Adjusted Reality

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

Month: April 2018 Page 1 of 2

Bike tourism in my hometown

This cycle (of cycling) has been about MINIMAL training, which means when I do hop on my bike, it’s werk werk werk, for the most part.

However, all work makes Jill a dull girl so on Sunday, we set out to go play bikes like it was 2017.

Around 11am, we decided to leave from the house and head south towards downtown via Shoal Creek.  The first part of the ride is super fun because you’re whizzing down hills.  It was just before noon and gorgeous and sunny and not too hot and life was grand, once we figured out which side of the path was actually open.

However, we got stopped right in front of this work of art we hadn’t seen before, so it was not all for naught.

We stopped for every single bridge we can find.  Because we love bridges.

Once we got downtown it was super fun to play tourist and take pictures and enjoy the city.  I always forget that we live here, even if it’s less than 10 miles away.

This was the actual destination of the day.  We had yet to make it to the Forever Bikes art installation and we had to rectify that fact.  We took lots of solo pictures and then a kind police officer on a bike offered to take one with us both.  He then chatted with us about some routes around the area.  As we rode off, Zliten noted that he was really nice.  I said, “Hey, if you got paid to ride your bike all day, wouldn’t you be nice too?”.  #goals

While I have my bones to pick with the city on some of the choices they’ve made for pedestrian and cycling access and transportation, there are some places that are pretty spectacular – Downtown Austin being one of them.  It’s neat to go through areas that look like they are completely in the middle of nowhere, and then see them juxtaposed with tall building peeking out around them if you look at a different angle.

It was a lot of fun being a bike tourist that day!  Austin’s skyline is a pretty spectacular backdrop for cycling.  However, riding in traffic and crowds is definitely something that should be experienced in short doses, so we headed back north fairly quickly.

I’ve run past this statue every year at the 3M Half Marathon.  However, it’s around mile 12 when you’re almost done and in a lot of pain, and I’ve never looked up and noticed it.  It was kind of cool.  While it’s optimistic to say I’ll be in any less pain at mile 12, I’ll try and look for it next year.

This is the bridge (that connects Shoal Creek to Burnet) on which I realized that I was cranky.  And how do you solve cranky on the bike?  You eat!  Zliten and I enjoyed the view and split a salted caramel RX bar and it was life itself.

We had to pay a visit to the spider bunny tree on the way home.  The backstory here: a tree fell down in their yard during a giant storm.  It looked like a spider.  Instead of having it removed, they just dress it up for holidays.  <3 you, Austin, so much.

One more bridge crossing, after doing a few laps of Great Northern/Shoal Creek.  It seemed fitting to do that on the one year anniversary of our completion of Ironman Texas, since we trained there a lot (to the tune of 33 loops on the TT bikes one day).  Then, we set up Zliten’s 360 camera and rode circles around it in the cul-de-sac and a nice lady watched from her yard and offered to spray us with her garden hose.

And the ride ended where all cycling adventures should – Desano’s Pizza.  Since I’ve been working on #projectraceweight I haven’t been there in a while, and they missed us.  Believe me, we probably missed them more.  This pizza with broccoli rabe, sausage, scamorza, mozzarella di bufala, pecorino, and romano is a little slice (haha) of heaven.

We couldn’t help but to spend some more time away from chores and adulting enjoying the rest of the day outside in the backyard reading and relaxing.  Soon, summer will steal away the pleasant afternoons (at least, when not submerged in a body of water), so we made the most of a most perfect afternoon.  Going on a micro-vacation in my own ‘hood was just what I needed last weekend!

One year ago, this weekend, and my cup of f*cks

Approximately one year ago today I was bleary eyed in a hotel lobby, on about 6 hours of sleep, stuffing my face full of an embarrassing amount of waffles and cereal and potatoes and sausage and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on for the next two days.

Eff you this day last year feature.  Don’t you know I’m on a diet?

No, I wasn’t hungover, at least in the traditional sense.  I had just, less than 12 hours before that (yep, I definitely made the most of my entry fee and took almost 16 hours) finished my first Ironman.  It was one of the most challenging, fun, difficult, memorable, and amazing days thus far.  I can barely tell you what I had for dinner two days ago, but I can remember most of April 22nd, 2017 incredibly vividly, from the long walk from T1 to the random porta potty line in the middle of nowhere to the swim start, to sprawling out on a really uncomfortable bench at about 12:30am with all the gear and two bikes while Zliten attempted to hitch a ride to his car.  And, y’know, the 140.6 miles of actual racing in between.

