There is a quiet zen to the place where I’m at right now.

There’s no mystery to the path. Eat 1200-1500 calories. Complete the training. Do the recovery. That’s all there is. Chop the wood, carry the water.

I am not averse to hard work. However, I have to know it the difficult thing I’m doing matters. I’m perfectly fine beating my head against a brick wall over and over as long as I have confidence that eventually, my head will win and break through. Throwing myself against an immovable object over and over with a likely outcome that I will end up a bloody pulp is not what I’m all about.

It’s a good thing I’m following a path for which I have a map and plan, and already seeing results. Let’s start here today:

Check out this beautiful chart. It continues to go in the right direction. Please ignore the actual weight because it’s obviously still in “more out of shape than I’ve been in a decade” territory, but not quite as offensively so as it was last month. If I am attempting to walk the same path as I did four years ago, I have some previous data points to measure against – and one of them was being 186 lbs on March 20th that year. It’s February 20th, and I’m 189 lbs. A month ago, this all felt so out of reach, such a hill to climb, so unattainable. Now, if I keep at it, I’m looking to be on course, or even ahead of my progress in 2018.

And by the end of that year, I looked like this (not to mention I set my Half Ironman PR in feels like 100-degree Cozumel, placed 1st in my age group twice, and went to Nationals, but excuse me while I have a non-athlete moment here). It is so difficult to remember that in just one year, I dramatically changed how I felt about myself. And it’s so convenient that I’ve done it before, just four years ago, so I can follow the path again without quite so much self-discovery if necessary. It’s tempting to beat myself up a little bit for needing to do all this work again a scant four years later, but we all just lived through this damn pandemic. Did I react a lot less logically and maturely than I had hoped? Yup. Do I have a time machine? Nope. So, all I can do is move forward.

And so I have. I’ve been at this now since January 10th in a mildly halfarsed manner and then with maximum effort for the last three weeks and progress – she’s happening. If the pretty little chart above isn’t enough proof, let me tell you a story. As a reminder of the before-times, in February of 2018, I had to get dressed and leave the house pretty much every day, so I had a constant metric about my appearance. In February of 2022, I have only had to wear real clothes about twice this month, so my checkpoints are a lot fewer and further between. Yesterday was one of them. I threw on my <3 bike leggings and a t-shirt and headed out for family time. Lo and behold – when I looked at myself in the bathroom during potty breaks, I thought, “hello, lover, dang, you look strong and sturdy right now”. I cannot tell you how much of a relief that is after a year and a half of being frustrated and throwing shade at the mirror.

Not quite back here yet but I see a path

Yeah, ok, maybe nothing tastes as good as skinny fit feels right now. I hate everyone and everything for saying it, most of all myself, but while heckin’ trite, it’s kinda true at the present moment. Don’t worry, I’m not giving up pizza and beer PERMANENTLY or anything, but maybe for the next few months we’ll go with Quest Pizza and straight whiskey instead. Looking at the potential of what’s before me, I can sacrifice being an arsehole with food for a bit to get there. I guesssssss.

In the last seven days, I’ve eaten 1413 calories/average per day. I think this is pretty close to the bottom of what I can do without driving myself insane, so I’m glad that the little chart is going the right way.

Looking at the other side of the equation (output), it’s also going well but not without its challenges.

This week, I didn’t follow my plan as well as I did the week before, but with a 45-minute ride today not pictured (because it hasn’t happened yet), the approximate boxes will be checked. I say approximate, because my #%^&ing heel has been hurting all week after Monday’s run, so I subbed in biking for that time. I tested it out yesterday after my bike and cut the run at 1 mile because it was just uncomfortable.

The positives:

  • Yay swimming! It shall make it’s return 1-2 times a week from now on since we’ve figured out how to make it work for us
  • Keeping up with strength. I’m now at 2×17 and failing on the third set at 15 on my pushups, which is so much closer to knocking out 3×20 than in November when I couldn’t even do one. And. of course, other stuff too, but the pushup is my “north star” of my strength progress.
  • Holding ~130W/15+ MPH on the trainer for however long I bike is now pretty standard rather than the sad 11 MPH I was doing two months ago. Do I need to do some real speedwork/FTP test soon? Yes. Am I enjoying and also improving on my current “do a 30-45 sec spinup every 5 minutes” plan? Also yes. I said I’d do an FTP test in February and I have 8 more days to put that off, thankyouverymuch.

The negatives:

  • Running and my heel. And my reaction to it this week was to ignore it and hope it would go away, rather than aggressively rehab. That ends today. I will ice, stretch, roll, and do band exercises daily until this goes away and stays away.
MFW the heel does not cooperate (but the bike ride was actually great) and yes this is the only angle I take selfies from nowadays I guess

So, next week’s plan will look a little bit different. I’m going to tentatively put one run on it, on Saturday, hoping that my rehab efforts will work, but with permission to cut and (not) run if needed and turn it to more bike miles or an extra swim.

  • Monday: outdoor ride (hopefully a few hours) and a 1000yd+ swim (yay 3-day weekend), shoulders
  • Tuesday: 45 min lunch ride
  • Wednesday: circuits AM, 1000+yd swim PM
  • Thursday: off
  • Friday: 45 min bike AM, push lunch
  • Saturday: 2h15 bike OR convert 15-45 mins of this to a run BUT ONLY IF I HAVE NO HEEL PAIN
  • Sunday: off

Two swims, four rides, three weights, one optional run. Somewhere between 7-8 hours. But also this:

  • Monday: ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises
  • Tuesday: ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises
  • Wednesday: ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises
  • Thursday: ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises
  • Friday: ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises
  • Saturday: hopefully be able to run but then ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises
  • Sunday: ice heel, stretch heel, roll heel, do heel band exercises

…and so on.

Chop Wood. Carry water. This is the way.