Adjusted Reality

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

Author: Quix Page 1 of 198

Kerrville 70.3 – I survived!

Normally, this focus on survival would be the start of a less-than-stellar race recap, but TBH, survival was really my main goal. So, spoiler alert, mission accomplished!

Thank the rainbows and stars!

We set up camp Friday night, and while it was the normal MO on leaving for trips for the year (I work up until the second I am torn away from my desk), I had 2.5 hours of the drive to transition my brain into race mode. We got settled, had our hot dogs, read books, and got a pretty dang decent night of sleep.

Saturday, we did all the pre-race things like normal, and like normal, it took wayyyy longer than expected (I think we were puttering around town from noon until almost 5pm). We met up with our tri team for the first time in over 18 months and enjoyed a pre-race swim and chats, put everything in various bags and dropped them off in the proper locations, and triple checked we had all our gear since we haven’t done this in forever. We shopped for some essentials which included fuzzy halloween pajamas and adult beverages for post-race, and drove the bike course to remind ourselves where all the hills were.

We had all the normal food, replacing usual breakfasts with bagels since we had some leftover, and the pre-race sleep was somewhere in the middle – about 6 hours of moderately restful sleep – and I felt pretty good when I got up around 4:30am. More puttering ensued to use the potty, drink the coffee, triple check all the gear yet again, use the potty, etc happened as usual, and we got to the race with plenty of time to continue the puttering (pump up bike tires, fill bike bottles, use the potty, set up transition, give away the warm clothes, use the potty, pour myself into my wetsuit, curse myself for not using the potty one more time, etc).

ALL THE THINGS.

With Covid being a thing, we were as careful as we could be with masks and social distancing pre-race. However, once it was time to lose the mask, it was like, ok, whatever, it’s up to the universe now. It was a little weird to tuck into the humanity which was the line to start the swim but also a little bit normal too and then all of a sudden I was in the water and it was off to the races!

The swim was a bit rough. My back is mostly but not all the way better. It’s worlds away from when I could barely get out of bed earlier this year but a few things still can trigger it to be mildly cranky and that little niggle makes it REALLY difficult to sight in open water. I definitely meandered quite a bit because of it and drank a LOT of lake water and had to stop a few times to not choke and die (even had a kayaker ask if I was okay). However, for all these complaints, there were parts where it was rather pleasant as well and I finished feeling refreshed and warmed up, which is always the goal for the first and shortest leg of the race. We’re going to defocus times here, because that’s not what this race was about. Yeah, it was a personal worst by a minute or two, but I expected it and my pace was actually better than some of my lake swims this year.

Since time was not critical, I was pretty casual in T1. I actually used the wetsuit peeler station but in a non-rushed way, walked the hill, didn’t rush through gear change, and got out of there in about 6 minutes. I think a lot of my compatriots were in the same boat, because I expected to see way fewer people and bikes than I did, so I think we’ve all slacked on the swim this year. 🙂

Death star’s sleepaway camp partner was a pretty pink QR. 🙂

Honestly, I was the MOST nervous for the bike in this race. My TT bike and I have not been BFFs this year. However, the ride today was the absolute best part of the race. I was just… happy the whole time. That’s not normal for me. I usually get angry on the bike and use it to go hard and pass everyone, but today I smiled and sang show tunes and just thought about how grateful I was for so many things that have taken place over the course of 2021, most relevantly that I was here doing this when six months ago I was barely able to ride for 20 minutes. But other things too.

I saw Joel a few times and Matt near the end and other Austin Tri people throughout the race and just hung onto whatever pace felt good and sustainable, pleasantly surprised that it was more like 17-18 mph than the 15-16 I was riding in training. I was chuffed to make it up the big hill in loop one much more easily than I expected (yeah, I was huffing and puffing by the end, but I didn’t fall over or have to walk it or anything), and on the second loop, the time passed quicker than expected. Tons of warm fuzzies on the bike. It truly is my happy place during races even if it was in slightly different, more mellow ways this race than normal. I ended at about 16.7 mph for the 56 miles, which is actually not my worst showing here!

I rolled into transition, thanked Death Star for a great ride, and saw both Joel and Matt. Matt was doing the aqua bike only, so his race was done, of which I was a bit jealous, but I pressed onward after a nice relaxed 6-ish minutes in T2.

Really just wanted to jump in the lake instead of run a half marathon but….

Since Joel and I started running at the same time, we decided to hang together for a while on the run. It was nice to have company for the first 5 miles, but we were definitely holding each other back since we pace differently. Near the end of the first loop, I had to fix my sock, and I sent him on to do his thing. I was doing okay both mentally and physically, even if I was at turtle speed (~13 min/mile). However, around mile 8, my legs and back reminded me just how undertrained I am in this discipline and there was probably more walking than running until mile 12, when I hit the spectator area and got that lovely last burst of energy. Personal worst BY FAR (hah, I think it was something like 3h13 mins) but again, I expected this and was just happy to cover the miles.

I was just a minute slower than my previous personal worst from BSLT in 2013 (also an injury comeback race) with 7h42 min today but none of that matters. I climbed what seemed like an insurmountable hill even three months ago. Now it’s time to rest a bit and then climb even more for IM Texas in April 2022.

Gratitude shining through

I will be racing in a few days.

And, yes, it feels absolutely weird but also a little bit wonderful to say that for the first time in 20 months. I wish I was just unabashedly excited to get out there again, but I am…. not. I am full of all the feels, and excited is in there, but I wouldn’t say it’s in the top three.

I feel trepidation. Not as much as when I signed up and started training again, I’ve lost some fears over the last few months, but it’s been a pervasive sentiment through the process. I haven’t started from this out of shape in a long long long long long time and I wondered back in June if I had it in me to climb the hill yet again. I’ve had a training cycle whilst coming back from an injury. I’ve had training cycles during absolutely crazy work times. I’ve not had to contend with both at the same time, also during the weirdness which is pandemic/post-pandemic/not-yet-post-pandemic-just-kidding times. I’ve been less prepared but also very very very much more prepared and usually when I do cheeky ish like this I have a nice large endurance base to pull from, which I VERY MUCH DO NOT RIGHT NOW, thxuverymuch.

I’ve just had to knock those fears down one by one by doin’ stuff. Yes, my wetsuit still fits and I will be able to swim the 1.2 miles without consequence. I may be super skittish on my tri bike but I should be able to cover the distance just fine. The run will be sunny and hot and I’ll walk some of it, but that’s all part of the plan. Yes, there will probably be some risk being around humans but I’ve done the best I can, and will do the best I can during the race to limit my exposure. And there’s no questions it will be a long day. Perhaps it will be my longest ever in a 70.3.

In the maelstrom which is my feels right now is definitely a dash of guilt. I am an arsehole for letting my health go as much as I did and I’m still not doing a superb job at reversing course. In theory, I should have less friction against training than ever. My schedule is packed, but it’s also flexible. There is nothing stopping me but me. I’ll even make good on giving myself 2020 as a mulligan and give myself some grace earlier this year with the cranky back from hell. However, since I’ve last posted, my training hours have dropped in half, I can only get in gear about three days each week to train, and gosh, if it’s not in the morning, it just doesn’t happen because lunches are hectic and after work, I’m just effing drained.

Rest has definitely part of the plan this time.

I’ve typically got about 2-3 months of scheduled training in me before I need a break. I’d say I started too early, but when you’re beginning from zero fitness, 2 months just isn’t enough, not even close. So, I hit that wall, right around the end of August, and have just been winging it the best I can. I should have done more in a myriad of areas, including training but also actually tracking my food and weight, eating healthier, and continuing weight training.

But also, there is a healthy dash of gratitude. Months ago when I started, I had severe doubts whether my body (and frankly, brain) could handle training to go race for seven hours, give or take. That little voice in the back of my head was sneering at me, telling me that maybe this is the end of an era, the end of the triathlete, and I should take up underwater basket weaving instead. I’m ever thankful that I was offered a 2022 deferral to IM Texas, which motivated me to say “well, if I’m going to do an Ironman next year, I should at least try to do a half this year.” And with such fanfare, I started this process to unstick my butt cheeks from my couch this spring post vaccination to see what happened.

It was necessary for my health and sanity. I needed a goal to pursue because obviously “because I like doing these things” isn’t enough. I truly enjoy swimming, biking, and running. I do. But for some reason, it’s tricky to motivate myself to do them just because. I need reasons. Even if I finish the next few races as they’re tearing down the finish line, it’s all worth it.

This is all a girl could wish for: bikes, brick runs, and beer with the best company.

When I started 2021, I longed for the ability to just go play. I yearned to once again get on my bike and go on long rides, long enough to justify stopping for pizza and beer on the way home without guilt. I wanted to be able to head out the door on a beautiful (or hell, terribly hot) morning and run for an hour with a smile on my face. I wanted to dive into a pool or a lake and lose myself in quiet thought.

Well, I am here. Here I am. I have clawed my way back from injury and the folds of my couch and I can do all of these things now. I’m not breaking any records this season (except for perhaps “the slowest”) but I have retained the ability to persist. And so I shall on Sunday.

I typically have race plans. I feel so rusty at this but let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

Super elite nutrition plan, I know.

Friday, we will get to Kerrvile, set up camp, eat hot dogs, and relax.

Saturday, we will eat all the normal things (bean and cheese tacos for breakfast, turkey bacon guac sandwiches for lunch, chicken potato salad for dinner, some salty snacks and electrolyte drinks during the day). We will get our packets, set up our transition bags, and drop off said bags and bikes, and then drive the bike course to remind ourselves where all the hills are even though we’ve done this race like 8 times before.

Sunday, I will wake up in the morning, drink coffee and eat a bagel with bacon and cream cheese and gatorade, try to poop, stretch, listen to peppy music, make Joel put the KT tape hashtag on my back because I swear it helps, and get to the race early enough to make him not nervous but late enough so we’re not sitting there for 3 hours, wearing a disposable mask around other humans that I can ditch 2 seconds before I start swimming.

I should have spent more time here this summer, but I think I spent enough…

After setting up transition 1 and trying to poop 3 more times, I’ll sip some more electrolytes and consider whether downing a gel is a good idea. I will slather the eff out of my neck with aquaphor to make sure I don’t get chafed, and then shovel myself into my wetsuit. I’m in the second swim wave, so I’ll try to start in the middle of it and stay a little off to the side (since I’m not fast and I’d really rather not get into combat this time). I will just chill through the swim and enjoy it. I’m not in danger of missing a cutoff and I’m also not in danger of a PR, so I’ll just hang with a relaxed pace and enjoy the sunrise and cooler water. My guess is I’ll come in between 50 and 55 minutes, with a personal worst for this race. It’s all good.

I’m a little skeeved out about the swim exit (I’m guessing in small town Texas, the volunteers won’t wear masks), but it is what it is, I’ll just do my best to stay away from other humans when I can and make peace when I can’t. I won’t worry too much about my pace up the big hill to transition, and take the time I need (but not lollygag) in T1. Since I’m skittish on the bike and also aero is kinda uncomfortable for long periods, I made the call to wear my bike gloves since I’ll be up on my hoods more often.

As is the theme, I should have spent more time with Death Star, I hope it is enough.

And on the bike, I’ll just… ride. However I can. Whatever gets me from mile 1 to 56. I will take a gel (probably caffeinated) as soon as I can finagle it and then every 45 mins after (aiming for one more caffeinated before I finish the ride). I have zero pace or power goals. I just want to enjoy as much as I can and survive the rest. There’s one big hill I remember kicking my ass that we have to do twice. I think it will be okay as long as it doesn’t take me by surprise. If I had to venture a guess for my bike time, it will be around 16mph, or 3h30.

Once I get to the run, I’m golden. I mean, sure, the longest I’ve ran since Jan 2020 is 10 miles, but at least I can’t drown or crash, heh. I have solid plans to run/walk (at least a tenth of a mile each mile of walking) and TBH, it could potentially not be my worst half because I’m not going to run until I blow up (physically and mentally) and get all pissed and walk for a mile and a half. Last Kerrville I broke down on the run and averaged about 13 minute miles even though my running pace was 9-10 minute miles. I could optimistically see improving upon that. And… if I don’t? Who cares. I just need to make the cutoff of 8h30. Pretty sure I could walk the entire thing and still finish.

The run aid stations are the second part of the race that feels a bit skeevy with Covid. I will do the best I can – I’ll take things from the tables myself if possible, and if not, try not to put my mouth on the actual surface of the cups. I’ll attempt to take in 2 gels during the run and get on the brown pony train (yay coca cola!) as quickly as I can for the energy.

I’ll stash a disposable mask somewhere for after the finish. I’m sure there will be lots of teammates I haven’t seen in forever and we will want to hang out a little. We will probably try to limit our time around all the humans though, and we’ll probably mosey back to the camper quickly to eat all the food.

If nothing else, I hope I can be this happy of a girl, after riding my first 30 miles this year!

It certainly doesn’t look like the 2019 race plan, but I’m just happy to toe the line, reasonably confident I’ll be able to traverse 70.3 miles on my own accord. After the last 20 months, it is enough, really and truly. Because through all the other doubts and inadequacies I feel right now, gratitude that I can go play outside with my triathlete friend, slow as it may be, definitely is shining through.

Lights and tunnels and things

I ran yesterday.

And I felt pretty smiley about it.

Note that I didn’t say I ran/walked. I ran. Period. It was hot and sweaty and kinda difficult and slow but it felt oh. so. good.

I woke up with the intent to do a 1.5 hour (TT trainer) ride and 1.5 hour run. That was when I was hoping to be on the bike at about 7am. I slept in, partially due to it being a hell of a week (I know I say that every week but I REALLY mean it with this one), partially due to the 90 minute walk we took the night before that ended after dark, and partially because I’m just not a zero dark thirty riser even on a good day. When I got on the trainer at 8:45 (oops), I was DREADING the run. Even just going outside to feed Nachokitty that morning reminded me of soup.

So, I decided to break it up a bit. Running 90 minutes at 10:15am when it would be already feels like 100 sounded like the worst idea ever, but running 30 minutes at a time after some bike breaks in the AC sounded at least doable. I spent the first bike segment warming my legs up and watching some Bloodbowl. I suppose the combination of the Super Go-Go Juice Coffee (we were gifted some Starbucks coffee pods and WHEW they are only for long workout days), half a bagel, and watching Elves murder each other had a nice effect because I hopped off the bike at 14.2 mph (which, in trainer speeds, is pretty fast). My legs were into the run, they even felt good starting uphill and I kept pushing off my planned walk break until it was pretty obvious I just wasn’t going to take it, when I was cruising downhill feeling absolutely great. I even passed someone running! She was probably about 30 years older than me, but still. IT FELT LIKE RUNNING NOT REHAB.

Proof!

Absolutely chuffed from the first segment, I hopped back on the bike and raised my average speed to 14.6 mph for the hour, and ran the same 2.5 miles in 30 minutes again without stopping. As you can see, it wasn’t fast, but there was no walking! I ran low on time for the third brick, so I did 15 more minutes on the bike (raising my average to 14.8 mph), and 15 on the run. I ended with 6.3 miles, or 11:54 pace, for the 75 minutes on the run total.

Two years ago, I would have been disappointed with this. I was running about 2-3 minutes/mile faster. Today, I’m just thrilled I was able to run. It’s the longest (without walking) since March 2020. My stride is nowhere even close to efficient or strong, but I was able to put together a nice, steady clip and get into that zen space for a while.

I have missed that place so, so, so much. I would process a lot of my life on the run. I would come up with silly big dreams. I’d sort through problems, dissecting them mile by mile. I’d tell myself stories. I’d get ridiculously into my music and kind of… feel through it on the run when I needed to hide somewhere. ‘Tis one of those things that you don’t realize how much you miss it until it’s gone. At first I neglected it because I didn’t think I needed it, then it was stolen from me via injury, and now I’ve fought hard to find my way back there and it feels sooooo good.

Run/walking isn’t the same. It’s not even a pride thing, it’s a perception thing. I lack the ability to get lost when I’m pulled out of the same repetitive motion of running for a break every 5-10 minutes. Part of that zen is when the miles sort of unconsciously fly by and you realize you’ve storyboarded a music video for your ridiculous bard from D&D or solved a tricky problem you’ve been chewing on all week at work or sometimes on those ridiculously lovely cold and foggy days, you just get lost running through the mists to a Pink Floyd concert in your headphones. Run/walk is better than nothing, but it’s not that, not that at all.

Not quite running 9 minute miles for 2 hours yet but so much closer than when I was hobbling to get out of bed.

There have been a lot of lights at the end of a lot of tunnels during this zero to Ironman in a year thing, and running off the bike for 2.5 miles at a time without walking is just another one of them. I still do not anticipate running the entirety of either my 70.3 race next month or the whole enchilada next April, so run/walking in training actually has a level of strategic use. However, even just the idea that I can now set out for a short training run and get lost in it sounds like utter bliss… and maybe when the weather turns cooler I can start stretching those a little bit longer and longer.

Note the lack of verbiage paid to speed. I don’t care right now. If my body wants to continue to produce 12 minute miles until the Ironman, I’ll gladly welcome it. There’s a time and a place for picking up the pace, and that’s in 2022.

Today, I am unscathed from the effort. I had feared that I’d wake up barely able to walk, but I’m just a little sore, which is absolutely normal, in the “that was a different thing you did with your body” not “holy hell your back is effed again” way. I punted on a swim this week and am seriously considering making it up today because I feel a lot less wrecked than I figured I would.

I should want to go to here more than I do right now.

Now, let’s talk about that. If I don’t go make it up, this will be 3 weeks in a row where I have bailed on swimming. It was my happy sport for a while, earlier in this training cycle, but now it’s difficult for me to motivate myself to the pool or lake. I had some success with scheduling my training sessions on my work calendar, and it’s working super well for the bike, run, and weights portions, but it’s been difficult to get to the pool.

Swimming at lunch is optimal, but that means tearing myself away from what I’m doing, and a 30 minute pool swim takes about 75 minutes round trip, which means I’m usually pushing right up into a meeting and I feel rushed and behind all day. We’ve just accepted that after work doesn’t happen. I’m always too mentally toasted to do anything but walk. In the morning, I’m good to go but it’s very difficult to drag Joel out of the house with enough time to get back before work. We solved the problem for at least one swim a week by going on the weekend, but with longer workouts on Saturdays now, the Sunday swim is almost always punted as a rest day.

Then, there’s the whole Covid Stage 5 thing in Austin. I’m trying not to let that get to me too much, I’ve done what I can by getting vaccinated, I’m wearing masks everywhere in public, and I’m not doing large groups things. However, I may be avoiding the gym unconsciously because it’s lots of people. While I’m not worried about swimming the distance, I need to be swimming again. I’ll have to sort it out. Probably starting by getting my arse off the couch and going today.

Then, it looks like this for the week:

  • Monday: 1h trainer
  • Tuesday: 8 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike, 15 min run
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: 1.5h TT bike, 1.5 hour run Triple Brick (30 min bike/30 min run x2, 15 min bike/15 min run)
  • Sunday: off go swimming you fool!

So, yeah. Five weeks to go. Two more weeks until taper. I think I may have this thing. Let’s try this for next week…

  • Monday: 1 hour trainer, weights
  • Tuesday: 9 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: practice tri! (1000m swim, 30 min bike, 2 mile run), weights
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: lake swim, weights
  • Saturday: Real triple bricks (1 hour bike, 30 min run x 3)
  • Sunday: off

As for the other stuff – I’m going to give myself a thumbs up and a B for effort. I haven’t necessarily made time to do full stretch sessions but I do a little bit whenever I think about it. I sit on an icepack most days and use the boots more days than not. I’ve been tracking my food, typically staying under my calorie range. Uncoincidentally, the scale, which I have been facing a few days per week at least, has been showing me slightly lower numbers, reminiscent of before I decided to eat way too much on two back to back vacations in June and July. I feel a bit less like a bag of water stuffed into a meat shell, and that’s helpful for many reasons.

Spoiler alert: needed a rest week

Here I was, two weeks ago, saying “wheee, I don’t feel like I need a rest week”.

Spoiler alert, I so needed a rest week. As they stay stress is stress is stress, mental or physical, and I finally hit my limit. Physically, I just felt like I was dragging ass on the daily, and I was working a lot of hours and had a lot on my mind so I was mentally shot as well. I needed a little reprieve from the 630am alarms and it felt SO GOOD.

But, going back to the week before, I bailed on a few things but got the important workouts done. I skipped a swim, honestly intending to make it up on Saturday with another race distance lake swim because I super enjoyed that the week before. Saturday showed up, I was sooooo tired. Like, you know, the kind of tired where your BONES just feel exhausted? That kind of tired. I bailed on the swim and also the weights. It paid off, because I felt fresher for the brick the next day and we rocked a race distance bike (on the road bike, so it took like 4 hours) instead of just the 45 miles planned. We did shorten the run because DAUYUM it was hot at 1pm, but still. Confidence, she has been built.

Every other session that week was super solid if slow. No issues besides both mental and physical fatigue and that’s normal around this time of the training cycle so no worries (yawn).

8/2-8/8 – Still building

  • Monday: 1.5k-2k swim, weights
  • Tuesday: 1 hour TT bike/3-4 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 1.5-2k 1.2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: off/heat acclimation walk
  • Friday: 6 mile run/walk
  • Saturday: weights
  • Sunday: 45 56 mile bike (TT or road), 4 2 mile run/walk

My stress levels could be summarized by last Sunday: I got up at 6am, did a 4.5 hour workout and then I immediately went to work and didn’t finish until 11pm. Monday was just as long, just not quite as early and I’m not sure I’ve ever been so tired in my life as Monday night. I. was. toast. I took the rest of the week very, very easy, converting every other session to a (40-60+ min) walk but my kept my two most important sessions, the long run and the weekend brick, intact. I just didn’t have the mental capacity to do much else.

Such. a. slog.

The long run was rough and I had to talk myself into it in stages. I slept in and almost skipped it. I got myself out the door, willing myself to go 3 miles. Then I talked myself into 5 after a pit stop. Then I found myself far enough away from the house at 5 that I put together the whole 7, but it wasn’t a run/walk in the park, that’s for sure.

8/9-8/15 – Rest week

  • Monday: walk
  • Tuesday: walk
  • Wednesday: 7 mile run/walk
  • Thursday: walk
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: 42 mile TT bike, 4 mile run/walk
  • Sunday: off

Lest you think I devolved into bad behavior, I did not. I did a decent job getting some rest and relaxation, and didn’t stay up too late or have a multitude of adult beverages because I had more time off. In fact, I had fewer than normal. It was definitely not party time, it was recovery time.

I have tracked my food every day (yay) and have maintained a really solid deficit most days (super yay!). I’ve been icing and using the boots a few days a week. I’m not 100% without pain but my back is handling the training well and I feel nothing like I did six, or even three months ago. I can get up and out to train in the morning, which was one of my greatest fears when I signed up for a fall race. It’s just un-possible to train at any other time in the summer when it’s eleventy-billion degrees after 10am. It’s either run in the morning or don’t run at all. This wasn’t an option when I signed up, I’m glad my hard work has made it one now.

I haven’t been the greatest at stretching or weighing myself – a few times a week for both at most. So, I just need to, like Nike says, do it.

So, what’s next? I’ve got this week, the next week, and the week after until we taper. Holy crap! It feels like forever but also how did it get here so quickly? With three more long workouts, we decided this week that we feel pretty confident on the bike now, but could use some more run miles. So, we’ll do a brick with a longer run this week, something TBD next week, and then our big brick (56 miles on the TT bike, 10k on the run) Labor Day weekend.

It’s all coming together! I just gotta survive August and early September and I’ll make it to my first friggin’ triathlon in 2 years (OMG).

8/16-8/22 – Three weeks to go til TAPER!

  • Monday: 1h trainer
  • Tuesday: 8 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike, 15 min run
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: 1.5h TT bike, 1.5 hour run
  • Sunday: off

And, because it’s time to get up at like zero dark thirty, it’s time to roll into bed at 9pm and conk out. Gnite!

Showing Up

Eight weeks until Kerrville 70.3. And I daresay I’m starting to feel kinda sorta like an athlete again.

I joked that we should have ridden six more miles so we could be a Tool song (46&2). I was not up for six more miles that day though.

A fat, slow, out of shape athlete, yeah, but I’m actually using the a- word again (not THAT one, we all know I have no issues using that other one, especially when referencing myself). What made the switch flip? I pondered it a bit this morning, and then the answer appeared plain and simple. I’ve made a plan. I get up in the morning, and I do the thing that’s on the plan. My body and my brain are showing up. I’m not perfect. I have bad days, I reschedule sometimes, I skip things very occasionally, but I am showing the eff up again. This is everything.

Last Week – 7/19-7/25

  • Monday: 4 mile run/walk
  • Tuesday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: 45 min TT bike/3 mile run/walk weights
  • Friday: 1.1k 1.5-2k swim
  • Saturday: weights
  • Sunday: 40 mile road bike outside, 2 mile run/walk
  • Total time ~7 hours

Monday’s run was hooooootttt but fine, and my second longest run of the year. I had to reschedule my brick on Thursday morning, and 45 minutes on the TT bike and a run after was JUST PLENTY FOR THE DAY THANKS, I was way too dusted to lift also so I just skipped it. Friday, I had to cut my swim short due to scheduling issues, but I did try some faster 100s during it to compensate for the brevity. Sunday’s bike ride was like pulling teeth for some reason. I actually went faster than I have all year on the road bike, but it just felt… annoying. The run, again, was just fine. Hot, but fine.

Moving right along to this week – 7/26-8/1

  • Monday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Tuesday: 5 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: weights/1 hour heat acclimation bike 40 min heat acclimation walk
  • Thursday: 1 hour TT bike/3 mile run/walk
  • Friday: weights
  • Saturday: lake swim (1500m)
  • Sunday: 2-ish hour TT outside, 3 mile run/walk
  • Total time ~9 hours

Tomorrow’s plan is intimidating. Death Star and X-wing (our TT bikes) have now been serviced, I got my chain replaced (finally) from the great chain debacle of 2019, and they are squeaky clean and ready for action again. The question is, am I? Let’s just call a spade a spade – I’m afraid of riding my race bike outside right now. It’s been two years. In the best of shape and days, I’m a little skittish on it when I’m not on a closed race course. These are not the best days and I am definitely in the worst shape. I worry my back won’t be up to the task. However, the way out is through, so it’s time. Let’s test the waters.

Speaking of testing the waters… I swam in the lake today for the first time in almost two years! It was perhaps the slowest swim I have ever logged in my life, but I now can officially check swam the race distance in open water under the official cut off time off the To Do Before The Race list. My stroke was awful, I couldn’t figure out how to sight the buoys without either stopping and treading water or tweaking my back for the first loop and a half, but I think I remember how to open water again now and hopefully the next jaunt will be faster.

My “it’s not a hickey, I swear” picture proof.

This week also had some other successes that contributed to that “feeling like an athlete” thing. I showed the eff up to all three weights sessions this week. Next week, I plan to move to the adjustable kettlebell that Joel bought during his optimistic months of the pandemic and I summarily ignored, because it’s finally time to increase from 15 to 20 lbs! Monday’s 5 mile run was the longest I’ve run since March 2020 and was just fine. On Thursday’s brick run, I just literally forgot to walk my first interval. I was going along at a (very slow but steady) clip and all of a sudden, it was half a mile in. I went back to my run/walkplan immediately because I didn’t want to push my luck, but it was nice to have a brief moment where I was lost in the run again. Also, my garmin sez I’m 100% heat acclimated. I feel it. It’s effing hot, and heat acclimation does not equal not whining like a little baby whilst triathleting in it, but it feels less stifling and my heart rate isn’t spiking on the run as much (+1 VO2 max this week, wut wut!).

It’s bizarre to me that it’s five weeks until taper. It was all so unofficial this season. I started biking because I was tired of not biking. I got back in the pool once I was fully vaccinated for no other reason than I hoped it would help my back. I started running because I had to, I suppose, and that’s when it became real, but I think even at that point, I had so little hope that I’d be able to climb to a 70.3, I didn’t want to jinx it. I guess I should take a rest week at some point, but I am building so slowly and these paces are so slow it’s not even that taxing and I just don’t… want to. And that’s different than the last, oh, 18 months, so I’ll allow it. This cycle ain’t about anything but regaining my sanity and identity, so if I make mistakes, so be it.

Next week! (8/2-8/8)

  • Monday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Tuesday: 1 hour TT bike/3-4 mile run/walk
  • Wednesday: 1.5-2k swim, weights
  • Thursday: off/heat acclimation walk or bike
  • Friday: 6 mile run/walk
  • Saturday: weights
  • Sunday: 45 mile bike (TT or road), 4 mile run/walk

It’s possible one of those swims could push to Saturday like this week (and that would give me the opportunity to swim in the lake again). Sunday’s bike will be TT if at all possible but I do need to extend the mileage to 45. I’d love to squeeze another easy bike ride in there for mileage/heat acclimation maintenance, but Thursdays are rouuuuugh at work. If not, I’ll try to get out for a walk instead. 6 miles of run feels daunting, but it’s what I need to do and it happens to be the next integer after 5. I won’t even run 13 before the race, most likely. If I continue to add one mile per week, I’m looking at topping out at 10 before taper. I could cheat and increase more than a mile per week or fudge my taper a week or two, but neither of these sound like smart ideas right now. We shall see. I ran a max of 10 coming back from injury 6 weeks before BSLT 2013 and I survived. That’s all I’m looking to do here, so it will be fine (yep, will be fine, totally fine, yep, uh huh, totally not just trying to convince myself here).

Heat acclimated, sure, but still whiny (and hungry)

The rest of my goals haven’t been quite so awesomely, but let’s talk about it instead of burying my head in the sand:

Track my food, aiming for 1200+activity per day on average – I started strong last week… for a few days… and then fell off and didn’t get back to it until Monday. This week, I did the same, but I at least retroactively went back and logged this morning. I don’t know what the mental block is right now. This literally takes 5 minutes and I KNOW it will help me. I need to make a set time for it, so I’m going to say if I haven’t logged by the time I eat dinner each day, I can’t do anything else until I am caught up logging my food.

Weigh daily – for me this helps it become just a metric and not an emotional thing – hahahaha yeah, it’s very much an emotional thing right now. Last week, I was decent about it and got super grumpy that nothing is changing and didn’t get on the scale once this week. Grrr. Will start again tomorrow (since I’ve already eaten today).

Stretch at least 3x/week, even if it’s not directly after a workout – I’ve been decent at this. (note to self – get up and stretch now, afk 5 mins brb)

Ice daily – I’ve been hitting most days, and also found that our Air Relax leg massage boots actually have positive effects on my BACK as well. The body parts, they’re like, connected to each other. Who knew? Definitely not someone that had a personal training and triathlon coaching certification. 😛 In retrospect, the boots were for athletes and I didn’t deserve them. Stupid sentiment I agree, but that’s exactly where my brain had been, I guess. My brain now deems me worthy to use them now and am using them a few times a week.

For the next week or two, I’m just going to keep trying to work these four habits into the routine and keep my training inertia rolling. Nothing more, nothing less. Consistency, patience, and persistence will get me to the places I want to be. It’s not even that difficult, I just gotta show up.

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