Adjusted Reality

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

Month: August 2017 Page 1 of 2

Off with her head.

Some weeks, you just feel… off.   Mentally and physically.

Then again, any week you can feel “off” and still ride 100 miles on Saturday is a win in my book.

Starting last Monday afternoon, I felt… weak.  Tired.  Not sick, not exhausted, not hurt, just not myself and extremely unmotivated.  Definitely the kind of feeling I could push through, but probably not a great idea on race week.  I wanted to make sure I save some give-a-shit for the weekend, because riding 100 miles on an empty motivation tank would have been rough.

I started out the week strong with a swim on Monday morning, and did end up prioritizing my 2 sessions of weights, but all I did besides that was a 20 minute easy spin on the trainer.

Oh, and rode for 100 miles/7 hours over the weekend.  But still, much less than I had planned – 9 hours total instead of the probably-too-much that was scheduled.  Obviously, things worked out the way they were supposed to since I had a pretty great ride.

Onto the next, right?  This week I’m splitting the difference between “I just finished my long race” and “it was just a relaxed pace 100 mile ride”.  I don’t have huge plans to kill it all week, but I’m also not sitting on my ass drinking margaritas.

Here’s what I’ve planned this week but at any point I could just… not…

  • Monday: played DDR for about 30 minutes.  Legs definitely weren’t quite as springy as normal!
  • Tuesday: ~2 mile lake interval run.  Walked to the lake by work and ran around it 6 times, alternating fast and recovery/steady.  Legs still didn’t feel great but maintained low 9s for fast and high 10s/low 11s for recovery.
  • Today: swim and weights
  • Thursday OR Friday: brick session in the pain cave
  • Saturday: riding to the BSS social ride and then home (about 40 miles)
  • Sunday: off
  • Monday: (bonus long weekend) bike and swim adventure (about 40 miles)

The next two weeks I’ll be focusing a little more on FAST (with some long-ish ride miles to stay in shape for Livestrong 100), and then a mini-taper to see what I can do at Kerrville Sprint in about 3.5 weeks.

I have not been able to get enough pizza lately, but with #projectraceweight in full effect, I’m making them on whole wheat/corn tortillas instead.

When you get that icky fatigued feeling, the last thing you want to do is go hungry and maintain huge deficits.  So, that’s what I did NOT do this week.  My numbers are a step back for sure but I will stand by the food I put in my mouth because I shook off the… off… without getting sick or injured and succeeded where it counted.

My body just felt INFLAMED last week and recovered just in time to get another dose of it in the shape of a hot, 7 hour bike ride where I was constantly dehydrating and rehydrating myself.  So, my weight averages are probably going to suck for a little while.  Sigh.  One step forward, two steps back.  We’ll get there someday.

  • Weight: 187.9 (+2.6) lbs (to note, this would be 1.3 lbs down taking out the two days that weirdly swung up 4-5 lbs for no reason).
  • Avg cal per day: 2582(+615) calories
  • Avg deficit per day: 567 (-254) calories/Garmin average deficit: 167 (-371)
  • Macros: 81 (+14)g fat, 244 (+54)g carbs, 109 (+3)g protein, 28(+3)g fiber

At least all the numbers make sense.  I let my fat and my total go up, my deficit go down, and my weight went up.  Everyone has crappy weeks and this was one of them.  How about the quality numbers?

DQ score: Monday: 22.  Tuesday: 16.  Wednesday: 29. Thursday: 14.  Friday: 19. Saturday: 12.  Sunday: 3.  Average comes out to approximately 16 (out of 32).

Obviously the average went way down for the week… but it’s better than when I first started tracking it.  I’m doing much better with eating the right stuff but only moderately better at avoiding the wrong stuff… let’s just say there was a little too much booze and a few more refined grains/sweets/fried food than normal.  So far, so good with eating the right stuff this week, I’m hoping to keep that trend up so the important thing (weight) will start trending down again.

I cannot wait to go see all the fishies and take pictures of all of them and eat yummy food and dive until I’m so exhausted I can’t even with myself anymore!

Getting ready to ride 100 miles and camp kind of took over our lives last week but I was able to get some things accomplished.

I made a valliant effort, if I do say so myself, at finishing my fourth chapter in my book in a short amount of time.  I’m pretty close.  Since I had a goal of four chapters in August, and I still have a little August left, my plan is to finish the last bit of this chapter today and spend some time Sunday working on the next.

