Adjusted Reality

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

Month: July 2012

Mind at Ease

Confidence, I am having more of it after this weekend.

I know I need more run miles to get through this race and not die at the end, and ramp up for the marathon.  I don’t want to make the mistake of ramping up my long run too early like I did in November and then crashed and burned.   However, I definitely could ramp up my miles per week with more runs and more mid-long runs.  First, I started with more shorty runs (adding in an extra 5k or 2 per week).  Now, I’m trying to really get some miles under my feet keeping with  average miles for the early stages of a marathon program, but not running longer than 13 yet.

Two years ago, I would train up for a half marathon, do a few double digit runs, run my half, and then swear off running for a month.  Last winter, I built up and kept a base long run in the double digits for many months, but during the week, I would only do 3-6 or so.  So far, within the last two weeks, I did 2 (race), 12, 9, 3, 10.5, and 13.  It was the product of doing my long run Sunday last week than Saturday this week, I ended up with 35.5 in a week.   May not sound like much to some of you, but it’s HUGE for me.  Really it was 23 last week and 26.5 this week, which I am still thrilled with.

I actually only planned on a 3, a 13, and a 7.  However,  I was looking at my training program and I never do the the half bike and run distances together.  That made me nervous.  I studied the plan and realized that this weekend was really the best one to yoink and do that.  While it’s a little early, I have races or vacations (or vacations with races) almost every weekend between now and taper (really, there are only TWO free).  I wanted to do it now to put my mind at ease.

I played it smart this week.  Monday, I did weights (yay my back felt better) and swam 1200m.  Tuesday, I was supposed to do weights but since I was sorrrrre I skipped it.  Instead,  I nailed a triple brick, with 3 bike segments of 5 miles averaging 20.2 mph, and 3 – 1 mile runs paced at 8:50, 8:44, and 8:43.  Wednesday, I was STILL sore so I just swam another 1000m.  Thursday was long run day, and I was supposed to do 13, and thought it would be fun to do double 13s within a day of each other.  However, my quad started to pull weird so I cut it at 10.5  super easy miles.  I was happy to have finished another double digit run on a weekday and felt pretty good and not dead after, but my quad continued to feel weird so I decided it was rest it and ice it and stretch it and see how things went.

Friday was a rest day, and the plan was to leave work, eat dinner, and go right to bed at 8 and get up at 3:30 to be on the trainer at 4.  Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned at work, and I was there until 9:30.  I had three options – sacrifice sleep, train during the heat, or just bag it.  As we discussed, I didn’t really have another good weekend to do it, and Sunday wasn’t an option as we had major amounts of Saturday night plans.  I checked the weather and each hour I slept in was an extra 5 degrees of “feels like” temps, where high 80s was if I stuck to my plan… so I set my alarm for 3am and promised myself a nice nap.

I woke up a little late and got on the bike at 4:40.  We watched the opening ceremonies and pedaled easy.  At 20 and 40 we got out of the saddle and took a quick break to simulate aid stations (I am still up in the air whether I am just going to attempt to do the bike with or without stops and just use my camelback and my own food).  I felt pretty great after 56 miles.  I ate a jelly bean each mile and had a chew each 5 and jerky when I felt like it.  I felt great and full after without feeling gross so I think that will be the plan.  I did it in 3:11.  A trainer is not the road.  On a trainer, you don’t have hills.  However, you don’t have any coasting breaks.  Kerrville isn’t stupid hilly so I feel like it was a decent approximation of saddle time.  I did ride in my izumi bike shorts, not my tri shorts, and think I may just take the extra 10 seconds in transition and slide them on and off.  I need to try that out of the water to make sure it doesn’t suck, but my ass doesn’t do well with long miles on my tri shorts.  Longest trainer ride by 16 miles, and only my 3rd ride over 50 miles!

We got outside at around 8:20, which was around 1:20 later than I was hoping.  It was already muggy and hot but whatcha gonna do besides get going, so we did just that.  We kept a slow but non-stop run pace of around 12 minute miles through mile 7, where we took our first walk break.  During that time, we tackled the two mile downhill and then the two mile uphill, so it was more tiring than just me running my happy lap.  At 7 it was getting super hot and I had aches and pains, so we walked for half a mile.  After we started running again, I thought I was done, I was going to try and run a mile, walk half, etc, just to get through.  I made it through about another mile and then walked a bit, and then we realized that we were almost out of water, so ran it into the house with about 3.5 to go.  We walked just a bit to get the legs working again, and then made it to about 11.25, and walked the same hill we walked before, and then ran it in for a 2:47 finish for 13.1.  Slow, slow, slow, but that was the point.  The only fuel I had was a little bit of a honey stinger waffle Zliten had.  I felt ok but really think I need to figure out how to get some nutrition in on the run.  Maybe Gatorade or some sort of liquid calories.

I finished out the day with 5:58 of training total, and I was beat.  I downed a milk before anything else, then showered and got a gigantic burger and fries.  Then I went to sleep.   Like right away.  That nap was ah. may. zing.  I need to remember to do that more often on weekends.  I woke up a human again and just in time too, because it was the day of crazy birthday party madness. First of all, 2 hours of a skating party.  I actually wasn’t sure if my legs were going to work after 6 hours of training that morning, but it actually ended up feeling pretty nice working different muscles and I had fun.  Then bowling (and imbibing) began, and I bowled two fairly decent games (104 and 128 – I consider anything over 100 a win these days :D), and then finished out the evening at the bar playing bean bags.

Today, I got up, had yummy brunch, got an awesome massage, bought a sassy red dress and some other stuff for Alaska, and have spent the day watching the Olympics and eating lobster and crab.  Some days it sucks to be me.

And I am going to continue to do that (watch Olympics – I am out of crab :D) and leave you with a less than wordy post (I’m sorry/you’re welcome).  I’ll note that I have a race next weekend which I am not excited about at all (another sprint when I’m ready to go longer, heard rumors that the swim tastes like sulfur, the bike is crappy with cobblestone-like roads, and is stupid hilly, etc).  My goal is to stay mentally in it, and not let the crappy conditions, if there are any, give me excuses to not give it my all.

