Adjusted Reality

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

Month: September 2015

Kerrville Race Report

Hoooboy.  Let’s get started, this is a long one.

Earlier race week, I got really sick, and then got better.  Bullet #1, dodged.  I actually had great sleep all week.  I ate according to plan and had two days of really great carb loading (400+ carbs, sticking really well to my other macros) and felt really rested and fueled and was ready to go by the time I tucked into bed around 8pm Saturday night.


Ugliest race shirt ever.  The logo is pretty cool, but the gold v-neck and the maroon stripes on the sides with white text that don’t actually match anything means this one is probably going right into storage…

I went to bed and drifted off to sleep around 10-ish and slept fairly fitfully and then… **TMI warning incoming** that lovely and wonderful time of the month came knocking like a drunken asshole at my door at 2am race morning, waking me up with killer cramps.  This particular 24 hours of each month is the one where I normally cancel or heavily modify my workout plans and sit on couch in a red meat, chocolate, and pain-killer stupor.

Racing really hard for 6-7 hours in the heat is generally OFF the plan those days.  But, hey, sometimes when you roll the dice, it comes up craps.  I don’t love racing on painkillers, so, I tried to suffer a bit and go back to sleep.  After being awake for 45 minutes in the fetal position, I said FUCK THAT NOISE and took 2 aleve.  That dulled the pain a bit, but after I slept a bit more, woke up, and ate breakfast, I took 1 more (my normal dose for cramps) because I still had twinges and said que sera sera.  The race was not happening without it.

It definitely impacted my ability to FEEL anything before the race.  Even with a full dose of purple stuff, I did all the things you do before a race in a stupor and I practically fell asleep in line to get in the water instead of bouncing around like I normally do and I totally ended up in the back of my age group because I didn’t pay attention, but all of a sudden it was 3, 2, 1, splash, and whether I was ready or not, the race had started for me.


This obviously wasn’t where we swam, but I LOVED our hotel pool!


It was quickly apparent that my top 2 gears were missing, but I just tried to roll with it.  The current this year ran perpendicular to the shore, which made it COMPLETELY not useful because most of the course was parallel so it was just this annoying side chop that kept pushing you off course.

My watch kept telling me paces that seemed pretty great so I didn’t worry about it, but I could definitely tell the effort wasn’t there.  I knew I was in trouble when I thought I hit the halfway point at 18 and was excited… then kept swimming and realized I was closer to the actual halfway point at 21.  My heart kind of sank and I just kept trying to plug away at it, but I knew I wasn’t going to have a stellar time.  I was cursing my lack of open water training in the summer, and the fact that I haven’t done more than 2000m but ONCE this year, but in retrospect, I think it was more the conditions of the day.

When I got out and saw 44, I was like… what in the actual FUCK?  I mean, I didn’t have a lot of gas but 2:17/100m pace is like paddle pace for me.  That’s 4 minutes slower than last year.  However, my watch did show 1.35 miles and while I went a little off course, I don’t think I went 250m off. 😛  Other folks said their swim experiences jived the same way so at least I felt better about it after the fact, but still, I was disappointed.

Also, I had to pee the whole frickin’ time and just couldn’t.  I am a master at the wetsuit pee.  That annoyed me.

I usually love the swim at Kerrville and instead was just cranky about it going into T1.  It was a crappy start to a long day.

Swim Time: 44:06, 2:17/100m, 7/13 AG


While I didn’t hit my sub-3 goal, I did actually hustle in and out of this quicker than last year.  Not being super winded from the swim helped, I think.  I saw Zliten at his rack and told him I had a terrible swim and I’d see him out on the bike course (he took off about 1-2 mins before me).

T1 Time: 3:56, 8/13 AG


I tried to get my annoyed attitude in check and figured if I had a great bike, I could easily make up some minutes from the swim.  I got out and going, and within the first half hour took down a gatorade and a caffeinated gel.  I was trying to knock out this crap headspace with rocket fuel.

At first, it worked.  My bike pace was pretty good, I passed Zliten on the bike and kept things pretty steady on the first lap.  Things started turning around.  I’m sure a lot of things happened in that 1:30+change it took for me to ride those 29 miles, but I don’t remember much of it, but I do remember feeling like my day was turning around.

Then, on the second lap, my cramps decided to make it known that they were NOT enjoying the idea of 56 miles of bumpy riding (ok, maybe only 40 of the 56 are bumpy, but still).  To someone who’s never had the privilege of menstrual cramps, let me put it this way: imagine you had a stomach ache – and you had to kick your stomach constantly for 3 hours.  I made up songs about my uterus hating Kerrville and sang them out loud.  I asked the universe to please, please make it stop.

And then, it nearly did.  Right before mile 50 is a steep hill.  I passed someone right before the hill, and then halfway up, they tried to pass me back.  They swerved out to the right and then when a car came through, they swerved again… RIGHT INTO ME.  I lost my balance but tried to reach out for them to steady myself on instinct, and then we both kind of fell down on top of each other.

FUCK.  It was the lowest of the low speed collisions, and I thought nothing of it at the time, but my handlebars are torn up, I have some painful bruises and some baby road rash, but you don’t notice any of that on race day adrenaline.  You just know that you and a bunch of other people that almost ran over you are walking up a steep fucking hill and wasting fucking time because fuckery.  Fuck. Can I swear a few more times?  I know I did on Sunday!


Day after.  It actually looks a little worse now, the bruises took about 2-3 days to really come out.  Every time I accidentally kneel on something it’s a world of pain.

Once I crested the hill, I got onto my bike and started to clip in and… um… something didn’t feel right.  I just kind of sat there and stared at my bike until this angel of a gentleman came by and asked what was wrong and I was just like “my bike isn’t working right” and he unclipped and I was like “no, no, don’t stop your race for me” to which he said “it’s not like I’m winning this thing, let me help”.  He helped me figure out what was wrong and held my bike up while I clipped in and it went forward, so I thanked him profusely and got on my way.

We went down the hill and then… about 5-6 more miles mostly uphill were left on the course.  And my bike wasn’t getting above 11mph.  Fuck.  At first I thought I was just slow, but I had a bunch of people pass me and ask me if my bike was ok, and I said “it’ll get me to T2”.  So, yeah, let’s add a fucked up back brake that rubbed the entire time to the list of casualties. After the race, Zliten showed me how I could have potentially fixed it temporarily, but it would have disabled my back brake, which seems a little dicey.

