2014: A Few Wins, A Few Losses

This year, my PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation hit me stronger than ever before. It began creeping up in May and by the time July rolled around, I was nearly unrecognizable. I struggled with the most simplest of things: showing up to work with the same enthusiastic effervescent attitude, bringing myself to the start line for all of the triathlons I registered for, keeping in touch with people. Everything required this monumental effort that I had never known before. It wasn’t until I began planning the ways in which I could feasibly kill myself. I was considering getting into an intentional bike accident. I had procured enough prescription pills to make a dent. I ruminated over the thoughts of how difficult it would be for my team at work to find my replacement, how much it would upset my manager, and how long it would take someone to figure out that my cats have gone unfed for days. One night I decided to sleep in the backseat of my car to prevent myself from making any mistakes. I craved the company of my friends but couldn’t bring myself to tell them about the things that were plaguing me. I eventually told my closest friends, one by one, assuring them that I was seeing a psychotherapist and psychiatrist on a regular basis and that things seemed to be stabilizing.

I was first prescribed Lexapro, but it sent me into a dizzying vertigo and on the verge of constant vomiting. I was also on Trazadone, which helped me sleep a little more through the night. (I wasn’t sleeping well when I started grad school again. I was averaging about 2 2-hour spurts every day, and to fill the time, I enrolled in 3 graduate level classes. I figured that if the lack of sleep was detrimental, I might as well get something out of my lost time.) I ultimately settled in a daily dose of Prozac and Trazadone, with other prescription medications for severe headaches I was getting because I clench my teeth when stressed (which is all the time). My dentist recently noted that I’ve began chipping and cracking my teeth as a result of this clenching and strongly recommended some orthotics to mitigate the damage.

It’s currently finals week. I also have some deadlines converging at work. My next six months will be completely consuming. My existential crises will probably increase from once a week to twice-thrice a week. My eating will be completely off. My exercise will be nonexistent. Relaxation will be a thing of the past.

…But only if I let it.

I pride myself in being pretty crafty when it comes to scheduling and outsourcing. As someone once said to me, I have a tendency to plan things like it’s my last day on earth. That’s true on very many levels. I am very goal-oriented, and I believe that a life without goals is not one worth living. Goals give me an achievement to look forward to, and plans to make in order to achieve those goals. So, in an effort to have all brainpower on deck and to declutter my mind of things I shouldn’t have to worry about (unless I want to do them at the expense of my primary goals), I have set the following things in motion:

-I signed up for OrangeTheory Fitness and a new workout regimen. Instead of tinkering with triathlon/marathon training plans for the time being, I’d like to set my fitness on auto-pilot. Just show up to a group workout session and complete the circuit. No thinking or motivation required. I’m paying a fair amount for an unlimited pass, but I plan to attend classes around 5 days a week, possibly more. It’s a small price to pay for self esteem, in my opinion. ($139/month)
-To reward myself for regularly working out (and to continue motivating me), I’ve subscribed to Fabletics for a constant supply of cute gym clothes. I feel sexiest and prettiest when I’m working out, so I’ll be damned if I work out in frumpy clothes. I want to continue cultivating that. ($50/month)
-I can’t seem to bring myself to buy groceries anymore, or to prep healthy food. I’ve been taking tons of shortcuts. One day last week, I consumed over 11 eggs and 2 things of ramen. It’s probably not the path I want to head down. I’ve researched some meal plans that will auto-ship ready-to-eat food to my door each week. It’s new to me but I’m hoping it’ll help me control my caloric intake, drop a few pounds, and to put some of my eating-related anxieties to bed. I used to be anorexic/bulimic and in an attempt to not become obsessive about food, I’m outsourcing the thinking behind it. All I have to do is eat. Huzzah! Nutrisystem starts at $280 for my first month and will jump to $340 a month, which isn’t bad for 28 days worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks that are all perfectly pre-portioned to help me lose weight. (If you want a $30 coupon for your first order, leave a comment and I’ll send it to you to try.)
-Weekly massage therapy at my chiropractor’s office. A win-win situation. ($5-$50 per session based on my insurance)
-Monthly housekeeping services ($80-$100 a month)
-Wine club, because a girl has to wind down ($55/month)
-Weekly visit to my psychotherapist ($400-$500/month)
-Monthly visit to my psychiatrist ($100/month)
-Prescription medications ($10/month)
-Sensory depravation membership ($50/month)

I’m hoping that this investment in my health will yield fairly large results. I’m looking to do really well in my master degree so that I can pursue my doctorate. I’m also looking to (as my manager puts it) kick ass at my projects this quarter. I can’t do any of these things with some of these necessary distractions in the way, so hopefully outsourcing it will do the trick.

