Adjusted Reality

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

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Into The Woods

I never expected to enjoy an almost week camping trip so much.

But with this as the view from my back porch, how could I not?

Previously, camp/camping for me meant different things at different times in my life.  First, one night in a van with my uncle and cousin because my parents’ idea of roughing it was a hotel without an indoor pool.  I liked being outside, and fishing was fun, but I honestly liked being able to eat all the junk food I wanted more than anything.  Second, a giant group of girls in (air conditioned) bunks who spent all day doing gymnastics, with short breaks to go do flips into the water off ropes and diving boards instead of onto mats and foam pits.  Then, for the majority of my life, it’s been braving an uncomfortable night or two of minimal sleep as an excuse to get drunk in the woods.

Six days, huh?  This would be interesting.  Thank goodness for turtle home, which made it not just bearable, but AWESOME.

Krause Springs Family Property.

Terribly ugly property.  Don’t know how I stood it for six days…

This is not your typical pack-em-in-make-all-the-money campground at all.  The property is owned by family.  It seems like most or all of them live on the property.  They have their favorite campsites (which are reserved unless you have permission).  They seem to put a lot back of what they make into improving the property – for example, there’s the same guy who’s been working on all the beautiful stonework for the last 20 years.  He was out on non-holiday days just laying out a beautiful stone path.

Near the office, there’s a butterfly garden, which we walked through snapping a shit-ton of pictures.  This featured gorgeous spring-fed fountains, amazing manicured gardens with bright, beautiful flowers, the biggest windchimes I’ve ever seen, a koi pond, and a bunch of places to relax and take it all in. The aesthetics of the garden struck me as ethereal. I started craving more and more for a garden like that for my own house. And I also had seen some affordable choices on the equipments to maintain a garden like this.

Not too many butterflies, but beauuuutiful gardens.

There’s a natural spring-fed pool, which we frequented a lot.  We’d walk down every hour or two during the day and jump in.  They had a fun little rock wall to jump off, which was the preferred way for me introduce myself to a cold, spring fed body of water (instead of taking 20 minutes to acclimate).


There also was a falls area, which was more like your typical Texas watering hole.  We floated there in the tubes a few days, but it was kind of treacherous to get down there, so we spent more time in the pool.  It also had a rope swing and a jumping cliff.  I decided the last full day was jump-off-all-the-things day, and I started with the cliff.  I must have mis-aimed my jump, because I landed knees down in (thankfully) soft mucky ground.  If I weighed much more, I may have really injured something, so that was enough to decide instead it was just jump-in-the-pool day.

One more thing about the property – it’s TINY!  Mountain biking or hiking around it was less than two miles.  I didn’t get my 10k steps any day while camping and I honestly can get close some days without leaving the house at home.  Super vegtastic vacation was super vegtastic.

On camping in a popup vs a tent…

Turtle home!

There are things that I absolutely LOVE about tent camping.  I love sleeping when you can see the stars and hear all the nature sounds.  I love that I get to spend so much time outside (tent is for napping, changing, or sleeping).  I love waking up early naturally.

I don’t love sleeping on a bumpy air mattress that hurts my back after 2 days.  I don’t love that the summer heat in a tent is unbearable unless you’re sleeping from about 3am to 9am max.  I don’t love being attacked by bugs at sunset.  I don’t love my lungs being wrecked from inhaling campfire constantly.

As I’ve said many times, I want to camp more.  There are so many gorgeous spots in Texas, heck, in Central Texas within an hour or two of our house, and we go so rarely.  It’s too hot, too cold, easier to get a night of sleep in bed vs a tent before a long ride/run, have to pack so much gear into the car, don’t have any shelter from the elements after if we’re chilled to the bone/on the verge of heatstroke.  There are so many races I’d like to do where camping would be so cheap and convenient but… eh… it’s a gamble with everything above.

Enter the popup.  It solved ALMOST every problem I have with camping when the goal of the day is more than beer drinking.

I expected the AC unit to keep it slightly cooler during the day than outside and at least passably bearable to sleep.  I had to sleep with a sweatshirt on with it set on low.  The constantly-on AC made falling asleep a breeze with the white noise (I think I slept better there than at home).  During the day, it kept it cooler than I keep my living room.  Best of all, it filtered the smoke of campfires and the noise of the 20 billion kids camping next door.  I slept ’til noon one day.  NOON.  I can’t even do that at home.