This weeks plan:

MONDAY: weights + 30 mi trainer
TUESDAY: 7 mi run + 30 mi trainer
WEDNESDAY: 1500m swim + weights
THURSDAY: 7 mi run + 30 mi trainer
FRIDAY: weights + 30 mi traner
SUNDAY: 500m swim, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run

Less run miles at 17, and not much swimming, but more bike miles than I’ve ever done in a week at 134.  This week has been engineered to get maximum trainer time while watching Olympics.  🙂

Also, I took some time and updated my races page with my recaps and results.  Interestingly enough, Kerrville will be race #50.  Fun!  I had fun dramatically reading all my early ones to Zliten over vodka last week.  Some things were just adorable, like “OMG I had to wake up at 6:45 for a race woe is me”.  LOLZ!

*Pictures as proof that after 6 hours of training, we actually made it to both skating and bowling….

Highs and Lows

It’s been the best of weeks, and the worst of weeks.  Let’s start with a cute…

The bad (let’s get this out of the way):

It’s apparent I have ratcheted up the training to 11 over the last few weeks.  It’s time – I’ve got about 8 more quality weeks of training, and – oh – I’m out of town for 2 of them.  I have some base building work to do before I really know for really reals I have this shit in the bag, and I didn’t want to do it too early and fizzle boom like marathon training in December.  But it’s time to push beyond Olympic distance work and jump into half iron quality volume.

I’m excited to finally open up and really see what I’m capable of sustaining in two months of training.  My body (until this week) has really cooperated and taken the beating and said “thank you ma’am, may I have another”.  It’s all about walking the line of what I’m capable of back to back to back.  I’m down to 1 planned rest day per week (and occasionally, I’ll push a short workout or weights to that day due to time constraints).  I rarely have a day under an hour (and some days much, much more).

It’s exciting to have the opportunity and excuse to push so much volume training for a 70.3 with a side of marathon.  However, three things this week became apparent…

#1 I haven’t taken a PTO day all year.  Which means, besides showing up to all this training, I also show up to every hour of my 40 hour work week plus some.  I kept thinking about taking a long weekend just to rest and read in bed and hide away, but it’s never the right time.  I’m really feeling the motivation to get through the week take… more motivation.  I’m waiting for the crash, but thus far I’ve gotten through it.  Sometimes barely, but you do what you gotta.

I really hate taking unplanned time off because I leave people in the lurch being in charge of shit, so I never do it unless I’m on my deathbed.  I have vacations coming up soon, so I’m just banking on the fact that I am mentally tough and when I have a countdown, I can get through just about anything.

#2  I need to make sure I really respect the distances I’m putting in.  I may be able to get by with being stupid staying up late and having some drinks and not getting the proper rest occasionally when I’m training up for a half or a sprint or in the off season, but this is serious business.  Having a Sunday Funday after a race is an an expected setback, but normally it doesn’t wreck me into a day off.  Then a Tuesday Funday after a race (handled it and biked that evening), but then another Thursday Funday after a happy hour just sealed the deal.  Bad bad bad bad bad.  I should know better, especially during peak training.

8 hours is the minimum requirement most days, and if I happen to screw up one day, I need to more than make up for it.  Hangovers from either drinking way too much or drinking without eating properly do not work except for the rare occasion that I’ve planned for it and have a Sunday off or a super easy day to completely recover.

Also, stretching.  My weakness.  I’m not sure in what reality I thought it would be ok to log double digit hours of training and not properly stretch and foam roll (my new lover), but it bit me (literally) in the ass finally this week.  I have redeemed myself by making bffs with my ice pack, Zliten massages, shocky pads, and biofreeze, but it should never get there.  I felt invincible because all this strength training is making me a superhero ton of bricks, but it stops now.

I may legitimately have issues stretching sometimes (up at sunrise, come in the door at 9:30 from a long run, having to be to work at 10 and I need every minute) but it’s the exception to the rule.  Yoga needs to make a comeback during my downtime in the evenings when I have it, and foam rolling and I need to commune nightly.  You will never get me in a bath with ice cubes, but I feel like biofreeze is just about as awesome (and there is no escaping it), so I need to do all these things PROACTIVELY, not because I has an owie.

#3 Being self coached and not following a specific training program, I need to respect that this season is a whole lotta guinea piggin’.  Over the years, I’ve gotten to know how to prepare for races and what works for me, and what I can combine successfully race-wise.  This year though, I’ve done one new distance (dumbly) and am conquering two more this fall.  If I don’t hit every workout, I need to remember it’s not failure as an athlete, but more a fail as an amateur coach to be able to anticipate how my body is going to react, which is TOTALLY FINE.

I like being self coached because I have the motivation to do so, and I also have the freedom to switch around workouts as I see fit in my week, but I also have to have the forgiveness to realize when I’ve stacked the deck too high against myself and back down and be ok with either easing up or just completely bailing on a workout if I need.  I know which ones matter.  Long runs are non negotiable.  Weekend long bricks are important.  Getting in massive miles in some form or another on the bike are important.  Weights at least twice a week is also non-negotiable (unless your back/ass decides to die, like this week).  Swims are a little more optional.  Cutting a hard run/bike down to an easy run of the same mileage is fine.

There is a little bit of me that, when I miss a workout, is pissed and wonders if I’m just wussing out, but the vast majority of my brain knows that over the years, I’ve really come to know my body and brain, and sometimes you have to know when to fold ’em.  Just don’t wanna isn’t often a good excuse (but really, sometimes it is… mentally being checked out sometimes deserves an unplanned rest day too).  Waking up and feeling like your body and soul is crushed into little smithereens and you risk emotional/physical meltdown?  Time to try later in the day or shuffle things around or just bail on the least important thing in your week, curl up on the couch, watch bad TV and eat lasagna, and live to fight another day.

And…the GREAT:

The training I DID do this week rocked my socks off.

Tuesday’s splash and dash was actually amazing.  I was so flippin’ tired, but I was able to really have a solid (and better than last month) swim, and hang on through a run that was only slightly slower during a totally and completely mentally checked out day.

