Adjusted Reality

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

Month: July 2018 Page 1 of 2

Week 3 – feels like coming home

Three weeks down, nine to go to Cozumel 70.3, thirteen to Waco 70.3.

I’m feeling pretty good about things right now.  I’m not feeling ready to race a 70.3 yet, but with six weeks of solid training left + three weeks of taper, I think I have enough time to get my legs under me.

After my first block (two weeks build, one week stepback), here’s how I feel about the various sports. Some time a like to play table tennis and tennis. What is your playing level? If you play occasionally, consider control as a key aspect for the tt racket. Buy the best ping pong paddles amazon, which suits your style from NIBIRU SPORT’s wide range of table tennis rackets.

Swimming, I used to love you the most.  About 5 years ago, it was my best sport of the three and I enjoyed practicing it, especially once we started at Pure Austin and I had the beautiful pool and lake handy to paddle in.  For some reason, over the last two years, I’ve fallen out of love with swimming (and my slightly worsening times in the pool have reflected this).

However, the good news is that a) summer is here and while my motivation is lower than previous years, it’s at this year’s peak to be in the water and b) while my pool times are not great, I’m actually working REALLY HARD on my open water form and those times are actually coming down.  Funny, when you swim with your head down and try to emulate your form in the pool even when you can’t see the black line, things get more efficient.  Rather than something like a 30 sec/100m discrepancy between pool and open water, I’m closer to like 10.  While it’s partly the product of not doing speedwork and getting slower in the pool, it’s also attention to better form all around and I’m racing in open water the rest of the year (so the pool times don’t matter) so I’ll call it a win.

Biking, is it possible to miss you even though I ride three times a week?  I’m feeling rather wistful for last year’s cycling training (for the Hotter’n’Hell 100) which was: ride bikes.  A lot.  Preferably in the heat.  I miss the commuting, I miss taking off early in the morning to ride for hours and hours on a Saturday (with no impending brick run after), and I miss bike adventures and group rides with the goals of just to GET LOTS OF MILES ON MY BUTT.

However, this entire year is about sharpening the stick.  I’ve allowed myself one ride per week with the goal just to enjoy being outside on Evilbike, and I’m finding I rarely want to stop.  I know there will be more time for this later in the year, and I’m sticking to my specific goals involving shorter melt-your-face-off TT speed sessions and longer brick workout riding places where I don’t have to stop much to simulate race efforts.  But… man, I’m looking forward to some times in November/December where we hop on our bikes and go ride with some stops to take pictures of cool things and eat food with no pace or time goals.

That being said, it was nice that 17.2 mph on the Shoal Creek loop felt. like. holding. back. like. woah.  So the effort I’m putting in is worth it.

Running is a surprise.  It’s been the bane of my existence for years, both with my slowing paces and random minor but annoying injuries and imbalances.  Even earlier this year, my take on running was that I should do it as little and fast as possible.  My meager 5-ish miles a week (but mostly faster) returned enough dividends that I wasn’t going to change things.

I’m running about 2-3 times a week now, which isn’t that much different than before, but the runs are longer (last week I did a whole ELEVEN miles for almost TWO HOURS of running).  Oddly enough, or maybe just as a surprise to no one but me, since I’m a little lighter and have new shoes, both my legs and brain have taken to some additional miles as if they’re coming home from a long time away.  In fact, these longer hours in general feels like coming home, as it’s been a while.  Intentional absence, for sure, but it’s fun to train a lot.  I digress.

The cool thing is that I am completing pretty much all of my runs at the pace goals I’m setting, even after time away, even in the heat, even when I have the ability to make excuses why it’s too fast – it’s not.  While I know 7 miles is way shorter than 13, I felt like 10:40/mile was a nice relaxed pace that I did not want to stop when I finished (and spoilers, I held a slightly faster pace for 9 this week though I was 100% READY TO STOP after).  In the feels like 100+ degree heat, I was able to maintain a 10:30/mile pace for a 10k off the bike (with a few water stops).  In the insane humidity, I was able to descend, not quite to 10k but to at least slightly under half marathon pace (9:30-9:45), for the middle three miles of last week’s run on Tuesday even though it felt like running through soup.

Weights is a thing in which I am still doing because I know I need to, but I don’t have too much love for it right now.  I know it’s one of my most important sessions of the week, but that doesn’t mean the illogical part of my brain wants to skip it to go do other things.  I’m definitely moved past the “heavy lifting” part of the year and probably have to let go of the fact that deadlifting/squatting any signficant weight is going to need to be on pause until after Waco and recovery, but I’m still showing up and doing the things.  The default workout right now is:

  • 5 min row warmup, then 3x everything below….
  • 10@40# kb squats
  • 10@40# kb side leans
  • 10@40# kb rows
  • 10@20# shoulder press with dumbbells
  • 10@25# kb single leg deadlifts
  • 10 ball pass crunches
  • 10 ball hamstring curls
  • 10 ball inverted v-ups
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 single leg calf raises
  • Streeetchy stretch!

I can roll through this in about 35-40 minutes, and while it’s not the kind of PUMP that deadlifting 150 lbs is, I definitely feel it, especially in my weak spots like my hamstrings and lower back.  I’m pretty confident this will help me at least maintain if not make small gains if I stick with it through tri season.

