Adjusted Reality

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

Month: October 2015

Twenty Miles and Twerkin’

Running Twenty

Twenty miles has always been my benchmark.  Can I make it through a ~4 hour run?  Alright, ok, then, I can make it through a marathon.


This is my post-20 miler in the rain face.  We’re all a little mad here.

Note the caveat – make it through.  I definitely saw the difference last year between crashing into a whole lot of run mileage all at once (some run/walk action in the middle of marathon #3) and all of a sudden tapering, versus spending months working up to high mileage and a nice, big, fat run base (running every step of marathon #4) and I enjoyed the second one a whole lot more.

However, because reasons (Kerrville was my A race again this fall, and husband wanted a crack at both marathons he missed last year and me not blaming him one bit for it), we’re doing the exact same thing again, and because other reasons (Bonaire vacation, no will to do anything swim/bike/run for 2 weeks and 2 days), we’re even one more week behind on total run volume.

This is my fourth year of a fall marathon right off 70.3 training, so I should be used to it, but after the half ironman haze fades, I’m always like FUCK I’M SO BEHIND!  Thankfully, I’ve found that I can go from 0 to MILES pretty quick as long as…

a) I keep in the lower end of the zip code of my total hours of 70.3 training (10-11 hours tri training = 7-8 hours pure running)

b) I mind the recovery in terms of sleep, stretching, relaxing, etc.

c) keep an eye on my body parts and drop runs if they are not in reasonable working order.

I was happy to get in a 15 mile run in early September, plus two 13s (though the one during the race was run/walk, miles are miles) and a 10.  So, 0 is a bit of a misnomer – I had some decent run volume during tri training, just not *marathon* volume.

Week 1 of training was a little underwhelming on the weekday runs (13 miles total), but I busted out a pretty great 15 miler on that Saturday, with the last 4 miles faster.

The goal for week 2 was to ramp up to peak week-esque miles with a double on Tuesday, a longer run on Thursday and go out on Saturday, aiming for a 18-20 mile run and 46 total.

My body and mind kinda said FUCK YOU to that.

I cut Tuesday’s double run to a single because I felt tired and my knee was cranky.  And then, after I relented and went to the chiropractor, she asked me to cut my mileage to shorter runs for the rest of the week and if all was good, THEN I could consider a long run.  I was very happy she didn’t rule it out, and I felt things feel better as the week went on with everything in the right place and the muscles stop being cranky because my left hip was a full inch higher than my right.  But, I could definitely see how going out for a double digit run right away on that could have thrown everything right back into chaos, so missing those miles was the right thing to do.

Saturday was a bit of a wildcard.  Rain was in the forecast 100%.  I don’t mind running in the rain, but lightning would be a deal breaker.  The plan for inclement weather (like, severely inclement) was a treadmill run.  Let that one sink in.  20 miles/4 hours on the treadmill.  I’ve done 15 but it took multiple Konas to get me through it and this would be the gym where I’d have no control over the TV.  I steeled myself for 4 trips around Monterey Bay, my tunes, and trying to ignore bad TV.

Thankfully, when we got up that day, the forecast was JUST rain.  Pretty heavy and steady rain, but no lightning.  So, up and out we went.

I love running in the rain, and my last two 20+ runs involved some level of rain.  I found a lot of joy in this one.  I was a little worried about my knee holding up, and it talked to me a wee bit on the earlier parts of the run, but it actually felt like it was getting *better* as I passed into double digits.

I made one sock change at about 6 miles in, but realized quickly that it wouldn’t matter.  I tried to avoid puddles at first, but then realized it was futile (and all the juking around was actually making my legs cranky), so I just started forging through them.  It was the most fun option, anyway!  Instead of being cranky at the rain, I spent most of the day smiling and singing and dancing in it, and thanking the universe for this opportunity.  I mean, seriously, as adults, when do we get 4 hours to play in the rain?  Never!