Wednesday, I hit the trainer and logged 40 miles from about 7:15 to 9:30 pm.  The movie I watched (Transformers Dark Side of the Moon or some crap like that) sucked, which might have contributed to slowing my pace, but it was mostly that my legs felt like stumps and keeping about a 17 mph pace, which is usually cake, was HARD HARD HARD.  About 30 miles in, they finally woke up and I did that last 10 much faster (though still in cruise pace).

Then, knowing double digi runs are really hard for me to do in the AM before work,  I ate a snack and promptly went to bed.  Sleep even came pretty quick which was thankful as I had an alarm literally 8 hours after I finished the bike.  I always set my alarm early on long run days, and usually snooze the crap out of it and have time for +/- a 10k.  I actually got up at 6:20 and got out the door this time by 6:50, so I had plenty of time.  It was me vs the road.

My legs were DEAD to start with and my only goal this run was to cover the mileage and get to work by 10.  I stuck in the low 11s, even dipping into the 12s, occasionally dipping into the 10s downhills, but thankfully it was pretty cool and overcast, so it was, again, feeling like a great, awesome, ez, cruise pace run.  I found, again, that my legs woke up as the mileage went on, so mile 4, I was like UGGGGGGH 8 more to go.  At 8, I was like, hey, only 4 more, awesome.  Once I hit 10, I sped up, and once I hit 12, I wasn’t really ready to be done.  I had at least a few more miles in me.  I was at 11:30 mi/pace, which is definitely EZ cruise pace, but the fact that I had miles left in the tank made me happy.

If on lower mileage pre-work run days, I have a runners high, let’s call this a runner’s OD.  I was SO FUCKING PUMPED.  If I could rock a 40/12 ON A WEEKDAY, that’s so almost close to my half IM distances.  Simply doing 12 miles before work made me so flippin jazzed, but doing it after 40 miles 8 hours before and feeling BETTER after made me just fly.

Then, later that day my back flipped out, but we covered that in  bad #2.

Also a note to the bad: Friday and Saturday were victims of bad #2 as well.  Friday, my back hated life and I was hungover so I skipped running, swimming, and/or weights in favor of rest so Saturday could happen.  Then, I overslept Saturday, and after discussion w/Zliten, we decided to bag it in favor of Sunday.  We discussed just toughing it out in the heat, ending our run in the 100s, or doing some/all inside at the gym, or splitting up the days, and decided that apparently our bodies needed another rest day and we did normal people things like shopping and errands and cleaning and it was amazing.

Woke up Sunday at 6-something after crappy sleep and was like OH NO NOT AGAIN.  However, though I was tired, my body felt ready and I felt much more like a person, so it was go time. We hit the water a little later than we hoped (7:25, goal was 6:30) but swam like champs.  Zliten rocked mostly freestyle for 1500m, and I practiced staying on his feet and drafting and form.

I was not ready for the swim to be done.  I wanted MOAR (like normal).  However to my delight/chagrin, it was still cloudy and looked like storms.  The swim was what I was looking forward to (and not the rest) so I asked Zliten if he thought we should bag the rest due to impending storms and he thankfully told me to nut up, 20% chance was odds we could deal with, so onto the bike we went.

I wasn’t expecting much out of the bike but it delivered anyway.  My back cooperated, and so did my legs.  I tried employing a new nutrition strategy, and it rocked – eat every 3 miles.  Maybe overkill on a longer ride, but I finished the ride feeling nutritioned but not overfull.  My goal is always to not eat on the run (hate hate hate) and it delivered.  I rode around 16 mph, which isn’t hard for me, but not a spin in the park, and only got a little winded once on the last climbs.  Again, when we parked at 20.5 miles, I was kinda wanting more bike miles but we still had a monster run.

I was worrying about my stiff back, and Zliten has a little bruise on his foot, so we went out eeeeeaaaaasssssyyyy.  We walked a bit, then jogged about 12-13 min miles.  The weather was holding at cloudy-ish, but the sun peeking out at times was uuuuuuuggggghhhh.  I yelled at it and made it go back.  It mostly worked.  Lap 1 was all easy cruise, with chatting and dance party antics ensuing.  Lap 2, Zliten grew tired of my antics and we just chilled.  I tried not to focus on my garmin and the sad pace, but I knew that it was good for me.

Around the middle of lap 3 – after a few walk breaks, I realized my back was hurting MORE during the slow and walk breaks, so I bid him adieu for the last 2 miles after discussion, and ramped up to around 10 minute miles.  My stride felt better and thus did my back, and taking it easy made my tank still pretty full.  Around 8.5 miles I passed the water and was like WHEN I FINISH IM GOING THERE and engineered my route so I hit 9 right around the water.

I passed Zliten at that point, high 5d him, as he said “.3 to go” and I said “I’m going THERE” to which he said “take off your SHOES” (I also had on my zune, garmin, camelback, sunglasses, visor, and other stuff, but he was concerned that moment about my SHOES).  I shed all my shit, got in, sighed relief, and started stretching and loving life.  I feel like I had another lap in me, but I was sure happy to be in the water and done if that’s how the day was going.

So, while it sucked how tired I was this week, and the weights + swim I skipped, and that I took off THREE days when I planned to take off one, I feel great about what I accomplished on tired legs.

Next week looks like this:

MONDAY: 2000yd swim + weights
TUESDAY: triple bricks (15 mile bike, 3 mile run) + weights
WEDNESDAY: 2000 yd swim
THURSDAY: 13 mile run
FRIDAY: weights
SATURDAY: 56 mile trainer + 13 mile run

No two races this week.  No happy hours.  No plans whatsoever minus some birthday party action on Saturday night (hence: day off Sunday), so I hope to make good on being the laziest person I know outside training times and work and get lots of sleeeeeeep.

While I am not actively pursuing this as I am now enjoying some Sunday Funday on my patio with some vodka, I plan to quit that shit early and sleep many hours tonight.  I’ll try not to be a dumbass for the next few weeks but I do have a straight up goldfish brain so we’ll see.

Question of the week: what’s your kryptonite?

They Can’t All Be Winners – Couples Tri and Splash and Dash

To know pain is to really know pleasure.

To know disappointment is to really know triumph.

To have some “meh” races is to really appreciate the good ones.