That’s a lot of words about sports so let’s put up some schedules and move on…

Last week:

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: AM run: 1 mile warmup, 3 miles fast (10k-ish race pace, trying to hold low 9s), 1 mile cooldown
  • Wednesday: home weights
  • Thursday: 1600yd lake swim
  • Friday: AM gym weights
  • Saturday: practice olympic distance (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run)
  • Sunday: off

I had to shift things around a little bit, but I got in all the sessions.  Hooray!  This resulted in 6.5 hours, which was also about what I’d planned.  Stepback week + finally getting my morning person thing on = success!

This week’s plan:

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride, weights
  • Tuesday: AM run: 9 miles at 10:30-11:00 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: brick workout, swim (maybe all together)
  • Friday: AM gym weights, PM open water swim
  • Saturday: 45 mile TT ride at the Veloway, 3 mile brick run (9:30-ish/mile goal pace)
  • Sunday: off

Looks like about 9 hours and a nice peak week before heading into Nationals race week next week.  I can’t believe it’s almost here!

As for the non-training training goals:

  • Hit all the sessions. (CHECK)
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person) (CHECK)
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day. (mostly check – I think I skipped a day or two but I also visited the chiropractor AND got a massage so that makes up for something…)

My weight loss efforts have dropped from about 1 lb per week to 1 lb per month, however, it’s still going in the right direction.  At 1 lb per month, I’ll see the 160’s in 2018.  So, that’s still motivation to keep at it.  What I’m currently doing does not seem to be affecting my training or general happiness and well being, so it continues.

  • Average calorie burn: 2404
  • Average calorie intake: 1794 (-609 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.1 to 175.0 (-0.1… sigh… at least it’s not +)
  • Average diet quality: 19.7

So, at this point, I’ve had two weeks where I’ve done deeeeecently, and no progress.  I can only assume that life is punishing me (or, more likely, that I was selectively weighing on good days before and now that I’m back to every day, it will take some time to stabilize).

Goals for the next week:

  • Salads every day.  I missed my veggies goal more than I have in a long time.  Eat your veggies (and fruit, those were lacking too) woman!
  • I had a cadence before.  Yogurt and berries in the morning.  Lunch.  Salad.  Fruit and nuts snack before I left work or right when I got home.  Dinner.  Post dinner snack in whatever categories I was lacking.  I’m not eating all that much more, but I am finding I’m not quite eating the right things.  I’m going to try to establish that cadence again.
  • Saturdays are going to be a challenge now that I’m onto long workouts.  I need to make sure I have plans for something reasonably healthy/easy, if not for the meal immediately after said long workout, for the rest of the day instead of eating crackers and cheese like I did this week… ahem.

It’s official, I’m a PAID stock photographer.  I made my first sale… of 18 cents!  I’m rich!  Where’s my mansion?  While it’s kind of laughable, it’s nice to know that someone was able to find my picture and for one reason or another, purchased it.  Besides the work of uploading and setting key words, this is stuff I’d do anyway with my photography, so I’ll keep building a stock library and who knows, maybe someday I’ll make 1.18$ #shootforthemoon

In terms of photo goals, here’s what I’ve done:

  • I submitted (and got accepted) the remaining 12 left from my “second best” May 2018 vacation set to two out of the three sites (Adobe seems to be the pickiest, so I left them for last).
  • Narrow down my photos from about 700 (with my cell phone shots as well) to under 200.
  • I’ve edited and processed everything from July 4th.

I know, the typical thing to post here would be a firework photo, but I loved this one from the butterfly gardens a lot.

This week, I’d like to:

  • Submit those 12 “second best” photos to Adobe and wait for my inevitable rejections.
  • Finish at least through July 5th.  And even if I don’t finish, make some progress by not being against the idea of sitting down and editing three photos a night if that’s the amount of time I have between dinner and bed.
  • Holding on the book until I finish these photos.  However, after this batch… it’s on!

In terms of other IRL things, we had our first weekend at home and no plans since June 2nd.  The last time that happened was April 21.  Before that, March.  No wonder we’re feeling a little crispy and protective of our time lately.  It was nice to come home after smashing myself against a long workout in the heat and barely have to make words at anyone for two days.  With work and training and life the way it is right now I really need some time for my sanity to be silent and just focus on something relaxing like editing, TV, a book, etc.

And on that note, I’ll take my wordy self and do just that…

Week 2 of 70.3 training – nailed it!

On the heels of a rough week 1, I’m happy to report my sentiment for Week 2 was, “Nailed it!”

Insert peach emoji here.  If you want a nice looking peach too, you can get this kit of mine HERRRE. And use the code BRIGADELEAH for 25$ off, if you want to be part of our cycle gang!

And not even in the ironic pintrest fail sense.  Except in some instances where it was sort of that exactly. 

