Adjusted Reality

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

Month: January 2018

What I did on my winter vacation + January goals

While this might contradict my 2018 resolution to post more interesting stuff, it’s time for a recap and my January plans!

So festive the last day before break.  Can’t believe that was less than a month ago.  So many adventures since then!

December was a welcome break from routine.  The 8th was my last day of work for the year, and the next day, I hopped a plane to Bonaire for a week.  Then, I had five days at home by myself, and since where I was on holiday was two hours ahead, I was naturally up at 7:30-8 most mornings without an alarm (it was nice for the week it lasted).  I spent the days working on my book, getting the house back in order with the kitchen remodel explosion and the vacation luggage explosion, wrapping presents, editing vacation photos, and getting in my first week of actual 3M training.

I did take one day and go on a bike adventure (blog post forthcoming) from 8 am to 6 pm, but for the most part, I was actively productive with projects because I figured the next week wouldn’t lend itself to that sort of focused work (which it didn’t).

The holidays were fantastic – we celebrated with family on the 23rd and had a decadent meal of lasagna, brisket, so many side dishes, and way too many deserts. There were fun presents, card games, and fun times.  Then, we had our Christmas Eve tradition with the neighbors, which involves a double digit run first to mitigate the indulgences of past and future, Din Ho family style food, a trip to the bar next door, and hanging out all evening watching random Christmas movies and having festive cocktails.  With all this going on, we waited until the actual day to open most of our own presents, and holed up on the couch all day.  It was a perfect three days.

The next week felt like errand and kitchen central – we spent a lot of the daytime hours either tracking down tile or running errands or working in the kitchen, though we did make time at night to see the new Star Wars movie (I loved it), and marathon some shows and movies on Netflix and play video games.  Friday, I wrote a choose your own adventure story, and after some MOAR errands, we ended up at a random Indian/BBQ place that took forever and had a weird dance class going on at the same time… but the food was so amazing once we got it, I’ll give it another try once they have some time to settle in (the place is very new).

Zliten was getting a little despondent about his winter break being full of crap to do, so I declared Saturday HIS DAY and let him choose whatever we did (within reason, no hopping planes back to Bonaire and we had to run the next day).  Sadly, the plumbing broke in the kitchen so the first thing on his day was fixing that, but that was done in a jiffy after YET ANOTHER trip for him to Lowes  Then, we went on a bike adventure but it got cold quickly, so it ended up just being a ride to get Jinya ramen the long way.  We holed up the rest of the day and played video games and watched TV and I said I owed him a day of his own when it was nicer.

Bike love while biking with my love!

And, on the last day of December, we put the finishing touches on our kitchen, and I spent spending 90 minutes scraping paint off the floor, and then called it officially done!  I may have been procrastinating a 2 hour run in the feels-like-20s, but I saw enough people on social media doing their own runs in that or colder so I bucked up and went outside and it wasn’t bad at all!  Since 2018 is about HTFU’ing, it was a nice way to ring in the new year.  And so was our 80’s PJ party (which is why I wrote the choose your own adventure – it was our party game!)

Here were my specific December goals:

Build up my run miles and start incorporating a little speed 1-2 times a week.  YEP.  I’m on about 20 miles per week now, with one speedwork session, one easier run with a race pace mile in the middle, and one long run.

Resume strength training NOPE.  I was so sore the first week of running I decided this needed to wait.  I started this week.

Resume tracking negative diet quality – NOPE.  Maybe I paid the price for this because the scale is fairly unkind this week, but I needed to let go a bit.  This month is the time for tracking again.

Write four chapters in my book – MOSTLY YEP.  I got to about 3.25.  I lost steam and then never had a chance to spend focused hours on it while Zliten was home with me.  I’m really happy with the progress I made, though!

Yes, I’ll keep posting this picture forever because OMG my kitchen is done and looks great!!!

Finish the kitchen – YEP! There is one little piece of trim left, but we’ll do that… later.  Someday.  I’m at the point where it’s now my kitchen, and I don’t have to work on it for a month or a year or a lifetime.  Whew!

Write a personal mission statement.  YEP!  New years resolutions are great timing for that one.