There is no real dramatic story here.  I didn’t spectacularly fail.  I didn’t injure something.  I didn’t crawl across a finish line.  I’ve never done a July race before, and maybe it’s just not my month.  Maybe you just have a limit of races you can crush per year, and I’m saving mine for later.  Couples was race 13 for the year, and maybe it was just unlucky 13.

Going into Couples, I was both excited and sorta …eh…  The exciting part was I got to race with my Zliten (triathlons are usually split in age and gender specific waves – this one was by what sort of couple you were so we started together with all the married under 70 combined couples), and I was going to get up mother fucking carnage hill this time.  Meh, because it was at Decker Lake, which is not my fave, and double meh at the run course on grass and sticks and yuck.

We never really got the race woogies.  We just kinda did our thing.  Set up the gear.  Practice transitions the night before.  Pack all the things.  Neither of us could sleep, and then finally when we DID fall asleep, it started pouring which woke us up.  I was working off ~4 hours of sleep which was NOT working for me.  The normal tea late in the AM made me functional, not amped like normal.

We got there, racked our bike as close to bike in/out as possible, hit the portas, got the rest of the stuff out of the car, and set up transition.  What was going right was the early morning forecast said 70-85% chance of rain, but as the sun came up it was apparent that wasn’t going to be the case.  Sunny, and almost no clouds in the sky.  Yay, no rain.  Boo, no clouds, so it would be hotter.

We did our normal run warmup, slow out, race striders back, and went to finalize transition and I realized – CRAP.  My shoes were muddy (*%&$ sticks and grass course!!), so I couldn’t do my norm of shoes on top of my visor and race belt.  I spent about 5 minutes mucking with different configurations and finally extended my towel a bit and placed things a little differently.  Zliten was laughing at my neuroses, but I have a plan for a reason, dammit!

We headed down and got a practice swim.  OMG bathwater!!!  I don’t mind it so much (gimme 85 degree lakes over under 70) but for some reason I associate Decker with cold because Rookie is always frigid.  We got out, walked around, found our tri friend Brian and our friend’s friend Elle and said hi, and then things were about to kick off.

We had discussed how weird it was going to be for both of us.  Zliten usually starts in one of the first waves (it usually goes open, under 29, then him), and I’m anywhere from slightly after halfway through, and in Pfluger, I was actually second to last.  He is used to, on the bike, getting passed by all the people.  I am used to maybe 2-3 gals with Project Rudy helmets and 10k$ bikes passing me and me passing all the rest of the people.  Our wave was just about smack dab in the middle, so it would probably be a combo of both.

Then, we were on double deck, then deck, then in the water, gave each other a kiss and hug, and got our swim on.  My focus this year is slowly increasing my swim intensity, to find the line between paddling along and redlining and blowing up, as well as being more aggressive around other swimmers.  I think I did well at the latter, at least, as I didn’t break my stroke every time I was jostled or touched.  I swam over a few people that were being obnoxious and backstroking or breaststroking in my way. I concentrated on being long and big and confident, and came out of the water feeling like I kicked ass at the swim.  I picked up my sandals and then I heard Zliten say something right behind me.  Holy crap!  I expected to beat him by a bit on the swim.

Swim Time: 21:57 for 800m (for contrast, see my 750m swim + transition below – something was WAY off)

We jogged to T1 together and I had to wait on him just a little, but really quickly we were off on the bike.  All went as planned.

T1 time: 3:58 (a little slower than normal)

This is where we started to realize that triathlon is really an individual sport and it was challenging racing every step of the way with someone.  He was off like a rocket on the bike, I took a while to clip in and get my legs going, so he slowed.  Then, a mile in, I’m off like a rocket charging up the hills and passing all the people, and I had to take it easier after a while because I was losing him.  This was the theme of the bike.  One of us would get ahead (usually me charging a hill but sometimes Z) and then slow down waiting for the other to catch up.  It really effed up the mojo.  I race my ass off on the bike, get to redline huffing and puffing, take a second to recover, and then do it all again.  It was weird to hit recovery, be ready to go, and then have to wait.

Six miles in was carnage.  After last weekend’s torture ride, I was certain I could do it.  I turned the corner as fast as I dared, and shouted my battle cry of ” CARNAGE IS MY BITCH!!!!” (yes, out loud, I’m sure my mother is proud) and got out of my seat and tore that hill a new one.  My proudest moment this race was not walking up this stupid effing hill.

However, as I’m going, I see Zliten slip off his bike.  I was not able to see to what extent.  I couldn’t deal with it, so I got up the hill, and unclipped, expecting the worst, having to go back down the hill and wait for him to recover.  As soon as I unclipped I hear GOGOGO!  That badass fell on a steep ass hill, his first wreck (his paint job has some major road rash), got back on the bike from a standstill, and got up it.  Yeah.  That rocked.

I remembered the second half of the course was rough, but I overestimated (I thought it was hill, hill, double hill, but it was only hill, double hill), so I got up the last hill and thought I had one more to go and was pleasantly surprised to be done and in good shape.  And then I coasted.  And coasted more.  ….and coasted more.  No Zliten. Then Zliten zoomed past me, and I took it easy to the finish like normal where he was pushing and wondering why I dropped back.

Bike time: 42:11 for 11.2 hilly miles- 15.9 mph (4 seconds faster than Rookie – LOL)

We got into transition and I had issues racking my bike, and he had to wait as I did the shoe switch.  “Do we really have to do this run now?” I said?  For some reason, I was just ready to be done.  I swam strong.  I got up carnage.  Isn’t that enough for a workday?  I guess not, because he said, “No, go go go…” and off we went.

T2 time: 1:46 (not too bad)

The run was equally awkward going together.  I get my legs a little faster than he does.  After the initial shuffle getting my race belt and visor on, I was ready to start cruising under 10s.  Zliten was not.  He kept talking about staying under 12s and I was like NONONO under 10s but it was not to be.  I stayed just a little in front holding my pace back.  Then we hit a hill and the “under 12s” became 9:30s.  YOU DON’T ACCELERATE UP A HILL DAMMIT.  He flew ahead, and then what goes up, must come down, and I flew past him because he had…slowed?  I mentally just got mad at the day, at the course, at not being able to run my pace, at Decker, at hills, at sticks, at the hot, sticky day.