As for training, I’m thrilled to report it’s the first time in a long time I’ve put check marks in all the boxes.  That is, all workouts were completed, exactly as planned (if not exactly WHEN).  That’s a HUGE win for me.  I may have rescheduled some things about 23 times before completing it, but all’s well that ends well, yeah?  Even if that ending was 5pm on a Sunday walking back from the lake for a swim I put off since Monday…

Here’s the week 2 summary:

  • Monday: weights (home), 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: 7 mile long run 10:30-11 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: FTP test AM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: gym weights AM, 1500yd pool swim PM
  • Saturday: 35 mile TT bike ride/3 mile brick faster than race pace (sub-10 was the goal, I actually hit sub 9:30s!!!).
  • Sunday: 1600yd lake swim

It really is the swim practice that has been tripping me up.  I don’t have the option to swim at lunch anymore (though that changes soon! yay!) and it’s the least convenient session to get to.  I actually love doing it once I get myself there and going, it’s just the effort to get there… ugh.  It sounds so lazy, but it’s just the truth.

And it makes sense when my swimming spaces are so ugly.  Sigh…

Everything else went rather well!  An hour bike ride after work on Monday is honestly just the thing to shake the blahs.  I’m starting back a little… errr… lot lighter with some things for weights but I’m showing up and doing it.  While the swims were difficult to coordinate, I had two longest swims of the year and they felt pretty good.

The highlights of the week were my cycling and running.  I know, I haven’t said the words “highlight” and “running” in the same sentence for a long time, but it’s true.  As for cycling, I took an FTP test on Wednesday morning, and it went up 7 points, and since I’ve lost weight since my last one, my watts per kg score went up nicely as well (2.15 to 2.25).  I’m now in the middle of the cat-5 or cat-4 category, depending on which version of the chart you’re looking at, so that’s something. 

As for my run, I won’t say the paces I’m doing are effortless, but they are more comfortable than expected.  My 7 mile run at 10:40s ended before I wanted it to, I could have easily continued on another few miles at the same pace and effort if I had time.  Then, Saturday, in feels like 95 degrees in no shade, I ran a 9:28/mile pace for 3 miles off a two hour reasonably challenging bike (18 mph average/1200+ feet of elevation gain in the heat).  Again, this wasn’t EASY but it was doable and at 169 HR average, it was a little high for what I’d hold during the half marathon off the bike but it wasn’t butting up against my racing ceiling either (~175).

This next week is a stepback week, which I don’t feel like I need physically, like, at all, but mentally, I’m ready.  The next few days are already presenting challenges with life not understanding that it’s time for training to be the focus, and not other stuff. ><  However, we’ll get ‘er done, somehow, someway.  Here’s the plan.

  • Monday: 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: AM run: 1 mile warmup, 3 miles fast (10k-ish race pace, trying to hold low 9s), 1 mile cooldown, PM home kettlebells
  • Wednesday: ~1500yd swim, lake or pool PM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: AM gym weights
  • Saturday: practice olympic distance (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10k run)
  • Sunday: off

This is a little bit of scheduling gymnastics from the plan 24 hours ago, but thankfully it’s not the myriad of two-a-days it would be if it was NOT a recovery week, so I’m thankful for a little more leeway.  I have faith all the boxes will be ticked, just not confident everything will happen exactly when it’s supposed to.  And that’s ok.

My other goals for last week continue to be goals for this week:

  • Hit all the sessions. (CHECK)
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person) (CHECK)
    • My worst night of sleep was 6h43m, and I just stayed up later than normal, nothing sinister.  Saturday night, I got 6 hours and 41 minutes of DEEP sleep (for about 9 hours total), waking up at 11:30am.  My body is doing all the right things, and I’m finding waking up in the 7am hour much easier.
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day.
    • I didn’t hit it every day, but I stretched twice, rolled twice, and hit the boots once.  Five out of seven days isn’t bad!

Let’s see how this week goes!

As for the scale-y side of things…

Wait, that’s not what I mean… hehe…

Let’s just go to the numbers…

  • Average calorie burn: 2480
  • Average calorie intake: 1805 (-674 deficit)
  • Average weight change: 175.6 to 175.1 (-0.6)
  • Average diet quality: 22.1

I had typed this thing about making zero, zip, nada, zilch in the way of progress, but I’m going to dig a little bit into there because that’s not entirely true.  My trendweight is hovering right in the 175.somethings, where it has for pretty much all July.  Right now it’s the LOWEST it’s been with 175.1, so that’s a thing.  However, I’m not entirely sure if I’m goosing the numbers a little bit by selectively weighing on days when I think it will be a good result (I weighed Tues, Wed, Thurs, and Sunday, which coincided with either morning workouts or days I went light on dinner).

Either way, the process numbers above look in order for the last week.  I have a feeling I’m still paying for vacation week and the week after where things went all to hell with my eating.  My progress is slow.  My progress is stalled.  But, there is still progress and even if it takes me 10 weeks to lose 5 more lbs while not negatively impacting my 70.3 training, that’s fine and dandy.  I didn’t gain this particular weight overnight, so I know I’m not going to lose it that way either.

A summary of #projectraceweight in graph form.

This week, I’ve batch cooked some meals instead of just scrounging, I’m grabbing some snap kitchen for the first time in a while.  I don’t have any parties or plans this week that involve gluttonous meals.  In the monthly cycle of being a woman, this should be a week that my hormones won’t hamper my efforts.  This should be a good week for me if I can play by my old rules where I was doing well.  So I shall.