I’ll talk about it more later but we had a small fridge and a sink with running water and a cutting board that laid right over it.  While the AC was my favorite, my hot-sun-loving-but-dirt-hating husband couldn’t get over he had a sink with running water to wash his hands right *there* instead of being a dirty hippie.

The size is amazing.  Just like the tardis, it’s bigger on the inside.  We were happy to have two beds (queen and double) just in case one of us got bed-hoggy but we never used the second.  Also, let me give a shout out to the mattress – the dude that owned it before us did put in some upgrades and the beds were definintely one of them.  They were more comfortable than a lot of hotel beds, and the queen is even heated.  The living space was fully comfortable for two people and I could see a close-knit family of four being okay with it (however, we used the second living space for coolers so it’s four people with less affinity for produce than us).

I was so enamoured with the thing initially, I spent a lot of time in it.  I even gave myself one “rain day” (when it rained for 10 minute in the morning) where I didn’t even go down to the water and sat inside and painted for 5 hours.  However, mid-trip, I realized I’d be pissed if I spent all my time inside while CAMPING, so I found ways to deal with the heat and enjoy the view from the patio.

My ONLY complaint is the pee situation.  We brought a luggable loo, but neither of us could bear to break it out.  I’m not shy about peeing in the woods, but in this area, there were LOTS of people/kids around.  I also don’t mind the walk to the bathrooms when I’m awake.  Whatevs, I like steps.  However, I need to figure out how to pee when waking up in the middle of the night/early morning without the hike to the bathrooms, far into the woods, or risking indecent exposure.  Again, not a huuuuuge deal for two days, but by mid-trip, I was pretty over it.

Beyond dogs and smores…

Looks pretty, tasted even prettier.

Normally while camping I try to keep it simple and pretty much pre-made.  However, this time we had access to a gas stove, a gas grill, a small refrigerator, a sink, and a cutting board/counter (not to mention a microwave, which we tried not to use), so we tried to get a little more creative.

This is a whole post in and of itself (coming soon…), but I’m really impressed with what we were able to cook!  We split things very nicely between eating exactly how we would when we’re home, cooking things like fish tacos, beef stew, and other things made with fresh produce, and also some camping treats like smores, dutch oven popcorn, and a giant bag of crack chips.

Arts and crafts and activities.

BTW, mountain biking trails in sandals is a dumb idea.  Don’t do this at home kids (that’s why I did it while camping?).

I figured each morning would be some activity because, nature.  However, my sleep schedule with perfect temps and all the white noise of the AC quickly defaulted to it’s normal vampire 2-3am sleep and 10-noon wakeup.  So, considering at 9am it was feels like almost 100 already, besides one falls hike and one mtb ride, I stuck to jumps into the pool every hour or so and the walks there and back.

However, I arted things. It was so nice to sit and concentrate and plan and execute with stillness. I spent time learning how to finally draw a bike from reference, I planned out a circular scene to paint and painted a bit on my mug each day.  I am in LOVE with my new camping mug!  Since I probably shouldn’t amass any more mugs, I plan to buy small canvases and paint something every longer trip and build a camping wall.

Oops, I totally arted.

We also played a lot of games – catchphrase with some camping neighbors, and on our own, we played Farkle, Chupacapra, and the Pathfinder card game.  We painted a few miniatures as well.  However, we spent a lot of time hanging out with neighbors, reading books, or just kind of staring out into space absorbing the awesomeness of the wilderness.

I had visions of writing or doing business plan stuff, but it wasn’t the right vibe.  I felt so much mentally lighter leaving camp.  I feel like it’s about time to start dedicating a few hours a week to this stuff, and maybe sometime over the fall taking a camping trip SPECIFICALLY to write, but I really needed to unload a bit first.  And I totally did.

The RV Camping EcoSystem.

I have nothing relevant visually here, so enjoy a picture of the best fireworks show I’ve ever seen.

Previously, when we’ve camped in tent camping areas, we’ve either been camping with a group of people at Ren Faire, where there’s social-ness all around, or in other areas, where people just kind of keep to themselves.  Here, I expected to be on our own for six days, was kind of looking forward to it, but my social husband went around to make friends with everyone in the area, so we hung out with neighbors (some who had been coming here 6-26 years) about half the nights and ourselves the rest.