Travel lightly.  YEP!  I was able to put all my clothes and scuba gear into one big bag that weighs just slightly less than 50 lbs.  With my normal backpack, and one carry on split with Zliten with our camera equipment, scuba trips will be just fine with one checked bag each.

Take my annual FB/Twitter break.  MOSTLY.  This didn’t stress me out as much as the end of 2016 post election, but I made sure to keep myself logged out on my phone of social networks besides Instagram and that was all I really needed.

Play Games!  YEP!  More than any month so far, and it’s carrying into January nicely.

Catch up on my reading.  YEP!  Done with Carl Sagan (picked up at the end but the middle was a slog), 7 Habits (great read that influenced some of my NY resolutions), Bedtime Stories for Triathletes (motivational but a little disjointed), and Runner’s World – Your Best Stride (which has influenced my training, stretching, and actually made me start regularly doing drills – more next week).

Relax.  I actually think I kind of sucked at this one.  I only had two of my 24 days where I didn’t do anything productive.  I’m happy with what I accomplished, but I feel like I need some downtime after my downtime!  January is for rest and recovery and some days of just doing effing nothing above and beyond the normal.

It’s a new year so lets sparkle like unicorns, bleaches!

So, January.  This is usually the month where I go mega-maniaic on goals and stuff.  The motivation is there, but there’s also the nagging in my brain reminding me that I just finished a kitchen remodel and did A LOT OF SHIT in the last few months.  So, I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm with kindness to myself and a dose of reality.

January Training:

Let me first tell you a story.  Tuesday, I had some quarter mile repeats on the schedule after work.  Outside, it was in the 20s and icy, and I’m not going to risk running on that.  There were so many accidents that literally every road to my gym was at a standstill.  At home, I have a treadmill that tries to buck me off when I go faster than 9 minute miles.  This was a huge test of my resolution as an athlete to HTFU because I had roadblocks on every path.

However, there is HTFU’ing within reason.  Running outside in icy weather when I don’t have the shoes for it is madness.  Waiting in traffic for 1-2 hours to get a mile down the street is sheer lunacy.  I opted to trade Thursday’s slightly easier (4 mile with 1 at race pace) run and brave Danger Treadmill (who only tried to kill me once during the race pace mile).  While it’s not exactly EVERYTHING AS PLANNED WHEN ITS PLANNED, this wasn’t a lack of motivation.  This wasn’t me being lazy.  The universe put up enough road blocks that I had to change my plan.

Since I haven’t talked about it much, the last two weeks have been successful but a little rough getting back into being a runner.  My first speed workout, I was barely able to pull 400s under 9 minute miles.  Last week, I ran my fastest 400m repeat at 7:30 min/mile pace.  I have to remember that it doesn’t take long for my leg turnover to come back, it does take pushing through being uncomfortable for a while to get there though.

Proof I HTFU’d in the below freezing and feels like 20s on NYE for 11 miles.  Add night + icy and I’m out because I don’t want to FOMA (fall on my arse).

Week 1 (Dec 18):

  • 18 miles running – 1 speed (5) , 1 easy w/race pace mile (3), 1 long (10)
  • 56 miles cycling
  • 1 swim (because it was 75 degrees out and I had to)
  • 8 hours total

Week 2 (Dec 25):

  • 19.5 mile running – 1 speed (5.5), 1 easy w/race pace mile (3), 1 long (11)
  • 20.5 miles cycling
  • 5.25 hours total

So, here’s the plan for Week 3 of 3M training (Jan 1):

  • 22 miles running – 1 speed (6), 1 easy w/race pace mile (4), 1 long (12)
  • ~20 miles cycling
  • 2 light weights sessions (Oiselle dozen or similar)

Each run is also prefaced with a dynamic warmup and drills that I will talk about more in another post.

Week 4 will be similar, with a shorter, faster long run (8 with 5 at race effort).  Week 5 will be some short speed workouts, and then I’ll see what I can do at the race.  My plan right now is to line up with the 2:05 pacer and see if I can hang on for a PR.

The subsequent two weeks are ill-advised, but I’m doing them anyway.  First, I’m going to do the Indoor Tri and see if maybe I can eek out another “podium” (I placed 3rd last year, I’ve won overall once).  Then, I’ll ride bikes as long as I can stand, because the week after, I’m doing a 6 hour bike ride.  My longest ride since Oct 22nd is a little shy of 3 hours on my cruiser bike.  What could go wrong?

