Today marks 4 months from the start of #projectspring, and the official end of the time I had allotted for a break from being an athlete.
Overall, I cannot stress enough how transformative and refreshing this season of being a human person was. I knew I was mentally burnt out and I needed some time to heal my poor little broken pysche. I knew I was physically weak and needed some time to stop rubbing salt in my hip injury by running on it and just stay off of it for WAY longer than I wanted to admit. I knew I needed some time off to focus on other things in my life that had been back burner-ed because they were starting to really bug me, but I didn’t have the time or attention or the fucks to give while training.
What I didn’t know is that I needed some time to… change. Evolve. Spin life a different way. I could barely see my way out of never being enthusiastic about a thing again in March. I had no idea it was time to start a whole lot of fairly dramatic shifts in my life.
I set out with a rather large to do list, and I’m happy to say that I’ve made a whole lot of progress. Can I check everything off the list? Not a chance. The best laid plans go astray, and sometimes priorities change in the middle of the road. However, now that I really and truly grasp the SPIRIT of what I wanted to accomplish (and I full admit that I DID NOT when I started this process), and I’m going to say that it was a big success.
March was really about shedding fatigue, getting my mojo back and establishing some habits (-1000 calories less than I burn per day, 10k steps per day, tracked by fitbit). If you were to go back and reread my posts from earlier in the year and then compare them with these, my attitude is night and day different. I didn’t feel like myself through the winter. Now, I’m back to being the happy, optimistic, dare I say even PEPPY person again instead of feeling like I’m dragging myself around through life. Camping helped – weekends without to dos, cell phone reception, and just QUIET really helped me calm the fuck down. I also successfully navigated myself through a 10 mile running race, thoroughly enjoying myself with a significant personal worst.
The second month was about starting things. In April, I started started tackling the to do list in earnest, starting with the easier stuff. I forgave my bike and started riding it again, and went camping, and started a weights program, and even ran maybe once or twice for funsies. I revamped my website, I edited my diving photos, I organized some parts of my house. I got a hammock and started enjoying my yard (until the heat and the bugs killed that dream), I paddled on the lake a lot and in the lake a little. This is also the month where my body FINALLY started getting the memo that we were going to start losing some weight. Slowly.
May changed me. First of all, I got this crazy (for me) short haircut. At first it terrified me, but then I came to love it. It was almost as if all the dead weight in my hair fell away and I felt… freer. I went on vacation and came back to find my company had made a lot of changes. This shocked me into really pondering what I want to be when I grow up and reminded me that stagnation is death of the soul, and diversifying yourself as a person is an important thing. I also started my journey to bike love this month, and found out that commuting via two wheels is THE BEST.
June held a triathlon, my first race in 2.5 months, where I found that my fitness was not all that bad for slacking for months. A refreshed psyche actually makes up for a lack of training pretty well! I got back to training a little bit, riding lots of bikes, swimming some, continuing the weight training, and running as little as I could justify (because, heat). We also purchased our very own triathlon bikes, and found that they are a) awesome and b) definitely different and going to take a while to get used to.
We wrapped up #projectspring with party camping for the fourth of July, cleaning out the side yard, and here we are. It’s July 15th – where am I?
I’m 3 weeks into training for Austin 70.3 because it just felt like it was time to start. I’m a few weeks away from becoming a Certified Personal Trainer and get to start on my Sports Nutrition Specialist and Triathlon Coach certification here soon. I’m on two wheels every chance I get. I’ve lost enough weight to say that I’ve completely erased the horrible nutrition experiment of fall 2015. I also seem to have found a way of skating the line of fueling myself well enough to train but also slowly inching the number on the scale down.
Most importantly, I feel so far removed from that shell shocked, broken girl who put this post up with a brave face and a lot of hope, but also a lot of fear. Fear there was something broken mentally and physically that couldn’t be repaired, fear of goals I really wanted to achieve but they were out of reach, fear I’d decide I like sitting on my couch better than doing any of this shit. Luckily, I found none of those things to be true and I can’t think of too many four month periods where I’ve changed my life more.
I like specifics, so let’s go line by line for funsies:
- Get my enthusiasm back. Gosh, I never want to be that much of a zombie again. Overtraining and burnout is real, yo. I am so happy to be on the other side of it. Check, and check.
- #projectraceweight. Well, it was a good attempt. All told, my highest weight was 195.something, and today I weighed in at 182.something on evil white scale. So at the swingy ends, I lost about 13 lbs in 4 months. Not *exactly* what I was looking for but at least the scale number went down and I followed the program pretty closely. I learned a lot.