After about 30 minutes of straight mashing and seeing my average pace drop from above 18 mph to 17 to 16.4 by the end of that torturous 6 miles, I was flattened. I almost in tears and just never wanted to ride my bike ever again.  And it’s not as if my cramps had gone anywhere.  Not in the slightest.  Salt, meet wound.

I was thinking that the universe was punishing me for asking for a reprieve and having a bad attitude during the race, and that I was a weak triathlete and sucked and it was really funny that I thought I could sub-6 ever and I was over it.  Insult to injury – I caught a glimpse of the run course during this time and it was a long section without shade, and it was getting HOT.  I had serious thoughts about turning in my chip when I got to T2, and going to drink beer and float in the river instead of running that half marathon.

I FINALLY rolled into T2 and was so happy to be rid of the torture device that evilbike had become that morning.

Bike Time: 3:24:47, 16.4 mph, 11/13 AG 🙁


I walked my bike in.  I had lost all give a shit.  I racked my bike, dumped my run bag, and found my purple gatorade and took most of it down in about 3 seconds.  In my haze while thinking about how to drop the race, I took off my bike gear and found myself with my run gear on.  I figured that at the very least I should start the run and see if I got my legs under me and I should tell Zliten I was ok, and well, you just kind of run after biking if you’re a triathlete.  It’s what we do.  So, after the longest T2 ever (it was DECIDEDLY NOT HOT LAVA, I could have easily been out in under 2 minutes if I hustled), I got out onto the run course.

T2 Time: 3:41, 8/13 AG


Let’s just say that running with cramps is probably as uncomfortable as riding, just in different ways.  I got out on the course and ran the first mile the best I could, but it was obvious the run I wanted was NOT coming out of my body that day.  I ducked into a porta potty right before mile 1 and peed (fiiiiinally) and had thoughts of just sitting there and taking a break and seeing if the pain would go away.  Then, I realized I was in a stanky ass porta potty and got myself out of there.

I found my herbal muscle relaxers in my handheld and took them, figuring they’d help me out even if I dropped at some point, and then the first mile split at like 14 minutes.

I broke.

I started walking, saying fuck it, I didn’t care anymore.  I was over it.  I mostly wanted to tell Zliten I was alright so he wouldn’t worry, and I figured it would be the punishment I deserved to make myself walk 13 miles in the stupid hot 90 degree sun and I didn’t deserve to drink beer and float if I was this crappy of a triathlete.  Hormones + bad race + behind on my gels = huge mental downward spiral.  I am not a crier but I probably shed a few tears in the first 2 miles behind my sunglasses and might have had a full on meltdown if so many people weren’t looking at me on the out and back course.  I saw Zliten and told him what happened and that I didn’t know if I was going to finish the race and he gave me a big hug and I felt a little better.

Then, all of a sudden around mile 3, the 303s kicked in, the massive amount of gatorade I’d drank made me feel a lot better, and I started running more than walking.  I had lost any hopes at a even a PR on the last 6 miles of the bike and the first 3 miles of the run, but I could salvage things and have a better rest of my day.

I decided to take all the pressure off and stop trying for a specific time, but to just get to the finish as fast as I could without killing myself, running when I could and walk when I physically or mentally needed a break.  Just like last year, my run was in the 9s and 10s, it felt good to run that speed, I just needed to intersperse it with powerwalking in that heat and in the condition I was in (cramps + actually a little in pain from the bike crash, though I didn’t piece that fact together until way later).

I had a gel.  I started smiling and talking to people.  I let the kiddies at the aide stations fill my bottle even though it took longer.  I actually started to enjoy the run course and have some mad respect that on a different day, I could have a huge run here since it’s pretty gentle rolling… slight terrain changes?  I wouldn’t even say hills.  Totally runnable.  Just not after the day I already had on Sunday.

I caught Zliten halfway through the second lap, and we took a little walk break together, but we were on different speed plans that day (it would have absolutely broken me to run 12-13 minute miles and he couldn’t keep up with 10s when I was running) so we said adieu and I ran up ahead.

I watched my 2013 time tick by, and I watched 7 hours also tick by, but at that point, I was just happy I didn’t quit (and… let’s not tell him, but also happy that I beat Zliten even though I wish he had a better day too) and ran it into the finish.  Good thing too – to move up a place I needed about 30 minutes, but I beat the lady in 10th by about 30 seconds.  That’s something.

Run Time: 2:53:10, 9/13 AG, 13:13 min/mile.  Whatever.  For a split of about 50% run and 50% powerwalking, I’m at peace with this.

When I started the run I didn’t even feel like I wanted a medal for this race but I actually wore the fucker for two days.  I earned that one by sticking it out and not quitting on a really tough day.

Total Time: 7:09:42, 9/13 AG


Parting thoughts:

I’ve had a great 2015 tri season before this race, and eventually you have to have one spectacular explosion, I guess, but I do regret that it was my biggest race of the year in which I don’t have another crack at the distance for… probably at least another year.

If I wasn’t rolling right into marathon training, I would consider signing up for the same distance at the end of next month (Austin 70.3) and trying to roll my fitness into a better performance, but I think I’d rather just stick to the plan and let this one go.

Both Zliten and I are really thinking long and hard about how to proceed from here.  We had been talking about doing an Ironman in early 2017, but we’re really reconsidering that after this race.

I love the long course training.  I’m a workhorse.  I was kind of looking forward to the ramp up and riding my bike for 5 hours and long runs more often and more training hours, but it’s the racing part that frustrates me.  I just feel like I fall apart in these long 4+ hour races and I’m sick of it.

I can be solid in sprints and olympics and the 5k to half marathon distances on down for running.  I wouldn’t say I’m awesome at them, but I’m a lot LESS BAD.  Sometimes, even age group competitive – I’m not often taking home medals, but I’m regularly finishing top 1/3 or 1/4 and I’m starting to think about incremental improvements over the next year or two that I might actually be able to start racing for at least third more often in the smaller races.

But I’ve always wanted to climb the mountain.  Especially if it made me fall down the first time.