Speaking of rules… I’m trying not to break them.  I really am.  I drew my suck lines in sharpie two months ago and I’m really trying to abide by that decree.  It let me let go of a few things that while I really want to do, I don’t have the time or attention for at the moment AND THAT’S OK.  I will be a famous You Tube star, painter, jewelry designer, have a fabulously renovated and organized house, and whatever else some day when I have all the time in the world.

Trying to be legit with a watermark and everything.  However, this one got rejected by two out of the three stock sites. I still like it so I’m posting it here.

However, photography keeps creeping up above the line by nature.  I keep going places and taking pretty pictures, and that means I have photos to edit, and if I’m going to go through all that, I might as well submit them to build my stock portfolio, right?  It sounds like a natural thing to do but then it takes time, I’m estimating that the process of making it ready for the three photo sites is at least 30 minutes PER PICTURE beyond what I’d do just to put it in a personal album. 

Right now, it means that I prioritized those submissions over my Krause Springs pictures and all I’ve done with that set is narrow 500+ pictures down to about 200 that were decent. 

Still with the phone pictures, but I miss my tree and my hammock.

Because this seems to be the thing I want to focus on/procrastinate editing my book with right now, I’ll indulge it for a little bit, if that I won’t have another big batch of pretty pictures to edit probably until October, so it won’t be a constant distraction.  My next goals are:

  • Further narrow that down to a reasonable amount of photos to take the time to run through the editor, hopefully 100 or less.
  • Upload those to facebook and do a (maybe a few) Krause Springs posts.
  • Pick the ones that are on the level of the first batch I submitted to each stock photo site (with the rejections in the second batch, I think I’ve found the edge).
  • Upload the best 10 to ONE of the sites and see if any get rejected.  If they all pass, upload them everywhere.
  • Pick the next best 10-15 if I think I have any more that are good quality.  Upload them to one site and see if any get rejected.  If they all pass, upload them everywhere and repeat the process as deep as I want to go into my stock.

If this takes me a month or two, so be it, but there’s the map and the plan.

The book editing process is going slowly, but one more session and I can probably call myself one-third of the way through the first rough pass.  That’s the benchmark I’ll focus on.  I’m hoping I can carve out some time this weekend or next but again, I’m not giving myself a set timetable for this stuff lest I get overwhelmed.

And in the spirit of not overwhelming myself, th-th-th-that’s all folks!

Week 1 of 70.3 training – stolen moments

Last week was a doozy, y’all.

Kind of exhausted and stressed, but thanks for asking, hypnotoad…

Last week was the week of EVVVVVERYTHING.  We had a bunch of commitments on the schedule already, and a bunch of other stuff randomly appeared throughout the week to add to the pile of things.  I just resigned myself to having no free time and not as much sleep as normal, and since it was temporary, it was okay, but sheesh.  I’m really happy to have had a Sunday that felt RELAXING (it’s been a while) and I’m looking forward to a more mellow week coming up.  It’s weird to say that with training hours ramping up and a product release on tap, but it’s the truth, in comparison at least.

In terms of training, I got in most of it. 

  • Monday: weights AM, 1200y swim pool PM (supposed to be 1500m open water)
  • Tuesday: 6 mile long run at 10:30-11:00 pace AM
  • Wednesday: off (supposed to be FTP test AM, pool swim PM)
  • Thursday: 30 min bike/20 min run brick AM (supposed to be off)
  • Friday: 1000y swim AM (supposed to also do a weights session and a 1 hour bike)
  • Saturday: 30 mile bike, 2 mile brick run
  • Sunday: off

Total: 6 hours (about 8 hours planned)

I had to shift around the days a little, and I had to bag a weights session and an hour-ish easy bike ride.  I had planned to do one or both on Sunday as a makeup session, but I had some wicked cramps, so I ditched the weights and went on an hour long walk instead of riding.  I am bummed about missing the strength session, but the easy hour bike ride is probably one of the least important sessions of the week, so I’m less worried about skipping that.

I was supposed to do an FTP test but neither my body nor brain were there for me that morning, so I instead turned it into a 30 minute ride and 20 minute run brick at a pace which I would call “sitting outside the pain cave’s door asking if it wants to build a snowman”.  Getting two swims in is a victory, however, neither of them were open water due to time constraints, so that’s definitely on the list for this week.

A big goal in week 2 is to hit all my training sessions.  As of right now, I only have ONE commitment this week: a makeup father’s day with the family since we have all been traveling or unavailable.  The rest of the week is dedicated to training sessions, recovery, and rest and the rest of the world can go fly a kite.

  • Monday: weights (home), 1 hour easy bike ride
  • Tuesday: 7 mile long run 10:30-11 min/mile pace
  • Wednesday: FTP test AM, pool swim PM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: weights AM (gym if possible), open water swim PM
  • Saturday: 35 mile TT bike ride/3 mile brick faster than race pace (sub-10 is the goal).
  • Sunday: off
  • Total: about 8.75 hours planned.

The good news is I’m already through today’s workouts to the letter.  Even if I have to shuffle things around later this week, even if I have to make some modifications (I’ve already switched two sessions around for the week), my training goals this week are:

  • Hit all the sessions.
  • Get good sleep (which hopefully will start pushing me towards being more of a morning person)
  • Prioritize recovery – as in use the boots, roller, or stretch once a day.