I’m part of the Ironman Texas 20xx group and with all the chatter there and a random email sent out to PAST participants instead of 2018 folks saying “it’s race week get pumped” it tugged at my endurance athlete heart strings.  However much I miss the experience, I’m about 20% sad to not be there and 80% relieved I’m doing the short stuff this year.  I might be able to muddle through the first two events but the run is totally a deal breaker right now.  My goal next IM race is to hit the start line with the confidence that if things go right, I could potentially run the whole/the vast majority of the thing, and that’s absolutely not where I am right now (hello, 4 mile long runs :D).

Texasman, 4 years ago.  We return this weekend.

So instead, I will focus in on the actual race I’m doing Sunday, Texasman sprint.  500m swim, 16 mile bike, 5k run.  While the last one played to all my strengths, this one does not.

It’s an open water swim with a long run to transition.  Obviously most triathlons are in a lake but I got really spoiled with the pool swim last time.  The question is, do I wear a wetsuit for a 500m swim in 72 degree water?  I did last time but that was for a mile.  Decisions decisions.  The cool thing is the entire women’s race starts at the same time, so I can actually have some idea of where I’m in it overall and how many people are in front of me.

The bike isn’t completely outside my happy place, but it isn’t pancake flat.  Most of the course is rollers – which is good because there’s not a lot of the GRIND IT OUT IN GRANNY GEAR type climbs because you have decent momentum but I really need to stay on the effort.  Instead of recovering on the flats and downhills, I need to keep a steady power and cadence and push just like I do on a pancake course (just with much more variety in speeds).

The run also has a little elevation change, but the good news is that the 5k is pretty shaded and also the hills are closer to the beginning so I have the last half to just fly to the finish line.

While the day is looking hot and sunny, our waves start close to 7am and we’ll be done, most likely, before the temperatures get too much over 60 degrees.  So, pretty much perfect for me.

If the results last year hold, on a great day, I’d be in contention for age group podium and on a unicorns and sparkles day I might be in contention for top 5 overall.  But, now that I have my Nationals qualifier knocked out, it’s really just now building speed and confidence for Cozumel.  I’m going to go race my ass off, but if it doesn’t work out *shrug*, I’ve got a lot more races this year.

Last week I actually put in a lot of hours (in comparison), but it still doesn’t feel like much because Ironman has ruined my perspective on this forever.

  • Mostly fun on the bike week.  I’ve been working hard on intervals and this week I mostly took it easy and fun.  This included a 2.5 hour bike ride tooling around downtown Austin and a 90 minute commute (which was more Type 2 fun on the way home with the wind, but still…), both of which was not at all specific training for anything I’m doing but also super lots of fun so… worth it.
  • A three sport brick Indoor Triathlon style: 1000yd swim in 18-ish mins -> 30 min bike with the first 10 mins easy, 18 min ON (~200W), 2 mins easy spin -> the fastest 2 miles I’ve run in ages at 8:47/mile pace.
  • Two other easy 3-4 mile runs.
  • Two weights sessions – one at the gym lifting semi-heavy, one kettlebells-on-the-parking-garage.
  • I missed one OWS, technically, but really just pushed it a day to Monday.

8.5 hours total.


The next two weeks, I really really really need to watch my give-a-shit, so my schedule is pretty light.  My legs and lungs are ready to race, I just need to keep my head and my heart in it.  So far this week, I have done:

  • A kettlebells session to keep the gains alive.
  • My first open water swim of the year.
  • A short double brick (10 min ride/1 mile x2).  Hopefully the run legs I found on this workout will follow me to the race!

For the rest of the week I will do:

  • Probably an easy trainer ride to keep the legs loose.
  • One more open water swim and a quick spin around the park as a shakeout the day before.
  • ALL the stretching and rolling and shoulder/ankle exercises.

Next week will probably be fairly similar since we do it all again next Sunday.  Maybe even less, if that’s possible.

My one splurge this week.  Desanos Pizza, I love you.

Speaking off less, sadly, I’m not weighing much more of it (less, that is).  I like being a girl and all, but I don’t like that once a month, no matter HOW healthy and good and nice I am to my body, it rebels by gaining weight for a week.  Let’s not fail to mention the stabbing me in the lower abs with pins and needles and making me super exhausted for a day for no reason whatsoever except for the fact that I’m rejecting procreation at the moment.  However, I understand.  Tit for tat.  But the weight gaining thing REAAAAAAALLY sucks.

The weird and frustrating thing is that doesn’t even coincide with the actual event.  Check below.  I initially have a way up weigh in the first day (understood), then it goes away DURING the crimson wave aptly pictured below (yay), but then after that’s done, I tend to have a few days to a week of mild bloat.  The punishment continues.  So very much TMI but it’s frustrating and this is my little soapbox to whine about shit so… deal with it.