But how could I resist another “Official Badass” medal?

After Feb 3rd, I resume reasonable person status and start an intentional training plan that will guide me through a little offseason weight training and then into hopefully crushing the heck out of some spring sprints.

In January, I do a streak.  In 2015 and 16, I did a run streak.  Last year, I did a bike streak.  Neither of those make sense in terms of my body condition and training, and swimming is right out.  So, 2018 is the year of my stretching and rolling streak.  Every day in January I will spend 5-10 minutes working on my flexibility and five days a week (at work), I will work on my foot strengthening exercises (more on those next week).

January Consumption:

I’m facing the fact that I need to track and quantify again.  Not forever, not even for a long time, but after vacation and holidays, my level of what’s acceptable to eat is set at a lower bar than normal.  I need to bring it back up to that diet quality average ~20 level.

To that end, this month, I’m going to track my food and log my diet quality, with the intent of dropping it again soon.  It was a pain, but I think I need to reset my normal back to the healthy normal where cheetos and cake are very occasional sometimes foods.  I’m not even too worried about my calories in vs calories out, but I’m more concerned about what those calories are.

Tuesday, I tracked and ate 1800-ish calories.  I logged a 20 on the diet quality scale.  Yesterday, 1700 and 24.  So far, so good!

Still some of this.  Especially the good stuff.  But less.

As for booze, I’m trying to moderate my moderation.  I’ve tried to do a dry January (made it 11 days before caving and definitely drank LESS but not NONE), I’ve done a reasonable-quantities-of-beer only January (made it but I was definitely over beer by the 31st), and they’ve had their merits, but neither felt like they enriched my life.  The three reasons behind reducing booze consumption are a) the calories in alcohol b) my tolerance is huge and I’d like to scale back to being a cheaper drunk (see above, less calories) and c) it’s the one thing about my lifestyle my doctor complained about and I know having a lot of drinks per week doesn’t help me feel my best or recover quickly from workouts.

But, there’s a place in my life for whiskey.  Even in January.  So, what to do about making my doctor, my liver, and my inner child 21-year old happy?  I’m doing a portion control January.  Basically, I have the alcohol I plan to drink for the month already sitting in my cupboard – a nice bottle of whiskey for sipping, a bottle of vodka for mixing, and two bottles of post-race champagne to split with my husband on Jan 21 and 28.  That’s approximately the maximum recommended amount of booze in a month.  Once those run out… I need to wait for February.  If I end up going out, I will subtract that portion from my home stash but I don’t have a whole lot of plans to do so, which actually works out well for me right now.

January Life:

I’ve had an epic couple of months of doing ALL THE THINGS.  This month is definitely about less.

Resisting the urge for big plans or adventures this month.  I need to do a bunch of this.  Except inside.  Because it’s fugsnickling cold.

  • I want to at least finish the one chapter I started in my book.  If I could do 2 this month, that would put me back on schedule.  My goal is to at least sit in that room and write for a few hours once this month unless the muse strikes me more.
  • Get Christmas stuff put away and get the garage full of tools and kitchen remodel remnants cleared out so we can actually park our cars inside again.
  • I’m doing exactly ZERO other productive adulting things this month.  This even sounds too productive but they both kind of need to be done sooner than later.  Everything else can wait.
  • I want to spend some of my free time playing games.  I’ve started Hearthstone, Grand Turismo 5, I’m working on getting caught up in the games I work on, and if I can find some time where my legs aren’t too sore from training, I’d like to make some progress unlocking things in Dance Dance Revolution since I’ve started over again and crack open Just Dance.
  • I want to post a video 3 times per week, and to make it less stressful, they are ONLY going to Instagram stories this month so they’re totally throwaway.
  • If I get some additional free time where I’m not too dead to the world and don’t feel like gaming, I’d like to drag out my paints and/or beads and do something crafty.

January GO!  What on tap for y’all this month?

New Years Resolutions – Focus, Intention, and Purpose

2017 was freakin’ epic.  I finished an Ironman!  I did my first official century ride!  I went on amazing vacations and got a camper and spent a ton of time outside!  We redid our kitchen!  How the heck do you follow up something that crazy and grand?