After winding around the neighborhood for 6 miles (and said sock change), we went on a journey, which I love.  We passed as many creeks and bridges as we could so we could see how high things were.  It’s cool to see creek beds that are normally dry gushing with water.

At around mile 15, when we finally crested the 3 mile hill and turned back towards the house, I got my second wind and picked up the pace and pulled away from Zliten (we have an agreement – when one of us is having a good day, just GO).  My last 5 miles were 10:53, 10:57, 11:12, 11:05, and 10:40.  I’m getting pretty good at this fast(er) finish thing and I’m really not even trying.

It’s also the first run I’ve ever done this long without music.  Before, I used to need that distraction to run.  I would legit reschedule a run if my mp3 player was dead.  A year ago, I would have felt the same way.  Now, I still enjoy music while I run at times, but *needing* music is not really a thing anymore.  I was pretty proud that I didn’t have one thought on Saturday about missing auditory distraction.  I didn’t need somewhere to hide, even those last 5 miles.

I really wish I could amp up the mid-week miles a little more because I’m handling these long runs out of nowhere very well, but it may be an either/or situation right now.  I need get my legs under me, and in the timeline I’m in – I’ll take a SPECTACULAR 20 with only 18 mid-week miles to support it rather than only running 7-8 miles a day x 5 days a week (yep, it’s marathon season when I say shit like that).  Soon I’ll be running all the miles.  Just not quite yet.

Last week:

  • 38 miles run
  • Long run of 20
  • One session with some faster miles or segments (4 mile progression – check)
  • 1 dozen + a few stretches
  • Did NOT get to the lake or pool.  I’d claim rain but honestly, I just wasn’t ready yet.
  • All food tracked.  I’ll discuss ratios a little bit below.

This week’s goals:

  • ~40-45 miles of running
  • Long run of 18-20 (lets go volume!)
  • One session with some faster miles or segments
  • 2 dozens + stretch
  • Get your ass to the pool.  Or at least on a bike.  But pool.
  • Track all your food, and adhere to the NEW rules.


Calorie Twerkin’

So, I’ll be honest.  I have to dial this eating plan back.  I hit a weight that threw up MAJOR red flags (190) three days in a row.  The plan was to allow for a little weight gain, about 5 lbs, which I was ok (begrudgingly) with.  Then it got closer to 10.  I’m now up to about 12-14 lbs up from where I was August 1st, which is NOT OK with me.

Obviously, this means that I’m outeating my training.  I’m reading a lot of pro athlete daily diary blogs, and they consume a lot of carbs… between their 2-3 workouts a day.  Then, they eat like a normal (carb heavy) human for meals.  Running for an hour does not merit the same eating as training many hours per day.

Right now, besides long run day, I am, for the most part running 1-1.5 hours a day with ~2 days off. I do not think that 2700 calories or 400g carbs 7 days a week is doing me good.  So, I’m modifying a little to see if I can get back in the realm of feeling like I don’t jiggle when I walk like a bowl full of jelly, and also fuel my workouts properly.

  • Long run day (3+ hours) – aim for about 3000 calories and over 400g carbs.  These are the days I need to be fueling my ass off.
  • Mid-week long run day (1.5 to 2 hours) – aim for about 2300 calories and at least 300g carbs.
  • Normal training days (1 hour runs) – aim for about 2000 calories and as close to 300g carbs as possible.
  • Days off – let hunger dictate.  Aim for a little less than normal training days, but eat a little more if I’m still hungry.  The day after long runs – I’ll probably be hungrier.
  • Eat as much as I can as close to runs as possible.  I’m doing a lot of lunch runs so this works out SUPER great (get back, pop food in microwave, shower, eat immediately).  Post long runs, I have a new recovery shake and it’s frikkin mana from heaven.  I find the sooner I eat after running, the less “rungry” I am later in the day.