Partially demolished french food spread with all the meats, cheeses, baguettes, tapenades, and deliciousness you could want.

In terms of food, the last seven days have not been the model of health.  The quantity hasn’t been completely asinine, but the quality has not been there.  Two of my meals this week consisted of two slices of New York pizza.  I split a burger and chips for a lunch one day.  We had a bastille day potluck party and my friends went over the top with awesome French food including brie and baguettes, which are kind of my kryptonite.

I’ll put it this way, I didn’t even track Saturday or Sunday because I’m not entirely sure HOW because it’s all nibbles of this and that and the other.  I have actually tried to eliminate this type of eating because it gets me in trouble, but man, was it fun to have all sorts of yummy things spread across my countertop for the weekend!

Between that and the time of the month in which it is, the water balloon sloshing around my belly has kept me from wanting to step onto the scale.  The times I did get on the scale, I weighed between 174 and 176, which means I’m not gaining a bunch of weight back, but it’s just not going anywhere right now.  Which makes sense, because I’m not doing anything that would make it go away.  I can be frustrated with lack of progress, but at least it’s explained by LOGIC here.

The days I did track, I burnt approximately 2300 calories per day, and ate approximately 1700, so that’s a -500 deficit.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t go 2500 calories over my burn on Saturday and Sunday (which was collectively 5500, so I would have had to eat 8000 calories this weekend), so the good news is I am probably still at a slight deficit for the last week even with my best efforts to self sabotage. 

In terms of diet quality, the days I did track added up to 19.2, which isn’t HORRIBLE, except that I’m fairly certain the amount of junk I ate on Saturday (and to a lesser extent, Sunday), would send me far into the negatives those days, so let’s just call it an exception to the rule and move onward and upward before my pants get tighter.

The one highlight is that except for Monday (in which I got 9300), I had either 10k or well over 10k steps every day.  That definitely helped nudge up my calorie burn (and keep me sane) so the indulgences weren’t the end of the world.

And walking means you get to see cool stuff like this, randomly.  It’s not fall, but thanks for the pretty leaves, trees!

The goals this week are:

  • Weigh at least 5 times.  I forgot yesterday before I put on clothes, but I need to be tracking this the majority of the week.
  • Track my food the entire week.  Even if it’s good, bad, or ugly, but try to keep it 85% good.
  • Assess my diet quality when I have a week of data, aiming for it to be 20 or more.  Since I’ll have a few more calories to play with, I have no excuses for it not to be, unless I trip and fall into a vat of brie like I did this week.
  • Get 10k steps a day. 

Last week, I managed to do the photo thing (I’m now actually accepted to all three sites, and all my pictures made the cut!).  And, I edited a chapter and a half of my book.  While I didn’t spend any significant time doing any of these things on any day of the week, I’m doing my best to piece small amounts of time together to make progress otherwise I’m going to have to wait until forever to actually make headway.

As I decided here, I’m not giving myself any timelines on these things, maybe loose goals like I would like to edit at least one photo most days so it becomes a habit of something relaxing I do during downtime vs A THINGGG I have to do. 

Now that we’re in 70.3 season, everything else is absolutely on the back burner and a distant priority vs training and eating and work and recovering and trying not to be a stranger to family/friends.  If that’s all I can do in the next four months, it’s a success.  However, that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT to beef up my photography stock, and I don’t WANT to get to the point where I feel like I can put my book on a kindle and try to enjoy it (and let Zliten, who has been bugging me for months, read it as well).  I have a bunch of ideas for videos, and I haven’t touched a painting in months.  I want to create all the things!

However, I’m now on the AM workout schedule about 5 days a week (and doing doubles 3 of those days), and that means I’m flipping tired after work.  Long workouts on Saturday usually don’t leave me with much brain after.  Stolen moments on weekday evenings after dinner plus some time on Sundays between chores and cooking is really where I’m going to find that time, and some weeks it just may not exist.  And that’s ok.

Sticks and Stones

Sunday, after unloading the car, eating, showering, and enjoying my comfortable couch for a while, I started to become curious as to what my camera had captured with the FIVE HUNDRED pictures I took at Krause Springs.

The spot really photographs itself, even with a cell phone camera (haven’t touched the real ones yet).

In context, I took SEVEN HUNDRED on the cruise, so apparently I average approximately a hundred shots per day while in pretty places.  Since I had plenty of time with the small piece of land we were camping on, I experimented a lot with different modes and exposures and settings and I was excited to see what worked and what didn’t.  I didn’t worry TOO MUCH about getting the perfect shot, as it’s a place I could easily return to on a weekend day trip. 

Before digging in, I realized that I needed to be tough with myself about finishing projects before I start a new one.  I had the top 10 “application package” photos from the cruise picked out and ready to edit, and as someone with “squirrel” syndrome, I knew I needed to finish those first and put that project to bed.  I probably spent too much time agonizing over making them perfect on Sunday but I wanted to give myself the best shot of being accepted.

This week, I bit the bullet and submitted my photos all around the internets.