The mix of people there was… interesting.  I’d say, just like Austin, we were a little blue dot in a sea of red.  There was everything from confederate flag waving people to the guy who thought Ronald Reagan was God’s gift to the world, to the drama filled xenophobic party in the pavillion on the 4th… but oddly enough everyone else was peaceful.  The nice thing with an indoor space in the popup is that if you want to be antisocial – you just go inside.  It works out.

Also, the first few days we were there, it was us and GIANT RVs that cost as much as a house, so we were the crappiest house on the block (until the weekend came, and more popups showed up).  Most owners are super excited to show them off, so we got a few tours.  It’s just flippin’ amazing how like a little house some of these things are.  Some have two bathrooms.  Some have five beds in two bedrooms and full size kitchens.  Some have their own porches.  Some have “toy haulers” that fit golf carts, jet skiis, etc.  I don’t need any of those things but it was really fun to see how elaborate they can get.

If you want to see more of the gorgeous property, check out my album HERE.

Bikes to nowhere, adventure snorkeling, and local beers – Liberty of the Seas

I do love cruises, but they have a history of doing bad things to me.

In 2011, my back went out and I got a nasty cold.  In 2013, I injured my knee and I got a cold the last day.  2014 and 15 I did it to myself with a half marathon and marathon the day before the cruise. 2016 my body was totally healthy, but I discovered over spotty wifi in Belize that my company had done layoffs that day.  While I look forward to these vacations, I also am always wondering what bad thing is going to happen.  While it was annoying to have a cranky back through most of the vacation, it was definitely a MILD annoyance compared to some years…

Sunday’s drive was fairly uneventful minus a 45 minute stallout in traffic around Houston.  We got to the pier, everything seemed chill, we got in a short line to get on board and… technical difficulties.  Their internet was out so the security photos weren’t being sent up so things were taking a long time.  We got put in a line and then sent back to sit down and then another line and then as we got up to the end we were told to sit down again.  We’re on about hour 7 of not eating anything so we’re cranky and we decided we weren’t getting displaced in line again so we just stood there.  And stood there.  With heavy backpacks on… (foreshadowing…).

Finally we got on board and lunch (food was glorious) and went to the mandatory boat drill and since we were signed up for late dinner this time, we had a few hours to kill.  I asked Zliten what he wanted to do and he really wanted to hit the gym, so we rode bikes for 30 mins and stretched.

Then, we watched the boat sail away from the hot tub with some frozen mojitos.  This really started vacation.

We drank some wine and got dressed up for dinner.  Since it’s the same boat, around the same time of year, it seemed like the menu for the week was pretty much the same.  Last year, I had seafood spaghetti with oysters, scallops, and shrimp.  Guess what I had this year?

We called it an early night and retired back to the room to read books and sleeeeep.

Monday was our first day at sea.  We slept until we woke up without an alarm and still hit breakfast.  I kept these small and had a little corn beef hash (my cruise treat), some fruit, and a few potatoes.

We met my parents for cards and played a few rounds.  Then, we did another 35 mins on the bike and stretched before we got hungry for lunch.

The afternoon was for the pool, and a few drinks, and more lounging until we had to get gussied up for formal dinner.  We clean up alright.

After dinner, we headed up to the disco and spent the evening talking to random people and drinking a lot of Crown Royal on the rocks before some late night snacks and bed.

Tuesday was sort of a repeat of Monday, except a little less sleep and a weee bit of hangover that went away rapidly and my back felt SUPER out of place.  Fancy that, running around all evening in heels + lugging around a heavy backpack for hours + cruise chairs/beds not being super comfortable didn’t do me a world of good.

Anyhoo, we were up in time for a quickie breakfast of relatively the same thing.  Cards with the ‘rents.  Bike and stretch (and stretch and stretch and roll).  Lunch.  Pool.  Pretty sure there was a nap in there somewhere.  Dinner – one of my favorites from last year, crab cakes and cilantro cod.  Sleep early because the next day we arrived at our first destination!

Wednesday is when vacation really, for real starts for me because it’s time to go hit the beach for a few days instead of just look at it, but also it’s half over.  Boo.