I’ll give this a few weeks, and then see if I need to tweak it further.  I’d like to see my weight eventually stabilize around that “5 lbs up” (181-183) I was promised.  I am 100% still in the mindset that this marathon is a training run, and besides not being a dumbass and fueling my longer runs properly, this is probably a good opportunity to get the weight in check so I’m not running this marathon pushing 200 lbs.  It’s terrifying that this would even be a possibility, but that’s where we’re at.

And, with that, back to my regularly scheduled week.  Vacation part two coming soon.  Promise!



Why I’m Leaving Austin and Moving to Bonaire… – Part 1

…not really, but I can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind.



…was just a really, really long travel day.  Up at 6am, got from door to gate in 40 minutes, and had a really chill day.  We had a 3 hour layover in Houston, which was nice because we got a chance to sit down and have lunch, but by the time we got there, it was 7pm – dark and late.

That evening, Bonaire consisted only of our stickshift truck that got a little lost on the way from the airport, our condo where the living room AC didn’t work but felt nice once we opened up the windows, one little trip to stick our feet in the ocean, and the Italian place (Sofia House) across the street which was the only thing in near walking distance open. It was fancy and served us glasses of red wine and lasagna the size of our heads, and salad the size of our fingernails.  After refueling, we crashed into our comfy bed and read and decided to roll sans alarm in the morning.


While really motivated scuba divers would have been up and at ’em to be at the shop when they opened in the morning at 8, that was not us.  We slept ’til 9:30, headed down to orientation around 10:30, and then had a delicious lunch on the water at Breezes and Bites before even THINKING about packing up our gear and heading for our checkout dive.


We got there in the afternoon and I was awkward setting up all my gear since normally someone swoops in and does it for me, but after some dithering and help I was suited up and we jumped in the ocean to do our buoyancy checks.  We sank just fine, so they sent us on our way.

This was actually the first time we had gone diving with just us.  We’ve either had an instructor, a dive master, a group, or at least a boat waiting for us.  I mean, we’re certified to do this and more, but it felt like being allowed to walk to school by yourself for the first time.


I got to spend all the time I wanted looking at fishies and trying to get good pictures.  If we felt like turning around or going deeper or shallower or just being done, we could.  It was awesome, albeit a little scary because if something happened, we were indeed on our own.

We liked our dive at Something Special, just offshore from the Yellow Submarine Dive Friend’s shop location, we grabbed a second tank and went back.  I remembered vaguely our dives and experience in Bonaire two years ago on the short morning and early afternoon we were visiting from the cruise ship.  I knew we had to go back for longer, and that afternoon reminded me why.


First, the dives are BREATHTAKING.  Even on a rough or not-so-clear day, every dive is probably the best dive anywhere else of your life.  So many fish, so much to see, and 85 degree crystal clear turquoise water.

Second, the people.  At first, while I was transitioning from not-being-on-vacation Quix who was like, “hurry, hurry, efficiency, why haven’t you served me my food I ordered it 2 seconds ago, hurrrrrr”, it was a little annoying, but once I calmed my shit… I loved the relaxed attitude.  Everyone was pretty friendly, but it wasn’t that fake, customer service type friendly.  They seemed to just genuinely be happy to be doing what they were doing, living in paradise.


After two tanks, we called it for the day because we had one more errand to run before really sinking into vacation mode – hitting the grocery store.  This was an experience in and of itself.

Unlike the US, where there is a mega mart on every corner, there is ONE large supermarket, and it is primarily Dutch.  This is the place you go if you want to get what you want, rather than roll with whatever happens to be there.  The carts are locked together, and we actually couldn’t figure out how to deal, so we just grabbed a few carry baskets and looked ridiculous.