The good news is that high outlier is 183 at the tippy top, which is something a month ago I would have been really really excited to weigh, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

  • Last week’s average calories: 1607
  • Last week’s average daily burn: 2336
  • Average deficit: -729
  • Average diet quality: 21.3
  • Average weight: 180.3 (+0.7 gain)

I really need to watch my protein, it’s been kind crappy last week (I only hit my 100g on 3 of 7 days, hence the diet quality dip from 22.8), but otherwise, everything else but the weight was going in the right direction and in the range of acceptable.  So, I just have to let my body sort itself out and just hang on and keep going.  From the swingy ends of the scale, I’ve gone from 188 on March 19th to 177 last weekend, so there is progress being made, for sure.  I’ve got about four weeks until vacation, so if I can make as much progress as I did in the first four weeks, I’ll be very happy.

Good food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.  Carrying on.

Good news: it’s official!  Bad news: bikes on planes are a PAIN!!!

I had a very stressful moment where I felt like a complete dumbass on Monday.  We’re traveling with our bikes twice this year and needed to purchase bike bags.  I read over the airline guidelines at least TWENTY times and understood that anything under 62 inches was good to go.  We ordered our bike bags last week after much deliberation on the type and the price.  I read through that text a billion times but didn’t make sense of it until I saw the bags and thought, “Man, those are really big, am I SURE that’s checked luggage size?”  It’s not.   Sure enough, I go to the United site and clear as day, see that 62 LINEAR inches means the sum of all the dimensions, not the largest side.  To get to Cozumel in those bags its 200$ per bike per way instead of the 25$ I had thought.  Big difference.

Between that and actually pricing out going to Cleveland for Nationals, I was having some major overwhelms and actually had to just shut all sorts of things down and say that I’d start dealing with all that stuff later.  We are looking into some (more expensive but) smaller bike bags that are much more likely to look like regular checkable baggage.  Even if they cost more, they’ll pay for themselves in fees in a few trips.  Once we get that settled, I’ll figure out Cleveland.  But the first priority these next two weeks is keep the cup-of-give-a-crap overflowing for racing, which means doing the bare minimum at adulting to keep my life from ruin, and everything else can suck it.

Other things I have decided to give less craps about until at least the end of the month:

  • No house projects and I will be doing the minimum amount of cleaning possible.  If it can wait without being gross and/or killing me, it will wait.
  • My book.  I need to let it marinate and I’m putting it on hold until after vacation.  I’m reading my book about publishing a book, and then want to let it all soak in a bit, and then attack it after vacation.
  • Selling my photos.  I’m not sure how many things I can undertake this year that put my little creative vulnerable self up for judgement on it’s worth, but apparently I’m seeking out ever single one of them.  I decided I’m going to start fresh from my new camera and after vacation, I’ll take a handful of my favorites and pick a site and submit them and see what happens.

I am happy to report I have recorded a new video (post and debrief coming soon).  Also, I have started the background of my next painting.  So, that’s something.

It’s hard to remember how different season is from offseason in the aspect of free time and the cup of f*cks that does NOT runneth over. I know I can make progress and be productive.  I just have to pick my battles carefully and have my hand on the eject button on other things when I need to jettison them to keep my give-a-crap from running on empty.

10 things that suck about dieting

Let me preface this with the fact that I’m actually really really really happy with the progress I’m making and that what I’m doing is a) not completely killing me and b) actually working at a rate which is STOKING my motivation vs KILLING it.

How being in the messy middle of #projectraceweight feels.

However, I’m in the *middle* of my diet, the fifth week of nine weeks to vacation, and I’m definitely growing weary.  So, like an April version of Festivus, let me air my grievances about why dieting sucks.

1. “Pick a way to eat for the rest of your life to lose weight” is BULLSHIT.  I’ve heard that advice so many times and do you know what?  Literally following that does not work.  To lose weight, you need to create a calorie debt.  Mine right now, between exercise and my food intake, is  approximately 750.  This is the fine line of “making progress quick enough (1.5 lbs/week) to stay motivated” and “losing my shit (I’m looking at you, 1200 calorie diets)”, so it’s what I’ve picked.

Once I’m done losing weight, that debt will be ZERO.  1500 calories of food is VERY different than 2250.  Yes, I have found some things out about portions (maybe I don’t quite need the VOLUME of healthy food I was eating before) and intake (sadly, my stomach DOES seem to be less bloated when I lay off the wheat at every single meal).  And this sentiment may apply a little more if you’re switching over from a diet solely including McDonalds and Starbux milkshakes coffees to eating a normal healthy diet, but if portions are generally your problem and not the types of food you’re eating?  Dieting will be veeeeeeery different than the way you eat for the rest of your life.

2. Snap Kitchen.  First of all, let me profess my undying love for Snap Kitchen.  They make me perfectly portioned, healthy meals that I don’t have to cook.  However, that perfect portion is perfect for my WEIGHT LOSS, and not what my brain thinks is appropriate for a meal (hence, why I’m in this mess to begin with).  I’m used to mixing bowls full of food (mostly veggies, but still, large portions), and their little containers look so teeny!