Started out with a *slightly* larger breakfast since we were playing in the water all day.  We rode past this sweet lighthouse on the way to Tabatya Beach and then all of a sudden we were there.  This place was amazing, and I’m not even showing you the underwater photos yet.

We spent over four hours snorkeling the huge mass of reef (reefs?) around the beach. The last time we were in Hawaii, on one of those hawaii boat charters, we’d spent a whopping two full days in the water.

I’ll do a play by play of all the fish pictures once I’ve processed them, but for now, you get THIS happy fish after those four hours, what sounds like a totally mundane but actually super amazing lunch of bbq chicken, rice and beans, and coleslaw.  And a mojito.

We hit a bar right at the port on the way back to have a few more drinks off the ship (read: WAYYYY less expensive) and enjoyed the view before we hurried back to play cards with the ‘rents.

This is my dinner face (and wearing one of my favorite necklaces to boot), but I didn’t stay up much after that.  I’d say I’m old but I’m really just a fish – playing in the water is ALWAYS going to win out over just about anything else ever and I had two more days of that planned.

Thursday was a little nerve-wracking.  This was the day that got ruined last year by work news.  However, it was a different port and we had different plans, so I was excited to try something new.  Speaking of something new, I found stir fried veggies at breakfast.  It sounded like an odd thing to eat in the AM but they were actually really frikkin’ yummy so maybe I’ll start making breakfast stir fries… hmmm.

We taxi’d out to a beach called Yaya.  Apparently you needed reservations, so a nice older gentleman escorted us to a different area called Carribean Life.  There were no lockers and we were a little nervous about leaving our stuff there, but hey, stuff can be replaced and adventures can’t, so off we went into the water.

This was not the most ideal place to snorkel.  We found some reef in the two miles-ish we swam, and saw some cool stuff like a giant pod of squid.  However, we spent maybe 20 minutes snorkeling and the rest of the time swimming (transporting ourselves).  Sometimes fighting some decent current.  Sometimes hurrying through boat lanes to make sure we didn’t get squished.  Adventure snorkeling!

After that, we were ready for refueling.  Local beer (Corona, LOL).  Pico.  Guac.  Chips.  Chicken tacos.  It was all really great and fresh.  There were ladies offering 20$ massages on the beach and with my back all sore, I took advantage of this.  She worked on me for an hour and twenty minutes.  I was super relaxed by the end.  And… I can say I got topless (very carefully without ACTUALLY exposing myself) on a beach in Costa Maya Mexico!

There was a swim up bar in a giant pool at the port, and I made Zliten get in with me for about 10 minutes.  Because there was a pool and I was there.  Next time, I’ll definitely take more advantage of it.

We played cards around 5:30 and then went kinda casual for dinner and after another sun baked, salt-crusted, fishy type day, we hit the hay pretty quick.

Friday was diving day!  Wheee!  We skipped breakfast so we could sleep in and still make our diving appointment.

We ended up the only two people signed up, so we had a private dive for cheaper than the ship prices.  Score!  And…we saw not one, but TWO turtles!  And lots of other cool stuff.  Day = made.

Our plan was to take advantage of Playa Maya, but we left the dive boat later than expected and the all-inclusive price wasn’t really worth the 2-3 hours we could spend there.  So, we hit Senor Frogs and had our first meal of the day: we split nachos, chicken tacos, and had giant margs and maybe a few shots poured in our mouths.

We spent the rest of the afternoon on deck and marveled that this is probably the most sober we’ve ever left Cozumel (read: not falling down), so we had a *little* more to drink to make up for it.

We fancied up for the last formal dinner.  Richard brought me two lobsters because he is awesome.

Then, we sort of flitted around the ship.  We lost 30 bucks in the casino SUPER quickly so we left.  We then hit the disco and actually danced this time!  We lost our seats from dancing so we went to a different bar and found a completely abandoned comfy lounge.  Then we found out bars were closing so we got munchies at the cafe and went to bed.

Saturday is always the saddest day at sea since you have to leave the next day.  We skipped breakfast again to play cards with the fam, hit lunch, and then decided instead of all the crazy things we wanted to do (gym! waterslides! mini golf! rock climbing!) we instead promptly took a 1.5 hour nap and then went and swam and read by the pool until it was time to play cards again.  I think I ended up with about a 7 and 5 record for wins and losses.  We all did pretty well trading off with the wins.

