Adjusted Reality

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

Month: April 2017

10 Days Out

Today, I get to start stalking the weather report for the race.

Not super great, but it could be worse.  I’ll take the cloudy and the low chance of rain, but I’d be grateful for a 5-10 degree drop in temps and the wind calming down a little.

Either way, this is nothing I can change.  I’ve prepared in worse, so I’ll be fine, y’all.  One of these days I’m going to get perfect weather for one of these silly long distance races I like to do, but until then, I’ll conquer whatever the day presents me.

I talked in great length about the weekend here, so let me just wrap up the rest of it.

The first week of taper never quite feels much like taper, but it all went a-ok.  I had 11.5 hours planned, which seemed ambitious, so I was alright letting a little fall off.  I held on a little more than I actually expected and ended up with 10.5 hours.  I missed a little bit of cycling and one weights session.  Life will go on.

  • Runs: 1 hour heat acclimation, 1.5 miles off the bike, 10 mile race easy miles
  • Bike: 1-1.5 45 min effort ride (sort of), BSS ride, 50-60 mile TT ride 1h30 fighting the wind around town on road bikes, 48 mins fighting the wind commuting on cruiser bikes.
  • Swim: 1 race distance (close) OWS, 1 shorter OWS
  • Weights: 2 1 session
  • 10.5 hours total.

I really would have liked a better race distance OWS and some more awesome TT bike miles, but I’m pretty happy with what we did.

The only bike ride of the week that went as planned…

This week is taper week #2, which should actually feel like taper.  Having multiple days off was decadent.  Having single digit hours on the plan feels positively sinful.  It’s lucky because between work and the rain, I’m having to shift my plans around a little lot but this week.  I can’t lie, I’m at three days right now with no swim/bike/run and I’m freaking out a little, but I have to remember the advice I’d give ANYONE else – it’s no big deal and it’s actually probably a decent week for life to happen.

My super-detailed plan is below:

  • Runs: some miles as long as my knee stays cooperative
  • Bike: Bike once or twice somewhere.  Some distance.  Maybe on the TT even if it works out properly.
  • Swim: At least one open water swim that’s 1+ mile.  More if I can.
  • Weights: did one session already this week.  I’m calling it here since we’re 10 days out.  Time to let the muscles rest.
  • Some hours total.

Life Stuff:

Two new blue shoes (say that 10 times fast)…

I successfully obtained new cycling shoes that seem to fit (they’re a little tighter than I’m used to, but my old ones are so loose and slippy I think that’s a good thing).  I also have new Clifton 3s and I really wanted to wear them for the 10 mile run (my last long one), but with my knee twinges, I decided to go with the ones I knew.  I hope they’ll be broken in enough by the race to wear, but if not, it will probably be my last run on the previous pair (and I will have yet to break the cycle of wearing old shoes at my big races…).

Sighhhh… I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to track calories but it has.  It just has.  I got through Monday, half of Tuesday, and randomly tracked Saturday to make sure I had eaten enough food (and at the time I tracked, I hadn’t, so it was good I did).

So far this week, I’ve tracked everything so far, so I’m doing better!  I have been hopping onto the scale every so often, and my weight seems to be pretty steady (185-188), but my body fat seems to be down a few %s.  So, that’s good!  While I’d like to have magically taken off a lot of weight this cycle, instead, I definitely put on some muscle.  In the next month, my goal is to not fuck that up with a bunch of weight gain.

I foam rolled 6/7 days last week.  I went in for a chiropractor check on Monday and she says my back is the best she’s seen it lately, so it’s working!  Yay!  I need to continue this trend through the race, it is so good for me.

I drank beer last Wednesday, and then I got sick of beer and drank whiskey and stayed up too late.  Life continued on, I didn’t miss any training specficially because of that, and I got lots of sleep the next night.  I guess the law of averages dictates when you act like a grandma 5-6 days a week and go to bed around sunset, sometimes you need to act like you’re in your early 20s to balance things out.

I haven’t quite mastered the bedtime thing yet, but less training seems to equal less sleep needed (and less residual exhaustion), so as long as I’m asleep by 10:30-11, the 7am hour isn’t too bad.  This week, I will continue the fight of early to bed and early to rise.

So, this week’s goals are:

  • Early to bed/early up whenever I can without sacrificing sleep.
  • Let’s stop being stupid with the having too many drinks and staying up ’til 3am, k?
  • Foam roll and puffy legs and stretching and all the recovery things.
  • Track the food.  At the very least, write it on a list somewhere.
  • After the cleaning service on Thursday – start packing ALL THE THINGS for IM TEXAS!!!!