Despite my obvious hardships this year, I still had a handful of wins:

-Finished the Five Mile Lake sprint triathlon in the early summer (triathlons are harder than I remember)
-Finished the Seattle half marathon (that my boyfriend also ran!)
-Had a few great trips and vacations this year: Roadtripping up the coast of California, Hawaii, Portland half marathon weekend, Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Las Vegas, New York, and my holiday trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona
-Was admitted into the Iowa State MS Human-Computer Interaction program
-Transferred to an amazing team at work
-Went skiing at Jackson Hole
-Fully recovered from both a broken leg and tendinitis
-Met my boyfriend
-Presented at my work’s UX conference
-Had an amazing 30th birthday celebration
-The Mt. Si hike for the 4th of July

So my mileage and race calendar wasn’t as impressive this year. Maybe next year. I’ve never stopped trying. The Ironman is still one of my forever goals. This year I’ll get in good physical and mental shape and maybe, just maybe, once I’m done with my masters degree I can focus on Ironman training again. I am registered for the Vancouver (WA) full marathon, and have been tinkering with the idea of registering for either the Mercer Island or Zion Half Marathon next year as a warm-up race…so we’ll see.

And the Training Months Tick By…July and mid-August Recap

Hmm. It’s been an interesting month. I don’t have a lot of time to go into too much detail about what’s been going on, but let’s recap:


-I went on a weeklong vacation to Waikiki with Erik. By day we hiked, ran, snorkeled, swam, surfed, boogey boarded, and by night we hopped skipped karaoke bars.
-I acquired two gnarly quarter-sized blisters on the bottom of both of my feet that prevented me from racing in Seafair.
-I rejiggered my tri training schedule (rather unsuccessfully) and my marathon training schedule (successfully).
-I’ve added P90X3 to my training repertoire and have been loving it! It’s been helping me a lot with my cardio output on my runs, and strengthening a lot of weak spots in my legs. Reminds me of when I was training with a personal trainer. I’m looking forward to adding some more Team Beachbody DVDs to my collection. They are intense but great!
-I finished out my first semester of grad school. There were tears and fussy nights, but I did it.
-Things at work are moving along.
-Bought a new mountain bike (taking it to Duthie Hill tomorrow with Alex!)
-Trying to get down to race weight on my old two gigantic salads a day diet (with tons of protein and snacks in between).
-I invested in way too many blender bottles.
-I keep exercising my control muscles. Look at all that candy at the office!
-I’m finalizing plans for my awesome ski trip to Niseko next February. Japow hereeeeee I come!

I’m still training for the Portland Marathon in October. I also have three sprint tris coming up in three consecutive weekends starting next Saturday. And still planning on a HITS triathlon in Palm Springs in December but I’m still majorly undecided as to which distance. I’m pretty sure I can pull a half IM again if I really focus on cycling and running (and I guess swimming too) after the marathon. Regardless, here’s my training plan for the next 1.5 months:

So, essentially life is full of work, grad school(s), training, fundraising, eating, and sleeping. And not much else. Until next time!

Monday Morning Stand Up: Seafair Weeks 6-7-8 + Portland Weeks 1-2-3 2014 Training

For lack of a better way to combine the concurrent training threads, I’m now officially lumping them both together in the headline. The last few weeks have been insanely bizarre. Not only is my sleeping schedule all over the map, but so is my schoolwork and work-work (because when you say it twice, it’s legit).

So my swimming activities are pretty much nil. Same goes with my biking. I’ve finally switched out all the batteries on my speed/cadence sensors and my heart-rate monitor so things should be paired and working well with the Bluetooth dongle and TrainerRoad. I tried riding to work and making it a habit but I find my messenger bag to be quite infuriating. It’s not really worth riding the few miles to and from at this stage. I think when I was still learning to ride it made more sense. I suppose it would make sense now so that I could get comfortable clipping in and out at stops and stuff, but for most of my races I will be riding long distances between clipping in and out anyways. (Maybe I’m just rationalizing myself out of riding to work?)