As a kid singing, all I wanted out of life was to be a soprano with the high lilting voice and all the cool solo parts.  I would always audition for those roles even though I had a deep (and pretty decent) alto type voice.  Maybe if I would have stopped forcing it and went with what I was actually good at, I might be able to have done something with it.  I just have this stupid desire to climb the mountains if the mountains are there, even if maybe I don’t have the right equipment.

If I suck at it, it’s just something I need to bang my head against until I’m good, right?  In my 20s, I sought to get out of a job title I actually liked a lot because it was too easy.  I was actually really good at it at the get go.  I instead took the harder one that I frankly sucked at and it felt uncomfortable and took me MANY years, but I’m finally good at it.  Really good.  And I grew in ways I wouldn’t if I hadn’t gone this route.

But… maybe that’s not the answer to everything.  It sucks to suck at things.  You have to have passion to suck at something for years.  When you suck a little bit less each year, it’s at least comforting you’re making progress.  But this year, I sucked more at 70.3 than I did the last two years.  Sure – there were mitigating circumstances.  I’m almost not even talking about the total time.  I’m talking about the INCREDIBLE meltdown and bad attitude I had all over the course.  I thought I was over that as an athlete.  I guess not.  I didn’t give up, but I was really close.

Maybe I’m the bee – at it’s weight and body shape it has NO CHANCE of flying via the laws of physics.  All the laws of time and space forbid it to get off the ground.  But, as they swarmed me as I rolled my stupid broken bike ridiculously sticky with splashy gatorade out of transition, (oh, right, another thing on the bike – I forgot my aero bottle sponge so my liquid went everywhere with every bump…)  I was reminded they fly somehow even though they’re not supposed to.

EDIT: ok fine, after research, that’s not totally true.  But I like the analogy.  So, shut up, science. 😛

Then again, maybe I’m just the freaky kid in a bee costume jumping and buzzing around.  That’s probably more likely. 🙂

I’m less than 3 days out of racing and still feeling incredibly raw.  I pegged myself as annoyingly fine the day after the race.  I was barely sore.  Then, over the next 48 hours I found bruises and scrapes and my brain still feels like it’s wrapped in cotton and my legs still groan at stairs.  A bit less so after 3 sleeps, but I’m still getting emotional thinking about this stuff.

It may have not been every inch I had in my body, but seven hours of mental gymnastics, raging emotions, and mood swings, not to mention the actual physical toll of running, biking, and swimming in the hot sun for 7 hours, takes a lot out of you.  Post race evening, I thought I might go for a shakeout run the next day – ha!  It’s clear that physically I can use a break, but probably more so mentally.  After a disappointing race, it’s SO difficult not to just start training hard the next day (well, if I fucked this up, I just need to train more), but that is a recipe for disaster.


Either way, you don’t make big decisions in this condition. You eat the gawddamn half lb hamburger and fried pickles you’ve been craving for 3 weeks but they’re too much fat, and you wiggle around the house with your post race inflammation on display while you drink some beers and sit on your ass for a few days.

I’ve got my my course set for about the next 6-9 months, and I’ll start out on that path mid-October and see if it’s the one I should continue to follow.  I’m excited to set out on a run build after this little break and maybe see about two more cracks at long distance racing to see if there’s any joy to be found there this year.  At the very least, the simplicity of shoes on, out the door, sounds awesome.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the fall holds for me.

Kerrville Goals/Intentions Post

I wanted to wait until later in the week to write this one.  When we last spoke, I was recovering from a weird flu-ish thing and I wasn’t sure how much it would take out of me this week.  The answer was that it actually gave me the right perspective – I shut all sorts of shit down that I hope will help me on Sunday.

This week, it’s obvious what I needed was early to bed book reading time and lots of good relaxation and sleep.  I may have stayed up a little too late one night reading, but over the last few, I’ve averaged a LOT of great zzzz time.

Did my best to let shit slide like water off a duck’s back this week.  Being sick made me too tired to care for a few days, and that helped me realize that que sera, sera with work and other random stuff.  The house is messy.  Stuff at work might be undone until next week.  Maybe there’s some packing to do.  What-freaking-ever.  I needed to chill about it.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at.  Trying to stay in my little bubble.  The one where it’s happy and positive and has all the carbs.  Garmins have carbs, right?


Race week has seen a few little pops here and there, even with recovering from the mystery funk.  Fastest time around the buoys at the lake so far – POP!  Race pace off the bike feeling like butter – POP!  I’ve tried not to be greedy and want to do more, and instead take those as little fireworks I can grab from my pocket and explode if I need on Sunday.

Since I am feeling good again, I’m ready to write the race goals I want without cringing and wondering if I’d be up for the task.  I’m ready to conquer at Kerrville and I’ll go after it.  It’s one of my A races, and the only crack at 70.3 this year, so I want to make it count.  HOWEVER: I have some epic things planned this fall. If I am not actually in fact feeling 100% – I’ll take the plan and spin it sideways.

Pre Race:

While I’ll save you the gory details, I have a full nutrition plan from the time I wake up on Saturday until after the race Sunday.  Then, all bets are off (until Tuesday morning, when I start eating like a normal human again).

I’ll also save you my Saturday schedule, but I want to make sure that a) we drive the bike course (we do it every year but it’s still nice to re-orient) and b) scope the new run course.  Drive the closest to it we can or bike down it.

I have enough extra run shoes to get a warmup run this year since my main pair needs to be nestled at T2 the night before.  Since we usually don’t get a warmup swim, I want to make sure to get a quick trot.


While I don’t love this forecast it is what it is:


Every time the “weather on the 1s” comes on our local news, I tell Zliten THIS 10 minute weather snippet is the one where the rogue cold front appears and we have a high of 75 on Sunday.  Hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll keep the faith…

In all honesty, I know there is jack and shit I can do to change it and I’m just glad I’ve been training in WAYYYYY worse.  A shady mid-80s run with a decent breeze will probably not kill me.


And, let’s get on with the actual race…


I’m a pretty good swimmer.  I’ve made some major improvements over the last year.  However, it definitely has not been my focus for the last 2 months, and I feel like I had a pretty great swim LAST year, so I’m not sure how much better I should expect to do.

Process thoughts:

Start mid-front of my age group line.  I pass a lot of people if I start in the back, which is fun, but inefficient swimming.  I always feel like people look at me funny when I head up to the front since I don’t exactly look like a contender, but this time, I’ll just be like… “bitches, I was top quarter in my last tri” and scoot on up there.