  • Submitted to a contest.  If you have a sec, vote my scuba photo up (you don’t even have to register or anything).
  • Got involved with Nat Geo Your Shot and submitted some photos to the We Love Animals Assignment.  It seems like a really neat community that I hope to continue to involve myself in.
  • Submitted eight of my best photos to Getty/iStock, Shutterstock, and Adobe Stock.

This being one of my favorites…

As you can see by the links (even though right now the first one isn’t working yet :P), I’ve been accepted to two out of the three, the first within 24 hours and the second well within 48.  Also, ALL the photos I submitted were accepted. 

At first I was insanely pleased.  Then, as I tend to do, the doubt creeps in… maybe EVERYONE gets in and this is like a participation trophy.  I poked around the internet and in fact that is NOT the case, it’s actually a pretty nice accomplishment to do that on the first try, and iStock/Getty can take up to a month or more to get back to you sometimes, so I’m back to feeling pretty great about things. 

After going through the process, I now know my insanely high quality bar is above theirs.  And, the fact is, you have the best chance in making sales by having a HUGE portfolio.  Now it’s time to test the limits and see what flies.  Obviously I don’t want to put up a bunch of crap, but I have at least 15 more shots that I agonized over which were great but not my top 10.  Also, I have some stunning shots from Bonaire that more than meet the resolution requirements of 4 mexapixels or more but aren’t as high quality.  I’m going to gather up some of those and start submitting over the coming weeks.  I don’t want to rack up a nasty rejection rate because on some sites that matters, so I’ll take it slow, but it’s nice to know that at very least the best of what I’m doing meets the quality standards needed.

I feel like this one now might suffice even if it’s not *quite* as high quality.

In the future, I think I’ll pick out my absolute best ones and put them aside for amazing opportunities and submissions to stuff like this, but I don’t regret putting my best foot forward for the application process.

This is a lot of words about photography and process on a blog that is mostly triathlon and food and sometimes navel gazing – but I’m getting to that last one, I promise.  My theme for the year, in triathlon, in #projectraceweight, in my creative pursuits like writing, photography, one-take videos, it’s been all about GETTING OUT OF MY OWN WAY. 

Sometimes when you have a little confidence in yourself, awesome things happen.

Surprising no one but myself, my quality bar for myself to feel worthy of something is apparently much higher than the world’s.  Sometimes I have remember to lower my expectations and get moving.  I’m not sure when NO or FAILURE or NOT GOOD ENOUGH TRY AGAIN became fearful things, and I’ve been able to hide it well with a veil of apathy in the past, but I was never that kind of a kid.  I didn’t stand under the high dive going “eh, I don’t want to do that, looks lame (read: scary)”.  I was the one climbing the stairs repeatedly to free fall as many times as the day would let me.  Yeah, sometimes I’d over or under-rotate and smack my body on the water and be temporarily in pain, but that didn’t prohibit me from trying again.

It’s the same with these opportunities.  A “smack” isn’t anything to fear, and a proverbial smack is even less of an issue, there’s not physical pain or red welts to go with it, just some hurt feelers.  If I set a goal and I don’t reach it, it’s not that I’m a horrible human being, it’s that I still have some work to do in that areas and god forbid I wasn’t perfect the first time.  However, it’s actually pretty nice to be perfect the first time when you can be. 🙂

There’s one common thread that I’ll need to face here soon.  I have this little corner of the internet, Adjusted Reality.  I have social media accounts.  I have a You Tube channel.  I plan to set up either a section of Adjusted Reality for photography or maybe make a standalone site for it.  I have a book that eventually I will finish editing and I’ll want to share it with the world.  There’s all sorts of crazy future plans too but this is what’s in the hopper RIGHT NOW.

(my feelings right now about self-marketing…)

If I want to make the leap from a couple hundred followers on Insta and Twitter, somewhere between 100-1000 (if I’m lucky) page views here, and crickets pretty much everywhere else, I’m going to need to get a little more outgoing.  If my content is good (which is subjective, but I need to believe in it to market it, so I will), that’s one piece.  That’s what I’m working on now, creating quality content, including the content of my actual body (#projectraceweight), and my basket of accomplishments (Nationals Qualifier, Stock Photographer, etc).

However, eventually, I’m going to need to learn how to make my voice heard in all the noise.  It’s not enough to just be out there, as much as I wish it was with all my heart.  You have to SHOUT from the rooftops to get heard in all the noise.  I’m getting better at being out there and even interacting with people on social media without feeling like a creeper (being part of the #wattagebrigade has really helped here).  But I’m really terrible about actually “hawking my wares”, so to speak.

Here are my two issues:

Knowledge: I’m not an expert in this stuff.  I’m learning as I can, but I really do feel like I could use a course specifically on how to market yourself.  I want to pay someone who is an authority in this some money and have them dump all the knowledge on me so I can take copious notes and develop a foolproof plan and checklist of all the things I need to do to dominate the world.

