Adjusted Reality

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

Month: December 2022

2022 – it’s a wrap

As I’m finally settling down from all the holiday celebrations for a long winter’s nap, it’s time to reflect on 2022.

While I’m lamenting being boring this fall and not going anywhere exotic, it’s simply to counteract the excitement of the previous months. See below.

*Geez, I’m behind writing about that trip. I’ll catch up… someday.

After all that, I really needed to spend Thanksgiving week and also need to spend this seventeen-day holiday vacation right where I am now – home. I know it’s the right decision when the last two weeks of Facebook memories from 2019 spun me a magical tale of a two-week diving trip in Bonaire, and I’m not sad. I want to go to there to do that, and planning on it in 2023, but there’s shit to do here first.

But, I digress. Let’s take a trip in the way back machine to January 2022 and see what progress I’ve made since then on my goals and intentions.

Oh, Dec 31st, 2021 me, the places you’ll go this year!

#1 – Establishing work/life boundaries.

Huge, and successful check. Much of this has come in the last few months and is a result of a long road of hiring and/or training and empowering the right people, but some has also come from letting go a bit. The end result is that I’m able to prioritize other things besides work in my day and not feel utterly behind or guilty about letting someone down or something slide. I’ve got support! Feels good man!

Do I still wake up and look at our daily summary first thing in the morning and check Teams? Often yes. But then I put it down and do 10 minutes of meditation and often follow that up with a workout before I just roll right out of bed and start working. The concept of finishing my day at the end of core hours was laughable this time last year. Now often I can put work away at the end of the normal workday, eat dinner, and do non-work things instead of heading back for my previously regular evening focus session.

I’m incredibly proud and have become protective of this progress. I’m unafraid of hard work, and I certainly expect there to be ebbs and flows, but I shouldn’t consistently have the plate like the one I create at the Jason’s Deli salad bar. Because when the extra broccoli comes around – that plate can’t bear another piece. My current plate can take on some extra broccoli. And I love me some broccoli!

This has done wonders for my attitude and positivity. I’m genuinely happy to get up and do the things I get to do most mornings and I complain about fewer things these days.

Training in the gym so I can do some BANG! and POW! IRL

#2 Be 165 lbs by December 31st 2022

Well, unless I chop off part of an arm, I think I’m going to have to consider this one a miss. However, I’m trending in the right direction, finally. I make progress when I can establish and stick to a routine. Some curve balls are okay once I’m on the right path (hallo Christmas parties!), but there’s a limit to what I can bear before my habits go ‘a whirling off into the ether. Looking back in 2022, I made the best progress in February, June, November, and December. Shocker – those were the months that I wasn’t travelling and could focus on habit, routine, and doin’ the right things.

I will cite some successes here:

  • I have successfully made regular strength training with a trainer a thing this year. The high-180s weight I’m at right now is a vastly different high-180s that I was in summer 2021. My clothes fit better, and I feel sturdier. I definitely feel much less injured. This is a better timeline.
  • I know what is needed to make progress. It takes tracking my food daily, weighing daily, staying at ~1500 calories or under per day, weight training, getting as many steps as I can each day, and doing cardio with some level of intensity more days of the week than not. This is the tried-and-true recipe. It is science, not art. Now I need to continue the practice until I can again run 8-minute miles and smash faces on the bike and don all the clothes I miss wearing and feel good in my own skin. But I remember HOW, which is half the battle.
  • This is the lightest I’ve been all year. There were a few points where I got close but then I let life get in the way, and I’d reverse all my progress and more. Now, I’m three months into consistently good habits, and progress is happening. My current trendweight is 187.7. My average weight the first week I started weighing at the end of October was 192.9. 5 down lbs in 2 months? I’ll happily continue that slow and steady trend.
Sometimes first is indeed worst (if no one else in your AG finishes)

#3 Toe the line of an Ironman Do some races

I gave up on the Ironman very quickly once I realized it wasn’t my passion this year. And I still have no regrets. However, once that big scary goal went away, it highly deprioritized triathlon for me. I still hung on early in the year to limp through the X-50 (1 mile swim, 40-mile bike, and 9-mile run), but I had to keep pushing through injury/imbalance to do it and I came in DFL. And, as they say, DFL is better than DNF, which I also did this year – at Kerrville sprint triathlon due to the same stupid injury that wouldn’t go away. My only other race was Pflugerville, which was just one day after the exercise embargo was lifted after Covid recovery – and I’d honestly say this one went the best since I performed as expected. This was not a banner year for sport, in fact, it’s probably one of the worst in memory.