I honestly didn’t write down the food I ate as well as I did last time, but I do remember this amazing appetizer (that I didn’t snap a picture of) – scallops with chorizo in a cauliflower puree.  Sounds weird but it was amazeballs.  I got a tandoori chicken salad with yogurt dressing that was amazing, and we split a bunch of desert around the table and the key lime pie and cheesecake were the best!

After dinner we did the packing we had put off, picked up our formal pictures (for the relatives), read books and fell asleep.

Sunday was fairly uneventful.  We actually slept until the last possible minute to leave the room, splitting a protein bar instead of one last breakfast orgy.  I was kind of sad but also after eating ship food for 7 days I was kind of ready for something different.  We drove home, hitting a little rain but otherwise it was fine, picked up our leezard, grabbed some BBQ, and binge watched Kimmy Schmidt season 3 while sipping some high class tequila and orange soda dranks because VACATION WASN’T YET OVER DANGIT.

And then it was.  D’awww.  The end.

Once I process the other cameras pictures I’ll put up a fishy highlights post and add them here as well.



What I did on my winter vacation

Between December 7th at 6pm and January 3rd at 9am, I was on a (saving my PTO pennies, company funded) sabbatical of sorts.  Obviously, the first week was a little more exciting than the rest, but I was still left with 18 days when I stepped off the plane back to little ol’ Austin.


I would like to say I figured out how to be bored, but I’m not sure if that’s possible for me.  At no point did I crave work or routine for the sake of having something to do, because I have this MASSIVE backlog of one-off things I’d like to accomplish.  And then there’s the things I like to do repeatedly (run, bike, swim, read, play games, etc).  However, I will say that I’m pretty excited to be eating healthier food and tracking, because I’m fairly sure there’s a subcutaneous water balloon in my stomach.  That’s the ONLY explanation.

What I did learn:


25 miles and 6 hours of errands around town. 

There’s just almost nowhere I can’t go on my cruiser bike, and not having company is no excuse.  I biked to some kinda sketchtastic areas in rush hour and never felt unsafe or unable to handle myself.  Cheating and using sidewalks in places where traffic is stupid is just sometimes how I’ll have to roll.  And that makes all the difference between me riding bikes and not riding bikes in some cases.

I figured out a completely productive way to procrastinate.  I do really well alternating between passive and active things.  For example, I was able to alternate sets of the Oiselle dozen and studying for my triathlon coaching class (and I’m more than halfway done, wheeee!).  Really, doing anything on my computer and then alternating with doing a quick chore worked out well.  However, I need to come to a stopping place with the brain work before I do the other thing.  When I get interrupted in the middle of it, my productivity gets worse.


Running into the sunset happened at least twice though…

I put together a lot less running miles than expected (just a little over 20 in the 2 weeks).  The weather was just so much warmer than normal and I was much more motivated to go on bike adventures than running ones.  Am I going to pay for that going into IM training?  Possibly.  But we’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.


Hello beautifuls…

Food, glorious food!  We thought about going out to dinner Monday night, because it was the last day of vacation, but couldn’t think of anything we wanted besides a nice home cooked meal of mahi, rice, and veggies.  I made some oatmeal muffins (above) for no-fuss breakfasts over break.  I think we hit up pizza like 3 times and I perfected my spaghetti sauce recipe (needs FRESH garlic and olive oil).  I hit my favorite Vietnamese place twice, I found my new favorite Italian sandwich, tried out a new salad place, and a new kebap place (both, sadly, I like my old places better, but you have to try new things).  And, December means grilling weather in Texas, so that happened!


75 degrees on Christmas eve?  Um, yeah, we’re going on a holiday light ride.

We got Christmas as fuck up in here.  While the weather outside was delightful (I spent it in a tank top), we got in the mood with Christmas light rides with friends, all the silly little presents for each other (and some not so silly, hello new watch buddy), and our traditional Din Ho dinner with the neighbors on the Eve and lasagna with the family on the day of.  I still can’t quite bring myself to take the decorations down.  Soon.

I spent at least one day doing absolutely nothing productive and it was totally wonderful.  And yes, I had to schedule it.