I’m over 20k words and counting!  It’s not quite as prolific as when I did NaNoWriMo way back in 2009 (I think I got to something like 30-40k in a month before I quit), but that also kind of burned me out of writing.  This pace is brisk but I’m still feeling stoked to make progress.  So it’s perfect!

I downloaded the preview of the Brene Brown book, but I haven’t had any non-falling-asleep reading time.  This week, for sure.

While it’s not quite a To Do (since it’s a ta-DONE), I’m excited to say that we’ve booked our winter vacation and we’re heading back to Bonaire.  Checking out the prices for everything, and all things being fairly equal, I’d rather spend a week rolling out of bed and diving in the most beautiful place ever from the shore in my backyard than an all you can eat/drink luxury resort or a cruise or something.

So, here’s the non-training highlights for the week and long weekend – it’s a lot but also mostly fun stuff!

  • Today we’re showing a friend around our gym and taking a new class!  She may get a membership! It would be fun to have more gym friends.  Then… attempting to finish up chapter 4.
  • Thursday, we will likely be spending lunch picking out our kitchen cabinets and counters, and then D&D game night.
  • Saturday is Labor Day grilling and (card and board) game night at our house.
  • Sunday’s goals are making progress on a non-fiction book (Daring Greatly or something else) and starting (and attempting to finish) Chapter 5.
  • Monday – we want to do something involving water.  We had originally planned on tubing, but I’m not sure I want to chance it with all the rain.  Instead, I think we have a bike adventure and hit up Barton Springs and Deep Eddy and maybe a few places for snacks along the way.

I’m excited!  Fun stuff is fun!  What amazing things are you doing over your long weekend?

Not-quite-so-hotter’n Hell 100

The heat is my KRYPTONITE.

I tend to die a quick and early death when it’s super hot.  So, it makes sense that my choice for a ride this summer was Hotter’n Hell 100, in late August in Wichita Falls, TX, where the temperatures can climb to 105+, right?  I knew it was a stupid idea, so I did stupid things like ride outside for 3 hours at 5pm on the hottest day of the year in feels-like-110 temps and bike commute two days a week in the heat for the last month to prepare.

Then came hurricane Harvey last week.  The devastation in the Houston/Galveston area is terrible, and I would not have wished that on anyone for any reason.  However, a teeny silver lining, the effects up north made for some really unseasonably cool and still dry temperate weather.

We stayed up too late on Thursday night because we are dumb and I have determined that we need an adult sometimes to tell us to go to bed.  Friday morning, we finished final packing and drove our Turtle Home to work for a half day.  Showing off the trailer to a coworker, we realized that we had a tire about 10 miles away from blowing out (ack!), so we took time to fix that and got on the road later than expected.  We stayed just a little ahead of the storm the entire time and found Wichita Falls a little wet but sunny!

We didn’t get into town until after 6pm, got a little lost trying to find packet pickup (but got to see some awesome fast boys crit racing which was exciting!), and then by the time we got camp set up and cooked a very quick dinner it was after 9pm.  After falling asleep around 10, our propane leak sensor starting wailing at midnight.  We fixed it pretty quickly, but… crap.  Two pre-race nights full of sleep fail.  Not optimal.

Let me step in here and give a shout out to the KOA campgrounds in Burkburnet, TX.  They. were. awesome.  They offered free shuttles to the race… which was 14 miles and a few towns away.  Instead of stressing about parking (and with 12,000 people racing, I’m sure that would have been a NIGHTMARE), they dropped us off at about 6:30 AM (45 mins before the race) a block away from our corral and gave us a number to call to be picked up whatever time we finished, bikes and all.  They were all also super nice and it was family owned and the vibe felt good.  If I do this race again, I would ABSOLUTELY stay there.

12,000 people with bikes looks about what you would expect it to – we swarmed this downtown area.  I have never seen or experienced anything like it.  I was terrified of that many people that close together with bikes, but they know what they’re doing with the start.  I was able to get across the line with minimal space invasion and freaking out.

The first 10 felt easy, but I had to stop at the first aid station.  Normally I would hate to stop so early, but I felt like I couldn’t drink because I had to peeee, and not hydrating could have been a HUGE problem later.  There was a  HUGE porta potty line, but it was necessary, so I waited.  After that, I consumed some redbull and some fruit and then we got back on the road and I could drink again had a gel and life was good.