I hit rock bottom mentally after DNF’ing Kerrville at the end of September. I’m super glad I did though. It made me really realize the bullshit I’ve been perpetuating for the last few years (“hey, I signed up for this race and then effed off and didn’t prepare for it”; also “hey I have this injury, I think I’m just going to ignore rehab and just hope it goes away”) need to staaaaaaahp. I can’t expect my body to output stardust and miracles when I have been feeding it garbage and nonsense.

So instead, I stopped being a super self-sabotaging idiot for the most part and started doing the right things again even though I didn’t feel like I deserved them (crappy thinking but the truth) and guess who’s got two thumbs and running pain-free 5ks again? Oh yeah, that’s me.

What else was on my 2022 goals list?

I’ve been everywhere, man.

General Stuff:

  • Not being afraid to fail in public – I think I’m pretty good at this these days. 🙂 I’m wearing my “Shhh, I’m overthinking” socks right now and they feel like they’re from another era of my life. I’ve realized that I am doing the best I can and that everyone that stood where I stand now was making stuff up as they went along sometimes.
  • Pavlovian relaxation response – I am still looking for the thing that automatically signals “let’s chill the eff out”. I am also looking to make guitar a habit again. Maybe I will work these two goals together to end of the workday with a few songs.
  • Travel plans – yep! Went all the places. Carribean cruise twice, Berlin, Hamburg, Koln, Brussels, Paris, and camping in San Antonio, Denton, Krause Springs, and Kerrville. Probably could have swung a diving trip, and/or a bit more camping this fall, but it was a conscious choice.
Though I haven’t been playing much, at least I have style when I do?

Hobby List:

  • Three new guitar songs – nope. I learned one (Pearl Jam, Black) and part of another (California Dreamin’) but since I’ve been playing less often, I’ve just been playing the songs I know.
  • Painting more – yep! I put some more finished pieces on the wall this year, I painted some minis, and I am working on a project livening up a very-thoughtful-but-definitely-not-my-style gift. I have new paints and canvases and always would love to do more but I’m not going to specifically goal-set with this hobby and instead enjoy picking up a brush when the muse finds me.
  • Fiction writing – this was a big nope until four days ago. Then I got inspired in the middle of the night with how I’d re-arrange and begin the Fork Files and got started the next morning and I’ve been writing for a few hours every day since. I’m about… 10% through a true first draft of what I’d like to make into the first book. Yet more momentum I didn’t expect even a week ago!
  • Photo gallery – also nope. Maybe over break as well but also maybe not. Heh.

It’s been a middling year in terms of hobby goals, but I also decided that I needed to take the pressure off ACHIEVING things in my spare time with work being as it was. I spent a lot of time editing photos and reading books and I have picked up a few games that aren’t Bloodbowl lately. Leisure has been relaxing and pleasurable, and I don’t regret it at all. I have NOT done the thing I hate and spent an inordinate amount of time doom scrolling social media, so I’ll call it an overall win.

Though I got so dang close to winning the championship… twice!

Adulting list:

  • Doctor for checkups – yep! And then I ended up having some minor surgery after which I feel a little bit better in a way I didn’t realize I felt worse before.
  • Investment property – nope. We’re still debating strategy and saving money for it.
  • Fixing the living room floor – also nope. It’s not getting worse, so it’s just going on the future “fix the house” list.

While this isn’t a great showing here, I also did some things NOT on the list. We cleaned out the office and the front guest room and have more projects to do over break. I’m okay with this progress and it has some momentum behind it for next year.

The office has carpet!!! And space to play and work.

And I generally end the year with three words. I don’t have clear winners this time, but I’ll give it a try.

Potential – this is both positive and negative. I see amazing things afoot, but that also means they have not yet been achieved. There are many examples in work, triathlon, health, and life where I’m excited about where I could be going, but not where I am right now. However, there is PROMISE if I stay focused.

Promise – even though I didn’t really complete a lot of my goals, I nailed the most important one (work/life balance). This shows promise that with proper focus, I can make progress on anything else on my list in the future as I have time and space to do so. Many things in my life feel promising right now. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I’m feeling very encouraged about my trajectory. That’s a great way to end a year!

Priorities – I am in a situation right now with work and life where I have about 300% of the things I want to do in 100% of the time. This last week of “hobbymas” has been excellent – and has shown me that even without work in the mix, I would more than fill my days with activities I enjoy and not be bored. I’m training a handful of hours a week and I could definitely do more (and would need to, should I want to undertake longer races again). At work, I could dive deeper into a lot of things and cause more problems (in a good way) to solve, and I could easily be back at that 150-200% I was at this time last year. Instead, I’ve done my best to use all the time I have in my day as wisely as possible to have the best mix of work, activity, hobbies, and relaxation.

While each year it takes a few thousand words to get here, I now can sum up my year thusly – I may have taken longer than I’d like to get where I am now, but I like where that is, and like where it promises to go next. That means I’m doing something right.