We picked up the essentials – breakfast (decaf coffee, cereal, milk, fruit, and yogurt for me, nutella on toast and stuff to make cheese quesidillas for Zliten), lunches (sandwich stuff, salad stuff, a weird chinese soup to try), snacks (chips, crackers, etc), beer and wine, and some european sweets that looked amazing.  If it sounds like we were shopping for teenage kids (minus the booze) – each hour down burns me almost 600 calories, and that’s not counting the setup and takedown.  We needed the fuel. 🙂


However, since it was our anniversary, we decided to leave the groceries at home and walk down to get food at Rum Runner’s, and got sat at a lovely table right on the ocean.  While we drank our margaritas (my margarita came with a turtle on it, which meant they knew me because they’re my favorites) and waited for our food, giant tarpin played in the water below us.  I ordered the fish fajitas and Zliten ordered the shrimp in this magic anise honey chili magic love sauce, and we split both.  It was perfect.


We sat on the couch and went through dive pictures and photos, and split a bottle of wine and floated off to bed soon after.


Set the alarm for 10 but didn’t need it.  We woke up and brewed some coffee and lazed about that morning.  Our goal was to hit up all the 5 dive shops and dive from those locations over the trip (since it was the most convenient) and today’s targets were Dive Inn, and our house reef, Bari.  Let me tell you – I miss having a “house reef” where I could walk out my door, gear up, grab a tank 10 feet from the water, and go.  But, I digress.

First we hit up Town Pier and dove there.  There was rumor of a turtle, but I got a little confused underwater, and I told Zliten to turn us around before we got there.  Here’s the weird part about diving and communication – it’s a game of charades where you can’t cheat even if you want to.  You have to communicate to your partner what is going on or what your intentions are (or what the problem is) without the use of voice.


You find ways to get by.  Fish get their specific hand signals.  Tapping on the tank to make noise means attention.  At first, you want to give the thumbs up when you want to say that you’re ok, but since that means go to the surface, you learn to use THIS instead.  There’s a symbol for squeezes (when you have trouble equalizing).  There’s a symbol for “how much air do you have left” but I usually just grab Zliten’s if I’m curious or tell him mine first.  Pointing in certain directions or at certain things seems obvious.


But when the weird stuff comes up, you definitely feel awkward and trying to communicate “hey, I think that we’re not supposed to go past the pier and I think this is past the pier” and he’s trying to say “but wait, I think this is where they saw the turtle up ahead” without using the turtle symbol as to make me unnecessarily excited is advanced level charades shit.  Diving dictates that you always go conservative, so if one person says turn back, you turn back.


Needless to say, we didn’t see a turtle, and I was kicking myself, but hey, we had many days left and we didn’t get run over by boats.

After some lunch from our fridge (a turkey sandwich and a salad and some chips and probably a sweet or two was like HEAVEN), we headed out our door to Bari.  People had said good things, and I think we would have gone even if it wasn’t home base, but I’m so glad it was.


It was magical.  The reef starts at about 20 feet down (so, almost snorkeling depth), and just the sheer AMOUNT of fish around the area was… amazing.  We took one tank and went one way, and took a second tank and went the other.  The highlight of the day was seeing a great barracuda as long as me just hang out with us. It was a little scary at first, but as I said earlier, it was more interested in friends, not food.

After cleaning up, we decided to try a place up the road… it was a sketchy looking bar but said it also had food so we moseyed in and found that it was actually a chinese restaurant with an extensive menu, so we ordered eggrolls, egg soup, and I got chicken chow mein.  The eggrolls were amazing (or I was just hungry), the egg drop soup was WAY better than the traditional, and my chicken chow mein was great.  The only bummer was the use of dark meat chicken in everything, which I don’t love, but I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority there.


Even though it was a bar, we saved the drinks until we got home and drank these little tiny Polar beers (Venezulan beer that’s made in Miami?) and headed to bed early.


We had to catch a boat at 8:30, so I was up early enough to eat cereal, fruit, and yogurt and use the potty (sounds a lot like race morning?), and then we were off to board the Carlotta and head out to Klein Bonaire.


Pre-boat dive.


Post boat dive (oh the hair-manity!)

