Adjusted Reality

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

Month: November 2017 Page 1 of 2

Mile 18

It’s like Mile 18 of the marathon up in here.

Getting there!  Also, I made everyone stop working to go look at the amazing sunset because I am THAT PERSON.

I’m so done with running at this point.  And there’s still 8.2 more miles to go and that feels like the LONGEST time ever and I just want it to be over NOAW.  However, since I’ve been through this type of thing before as an endurance athlete, I know it’s the home stretch, I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s a little dim, and we will survive and get to that finish line.

Let me get my crankies out of the way.  I have not minded doing the work.  I have not minded the mess around the house (much… I sigh at it once in a while when I have to step over boxes to get around or can’t find something I need, but I gave the house permission to be a mess while we did this, so it’s fine).  However, I want my effing kitchen back.  I want to cook.  I want to chop veggies on a counter.  I want a dishwasher that can get caked on food out of a dish without having to soak it in a bathtub.  I’ve eaten more junk food than I should, not because I don’t have healthy food to eat, it’s just a PITA to prepare and more importantly clean up without a fully functioning kitchen.

So, I went full lazy this week.  I got some healthy prepared meals for dinner that take no real prep or cleanup on my part.  And… I should have full cooking capabilities really soon since the counter folks are currently here RIGHT NOW installing my happy fun sparkly quartz counter.  So, mile 18. It sucks right now in this moment but it will get better really really really soon.

What’s left?  After the counters and sink are installed, we need to hook up the garbage disposal, dishwasher, and then honestly, everything else is completely cosmetic and I have a kitchen again in practical terms again.  I can start unpacking all those boxes.  All that’s left after that is:

  • Some minor trim work
  • Finishing up some painting (walls and outsides of cabinets that are exposed)
  • Putting on the hardware
  • Kickplate for the cabinet bottoms
  • Make shelves for the custom bar cabinets that don’t have them
  • Mounting the backsplash
  • Fixing the tile (and of course we are ONE short of what we need and have to go hunt it down or get creative)
  • Mounting the light strips under the cabinets

…and I think that’s it.  I’m sure other stuff will come up but at some point soon, we’ll be able to call it finished!

My #IMTexas finisher shirt finally fits!

The good news is that I don’t think it’s negatively impacting my other efforts.  Apparently, this project came at the point where my body decided it needed and can appreciate a break from formal training.  My weight continues to trend downward even though I’m definitely not consuming as much healthy stuff as I should and probably less of a calorie deficit overall.  I haven’t tinkered with FAST yet but I have had some great runs lately where if it wasn’t for some other commitments (work/remodel/plans), I would have EASILY run a lot longer.  That’s a good feeling for when I really start getting back to it.

I’ve trotted 5 miles with turkeys in about 53 minutes, chatting with friends the whole way (with a 17 mile bike ride wrapped around it), and done various hour+ runs with no problem.  This weekend, I plan to go a little longer and do something between 7-10.  Every other sport I have slacked on since October 22nd.  That’s ok.  I feel the pull to start doing a regular schedule, which is nice, but life has not yet given me the room for that, so at the very least, I’ll have five weeks of focused training when I get back from vacation.  That should be enough to make a go at a PR, at the very least.  No matter what, as long as I’m healthy, Sapphyra will show up and do battle on January 21st.

And, just because we’re us, we had to take a remodel break on Sunday and put up our lights.  Priorities.

So, it’s a little rough, a little chaotic, and a little messy-middle right now.  But I know by going forward, I’ll get to the light, I’ll get to the finish line, and I can go back to playing bikes and cooking healthy food and training for reals again with a shiny new kitchen and clean house.


Progress and Thankfulness

I’ve been looking at this kitchen remodel like a long race.

Somewhere between the proverbial start line and the first few hundred meters of the swim (picking up the cabinets).