We met a guy who used to work for REI and we spent about 10 miles talking about Novara bikes and the store and all sorts of other randomness.  The temperatures were cool and apparently I was overhydrating, I had to stop again for the second aid station potties.  I think I waited for about 20 mins that time.  Sigh.  In my face went more redbull, watermelon, and a bunch of cookies.  The bottles were filled, we let the cookie monster jersey people know that this was their aid station because they had cookies, and we rolled out again.

In the 30s, riding started to feel a little tedious.  This is my least favorite part of any long ride – when you have enough miles down where you feel like you’ve ridden bikes (achy arms and hands for me before anything else), but you’re not even halfway yet.  Mentally, I felt like I was starting to slip, and we had turned directly into the wind, so I asked my husband if we could take turns every mile or so pulling.  He agreed that it was a better idea than riding side by side so we did that.

That made all the mental difference for me.  I had something to count down to, and  alternated the effort of pulling (harder) and recovering (easier) was better for me than riding a flat pace.  I felt so (hahaha) pro actually coordinating our efforts to conserve energy vs just riding.  We skipped the next but hit the fourth aid station around 40 miles with a little more of a quickness.  Pee, stuff face with PBJs, fill bottles, and hop back on.

At this point, my pulls started to pull away from my husband.  Something wasn’t completely right but I figured he was just having a moment and he’d be pulling me later.

To do the full hundred miles, you have to get to Hell’s Gate (mile 60) by 12:30pm.  We laughed about this earlier and said no problem.  Well, we started calculating times and it was looking like it was starting to become a potential problem, not because of our riding pace (over 15 mph at that point), but our really long stops.  There was debate at that point whether it was at 60 or 62 or 66, so we picked up the pace a little to make sure we didn’t get diverted.

We passed by the next aid station to stop instead at camp, since our route went DIRECTLY by it.  It was our quickest stop yet, hitting a real bathroom with no line, eating some chips, putting some gatorade in our bottles, grabbing some 303s, and we got in and out and on with our lives in about 7 minutes.

Zliten seemed refreshed after the break and feeling better, and we turned away from the wind, so we enjoyed riding side by side a bit again.  Sadly, mile 59 had the aid station I was looking most forward to – bbq sliders (real food!) – but we had 20 minutes to make Hell’s Gate, so we stopped for some cliff blocks instead and put in one more good effort to gain insurance if the gate was more like 66 than 60.

And then, it was indeed mile 60, and we were through with 15 minutes to spare.  My husband let me know that riding that effort definitely burned a match for him and he needed to slow a little.  We started comparing heart rates – he was in the 160s and spiked into 180s and I’d hear him panting and complaining about the heat (it did reach 90 and sunny but still…) while I was leisurely pedaling with a 130-140 heart rate and feeling fine while pulling.  I wasn’t going to leave him, but the slower pace was KILLING ME.

When we got to the 70 mile aid station, I told him that we were stopping, and for a good while, until he felt better.  We sat under mister tents for at least half an hour.  The guy next to us was taking a nap.  I ate probably a jar of pickles and a power bar and some fruit.  Nothing at the aid station was either palatable or wouldn’t cause an allergic reaction for Zliten so I went and grabbed him some blocks out of his bike bento box and gave him some of my gels because he had left his on the table in the camper.

We started out and got a mile before he went to take his turn to pull and just immediately stopped pedaling and started wincing in pain.  I had to block a bunch of cyclists that were drafting off us from running him over as he pulled over to the side.  We waited for the cramp to pass and I said, “look – we’ll go whatever pace we need to finish and if we have to stop and stretch every mile, so be it.”  I don’t know who this person is who was so rational and kind and positive 70 miles into a bike ride, but I’m thankful that was the version of me that showed up that day.

I’m also thankful that we didn’t have to get off the bike that often.  We took turns pulling, me for 2 miles, him for 1 mile, and got to the next aid station.  We almost didn’t stop, but we pulled in to top off the bottles and heard tell of hot dogs, and sure enough… real food he could eat (and FRITOS, which *I* pigged out on).  Later, he said it tasted so good he almost cried while eating it.  We thanked those volunteers profusely and then headed back out fairly quickly.