On this last one – holy cow.  I’ve started to make a plan for this and I just hope I can fit everything in need in our big ass Xterra.  I’ll share my neuroticisms and overthinking later this week. 🙂



Austin 10/20 weekend in review

I like to write up race reports to capture the moment in time.  However, this one was a little… different.  I can’t really break it off from the rest of the weekend because it was all in the name of IMTexas training.  Also, in and of itself, the race was slow and unimpressive so I feel like I need to qualify it with what was going on all weekend.

Swim, burger, bike, run.  Not usually in that order…

Saturday morning, we had set the alarm for omg-wtf-early to be out at Lake Pflugerville to swim race-ish distance, bike 40-ish miles, and run around the lake – and in the middle of it, be around to say hi to our tri team doing a newbie clinic at the same place.  The siren song of sleeeeep got us, and we didn’t get in the water until almost NINE THIRTY (oops), and we were gifted with some pretty rough conditions in the lake, caused by 20+ mph winds with 30+ gusts.

I have not had a more challenging swim in my recent recollections.  It was like swimming in a choppy ocean fighting the tide.  I almost quit at least 20 times in the first mile.  The direction of the chop was probably the most challenging part.  I can roll with some side chop, literally by rolling almost onto my back to breathe, but half of each lap was directly into it.  Every few strokes it was so high that I’d go to breathe and *nope* as a wave crashed over me.

My safe swimmer orange floaty thing acted as an anchor going into the chop, and on the way back, it want to be RIGHT BY MY HEAD, so I had to adjust my stroke to keep my arm from getting tangled in the cord.  Not bringing my arm out of the water was incredibly inefficient and took the fun out of the payoff (swimming fast with the current).  I actually intentionally inserted some breaststroke in there so I could actually sight because I often couldn’t see the buoys over the waves.

I wasn’t super physically spent in that 1h45+ to go just under race distance, but I was mentally spent for sure.  We decided to cancel the TT bike ride out there for not just that reason, but it was also borderline unsafe on those bikes on traffic-y roads.  We briefly flirted with a run around the lake but I was wet and cold and over it so we got some In-N-Out Burger instead and ran an errand.

It worked out that we had to be back to pick something up in two hours, and it’s along one of our normal bike routes, so tooled around town on our road bikes instead of banishing ourselves to the trainer.  The wind continued to be incredible, making  downhill against the wind feel almost more challenging than uphill into it, but we got in almost an hour and a half.  Not quite the 40 miles we were hoping, but again, fighting the wind should count for something extra, right?

Because I’m a triathlete, and I also had new shoes to break in, I ran a mile and a half off the bike.  I felt a little knee twinge, and then it went away, but it still made me nervous.  We showered and had some recovery shakes,  ate some dinner, crawled into bed with our books, and set our alarm at wtf-oclock again for the race.

This night of sleep was rather fitful.  Sometime during the night, my knee had convinced me it was broken (ah, tapers) and I was up less with the actual pain and more with the worry that I had 10 miles to run with a bib the next day.   I didn’t want to wreck anything for April 22nd but I also didn’t want to quit.  I woke up and everything seemed to be in working order (if maybe a little stiff), so I got up and did the morning things and we rode bikes 3 miles to the start line.

Morning race day shenanigans.  Also, I’m pretty sure I’ll never be able to spell shenanigans without a spell checker.

We had originally been prodded to sign up because a lot of our BSS team was racing, but a lot of people dropped out and most of the folks there, we just didn’t connect with.  We ended up seeing our friend Rikki who randomly found us right before the race, but didn’t end up seeing any of the other 10 million people we knew that were there.

The race started late, and an extra 20 minutes of standing around wasn’t helping leg-things so I took off VERY slowly.  I could tell Zliten was frustrated and I told him to go, and he said, nope, he need to go about this pace anyway.  Itold him to give it a few miles, I’ll probably warm up and feel better, and through the first 4, we stayed really easy and I turned a corner (literally and figuratively) and my stride changed and all of a sudden it felt better so we picked it up by 15-30 sec/mile.