I’d say right now, I’m mid bike.  Not quite sure if I’m over half way yet, but close.  I’m far enough in to feel a little fatigue, but there’s a lot left to go.  The process is actually not been too bad, I honestly think that playing “helper” to people who know what they’re doing is the best possible scenario.  If it was contractors, I think I would be impatient and antsy (well, MORE impatient and antsy).  If we were doing it all ourselves, we would be SO overwhelmed.  For example, we’re putting crown molding over the tops of the cabinets to cover up the fact that they’re a little uneven.  I would have never thought of that, but I’m happy to help paint and hang it up!

So, it’s been about a week.  Last we spoke, everything was torn down.  I’m actually thrilled that went as quickly as it did because once that happened, there was no turning back.  Apparently, according to the in laws, it was the easiest demo they’ve ever done and I think they had fun doing it. 🙂

Garages are not for cars this week.  They are for painting cabinets.

The last week, in my world, was about two things: fighting off decision fatigue to make smart choices I won’t regret later, and painting all the things.

I was super excited to put together a kitchen exactly how I wanted it until I actually had to put the kitchen together!  I had procrastinated picking out a lot of things because a lot of shops are only open when I’m at work and also I think I was a little intimidated.  It was stressful (#fwp) because I was thinking about:

  • Resale value.  I’m not saying I want to move any time soon, but I also don’t think I’m going to live in this house until I die.  I never want to do this again so I’m making choices that are not so bold I’ll have to rip them out to list the house.
  • Personal style.  Conversely, I’m not a tan and light wood finish kitchen person.  I wanted to chose things that make me happy and excited.
  • Price.  I went into this making sure I didn’t cheap out on the crap that mattered, but I also know that the 2800$ quartz counter we picked out (and actually fell in love with) is just as awesome as the 7300$ quartz counter that was our other choice.  Similarly, I don’t need the 350$ faucet I loved when I found one for 199$ with a slightly different curvature but almost the same.
  • Smart DIY vs Stupid DIY.  We can paint and hang cabinets and put on hardware and save money on the labor.  However, I started to get greedy when I was able to purchase 4 granite slabs for about 400 bucks.  After a day or two I thought better and returned them (except one I’m keeping for a bathroom redo next post-Ironman season, heh).  Our quote is about as cheap as the granite + tools and supplies we’d need to do it, and they’ll get it done in one day and they guarantee their work for life.

But, I got through it and I think we made good choices.  I fell in love with the clearance backsplash.  We found an amazing deal on some quartz counters.  When I asked the guy for what his cheapest quartz was to get a baseline quote, he said we had picked it out (and it was #1 on our list).  Once I had both of those, we were able to finally pick out cabinet paint (the day we actually started painting…).  I picked out a faucet, and then when they didn’t have it in stock, found one cheaper that I liked just as much.  We found the microwave we wanted 40% off.  Everything is going so well!

Anyone else love Moulin Rouge as much as I do? 🙂

I was still worried that losing our apple green accent wall would make me feel all sad and plan.  I like black and white a LOT.  I’m super excited about what’s going on there.  But – I am a bright bold color person at heart.  I can’t say that I didn’t think for a second about the gorgeous RED SPARKLY granite counter.  However, the amazing and wonderful Zliten nudged us into getting a hue system as part of the remodel, and I am in love with my disco kitchen already and the cabinets don’t even have doors.


The only hiccup was the cabinet place left two of them off the order, but Zliten’s parents are local and were able to pick them up earlier this week.  They were out of what we ordered, but we were actually get a better configuration than we had picked before.  Definite lemonade out of lemons there!

So, at this moment in time, we’ve painted everything that can be painted right now.  Today after work, we’ll hang the top cabinet doors.  Then… we’re kind of at a stopping point until the family comes back on Friday to work, so we’ll have Thanksgiving completely off (I figured we’d come home and be finishing something up).  Wheee!

I have a list of everything that’s left to go, and while it’s long enough to freak me out, most of the surprises should be over.  Most of the decision making is over as well.  We’re down to good old fashioned work and I’m ok with that.

In other news…

Yay running without my heel feeling like it’s going to fall off!!!