If I can find someone slightly faster to draft on, that would be EXCELLENT.  I think there will be a much better chance of that if I start about 1/3rd of the way in my heat (with the time trial start).

Try not to start quite as breathless as last year.  Get a good solid start and settle into a comfortably hard pace.  Keep focused on the swim and the stroke, and don’t space out.


Swim Time goals:

  • A+ goal – sub-35.  This is ambitious.  I could swim this in a pool, no problem but open water is another story.  Hopefully the current + race day + wet suit will help me out.
  • A goal – sub – 38.  Like, this is easier than my easy pace in the pool.  I should be able to hit this.
  • B goal – sub – 40.  I swam just over 40 mins last year, I’d like to beat that.


Last year I was pretty winded from the swim and took an extra MINUTE on 2013.  This year, my mantra will be “race is still going, recover on the bike”.  No need to get freaked out about high heart rate, I have like 10 miles of downhill on the bike following.

Process Thoughts:

In and out as quick as possible.  Any time I spend dicking around here, I have to make up on the course.  Who needs that?

Time Goals:

  • Sub-3 minutes.


Here’s the really ambitious goal.  I’ve had a pretty stellar cycling year.  My bike paces have been between .5 to 1 mph PRs.  I’m able to nail the ~17 mph I rode last year in long training rides not feeling like I’m racing.  I ride pretty fast on this course.  It’s a good one for me.  Before I smashed the hell out of it earlier this year at Cap Tex, it had my pace pace PR (for the sprint).

But… 1.4 mph over last year is going to be tough.  I don’t have enough power data to really ride this one by power so I’ll definitely be relying mostly on feel, which I’m pretty good at, and glancing at speed, heart rate, power, etc.

Process Thoughts:

Take in a gel every “side”.  There’s 4 sides.  Once during each side I need to eat foods.  Obviously, new gatorade at each exchange.

Ride aggressively, don’t get stuck behind people, make the most of that awesome mostly downhill section on the front end.  Treat the uphills like class segments.

Try to err on the side of high cadence vs smashing, but smash when smashing is needed.

Chasing down speeds (if I’m at 16.9 mph average, set a goal to hit 17.5 by mile 40, etc) have worked well for me in practice rides.  Do that when it makes sense.

Remember that certain higher power outputs can feel better than lower power outputs.  Switch around my cadence and gearing and do some faster pace work if my legs are feeling stale.

Recovery is for ONLY after you crest a hill and also get up to speed.

Aeeeeeero as much as possible.


Time goals:

  • A+ goal: sub-3 hours. Like I said, this is the one I feel like I’m LEAST likely of my A+s to hit, but… I was able to hold friggin 19.4 mph for 25 miles in May at Cap Tex.  18.7-ish is not completely off the wall.
  • A goal: 3:05.
  • B goal: 3:10.
  • C goal: 3:15.  I’m a much better cyclist this year.  I’ll be disappointed if I don’t beat my time last year.


I did really well here last year, and I even sat down for a sec to try and pee (no dice).

Process thought:

No dicking around, T2 is full of hot fucking lava.  Woman up and pee on the bike if you’re going to pee in this race. 😛

Time goal:

  • Did it in 2 and a half last year.  Sub-2.  Why not?


Ahhh, the run.  I have been having such amazingly phenomenal runs off the bike.  Even in the heat.  Even when the end of the bike sucked.  Let’s call it super great consistency, not “I’m due for a bad one”.  Because I’m not.  I deserve to fucking conquer this half ironman run.  Let’s roll with some more ambitious goals.

Process thoughts:

First mile is for settling in.  I know what race effort *should* feel like, and sometimes it takes a little bit to get there.  Whether I’m running 12s or 9s, the first mile will be no-judgies.

If for some reason I feel ah-may-zing, stick to no-faster-than-the-low-end of race pace on lap 1.  I don’t want to explode and walk the second lap.  If I’m still feeling great lap 2, I can run down the pace.

Cadence, cadence, cadence.  If I’m having trouble and pace is pissing me off, just work on shoving that cadence up to 90.

Looks like my excuses are out the window – the new run course is relatively flat and has shade.  Run it all!

If things start to suck, keep running and let time pass.

Stay in the moment.  The mile, the section, the step I’m on.  Internalize the process and focus on what I am doing right the fuck now.  Obviously this is my goal during the whole race, but I’m going to need to really hold to it on this run.


Time goals:

  • A++++++ goal: PR my half marathon.  Sub-2:08.  Let’s just leave this one hanging out there as super-ridic but I can’t lie – if I’m anywhere close I’m going to really go for it because I don’t have another crack at the distance planned this year.  I’d give this about a 1% chance but leaving myself open to the chance.
  • A+ goal: 2:15.  This would be a 15-min run PR for me, but pretty close to what I’ve been pegging as my race pace in practice.
  • A goal: 2:20.  This *should* be easy for me unless the heat is killer.
  • B goal: 2:25.
  • C goal: sub-2:29.  Yeah, I’m hoping I’ll be able to beat my time last year on an easier course with a run focus all year.

Overall, just one thought:

HAVE FUN.  I love this race, it’s the 70.3 I do every year because it’s awesome.  Even if I’m having a rough go at it, I can’t help smiling up and down this course.  I get to go swim and bike and run for a long time with a few hundred of my closest friends on a closed course with people tending to my every need!  What’s not to love about that?

2014-09-28 15.56.48-1

Time Goals:

  • A+ Goal: Sub-6.  A lot has to go right to hit this one, I need to really hit either that A+ bike or A+ run goal to have a shot here (and do well at the other discipline).  But it’s not completely crazy.  So, A+ goal it is.
  • A Goal: Sub-6:10.  Most of the math I have done on having a good day is somewhere around 6:03 or 6:08 or something, so I’ll be perfectly pleased to scoot on into the finish around that time.
  • B Goal: Sub-6:20.  If this happens, I’m having a decent day I’ll be proud of, but not an outstanding one.  Sticking this one in here so I don’t default-ly jump to “damn, I’m not going to make 6:10, well, let’s just jog it in”.
  • C Goal: Sub-6:30.  That would only be a 2 min PR, but depending on the kind of day I’m having, it could be a victory.

