddly enough I was able to make fairly coherent conversation.  She passed me, and then started walking again, so I decided when I passed her, it would be the last time.

I turned on the heat.  I was feeling good, I knew the finish was pretty close people were cheering us on, my legs responded well to the request to kick, so I went with it.  Best spectator ever: instead of “almost there”, he said “you have about 500m to go”.  That was perfect.  Just about a 400m sprint.  I can do that.  I turned it on more.  Other best spectator ever told me I had 200m left and the finish was around the corner.  I kicked as hard as I could and booked it through the twisty turny corral and hear them call my name and I saw the clock: my time was in the 1:39s.  I finished feeling AWESOME!

I beat lady 34 by 1 second.  She was 8th.  I had no idea until I saw the results.

Run time: 32:07 for 5k – 10:18 pace

Would I have run a better race with a garmin?  Maybe.  Maybe I would have gone out too fast and crashed.  Maybe I would have gone out fast and made it work.  I suspect I might have been able to hit my goal of under 10 minute miles if I knew how close I was (considering how well I kicked at the end, I had a decent amount left in me).  Apparently, this race I was meant to run without my garmin and while I probably wouldn’t do it again, I can’t say I’m really disappointed with how the run went.


1:39:44 total
7th Age Group/21 total AG
42 gender/120 total chicky-poos
96 total/208 total tri people

Top 1/3 of age group (and almost gender), over top half overall.  I am pleased as punch.  I hit both my A goal and my placement goal.  This was a great way to end the tri season – PR, a beautiful course, and an amazing day.  While I wasn’t sure anything could top my mood after the Pflugerville tri, it did.  Favorite tri so far EVAR.  We will SO be back next year, whether we decide to do the sprint, olympic, or half distance (we’ll see where I’m at in a year, there’s plenty of time to decide).

Overall, I have such a good feeling about the Kerrville.  Just the pure JOY I felt before, during, and after.  At no time (beyond maybe on a few of those run hills) did I curse out the course or feel frustrated or angry or taking revenge on the course or honestly be anything but fueled by rainbows and sunshine and puffy clouds and unicorns and sparkles.  I spent most of the race just grinning ear to ear, thankful that I was out racing on such an amazing day.  Even thinking about it is giving me chills.  They can’t all be like that, but I’ll take as many of those as I can!  Love, love, loved this day.

We’ll leave the goals for next year to a future post.  Please enjoy drooling over what I celebrated with once I got home, and now I’m resting and in taper week 2 – See Jane Run Half Marathon in less than a week!

Kerrville Triathlon, or Running Naked (Part 1)

Races come in all different flavors.  Some, like Warrior Dash, Hell Run, Urban Dare, Keep Austin Weird, are more about the beer and the experience and the fun, and they just happen to have a finish line.  Some are for the shirt (See Jane) or it’s sponsored by work (Casa) or a race someone else picked out and you agreed to (Rookie).  It usually doesn’t take much arm twisting, I’m happy to race distances I’m comfortable with at any time (sprint tri, 5k, 10k, etc), but it doesn’t mean I’ve put in the training to really kick it’s ass.

Some races, though, are the ones you designate an “A” race.  Some races you spend 3.5 months training for without the distraction of other races, simply zooming in on the goal of absolutely CRUSHING your PR and dominating the course.  Not just rolling the dice to seeing if your number comes up, but attempting to stack the deck with so many aces by training your heart out, there’s no possible way your athletic gains can’t be recognized with a shiny new PR.  Sometimes it works out (Rock and Roll San Antonio 2010), sometimes it doesn’t (Gladiator Games 2011, Austin Half Marathon 2009).

That was this race for me this year.

Please indulge me a race report probably longer than the race itself.  I went back and forth trying to edit it down, but to be honest, I love reading long, detailed race reports.  Getting into people’s heads, histories, tips, techniques, and living vicariously through their experiences… I love it, so you might love it too.  If not,  and you just want to hear about the race itself, it will be up soon.

I put in 3 months of solid training for this sprint tri, just working on getting faster, especially at the bike, by punishing myself with hill work at least once a week in the gym, and doing a speed/hill workout once a week on the run.  I didn’t do as many bricks (I was averaging 1-2 per week last year and even earlier in the season, later I dropped to one every 2-3 weeks and not all outside), but let me tell you – a 10 miler w/a fast 5k at the end simulates tired legs well, to the point where bricks felt EASY.  Double duty workout = rawk.

I also did lots of volume – we did lots of 20-35 mile bike rides, and I did 6 double digit runs in the last 2 months, and put in the same amount of work I did to get to the Olympic last year, even though on race day, I would be swimming only a third of the distance, biking 11 less miles, and running only half as much.

I stacked the deck, for sure.  But I still took a gamble training up for a half marathon at the same time and working on those long bike rides.  I’ve never thrown this many miles at a short race before.

If your eyes glazed over from all that, please be assured my point is this.  I trained really fucking hard for this one, and put my eggs in one basket.  By signing up for the last sprint tri in the area of the season.  No chance for redemption.