I’m RUNNING AGAIN!!!  It’s not 100% pain free yet but I actually ran for an hour (5.4 miles) and then spent the entire day on my feet working on the kitchen and it didn’t set me back at all (felt fine the next day).  I ran three times last week and will get in 2-3 times this week and then hopefully ramp up a little bit starting next week – still 3 times, but extend the weekday runs closer to 45-60 mins and the weekend run a bit past an hour (75-90 depending on how I feel).

I’ve been neglecting my bike and the pool.  I’ve been doing some lazy weights workouts sporadically.  It’s ok.  I’m certain I’ll get back to it soon.  I’ve got 8 weeks ’til 3M and while that kind of freaks me out, I’ve gone from offseason to a 70.3 PR in that amount of time, so I’m sure it will be NBD.

My body has actually been thanking me for taking an effing break.  While it’s slow going, my weight trend line is going down.  While I’m not training regularly or tracking my food.  During the holiday season.  I’m not sure what’s up but I won’t question the magic.  I would say I’m about 2 lbs away from where I raced Austin 70.3 last year, which was incremental goal #1.  If I could set a goal right now, it would be to see 170-something on the scale before December 31st.

While I have not been tracking my food (or even the negative diet quality score foods like I said I would), I have also been attempting to keep it all reasonable.  I am super thankful that I cooked up a storm to have healthy food available, and it’s been a lifesaver.  However, there were some days that I couldn’t bear finding a place to plug my microwave in or digging out the scrub brush to wash out a dish and we got takeout.  When we had the family here all weekend we got bbq and pizza and sandwiches to keep everyone fueled.  I would give myself about a C, but apparently that’s a passing grade right now, so I’ll go with it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’m thankful for my life, even if it’s a little hectic right now, it’s also full of so much awesome.  I’m thankful for Zliten, family, friends, triathlon, scuba diving, that my kitchen will someday soon be in fully finished disco mode, and that I have a job that lets me afford to do all this.  And probably so much more, but for now, I’m thankful that I have a long weekend and I need to see about starting that right about…

Tearing it down to build it back up…

In case my millions of adoring fans hundreds of accidental readers three people and a bunch of bots audience wanted to know what’s up with life, here’s a quickie.

Day 1, or why my inlaws are amazing.  They did ALLL this demo work.

We have cleaned out everything and have now gutted our kitchen.  No going back now!  They’re doing a bunch of electrical and drywall work today.  We hunted down the clearance (aka – had to locate it at two different stores because they didn’t have that much left) backsplash that I fell in love with, and looked over countertop options.  Ugh.  I want granite but after reading about the care, it sounds like taking care of a child so we’re researching other options.

I really wanted to pick the counters first, the cabinet colors second, then a backsplash to match both but of course I’d fall in love with something I had to have and do it all the wrong way.  It’s all good.  I’m so excited about it I don’t care. 🙂

Tonight and tomorrow night are for priming 21 cabinets and 42 cabinet doors.  The doors should take us a little over 5 hours tonight unless we figure out a better way to do it, so we should be done close to… 1am?  The cabinets *should* go quicker tomorrow since we don’t have to do them in shifts.  Please wish me luck and a minimum of sleep deprivation to get it done!

Besides that I am doing my damndest to continue eating healthy.  I batch cooked about 2 weeks worth of lunches and dinners and we’re trying to stick with eating mostly that instead of a ton of takeout (though there will be takeout).   While I wouldn’t say I’m *training* by any stretch of the imagination, I am running (not 100% pain free but cleared by the chiropractor and it gets *better* as I run) or biking a little bit each day so I get some sort of activity.

Everything right now is pretty much stress level 11 – but a few more weeks and I will be in Bonaire, with a pretty new kitchen, and life will be grand!

Looking up the hill…

When I first started racing, my year was pretty periodized by default.

In 2009, I ran a half marathon and then after that, shut it down for a few months. Because that’s what normal people do.

I wasn’t a complete nut yet, and I had these natural cycles before I even knew what periodization and offseason and all those other coach-y schedule-y things meant.