The most wonderful time of the year

I feel like I blinked, and two weeks have passed.

And in the same time frame, all the leaves seem to have teleported to the ground.

First and foremost, let me brag that I ran not one, but TWO pain-free 5ks this week. 35-ish minutes of running feels like plenty right now, and my legs have one pace (easy) but this is now a thing that I can do again, which is very very very exciting after 2 years of fits and starts. My stride, for the first time in forever, feels good and enjoyable. I can get into the flow and enjoy the active meditation of the run instead of being on constant injury watch. I put together Thursday’s presentation in my head on Monday’s run, while enjoying 50 degrees with fog and drizzle. Thursday, I got high 30s and sunny, which is probably my second favorite running weather (the first being Monday’s!). I’ve been so disappointed to be injured during the most wonderful time of the year to run and I’m so here for it in 2022.

So, what now? Nothing. Well, sort of. I plan to continue to run this distance for cardio 2-3 times a week, and that’s enough for a while. Once that feels easy peasy lemon squeezy, I’ll start working on that stuff the garmin keeps bugging me about – anaerobic speedwork. However, for now, I’m just super happy to be able to smiley jog 11-minute miles around my neighborhood a few times a week. If you would have told 2019 me this, I wouldn’t have believed you but here we are, we are here, and it feels better than where we were.

Here’s the rest of it – weights remains first priority, then at least 4xweek cardio, THEN running (as you can see with only one run two weeks ago, oops). Monday, we start the week with chest and shoulders. Wednesday, I do back and biceps on my own. Friday, the squat witch abuses the noodles which were previously known as legs. I seem to get about 4 days of official cardio (run, bike, elliptical), and I’m averaging a decent number of steps – 10k and 8.5k respectively for the two weeks. I haven’t figured out swimming yet again, but the crappy pool near my house is open again and I should have more free time in the next few weeks, so I want to make a weekly swim a habit by the time I have to go back to normal schedules.

Speaking of chronology – can you spot the moment it became the holidays?

I mean, besides Christmas, it was also Bloatmas, the most wonderful time of the month, but that shouldn’t still be kicking a week and a half later. No, it’s been the cavalcade of holiday parties, celebrations, and other adventures in socialization with food and beverages. Because of this, I skipped delivery of one week’s Snap Kitchen box worth of meals. When was it? Yeah, right around when the line went up and leveled off. I’ll try not to do that again.

  • Dec 5 week average: 1630
  • Dec 12 week average: 1673

So, if we’ve established that around 1400-1500 calories per day seems to make steady progress at my current activity levels, 1600-1700 per day seems to stall it out or even reverse it a little. Good data point. Since I plan to maintain my activity level, I need to dial the calories back. Looking at the days where I really went over, it was all holiday celebration craziness, which is great, because that’s not a habit I need to break. There’s a bit more of the nonsense this month, but now that I recognize the trend I’ll better plan my calories to accommodate those days.

And one of those celebrations includes this meal so it will be worth it!

I’ve failed to mention the recovery stuff for a few posts, but that’s simply because it’s become a habit – not quite like brushing my teeth but not too far from it. I can confidently say I’ve rolled, stretched, iced, and used the massage boots most days each week and it’s just no big deal. I’m not sure what was so impossible before in the quest to take 15 minutes to roll and stretch daily, but I’m glad I worked this out. Thinking back to the days of yore, B.K. (before Kerrville), I can’t even fathom how I started my days without meditation, I did zero recovery, I wasn’t tracking my food, I wasn’t lifting regularly, and now that’s just the norm. I was also still putting the pieces of my life into place to prioritize this stuff, so there’s that, but still!

The one habit that has really fallen off is playing guitar. I now have this amazing space in my office, so I have zero excuses, except that I haven’t figured out how to work it into my daily life. I shall endeavor to change that soon.

I should have a chance to establish some habits soon. My life should slow down a bit this week and then I have 17 glorious, wonderful days off planned during and after the holidays. I’m looking forward to hitting the good gym whenever I feel like it, eat good healthy food (except when it’s not!), relax, do hobby things, do some re-organization, and being boring again for a bit.

It may not be the most wonderful time of the year for goals, but I’ll restate next week’s here even though it’s really just “do all the things I’m supposed to do:

  • 1500 calories per day average. It may be a bit of a challenge, but I’m going to do it. The early week should be fine, but I have a feeling the days around Christmas might be a little bit more. I’ll try to eat a little less early in the week to compensate.
  • 3 weights sessions, 2 runs, 1 swim, and at least 2-3 other cardios (yeah, stepping it up just a little because of the above and below)
  • 10k steps average. The weather is absolutely awful on Friday and Saturday, so this won’t be outside. I need to get in some good walks in the evenings before then.
  • Play guitar at least 3 times. Has nothing to do with physical health, but I miss guitar. 🙂

Let’s see if we can make that plateau go down again before the end of the year.