Second of all, I like about 10 of their meals right now, and two are conditional (one has ZERO carbs which tends to not stick with me that long, and one has VERY LITTLE protein, to which I can add chicken, but it ups the calories to 550 which is more than I’m eating lately in a meal).  I’m really really looking forward to when they switch around their menu (and it’s only been 19 days since they did it previously) and hoping they don’t take away some of my favorites and replace with things I don’t like as much!

As long as they keep making the almond crusted chicken tenders with turnip mash and collard greens, I’ll be alright though.

3. Eating healthy food can be expensive. While I admit freely I’m taking the easy way with Snap, it is costing me more than previously when I was batch cooking most of my food and eating meals out about 4 times a week, which really help keeping a healthy diet.  While I will maintain that it is indeed possible to eat a healthy diet on a reasonable budget and without too much fuss, I just don’t quite trust myself with portions yet, so I’m leaning on a meal service for a little while (and it helps with #8 – being lazy actually helps me because I’ll eat what’s easy at my fingertips).

For some reason my grocery budget hasn’t gone down much (because I’m still purchasing breakfasts, snacks, and a lot of vegetables for salad fixins and ingredients for one batch cooked meal per week), and Snap is costing approximately ~125$ for us for 8 meals each per week.  The good news is that our going out budget has gone down, so it’s not *that* much more, but it’s definitely not cheap.  The good news is that their rewards program gives you a 50$ credit when you spend 300$, so some weeks it’s actually cheaper!

4. My tendency to revert to BITCH mode.  When you are restricting calories, one can be a little moody.  I have secretly murdered so many people in the last four weeks… in my mind of course… but still, they are SO DEAD.  However, you have to remember to apologize for the things you said when you were hungry (and that’s most of the time) and remember that it’s not your coworkers’ fault your dieting and they don’t deserve to fear your wrath just because they happened to order pizza for lunch.

I miss these days.

5.  Being social is hard.  Here’s another piece of advice that I find bunk for me: it’s about the company, not the food.  I’m sorry, but for me, it’s about the company AND the food.  When I’m in a situation where I’m dieting and there’s a bunch of delicious junk food around tempting me, I’m just not going to be either a nice person (see #4 above) and also not very present in the social experience (my mind is going to be on all the food I can’t have).  It gets better over time, but I have definitely avoided some social situations in the last month where I knew there was going to be food I shouldn’t eat or drinks I shouldn’t drink and I felt my willpower and energy low (this both includes traditional social situations and also group rides with the team where there’s beer after).

6. Loss of spontaneity.  Look, I’m about as bad at this as they come.  When someone asks me, “hey, do you want to go grab a drink?” my answer typically is something like, “sure, does three Saturdays from now from 3-6pm work?”  However, it gets even WORSE because I have to consider my food intake as well.  Even if I’m free to grab that drink, I have to make sure I am able and willing to spend the calories on it.  If you’re inviting me for dinner and drinks out, forgetaboutit.  I kind of get one or the other nowadays.

And food TIMING is a huge deal.  While I’ve actually been pretty fine with my workouts vs fuel intake right now, it’s because I’m very careful to fuel AROUND the workouts, instead of doing that thing where I eat 2-3 hours later and thus the hunger monster has grown to epic proportions and needs to be satiated with mixing bowls worth of food.  This makes #5 really hard because if you don’t want to hang out right after my workout, I’m very unlikely to have calories for doing anything food or drink related.

Non-dieting me: this looks like a great afternoon.  Dieting me: a whole lot of anxiety about how to navigate this situation while not tanking my calorie balance.

7. Situations getting in the way of letting my laziness work for me.  I freaking love efficiency.  In a vacuum, if everyone in the world would leave me alone in my little bubble, I would tend to make reasonably good choices if only due to laziness.  If the option is eat chicken and vegetables already prepared and easily reheated at home or drag myself out for what I really want, chicken and vegetables will win every time.  I am the poster child for out of sight, out of mind.  If it’s not in my house or easily within reach, I’ll find something that is before I arse myself with getting it.  So, I try to avoid bringing anything that’s not something I want to consume on the regular into my house.

But then we’ll have get togethers and I just can’t politely pass up homemade dessert or your famous bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers and of course I’ll take some of that home (my deep freezer is full of this stuff, which actually helps take care of the “out of sight” part of it, but not always).  My husband tends to throw a few things in the cart on grocery days that I wouldn’t and then I end up eating some stale hatch chili oreos (actually better than you think) because they are there.  I have the random snack shelf with a bunch of crap that is left over from parties or things we wanted to try or gifts or freebies (current things there: super stale pretzels, crushed mint oreo thins, a mixed baggie of starbursts and atomic warheads, jelly beans, three year old kale chips and pork rinds) and are still there taunting me and occasionally I’ll give in and instantly regret it because it’s not what I want, but it’s right there (laziness).