This race is awesome for many reasons besides the convenience.  The first 4  years, it was a great place (and a great time of year for my fitness) for me to lay it all out on a flat and fast course and I improved every year by a minute or two.  It’s close to home and work and I run in this area all the time.  I get a kick of running down the middle of busy roads I drive all the time.  There is almost always a band within earshot (the first four years I was hidden in my music trying to PR, so I didn’t appreciate it as much, but the last two years I took it easy and rocked out and it was super fun).  They hand out cold towels halfway through and at the finish, which is always refreshing.

The hill that is always terrible wasn’t that bad (when you’re running easy pace), and then the last half mile uphill into the wind finally got me near the finish, my knee twinged while Zliten was speeding up, so I said “nope, walking a sec”.  A spectator, bless her heart, was trying to encourage me, and instead of explaining the situation I just started jogging slowly again (and it felt fine) and then we crossed the line of the last Austin 10/20 EVAR (unless some political-sounding things get resolved).

After the race was for putting things in my mouth or showing things where to go (by opening my mouth), apparently.

Garmin time: 1:54:57 which is about 11:30/mile. Which is almost exactly what I would like to aim for in (eeek!!!) 12 days on the run, so there is that.  While I would have liked to put on a little more gas (maybe 10:30-11s), my knee feels fine today so mission accomplished!

It was humid and windy and we were dripping during the race and quickly chilled after.  The beer tent had a block-length long line.  The food offerings (rice krispies treat and fruit) were great for a snack, but I definitely was ready for something more substantial.  So, like almost every other year, we skipped out on the post race party and fought the wind home on the bikes and had better beer with no lines, ordered a pizza and watched sci fi movies all day.

Besides the mental energy going into worrying about my knee, I felt a marked lack of tiredness and soreness (and still do today) with over 6 hours of training in the last two days.  I’m taking today off (maybe some weights, but more likely catching up on the chores I blew off yesterday) because that’s in the plan, and I’m super stoked to visit the chiropractor tonight because I think part of the knee issue is I’m out of alignment, but training did it’s thing and taper is doing it’s thing now and life is good.

Four taper problems, and how to keep the crazy in check

It’s far enough into taper that the crazies are starting to come out a little bit for both of us.  Zliten is convinced he has about 3 different major injuries.  I’m resisting the urge to cram training I feel like I missed and/or need more of in the last 3 weeks.  Both of us are on the Overthinking It express train headed directly to Madness Town.

However, we’ve been through this before, and to KNOW the taper crazy is the first step in conquering it.  Below are four taper problems explained and what you can do about them.

Hello brain!  Nice to see you have come back to me from durp-de-dur land.  Now, if you could stop it with the crazy thoughts…

Taper Problem #1 – It’s time to question EVERY decision I made during my training program, even though I trained pretty consistently.  That 12 mile run that I stopped at 6.5 in January when my glutes flipped out?  The fact that I only did 112, 100, 87, 80, and a bunch of 70 mile rides + more 4-5 hour long rides on the trainer instead of… more?  The open water swim I cut by 2 laps because it was getting dark?  I’m totally fucked on race day.

Why this happens: your brain isn’t completely consumed with or numb (I call it Ironman brain… the feeling of durrrrr…) from all the training, and now it’s awake and ready to completely overthink everything. You finally have free time, but you can’t really do anything with it because you have to rest.

What to do: Find something restful AND useful to do.  Write blog posts about your taper crazies.  Watch a TV series you’ve been putting off.  Play a game.  Go have dinner with your family (they probably miss you).  Organize your music collection.  It just needs to take up time and be off your feet.

What not to do: Use that extra time to get in those workouts you missed in January.  The hay is in the barn.  You can’t make up for it now.  Also, don’t fill your time with projects like yardwork or renovation – if it feels like a workout, even if it’s not swim/bike/run, guess what?  It’s going to hamper your taper.

I’ve fallen onto a cheese sandwich and I can’t get up!  I guess it’s naptime.

Taper Problem #2 – Somehow I’m getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night, and I’m training about half as much as you were during peak weeks.  My body is still just as exhausted.  I will never feel normal again.

Why this happens: Taper is like the ultimate rest day.  Your body is repairing itself and making itself stronger.  This, plus storing more carbs/water in your muscles, which is GOOD because you want them topped off for the race, makes you feel sluggish.

What to do: keep resting.  It will pay off.  I find that some GENTLE speedwork nearing race day helps me assure myself that the fitness is there.  You can feel those POPS of everything being normal even if your workouts by and large are feeling like garbage.