My mouth became not of me, but of a sailor.  When I race by myself, I often mutter a lot of cuss words under my breath.  Well, racing with someone who is trying to talk with me, I started saying a lot of them louder than I should.  “Fuck fuck fuck fuck this course, fuck the sticks, fuck the hills FUCK THIS MOTHERFUCKING COURSE”.  Yeah, I did that as some random dude ran by and giggled at me.  Then  I looked at Zliten and said “TALKY TIME IS DONE” and shut up and ran.  I am a JOY to run with, let me tell you.

My ankles started hurting as we got ass deep in the sticks and twigs and rocks part from landing unevenly.  I cruised on the downhills and chugged on the uphills and made it a goal to just stay within sight distance of Z instead of running with him as we continued the passing dance.  About mile 2.25 it turned, and it was sticks and twigs and rocks and uphill as far as the eye could see.  I knew the hill lasted pretty much until the last quarter mile of pavement, which was still uphill.

I just lost it.  On a fucking sprint tri 5k, I started walking.  In my head, our run time was already just awful, so fuck it, why bother chugging up that hill?   I walked a bit, then ran, then I saw Zliten ahead of me walking so I ran to catch up with him, and then he starting running and I said “fuck that, I’m walking” and we walked up the stupid hill.  He tried to get me going again sooner, but I was done.  We had already screwed the run.  I made us walk to the aide station, and got water, and saw the pavement.

In MY HEAD, that was time to make the shit up and I took off running like a bat out of hell to the finish, but Zliten asked me to slow down (apparently he was not ready to run Olympian paces), and we cruised into the finish line.

Run time: 33:27 for 3.2 miles (10:26 pace) UGH UGH UGH UGH.

Total time: 1:43:19.  Double UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH.

Ten minutes slower than Pf for BOTH of us.  We both had really underestimated how rough it would be to essentially have to account for both of our weaknesses together on the tri.  I’ve cruised the Rookie run both years at 9:30-ish and really didn’t think that adding an extra mile would screw with my mojo as much as it did.

Mentally, I am happy with how I handled it.  I didn’t need the win that bad that day.  No bawling in the bathtub.  I’ve been hitting my run paces well off the bike in training, so I can write that off as just a sucky course and a weird day.  I beat carnage.  I still have no idea how my swim was that slow, but it is what it is.  I improved my bike pace (by seconds), even with the oddity of trying to stay with someone, and while it wasn’t magic like Pf, it was a solid day at the races.  We showed up and got it done.  They can’t all be unicorns and rainbows.  And, I got to do it every step of the way with Zliten – even though we both agreed we may have been able to eek out some extra minutes solo – it was super fun to keep him in my sights all morning! 🙂

Then, around 6am that morning, I figured out that I had wrecked something in my shoulder, as I woke up IN PAIIIIIN.  Four hours of sleep Saturday plus less than 6 hours of sleep Sunday = UNHAPPY grumpy melodramatic Quix.

I posted things to social media like:

“Tired at the core of my soul today. And my shoulder and neck are out of whack. I want so badly to take painkillers and sleep.”

To which some tweeps gave some some undeserved sympathy, as some lunch and less than half a cup of regular octane Earl Grey tea fixed me.  I don’t usually bend to the will of caffeine, but I had a very important work meeting, and I realized how out of it I was when I got on the microphone in front of the whole company(200 employees) like I do each Monday and rambled and lost my train of thought.  I recovered, but I knew I had to do SOMETHING to fix my leaky brain.

Even though I felt better, I knew that I shouldn’t use my chemically fueled awakeness, and decided to bail on my 2000 yd swim and weights anyway and just rest.  Zliten was awesome and rubbed my shoulder and cooked me dinner and I zonked on the couch and relaxed and got great sleep last night.

However, one of my worst race day fears was realized as I woke up this morning, and it was that one day of the month I want to curl up in a ball and die.  And instead of that, I was to have a hectic and mentally challenging day at work, and then RACE right after.  Yeah, I was really into that idea retaining water, completely fatigued and run down, and rife with CRAAAAAMPS.  Plus, my shoulder was still a little owie.  Then the weather said it should be around 96.  Yeah, please, anything but a splash and dash….

I got through the day aight, but felt the ache pretty bad this afternoon.  I decided my attitude going into it was going to be that since I was already in pain, I’d be used to pain, so the extra pain wouldn’t matter, right?  That was to be my silver lining.

We got there, got our chips, set up transition, did a very short warmup run in which I felt pretty bleh, and then got in the water and warmed up the arms.  The good news of the day was I felt AWESOME in the water and my shoulder had decided to play nice.  I decided that I wasn’t going to let myself off, and my goal was 38:11, at least one second faster than I did last month.

The dudes were off, and then 3 mins later, so were we.  I decided since I felt great in the water, I wanted to really push the swim.  I focused on drafting off ladies that were going about my pace, but sprinting past them when I felt like I had it.  I felt more confident and strong in the water today than I ever have.  When ladies got near me, I didn’t get flustered, but I either got around them, or swam over them (whichever was appropriate).  I kept a really strong (for me) pace and worked on getting ahead of people.

On the way back to shore, my kryptonite happened again.  Two girls were both slightly ahead of me, and squeezing me.  Last time,  I dropped back.  This time, I held my space and started sprinting and got ahead of them instead.

Not going to lie, I was more out of breath at the end of this swim than the last, but I felt great about it, and while my run was slower (yeah spoiler alert, whatever), I don’t think it was because of what I did in the water.

Swim+ transition: 18:56 (19:09 last month)

I got out, transitioned, and got running.  Last month, I was mentally in each step, pushing, looking at my garmin all the time, trying to keep my pace at a certain point.  This time, I just didn’t quite have *that*.  I more ran by feel, trying to keep my pace as low as I could, but I wasn’t doing the math and calculating and digging each and every second – I really zoned out a lot of the run and tried to keep the pain and tireds at a manageable level.  I can remember what I was thinking almost every step of the last run.  This one was sort of a haze, following one girl who was running just about my pace and just getting through the 3 laps.