8.  Dieting takes up a good portion of your give-a-crap.  I will fully admit that I have given up on some things because my give-a-crap tank is a little lower these days.  I’ve skipped training, I’ve ditched errands or things on my to do list, and even probably been a little less productive at work at times because some of my give-a-crap is being siphoned into NOT EATING THE DAMN CAKE.  Eating healthy food is a huge boost to your mood, energy, and drive.  Restricting portions to have a deficit sucks all that dry.

9.  3-5 is very different than 5-7.  Both of the nutritionists that I’ve worked with have mentioned this hunger scale.  Basically 1 is – I will LITERALLY DIE if I don’t eat soon and 10 is – I will LITERALLY DIE if I eat anything else right now.  Three is solid, healthy hunger, five is not hungry but not full, and seven is that nice, full feeling you get after a big meal and feel satisfied.  Typically, people (i.e. me when training and not dieting) stick between about 5-7, and generally eat when they are no longer full and experience that feeling as “hungry” (or they just eat when it’s time to eat whether they’re hungry or not).  When you are dieting, you should stick between 3-5 – eating just until you aren’t hungry anymore (which can take up to 20 minutes to process if you’re doing it right) and waiting until you feel genuine hunger to eat.  This feels a lot different and can really throw you for a loop until you get used to not feeling full.

#sorrynotsorry, but I’d consider committing a litany of crimes for a calorie-free version of this meal right now.

10. Social media is the worst.  On Instagram, I follow some people that post pictures of delicious foods, like macaroon ice cream sandwiches.  On Facebook, my lovely friends will post buzzfeed recipes for stuff like Cheesy Bacon Monkey Bread.  Again, I know it’s not other people’s faults that I am on a diet and they’re not, but it has not stopped me from throwing some mental daggers at certain internet handles that are making me drool with pictures of foods that cost my entire daily calorie intake or more.

While things absolutely CAN taste better than skinny feels (and Desano’s Pizza is one of them), but for a short time, I can forget about being a spontaneous, happy, carefree person to make that calorie deficit needed to achieve #projectraceweight before I go back to riding my bike all over town and drinking beer and eating pizza after.  Until then, please ignore my mood, and be kind when I have to politely decline your invitation to sit and drink water while we hang out at a brewery, because my other option is not eating all day and you don’t want to see THAT monster either.

Chopping the wood and carrying the water

Marathons hit me right in the feels.

Not entirely sure there’s a better feeling than at the end of 26.some miles.

I mean, after running 26.2 miles, you are raw.  You’ve gone through periods where you’ve felt amazing and then subsequently wanted to give anything just to lie down on the side of the road and die for a little bit or maybe even forever.  You’ve felt the highest highs and the lowest lows.  You’ve spent a few hours with yourself and only your two feet (and maybe a kickass playlist, if that’s an option) and that finish line is the most glorious thing in the entire world.   This is a fact both when it’s a standalone run and especially when it’s after a long swim and bike.

I mean, I love shorter races.  There are so many benefits.  You can race them more often without falling apart (mentally AND physically).  You can be to the beer tent by NINE AM.  Specifically for me, my body handles going short and fast (ish) muuuuuch better than going long.  At least right now.  And, I’m more competitive at these distances.  I’ve never even been within spitting distance of a podium if there’s an Iron or marathon anywhere in the name (even with a half qualifier).

But, there’s something about those longer races.  Maybe it’s the glory (my mother, when hearing how long the race was that I won, was like, “oh, that’s all?”).  But I also love the type two fun of the long days of training, maybe even more than racing.  Even when it’s running for hours in the rain (ok, maybe I *especially* like this one).  Or riding my bike for the majority of a workday, even if it’s in 3 mile circles.  Or losing count of how many laps I’ve done in the lake when it’s the temperature of bathwater.  I live for this stuff.

One thing I have to keep reminding myself is that the ultimate goal isn’t to *RETIRE* from those type of races.  I have no qualms that I’ll be back at the marathon and Ironman distances someday.  However, I want to do more than limp through them.  I want to be strong and fit and light enough to maintain a good stride and pace through 26 miles.  I want to be flexible enough that my range of motion isn’t limiting my power on the bike or my hip extension on the run.  I want my core and upper body to be strong to push the bike in aero for 56 or 112 miles like I do for 14 in a sprint.  I don’t want to train through a bunch of niggling injuries, I want to feel good and ready for training days and when I step up to the start line instead of wondering what will break on me this time.