Another mile out… and another cramp.  Same deal, block my husband from getting run over by wheel suckers, stop, let it pass, and then get going slowly.  I didn’t have one damn person besides Zliten pull for me but I was constantly trailing between 3-7 people who never took a turn at the front.  One mile before the next stop, another really bad cramp hit him in a different spot and he got off the bike and sat down on the side of the road and I had to talk him out of sagging out.  At 89 miles.  With 11 to go.

I convinced him to get to the next aid station, a mile up ahead, and figure it out from there.  There was an ice bath, which may or may not have helped him, but it was something to do.  There was an annoying kid that kept throwing ice at us, but it was late in the day and he was probably super bored so I cut him some slack.  Zliten said he was going to medical but instead he just sat down for a bit until he was prepared to tackle the last few miles.

We took it really slowly the rest of the way.  It wasn’t windy anymore, so I just let him pull so he could pace us to his comfort.  It worked until about mile 99, riding up an overpass, which he ended up doing with one leg while the other was cramping, and we pulled over one more time to wait it out before we made the final descent into the downtown and through the arch at about 4:45pm.  7:16 riding time, 9:20-ish total with ALL the stops.

Here’s probably my second complaint about this ride – at the finish, there was no water, there was one booth handing out cups of coke or sprite but no gatorade, the beer tent was closed, and all the food cost money.  They hyped the finish line village and said it was open until 6pm, but nowhere on the website did it say that there wasn’t any thing freely available for athletes.  We drank our sprites and called the KOA people for the ride, and we were so thankful they were there to shuttle us to Turtle Home instead of driving.

After a shower and getting changed and shoving about half a bag of popcorn and some strawberry cake in my face and using the recovery boots, I felt pretty great!  We grilled up chicken, potatoes, corn, and had some pre-made salads for dinner, which is incredibly healthy compared to the normal gluttony that would ensue after burning about 4000 calories riding bikes.  We sipped our beers (and a flask of fireball) and relaxed and watched a beautiful sunset.

While this is already “longer’n hell”, I liked the race enough that I would consider going back if it fit into my plans (doing a back to back 100 mile ride/13.1 mile trail run would be EXCELLENT Cozumel training next year).  So, here are things I learned and what I’d do differently next time.

  • I’m stingy with my PTO usage but it would have been worth it to take a quarter day Thursday and a full day Friday and stay an extra night.  It would have been amazing to have an extra day Friday to relax, leisurely pick up the packets, hit the pool, watch the crit racing, etc.  Only two days camping made it feel rushed.
  • CHECK YOUR BIKE AT EVERY STOP.  Zliten’s front tire pressure the next day was under 40 PSI (and it’s supposed to be about 100-110).  While I don’t know if it was the entire problem, it can’t have helped to have a under-inflated tire.
  • I would totally stay at this KOA campground next time.  The free shuttle to and from the race was awesome.  It was convenient to have access to it at mile 56 as our own “aid station” and it was wayyyy cheaper than a hotel.
  • I’m usually the one that effs up my nutrition, but I’ve been training myself to be a hoover on the bike and fueling with burgers, fries, pizza, etc.  I can now ride at a sub-maximal effort fueling on damn near anything.  I went back and tracked and I am estimating that I ate/drank over 2000 calories on the ride and had ZERO stomach issues.  I’m going to look into some portable food options that work for both of us that can supplement gels and provide something savory.  And I’m going to start trying to train Zliten to eat pickles on the ride.  I’m pretty convinced the jar or two I ate over the course of the race saved my life.
  • Having a pulling rotation was actually pretty great.  I thought it would feel more like work than a fun bike ride (which, really, was the intention for this one, I had no pace goals).  It helped with the mental management of everything.
  • A pocket sized sunscreen.  Because after the ride, my face matched my drink.

Overall, I’m really thrilled with this ride.  My legs seem to handle about 80 miles before they start to complain, and I would put their decibel level at the end of the race as politely protesting instead of screaming bloody murder.  I’m excited to see what potentially cooler weather and two more months of riding will do, especially because we need to be faster than this (our riding time is fine, just less than the ridiculous 2+ hours of stops) to make the 8h30m cutoff for Livestrong 100.