- First of all, there is definitely a level of activity that is not zero in which it’s easiest for me to lose weight. 1200 calories is VERY hard to adhere to and that’s what I get on zero training. Raising my activity enough to earn some extra food per day but not to the point where my hunger goes crazy is an art and a science, but it was the key.
- Even if you make the numbers line up, it won’t always work out. It took me SIX WEEKS before I saw any sort of meaningful progress being REALLY good. I just had to keep at it. Persistence pays off.
- For the last seven or so years, my days where I’ll have some drinks is determined by what days I don’t have to get up and train in the morning. When you don’t have to train in the morning ever, it’s kinda hard to resist Jim Beam’s siren song more often than you should, especially when you’re going through a lot of personal and professional stuff.
- 13 lbs doesn’t sound like that much, but it definitely is the difference between hating my appearance most days at the higher weight to liking my appearance most days at the lower one.
- I had expected a hard stop on maintaining a deficit when I started training again, but it seems like I’m able to continue at this point of early season. Tons of people lose weight while training for these things, perhaps I can too.
- House projects. I hate doing this shit, like I REALLY detest and resent the time spent cleaning and organizing, but I love the results. Can someone just HGTV this stuff for me while I’m away for a few weeks? That’d be nice. We got most of the little projects done and specifically held off on the bigger ones until we can determine whether doing it as CHEAP as possible or doing it as QUICKLY as possible is the priority.
- Cleaned and organized the workout room. It still needs some love to become the pain cave, but that involves some creative problem solving with 6 bikes we use on a weekly basis and gear storage until we get the shed. However, it’s no longer a room full of junk and crap and unusable. That’s progress.
- Cleaned and organized the vanity area. This one was a pain in the ass, but it seems to be working out alright. I am SO thrilled not to have crap all over and a place to put everything. Check.
- Cleaned out the guest closet. There was so much crap there that was completely unnecessary to keep. Donated it to Goodwill or threw it away. There’s a lot of room for other things in there now too (or, a guest could use it as a closet, go figure).
- BONUS: cleaned out the side yard workshop area. This wasn’t on the list, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. There’s still STUFF there, but you can actually walk through without getting caught on 8 year old broken kiddie pools and empty boxes.
- The office did NOT get done (or started). It’s the one project we didn’t get to. It’s actually on the list to start working on after we finish the personal training class, so I have faith this will not be on the resolution pile in January.
- Planning for the big stuff: we got an estimate (though it seemed REALLY scary low) for the kitchen work, we looked at sheds, we’re pricing out the electronics for the pain cave, but we’re in a bit of shell shock with money expenditures with the tri bikes, some unexpected car expenses, paying for vacations this spring, and work bonuses still up in the air. Maybe we’ll pull the trigger on some of this later in the year, maybe it will wait.
- Become a
biker chickadept cyclist comfortable on the roads and get a tri bike. I have been rambling on about this a whole lot, so let’s say check check checkity check and move on.
- Website revamp. I’m super happy with how things turned out. If I someday need to make a website that makes money or supports a business, I have more to learn. But for now, I have a clean, reasonably nice looking soapbox to stand on. That’s all I need for now.
- Process my Bonaire Pics. Yep! Now, I still need to process my ROATAN pics. That goes on my to do list for this weekend.
- Camping once a month. Well, we did March, April, and July. We missed May because of vacation and other commitments and by June it got really hot. July was only really possible because we were camped on someone’s property with a pool. I’m looking forward to some more outings in the fall when it starts to cool off!
- Spending lots of time in and on the water. Although falling in love with cycling has taken away some of the water time, I’m doing my best to maintain a balance. Check and check.
- Going and DOING THINGS. To be honest, this just really fell off. It’s not as if life is boring around here, but I just never prioritized “go downtown for this random festival” over riding bikes or camping or playing in the water, or everything else.
- Creativity during downtime. While I did not do this to the letter, I’m going to change this one over to “learn some new stuff” and call it a win. With the personal training classes, working on my book, and some other super secret squirrel things that are in the dreaming/plotting/scheming stages right now, my time is definitely occupied doing some productive, fun, and learning stuff.
So now, we move on to the next phase. Honestly? I thought there would be much more of a harsh transition. July 14? #projectspring. July 15? Something completely different. That’s how I came into this process. However, I think I just needed the hard stop on the front end because I was kind of miserable and badly needed to change. I’m kind of the opposite right now, so I think I’ll just continue on with what I’m doing right now, switch a few letters in the hashtag, and call it #projectsummer.