By doing less.   Oh yes, by one hundred percent absolutely positively for sure doing LESS.  2018 is about doing less with purpose, intention, and focus.

This will be my junior year with Team Bicycle Sport Shop.  Looking forward to training and racing with them again!


I want to strengthen the bond between coach and athlete here.  Yes, I am that person in both aspects, so this will take myself being kind, patient, and firm with… myself.

As a coach, I will schedule myself like I was scheduling another athlete.  I will not put crazy sessions that make no sense on my list just to see if I can do them.  I will not fill my week too full without good reason.  I will consider both what the sessions mean to the athlete in the context of goals for the season and also what’s going on in life right then.  I’ve been coaching myself long enough to know how I operate.  I don’t do well undertrained, but I also need to watch my tendencies to want to do way too much and then disappoint myself by either failing sessions or burning out right before races.

As an athlete, I will HTFU this year.  If coach does her job and schedules things better, it is my job to actually complete the sessions AS INTENDED.  If I have 6×400 with a one mile warmup and cooldown, starting with drills and ending with stretching and rolling on my schedule, that’s what I do.  And, I’m going to do my best that if it’s scheduled for Tuesday morning, I do it Tuesday morning because I put the session there for a reason.

I feel like this will help grow my experience as a coach and also my confidence as an athlete.  If I could sum up my athletic goals in triathlon in a mission statement, here’s a go at it:

I am a strong, fit triathlete who is rarely injured because I have good stability from weight training and flexibility/form work.  I have the confidence because I complete my training sessions.  In races, I take that confidence and head close to the front of the pack in most races where it’s appropriate to start the swim, and I’ve closed the gap between my decent pool swimming and subpar open water form.  I continue to do well on the bike because I train and race with power goals.  I leave the bike and can now chase down people on the run.  As a coach, I will set reasonable goals for my athletes (me and Zliten), and include only the necessary training on their schedules to succeed.

Here’s this year’s plans so far:


  • Jan 22: take the little bit of training I’ve been able to do and see what I can do at 3M.  My new A+ goal is to PR.  With the paces I’m running, sub-2 is not reasonable right now, but my legs are showing some promise, so, on a really good day, I may be able to come in under 2:08.
  • Feb 3: do an ill-advised-but-it-will-be-fine 6 hour cycling event.  I’m here for the fun and to support the team and go camping.  I may not hammer this one but I know I’ll survive it.
  • Take at least a month after this with minimal swim/bike/run and get into the gym and lift heavy in preparation for the rest of the year.

Spring: goal is to get fit and then race a LOT of sprints to try to qualify to nationals. I want to shift my mindset at the shorter distances to actually racing for the podium vs getting my heart rate up.

Summer: cut off the racing with enough time to give myself an offseason before getting back to it for Nationals (if I make it) in August and then Cozumel in September.


Sept 30: Cozumel 70.3.  I have some outcome goals here.  First, sub-6:30 or better (PR).  Second, I’d like to finish far enough up in the results I actually go to the rolldown for Worlds (as a super longshot, I’ve heard rumors of people being in 20-30th place and getting it).  But honestly, I want to race this to force myself to figure out one of my biggest triathlon problems – I do not love hot weather but I’ve had my two best half runs in sweltering heat off of my two fastest bikes those two years (though I’ve also had some pretty critical explosions).  I need to figure out how to succeed in the heat, be it training, gear, or just HTFU’ing.

After this, I’ll make some decisions.  Ironman Waco 70.3 or Oilman last minute?  A fall half marathon?  Offseason?  I’m not committing to anything after Sept 30th.

You will notice there are no marathons, no ironmans, no century rides, no 10k swims on this list.  Will I haul off and randomly do a long bike ride because it sounds fun?  Probably.  But I’m keeping my focus (after Feb 3rd) on one thing: triathlon, and succeeding at the distance that my next race is at instead of random long base training for no reason.  I’m running the longest right now that I need to run all year and that is super refreshing to me!

Less of this face in 2018, young lady!