So, the reminder to myself is to chop the wood and carry the water.  I need to get STRONG before I go LONG.  It will be interesting to test the waters with a half ironman in September and see if I can pull off the run I know is in there if my body would stop being such a flimsy and rigid little jerk.  It will be a higher degree of difficulty dive being in Cozumel (hot/humid), but my two best half iron races have been in similar conditions, so we’ll see how that little experiment of one goes.

This probably isn’t going to happen for a while so I’m going to use this picture a few times.  Get comfortable with it. 🙂

However, the focus right now is getting ready for the first two back to back races next weekend and the weekend after.  I am much less likely to win either of these but if I have a great day, like a really great day, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to stand on the podium.  It’s going to be all about the bike on these.  They’re both on the hillier side.  It’s really hard to catch me on the flats but going up?  Yeah… not so much… and then it’s all about what’s left over on the run.  I’ve got a stronger run game than I ever have right now, but my legs have not yet figured out how to match that 6- or 7-minute mile pace (I’m barely able to hold 8-something and not consistently), which standing on the top-step sometimes takes.

Backing up a bit again, I hit most of my training last week with some modifications.

  • I did a harder trainer ride with less recovery than I expected on Monday, so I went 40 instead of 60 minutes.
  • I did both sessions of weights at work with kettlebells instead of lifting once at the gym.
  • We had to work late on Wednesday and missed the team brick, but made up for it with a shorty brick on the top of our parking garage at work.  It ended up being more cornering practice on the bike than anything, but I ran a nice 9 minute flat mile off the bike.  And, it made my mood go from >:( to 🙂 so it was worth it just for that.

However, I think the happiest thing last week was those run miles off the bike.  I ran three more over the weekend, and the splits were 9:07, 9:01, and 8:59.  I’m consistently able to approximately hit that 9 minute mile and in most cases, I have another gear that I could summon on race day.  I’m still not running a lot, but it’s been quality.

Cycling seems to be going well, I’m getting better at the ability to hold higher power for longer instead of just in short intervals.  It’s been nice training on the TT bike outside with the team and trying to chase the faster riders!  Weights work is still continuing even though I’m going through the same phase I always do around this time – where my mentality switches from “OMG I love weights, I need to prioritize this work year round” to “man, it’s really hard to lift, run, bike AND swim all in the same week…. hmmm…”.  But, I’ve committed to 2x week, even if some of those weeks end up me just throwing around kettlebells in my work parking lot, it’s better than what I’ve done previously.

And I do <3 me some Black Betty.

Swimming is just a solid fourth right now.  I made it to the pool twice last week.  I didn’t swim fast or far, but I swam.  At some point, I need to do sets.  At some point, I need to swim in the lake.  But, for now, I’m showing up, and that’s a start.

This week’s plan:

  • 2 weights sessions (1 DONE!)
  • 2 20-30 min swims (maybe one of these in the lake, perhaps)
  • 3 bike rides – one 90 min commute (DONE – that was rough), one 45 min smashy brick, and the weekend’s ride is TBD depending on the weather.
  • 3 runs – two easy with some more miles (one 4 miler DONE, one more planned), one fast 2 mile brick
  • Stretch + roll + boots and ankle/shoulder exercises almost every day.

It feels like nothing in terms of hours when I’m planning it, then my week gets super busy and it’s all I can and want to do right now.  And it seems to be working, so I’ll take it and not try to pile on a million more hours.  Yet.

Our post-Easter Easter feast.  My only indiscretion was a tiny sliver of chocolate cake and ice cream, which was plenty.

In the other front to #getfaster, I hit a nice milestone last week.  My average weight is finally back in the 170s (179.6, but still).  Keeping score – this is 6.1 lbs in 4 weeks.  I am now officially lighter than I’ve been since the beginning of August 2015.  I expect this week to be an exercise in frustration because it’s that time of the month in which I feel like a water balloon, but we’ll see how much of that is giving into crappy cravings and eating badly and how much of that is actually my body.

I have five weeks before vacation, and I should be faiiiiirly close to seeing an odd 169.9 on the scale the week before I go if my progress stays even.  That would be RAD!  To keep myself motivated, I’ll remind myself about the fact that about 30 seconds has melted off my running paces in the last 4-5 weeks, and if I don’t eff it all up, another 30 seconds could magically melt off by my last race of the spring.  How cool would that be?

Last week’s numbers:

  • Last week’s average calories: 1607
  • Last week’s average daily burn: 2301
  • Average deficit: -693
  • Average diet quality: 22.8
  • Average weight: 179.6

This week should be fairly easy in the grand scheme of things.  I don’t have any social functions, and my only planned splurge is lunch out on the day we ride bikes.  I just have to stay the course and hopefully I can report similar numbers to those above, with a lower average weight!