If you’re interested in following along with the fun, go ahead and follow me on twitter (@quixotique) or instagram (adjusted_reality).  Send me cool and fast thoughts if you have a little extra energy Sunday morning!

Week 7: Shutting it down

Week 7 is the first week where it actually feels like taper, and that’s just alright with me.



The one workout-related picture I took last week.  Enjoy!

After a pretty epic Sunday (50 mile bike, 2 mile run), we took Monday off.  I had a swim planned but Zliten begged to skip or reschedule, so that’s what happened.

Tuesday was really the last big day of this cycle.  We swam some speed at lunch (above).  Then, after work, we did a killer endurance cycle class for an hour and a half, and then immediately jumped on the treadmill for a race pace hour.  I was amazed at how it felt… easy.  Sure, there were parts where my legs got a little sore or tired, but it GOT BETTER.  The mantra “just keep running and let some time pass” was born.  Eventually, things will start feeling better OR you’ll be done!  Win win!

Wednesday I swam in the lake. The plan was for 3 laps (2250m) but it was getting dark, so we cut it to two (1500m).  I’m a little apprehensive that I’ve only swam the 1.2 mile race distance once this year, but the vast majority of my swims have been between 1500-1700m, so it will probably be ok.  Probably.  Yeah?

Thursday I had originally scheduled a double brick (aka – hard bike/run workout), but after Tuesday’s effort, I realized it was just time to shut it down instead.  I didn’t want to burn myself out.  So it was an easy 25 min trainer ride followed by a relaxed 25 min run.  It was just enough to get the endorphins going and feel great.

Friday was another day off, and Saturday’s plan was mostly a gear shakeout.

We swam two loops at the quarry.  Even with no nails, I put a few small holes in my wetsuit getting it up over my ass (thankfully, my lovely husband patched them up yesterday for me).  Just like normal, when I haven’t worn it for a while, the first half of the first lap I was thinking “OMG, I’m too big for this wetsuit, I can’t breathe in it, I forgot how to swim, this is awful” and then the second half I’m thinking “wheee, everything is awesome and I’m so buoyyyyannnntttt!!!”.  I just have to remember swimming in the wetsuit is DIFFERENT. I did jump out and take it off for the second lap – the water was low 80s which is pretty warm even WITHOUT a wetsuit – and I did what I needed (re-acclimated) in the first lap.

Then, we did an in-town bike ride.  We did this due to logistics and the nature of the ride (rather than hit up somewhere out of town), but it re-affirmed why I don’t do it often.  I didn’t have a HORRIBLE time the whole time, but with so many stops, traffic, potholes, and LANDSCAPING going on (during one part where I’d planned to do some quality riding, grrrr), you pretty much are there for the experience, not to do any sort of structured workout or effort.  I certainly wouldn’t mind doing more of this next tri season, but it would have to be in ADDITION to the two quality sessions a week we do, not in place of them.

I was pretty cranky from the ride, and it was HOOOOOT at noon (seriously, it was 86, feels like 101, and it felt all the degrees of it).  I just wanted my run OVER with.  We started out, and Zliten was all happy, which was annoying me (sorry, dear, for the things I do when I’m cranky), and talking about diving gear (which only made me think of donning the wetsuit and lugging 100 extra lbs around – making me hotter), and he wouldn’t stop with it, so I decided to run faster.  This would a) get me done faster b) make him be quiet by either running faster with me or staying back.  What happened was option B, and I just kept running faster and it felt good and caught up with him at the end.  I kept a 9:50 average pace for 3 miles in 101 degree heat.  I hope it’s MUCH cooler next weekend, but if it’s not, I’m ready for it.

I only did one dozen session, but that’s ok.  Taper.  Yeah.


  • 61 bike miles – 3 hours
  • 11 run miles – 1.75 hours
  • 4400m swimming – 1.5 hours
  • 1 strength set – 30 mins

6h45 min total.  A little bit less than planned but it’s all good.  Time to rest up.

This week – well, it’s race week, and due to circumstances beyond my control*, there might not be much this week.  But, if I have my way:

  • Last endurance cycle class for a while or equivalent
  • One more wetsuit swim.
  • Very short double brick at race effort

Even if it goes sideways and all I get to do is a little bit of paddling in pool and some easy trainer miles – I’m ready.  I just need to spend this week unloading as much fatigue as possible without getting rusty.



Noble Pig, post workout on Saturday.  So, so good.

My appetite definitely responded to the tapering hours.  Here’s my averages for last week.

  • 2410 calories
  • 62g fat
  • 319g carbs
  • 100g protein
  • 26g fiber

My numbers day by day were all over the place, but averaged over a week, they seem to make sense.

Last week, we got one of those crazy wifi scales.  Sadly, it weighs me a little higher than my other scale (of course it does, they never just magically help you drop 5 lbs, right?).  On the bright side, I’m trying to use it as a fresh start – these are just numbers, not judgements.

The average for the last couple days? 185.3.  Once I get some more data I can see what direction things are going but for now it’s just numbers.  And… I did accidentally measure my body fat once under Zliten’s profile (so it thought I was a dude) and it registered me about 15% less.  Hmmm.  Not fair at all.

My goal is to keep my intake around 2100-2500 the early parts of the week, and then back up to normal the few days before the race even if it’s a little bit of work and feeling like I’m stuffing my face.  I actually have a detailed nutrition plan for Saturday and Sunday (before and during the race).  Crazy, huh?  Look at me responsbily athleting!

Life Stuff:


Can you just seeeeee the tireds in this photo?

*mitigating circumstances explained here…

Yesterday, after a very fitful and awful night of sleep Saturday night, I woke up FLATTENED.  My body was super tense, felt like I had just raced a marathon or 70.3.  I couldn’t do much more than sleep and read most of the day – I got out of bed to the couch to watch two movies and all that recliner sitting was EXHAUSTING.  Zliten made all my food, I walked less than 1000 steps all day.

Also, I was having major temperature regulation issues – I spent half the day huddling under covers in a sweatshirt and fuzzy socks shivering and the other half sweating with almost nothing on under the AC.  I sweat until my clothes were dripping last night (I removed my shirt at 1am and my pants at 5am) and if you didn’t know better, you’d think I had bladder control issues upon examining my side of the bed.  Not fun.  Hate it when my body goes whack-a-do like this.