Run: 19:37 for 2.05 miles (19:03 last month)

750m swim + 2.05 mile run – 38:34 total (38:12 last month)

I finished about 20 seconds slower than last month (my swim+ transition was 13 seconds faster, but my run was 35 seconds slower).  Considering I could have described my mood and attitude as tired, shitty, exhaused to my core, crampy, bloated, braindead, pissy, dramatic, and NOT WANTING to do anything but curl up on my couch, I’ll call that a freakin’ win even though it wasn’t.

Tonight – one more great night of sleep and sleeping in, and a mellow 40 on the trainer tomorrow, and then Thursday resumes normal badassery and ramping up for the half IM.

They can’t all be winners.  But now the eggs are all in the Kerrville basket, and the rest of these are just playtime.  So onward and upward (in amount of miles, certainly).

What is your worst race day (or work out day) fear?

Mental Floss

One of the things I’m pushing this year with my training is faster recovery.  Weight training on back to back days.  Now, running on back to back days.  Two-a-days.  Running/biking/swimming on tired legs/arms.  To do an endurance event that’s going to take me potentially around 7 hours of constant hard effort, I’m going to need to understand what it is to start out tired and push through.

I’ve done very calculated steps to get here, constantly testing the water, putting a toe in and see how it feels before getting in.  First it was the weights – working up to it until I could handle 3 times per week even if it’s Monday night/Tuesday morning working the same muscle  groups.  Then, upping the workouts, adding two-a-days 1-2 times per week.  Then, adding multiple brick workouts per week.  Then, running on back to back days.  I’ve definitely gotten harder, better, faster, and stronger.

However, my two real worries right now (besides that whole marathon thing, but we’ll ignore that for now):

-Biking.  I need more long ride experience.  I need more hilly ride experience.  The trainer is helping for long, but it’s definitely not quite the same as an outside ride.

-Running off the bike, and not in the normal triathlon way.  I feel just fine off the bike (due to much, much, much practice with the bricks), but I’ve never done more than 10k off the bike.  I kept trying to get myself to do 3 loops around PF, but due to heat, blisters, tireds, time crunch, whatever, we’ve not done more than 2.

Saturday, I had almost 5 hours of outside-y, heat training, hill biking, fear-conquering, cojones-building, mind-steeling workouting.

I’m on the mailing list for one of our local tri-shops – Jack and Adams Bicycles.  They do the whole TX Tri series, and a lot of other races, and they have a Sunday shop ride we always wanted to make it to, but never have had a chance (because, well, I freaking hate morning workouts on Sundays…unless I’m racing).  I was excited to hear that they were doing shop rides EVERY DAY in celebration of the tour.  So at 6:45am, we showed up.

And we were the ONLY people who didn’t look like this:

Luckily, our new tri-friend Brian (who is doing the whole TX Tri series as well) showed up too and when we got dropped as quick as you could say “peleton”, we called ourselves “Group B” and used the turn by turn directions they gave us to complete the course anyway.

It was called “medium mountains”.  I called it every one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words at least, oh, twenty times.  This is one thing about training with friends.  If this was just me, I think about 3 miles in, when we were still climbing hills without respite, I might have turned around (I wanted to with every fiber of my being).  Somehow, I got through it.  I stopped at lights and unclipped like a champ (a really clumsy, slow, champ, but I didn’t fall OK?).

And then, we turned onto freaking 360.  A highway.  With entrances and exits and cars going freeway speeds.  Aieeeeeee.  Not to mention hiiiiiiillls.  I got close to 35mph white knuckling down some of these fuckers, riding the brakes as much as I dared saying “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck” the entire time.  Oddly enough, I didn’t die.  I did find out that I’m an extremely good coaster.  For some reason, I fly past people on hills without even pedaling.

When we were on the way to J&A, Zliten joked that we would probably ride up to the house.  Well, when studying the turns, we realized – we would come about half a mile from the house.  At least I had a ripcord there.  Worst case, we could ride home, take car #2 and pick up car #1 later (I was really feeling stranded and a little scared out there).  Then, we hit freaking Far West.  There were some nice climbs and rollers, and then we hit a street that seemed to just ascend to the heavens, after a turn – so no momentum.  Zliten and I got off and walked up it (it really just took us by surprise), and Brian said he was potentially seeing pink elephants on the side of the street trying to get up it (my summary, not his, but the sentiment was there) but he made it (and then waited for us, nice guy).

After our dose of humble pie, we started rolling again and getting into more familiar territory.  The ride back to the shop was actually pretty nice, down mostly familiar streets, lots of downhills.  We made it in about 2h30 (with a few stops), where the “pros” were supposed to take no more than 90 mins.  Ha!

Here’s another point where I am so flippin’ glad I am training with people.  I was ready to bag the run.  Completely.  It was just starting to get STEAMY, it was much later than expected (instead of the 8:30 we expected it was 10am), and the hills and, frankly, the mental floss needed to get through that damn ride beat me up.  However, I had Zliten, who I PROBABLY could have talked out of the run or talked down in miles, but we also had Brian along with for the ride.  So we all looked at each other and said, “Still up for the run?” “Yep!” “10?” “Sure!”…. and being the prideful little shit I am, I wasn’t going to be the one to beg off a shorter distance.  So, off we went after refilling our camelbacks and handhelds at Jack in the Box and nuuning up again.

It indeed was STEAMY as hell but the first couple miles were ok.  At least running is probably not going to leave me splatted on the side of the road or toppled over on the way up a hill.  Right around 3-4 though, Zliten’s heart rate monitor kept going off, and showing numbers like 190, 200, 255, 272 (the two latter of which I’m pretty sure are heart rates that are completely un-possible), and we ignored it for a while, but after a while, we instituted a walk half a mile, run half a mile and figured we didn’t care about the time, just the miles.  It was the slowest 10 miles I’ve ever done at somewhere around 14 min mi pace, but I did run the last mile at least.  After seeing that our ending temp was 99 degrees, I felt less like a wuss, and even though it was slow, it was 2+ hours on feet training after a long hard bike.  Kerrville will not be that hilly.  Kerrville will not be that hot.  If I could get through that, I can do Kerrville.  Even going that slow (which there is no flippin’ way I would) I’d make the Kerrville cutoff no problem.