What not to do: resume high volume.  I’ve done this before – “well, I’m exhausted anyway, I might as well train more”.  You’ll hit that crappy feeling of the beginning of taper when you should be peaking on race day.  Also, don’t stress too much.  Chances are, you’ll feel awesome by the event, and if not?  You’ve undoubtedly hit some training days where you felt sub-par but crushed it anyway.  This is just another one of those days!

I completely overuse this picture on this blog but guess what?  It’s applicable a lot. 

Taper Problem #3 – Everything hurts and I’m dying.  Shin twinge?  OMG stress fracture!  Dry throat?  Holy fuck, I’m getting the plague!

Why this happens: you’re shedding fatigue, and losing the overall muscle soreness while your body gets rested and stronger and ready to race.  Niggles you would ignore otherwise stand out.  Also, you’re completely overthinking everything because you’re nervous/excited about the race.

What to do: pamper yourself.  If you’re into massages, this is a good time for one.  Relaxing in bodies of water (baths, hot tubs, floating in the lake, etc) is choice.  Lots of time stretching, foam rolling, etc will help put your body back together.  Also, if you have a random heel pain out of nowhere for no reason and running hurts?  Swim and bike instead.  I promise you will remember how to run at the race after a few days off.

What not to do: freak out.  I’ve had limbs that I was CONVINCED were broken but magically felt better on race day.  If you think something is seriously wrong (or if you actually ACUTELY injure yourself, like twisting and spraining your ankle), go seek professional help with a chiropractor or doctor, but you’re very unlikely to actually get a stress injury while REDUCING mileage if you’ve been fine all along.

It’s taper and I feel amazing!  BRB, I’m going to totally try to break my mile PR and then go bike all those 100 miles I think I forgot to do in training…

Taper Problem #4 – I have no idea what all these other things are about.  It’s a week before the race.  I feel amazing!  I should go test myself at the sprint tri that’s happening this weekend!

Why this happens: taper has worked… you’ve just come out of your fatigue a little early.  Especially, if you generally feel like crap during taper this one can catch you off guard.

What to do: rejoice that taper did what it should, and get excited for your A race.  Hit the sprint triathlon if you want, it will be a great dry run with all your race day gear.  Just keep your effort in check – I would recommend keeping your pacing to around 70.3 effort (or like 75-80% maximum effort) and give it a little gas on the last mile if you have it.

What not to do: race the sprint at 100% effort.  You may PR and prove that you are indeed in great shape, but it’s possible you’ve compromised your A race doing so.  If you can’t hold back, it’s better to just do your own thing solo.

The long and short of it is – you’ve prepared.  You put in all the work you could, even if life got in the way sometimes.  Try to enjoy the extra time you have in the last few weeks before the race and think about how awesome it will feel to cross that finish line!

Taper, officially.

While it was an anticlimactic last official week of training, the truth is now that it’s officially taper.  OMG.  Shit just got real!

Choppy lake is choppy but the rest of the day was loverly.

The weekend before last week I did my second long day.  The first one, I felt just fine after resting up Sunday and taking it a little lighter early in the week.  This one, coupled with a few nights of bad sleep, wrecked me for most of the weekdays.  I mounted a comeback and put in 4.5 hours over the weekend, more than doubling what I did during the week.

Would I have liked to have done more?  Sure.  But, the hay is in the barn.  I’m ready.  There are bales of it, piled high, ready to feed the hay-eating-beast on race day.  I can second guess things, like perhaps I could have accumulated more hay or compare myself to other farmers who might have bigger barns (more training).  I can organize my bales a bit so I can make use of them better on race day (practice transitions, more open water swimming instead of in the pool, strides on the bike and the run, etc).  However, the time for gathering the bales is now officially over so it’s simply time to protect the barn.

I did my long day #1 (2/25) a month out from long day #2 (3/25), which is 1 month out from long day #3 (Ironman day).  Between #1 and #2, I had convinced myself that I had gone too long without a long effort and I’d forget how to ride my bike.  I didn’t.  Now it’s time to remember the same thing during taper.  Your body does not forget how in a month.

It’s taper, so it’s time to replace a little #sockdoping with a little #hammocklife.