And now we’re to January, which is the worst month ever, but we’ll get through it together, right?  I’m hoping to manage my vacation time a little better next year, but if not, I can’t deny that another December fun month doesn’t sound appealing…


60 Degree Difference

Hello everyone!  Is this thing still on?

I have promised myself a big to do list today which doesn’t involve a long and detailed blog post, but here’s the quick recap.


I finished work for the year on December 7th.  I also got to hang out with the Back to the Future Delorean car on the way out of work.  Super cool!

The next day, we hopped a plane to Florida, the land of oceans and Publix subs.


We spent 8 glorious days there, being and eating fish.  Some days I ate fish for every meal, and some days I spent 4 hours in the ocean.  I lost all contact with reality and read something like 5 books while I was there.  It was everything I needed.

Now, I’m back, and enjoying the next segment of my break – the Get Shit Done period.  Zliten is still at work, so I’m attempting to do all the stuff that is less fun and more prone to distractions when he’s not home, like my triathlon coach certification class.  And cleaning out drawers and stuff.  I am going on bike adventures whenever I can, so there’s that.


I did have a more normal-type weekend in which we rode bikes all afternoon Saturday (5 hours, 70 miles on the Walnut Creek Trail), and then hung in our PJs the rest of the time trying to stay warm because there was a 60 degree difference between our high in Key Largo earlier in the week and the temperatures right now.  Sigh.  Get it together, Austin!

However, in the spirit of Get Shit Done, and in a twist of normal events, I have posted (and captioned!!!) all my vacation pics already.  If you’re interested in a preview, check ‘er out here.

And on that note, off to stop procrastinating! Chapter 3 awaits…


Hurling turkeys, bike adventures, and all the holiday things.

Right now, I’m in the proverbial second half of the 70.3 run, or the last 10k of the marathon – survival mode.  I decided to pool my vacation days for almost a month off in December, which will be AWESOME once it gets here, but very stressful getting everything ready to go enjoy that.  Light.  Tunnel.  Getting there.  But, since I have a spare moment, I wanted to write about a few things I’ve been up to.


Hurling turkeys isn’t as bad as it seems…

Since we weren’t running a marathon like normal, we signed up to do the Thundercloud Turkey Trot downtown Austin.  25k people registered = 25k people in traffic going to exactly one spot, so we finally made good about our idea to cycle down and back.  It took approximately 75 minutes to do that and I’m pretty sure it would have taken longer to drive, sit in traffic, park, and do the reverse once the race was over.  And… bikes!!!

The ride was a little chilly on the way down, but with gloves, three layers on top, and leg warmers on the bottom, I survived, which is good recon for longer rides in the winter.  This is new territory, folks!  It was a nice, chill, mostly-downhill 8-ish miles there as a warmup, we got the benefit of bike valet which meant a bag check (when the race wasn’t offering it), and we had plenty of time to tinker around before lining up.

My goal was to race this as hard as I could, because, why not?  I lined up, was feeling my music, and crossed the start ready to play parkour with a billion other people.  I did that up the first (pretty much mile long) hill, and hit low 9-something once my garmin beeped the first split.  I felt kind of terrible but in that “I just ran really fast up a hill” way, and had faith that when the course flattened out, I could catch my breath a sec and rock it out.

Once the course flattened out, instead, I got hit by the worst cramp I’ve ever had.  I’m still not 100% sure if it was girlie time fun or something bad I ate fun, or just a twisted amalgamation of both fusing together to cause me agony, but it was ROUGH.  I convinced myself that “fuck it, I had less than 4 miles left, race through it”, but soon after I started feeling dizzy and dizzy is not something we ignore.  I pretty much stopped in the sea of people (sorry, I hate when people do that), and started shuffling.

Thankfully Zliten had caught up and found me just as I was pulling over to the side.  I sat for a bit, searing pain and dizziness not letting up.  I convinced myself I needed to get up and walk to the aid station, so we started… and then I had to pull over on the side of the road and be sick.  This is not only the first time this has happened to me during a race… but I’ve never hurled during a workout either.  But here I was, mostly collapsed on the side of the road, heaving into the grass.  I pretty much thought I was going to die.