Wanderlust on the cheap – 10 ways to vacation on a budget

Ah, it’s about to be vacation season.  I’ve got four camping trips planned from now until December, and I’m waffling back and forth on what I want to do for my actual VACATION vacation (requirement: must include scuba diving, snorkeling, and awesome photo opportunities).  This year, I’ve already been on a cruise to the Carribean with my folks, spent a week in the woods, plus a five day trip to do IM Texas in April.  I have the wanderlust and I have it bad.

The company isn’t quite so colorful at home.

I drop probably more than my share of income on it, but I also buy all my clothes from a thrift store and hang onto things until they are so worn out they’re not useful.  It’s one of my priorities.  I don’t remember most of the crap I’ve bought in the last 10 years, but I have vivid memories of my vacations.  I can be underwater with pretty fishies in blue water, which is not something I can do at home.  I can completely relax and let go, which is hard to do at home with one more chore or to do and the internet and the television all handily accessible.

I’ve made the mistake of thinking everyone is like me, but I know differently now.  I know some people who go five or even ten years without taking a vacation.  I’ve heard tell of people, ADULT people, who have never left their hometown.  I’ve also known a lot of people who only vacation to visit family or friends.  While that’s a wonderful thing, I love family and friends, and for those of you that aren’t (or have a spouse that’s) allergic to anything with fur, it can be a much cheaper option to get out of town for a bit.

However, you can miss out on some of the things that make a vacation a vacation.  You can’t completely let go and unwind when you’re staying in someone else’s guest room that’s going about their daily lives.  Also, unless your family is in Hawaii or Iceland, or somewhere else that you’d actually WANT to vacation, it’s really a visit.  Which is cool.  But it’s not a vacation.

What, your first idea for an excursion in Alaska in September ISN’T snorkeling?

How many new experiences would I have missed out on?  If I didn’t travel, I would have never been motivated to learn to scuba dive, which is now at least my third favorite hobby and one of the motivating factors on where I choose to roam.  I would have never climbed to see one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, Hanging Lake, or ran up a mountain in Juneau.  I wouldn’t have scaled the Colorado National Monument or up the Klondike Highway in Skagway (ok, partway…) on bikes.  I wouldn’t have snorkeled in Hawaii, Alaska, or any damn where you put an ocean or even a mildly pretty lake.

I love food and drink.  If I didn’t travel, I would have never had a REAL Belizian meat pie.  I would not have a sick obsession with Publix subs.  I would have never eaten Nepalese food in a little town in Colorado.  I would have never known the joy that is bean, bacon, and cheese breakfast tacos cooked over an open camp fire in the morning.  I wouldn’t have sat in a swim up bar in Jamaica drinking boozy banana drinks. I would have never had an (in)famous hand grenade in New Orleans and I would never have tried the fast food restaurant Krystal after having a few too many of them.

This is the stuff of dreams right here.

“Hey,” you say, “I get it, I want to travel!  But money’s tight, y’know?”

I got you.  If there’s a will, there’s a way.  Here’s ten tips to make travel more affordable/better so you can get the heck out of town and still have enough money to enjoy yourself.

1. Plan your trip when the air fare is cheaper. I am notorious for taking my vacations in early December because travel prices are at rock bottom.  We usually cruise in early March before spring break or on mother’s day weekend because it’s affordable.  Generally, if there’s a big holiday/event coming up, 2-3 weeks BEFORE and AFTER is the best time to travel.  Are the kids in school? Probably cheaper than spring/summer/winter break.  For those of you that have kids: I know my parents busted me out of school for vacations.  You’ll travel cheaper AND you’ll be your kid’s hero.

2. If you have set dates, consider being flexible with your destination.  For example, I knew I wanted to take a vacation for a specific week in December out of Florida.  Instead of doing a Key Largo trip (over 1000$ just for the condo), we took a cruise instead (less than 1000$ for both lodging and food and entertainment).

Condos are awesome because you have extra space and you can also make homemade meals from local food that look like this…

3. Consider staying at a condo/house rental vs a hotel. Consider SCVH for car rental. Typically for the same prices as just a single room or maybe a little bit more, you can get a full kitchen, living room, patio, seperate bedroom (or two), a washing machine, and sometimes other cool amenities like a grill, a bike to ride, or even toys/games/dvds.  Besides being awesome for comfortability reasons, the grill/kitchen means you can cut down on food expenses.  While I love experiencing the food a location has to offer, I’d rather just have an easy breakfast and sometimes lunches I make at home.  And there’s nothing better than grilling some fish on the patio of your condo (that you biked a mile up the road to purchase from a fish market on the water)!  Some of my most memorable Key Largo meals were cooked that way.