Yearly, I would maintain a baseline fitness level (ten years ago, that looked like 4-5 hours a week – 3x weights, 2x running, and either some arc trainer and/or DDR to round out the hours).  I would sign up for a race occasionally, train 2-3 months for it, and then go back to my base fitness level right after.  There was never any compulsion to “keep what I gained” by boosting my training beyond that 4-5 hours unless it was for a reason.

Then I started racing more.  Since I was racing more than a few times a year (with smaller races to support the bigger ones), and I feel like 2-3 months is the absolutely minimum amount of time I feel like I need to be prepared for a race, I was pretty much constantly training.  It was new and fun and exciting and it made me toy with the fact that I might actually be an athlete!  I remember at one point, I decided to take 5 weeks off because I had been on for something like 17 months.  My body pretty much collapsed that entire offseason – I couldn’t run the whole time because as soon as the heel I injured the last race of the season felt better, my back went out for the entire Christmas break.  The universe was yelling “STAAAHHHHHPPPPP!!!!”.

I’ve learned that for my mental and physical well being, I need to pretend to be a normal mortal human for extended periods of time or I break down.  The length of time I need is predicated by: a) what I have just done to my body and b) the length of time I’ve been “on” and also c) how I feel about life right then/stress levels/etc.

I also have learned that offseason racing is tricky to navigate.  When you sign up for something simply because you do it every year, or because your friends are doing it and you have major FOMO, or because you have a husband that would rather race every weekend vs train, you have to watch your expectations.  For me, FUN racing is when I PR, when I leave it all out there, when I’m a ball of sweat and snot and making the pain face at the end.  Everything else is just paying money to go for a jog with friends.

And sometimes paying money to go for a jog is ok, especially if you get to look like a rainbow threw up everywhere while doing it.

There’s a time and a place for that, for example, the Turkey Trot this year.  I know I’m not going to PR (though I’m pretty sure I’ll beat last year no matter what…), but it’s an excuse to get up, ride my bike ~20 miles and go run 5 before I gorge myself on turkey.  I absolutely and positively plunked down my 25$ registration fee solely to motivate myself to get my ass of the couch that morning.  However, I’m usually not a huge fan of jumping into a race untrained.  Results may vary, but for me, they’re usually not positive.

So, right now I’m mentally and physically stuck in between a rock and a hard place.

Crazy Athlete Me says:

  • I’m mad at my mojo for being absent and I should be making time for more than a few hours a week and maybe 2-3 of the sports instead of just one of them.
  • What I did over the summer is not worthy of an offseason.  Three sprint races, one slow century and one century that got cut short is just maintaining fitness, right?
  • I’ve not run in so long I’ve forgotten what running feels like (it’s been 2 weeks) and I’ll never be able to get back up to 13 miles in time, let alone get faster.
  • All of a sudden I’m going to gain back all the weight I’ve ever lost in my life because I’m only training a few hours a week and I’m not starving myself.

Crazy athlete me likes to go out and try to ride 100 miles on her bike, unready for such a thing, for absolutely no reason.

Coach me knows:

  • I am an athlete that needs time off right now.  Work is crazy and stressful.  We’re starting a kitchen remodel that will upheave our lives for 2+ weeks.  I am working through some rotating pain between my knee and heel which is starting to be on the mend because I’ve resisted being a dumbass and rested it.
  • I should not discount the amount of work I did over the summer on the bike and in triathlon.  Even if Ironman warped me to think so, training an average of 7-8 hours a week is not insignificant and still warrants a break after.
  • I have plenty of time to build towards a good half marathon at the end of January.  I will not lose every morsel of fitness I have earned by taking a few weeks to do whatever.
  • My body is actually responding positively in terms of weight loss over the last month or so… perhaps because I’m listening to it and giving it what it needs?  I *know* it’s not because I’m maintaining more of a deficit (probably less because I’m training less and mostly just trying to eat less crap but not less food).
  • And the biggie I say to everyone else but it’s hard to say to yourself – it is always better to show up uninjured and undertrained vs properly trained and limping.