No need though.  I absolutely obliterated that course.  Dominated.  Conquered. (We both did, actually)

I’ll save you a long diatribe about the journey there and the expo and the night before except to mention a few things:
-Staying at the offical race hotel if the start line is a block or two away is so awesome.  The expo, our hotel room, and T1 was within a block of each other.
-We checked out the run course and noted that of course, the tricky part was in mile 2, where I have the most trouble.  Lovely.
-Pre race dinner at the hotel was just about the worst filet mignon I’ve ever had in my life, and my cut was at least 2000% better than the one Zliten got.  Still, chewy steak is steak and it’s much better race fuel than pasta or anything else I’ve tried.
-If you ever have sleepy troubles before a race – half a can of Drank put us both out like a light and I woke up 7 hours later rarin’ to go.
-I must be spoiled.  It was the nicest hotel in town and all I could think of was hmmm, it’s been a long time since I slept on anything that wasn’t a pillowtop mattress (but it was fine, see above).

The morning of, I woke up with the alarm at 5:30, and found that my back was markedly better (I’d been dealing with stiffness and some pain this week), so that made me happy.  I was still full from the night before, so I decided to go without a breakfast bar, but I swigged a coffee honeymilk (I took half right when I got up, and half about 30 mins before the race).  Good thing I had checked the forecast, because I saw a low of 57.  Considering we’ve been lucky to be below 80 before that, those numbers seemed pretty much like nonsense to me, but packed for it.  When I poked my head outside it was super chilly and felt exactly like it did the morning of the tri the same weekend last year which I was unprepared for..

I was very very glad I brought a long sleeve shirt and pants and extra shoes and socks (and told Zliten to do the same – he actually had purchased that ensemble as a joke for a halloween costume last year, so it may have not been pretty, but it worked).  We did our warmup run with them on and, in fact, I didn’t want to take them off.  At all.  Luckily we were able to rack our bikes the day before and as I mentioned, we were staying at pimp accommodations, so we were able to get a warmup run around the hotel grounds, grab the rest of our stuff to set up, and walk the block over hitting transition about 30 mins before it closed.

Normally this is a no no, and we try to get there pretty close to when it opens, but to be honest, once you’ve secured a spot, that’s half the battle, and we were able to rack bikes in T1 and drop our bike to run bag off at T2 (which was 2 miles away) the day before.  The only thing we had to do the morning of was set up the rest of T1, which took almost no time.

I made a few different decisions about gear/stuff this time.  While I thought I was going to go sans bike gloves, my last 6.5 mile ride told me I’d much rather have them.  Since I didn’t want to add to my transition time, I velcroed them to my bike and planned to put them on while I was peddling.  Also, last minute, Zliten’s new ironman watch came with a bike mount which he didn’t want to use, so I snagged it.  The plan was to leave it there on the bike and, obviously, put it on my wrist for the run.  Also, since I had such a great run while fueling in between, I brought sports beans to throw in my sportsbra just in case I wanted nutrition.

The rest of my gear was the norm.  I didn’t do a lot of actual transition practice this time but went over it a billion times in my head.  Shammy for feet if needed, sock, shoe, sock, shoe, helmet, sunglasses, camelback, unrack bike and go.  After getting briefed on how things would go down, I had to add “put all wet swim stuff and towel in swim bag”.  Because if anything was outside your swim bag, it got donated to goodwill or thrown away.

This took all of… 5 minutes.  And my goal was to turn on the garmin as close to transition closing as possible because I didn’t trust it finding satellites (since we were not at home, it took a WHILE the night before), so I had time to kill.  I walked down to the water and took a look – the lake was GORGEOUS.  It looked super clear, which made me happy.  I was lamenting earlier that I just wished it was in Lake PF because it’s my favorite lake and I’m comfortable there and I was a little nervous about swimming somewhere completely new I’d not seen until the day of, but my freakouts were unwarranted.  Although, the ramps they had to make to get us in the lake due to very low water levels were a little steep and scary.  Thank goodness the start was actually IN the water.

I hit the porta potty one more time and went back to transition one last time.  When they said 5 minutes to go, I shed my long sleeves and pants and shoes and reluctantly handed off my dry goods bag and turned on my garmin.  It was not any warmer so Zliten and I huddled together and went back down to the water to have the pre-race meeting and I dropped off my flippie floppies near the lake exit.  We went to go put our feet in the water and out swims a water moccasin.  Awesome.  Well, I’m pretty sure it was going to be more scared of me than I was of it, and I needed a warmup, so in I went.  The water was soooo nice and warm.  I swam out to the first buoy and on the way back, the national anthem started playing.  I’m not sure what proper procedure is to not be rude while swimming, so I treaded water with my hand over my heart until it was over.  I hope America understands. 🙂

I got out, and it was just about time to wave 1 to start (which was Zliten’s) so I gave him a nice big wet hug, secured a spot by the start, and screamed and yelled for him as the horn blew.  I made friends with a few women who were shivering and assured them the water was warm.  One lady I talked to kept questioning me about the distances in the race… uh… maybe people aren’t obnoxious as I am about knowing and training for every little thing but… really?  There is a big difference between sprint swim distances (I’ve seen everything from 300m to 800m) and being prepared for one is not necessarily being prepared for the other.  Other than that oddity, it was nice making convo.

The funny thing I realized at this point was… no pre-race nerves.  Not just less, but none.  I hadn’t really fretted about anything this morning, I had planned and trained for so long, and gone over it so many times in my head, I was just executing.  I wasn’t jumping around with nervous energy.  I felt very calm and zen the whole morning.  I went over my transition plan a few more times in my head, got into the water, and then all of a sudden – the horn blew and everyone started swimming.  If there was a countdown, I totally missed it.  Treading water fluidly became freestyle and off we went!

Stay tuned for Part 2 later this week… just in case you were interested in the race itself…

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