4. Some things pay to book in advance, some are left best to the last minute.  For example, if you want to do a cruise excursion with the ship, book it ahead of time and it will cost less.  But, for the cheapest option, show up on the docks with cash and haggle.  It works the same way for vacations – usually planning ahead will save you money, but if you can be impulsive and flexible, you can get some super great last minute deals (for example, a 10 day South American cruise for 299$ per person is happening right now 😛 – and yes, that is room AND food for 10 days…).

8 days in Bonaire, because we were flexible about the time of year and the days we traveled, ended up being less expensive than two long weekend getaways somewhere in the states.

5. Taking your vacation in larger chunks will save you money.  If you take one two week vacation, vs four long weekends, you’re saving 3 round trip flights (or you can go somewhere four times as cool!).  Booking a condo for a month is sometimes just a little more expensive than a week.  If you have the flexibility, go long!

6. A lot of times, the direct flight option, if there is one, is the cheapest (plus you get there quicker, so its a win win).  Always search for the direct flights and then compare it to the cheapest (and see if it’s not worth spending a few extra dollars to take it to actually be on vacation a little longer).

And being here longer is typically better.

7. Consider the RELATIVE cost.  A cheaper flight leaving a day before means another night at a hotel.  A more expensive hotel room in the city may mean you can use public transport and save on a rental car.  A more expensive hotel room with a free breakfast means less meals out.

8.  A great way to “sample” a new area is to combine 2-4 seperate destinations that are nearby.  Cruises are great because you spend about 8 hours in each port.  Some, you don’t care to return to (Grenada).  Some, you fall in love with and spend a week there (Bonaire).  You can do this on land by hitting up a few different towns in the same region.  For example, we did a weekend in Portland, took a bus and spent a few days on the Oregon Coast, and a quick cheap plane flight took us to the Bay Area before we headed home. It would have been WAY more expensive to do these as three separate trips.

I got to wear a jacket in July and kiss crabs.  The Oregon Coast was surreal!

9.  Leave and come back on Saturday if that’s an option.  It’s usually one of the cheaper days to fly, PLUS you get a full day off to decompress and unpack (if you work a typical schedule).  Tuesday and Wednesday are generally the absolute cheapest but that means you have to split up a week off which can feel like you get less time off.

10. Super broke but still want to get away?  Go camping!  A weekend pass to a campsite is about 30 bucks (for improved camping with power and water).  Even if you have zero gear, you can rent a tent from REI for 40 bucks (or buy a super cheap one but I DO NOT RECOMMEND that – rent or buy a good one, but I covered that here), an air matress is 20 bucks, stuff to light a fire is 10 bucks, and from there, all you need is hot dogs, makings for smores, and a case of cheap beer and you’re set!

Not a bad view from your patio for 20$ a night, hmmm?

It’s easy to talk yourself out of taking a vacation.  The actual TRAVEL part of traveling is a hassle.  Then there’s packing, getting everything everything at home and work taken care of while you’re away… and it costs money, no matter HOW great of a deal you get.  I promise, it’s worth it.  Go forth and vacation (cheaply)!

Coming ’round the bend

It’s the little things and a few moments in time and measurements in fractions of inches that are going the right way that give me hope that maybe my crazy plans are actually working.

It’s exhausting work chasing this guy down….

Saturday, we did a slightly longer version of our Pain Cave brick workout from last week.  20 mins warmup, 6x 5 mins steady on the trainer/.25 mile on the treadmill at somewhere around 5k speed, 15 mins cooldown.

I can tell you how things didn’t go as planned that day.  I was tired and didn’t set an alarm and woke up after TEN AM.  The treadmill crashed down off the two by four it was propped on and scared the ever living crap out of me on the second interval. I’m still getting used to my husband on the treadmill about four inches from my face when I’m on the bike.

However, I can tell you sometime about interval four I felt my legs start to do the sling shot thing.  Instead of taking effort to move my gams from being extended behind my body to bent in front, at that particular pace and time, it was happening via momentum.  Not every time, and especially when I was just trying not to fly off the treadmill into all the hazards elsewhere in the room, but one part of fixing my stride clicked for the first time… at least in years, before I knew what good or bad running stride was, and maybe ever.