Week 6 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 1 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 16: 4.08 mile run, 0.5 mile swim

Tuesday, June 17: Rest day

Wednesday, June 18: 4.06 mile run

Thursday, June 19: Rest day

Friday, June 20: 4.02 mile run

Saturday, June 21: 8 mile run

Sunday, June 22: Rest day

Week 7 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 2 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 23: Rest day

Tuesday, June 24: 4.68 mile run

Wednesday, June 25: 2.05+1.54 mile bike commute, 5.22 mile run

Thursday, June 26: 1.41 mile bike commute, 4.02 run

Friday, June 27: 10.09 mile run…before work

Saturday, June 28: Five Mile Lake Tri, which served as a season dress rehearsal – 0.25 mile swim, 14 mile ride, 3.1 mile run

Sunday, June 29: Rest day

Week 8 Seafair Sprint Tri/Week 3 Portland Marathon Training:

Monday, June 30: Rest day

Tuesday, July 1: Rest day

Wednesday, July 2: 4.88 mile run

Thursday, July 3: 5.01 mile run

Friday, July 4: 6.84 mile hike up Mt. Si, probably one of the most challenging hikes I’ve completed this season

Saturday, July 5: Rest day

Sunday, July 6: 5.67 mile run around Green Lake during one of the hottest days of the year

Week 9-10 training resolutions:

-I resolve to use my vacation as a partial jumpstart to my tri training. I would actually argue that it is way too late, but I’m going to aim for it anyways. I’ll continue my marathon training and try to add swimming during my leisure downtime and maybe wake up early to run and jump on a spin bike at the Waikiki 24 Hour Fitness. (I don’t think I’ll be renting a bike this time so this is my next best and free alternative, since I already have a membership.)

-I resolve to do as much swimming in Hawaii 5 out of 7 days, with a half-mile minimum. The clear and shallow water will be good for me. I can practice dodging humans and form while working on my tan. And since I’ll have to swim in open water without a wetsuit, it’ll help me regain some of that alignment I may have lost in all of the time I’ve spent out of the water.

-I resolve to ride on my trainer while doing my reading (as much as it is possible for me to still comprehend my reading and still focus on the workout). I would like to get at least 2 rides in while I am still in town, and to ride 4 times in the early mornings while in Hawaii.

-I resolve to continue with my marathon training plan, but giving myself permission to drop one of the easy/short runs, or to break up the weekly long run with half-run sandwiches (splitting a 12 miler between 2 consecutive 6 milers)

What’s really important is that Seafair will be the weekend I return from Hawaii, so it is really important that I at least get *half* of my resolved sessions in. AT. LEAST. I’m sure I’ll survive. I think I will. I think I can!

Lessons learned from the last three weeks:

-Respect the distance: Just because you’ve done the distance before, it doesn’t mean you can attempt the distance (comfortably) without the training. During my last race/open water swim I seriously thought I was down for the count. I’ve never flagged down a safety kayak but I did that morning. I ended up making it out of the water just fine but seriously…I can’t let that happen again. It’s a safety hazard at that point. I need to get in the training if I expect to be able to finish these races comfortably.

-Train before your brain knows what’s going on: Making things dead simple and automatic is the name of the game. You perform what you practice, so take the brainpower out of practice by scheduling everything in advance (as much as possible) so that you can focus on execution. This became apparent to me on race morning when I got my gear ready at the last minute (instead of laying everything out the night before) and then being at a loss of how to fuel before the race (since I’ve made it a habit to train in the morning on an empty stomach). It’s one thing to be self-aware…it’s a completely different story to self-correct.

-If you can’t get the little things right, you can’t achieve the bigger things: Seriously…fueling issues? Can’t get my swim training in? How do I expect to ever finish a 140.6 if I can’t nail the little simple things? 140.6 miles is no joke, and it’s a dream I’ve been chasing for years at this point. If I want to go for it, I’ll need to prove that I can stick to something consistently and get the training in. The more I fumble on these little things, the more the bigger goals are out of reach.

Humble brags from the last three weeks:

-Nailing an A-average across both of my grad school classes, despite my insane schedule

-Getting most of my marathon training in, on point and on schedule

-Still cognizant and self-correcting on my triathlon training mishaps

-Actively trying to make better eating choices, going to begin logging my food intake again

-Still managed to finish a triathlon, even though I had some pretty severe highs and lows during the race

-Raised $215 for my Stand Up To Cancer fundraiser in the first week

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