And suddenly, last weekend, I’m about 90% confident about my ability to finish the half iron, up from probably about… 50?

The long and short of this is that really, everything endurance-related is less monumental for me to work on right now than stepping up my mental game.  I’m not sure when I started giving up during workouts.  I’m certain it had to do partly with gaining weight.  On the way down the scale, I COULD DO ANYTHING but on the way up, I’ve started to doubt what a nearly-obese gal can do.  A nearly obese gal certainly can’t run as fast as someone who was just about a normal weight.  It’s ok if I give up on these hills on the bike because I just don’t look the same in the mirror as I used to.  It’s ok if I don’t make it through marathon training because maybe 179 pound girls aren’t meant/don’t deserve/haven’t earned the right to run that far.

Well, this Saturday, after that long ass day of bikin’ and runnin’, and later drinkin’ – I passed the pull up bar on the way to bed.  Zliten said to me, “do a pullup” to which I said “No, no, I’m too tired, I’m sore, I can’t do one any way.”  That damn thing has been up there for at least 2 years taunting my ass.  After he egged me on more I said “FINE” and gave it a go.

Lo and behold, I DID MY FIRST FUCKING (jumping to get to about 90 degree bend, but still…) PULLUP of my adult life.  That’s something a nearly-obese gal can do that the smaller Quix could absolutely not before.

And apparently my workout plan has just been missing utter exhaustion and whiskey.  Noted.

Usually after Saturday’s epic-ness  I take Sunday as a rest day.  This week, I wanted to break 100 bike miles (100.05 thank you very much!  And half outside even!) so I trainered for about an hour.  Yesterday, I skipped my swim due to lightning (apparently it’s unsafe to swim even inside), but rocked the weights a little harder and longer.  Then, this morning, sans my normal day off to relax, and without a swim to loosen me up, I WAS SORE.

I got on the bike with no hope for anything decent, but I settled into 20mph on the trainer pretty easy.  I was NOT looking forward to this run at all.  I got out there, and at first it was like trying to run in mud (especially because my short course, the first half mile is uphill), but my legs got the hint fairly quickly that we were moving and they couldn’t stop me.  I ran my ass off and knew that my garmin was screwing up, so I had no idea of the pace. 1.6 mystery miles.  The second trainer session went even faster, and I did the mile course due to time constraints.  I was incredibly pleased with my 1 mile – 8:49 effort, especially because it didn’t feel completely like death, like the first one.

Well, once I figured out the time + distance of my first run, it was another 8:49 paced run.  Take that, brain who figured my legs would be too tired to run fast!

I am ready to dominate another sprint tri run course on Sunday.  Gotta love double brick workouts.  Gotta love getting your head in the game.  Gotta love shedding doubt and just rocking the faces off some training.  Here’s the specifics….

Training for the week:

X MONDAY: 2000 yd swim +weights
X TUESDAY: 40 mile trainer + lunch weights
X WEDNESDAY: 2000 yd swim, 20 (16) mile bike
X FRIDAY: 5 (3) mile run + weights + 1.75 mile walk
X lololol arg (Zliten’s comment) SATURDAY: 20 mile trainer + 10 mile run (or 26-30 mile hill ride and 10.3-.6 run depending on who’s garmin you look at)
X SUNDAY: EZ 20 (18) mile trainer

4000 yd swimming
100.5 miles biking (46 outside, 54 on trainer)
13 miles run, ~2 miles walked

This Week’s Plan:

July 9: RACE WEEK (Couples)
X MONDAY: 2000yd swim +  weights
X TUESDAY: triple bricks (15 mile bike, 3 mile run) + weights
WEDNESDAY: 7 mile run (or 25 mile ride + weights)
THURSDAY: 25 mile ride + weights (or 7 mile run)
FRIDAY: 3 mile run AM
SUNDAY: COUPLES TRI (800yd swim, 11 mile bike, 3 mile run)

2800 yd swimming
50 miles biking
16 miles run

Things marked in BOLD ITALICS have been skipped and may or may not be made up.  Since it’s a race week, I’m allowing a little rest and recovery so I can hit it HARD again next week with major milezzzz *salute*

Not much else went on this week (had a very mellow 4th at home and weekend at home) so I’ll leave you with that.

Halfway There (Week 1)

It’s July peoples!  Half of 2012 is over, can you believe it?  I am definitely feeling like I’ve accomplished a lot this year, but there’s a lot more to go.

Like training for a marathon in November, with a heaping helping of half ironman training on the side.

Ya know, no big d.  *flails*

It really hit me late last week that both a) I didn’t have a plan yet and b) this is GO TIME.  I’ve got 2 solid months of training for the half iron (September is hit or miss due to races and vacations), and then it’s taper for Kerrville.  I think what’s freaking me out MORE is then I have 3 real training weeks after Kerrville, and then it’s taper for RnRSA full.  Seriously, I’m just about certain that late November and December are going to be full up with underwater basket weaving.  None of this silly run bike swim stuff that I’ll be incredibly O.D.ed on by then.

I spent some time freaking out and making peace with the fact that I’ll probably have to get up BUTT ASS EARLY before sunrise at least once per week to get the long run in before work to save Saturdays for brick work and mostly preserve Sunday as my rest day unless we race on Sunday (in which case Saturday or Friday would be it).  I watched some gymnastics Olympic trials and remembered that when I had a really hard goal in gymnastics (moving up 2 levels in one year), I dug in and went right after school from 2:30-9pm each weekday, and came in for Saturday optional workouts in the afternoon.  I surely could get up ONE day when it’s dark and run a bunch of miles.  So, done and done.  Peace made.