I logged 3.5 miles last week at an average pace of about 9:20/mile.  I’m starting to see dividends in my stride and hopefully this continues.

Also, I lived one of my worst biking fears on Wednesday and it wasn’t that bad.  I totally misinterpreted the world and instead of staying put when an ambulance was coming through a busy intersection, I clipped in and started to go.  Once I realized what was going on, I fumbled and didn’t get unclipped in time and went down RIGHT into the righthand turn lane from the lane heading straight.   It was not the nicest commute in the world but my big girl pants were firmly on, so I got up, rode to work the rest of the way, and rode home.  I’ll probably be a little more cautious on the bike for a bit because I am skittish, but I think I will survive.

Other than that, it was a great week, I hit everything I planned to do.

  • 2 swims
  • 2 bike commutes
  • 1 run off the bike
  • 1 brick workout
  • 2 weights

7.25 hours total.  One key was that I hit the swims in the morning.  We’ll see about changing that up once my schedule clears up a little, but once I’m heading home, it’s REALLY hard to motivate myself to take that detour to the pool.

This week is pretty mellow until Saturday, the ride I have been training for, Hotter’n’Hell 100.

  • 1 swim (DONE)
  • 2 weights (with my NEW PLAN)
  • 1 run off the bike
  • 2 bike commutes OR one bike commute and one morning ride (depending on how time crunched/tired we are).

…and obviously riding bikes for 100 miles on Saturday.  I expect it will take us somewhere between 6-7 hours of riding time, and we’ll have 4-5 hours of training on Mon-Tues-Wed and then two days off to rest up.

It’s weird to have a goal “race” that’s not really a race, but just sort of a morning/afternoon party on bikes, but after all the super serious Ironman prep earlier this year, I’m so so so so so good for it!

The iguana and I had very similar dinners that day… we’re both on #teamlotsofveggies

Here we go.  Numbers and stuff…

  • Weight: 185.3 (-2.1) lbs
  • Avg cal per day: 1967(-191) calories
  • Avg deficit per day: -821 (+102) calories/Garmin (538)
  • Macros: 67 (-13)g fat, 190 (-29)g carbs, 106 (-1)g protein, 25(-7)g fiber

Alright, alright, alright.  Finally some progress.  It’s always darkest before the dawn, I guess.  Obviously, there’s still room to be better, I actually overate on Saturday, not just my -1000 calories in fitbit, but my actual calorie burn +200 or so, but throughout the week it evened out.

Just for funsies, I’m going to put the garmin stats on here as well.  As you can see, it’s a difference of about 300 each day, so while on Fitbit, it looks like I should be losing almost 2 lbs per week, on Garmin, it’s got me right around the 1 lb mark.  Hopefully averaging these out over the next month paired with my average weight loss, I can decide which one seems more accurate in the long term.

So, how about quality?

DQ score: Monday: 28.  Tuesday: 25.  Wednesday: 18. Thursday: 30.  Friday: 27. Saturday: 6.  Sunday: 20.  Average comes out to approximately 22 (out of 32).

I’m going to guess that this, the low 20s, is the approximate DQ threshold where I start to lose weight (as long as my calories are in line as well).  I’ve cut out a lot of the negatives (switching refined grains for whole the majority of the time, eating fruits and nuts instead of other snacks, really thinking about sweets or fried food) and working on adding the positives (getting my required 4 servings of veg per day).

I suppose the despair last week and the relief this week is finding something that works that I can also live with.  Yes, I’m pretty certain that giving up all “negative points” foods and alcohol and I would lose weight.  I could probably do that for a couple weeks (while being a shut in) before I rebelled and went on the biggest battered-fried-dipped-in-ranch-frosted food bender with a bottle of whiskey.  I do moderation much better than abstinence.

I’m aware that I can’t indulge every time there is a reason to indulge and get to race weight.  I’ve passed up work pizza and cake this month.  I’ve stuck… reasonably well to the alcohol in moderation thing.  I’ve gotten comfortable with my weaknesses and starting purchasing pre-made salads to bolster my weekend veg content, making healthy deserts that include sunbutter to get some nut action (heh, heh), and keeping more accessible fruits around so it’s just grab, wash, and go.  The sugar cravings are MOSTLY held at bay with energy balls and some dark chocolate on occasion.  Oven fries, garlic pistachios, and popcorn are almost as good as fried fries and chips.