I’ve got nothing related to this section so please enjoy this view of two canoes on a lake.

I am happy to report that we have two CLEAN cars in our garage now.  The kitchen remodel is 100% fully and finally over. *cue the angels’ chorus*

I’m making my way through The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published and I’ve gotten to the chapter about how to pitch your book and what you should send in a package to a publisher.  The good news is that this is some GREAT information.  The bad news is that for non-fiction books, you’re supposed to do this stuff BEFORE you write the whole book.

I decided it wasn’t a terrible thing.  I have proved to myself that I could finish a first draft.  For my own confidence, that’s a wonderful step.  However, I will probably never put together almost 300 word doc pages again before I do this again because it’s a great judgement on whether you SHOULD EVEN WRITE THE BOOK.  It will be a great exercise with the 3-5 other ones knocking around my head before I dive into the deep end with them.

However, first on the docket is editing and reading and letting my husband read it.  He’s getting antsy.

By the end of this weekend, I would like to have another video recorded and at least the background of my next painting done and our workout room tidied up.  But only if it’s not stressing me out to do all that stuff.  Because it’s triathlon season, and that means adulting and crafts get ignored unless I feel like it.

Also, I’ve currently decided that I’m going to look into is selling my digital photography.  My husband, under the influence of vodka, bought me a really nice new fancy digital underwater camera that actually takes pictures in the proper format to do this, so my goal is to see how long it will take to make back the money it cost to order it!

I figure this *might* be worth something to someone besides just looking pretty on my social media and blogs.

And on that note, I’m going to take my unfocused self (squirrel!) and go focus on something.  Happy Wednesday!

Bluebonnets, bikes, and half a cup full of give-a-crap.

Hello, world.  Nice to meet you.  I like riding bikes, if you didn’t know that already.

Bluebonnets and cheese…

However, I like riding bikes a lot less when it’s really cold and windy.  I’ve done plenty of that riding training for Ironman Texas, and I have no issues heading out on my bike into the cold, or into the wind, but both at the same time kind of sucks.

Last year, hardening the eff up was kind of a point of pride and helped me make the jump to the Ironman distance on the bike (which was the discipline I needed the most work on, endurance-wise).  Honestly, it also helped me when Ironman day came and we had 20-30 mph winds on an exposed toll road.  However, this year, I’m training for sprint triathlons, which translates to racing for approximately 40 minutes (vs 7 hours) on my time trial bike.  Then, later this year, I will be training for an approximately 3 hour ride in hot and humid conditions.

So, there was nothing that riding 43 miles in the feels-like-30s and super windy conditions would benefit me, besides the excuse to eat some junk food along the way at aid stations and after (which would probably sabotage my weight loss efforts – I can negate that calorie burn in one aid station full of cookies and PB pretzels).  So, instead of doing any of that, we stayed home.  This is my third DNS over the last 9 years, and the other two were because my knee was so injured I could barely walk.  There was no choice in the matter for the previous two.  On first blush, I figured I should woman the eff up and go.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I should probably miss the start line for things more often than I have.  In this case, for very little gain, I would be subjecting myself to illness (cold and windy riding for hours) and injury (always the risk of it riding outside, but in a group of thousands of other riders it amplifies).  When I signed up, I was super looking forward to it IN SPITE of it not being specific training, and was ok taking a break from hammering the bike to go have a beautiful morning riding outside and supporting the Rosedale school.  When the enjoyment part was removed with the crappy weather, I realized I was still supporting the school with my entry fee and decided that a trainer ride in my living room would be a much better idea.  And that was that.

We don’t want to get here.  We want to keep a reserve of give-a-crap.

I hate giving up, but I had to put it in perspective.  Seven days previous to that would-be ride, my body and mind produced a PR and a first place.  Four days after that, my body and mind ran 8:58 pace (30 seconds better than I raced at) off a challenging bike.  These breakthroughs are coming around for a few reasons, I believe:

  1.  My body (and mind) are strong enough, finally.  Those two months of weighted squats and throwing kettlebells and working the posterior chain and my upper body finally feeling stable enough to be comfortable in aero position and my arms and hips gaining enough flexibility to start approximating a runners stride instead of the marathon shuffle -these things are starting to pay off.  And, I’ll give credit to a little bit of mental work as well.  Figuring out how to get out of my own way and let my body do what it can do without judgement or limitations has been a 2018 focus.
  2. My body (and mind) are RESTED enough to do this kind of thing.  I have learned in life that for me to be successful, I have to walk the line between “we are what we repeatedly do” and “I have a finite-amount-of-give-a-crap”.  If I ask myself to HTFU constantly, and for things that don’t matter, I end up becoming the girl who cried wolf and I won’t show up when the chips are down.  If I give myself a pass on the things that don’t matter, I’m more likely to show up to the things that are more important.  Then again, if I shy away from HTFU moments entirely, I tend to continue to avoid them.  Like I said, it’s about walking that line.