It really threw a kink in my plans.  The laundry is just sitting there ready to be put away which I *HATE*.  The kitchen is a mess (though Zliten was nice enough to do the dishes).  Yesterday was closing day at my beloved wah pah, and was not even a question – I felt way too weak to be sad about it or question whether I should buck up and go anyway.  It wasn’t even an option in reality.

However, if there is a bright side, here it is: I spent Sunday completely relaxing and destressing.  I am working today.  I was considering not coming in, or taking a half day, but I feel pretty good and it’s low stress, but I’m not training or doing ANYTHING tonight that doesn’t involve the bed and a book.  I’ve been spending a lot of mental energy over the last few weeks both being super excited for the race and also trying to do all the things.  This was the universe warning me that I need to take a moment or three and withdraw, and center all that energy into resting up and being prepared.  Notification received.  Course corrected.

Other good news: I found my gym lock at the bottom of my bag, and though I still haven’t located my sunglasses – I’ve ordered replacements from Costco for less than 120$.  I was afraid it was going to cost WAYYY more.  Yay shitty vision insurance that covers super basic exams and that’s it.  So, the only issue I’ll need to deal with eventually is that I need new tri gear next year.  Oh no.  Tri gear shopping.  Whatever shall I do? 🙂

For now, I’ll leave it at that.  Later in the week I’ll come back and do a Kerrville Goals post, but for now, I’m focusing that energy on feeling better, healing, and resting.  If anyone wants to send good, calming, healthy thoughts my way, I’ll totally take the positive energy!


Week 6: The Destroyer of Workouts and Things

Week 6, oh my – let’s get on with it!

Zilker Relays


Our tri friend B had discussed wanting to do this race.  I haven’t done a relay before, and it sounded like fun, so we decided we were in.  It was a Friday night race, and we had a birthday thing to go to that night anyway, so our big training day was already set for Sunday instead of our normal Saturday.  Good timing!  And, we won a free entry, to boot!

We headed downtown and sat in traffic for an hour (grrr) but arrived with plenty of time to meet up with everyone, get situated, and get a nice long warmup (just over 1.5 miles).  My legs felt pretty sluggish, so I figured more warmup = better, since I’m used to the long slow stuff these days.

Zliten kicked off the relay by doing the first leg, and he’s our wildcard.  Depend on what kind of day he was having, it was going to be a 7 minute pace or an 11 minute pace.  Seemed like he was having a good go of it, he looked strong through the turnaround where we could see him, and came in just over 22 minutes for the 2.5 miles when he handed over the super fancy baton (an empty tube of Nuun).

Our friend M was running the second leg, and he was supposed to take it easy-ish because he was riding the Tour De Cure for the next two days (80+ miles per day), but he still made it back in just under 24 mins (and still rocked the tour… he’s awesome!).

I was third – once I got the baton, middle school track kicked in and I started sprinting until I realized that was a bad idea (2.5 miles is WAYYYYY different than 200m) and shut that shit down quickly. Once I found a pace in the 8s, I just tried to hold it.

Honestly, ever inch of this felt terrrrible, just like an effort this short should if you’re racing it right, I guess. Every moment I had no idea how long I could hold on to the pace I was doing but I just tried to stay in that moment and not worry about blowing up.

Being on the third lap, I kept getting passed by super fast runners obviously on their last, flying by me like I was walking. Can’t lie – it was a little frustrating, but I tried to use that frustration to just keep pushing.

After negotiating holding my speed and not dying on the side of the road at least until the tree, the arch, the zone 1 flag (whyyyyy was I not in zone 1?), etc, I handed off the baton to our anchor who smoked us all by 1.5 minutes.  We finished around 89 minutes with an average pace of 8:55/mile (gosh, I wish I could run 10 miles that fast myself!) and ate tacos and listed to the band. Heck yeah!


176 AVG HR (not bad – I maybe could have gone a LITTLE harder at some points but this is pretty much my max sustainable)
93 cadence!!! yeah!!!
Mile 1: 8:38
Mile 2: 9:11 (big hill)
Mile 2.52: 8:21 pace

For not having done any real 5k type speed work since… June… I think I’m pretty happy with this.

Also, we got 34/70 in our division.  Top half, yay!  There were lots of fasties there, and there were some incorrect times (random low 4 min/mile pace in some relay results, which is probably not possible which means maybe we even came in higher!

Other Training Tidbits:

Last week was the last week of volume, and volume we got.  Slightly less than week 5 at 9.5 hours, but a little more intensity, so there’s that.

Some specifics-

Did a 3 mile race pace brick off the killer cycling class.  Reaffirmed in a hard way that even if I feel super crappy off the bike it usually ends up fine.

Had a 10 miler planned for Wednesday night, but started getting rained on around mile 2, and then started getting POURED on (we were literally running through ankle deep water at times) around mile 4.  It was SUPER fun, but lightning getting closer, dark vs no headlamps, and fear of major blisters (my shoes were SOAKED, y’all) made us call it around 8.  My soul was happy though!

Obviously, happy with my awesome 2.5 miles of speedwork at the relay.

I hadn’t yet gotten a outdoor 50 mile bike so that was Sunday’s order of business.  At first, I wasn’t into it and my stomach was upset, but a potty break and a gel, and I was right as rain and finished around 17 mph pace.  We hit the bricks (literally!) after and did a nice little 2 mile run around race pace.  Felt really sore off the bike, but the run made me feel better.


I skipped one swim, but I plan to spend a lot of time in the water this week, so I’ll let it go.  Stuck with the program for the most part (and what more can you ask for, right?), a little more intensity, more cycle heavy this week, a little less volume.

  • Swim: 1660m (30m)
  • Bike: 98 miles (5h15m)
  • Run: 17 miles (3h)
  • Dozen x 2 done (45m)
  • 9.5 hours total

This week’s plan is to further reduce the training load (7-ish hours this week), do a few key workouts: race pace hour run off cycle class ass kicking, a self supported mini triathlon outside (gear shakeout with bursts of speed), and swim a lot more (probably at least once in my wetsuit).

I’m still in the tired/unloading fatigue stage of training where I have no idea how I’ll be feeling fresh and ready to race next weekend.  However, it seems more mental this time than physical, and if work/life would just stop stressing me out, I’ll probably come around from this pretty quick.