It took most of the weekend, but I have a working plan from now through Nov 11.  I’ll definitely be keeping it flexible and making sure that my body can both handle what it has coming for it, and that I am doing things that progress me towards my goal.  I’ve built in 1-2 rest days per week and stepback weeks (especially during travelling times), but I’ll be listening to my body and take extra rest when needed.  Better to miss half or a whole workout to get some recovery then injure myself or get super burnt out.   I don’t really have a rhyme or reason as what I’m doing when, other than incorporating race plans, work schedules, vacation, social plans, and the desire to have some semblance of a life, and also trying to rotate my focus each week while increasing volume.  I pretty much took the miles from the FIRST (run less, run more), and alternated to somewhere between about 50-100 bike miles each week, and fit in swims where I can (about 2x per week, but some weeks only once).

It may not be a perfect plan, but it is our plan and it will get us there.  I’ll share it with you all week by week.

July 2 – July 8 – Week 1
MONDAY: 2000 yd swim +weights
TUESDAY: 40 mile trainer + lunch weights
WEDNESDAY: 2000 yd swim, 20 mile bike
FRIDAY: 5 mile run + weights
SATURDAY: 20 mile trainer + 10 mile run (or Jack and Adams ride then run)
SUNDAY: EZ 20 mile trainer

Also, since it is halfway through the year, let’s revisit the New Years Resolutions, shall we?

1.  Take care of this weight problem that keeps creeping up without sacrificng the quality of my food/going insane.

Well, I’m the same weight as I was when I wrote this.  That’s something.  Also, I’m much more muscular than I was when I wrote this.  My mother called me “a brick wall” the other day.  I’m taking it as a compliment.  Would I love to lose some?  Totally.  I will be thrilled if I can end the year less than I started, even if it’s just a few lbs.

2.  Work/industry goal:  play more games, read more, and come up with my own game pitch as practice.

Games: working on it, some weeks are better than others.  Reading: working on it.  I seem to do GREAT with this on vacation but not at home.  Game Pitch: haven’t even started. D’oh!

3.  Race/workout goals:

Finish a marathon, a century ride, and a half ironman.

Did a metric century (I’ll count it for the year).  Signed up for both marathon and half iron.  Should complete this major goal by the end of the year as long as all goes well and a piano doesn’t fall out of the sky and hit me on the head…

-Note that with this goal, I’m NOT making the next goal to PR everything (minus sprint tris).

Check.  No PR worthy attempts on my half marathons or 5k.   I guess I auto PR’d my first (real) duathlon, my 10 miler, and my metric century rides though because they’re new distances.

-Really concentrate on my bike times.  This is the best place for me to improve my tri times.

Check.  The trainer pwns my face (plus shorter rides outside) at making me a harder, better, faster, and stronger cyclist.

-Complete all TX Tri Series races (6 tris in 5 months).  PR at least 1.

Two for two PRs thus far (3 mins for rookie, 8 mins for Pf).  Signed up for all of em!

-Take at least 3 months of the year not in training (off season) to mentally and physically rest.

Erm, let’s move on from here… I really and truly promise that November 12th starts underwater basket weaving season.

-Stretch after every workout.

Awww, crap.  Nothing to see here folks…

-Strength train 2x week (catch another crunchtime class at lunch?)

Hells yeah.  3x per week pretty much each week.  Another component of having such and awesome year and earning my right to run(bike/swim) back.

-Let’s try this again.  Run a race somewhere outside Texas.  I’ll have some opportunities next year, very likely San Diego.

Signed up for America’s Finest City Half Marathon in SD.  Check!

-Volunteer at more races.  I was able to volunteer once this year and while I think it’s what got me sick for vacation, it was a great experience.

Erm… I’ll volunteer at least once.  Racing twice a month has really made this hard to do…

4.  Start one major house renovation this year.  Likely, the windows.  First priority, the kitchen windows that have no seals anymore.  This has moved up from just a one liner to a line item.  We’ve spent way too long looking at some major things in the house that need changing and being lazy.  If we don’t do this, something else just as major that’s on the list (counters, bathroom, etc).

We need to get on this.  We really, really need to do something about the windows.  Worst case, I’ll take that vacation time I have in December and get some estimates.

5.  Yet again, more one liners:

-Get the office set up as an office/craft room, not a junk store room (we’re halfway there, it’s cleaned out, we just need to look for some furniture and decide exactly how we want to rearrange it and such).

Cleaned out.  Have not done anything with it.  I suppose one would need time to work on crafts to want to fix this up. See “learn to sew” below…

-Decide what to do with the savings now that we have some, that doesn’t incude something at 0.000145% like our savings account.

Took some and invested.   Need to look into more options though.

-Do more batch cooking so having healthy lunches and dinners available is easier.  It’s not my favorite thing to do but I’m going to get really sick of Amy’s and Annie’s real quick.

I’m finding that being mostly vegan during the week is helping me have healthy quick food that’s not from a package or can.

-Learn to sew. So I can modify my horrible men sized race tees. And maybe making skirts. And other stuff.

Not so much, maybe next year.  Need a sewing machine. 😛

-Learn the party rock anthem dance.  Every day I’m shufflin….day I’m shufflin….

Again, not so much… although if this is the one I have to not accomplish I’m probably ok.

So, not too bad.  Racing and training and work are kind of eating my year, so it’s a good thing I love racing and training and work. 🙂

Oddly enough, I don’t have that much MISC stuff (that’s the nice thing about.  Random things/thoughts of last week:

-Feel insanely lucky to have my life and be able to do what I do.  I may have a rough day here and there but sometimes I just get smacked in the face with how awesome everything is.  My complaints are incredibly trivial and my bounty is so large of awesomeness.  Hallo, gratitude!

-It was the first weekend at home and relaxing (well, after about 4 hours of training that morning) and it felt GREAT!  We saw Prometheus (which was a lot of fun), hung out with friends, grilled some yummy chicken, and just had a nice, relaxing weekend.

-Training mantra for this year from Prometheus(loose) quote: “Yeah it hurts. You have to not mind it hurting.”  (Whoever said this MUST be a run/bike/swimmer)

-It was hoooooooot last week (like, 106 degrees).  People were complaaaaaaining.  I’m sorry, give me 105 over under 40 any day.  At least when it’s 105 its sunny when I get out of work and I’m not freezing to death.  I love me some summer.

And that wraps up this edition of what’s going on in my life lately.

Question of the week: with 6 months down and 6 to go, how’s your 2012 goals coming along?  Making great progress? Need to dig in?

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