Last week (heavily modified):

  • Monday: weights and swim 11 hours sleep (OFF)
  • Tuesday: hour run and cycle class 5k run at like 12:30 pace and 11 hours sleep
  • Wednesday: weights and 20 mile BSS ride
  • Today: 2 hour run AM 9 hour sleep and 1 hour run at lunch
  • Friday: maybe a work bike commute and maybe make up the weights with a very lazy core session but also maybe not any of that.
  • Saturday: practice Olympic race at Lake Pflugerville (just us, mock-tri style) (missed 3 run miles)
  • Sunday: riding bikes to and from Barton Springs (~2 hours) and an open water swim. Due to the storm, 2h15m trainer ride.  And book/hammock reps instead of my swim.
  • 8.25 hours total

As you can see, it was kind of a fail in terms of keeping a schedule but there’s enough in there that it was still a decent recovery week.  I think I had two weeks of the thirteen so far which I significantly reduced volume.  Besides that, I’ve stayed healthy, uninjured, and (relatively) sane, so I can’t complain too much.

This week:

  • 2 weights sessions
  • 1 hour heat acclimation run (DONE), 1 brick run off the bike, 10/20 (10 mile race)
  • 1-1.5h effort ride, BSS recovery ride, 50-60 mile TT ride at Pflug.
  • 1 race distance OWS, 1 shorter OWS.
  • 11.5-ish hours

This is a lot for taper normally, but considering I took last week lighter, I’ll leave it on the plan and we’ll see how it goes.  Next week will be a significant reduction either way.  The open water swims are priority, since I’m feeling flaily at them lately.

I will make a gametime call at how hard I’m going to run 10/20.  I’m doubting I have a PR (sub-1:36) at the effort I’m willing to put out (aka, not wreck myself), but I also wouldn’t mind running it harder than easy.  It also will be determined by what I do the day before, if its a 60 mile TT ride + brick run + open water swim, I’ll probably not want to kill it for 10 miles (quite as much).

Life stuff:

Proof sometimes I dry my hair and wear makeup and real person clothes.  It might take two people getting married, but it happens!

Perspective is a weird thing.  Only training 8.25 hours last week meant we had so much tiiiiiime to do other stuff.  We went to Costco one day.  We had another Thursday date night checking out a new place for appetizers and drinks.  We went to a friend’s wedding at Voodoo Donuts and after party at a speakeasy.  I spent all Sunday afternoon enjoying the perfect weather reading in the hammock.  It was nice!

This week, I’ve got a few things to tackle, but it’s really just prepping to have the best ME I can on race day.  Now that we’re in taper, it’s time to do the non-workout part of protecting the barn – which is treating myself as nicely as possible over the next few weeks so I’m rested, refreshed, loose, and unfrazzled as possible.  To that end I have a few goals:

#1 – I’m pretty sure my calorie balance dipped into the positives last week.  I need to resume tracking for the next 3 weeks so I don’t overeat and gain a bunch of weight.

#2 – My foam roller and I have been estranged lately.  It’s probably because my body has adapted to the training and I’m not collapsing onto it every 5 minutes to unkink my back and booty.  This is a good thing.  However, just because I don’t have an urgent need for it doesn’t mean it won’t be good for me.  So, I’m rededicating myself this week, each day before bed, I need to do my quick little 5 minute rolling routine.


Date nights are fun, but they’ve been turning into too-late-nights.  But it’s super fun to actually go out a little.  Absence (from the couch) makes the heart grow fonder.

#3 – The good news is I have been keeping my consumption to one weekday (typically Thursday).  The bad news is I have been staying up a little too late on said weekdays when I have some booze (read: 2-3am, sleeping as late as I can before work, only getting about 6 hours sleep max).  I can use all the sleep I can get over the next three weeks.  So, I’m going to take a page from January (when I actually found bed at a decent hour most nights) and if I have drinks on the weekdays, they will be beer or beer-like substances until after the race.

#4 – And even in non-booze related evenings, I need to start shifting the time to be in bed reading to more like 9pm rather than 10pm, so I can a) be more rested and b) start waking up a little earlier.  If I can get 6:30-7am to not feel like the middle of the night, I will probably be better off on race day having to get up at 4.

In other life stuff, the bike shoes I ordered failed (way too small), and I never made it to the running store to get new shoes.  The new bike shoes are on order, and I plan to hit the running store one day this week at lunch.

Other than that, I’m pretty much taking the month to ignore anything else that is not a) race related or b) an emergency or immediate NEED.  If I don’t need to stress about something before April 22nd, I’m making the call not to.  Shipping an update at work and doing an Ironman will be enough for me this month, thank you very much.  Anything else can be added to the list starting approximately May 1st or so!

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