Here’s the stats from last week.  Wrong way, fat and carbs. 🙁  I am a little more prepared this week (slightly), so hopefully things will go better.

2769 calories
79g fat
337g carbs
107g protein
25g fiber

Since I am in taper I plan on reducing my cals/carbs SLIGHTLY but not much.  Couple hundred calories per day at most until a day or two before the race (then it’s carb time).

I spoke with my nutritionist about my concerns and he really talked me down.  He think that 1) It’s mostly water weight and 2) I’ll plateau around here and that if it’s working to make me feel fueled during workouts, to stick with it.  I took the average of the last 6 weights over 8 days, dropped the low and the high, and I’m actually 0.1 down from last week.  So, while I don’t LOVE remaining at 184-ish, it’s not the end of the world to train and fuel my body.

I will definitely keep that stuff monitored though.  If I continually creep up, or I start seeing training issues, I’ll have to take the plan and spin it sideways because I don’t want to be stuffing my face with pretzels for absolutely NO reason.  Although SOURDOUGH pretzels are pretty much amazing.

Last week was a decent return of a fruit or veggie with (nearly) every meal, and this week seems to be going well.

Life stuff:

These two social media posts can sum up last week:


I also broke my non-prescription sunglasses on Saturday and had lost my ID (and then found it again), but I didn’t want to share that one on FB since my mom would probably yell at me (yes, I’m 36).


The #rungries are real, yo.

The completely disappointing visits to the wah pah over Labor Day weekend was redeemed by a GLORIOUS hour riding slides with barely any lines on Saturday.


Waterpark, I love you!

I usually get stressed out about training heavy on Sunday, but I actually had a fantastic day riding bikes and running, and then spending some time outside grilling dinner, having a few beers, and reading books and enjoying a temperate day (FINALLY).  My soul felt better.  Yesterday’s stressful workday kind of canceled that out.  But hey, one peaceful day is definitely an improvement over the last few weeks!

Alright, off to conquer Tuesday things!  Question to the audience: what’s your favorite way to destress?

Week 5: Comedy and Tragedy



Comedy and Tragedy, coming at you!

While I am actively mourning summer coming to an end, because that means first there’s no waterpark (this was my sad face after the wah pah on Memorial Day before I found out I actually have TWO MORE WEEKENDS!!! YAY!), then soon there’s no lake paddling because it’s too cold, and then even the lovely outdoor pool becomes an exercise in “get in, get out, get on with your life”, but secretly I’m kind of looking forward to it, too.

We already have 2016 season passes to the park, the lake will still be there in March when it’s warm enough to duck into it in a wetsuit (and maybe this year I’ll be brave enough to sup in chilly water since I’m better at it).  That cycle will come back.

I have on occasion been a bit… apprehensive about certain seasons.  Summer and I have had a love/hate relationship in the last 5 years, which became much more love once we settled in and evolved to make it much more about playing in the water, rather than trying to force myself to train in the heat for months without a break.  Winter has always been a challenge for me, but discovering my love of cold weather running last year, I’m honestly even looking forward to it a little.

But, it’s not over yet.  September is still essentially summer here in the ATX, and I’ve got a 70.3 to contend with before it becomes all pumpkin spice and maybe digging out my tech tees instead of tanks for marathon training.

Week 5 70.3 Training:

It’s always weird to be like – week 5 – last peak week done, start the descent to taper… but that’s kind of how these short cycles go.  I’m halfway in the “bring it on” camp and halfway in the “omg I need more tiiiiiime” camp, but since time slows for no woman and I know doing cram sessions to feel ready does nothing but burn me out, I’ll just keep on with the program.

This week has been about finding confidence through adverse situations.  At first, I typed shitty workouts, but that’s totally not the case.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain.


Before Sunday’s workout.  DID NOT FUCKING WANT.

Monday was not the longest day, but it was the longest swim I’ve done in a while.  I did the normal, freaking out the first half of the first lap because it felt hard, then settling in and doing just fine for the second half, second lap, and pushing it a bit on the third.  I kept my laps pretty consistent (I had a variance of 20 seconds total between the 3).  And, just testing how much it gassed me – I ran 2 miles in the heat and was able to average race pace pretty easily.  Yas.

Tuesday had 4.5 pretty nice easy miles in the morning, but a last minute gametime call had us go home and Zwift on the trainer instead of pain cave class.  Sort of messed with my head a bit, but I think I tortured myself sufficiently.  Ran 1.5 miles off the bike at easy pace while the sun set.  Pretty good day, even if plans changed.

I’m not sure who the asshole was who planned a long run the next day, but I’m pretty sure I should punch them in the face (ow!).  I was pretty nervous for this – it was my longest run since the marathon in February and I’d already built up almost 4 hours of training in 2 days, but I REALLY wanted to see if I could conquer it.  Zliten was also having a SUPER rough day, so I knew the minute my head went negative and I stopped keeping his spirits up, he was done.

But, long story short – we ran all over my work route and detoured to the gym for a bathroom trip and ran home as the sun set and it got dark and then I finished up miles 11-15 headlamping it around my neighborhood zoning out into the dark abyss of Burell Street.  Like a switch, it went from pretty easy to difficult and draggy around 13 miles, but I didn’t stop running until I saw 15 miles in just under 3 hours.

My husband begged off Thursday’s workouts.  It was just a swim so I figured we’d make it up Friday.  Then, an unfortunately rough hangover cancelled Friday’s workouts (super oops).  All of a sudden I had a lot of shit to make up over what was supposed to be a nice relaxing holiday weekend.

Saturday, we ended up having to cancel our original outdoor ride plan, but I decided it was time to just do all the crap I hadn’t yet done last week.  I did the dozen (first time all week, oops).  I jumped on the trainer for 30 minutes.  Zliten and I then ducked outside for a nice 4.5 mile run.  Then, we discovered that he lost his fitbit and ended up taking an hour retracing the run path and then finding it less than a quarter of a mile from home, run over.

By the time we got to the gym for our swim, I felt stressed and rushed and grumpy.  It took all 1700m and the shower after to feel better, but I recovered some of my mood.  Then… we proceeded to spend all day out and didn’t get home until 10pm.  And still we had our bike/run to make up the next day.  Bah!