So, here I am.  I have new running shoes I’ve had for over a week that I haven’t even worn yet.  I haven’t ridden my bike on roads since October 22nd.  I haven’t done weights in over two weeks even though they’ve been on the schedule.  I haven’t swam in almost a month and with the cold snap today… not sure it’s going to happen this week.  My mind is reeling with insecurities about my muscles and endurance shriveling up into nothingness, as well as wasting beautiful days and my gym membership funds not training like crazy this season like I typically do.

I miss dis place – literally the gym and also the figurative place of being so smashed (and accomplished) after a really long hard workout.

However, my mind is also thanking me PROFUSELY that I’m not trying to maintain any sense of a training schedule while shipping an update at work.  I have been much less of a basket case and handling things much better than normal.  I usually have some major breakdowns this time of year when I am in training mode and I’m thankful that hasn’t happened (yet).  My body is LOVING this break.  The weight is falling off (knock on wood, let’s not jinx this) and when I actually do something like the bike intervals I did this morning, I feel GREAT, not tired, not stale, but like my parts are all starting to work in harmony again.  When I DO get back to training, it will be nice to start from a rested, recovered body and see how that feels for once!

As long as my heel continues to cooperate, I have my first run back scheduled for next Monday, but we’ll see how things go from there.  It’s neat to occasionally reap some rewards when you don’t rage against the universe’s wishes and I’m trying hard to listen even if it makes me do things I don’t like from time to time.

I’m at the bottom looking up the hill right now.  Thirteen miles at a fast pace seems super far away right now.  But I’ve been down these roads before.  I know how to climb them.

Playing in the woods at Lake Bastrop

We took our sixth trip in Turtle Home last weekend.

Nice to have a lake in our backyard for a few days!

We left work around 5:45pm and hit a little traffic, so we got to the site around 7.  This meant that a) the mosquitos were out in full force and b) we had to set up in the dark.

Luckily, we’re pretty good at it, managed it in about 45 minutes, and got treated to some pretty sweet full moonlight while we grilled some burgers and had some frosty beverages.

Looks kind of like an oil painting, no?

Saturday, we got up around 9:30 and our friends made us breakfast tacos!  Then, the boys went to get ice and the rest of the party was napping, I put my hokas on and went for a little hike.

I meant to just walk around the campsite but I kept going and going and found a cool trail and took lots of pictures so if I went missing, at least someone would know where I wandered by looking at DropBox.  Also, it was super pretty!

After I collected Zliten, we took Wasp and Yellow Jacket out to go play on trails.  Yes, I’m a priss and accidentally wore jewelry while playing on dirt with bikes.

We hit the Heron Trail, then the Fisherman’s Loop, and then decided to try the South to North Lake trail and it got a little advanced for us, so we just rode the other ones again and returned back with actual mud on our tires!  I still feel noobish at riding bikes on rocks but I’ve learned a few things, most helpfully, I’m much more confident leading than following (or at least leaving a bunch of space in between me and the next rider) so that helps in my quest to get a little braver.

After some delicious sausages from the grill for lunch, and a little too much fudge, Zliten decided it was time for casting.  Note that he didn’t say FISHING, but casting.

Look at that form!

After catching many leaves and twigs but no actual live fish, we watched the sun set, built a fire, and failed to make proper dutch oven popcorn (but had some real corn instead).  Instead, we dined on camping punch, laughter, and plotting and scheming for the future.

Seeing stars!

I was sad we couldn’t get the three day camp effect, but it was a perfect getaway for the time we had allotted.  Care of the time change, we got plenty of sleep on Saturday night, we were able to take the bikes back onto dirt in the morning, and get packed up and out a whole 20 minutes before our checkout time and home by 1pm.  Our heads were clear and it felt less like a chore to exist and do things than it did less than two days ago.

I need every ounce of that going into this next month.  I’m happy I was able to play in the woods for a weekend before a big long month of adulting.

If you’re interested in the full set of pictures, you can see them HERE.

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