This is fixable with some time and money, and something I’m going to prioritize in the next offseason.  However, I’m never going to get anywhere with that until I fully deal with the second thing…

Confidence: By uncovering the fact that I was using apathy to cover for insecurity, I’ve made a lot of strides here.  Whenever I start feeling ennui about something that I was excited about, I try to analyze what happened.  Sometimes it’s true *overwhelm*, which is valid and means I need to focus on LESS at that particular moment.  However, sometimes, it’s just that the reality of what I’m about to do (submit a photo for critique, toe the line of a triathlon, be goofy on camera, publish some writing) makes me a little uncomfortable.  Generally, I’m at the point where I can get over it and do it and it’s great.

Feels good, man.

However, the next step is to actually let people know it’s there, which feels like sticking my hand into the fire yet again, after it’s burning hotter.  I ALREADY did the uncomfortable thing and put it out there, now I literally have to shout to call attention to this vulnerable thing that I have done!  Hello!  Here it is!  Come check out this little piece of my soul and pick it apart, everyone!  Previously, I was convinced it was all knowledge I lacked, but now I’ve found that I’ve hesitated to take steps that would increase visibility on various work I’ve done.  I’ve made various excuses about that but it honestly boils down to confidence in my self, and the confidence to be vulnerable to an audience that could potentially call me not nice names.

But as they say, sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me.  I’ve spent 2018 creating and it has felt AMAZING.  I’ve gotten over a lot of things and have put my work out into the world and will continue to do so.  Soon, though, my goal is to figure out how to confidently hawk my wares, both technically and also having the chutzpah to not just do a thing, but also point and it while shouting it’s praises.

Second verse, different than the first…

Today begins half ironman season, which will be very different than the first half of the year. 

Time to remember how to race for 6 hours vs 60 minutes.

Instead of short, small races where I’m running for the podium and I can almost blink before they’re over, I have longer, bigger races to tackle.  For these, my hope is that I can place in the top half of my age group, and the only thing I hope to qualify for is a post-race beer.  I can’t just wing the distance on these with the endurance I have so I actually have to start doing stuff like running for more than half an hour and swimming more than 1000yds. 

The cool thing is the rest of the year brings ALL new races, so I don’t have any course PRs or prior expectations.  It’s about kicking my own ass and pushing myself for no other reason than just to be better than before.  It’s kind of refreshing.  Also, by signing up for Waco 70.3 four weeks after Cozumel, I actually get TWO chances in extremely different conditions to test my fitness on the same build and I’m really really really looking forward to that.  Worst case, if it’s a really bad idea, I’ll get to suffer on the course with a bunch of my Bicycle Sport Shop team!

I’m attempting to continue the efforts that have been successful beyond my wildest expectations this season.  Specificity and intensity versus excessive volume are what I’m about this summer, just like I was in spring.  I’m trying to keep the same methodology but slightly longer workouts since they are slightly longer races.

The focus for the last month has been heat acclimation.  We’ve done a lot of hot, mid-day walks, runs ending as late as possible before work (sleeping in has it’s privileges…), bikes in the hot afternoon sun, and just being outside as much as possible.  One ride topped out around 100 degrees (feels like more) and I remember thinking it didn’t feel that bad (though I was happy not to be running in that yet, baby steps).  I took a walk around the block at sunset and thought it was 10 degrees cooler than the temperature showed.  I ran in feels like upper 80s and I didn’t even have curse words for it.  I did have a hard time in the heat with our 30 mile ride on Friday (some idiot nutritional factors were at play), but I have confidence that I’m getting where I need to be.

Smiles after long rides vs a month ago I was seriously hunched over my bike trying not to pass out.

If I had zero things on the schedule between now and Cozumel, I’d probably just start riding my bike a million miles in July with some short brick runs every few sessions and then transition to more running in August and faster stuff in September (kind of like my Austin 70.3 training).  However, I have to race an Olympic in five weeks and while Nationals isn’t a goal race, I don’t want to completely embarrass myself.  I need to build my run concurrently as well, peaking for a 13 mile race distance run in about 2 months.  That means I’ll need to rip off that “long run” bandaid off sooner than later.  I have 6 miles planned for tomorrow which is exactly 1.5 miles longer than I’ve run in the last half a year.

Pre-Nationals (first 5 week block):

  • I’m a little rusty in the weightroom. First plan is to work my way back up with lighter weights for the first two weeks or so (2xweek), and then get back to the actual deadlifting/squatting/etc in the gym at least once a week (and the other session either the same or at home with kettles) within this time frame. 
  • My bike comfort zone ends somewhere in the realm of 30-40 miles right now.  I plan to get to 40 miles feeling like just another day, and ride my TT bike as much as possible (when it makes sense).
  • I plan to work my long run up to about 90 minutes, but my goal for these runs is to never slow to 100% easy pace.  I’m running a 5k easy holding 10-something mile pace, I’m hoping not to slow too much from there.  If it’s either or, I’d rather run less but faster. 
  • Swimming, I’m the least worried about you.  I plan to swim twice a week, and swim open water at least once a week/every other week at the absolute least.  I need to work on my speed and form when I can’t see the black line.  However, the jump from what I usually swim to 1.2 miles usually comes quickly as long as I actually DO IT.
  • I plan to hit our team brick most every Wednesday, or do a similar workout at home (exception – the FTP test I have scheduled this week in that same time slot ><).  Every long bike has a run scheduled off it.  I have a practice Olympic on the schedule 2 weeks out from the race to practice logistics and give myself confidence that I’m ready.
  • These five weeks consist of: #1 building volume, #2 more building volume, #3 stepback w/practice race, #4 one more building volume, #5 race week.  It’s not a full taper but I should go into Nationals *sorta* fresh.