We dove Sampler and Country Garden.  They were beautiful dives, but at this point in my memory, everything is running together.  The only real memory that stood out was being cranky with my gear.  My wetsuit was causing me STRIFE.  Being that I’m a little heavy right now, it takes a little effort to get on and off.  Pairing that with all the gear hauling, I had so much abrasion and chafing going on I just hated the above water parts of diving so much right then.


For lunch, we hit up a local sandwich shop called Between Two Buns, and when we both noticed a burger and fries, that was it.  And honestly… it was the shit.  The meat was so flavorful and it was super huge and filling and all I wanted and needed out of life right then.  We took a walk around the property and chased around the leezards and soaked up a little sun.


And then… we went back to the condo and I crashed for a 90 minute nap.  I kinda hated wasting precious diving hours, but diving is SERIOUS BUSINESS, y’all.  You do this incredibly peaceful thing, but then you come out of the water and all of a sudden you realize that a) your body is WORKED and b) you either need to eat or sleep or both.  I guess I needed both that day.

As soon as I got up, we did a dive that ended at sunset at Bari and decided to ditch the wetsuit.  I was a little nervous because of all the ouchy coral around, but it made me be more careful and that’s probably a good thing.  At the end of the dive, in just a few feet of water, we finally spotted our first TURTLE!  I was cursing myself so hard because my camera was dead and I didn’t get a great shot of him, but hey… TURTLE!


I’m cheating and subbing in a turtle picture from another day, so, *spoilers*, it was not the last sighting.

We were tempted to try doing a night dive, but my ears were giving me trouble, and I wanted to make sure I was good for the boat in the morning.  We ate food in the condo (I enjoyed a grilled cheese and tomato chinese soup, and some other random snacks), and just melted into the couch and then the bed.

…and on that note, we’ll call it here.  Part 2 coming shortly HERE!, including equipment malfunctions, giant eels, a long swim under a (not-so) short pier, road donkeys, and much much more.

One Good Run

I know there is some vacation recaps to do and I’m working on that, but honestly, I’m not really ready to admit it’s over and that (plus editing and sifting through 1000 diving pictures <- not an exaggeration) is not happening yet.


However, as things are wont to do, life goes on, and let’s discuss a little of that.

Having this vacation was the perfect thing for my mental state, for various reasons, one of which is I’ve kind of been in an endurance sport…funk after my race.  As time has gone on, I’ve come to terms with the result and the physical issues.  I mean, come on, if life hands you a bag of shit on one of the most important days of the year, you’re going to eat shit sandwiches.  It happens.  Between womanly issues and the bike crash, it was not my day to sub-6.  That’s ok.

I’m still at odds with two things.

  1. My utter and complete meltdown.  I’m usually a good problem solver during races (at least, I have been lately), and part of endurance sports is enduring pain and keeping a clear head on a long day.  While sub-6 wasn’t happening, I probably could have at least turned in a more respectable 6:45-ish if I would have calmed the temper tantrum on the run.  I’ve never been so close to DNFing a race and nothing was REALLY wrong.
  2. I’m pretty decent at goal setting.  I like to pick something that is my current skill + a little race day magic.  I was one HOUR off what I thought was really reasonable (~6:10).  That’s a little humbling to be so far off what I was capable of that day.

Spending 15 hours in the ocean was healing both for my body and mind, and I started this week as a transition into marathon training with an open mind.

I also decided that I needed to take some of the pressure off.  In my head right now, this marathon is a training run.  I’m going to run as much as I can (healthily) to be prepared for it, but I’m not going in with do or die goals.

I’d like to run the whole thing, unless, of course, I deem that run/walk will get me to the finish faster (which sometimes when I’m dealing with shit, it does).  I’d like to finally have a marathon PR with a 4 at the beginning, instead of the maddening 5:00:57, but if it’s not my day, that’s ok too.

I started the week feeling a little ennui for running, and for starting a 5 month block of marathon training.  That was not encouraging.  It makes sense – our version of fall hasn’t really and truly hit yet, our temps were still in the 90s, and I started back after 16 days off.  I just expected to feel a little more… something.