Zliten and the nice officer right there (sorry guy!) kept asking me if I wanted medical.  I couldn’t envision going anywhere but that little patch of dewy grass right then, I said no and kept allowing more my breakfast to rejoin the earth.  Oddly enough, after whatever needed to work itself out of my system was gone, I sat up and everything felt, like, magically better.  We tried walking and it was fine.  Once we were up the hill and to an aid station for some liquid, I said we should try running again.

I certainly didn’t break any records with the rest of the race, but we clipped along at a 10-something minute mile chatty pace.  I felt like my brain was packed with a little cotton by the end, but I really think I just needed some calories since I was really and truly empty.  One hour, four minutes, some seconds official race time – for 1 great mile, 1 terrible and terribly long mile with about a 10 minute break and some walking, and 3 joggy miles.

After the race, we hung out with our friends for a while, and then we rode bikes home (uphill) and had a wonderful turkey day with family eating all the things and playing cards.  It was a total blip on the radar, about 15 minutes of sheer agony, but totally not a day-ender.

In retrospect, it’s great Ironman training.  I’m sure that at some point, something will be wrong with my digestive system during that 14-17 hours.  I’ve never had my stomach go THAT rogue on me before, but it’s a situation I’ll be prepared for if it happens.  In general terms of discomfort, everything in that moment was terrible.  I not only didn’t want to finish the race, but I wanted someone to come pick me up and carry me to a car and drive me home at that point.  Then, less than 10 minutes later I was walking, and then, less than 20 minutes later, I was running comfortably.  It’s about managing the dark spots to get back to the bright ones, no matter how dark they feel in the moment.


Granger Lake bike adventures…

It’s been a month since I rode anything of distance or consequence, and we got an invite to ride bikes around the Granger Lake area, so it was time to get reacquainted with evilbike and friends.  Zliten, Matt, and I took off from his in-law’s house before 9am and rode into the wind which was somehow coming from every direction (as it tends to do in the Texas country).  We took turns pulling and chatting and got a little lost (extra miles!) and enjoyed a morning of bikes.

It was a super pleasant ride.  Once we got used to the blustery day and got a little warmed up, the layers I had on were perfect (jacket, sleeves, short sleeved jersey, bibs with leg warmers).  We stopped a few times to get pictures of things and eat snacks and stash layers and stuff.  We flew down the nice flat dam road at 20+ mph for fun, but that was really, by and large, the only EFFORT (captial E) we made that day.

It’s nice that 60 miles is not the edge of my fitness right now.  The edge of my comfortable fitness, sure.  My quads had a bit of that long ride sting.  My hands were shot from chipseal.  But honestly, I was more concerned for Matt being late to his Thanksgiving meal (which ended up delayed until SEVEN THIRTY, so no worries about rolling in just before 2pm) than dying to get off my bike.

I did the stupid shit I do the last quarter of small group rides where I speed up and think I’m pulling everyone but end up dropping them and having to wait because slowing down at the end of a bike ride LITERALLY MAKES ME DIE INSIDE for some reason.  Joel and I raced down a 30 mph street trying to beat the speed limit around 50 miles in.  I intentionally fell off the nutrition at the end so I would fade a little but with proper fueling I think I would have been up for more.  I think I’m mentally and physically ready to start pushing the kind of bike mileage needed to train for the Ironman and that makes me happy.


We need a little Christmas, like right this very minute…

Normally, I’m a big fan of keeping the holidays kind of low key until real close to the day of.  No Christmas shit until after Thanksgiving, and frankly, since we normally head to Florida the day after turkey day, it’s a while until we’re fully ensconced in the holidays.

This year is different.  I feel like we really need it.  Like *I* really need it.  So, we bought wrapping paper 9 days ago and I didn’t even flinch at the massive set up at Big Lots.  We set up the star showers the night before Thanksgiving.  I’ve got most of my shopping done already and a lot of it wrapped.  We have our lights and tree up, and it’s halfway decorated (and the iguana has already broken ornaments).  We’re watching the shows we normally watch during the season.  It all feels so right.

The great thing about it being the holiday season and in the 70s?  Holiday light rides.  We spent an hour winding down every street in the neighborhood looking at lights.  We may or may not have gotten in the spirit ourselves as well (see above for the setup).  I’m aware we’re ridiculous and make zero apologies and give zero fucks.

And… such is life.  Back to the push of the last few miles productive days of the race year.  I know I’m going to finish survive, I just need to keep my head in the game and get there.


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