Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: photography

Week 2 of 70.3 training – nailed it!

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

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

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

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

Here’s the week 2 summary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see how this week goes!

As for the scale-y side of things…

Wait, that’s not what I mean… hehe…

Let’s just go to the numbers…

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

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

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

A summary of #projectraceweight in graph form.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sticks and Stones

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

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

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

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

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

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

This being one of my favorites…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(my feelings right now about self-marketing…)

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

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

Here are my two issues:

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

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

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

Feels good, man.

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

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

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