Adjusted Reality

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

Month: December 2017

2017 wrap up – an epic year of drive and exploration

I can’t let December 31st come and go without a nod to how the year went, so, without further ado, the tale of the year of freakin’ epicness which was 2017 shall commence.

One of the best moments of 2017.

A Race: Ironman Texas.

Done, and dusted.  It’s kind of amazing to have such a warm glow around a race with so many trials and tribulations during it, and one that you can envision literally taking HOURS off your time with a better day, but you only have one first IM and I’ll always remember it fondly.  Shit canal, Hardy toll road headwind, and wonky knees and all.

I envisioned it as the training being a means to a goal, and all the payoff being that day.  I actually really enjoyed the process, the journey, and I might have been just as proud of some of those long training efforts as I was finishing the Ironman proper.  But that red carpet moment was pretty effing awesome, don’t get me wrong.

Smiling because I did not at that point know exactly how close I had come to Nationals.

Also, getting your big goal race out of the way in April was kind of awesome.  I committed to nothing for the rest of the year and found out a few things:

  • I wanted back on my bike rather quickly and I set goals to ride centuries because they sounded fun.  So, 2017 organically became the year of the bike with over 3500 miles, very little of them indoors.
  • My run training went so well from Jan-Mar, and then everything went to hell, both with my body condition and also my motivation.  It was a very small mileage year with about 450 miles and I’m okay with that.
  • Swimming… eh.  Again, I did a lot to prepare for the IM and then all I wanted to do was ride my bike after.  Even during the summer.  All said, I swam 52 miles this year, so that’s not shabby.
  • Weights – I hit a routine for a while with bodyweight workouts over lunch but struggled to get to the gym to lift heavy most of the year.

I actually had two pretty decent sprint triathlon results at Jack’s Generic and Kerrville (let’s ignore the shitshow that was Lake Pflugerville 8 weeks out of an Ironman), which have ignited my goals to qualify for Nationals next year.

I also spent a lot of time really digging into coaching (got my cert) and psychology reading non-fiction triathlon books, and have started working on my mental game here (and will expand upon this in 2018).

Habits and Practices:

Full of washed veggies. And also cooked and eaten outside.

  • Facebook and twitter – I spent a lot of the year using them sparingly, and then I found some awesome triathlon groups on Facebook and found myself involved (but also wasting a lot of time on social media).  I’ve logged back out in December, and I think I’ll just have to continue to be conscious about the mindless and not-super-relaxing scrolling while watching TV.
  • I made a goal to stop rushing and fumbling with things.  I would not give myself a passing grade on this, and it’s kind of the core of my intentions for next year.
  • Washing my fruits and veggies – I would give myself a 98% on this one.  It’s one of those stupid things not to do and an easy goal to conquer.  It’s now habit.
  • I wanted to weigh less than I did Jan 1, 2017.  Check.  I’m about 5 lbs down, give or take, but that’s still something.
  • Beer January – check.  The rest of the year watching my alcohol portions?  Still something I struggle with – mostly because I have a large tolerance and it doesn’t affect me the way it affects most mortals.  One large slice of cake makes me ill, but I can drink a mess of whiskey and feel fine (as well as the next day).  I also enjoy  whiskey way more than cake.  But… neither of these things are great in large quantities.  The battle continues to control my portions next year.

I made some way-too-ambitious goals for self-enrichment and I think I learned from that for 2018.  If this was my full time focus, if I wasn’t also a triathlete and a wife and a daughter and a full time game producer and didn’t have friends, maybe I could have made more progress – but right now, all those things take priority over these.  And that’s ok.  It’s not my livelihood, its just something I’d like to pursue someday.

One of the best books I read this year…

Learning/Certification:

  • Finish my triathlon coaching class and pass the exam – CHECK
  • After IM Texas, start researching some sort of part time or volunteer opportunity that will help me get some sort of experience. – NOPE.  Instead I rode my bike a lot.  Oops.
  • Continue to work on my social media plan for this blog as practice. Eh… I use hashtags on Insta.  I post occasionally on my AR facebook page.  I haven’t really been trying as of late.  It stopped being a focus and that’s ok.
  • Read some business books and other triathlon training books instead of JUST my pulpy sci fi. – CHECK.  At least 1-2 per month starting in the back half of the year.

Set Up

  • Write a business plan and figure out who I really want to reach and the services I want to provide. NOPE.  I’ve had some thoughts here but nothing concrete.
  • Create a website with all the bells and whistles it needs. NOPE. 
  • Start writing some book notes CHECK.  More than, actually.

(Big) Baby Steps.  By the end of the year I want to:

  • Have a website ready to go that can take people’s money and provide a service. – NOPE. 
  • At the very least, start providing a small service via fiverr or something similar to test the waters. – NOPE.  I decided this wasn’t a great idea until I really decide what my business plan is.
  • Have a published book (even if it’s just self published).  NOPE, but I’m getting close to draft 1 done, so that’s something!

Other Stuff:

Sunsets and stars outside were definitely highlights of 2017.

Game night – we had three and then our end of year booked up so fast we didn’t have a free weekend.  I’m really looking forward to reviving this next year!

Video games – I was really bad at this in 2017.  I wanted to list 20 that I played multiple times, and I can only do the games I work on, Clash of Clans, Dance Dance Revolution, Gran Turismo 5, Stardew Valley, Job Simulator, That’s You, and… errr… that’s it.  Oops.

Vacations: I didn’t do my reunion in Reno/Tahoe, and we chose Bonaire over a liveaboard diving trip, but I was super excited to take all these trips:

And, all the other things.  Did I mention I like goals?

Little stuff:

  • Hem/fix a few pairs of pants. NOPE.  2018?
  • Clean out both cars. CHECK (and then they got dirty again, funny how that happens…)
  • Take my existing extra hoka soles and cut them and put them in my less comfortable shoes. NOPE.  So easy, and not done.  Oops.
  • Appointments
    • Find a new doctor and get an exam – CHECK
    • Financial planner – NOPE (2018)
    • Bike fit – CHECK!
    • Eye doctor appt and exam (my frames are SOOOOO scratched) – CHECK!

Bigger Stuff:

I still have yet to do a full reveal but here are some fruits of our labor…

  • Clean out and renovate the office.  We were hoping to get to it over holiday break, but it didn’t happen. CHECK!!! This is where I’m writing this right now.
  • Figuring out a place to store (or a new home for) this other gaming table we have that is currently threatening to impale anyone that sleeps on the left side of our guest room. CHECK! (It’s right next to me)
  • Make the workout room a proper pain cave with a TV, computers and monitors for Zwifting.  CHECK – the trainers now live in the workout room and I found I actually enjoy music more than movies/screens so we’ve been rocking that (though I haven’t done more than an hour).
  • Figure out a more permanent solution than boxes and a blanket in a closet for the leezard (though she seems ok with it). NOPE – 2018.  She’s fine with it but her plate of salad falls over and makes a mess.  
  • As long as our financial situation seems stable, picking a renovation project (kitchen, patio, etc) and do it. CHECK.  Kitchen has like two things left on the TO DO list (to do later today).
  • Get a shed.  CHECK. 
  • I want to train myself to be ambidextrous on the bike.  NOPE.  Need to work on this one on the cruiser without clips first.
  • iFly.  NOPE.  At least they never expire…
  • Comedy tickets.  NOPE.  We went to a few shows but not enough to use up the tickets.  I gave them away as presents to people at work.  Oh well.
  • #goplayoutside – CHECK.  The camper and being a crazy cyclist really helped me spent a lot of time outdoors.  The last two months (between cold weather and kitchen renovation obligations) have been driving me nuts, but I know playing outside season will come back again and I’ll be out there.

I usually do this thing where I try to distill the year into three words and I’ll do it again.

2017: the year of turtle home, for sure…

Epic.  I mean, yeah, this word is overused, but my first Ironman, riding so many bikes, buying a camper and spending almost three weeks in it in the second half of the year.  25+ hours underwater back in my happy place in Bonaire.   Tri coach certification, finishing a kitchen remodel and a lot of other fairly major house projects, and eeking out 3/4 of a draft of my first novel.  SO MUCH THIS YEAR.

Explore.  I feel like I got to know my town better, biking over what felt like every inch of it over and over.  We camped SIX times in the span of four months in the camper.  I hit the water in five different countries this year.  I also explored the inside of my grey matter a bit pushing myself through Ironman training and racing, and then working on my head game in for Sprints.

Driven.  I felt a pull this year like no other year to really expand my goals beyond being a triathlete.  I’ve wanted to write a book for over half my life and I finally started it.  We’ve been talking about redoing the kitchen since we moved in.  We’ve been talking about Ironman since we started triathlon.  While there are a lot of things on my list still to do from this year, I checked off, or at least started, some of the real big ones.

Hope you have a happy New Year’s Eve, and cheers to a fabulous 2018!

What’s your biggest 2017 accomplishment?  Share in the comments, since goals make me unreasonably happy!

I heart Bonaire.

I love what I do for my job, most of the time.  I love triathlon, like, a lot.  I love camping and spending time playing in the woods.

The face of a happy girl who’s been in the water all damn week.

But I’m pretty sure given the choice of doing anything in the world, this would be it.  I’d wager that a condo within steps to the beach with filled scuba tanks ready and waiting for me whenever I feel like diving under the sea to the most beautiful reef I’ve ever seen would be my first choice 99% of the time.  Diving days are the best days, and when every day is a diving day, it’s like my own personal paradise.  Even the days we didn’t dive were filled with multiple hours of snorkeling, which is sometimes even BETTER.  Some of my favorite pictures and moments came from those days.

A “day to day” of where I snorkeled and dove and ate isn’t going to be that interesting of a story, so I’ll just give you a best of the best.

Diving Locations:

I’ll be honest, there are hundreds of places to dive here, and we’ve hit a very small sample of them, so I can’t give you a cohesive review (yet), but in my narrow opinion, these are the TOPS.

Just breathe.

Bari Reef is my home.  We just happened to stay there on our first trip, and now I never want to stay anywhere else.  It’s beautiful, it’s diverse, and turtles live here even if the house octopus shunned me BOTH trips so far.  We did half of our dives at this one location.  Sure, it’s convenient, but I also stand by my statement that if we could only dive one place, it would be here, and I could dive it four times a day for a month and not get bored.

Sunset on the pier.

Salt Pier is my second favorite dive site in the world.  We drove down there twice early in the week, because I wanted to dive it multiple times, but it was closed (one day there was a salt boat, the other, construction), and then when it was finally open, it took up two of my last six dives of the trip.  The setting is gorgeous even above the water, the background of the thick steel pipes accentuated with coral growths and pops of darting fish.  Also, you always see unique things there.  Last time, we hung out with a giant turtle feeding in four feet of water.  This time, two squid became our friends and hung out while we shot a bunch of pictures and video.  They’re usually so skittish and run away quickly, so it was a treat!

Let me give an honorable mention to Invisibles and Sampler.  Sampler showed me my first (TWO) seahorses.  They’re so tiny!  The were amazing to see, but very difficult to photograph since we had a big group of divers and I only got a few “proof” shots, none that were in focus.  Invisibles had a trench in the first reef that lead you to a second, deeper hidden reef (thus the name Invisibles).  This was the first dive in a while I actually had to watch my nitrogen levels and I was wishing for more time below 60 feet.  I guess it’s time for Nitrox certification so I have that option.

Things I want to hit next time: 1000 Steps.  Last time, Zliten was less than a year out of his bear fight resulting in three leg fractures, so we didn’t want to chance the entry.   This year, we wanted to hit it, but with Zliten getting sick, we didn’t want to walk ALLLLL the way there for potentially a 5 minute dive that we’d have to abort (and then haul a full tank ALLLL the way back up).  Next time, we’ll hit this one early, maybe first dive on the second day.

Underwater moments:

The Bari reef turtles are our homies and we love them.  We saw at least one of them almost every day.  However, two encounters stuck out in my mind.

Wednesday, we were snorkeling, and one of our turtles came to the surface to check on us.  It was breathtaking to float next to him and watch him breathe for a bit and then descend again.

Goodbye, Bari.

Friday, during the last few moments of our last dive, we found one of our turtles under a rock.  He swam and lead us to the other turtle as they danced at the surface for a bit, and then went their separate ways.  We followed the smaller one back to it’s home (it had anchored itself under a rock), and I waved goodbye to it and it literally waved back, I think it was actually mocking my movement because when I stopped, it stopped.

I always say Octopus are my spirit animal (spirit cephalopods, whatevs), but the squid contingent are definitely vying for that place after this trip.

At Salt Pier, we encountered two very large squid that after careful approach, didn’t run away.  We got really close and they were curious about us and our cameras.  I’m used to getting close enough to get a blurry “proof of sight” picture and having them dart away, so it was awesome to get a ton of in focus pictures and video until we swam away, not them.

Squid buddy!

Then, the next dive, at Corporal Meiss, a pod of squid surrounded us and danced – flashing different colors and waving their fins.  We had jumped in there quickly after lunch instead of a planned dive, since we heard there were octopus in the shallows.  Well, they dissed me, and the rest of the dive was pretty mundane, but this made me day.

Our second to last dive at Something Special, I met the next top Angelfish.  This fish was my little superstar.  While these guys aren’t always shy, this one just came up to my camera and would. not. leave. me. alone.  I had to keep backing up to get it’s whole body in the shot.  This is one of my favorite videos (still working on that part but here’s a shot of my favorite angel).  This fish make me laugh out loud and almost lose my regulator.  It was awesome.

My little superstar angel!  I’m pretty sure he would have followed me home if it was possible.

Honorable mention is literally every other moment snorkeling and diving.  Most of these happened the last day of diving.  If that day never happened, I’d have some almost equally amazing memories from other days hangin’ with seahorses and eels, and other turtles and spotted drums and scorpion fish and the little bitty things Zliten points out to me to photograph.  Every dive here is amazing.  Snorkeling Bari could keep me amused for a week straight.  I spent 25+ hours underwater in 7 days for a reason and I’d be right back there now if I could.

Things we missed that I’d love to see next time: we didn’t see any rays, those darn sneaky octopuses, and more seahorses for Zliten

Food highlights:

Diving is the primary objective, food is always secondary, but suuuuuuper necessary.  Diving for 4 hours a day is probably the equivalent to riding bikes for the same amount of time in terms of calorie burn.  I ate SO MUCH.  However, you don’t travel to Bonaire just for the food, but there are some amazing things to eat, and it was hard to narrow it down…

Between Two Buns has to go on this list.  It’s a sandwich shop, it’s only open until 3pm, and the line is always out the door and I don’t think you can pick anything bad on the menu.  I had the Mona Lisa the last day of vacation, which is a salami, buffalo mozzarella pesto, pine nut, peppers and onions sandwich, and it was pretty top notch.  But, I will say that the burger is the best thing there I’ve had so far.

Rum Runners at Captain Don’s needs to be mentioned.  I had one of the best BBQ chicken pizzas of my life as a late lunch one day.  When I returned the last night of the trip, the only reason I didn’t get it again was that I couldn’t bear to throw out the inevitable leftovers.  Instead, I got some chicken pasta that was also to die for.  Last time, I obsessed over their fish fajitas.  I’m also pretty sure the scenery makes the food taste better, as you can watch giant tarpon play in the water from your table.

The Cactus Blue truck was our lunch stop on Monday and Friday.  We had a curry burger and then their specialty, Lionfish burgers.  They are open 11-3pm and they run out of Lionfish EVERY DAY, even with 16 hunters supplying the fish.  I was excited to try it because it was a novelty, but they were honestly EXCELLENT and worth the wait.

Honorable mentions:

  • I had an excellent chicken curry sandwich at a hot dog, ice cream, and peruvian food joint.
  • Breezes and Bites was the restaurant in our complex.  We ate there a lot out of convenience, but they also had pretty tasty food.  They had some delicious fresh fish catch of the day plates (I ate two) and the garlic shrimp was heaven.
  • Our kitchen: we got a pan of lasagna at the store that lasted two dinners and it was so nice to just chill on the patio and not worry about getting dressed in actual clothes.

Things I want to try next time: there was a vegetarian Indian place down the street that sounded awesome.  Honestly, if we had two weeks instead of one, I’d like to take some more time and check out a wider variety of restaurants and check out some of the nightlife downtown… but with our short time there, honestly, it was just getting fuel for the next dive.  On our walks, we found out the complex has some grills and I’d like to make use of them next time.

Things we did not in the water:

Watching the sunsets.  Sometimes we took them in just after (or before) surfacing for a dive, sometimes relaxing with beer on the beach, but Bonaire sunsets are pretty divine.

My husband, the Iguana whisperer…

Feeding the iguanas.  At first they were skittish, but once they learned that we would save our fruit and veggie scraps for them, they would actually follow us around.  We named them.  There was Wild and Crazy guy, Little Shit, Zliten’s best friend, Red Dewlap… they were our friends.

Taking pictures of the property.  This place pretty much photographed itself and it couldn’t help but be stunning.  This is now the lock screen on my phone and I get a little Bonaire every time I look at it and it makes me happy.

There were a few imperfect things about the trip:

The travel there is not terribly convenient.  I mean, it’s no Australia, and it’s better from Austin-Houston-Bonaire than some places where people were taking four or more connecting flights, but it’s still a 13 hour travel day end to end because of the inevitably long Houston layover.

Zliten caught a cold partway through the trip.  We thought his diving was done for the trip on Tuesday when he couldn’t even get below 15 feet because of sinus congestion.  We tried failed a few attempts on Tuesday before we gave up, and spent Wednesday snorkeling instead.  However, due to handy advice from the internet and dive friends, he went and found some heavy duty meds (Aleve D – a mix of two aleve and two sudafed in one pill) and by Thursday afternoon he was resurrected and did six more dives in a day and a half.   He was an interesting person to be around (sudafed makes him crazy) and I think he borrowed against feeling better quickly since he’s still recovering, but I’m pretty sure he’d say that it was worth it.  Also, he was an AMAZING spotter while on sudafed,  He found all the things.

The last day, while snorkeling, I lost one of my lights on my camera rig.  No idea how it came off and even scouring the area for another 30 minutes, I didn’t find it.  It’s not cheap, so that stinks, but at least it was the last day.  It’s the least important thing on my set up to lose, and it’s only money.  I didn’t lose my memory card or anything.

All in all though, no big deal.

If you’re interested in more oceans, sunsets, yummy food, and selfies, click on over and check out my Facebook album.  I’ll be adding videos too when I figure a few things out.

This trip really solidifies my desire to own property there someday.  Yeah, I say that a lot.  I’d have 10 different houses if I could and maybe that’s actually how I’ll end up retiring someday.  However, this place feels like home.  The ocean in my backyard.  The ability to freely, on my schedule, without a hassle, take a hundred steps from my back door, and be in the water and under the sea gives me immeasurable joy.  Palm trees.  Iguanas.  Beautiful blue sky and ocean.  This is my happy place.  I heart Bonaire.

2018 has other plans (Cozumel), but we’re already tentatively penciling in another trip in 2019, and if possible, for two weeks this time.

Where is your vacation happy place?

Proof of Life

I assure you, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  Hi!

I have not yet made my transition to fish-person.  However, it was a close call.

Soon, I can’t wait to tell you about my adventures in Bonaire!

I miss waking up with this view in my backyard. 🙁

I also can’t wait to bore you with about a million fish pictures.

This is from 2015.  I have about 303954565 hours of picture and video editing to do for 2017’s trip.  But if you like turtles, it’s totally worth the wait!

I’d like to talk about the start of my lil bitty training block for 3M.

Last year, it was “I only have to run 13.1 miles? Sweet.” This year, it’s “I have to run HOW LONG?”

I definitely want to share with you the awesome winter solstice bike adventure I had yesterday.

I also need to sit down and really talk about my goals next year, in sport, life, and as a human being.

However, I have been uber mean and selfish and have been spending my computer hours writing my book instead of doing any of that shit.  I’m at about a 204 page 12 point font manuscript, with the first draft of 11 out of 15 chapters penned… err… typed, and plan to start #12 today, though with Christmas festivities starting in just a few hours, I’m not confident I’ll finish until sometime next week.

While I had a whimsical dream of finishing this before the end of the year, I also am pretty stoked at being so far through it when I wrote the first words in JUNE and then didn’t really get rolling until August.  I have a loose map and a plan of how I want to proceed next year, and realistic expectations that it may take more than even 2018 until I’m officially a published author of a my own book.

For now, let me take this moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, a truly Cranky Festivus with an airing of ALL the grievances, hope you had a super Haunnaka if that’s your jam, and I hope you are with all your friends and family, or having a quiet day in your PJs playing video games or binging netflix solo, whatever floats your boat and tweaks your knickers.

Can you spot the unintentional ornament? 🙂

If you feel extra #blessed (no sarcasms) this holiday season, consider donating to a charity.  We felt ridiculous after wrapping our presents and gave some money to Child’s Play – if you have extra $$ and no idea where to throw it, they work with hospitals worldwide to provide toys and games to kids who are staying there.

Happy merry everything, and I’ll be back next week!

 

Home Stretch

When you’re at mile 24 of the marathon, no matter how terrible things are, they start to get good again, because you really and truly are ALMOST THERE.

Almost there, even if it feels like we might be painting forever…

When last we spoke I was at the painful point where I hadn’t been able to cook in my kitchen or wash a dish for about 2.5 weeks.  I was prepared for about 2.  It was finally getting to me.  However, between Thursday and Sunday, everything pretty much fell into place.

Thursday, our counters got installed.  While I was bummed we had to wait 24 hours to hook up plumbing, it was so nice to be able to put things on the counter.  It sounds so minor but all of a sudden, I could actually chop up a salad in my kitchen and it was amazing.  Then, on Friday, the in laws came and helped us with a ton of work, including hooking up the plumbing (Zliten wanted me to share that HE helped with that too).  Friday night I loaded the dishwasher and it was the most glorious thing ever.

Saturday, we were supposed to do an 8 mile run but slept until NOON instead (apparently 12 hours of sleep was necessary) and then got right to work on the kitchen.  Throughout the weekend we installed all the cabinet hardware, cabinet shelves, unpacked all the boxes, and got a under-the-sink mounted trash can and installed that.  By Sunday, not only did our kitchen feel like a kitchen with some minor cosmetic issues, the rest of our house was no longer trashed either and we had set up the Christmas tree inside.  Life felt back to normal, pretty much.

I’m proud of how we’ve handled the remodel.  Everyone kept telling us that things would be so crazy, and it was, kind of, but we were ready for (most) of it.  So, one year, I actually got picked for a trial in the Jury Duty pool.  It was something I tried to avoid and dreaded but it actually was an interesting experience that I think everyone should go through once.  I feel like this with the kitchen.  We kept our shit pretty calm.  We were so lucky to have knowledgeable and helpful in laws to guide us through the work, but I think the kitchen will mean more to us when it’s done because it’s got some of our blood, sweat, and (very few) tears in it.

Yesterday, our fabulous in laws put up all the backsplash and after work we painted the walls.  I figured it wouldn’t be that much different (the old color is inside the tape around the green fairy) but going from warm spring green to cool minty green makes the kitchen look SO much better with the other colors we’ve chosen.  We have a little more paint work to finish up (and figure out how we’re framing the fairy), the fam is going to grout and finish the backsplash, and we still need to deal with a few pieces of tile but man, we are close!!!

The rest of my life is sort of limping along behind all this remodel stuff and I’m coming into my last few days of work for the year on fumes.  I haven’t had a workout plan in weeks.  When I do motivate and get my ass moving, I’m enjoying it and it feels great.  However, it’s now week 7 of no schedule and somewhere between 2-4 hours of trackable activity (not counting walks and lifting heavy things during the remodel).  I have to remember that this is how normal humans do things.  Normal people don’t ride their bikes for 5 hours a day.

Still getting to play bikes, but the miles are few and far between.

I do miss being abnormal though.  On the weekend trips to Lowes for ONE MORE THING WE NEEDED, we’d see a billion people riding their bikes and get really sad for a moment.  I miss that stuff.  I just have to remember, besides the kitchen looking amaaaaaazing, these good things have happened to me with 7 weeks off:

#1 – I have lost weight.  Makes absolutely no sense, right?  I stop training and tracking and the magic happens.  The week I did the Livestrong ride, I was 185.7 average.  I’m 182.8 this week and my highest weight this month has been 183.7 so far (and that’s a good sign as my weight usually stabilizes around a number – right now 182-183 – for a bit right before it swings down).  It’s slow going but I’ve made just about as much progress on weight loss in the last 7 weeks than the 6 months prior.

#2 – My body has healed.  My heel is back to 100% now, and I currently don’t have any aches, pains, or niggles.  All the residual fatigue of the Ironman coupled with summer and fall’s training is totally gone.  While I’m sure I’ve lost some fitness, I’m super excited for my body to kind of be a blank slate right now so I can mold it back up into a faster, shorter course athlete for a while.

Either way, training resumes December 18, nothing crazy in terms of hours, but I will be maintaining a schedule with actual prescribed workouts instead of “let’s go do something today for a while… or not…”.  I may actually be excited enough about it that I’m working up a schedule now.

I’m hesitant to be all *WOO WOO SUB 2 hour half marathon* anymore at 3M because 5 weeks is not a long time to train, but I’m interested to see what I can mold myself into in that time.  And, of course, I’m going to show up and see what happens, because sometimes what happens is MAGIC.

November wrap up, December goals

Well, it’s now December.  The last month of 2017.  Holy crap, that went FAST!

Fast, unlike the trot of turkeys I did on Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk about what didn’t happen, because it’s kind of a LOT.

  • Swim at least twice.  (I swam ZERO yards.)
  • Ramp up running (at least as much as I had envisioned November 1st)
  • 8 Strength sessions (I think I did… two?)
  • Eating healthy food every day but Thanksgiving
  • Tracking my negative diet quality calories.  I did some days, but fell off after we started remodeling.
  • Finish the Carl Sagan book.  I’m at 70% – I’ve had to do this one in 10% chunks between my other books).
  • Finish 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I’m halfway through and could power through it in a night if I wanted, but I’m actually enjoying reading one section at a time and absorbing it.  So, I’ll try to finish it this week.
  • We did not make it to a comedy show.  So I really need to figure out what to do with my 7 pairs of tickets because that’s a lot to do in one month.

While usually I’d be bummed about admitting all this, not this month.  My body has appreciated the break from formal training and has enjoyed just generally being active a few hours a week.  My give-a-shit is at full capacity with the kitchen remodel and wrapping up work for the year.  Here’s what I have accomplished:

  • I wrote two chapters in my book.  Admittedly enough, I had two random days off, and those were the days I did it, but hey, small victories.  I am now at 8.5 chapters of 15 planned, so I’m over halfway!
  • We went camping and had a lot of fun at the tri series party.
  • I launched one major update at work and am a few days from a smaller one.
  • And, most importantly, we have finished like 95%  of our kitchen remodel.  Which is all the bullet points I need to feel good about what I’ve done or not done this month.  When I wrote my To Dos last month, I seemed really concentrated on the logistics, not realizing EVERYTHING that went into the actual doing.  I basically spent the second half of November painting things while everyone else did the harder stuff.

Holy crap, y’all, it’s a usable kitchen!!! …even if it needs paint and a backsplash and some other stuff…

I’m actually happy to have had the experience.  Would I do it again?  Yes and no.  Doing the cabinets ourselves mostly just took time and having done it once, I would be *ok* trying to do it again if we weren’t under a huge time pressure.  Paint and hardware, no problem.  However, our in-laws replaced all the drywall and did the electrical and the plumbing (changing where the sink and dishwasher were) and I would DEFINITELY not have taken that into our own hands.

I also do not regret paying people to do the counters.  Like, one bit.  They were 3 hours in, out, and on with their lives and apologized to me that it took so long.  No. freaking. problem.

So, while there’s still some minor cosmetic stuff to do, we’ve got a fully functioning kitchen and our house is relatively clean (and will be completely back to normal by the middle of this week).  That’s a huge relief.  I was pretty good about that through most of the process, but when we unpacked the last box yesterday, I felt so much more relaxed, much more than I realized.

So, December.  Last month of the year!  This month is about wrapping all that up and returning to a bit of relaxed normalcy in terms of training, eating, and life.

Let’s talk training. 

My cycling miles have gone from hundreds to tens.  Like last week, I think I literally biked 10 miles.

For sanity’s sake, the OFFICIAL schedule resumes mid-month because, reasons, but from now until then my goals are:

#1 – build up my run miles and start incorporating a little speed 1-2 times a week.  These can be little fartlek sections, track intervals, but I need to start seeing some 9s on my watch in small doses.

#2 – resume strength training – 2x week, even if it’s just a Oiselle dozen or 15 mins of pushups and random stuff, I need this habit back in my life.

Everything else will come later.  I miss the pool.  I miss playing bikes for hours on end.  I miss lifting heavy.  But right now I’ve got a bit of the run love back and I’m excited to nurture that!

Food/Scale

I give myself about a… B- for nutrition last month.  I am so glad I cooked up so much healthy food – we ate almost everything, minus one soup I’ve got thawing for tomorrow.  During the weekdays, we ate reasonably well when we were eating at work.  However, at home, on the weekends, we definitely reverted to pizza (twice) and italian sandwiches on french bread and some other super yummy but admittedly junk foods to keep everyone fed and without prep or cleanup.  I don’t regret it at all, but I remember one Saturday thinking that my intake for the day had been a kolache and four slices of pizza and a small salad.  Not my normal eating patterns for sure.

My official weight average this month is 184.1.  I weighed 24 times so it’s a pretty good average.  That’s -1.2 lbs down.  As frustrating as this slow going progress is, it’s still progress.  And I know because this morning, when I weighed 184.7, I was like, ack, that’s up a bit.  Last month this time I would have been stoked.  I’m really hoping I can see a 170-something number this month, if I made it through Thanksgiving and a remodel with a weight loss, surely I can make it through December with the scale continuing to be my friend, right?

So, I’m making the same goals this month as last month.

  • I will track all negative diet quality foods for this month starting today.
  • Exceptions: vacation, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve.  Vacation, I’ll be diving too much to gain weight, and I’ll allow myself those other days to celebrate and not worry about calories or the quality of my food.  Every other day is normal healthy eating because these are the holi-DAYS, not holi-MONTHS.

Life!

Hoping to get back to more of this in December!

December is a good month progress here because I’m off work for most of it so I can actually do stuff but also have time to relax.  Last year I powered through a lot of my triathlon coach training.  This year, I hope to make a bunch of progress on my book in a similar fashion.

I have 7.5 chapters left.  I would like to knock out at least FOUR of them.  I have five days off while Zliten is at work, and I’m giving myself one of those days where I just can’t even and not making any progress between Christmas and New Years.  If I can get more, great.  The overall goal: it would be a nice birthday present to finish the first draft by next March.

Finish all the little kitchen things and get my house back to it’s normal organized chaos.  What’s left:

  • Bolster kick plate on the peninsula so we don’t need extra tile
  • Fix tile spots
  • Backsplash
  • Touch up cabinets
  • Paint walls

I have a little bit of organizing I’d like to do with the spice rack and pantry but that’s all future goals.

Write a personal mission statement.  In reading 7 Habits of Effective People, I see a lot of things I do well and a lot of things I could do better.  Establishing a core set of principles in an easily distilled statement I can refer to when I’m making decisions in all aspects of life sounds like a good idea.  While my husband kindly brought up that I sort of do that on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, I feel like crystallizing words around who I aim to be is a good exercise.  Of course, this also includes coming up with 2018’s map and plan like normal.

We get to go back to one of my favorite places in the world!!!

Figure out how to travel lightly.  For this vacation, we purchased BCDs and regulators for diving (they cost only double the gear rental fee for just that week and we’ll never have to rent again).  However, that means our scuba gear now takes up most of two large suitcases and the camera equipment takes a small one.  We are going to have to travel REALLY sparsely otherwise.  Good thing four swimsuits, two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, two pairs of sandals, and a cover up doesn’t take much room (but I need to limit it to pretty much that).

Take my annual facebook/twitter break.  It was mentally necessary last year.  This year, I’ve found some awesome groups to be a part of, so these sites don’t stress me out as much as they did last year this time with all the political BS, but I still .  It will get logged out on my phone the day I leave for vacation and I’ll limit myself to it when I’m in front of my actual desktop for a while.

Play some GAMES!  This is usually the month I actually get a chance to lose myself in some video games and I really am looking forward to it!

Catch up on my reading.  Finish Carl Sagan, The 7 Habits, and choose at least two more – probably the 4 hour work week and Bedtime Stories for Triathletes, but I also just bought two running books that probably would make sense to read while I’m training for a half marathon, not to mention some new fiction I’m looking forward to… ah, the life of a hangry bookworm.

I’m looking forward to enjoying another month of THIS beauty we put up yesterday…

Relax.  I have 24 days off work starting at 6-ish PM on Friday.  While I’ve made it through a little less haggard than I have in some previous years, I definitely need some time to recharge and become a patient, pleasant, and kind human being again.

Happy December, everyone.  What’s up in your neck of the woods?  Fun holiday plans?  Heading to a tropical destination? Netflix and PJs? Becoming a ski instructor for the winter?

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