Human Being-ness:

As a human, I want to be a more patient and kinder person.  I feel like in relentless pursuit of goals sometimes I get a little snitty and self-centered.  I get annoyed by the MOST ridiculous things that shouldn’t even register on my radar.   I joke that I’ve gone from being a people person to an anti-people person – that grumpy 80s TV dad that just wants his underwear and his recliner and silence.  However, in going from a state of fluctuating between mega-maniacal (DO ALL THE THINGS) to burnout, I’m definitely finding human connection challenging to enjoy more often than I’d like to admit.

I actually like people.  I am actually probably more of an extrovert on the spectrum than an introvert.  I love random conversations, and I’ll talk your ear off and listen to just about anything with a few beers in me (i.e. – when I’m finally relaxed and not thinking about the next thing on my TO DO list).  Sure, I’m a little socially awkward at first with people, but I’m mostly comfortable in my skin as long as it’s not a “hi, will you be my friend” situation.  It’s that my brain is so far up inside itself thinking about what’s next and goals and achievements that it’s hard to focus on anyone else.

Yep, my problem is that I’ve become a bit of a selfish asshole.  The way I fix that?  By committing to less and really and truly being IN when I do commit.  If I can have more space in my life between TO DO, then I can actually enjoy these things instead of feeling obligated to do them.

Yes, I GET to have a great group of people in my life that want my time and attention.  I’m not burdened by it.  That is a very negative way to live and I’m going to leave that one behind in 2017 in the rear view mirror where it belongs.

If I had to pen a mission statement for this one:

I will do my best to be present in the situation I am in, instead of having my thoughts stray to the future.  If I’ve committed to something, I will give it time and attention to the best of my ability.  If I’m feeling overscheduled and overwhelemed, if I’m fumbling at life, I will take a good hard look at my goals and to do list, and I will prioritize until it feels reasonable.  I will approach social interactions as a pleasure instead of a chore.


It’s nice to weigh a little less than I did last time this year.  Obviously obsessively tracking my food and diet quality didn’t work.  I seemed to only make progress when I actually let go a little and ate… dare I say… intuitively.  I gave my body a break and trained INCREDIBLY minimally.  Or maybe turmeric is actually the magic anti-inflammatory bullet, so obviously I’m going to continue to take that.

So, obviously I want to continue to take steps back towards my race weight, but I don’t honestly have much to say here that’s revolutionary.  Just keepin’ on keepin’ on with what’s *slowly* working.

  • I want to continue (after a slight holiday feasting break) with my diet that’s at least half fruits and vegetables.  I feel the best when I’m consuming a diet high in plants in their truly natural form.
  • This is accompanied by making sure I continue eat my my normal breakfasts and batch cook my meals to get enough lean protein, whole grain carbs, and snack on things like almonds and pistachios instead of chips.
  • I want to limit my indulgences to ones that I truly enjoy and that will will be a fun and relaxing diversion from my normal.  For me, that means most of the sweets I get go into the freezer and I’ll dig them out once a month when I have a craving, but I’ll consume alcohol in moderation on Saturdays and there will be Desano’s Pizza or after long bike rides.
  • If not tracking, I will at least be conscious about what I put in my mouth is going to help me towards my goals or not.  It doesn’t all have to be positive diet quality (just most of it), but if it’s not, it should be for a reason and not simply because it’s there in front of me.


This is another place where my life needs focus.  My eyes are now open to all the things I want to do and learn after a period of just being happy existing as a game developer and triathlete.  But, in true form, I want to do and learn them all NOAW.

The last two years, I’ve had this giant, big, varied, scary to do list.  I was trying to be a jack of all trades, master at none.  I’m going to pull back and pick one focus this year:

2018 is the year I focus on becoming a published author of a non-fiction book.