Go ahead and pretend this is a selfie of me in the cold and wind riding outside.  I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

So, I skipped a charity ride (apparently a lot of other folks went outside at 7am, said NOPE, and did the same as well) and life went on.  I had a nice relaxing weekend at home and then in my sleep on Sunday morning, I decided to shove one side of my ribs two inches higher and spent the day spasming in pain.  That was super fun.

I’m all fixed now (chiro put me back the next morning and now I’m feeling reasonably fine), but that was the universe shouting to BACK THE EFF OFF for a day.  I couldn’t run or bike or swim (was actually planning on doing a short session of each that day).  I could barely help with chores – which sounds conveeeeeenient, but I set off a spasm attack by putting a sweatshirt on. 😛 Yeah, it sucked. But, I watched about eight movies this weekend and got reacquainted with my couch and feel like I had some nice, lazy downtime and I’m ready to attack this week.

Workouts last week:

  • ~1 hour lifting Monday/Friday
  • 90 min bike commute Tuesday
  • 1k swim and 60 min team BSS brick Wednesday
  • planned day off Thursday
  • 1 hour trainer ride with 3×5 min race power and 3×1 min 200+ power Saturday
  • Trying not to anger the rib dieties by looking at anything funny (off) Sunday

And that’s it. 6 hours of training (I missed a short run, bike, and swim, 1.5 hours total).  I’m aiming to do a little this week and the week after (but not too too much) and then a rest week to prepare for Texasman.  This week’s plan:

  • 3 runs: two speedy (2-3 miles) off the bike (Wed/Sat) and one easier 4 miler (done!)
  • 3 bikes: 40 min trainer ride- 3x (5 min hill (~200W at low cadence)/2 min easy) (done!), two 45-60 min brick rides (Wed/Sat) with some spice as well.
  • 2 swims: probably both in the pool, around 1k meters, maybe up to 1.5k if I get enough time one morning… (Wed/Fri)
  • 2 weights sessions: kettlebells (done!), lifting (Thurs), maybe a bonus core session (Sat) if I can.

Looks like a lot, but it comes out to around 7 hours, give or take, because a lot of these sessions are 20-30 minutes.  I also slacked a little last week, so I’m recommitting to hit my shoulder and ankle exercises AT LEAST 5x this week and either a stretch or roll every day if not both.

I run (and bike and swim) on chicken and potatoes.

On the body composition facet of project #getfaster – I’m actually seeing some results on the scale, and weirdly enough, without affecting my training efforts.  Unicorn status: reached.  I know this is ONLY the case because I am not training all that much, this dive would be a much harder degree of difficulty if I was attempting this while training for something longer, but it’s… like… working!  I’m doing the things I am supposed to do and my body is responding.  This is revolutionary, y’all!

  • Last week’s average calories: 1659
  • Last week’s average daily burn: 2214
  • Average deficit: 555
  • Average diet quality: 21
  • Average weight: 181.8

My weight graph is going the right way as well.  This week officially gets me back to the weight I raced Austin 70.3 at in October 2016.  Referencing my progress HERE, its nice to note that I have lost 4 lbs in two weeks.  I’ve also dipped into the 170s a few times in the last week, which happened last in October 2016 (and like, twice before I ate my way through the holidays/offseason and gained almost 10 lbs).

If I can keep with the rate of loss here, I may be able to be in the low 170s, maybe even high 160s by vacation… and that’s a place I haven’t been in many, many years.  So, I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.  Can do.  It’s challenging but not impossible.  Progress breeds inspiration for me, so it’s been a little easier to keep going this time.

Things get created here.  And not just dust.

In other news, I have a hit another huge milestone – I have officially, as of Saturday, April 7th, finished the first draft of my book.  Now it’s done and ready to publish, right?

Totally kidding.  I know I’ve got a long way to go.

My next steps are:

1. Take a first editing pass on each chapter to clean it up a little so it doesn’t hurt the eyeballs to read.  However, I know I’ll want to canoodle with this forever if I don’t set a time limit, so I will start with that in mind.  I’m not sure what that is yet, but I don’t want to still be doing a first pass on this in December.

2. Read it myself.  Like, laying in bed, on my kindle, like I read other books.  Trying to distance myself from the fact that *I* actually wrote the thing and see how it reads overall.

3.  Read The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published.  And maybe do some internet research and poking some of my author friends as well on learning all the things about getting published.

I’m hoping to complete all these steps within the next month or so.  Then… my first beta reader (my husband).  Eeep!

I have lots of other video and painting plans to tackle later this month, but I’m happy to have knocked out my April writing goal on the 7th.  Take that, procrastination!

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