The thought “you can always drop to the half” rang through my head.

Then, this weekend we set out on our first long run.  I was a little intimidated to tackle 15 miles the first week back, but I already felt a little behind since we race in 6 weeks, so I wanted to go out at least with the intention for something long.

Things came up – I got a hole in my capris and had to change, I had a little heartburn at first (note to self: berries before a run, good… apple… a little too acidic).  It got hot, I got sick of running culdesacs.  The last two, I did whine about that when I started to get low around mile 9, but Zliten made me eat a gel and I was all better.

However, the promise of maybe I don’t suck as an athlete came on around mile 11 when I sped up to the range I would consider goal marathon pace if I was setting one, just on instinct and all on my own.  I ran the last 4 miles 30-45 sec faster than the first 11 without even trying.

Maybe there is a decent marathon in me yet.

I also finally felt a little bit of the joy again.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the morning (although I could have spent it a LITTLE cooler, the run ended at “feels like 85”).  It got a little harder at mile 13.5-ish, but not unbearably so.  I guess that muscle memory of all the miles I ran last winter didn’t completely go away and I felt like maybe I could leave my frustrations with Kerrville behind and focus on having the best next 6 weeks possible instead of being full of doubt.

Next week I’ll do things like starting to actually plan workouts and mileage and wear my garmin and HR monitor more (maybe) and eat with a plan and track it and stretch like I’m supposed to and be an athlete with a purpose instead of just going out aimlessly to do whatever for miles.

It was just required to have one good run first, I guess.

This week:

  • 28 miles ran
  • 1 dozen session
  • No cross training yet (though I may hit the lake for paddleboarding today)

Next week’s plan:

  • 40-ish miles
  • Long run of 18-20
  • One session with some faster miles or segments
  • 2 dozens + stretch
  • Get back in the pool or lake at least once
  • Tracking my food and trying to adhere to my ratios

Island Time

Hallo internets.  If you follow me on various social medias (@adjusted_reality on insta or @quixotique on the twitters) this is no surprise but I just flew back from Bonaire two days ago (and boy are my arms tired).

I’m getting back to reality (at least my adjusted version of it), work, and training this week.  Usually I’m ready for it when vacation is over.  However, this one was so epic, so wonderful, so soul soothing, I really and truly didn’t want it to end.

I’ll go into more detail later, because that’s what I do, and I still have to process and edit about a thousand diving shots, but for now, know that Bonaire is awesome and I’m already plotting ways to get back as soon as humanly possible.

Great food.


Great diving.


Great adventures.


But, as I said, work calls.  Running calls.  Life calls.  So… no vacation recap just yet.

I’ll leave you with one underwater thought though…one of my new goals in life is to take pictures so beautiful, so compelling, that it makes more people want to become scuba divers.  I’m nowhere near skilled enough yet, but it’s a hobby I get to work on for the rest of my life.

If you’ve ever had an inkling that you’d be interested in scuba diving, if you’ve liked swimming in the ocean or snorkeling or heck, even just love aquariums, go take a scuba class.  It is absolutely intimidating and scary and they’ll tell you twenty different ways you can be dumb and die in class, but you’ll get over it and the upshot is that YOU GET TO GO BREATHE UNDERWATER.

You get to see turtles feed.  You get to expore underwater wrecks.  You get to have a school of 100 blue tangs swim directly at you.  You get to have a barracuda friend follow you around (who is a little scary at first, but then it’s obvious he wants friends, not food).  You get to play peek-a-boo with eels.

It is SO worth it, y’all.

And that’s why I spent 15 hours last week blowing bubbles underwater – not to mention the 15+ hours doing stuff like hauling tanks, setting up gear, and falling off the side of boats and tiptoeing over rocky coasts to get IN and OUT of the water.  That’s why I am chafed on my fingers and toes and knee and back and fracking everywhere and still have a smile on my face.  That’s why I finished each day of vacation flattened, but in the best way, and I can’t wait to do it again.

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