So, let’s say I find the balance and it’s indeed that 1 lb per week.  That’s about 30 weeks until I hit my goal.  Give or take a few weeks for holidays/vacations where maintaining is just fine, thanks, and I’ll be at my raceweight for my 39th birthday.  That would be a heck of a gift to myself, especially if I can do it while still stopping for a beer on the way home from bike commuting on Wednesdays as long as I also don’t eat the fried pepperoni pizza eggrolls from the food truck outside.

Yes, I used this picture before.  Imagine it just as dusty, but the bookshelf organized and the rest of the room you can’t see in serviceable shape!


I didn’t actually take a picture of it because, honestly, it doesn’t look impressive.  When I gave up perfect for good enough, it meant there’s still crap on the shelves in the corner and there’s still a table with stuff on it and four monitors underneath and I still need to hang some degrees and certificates.  But, it meets all the criteria.  Everything has a place and the things that were elsewhere in the house that were supposed to go there are in there.  The closets close.  The floors are clear.  Most importantly, the desks are clear and we have workspace.

I am proclaiming it done, and for the first time in many, many years (maybe since we moved in), we have four usable rooms with a purpose.  This means, as I have promised my husband, that we are taking the entirety of September off house projects (while we gear up for the kitchen remodel).

I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve been able to sit down, write, and have it flow.  I’ve got the rough draft of three chapters written.  About 16k words.  I’m not so naive that I think it will continue like this forever, and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll think of it once it is done, but I’m writing a book.  I’m about a quarter done.  Even if it’s a big pile of dog mess at the end, I’ll have done it.  And I’ll know what to do better next time.  If I can write a crappy book in three months I can write a not-as-crappy book in another three months and then maybe a decent book in three MORE months and by the time a year is up, I have a shit ton of words and maybe something worth publicizing.

Other stuff I did or didn’t do:

  • Put together my weights plan – YEP!
  • Go shopping – NOPE!  I planned to ride my bike but it was literally feels like 110 when I was set to ride up so I took a nap (heat is EXHAUSTING) and we took an Uber instead.
  • Download a new non-fiction book – KINDA.  I’ve got the preview.  I’m going to decide whether it’s worth 15 bucks to me, but if it is I’m going to do it.  It’s just a little more than a movie ticket and will occupy my time longer.  I want people to pay me as an author, so I shouldn’t flinch about the price of a book I actually want to read, right?

And now, it’s a new week.  What’s up?

  • Racing HHH100 and camping this weekend.  Do all the things to prepare, and go have fun!
  • Finish chapter four of my book.  This is potentially dicey due to it being a short week filled with out-of-town prep, but I’m going to go for it.  Hopefully, it flows and I can at least make some progress.
  • Decide on the book and either download it or pick something else off my list (and read, obvs).

And, on that note, off to do the things that make the stuff go!



Bands and balls and bodyweight, oh my.

Hey, #girlswholift or #boyswholift or #catswholift or whatever – I’m finally changing up my strength training next week and figured I’d share my plan.

Nachocat isn’t really into the heavy lifting.  She’s more into super short plyometric workouts with REALLY long rest intervals.

My goal is to focus on bands and balls this month or so.  I’d love to hit the gym and lift some actual iron, but my schedule right now isn’t making that easy.  So, we grabbed a second set of bands so we can do much more resistance at lower reps (8-12) and start werking that Hypertrophy phase of actually GETTING STRONGER.

Here’s my plan.  These exercises. 2x week.  Either roll through all of them once or twice each session OR pick 8-10 that hit all the spots and do three sets.  Or, I may do them as circuts, pick an leg, core, and arm exercise and repeat three times and then move onto the next.  Or maybe alternate through all of these things.  The first week I’m going to give all of them a try and see how it goes.


  • Band Squats (12)
  • Band Lunges (12)




  • Stir the pots (12)
  • Bicycles (30)
  • Woodchoppers (12)
  • Side plank leg raise (10 sec hold, 10 leg raises)


  • Pushups with band (12)
  • Lateral raise with band (12)
  • Rows (12)
  • Overhead Tricep Extension (12)

Between this article on Greatist and Oiselle dozen, this should cover most of the things I’m doing here (but if not, I put links to youtube videos above).






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