Sunday – I was so fucking not into it.  I woke up just wanting it to be over.  Unfortunately, I carried this attitude through most of my ride.  Didn’t help it was late, so there was a decent amount of traffic, and it was WINDY (all caps).  Zliten can attest to the fact that I was just swearing and grumbling and at one point he asked if I wanted to just call it and I said YES because I was just so cranky.

However, I learned something about myself.  If I’m cranky, take it out on the sport.  I got sick of soft pedaling behind Zliten the first few miles and just got out ahead and worked.  Then, I’d wait for him to catch up, follow him for a while, and then rinse repeat.  I just had no tolerance for easy pace.  I might have lost my shit yelling and swearing into the wind a few times, but that was much more productive for me THAT DAY than fuming at my husband’s (cute) ass.

I felt better and better as the ride continued and at the end, we decided not to NOT brick, but since it was very late and very hot and we had already done run bonus miles this week, 1 mile was fine.  Zliten got out ahead at first, but by the end, I reeled him in for a very hot ~9:45 min mile off a really really rough and grumpy bike.


Done, and done, with proof.  Happier mood after.

So, TL;DR?  While it’s good to have perfect happy lala fun time training, I actually think this may have been MORE confidence boosting.  I was really unsure how I’d handle 15 miles in the evening, the heat, and on tired legs and I did just fine.  Going into a workout cranky and negative is NOT normal for me, but I was able to use that energy just to WORK instead of waste it.

It is infinitely clear that I am ready for taper, just one more week this week of decent volume and then we start the sharpening of the stick.  I can use it.  I’m a ball of stress and fatigue and I’m ready to start shedding that, kthx.


11 hours

  • 28.5 miles run (5h30m)
  • 74.1 miles biked (3h45m)
  • 3910m swam (1h20m)
  • 1 Dozen strength session (20m)

A little more running than expected, a little less biking than expected, but last peak week?  Done and dusted.

This week I aim to:

  • Do a little more biking.  Pain Cave, last long outdoor ride, and a little bit of the easy trainer stuff.
  • Another one of those long lake swims + some pool time.
  • Cut the running down below 20 miles/week, but do some faster efforts.
  • At least 2 dozen strength set workouts!
  • Do a swim, bike, run brick.
  • Hit about 10 hours.  Cut a few easy minutes if I am feeling overly overwhelmed.


I hit my macros pretty well! Again, I could use a wee bit more carb and a wee bit less fat, and day by day it wasn’t perfect, but it seemed to work out overall.

  • 2714 cal (2700 goal)
  • 356 carbs (400g goal)
  • 72 fat (60g goal)
  • 101 protein (100 goal)
  • 31 fiber (25+ goal)

This week I’m trying to re-introduce fruit and veggies with every meal.  Just because I CAN hit my macros without fresh things from trees and plants doesn’t mean I SHOULD.  My stomach has now seemed to adjust to the extra fiber, so while I’ll continue to follow the carbs carbs and more carbs manifesto, I’ll make sure some of those carbs are fruit and veggies each meal, even if they are not the most efficient carbs.


15 miles of running on a Wednesday night = half a dominos medium pizza + parmesan garlic bites.  TBH – this actually helped me hit my ratio almost exactly that day.

I feel AWESOME during (most) workouts.  If there’s the gas tank I used to have, I now feel like I have a reserve tank, and probably an extra emergency reserve tank.  Not that I don’t have bad days (obviously, see above), but I rarely feel that tapped out feeling, and if I do, sometimes it just takes recentering and it goes away, so it’s more mental than physical.

Now, why is this wonderful gift keeping me up at night?

I started weighing again.  And I am legit up 5-7 lbs in a month on average.  My average weight over the last few days was 184.7.  My, that was quick, body, with the finding alllll the weight I lost, plus some.

For someone who has maintained a very narrow weight margin for the last 5-6 years, this is a HUGE and QUICK gain for me.  Usually my M.O. at this weight is REDUCE AT ALL COSTS!  My clothes don’t fit the same.  I don’t look like myself.  My face and my tummy are PUFFY.  I’m sure I’m my worst critic here, but I was watching myself run on the treadmill last night in the reflection of the window, and I instinctively was like “who is that chunky monkey? argh…”.

To be fair, I was probably running one of the fastest miles of my life off the bike at the time, but goddamn if it hasn’t been messing with my head.

I thought that giving myself permission to eat to fuel my training would be enough.  I didn’t realize how weird it was going to feel to intentionally gain weight.  I had no idea how odd it would be to add weight to my body to train better and go faster.  I’ve eaten like crap for a while before and felt sludgy and yucky during training.  This is completely different.  My pump is primed.

I think it’s probably pow-wow time with the nutritionist this week.  I think the body shock of gaining the weight so quickly is the worst of it.  If eating this way causes me to maintain this weight and feel this great and there are no other side effects, I’ll stick with it. This will be the new normal after a while, I’ll keep to the larger sizes in my closet for a bit, and I’ll PR the shit out of some races before I begin #projectraceweight for reals in Spring.

I just can’t see gaining 5-7 lbs again in September.  At that rate, I’ll be running my marathon over 200 lbs.  THAT is not happening.

Also – the higher calorie count means my alcohol tolerance, which is generally always near the ceiling (thanks Dad), is through the roof.  That’s been interesting to get used to… (read: previously discussed epic hangover above completely out of nowhere).

I’m definitely feeling a little moodier and stressed – but I’m not 100% convinced that has to do with what I’m eating.  Once life slows down a bit, we’ll see if that changes.  Though… life needs to slow down a bit.  Please?


That’s me in the blue coat, using my crossbow to fight evil and obtain shiny things.

Life’s feeling a lot like this Dungeons and Dragons campaign scene lately – still standing, still kicking ass, but there’s a lot of stuff going on around me and I’m probably in need of at least a short rest, if not a long one.

I’m just counting things down right now: 17 days to Kerrville.  That means about 4 more real *workouts*, so tunnel – meet light.  Not too much more than that until our 8 days in Bonaire.  After that, the simplicity of marathon training the rest of the year in beautiful “head out the door whenever you want during the day because it’s always pretty awesome” weather.

The cycles continue.  And there’s not too much more of this one left!


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