Contentedness through achievement

I am the poster child for the type A personality.

Mother effing flower sniffing champion at your service

It doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to be content. I know how to be content! Contentedness arrives through goal setting, progress towards things I want, and achievement. When I am moving towards what I want, I am happy. I wake up excited (most mornings) these days to check all the numbers of all the things that I need to check the numbers for, attack my to-do list, and then relax later after it’s done. This is my perfect day. I can even correlate this with my Garmin – when I am doing the work that I want to be doing/should be doing, my stress levels go wayyyyy down. Give me a whole morning to focus on tasks and the actual attention to do so, and I am a very happy little type A nerdo. I do need to save myself from myself occasionally and have a do-nothing day, but that causes me significant stress unless it’s PLANNED.

I’ve had more of this lately, checking things off the list and making progress, and it makes me very very content. While we got a chance to go play in the woods once over our week off (yay), and we also spent plenty of time relaxing on the couch playing video games, reading, and watching TV, we also did a lot of productive work around the house. I didn’t realize how satisfying and stress relieving that would be.

I was worried that this productivity might just be a vacation week fantasy but getting back to work kept a similar vibe. Monday, I had something big I feared would take me all day take two hours. My focus workday Friday began with three tasks and two appointments. Once I stopped getting distracted and dug in, I was able to get almost everything done, which was better than I expected! It feels really really really good starting these days not emulating me with the 1-plate salad bar at Jason’s Deli.

Don’t challenge me to min/max ONE plate of salad. Or tasks, apparently.

I keep arriving at finish lines of proverbial marathons I didn’t even know I was running and recover mentally and physically a little bit more each time. I was so used to my piled-up “to-do” plates, I had forgotten what an achievable day felt like. My body has been in sad shape for so long, I forgot what a functioning meatbag that isn’t injured feels like, on that isn’t overstressed, and takes the time to do the recovery things, and it feels great. And the house stuff. I had turned a blind eye to the condition of my office and stayed in my little bubble corner for so long I didn’t think it really bothered me. However, now I’m happy to walk into the room in the morning to start work instead of having a little unconscious sigh before I go back to ignoring it. I have a feeling as we fix each room in the house, I’ll feel the same way about it.

By the end of the year-ish we have three more projects:

  • Finish the office – this means get the music nook set up and organized, unearth Joel’s desk, figure out what to do with the fabric/sewing machine, and get the guitar cases back in the closet (since they have nice stands and get played now, they get to stay out!).
  • Tackle the pain cave – Joel has a bike desk that has been sitting in the hall waiting to be set up for nine months now. 😛 We also need to clean out some shelves and drawers and closets and just clean the floors. It’s another office situation – I can tuck myself in my little useable bubble and ignore the rest, but it will be SO NICE when I don’t have to.
  • Finish Joel’s office/gaming/hobby room. This needs the third set of shelving to house the printers, and the artwork to be put back up once we fully decide on a layout (this may wait until after Christmas stuff is put away)

None of this is huge, just a few hours each project max. Next year we’d like to tackle some bigger stuff. First up, our master bathroom is literally falling apart so we need to get it redone, but we have so much to clean out in the vanity area first, so I think the master bedroom/bath has to be the next room for us to unearth and organize and it’s going to take a LOT more than a few hours. But thinking about alllll the things we need to do is overwhelming, we’ll just do our 1-2 hours per week and make progress and that will be enough to make me happy.

Speaking of progress… look at this sexy beast…

Last week when I was off, it could have gone bad- but instead I made some solid progress because I stayed consistent. I tracked my food, stuck to my workout and calorie plan, and used the time off to make progress on things and destress instead of pigging out and being lazy. I went a few calories over on Thanksgiving (as one does) but got right back on track the next day. Spoiler alert: December looks similar to this trend and yesterday, I weighed the lowest I have all year. So, consistency brings progress and progress brings the motivation to continue consistency.

I got 7 hours of activity on my week off (and almost as much this week)! Two runs, lifting three times, a bike, a swim, an elliptical, and eight miles of walking. That’s great! This week, I hit my goals to run 2.5 miles twice, lifted three times, cycled once, elliptical’d once, and I friggin’ TRIED to swim (but the pool was full and I ran out of time). The weekend was for walking/hiking since these beautiful fall colors won’t be lasting forever. Yet again, more weeks like this please!

I ate 1583 calories/day the week off, and this week I’m back to 1509. I got just over 10k steps both weeks. Overall, I think I’ve found the sweet spot with achievable goals in calorie input/output which seem to be working. They take consistency and diligence but don’t feel overwhelming. And that makes all the difference.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén