Adjusted Reality

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

Author: Quix Page 1 of 192

Form vs Function

I posted about this on social media and it was like my least popular post ever, so let’s talk more about it, right? The key to being beloved is to keep shouting about random bullhonkey on your mind?

No? Well, let’s go with that anyway.

Right now, I’ve got a disconnect going on between the lump o’ crazy between my ears and some of the facts of actual real life. First, let’s talk about function, specifically function as a triathlete. I’m sure someday I won’t be able to pull these performances out of my behind, as nothing else will explain it, but I’m finding some pixie dust action going on in the first stages of 70.3 training.

Things I have done in the last few weeks:

  • Transitioned very smoothly and happily from almost no workouts, and being very cranky about training, to maintaining a reasonable schedule of ~6-7 hours a week of swim, bike, and run.
  • Extended my long run comfort zone from 3-8 miles.
  • Pulled off a sub-10 minute mile pace for said 8 mile long run in feels like 91 degrees.
  • Somehow increased my FTP PR from 181W to 190W. My last hard ride was Pflugerville June 16th.
  • The last time I rode more than 20 miles before this block was February 2nd. I rode 39 two weekends ago and comfortably ran two miles sub-9:30 at 1pm after. Yesterday, I extended this to 3 hours at race power (so probably about race distance) and three miles at the same pace… at 3:30pm.
  • Have heat acclimated pretty well and haven’t had an issue where I stop sweating in the heat or feel overly overheated.

So, like, this ol’ bod of mine is holding up really well, and honestly? Most of the weird anxiety/stress issues I had earlier this year seem to be dissipating. I mean, it makes sense. I’m spending a lot more hours a week outside than I was previously. Bikes are the cure for everything and I’m doing a lot of that. Outdoor pool swimming makes me happy. I’m not even hating these hot runs, not even a little, and besides the fact that I wish I could be doing more training, I feel awesome. I don’t even have a season training plan, I’m winging it every week, but I still have a high confidence that I’ll have a successful Kerrville this year.

Obviously I still have work to do because I need to be able to run thirteen miles off that bike instead of three, and not to mention putting them together with a 40 minute swim warmup, but I’ve got 8 weeks to go. That’s plenty of time to build.

What’s causing me strife is the mirror. Stupid, I know, but I’m not going to lie about how I feel on my little corner of the internet here. I’m still checking in with the scale every few days, so I know I don’t have a ton to worry about, but the inflammation from ramping up my volume (and the eating to support it) is causing my stomach to feel like a subcutaneous water balloon has been inserted in my midsection. My husband swears he can’t see it and he’s honest AF about that stuff, but I keep making slightly looser clothing choices and giving myself side-eye when I’m getting ready in the morning.

I may be cranky about the fact that I haven’t made any MORE progress towards 150-ish lbs as my ultimate goal, and I’m confusing that with actually gaining weight. I’m frustrated that I was eating like crap before but had no appetite, so the scale was cooperating. Now, I’m eating mostly healthy food but like, the other day, I remembered that I’d crime for a snack even though I just ate one 90 minutes previous. And a normal sized lunch 2 hours before that. And breakfast 2.5 hours before that. And a protein bar an hour before that after my swim… #thestruggleisreal

So, I’ve got this balloon that’s one part training, one part fiber/food bloat, and probably about three parts totally in my mind. As long as the training keeps coming along as it has, I’ll wear some mumus and get over myself for the next two months.

In terms of goals, I’ve been pretty good at the training stuff, the eating stuff, but I’ve balked at the tracking my food stuff. If I want to lose weight, I need to get back to that eventually. However, let’s list the successes here:

  • I’ve been following a schedule well. I’ve rearranged some things, but I’m not regularly skipping scheduled sessions. I wish I could schedule MORE sessions but I’m trying to be realistic and I feel good about what I’m able to accomplish!
  • One reason I’ve been able to do that is I’ve been training before work almost exclusively. I prefer afternoons/evenings in a perfect world but it makes sure it gets done.
  • I’ve swam three times in the last three weeks. While I’d like to be 2x week, just getting there right now is a victory. It’s also the sport that’s the least important (40 minutes vs 2-3 hours for each of the others), and I’m fine just making sure the ~2000m distance is comfortable at a comfortable pace.
  • Recovery – I’ve been sleeping well, I’ve been rolling/stretching/boot massages many more days each week that I have not doing these things.
  • Batch cooking – while we didn’t do much last weekend, it was because our fridge was full of leftovers and easy stuff to cook. This is going well. I feel fueled and happy and my body seems to agree considering how training is going.

So, my brain is torn on what’s next. I have one more 3-week block and a 2-week block with a rest week in between. Do I try to ramp up the sessions? I’m at one swim, three bikes, two runs each week. I would give anything to have time to throw some weights around, and I know I should be doing two swims per week and man, three runs really would be cool too to get more base miles and endurance because that’s always the wildcard in these races. I can usually peg my swim/bike performance within a few minutes, but my run has varied over thirty minutes depending on the day I’m having even at the same level of fitness.

However, I don’t want to overdo it. I found doing success by doing LESS but with more intensity earlier this year. I’m going to try to keep within the spirit of that for the next few weeks.

Kaboom!

I’ve been away for a hot minute, for reasons. Contrary to what you may believe after viewing the following photo, that reason is not that I’ve become a sorcerer in real life.

After Pflugerville, the work crazy did not calm down. In fact, to quote Teal’c from Stargate, it indeed “calmed up”. For the two weeks between the race and vacation, I put in a ridiculous amount of hours and maintained a ridiculous level of stress. I ran ONCE, because it happened to be 75 degrees after work one day and I couldn’t pass up that experience in late June. I spent the weekend in between doing almost NOTHING productive to keep my sanity intact, even if I should have been packing for camping.

That, of course, made packing for camping even more stressful, because I was attempting to do it between 10+ hour workdays. The night before I left, I worked, attended our game night, went back to work, came home and packed for camping around midnight, and then logged back onto work until almost 4am. My husband had to drag me kicking and screaming from work the day we departed… about 30 minutes later than we were supposed to leave because I had to finish things.

My switch had been stuck ON for days, and it took a bit to turn off. I spent the drive there ridiculously hyper (I had actually ingested some caffeine, the horror, I know), and was inexplicably UP on very few hours of sleep while we did our normal first night of camping things, including hot dogs, classic rock, and adult beverages.

However, when I crashed, I plummeted.

The next day, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the camper and face human beings, so I buried myself in a book all day. Two days later, I got some sort of stomach ick, and again, I didn’t leave the camper that day either except to go nap in the hammock for a while. I read another entire really long book that day as well.

However, the rest of the trip was lovely. Once I went through all that, I emerged a relaxed, happy, and peaceful version of myself.

I spent the week with my nose either in a book or behind a camera. I fell out of two different hammocks. I did two flips into the pool off the rock wall. I rode Evilbike twice, and I believe that first ride the day before the fourth of July really was the turning point where I started succeeding at Operation: Get My Chill Back. When I started out on the ride, I was cranky about the heat, the hills, and the circumstances. Halfway through, I started noticing beauty, both in the effort and the surroundings, and the ride back was much more pleasant.

The fireworks on the fourth were spectacular as usual. Occasionally, I’ll have thoughts about camping somewhere else over that particular holiday weekend, as the campsite can occasionally get crowded and the slots are very close together, and then I remember the show they put on for free and perish the thought.

Friday, I spent the morning in the woods, hopping dexterously from tree root to moss-covered rock to avoid the drink, with my camera and tripod in tow. Caked in dirt, sweat dripping off my brows, I took my time to learn some new camera techniques, spending almost thirty minutes in front of a waterfall.

It was amazing to visit familiar spots every few days to see how the lighting and conditions changed – especially the butterfly garden. The flowers changed both by time of day and as the days passed, budding, blooming, and wilting. I was happy to have spent a few minutes with my favorite early in the week as the bush was pruned and they were gone the next time I came around. One particularly pretty pink bloom only opened on the last day, mere hours before we departed. I watched the butterflies on the milkweed and coaxed them to stay just a little longer in front of my camera to get the perfect framing and focus. We’ll see if anything turned out when I sort through the all the shots I took over the nine days.

Our last day, I woke earlier than normal for a bike ride with friends. I noted an entirely new attitude of gratefulness. On the slippy gravel, I was impressed with my core strength, bike handling skills, and lack of fear, even a year ago, I would have felt my heart plummet into my stomach under the same conditions. The grass and trees were this vibrant shade of green, almost as if I was seeing the world through my photo editing program having already saturated the colors. The company and chatter was unsurpassed. Matt got a flat, and while I waited for him to change it, I befriended this itty bitty baby dragonfly. I coaxed him onto my hand twice, and watched him preen and wiggle his tail at me. Time slowed for a bit, and at that moment, I knew I’d found the peace for which I’d been waiting.

I have 1600 photos from the woods, so don’t expect this is the last you’ll hear of this, but also, don’t expect anything too quickly. 🙂

Since then, I’ve embarked on another, different journey, my first week of Half Ironman training, for my fifth attempt at the Kerrville Half at the end of September. It’s been a paradigm shift, for sure, and it’s come into focus how far I’ve fallen from some of the normal athlete and even normal life things that had become habit. It’s mystifying how easy it is to unmake habits under times of duress. So, my friends, I know the worst thing I could do was to try to be perfect all at once. So, each week, I’m going to attempt to introduce a few new or returning habits and soon, it will all be like clockwork again.

Last week, I started small:

  1. Following a schedule again. I didn’t plan terribly ambitiously, and I actually missed a swim because I scheduled it kinda wishy-washily (maybe this day, or that day, and then I didn’t do it at all). However, I was able to do three runs and three rides, logging 10+ and 75+ miles respectively, logging 7.5 hours. It felt amazing, like coming back to myself.
  2. Morning workouts. I don’t trust myself right now to be able to leave work at a certain time and if I do, that I’ll have motivation. I need to get my ass out of bed and on the road if I’m going to log the miles.
  3. Batch cook. I’ve been leaning on Snap Kitchen a lot, and I will in a pinch, but I miss my home cooked food. Last week, I cooked chicken/veggie spaghetti and zupa toscani. To compensate for more cooking time, I’m starting to do the grocery delivery thing instead of shopping. While it costs a little more for each item, I think we may save money in the long run, since we’re not adding impulse items as we walk down the aisles.

This week, I’ll do a few more things:

  1. Swimming. Riding and running are easy to do since all I have to do is step right outside my door. Swimming is harder to make a priority. I need to swim at least once, hell or high water (ha!).
  2. Recovery. Stretch, roll, massage boots. Pick one per day. You can’t do the same two in a row (otherwise I’d just use the massage boots every day).
  3. Diet quality. We’re going to start slow here, not logging food or tallying everything, but if I put something in my mouth that I would consider “sometimes food”, I will keep track of that this week.

If these all seem kinda like softballs, they are. It’s not as if I’m completely ignoring other things. My alcohol intake is down, my vegetable intake is up, I’m getting on the scale a few times a week and I’m not completely mortified of the results (160-something every time, though it’s been close a few times…). I’m just chosing to give myself some easier victories to build on later once I have some momentum. So, while neurotic me is itching to count calories and really make a go at losing the weight and speaking of weights, do some of that, and swim more and do two-a-day sessions and start logging a lot of hours training, I know that way lies madness right now.

For now, I’ll keep riding my bike to work and back and longer on Saturday mornings, shoveling myself out of bed and into my running shoes before I’m awake enough to realize what I’m doing, putting good food in my belly to keep my energy and enthusiasm up, and hoping that taking the simple route this training cycle will be enough.

The rise and the fall (Pflugerville Tri)

This, friendos, is the one I’ve been putting off.

Honestly, this last year and a half of racing has been beyond my wildest expectations, and that brings levity fairly quickly to a few stinkers. Doesn’t mean that they’re fun in the moment and I will admit to a fair amount of pouting that day, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a blip in the radar, and actually one that probably did me more good than harm overall as I know I can’t take the fire in my belly for granted. And also, don’t be stupid. That’s always a good lesson.

But I digress.

My life had/has been utterly non-stop the last few weeks before this one, and the week previous brought it to a crescendo. Work was extra extra, we had social or adulting obligations every day which meant finding time for training or relaxation or even opportunities for seeing my own house were few and far between, and that crashed us into 6pm the day before the race. Honestly, I was mostly ready for it to be over.

I did my best to clear my mind and go through the normal routine with my normal breakfast, playing my normal playlist, and it centered me. I felt ready to give this sprint triathlon thing one more valiant effort before a wee break.

Our hair says OMG WINDY DAY…

Swim:

This race has a wave start, which is annoying because of swim combat, but also nice because you know exactly where you stand in the race – if someone in your age group passes you, you know they have overtaken your position instead of questioning when they started exactly in a time trial start.

I started as close to the front as I could, and I found some feet, swam along feeling rather ready and caffeinated to seize the day… and then my stupid #%^&ing goggles flooded. Again. I had to pull up to tread water to fix them, leaving the pack behind, and a few seconds later, they flooded once more. I took more time clearing them and pulling them taut to suction to my head so hard I thought my brain might come out, but the seal held. I continued my paddling, a little cranky, but figuring if this was the worst of it, I could still rock this race.

Then, after the turn, my thoughts straying and my goggles a little foggy affected my sighting so much that I ended up in the middle of the lake. A jetski had to buzz me and send me back around a buoy that was quite far away. I wasted a heck of a lot of time and swam 650 yards to my husband’s ~550 and Matt’s ~517.

Swim time: 12:42 (2:32/100m) 6/9 AG This is almost 2 minutes slower than last year. My actual pace shows as 1:55. This was a really really really really bad swim for me. My normal pace would have seen me 2nd for my age group.

T1:

I was motivated to get on with the race quickly and this transition is decent – worse than last year but they didn’t put the carpet in the right place so we had to navigate the rocky hill instead of the clear stairs. My teammate Kari caught me running out (so she swam something like 3 minutes quicker as she started the wave after me) and we headed out on the bike together (legally).

T1 time: 2:28 5/9 AG – this doesn’t look good but 8 seconds earlier would have put me in third. Everyone was pretty similar.

Bike:

My goal was to keep up with Kari. Normally, she’s much faster than me, but she did say she had celebrated her birthday the day before with lots of adult beverages, so I thought MAYBE that would handicap her enough that I could (legally) ride her wheel. Not so much. I kept her in my sights about half the race but could never catch her. She finished three minutes faster than me and first in her age group.

I rode hard and fast and just tried to keep my pace under redlining, and I did well, passing people and staying in aero and being a good cyclist. I even ate my gel when I was supposed to, which is something I don’t always do. However, it felt like there was something missing, a bit of the fire, but I was hoping it was just the wind beating down on us and I’d find something extra on the run.

Bike time: 42:18 (19.5 mph) 2/9 AG. First was in a class of her own, almost 5 minutes ahead of me. I never had a chance. So much slower than last year (almost 2.5 minutes) but HOLY HELL THE WIND. It was brutal. Considering my cycling performances in other races have been similar to last year, it was external conditions versus internal failings.

T2:

Nothing to note, fairly fast and efficient, I was hoping the wind on the bike would continue on the run, thinking that it would keep it cool.

T2 time: 1:16 4/9 AG (but by seconds).

Run:

Be careful what you wish for – I can’t remember a triathlon where wind on the run was not helpful, but it was one of those days.

The first half mile was running into a wind tunnel. I was running between 10-10:30 min/mile and it felt like a sprint. Soon after, two women in my age group caught and passed me, and I couldn’t summon the oomph to respond. I tried. I convinced myself that I was probably not first off the bike (which I was not, I was second), and I had to catch either one or both to podium. The first was just too far beyond my running capabilities. The second was within reason, in fact, she kept walking water stops and I almost caught her a few times, but her average pace just surpassed what I had in me, mentally and physically, and she found the finish line over a minute before I did.

Run time: 27:45 (9:15/minute miles). 5/9 AG. Technically, this is a 5 second PR for me, as last year I ran my best of 27:50. I can be proud of that. My splits are hilarious at 9:50, 8:59, 8:57, so you know I was *trying*, but I couldn’t keep my heart rate up like normal and again, there was just something missing.

Total time: 1:26:31. 4/9 AG. 12th female overall. If my swim had been my normal pace, I would have never seen the third place woman before the finish line and possibly even second as she finished less than 2 minutes ahead of me and I would have had a nice and shiny plaque telling me what a good athlete I am. Instead, I ended up the first position off the podium. Any other age group, I would have placed either first, second, and in only one case, third. 40-44 is soooo stacked.

But, I’m over it now. Failure happens. It doesn’t define me as an athlete or a human. And honestly, with the training I’ve put in this year, I don’t really deserve the results I’ve obtained. This was a good and proper reminder that I need to swim open water (or, swim at all) between races, I need to throw out my damn goggles, and actually train a little (or a lot) less sporadically if I want to get successful results. And, as always, continue to work on the dialogue in my head staying positive even when things go south.

I’ve taken a week, and I’ll probably take another two more to gather as much mental and physical energy and recovery as I can before I head into training for Kerrville Half (ironman) in September as a stepping stone to Ironman Texas in April. Not just yet, but soon, it’s time to start training like an athlete instead of showing up to races as one every now and again.

All’s well that ends well, redux (Windcrest Triathlon)

Guys, I’m not sure I’ve ever delayed a race post this long, but let’s chalk it up to racing twice in 8 days, camping, three insane weeks at work thus far, and a little bit of ennui.

Let’s take a trip in the way back machine and recount the events around the Windcrest triathlon. The week previous, I was a cranky sonnuvab*tch about many various things, but I hoped beyond hope it would clear up before I toed the line. Since this was a Saturday out of town race, so we left work a little early the day before, finished packing, sat in traffic, got to packet pickup a wee bit earlier than last year, and then, the Xterra DIED. At packet pickup, which was outside in 95 degree heat. Not optimal. We got it jumped fairly quickly, but it wasn’t looking like it would hold well, so we rolled into camp a little apprehensively, not knowing if the car would start in the morning to get to the race.

Our prep went much better after that, including our camping neighbor being a mechanic that helped us fix the car!!, but we ended up not having dinner ready until after 9pm, and went to bed kinda late, but I slept really really well and woke up feeling pretty okay on 6 hours of sweet sweet camper sleep. The morning was uneventful, I ate two caffeine beans, drank some coffee (this is new, but has worked really well lately!), ate an everything bagel thin. Before the race, I sucked down another caffeinated gu and some nuun and I felt highly ready to GO RACE NOW once things kicked off at 7am.

One thing about the morning – over the last year or two, I’ve oscillated between unbridled apathy and aggressive, chaotic confidence before races. This morning, I found myself in a state of quiet competence. It felt like I’d finally found the perfect fit even with the lack of mental management in many of the moments before this one.

Swim:

I positioned myself properly and started pretty early in the pack, and I was lucky enough to find a nice little bubble of clear water the entire race – in a snake pool swim, if you don’t seed yourself properly you either have to swim over people or be swam over, and that was not the case. However, my same goggles that flooded in March’s race flooded again – twice – but clearing them was fairly quick. I supposed that they weren’t meant for the pool, because they had been just fine in open water last year.

Swim time: 4:28 (2:14/100m, but this included a bit of a run as well). 1/8 AG. This was fine. No issues here besides the goggles debacle.

T1/T2:

I don’t have much to say besides my transitions seemed efficient and without issue, so I will combine them here and leave it at that.

T1: /T2 times: T1: 58 seconds 1/8 AG; T2 50 seconds 3/8 AG (my shoes take a few extra seconds but they’re worth it…)

Bike:

I hopped on my bike and got ready to chase, and chase and pass I did… until I got to a spot in the course that was weirdly marked. I almost turned, but I questioned myself at the last minute and dug into my brakes to stop my bike, and the back wheel came up a little at the force. I waited for someone else to pass, going straight, and then I followed. It cost me a little time, especially as it was on an uphill, but at least I wasn’t off course.

Zliten started right behind me on the swim, followed me into transition, and out on the bike. He apparently had me in his sights the entire ride and caught me about mile 8. I let him pass me and coasted down a hill just outside of draft range, and then passed back a mile later when I found my effort a little lacking.

My head stayed much more positive this year, as I knew what to expect on the course, all the turns, all the (not steep but definitely present) hills didn’t faze me. I knew this course was about quick acceleration and cornering so I aimed for that the entire time and moderately succeeded.

Bike time: 33:04 (18.1 mph) 1/8 AG… and actually 2/45 female – the master’s winner beat me by 14 seconds. I still retain some of my QoMs here on strava but not all of them. This was ~30 seconds worse than last year but I believe the stop and start on the hill can account for most, if not all of that nonsense.

Run:

Zliten beat me out of T2 but I passed him as he pulled up to the water stop immediately outside the racks. I found the effort I wanted, though it wasn’t the pace I was hoping for. I stuck with it, and found myself passing more than being passed, so I continued the one hair below red line pace, working my way up the hill, knowing the feeling of wanting to hurl cookies would subside a little once I started heading back down, even accelerating my speed. And it did. And I did.

I almost reeled a lady in I had been following, but I knew she started significantly before me, it would have been a sprint to the finish, and she wasn’t in my age group, so I avoided the jerk move at the little local triathlon and cruised into the finish just enough behind her to not feel like a arsehole.

Run time: 19:19 (9:12m/mile though garmin said 9:00 exactly). 1/8 AG. I still don’t feel like I reached the peaks I’ve found off the bike in practice, but this found me fairly close.

Total time: 58:37, which was good enough for 1st in the 40-44 age group, as well as the shortest on the podium. I was the second masters finisher (first was about 90 seconds ahead of me), and fourth female overall. Over 1 minute faster than last year, to boot.

I was pretty proud of my finish (and punching my ticket to Nationals again, even though I’m not actually going this year), but I was so, so proud of Zliten, who obtained his first triathlon podium, coming in 3rd of 9 in his age group by just a few seconds!

We spent the rest of the day celebrating with good food, adult beverages, and enjoying the outdoors of the San Antonio KOA before heading back home the next day to unpack (and work).

The pursuit of success and the fear of failure

Yadda yadda yadda, using my words in other places lately, excuses excuses, and *scene*.

Check my insta feed for the hilarious outtake on this one…

It’s good to know that some things stay constant around here, even if those things are the asshatery regarding my consistent stream of extenuating circumstances. Ahem.

Let’s recap. Since I last graced this digital space with my presence, I’ve spent an inordinately long time recovering from laryngitis. I spoke less than a dozen words over that initial weekend of infirmary, which was a feat akin to the most introverted person in the world getting in front of a sold-out auditorium to give an improv performance – very much against my nature. I got by with a text to speech app and lots of interpretive dance to communicate with my husband that weekend, but it was not easy. It was worth it, though, as on Monday, I had some of my voice back and by mid-week, sounded almost entirely like a human being again.

However, some minor effects lingered for quite a while. I’m still not exactly 100%, as I determined last night, when I completely bowed out of singing the high notes at the end of Phantom of the Opera instead of making an arse of myself in the attempt, but I’m about at that 99% mark – mostly unnoticeable, even in sport. I’m okay with this timeline.

It’s a good thing I don’t know the lyrics to Hamilton yet…

It took a frustratingly long process to get there. I’m not used to being knocked out this long, which was exacerbated by the fact that the week I got sick had JUST kicked off the Finally Not Being A Petulant Child and Following A Schedule and Training Again initiative, which got highly derailed by feeling and sounding like a pile of hot garbage. I ditched all workouts that weekend, and spent the entire next week laying off both swimming and running, only riding my bike super easy peasy lemon squeezy.

By last weekend, I figured, I *had* to be recovered, and I mounted my steed for the FTP test I had missed the weekend before. While I’ve had good FTP tests (the bar for a good test is feeling like absolute detritus as the last seconds tick down, but being pleased with the number on the screen), and I’ve had disappointing FTP tests, I’ve not had the issue where, with 8 minutes to go, my body just SHUT DOWN. I went from pushing my ~190 watts to ~130 with little perceivable reduction in effort. Folks, I become intimately acquainted with The Man With the Hammer at that moment in a way that I have not in some time (FYI, I just finished the Velominati book The Hardmen and if you enjoy cycling humor, or cycling, or humor, you should give it a read).

The ride home was a bit slower after the feast but playing bikes and BBQ made for a splendid extra day off!

It was ultimately frustrating, but a clear sign of a few things: 1) I was not yet recovered, I definitely felt some crud remaining in my lungs and 2) my brain felt a little broken as well. It’s been too much serious around here all the time. I needed to go play bikes. So, I rested up Saturday and Sunday, and on Memorial Day, I slept in and then went for a joyride around North Austin in the early afternoon. It was peace and love, and kicked off a week in which I did not entirely follow a plan, but I did FOUR WHOLE HOURS of intentional triathlon training. Two of these were in the morning before work. This is progress, people!


Before Thursday’s brick-with-a-wee-bit-of-spice on it, I felt like it had been three years since I gave anything in the zipcode of maximum effort, but I had a doozy planned for the weekend. Yesterday’s workout was the first triple brick in quite a while, that is, a 10 minute warmup, and then 10 minutes on the bike transitioning quickly to a 1 mile run, both at a moderately painful pace, and against all odds, do this two more times, each faster than the instance before. The first bike felt pretty good at approximately 150 watts, the 8:57/mile run felt like a jog, and then ish started to get real. I actually tanked my power in the last bike segment (holding 149W instead of the 160+ goal I had) simply because my legs wouldn’t turn over for the first five minutes, and I just narrowly missed my run goal of 8:30/mile or lower for the third mile, but at 8:34, I’ll call it close enough, especially since it met the secondary goal of being faster than the second mile.

Finally feelin’ it again. Diamonds help!

All in all, I’m back baby, physically and mentally, just in time for the next two weekends of racing – Windcrest Tri and Pflugerville, respectively. Then, we begin to lay the foundation deep and wide, but that’s a topic for July.

One thing I’ve been ruminating on lately (care of The Passion Paradox, another recent read, which I talked about last time as well) is the difference between these two motivations: the fear of failure and the desire for success. They are both means to the same desired end, and they might seem similar on first blush, but I’m finding that they feel oh so different on inspection. Fear of failure is running scared out of transition two, hoping no one will chase me down. It’s compromising a little too much at work knowing I’m up for a promotion. Pursuing success means running with heart and courage, conscious of triathletes ahead and behind me, but only invoking meaning in those circumstances if I can use it to my advantage. It means making the choices at work, boldly, that I believe will benefit my project and my team and therefore my company in the long term, and letting the chips fall where they may.

The first step in transformation is being cognizant about behaviors that you wish to change, and I’m there now. I’m hoping to take this knowledge into the next two weekends to practice chasing down success instead of running from failure, and at the respective finish lines, let the results separate themselves from the processes.

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