Haven’t spent much time here lately and that’s about to change.  Soon.

Post Nationals to Peak (4 week block):

  • After racing two days back to back, I’ll take the next few weekdays fairly light and then have my first “long day” with a 30 min swim, 3 hour ride, 3 mile run that weekend.  If I’m super fried from racing and travel, I may switch this to the next week and just do an easy long bike + run instead. 
  • I have a second “long day” planned as my final long workout before the race/three weeks before the race – 1.2 mile OWS, 56 mile TT bike, 10k run.  This will be where I test all my race prep.
  • On the flat, closed course Cozumel bike, I estimate I’ll ride somewhere around 3 hours with the race conditions.  However, I don’t have a lot of places to practice like that.  The options I have are: riding the same amount of TIME on my road bike in group rides/traffic (but that will probably net me between 10-15+ miles less with logistics).  3 hour trainer rides sound torturous but I have a feeling I’ll do at least one.  I have a few places where I can get CLOSE to a closed course/continuous effort on my TT bike but none of them will let me open up as much as I will in the race.  I think the best I can do is just get out and ride anywhere and everywhere I can to ensure that 56 flat miles/3 hours is well within my comfort zone.  So, lotsa bikes.
  • On the run, I plan to alternate race pace long runs with shorter faster tempo work.  I figure I’ll run the 13 miles once about a month out for a confidence builder but I’m not running a half marathon race, I’m surviving a half marathon on tired legs in the heat off the bike.  The best thing I can do is be prepared to run FASTER and run OFF THE BIKE.  So, I’ll continue to go forward with that methodology.  Absolutely no junk miles here to stick to my minimalistic running program.
  • Weights and swim plan continues as before.  I expect I’ll be swimming the full race distance once a week or every other week at least.

#mfw I run in the heat because I love it so much.  But then I chose to do races like Cozumel.  I am an enigma. 😛

Taper (3 weeks):

  • At this point, the hay is in the barn so I’ll be ditching long workouts for shorter, faster stuff to keep sharp.  All the sports volumes will come down and I’ll be running faster than race pace more often. 
  • I’ll continue my weights until race week, and *maybe* that Monday I’ll do a light weights workout if I feel up to it. 
  • I’m figuring I’ll be extremely ready to cut the volume once I get here as usual, but if I have to remind myself, I’ll refer to my last post on how successful I was at sprints on minimal training (but the right training).

Post Cozumel to Waco (4 weeks):

  • The first week post race will involve diving, snorkeling, tacos, and margaritas. 
  • October 13 is two weeks out of my second race.  I have one more opportunity for a key workout.  Whether anything I do 15 days out will improve my fitness is questionable, but I can definitely do something that will build confidence.  That’s TBD. 
  • If I feel like everything is copacetic, I’ll repeat my taper plan for Cozumel almost exactly.
  • Basically, my goal is to keep my fitness in tact and to not do stupid things and hurt myself or get burnt out or sit on my butt too much and get stale and unfit.

October 28th post race plans…

What’s after that?  Staying active but some offseason-y goodness.

November = offseason.  I hope to pick up my activity by Thanksgiving to stave off gaining any weight, but there will be absolutely no POINT to it.  I’ll go run because it’s nice outside and ride bikes with friends on adventures and maybe swim once because it feels novel and maybe lift heavy things because it’s fun.

December = strength + run focus (but still kind of offseason).  Because I have a little matter of a half marathon (that I don’t care about my performance but need to survive), I should do some running but probably mostly the kind where I duck outside in the afternoon and race the sunset for fun for about an hour, completely ignoring things my watch says.  If I’m not back to lifting yet, I need to start.  Bikes (probably) and swimming (haha) as they sound fun.

Some of this coming up.  Not a ton, but some.

Then there’s the other part of the equation – weight loss.  I’m hoping to eek out about FIVE MORE LBS this year, but it’s already starting to slow down to a crawl.  A few months of calorie deficits and agonizing over every crumb I eat has gotten tiring and I missed Mexican restaurants and bike adventures with food stops and those may have crept back in my life in the last few weeks.  Even though I’m still fighting, it’s not with that much enthusiasm.

At some point I’ll officially transition to more calories when the training ratchets up and then my appetite catches up (I’m guessing that will happen in early August).  My only goal for the rest of the year will be not to gain weight (but really, I mean that – I don’t want to gain ANY weight over the holidays).  Then, after New Years, I’ll start again in earnest to try to lose the next (and maybe last) 15.

My goal will still be to eat nutritious food and track my calories and really nail the hell out of my diet quality scores since I have more calories to play with.  However, in my estimation, I’ll be burning about 2-3k more calories per week with increased training.  That gives me some leverage to actually drink a few non-light beers or have some post ride pizza and maybe not freak out if someone wants to go out for dinner unexpectedly if I don’t change my normal daily habits.  That sounds nice.

Let’s do this thing! 12 weeks to go, starting… NOW!

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