I’m pretty sure that’s my mission statement right there.  Here’s the steps I envision taking next year:

  • Finish my book.  I have about 3.75 chapters left to go.  My goal is to finish the first draft by my birthday (or at least birthday month).
  • Put it on the kindle and read it myself.  No taking specific notes, no editing, just read it as if I was reading another author’s book it to see if it’s interesting.
  • Ask my husband for help with his dialogue.  I’m a fairly prolific writer with a lot of strengths, but dialogue is not one of them.  If you could, why not ask the character what he would say in those situations?
  • Edit chapter by chapter.  I know I need more environmental description and cues.  I can see and smell and taste and hear all the things that happened to me.  The problem is, the reader can’t unless I describe them.  I know I need to make things a little more cohesive because I wrote the chapters out of order (as in, don’t describe things five times, describe it once and go back and reference).
  • Get some beta readers.  Some that are familiar with triathlon, some that are not, to see if it’s interesting to either/both groups.
  • Become knowledgeable about the industry.  Read books and devour websites about publishing, editing, agents, and marketing your book.  Stuff like this.  While I want to know so much more about marketing in general, I’m going to take 2018 to focus on this slice of marketing.
  • Continue to read in the non-fiction genre.  1-2 books per month in between my pulpy sci-fi 25 book series that will likely never end…
  • If it gets this far… build a website for the book.  Contact publishers about the book.  Get an agent (or not).  This stuff is so far away and I need to learn what half of this means, but my goal by the end of the year is to have a finished manuscript I’m proud of and at least know where to go with it next.

The Lists

Here’s where I break my mold of focus and intentions, because I am me, and I am not doing away with TO DO lists.  However, I’m still trying to stick with the intention of planning LESS.  I’m trying to keep the first list reasonable. I am also trying to leave off a bunch of fluff so I actually do the things I really need to do, like actually see a financial planner for eff’s sake.  Focus.  Intention.

The second list should be FUN!  I will do these things as they sound pleasurable and enriching to me, not as TO DOs I need to check off.  These need to be things I GET to do, not that I *have* to do.  If my sewing machine stays hidden, that’s ok.  If I post weekly recaps because I’m pouring my time and energy into my book, that’s totally acceptable.  They are here simply to remind myself there are better ways to spend free time rather than Netflix and dorking on social media on my phone.

Now that this is done, we can do smaller, bite size projects.  After a break, that is…

Adulting List:

Yep, a lot of this is carryover from this year that didn’t get done.  Still want to do them.  Will try again.

  • Wills
  • Financial planner
  • Fix our occasionally around kitty stray
  • Organize our entertainment center and pantry
  • Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off
  • Probably some other small organizational projects that emerge as I check these off.

Mostly take the year off adulting because HOLY HELL we adulted pretty hard last year with house projects.  Actually taking January ENTIRELY off any sort of TO DOs minus the normal cooking, keeping the house to the point where the cleaning service can do their thing, and laundry.  I need a friggin break.

Fun List:

  • Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February.
  • Camping! ‘Nuff said.  Especially in the spring when it’s nice out.
  • I love pictures but shy away from video.  I had a blast playing with it underwater, and I want to do short videos about random stuff 3x per week, if nothing else, posted in my Instagram stories.
  • More video games.  I’m serious about this.  I got Grand Turismo 5 for Christmas and we are going to stream “Drunk Driving Saturdays” (i.e., having a few beers and playing GT in the comfort and safety of my own couch) for a while and I want to actually feel like at least a casual type gamer again.
  • Vacations: Cozumel for the half IM and then a week of diving, family cruise in May, family trip to Port A or Galveston, maybe a long weekend in Chicago, maybe somewhere snowy (with the camper?) in the winter to cross country ski or snowshoe?
  • Painting… I’ve been having a lot of fun with minis but I also would love to expand to canvas again, even if only on camping trips.
  • More bike adventures.  I mean, the kind where it’s beautiful outside and we hop on the cruisers in the morning with backpacks and baskets and only have a vague plan for the day and coast back in at (or after) sunset.  I’m open to the other kind with clips and kits and friends as well, but I want to do more where the bike is just the transportation, not the focus.
  • Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps.  It really helps me when I’m training towards a goal race, but other times it’s like… yep, rode my bike some miles, ran when I could be arsed to, ignored the pool and weight room, and ate, drank, and slept a lot.  You don’t care.  I’d rather write something else with focus instead of this being my glorified diary all the time.
  • Crafting.  I recently found my beads and I really want to spend some time playing with them and making new pieces (I did one over break, and I love it.  Moar!!!).  I would really like to get my sewing machine out long enough to be comfortable getting it set up and stitching things.

2018.  Let’s do this.  But not too much of this.  Because it’s the year of LESS.

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