It’s been a wild month. Let’s catch up, shall we?

After I checked in here, I had two weeks of work that escalated a bit, though I successfully kept up with all my goals.

Then, we cruised with the family the last week of January. ‘Twas really nice to see the ocean, and fishies, and spend time with the ‘rents. I intend to write a vacation post, but this is not that missive.

The day we disembarked, the weather quickly cooled from the 70s to the 30s overnight, and a day after that, the ice storm hit.

We lost power for 7 days and 7 hours. This sounds much worse than it was, as I continued to explain to kind people offering assistance or accommodations throughout that week. Our gas fireplace kept us warm. Our gas water heater kept us in warm showers and our pipes stayed unfrozen. Our gas stove let us cook non-perishables. We had a propane generator to charge our devices for a few hours a day and keep the chest freezer cold enough for the food not to spoil. Except the first day when the roads were too icy, we were able to work from the office, which kept power and internet like a champ!

For a while, pioneer life was kind of novel. The first day, we took a (very cold, made me feel aliiiiiiiive) walkabout. We stopped at a bar to eat junk food and took some artsy fartsy pictures and watched trees laid heavy by a coat of ice bend and occasionally crack and break before our very eyes. Once the weather warmed back up, we spent most of the weekend days outside playing bikes and stomping around the neighborhood. Evenings were spent in the quiet dark, reading. It felt not unlike camping. I didn’t hate it, really, I didn’t.

On Day 7, I woke up over it though. It was a long time to be without power unintentionally, without a clear sense of when we’d get it back, and my attitude kinda broke a little. Luckily, that’s the day we got it back. We are incredibly lucky to have survived Arbor-geddon 2023 with just a small dent in the pool after a quarter of a giant tree crashed into it repeatedly and no other property damage, so I will cease any complaints here and now.

What this meant was a longer break to routine than expected, long enough to really untrain some habits. So, we all know what that means, right? It’s time to adjust the goals, reset, and continue on.

Goal #1 – Be 183.5 at the end of January.

This didn’t happen, but I knew it was a long shot with vacation. What actually took place?

I still lost weight, but only 0.7 lbs (187.4 -> 186.7).

So far in February, I’m at 186.2, so 0.5 lbs additional weight has transported to the ether, though I have been measuring sporadically. I have 16 days until the end of the month, so I’m going to reset this to a more realistic 2 lb loss instead of trying to make up for borrowed time, so here we go:

Goal #1, revised – Be 184.2 by the end of February. This feels achievable if I get back to my habits, like, today. So, I shall resume the counting of calories, weighing of my meatbag, getting all the normal foods back in the house (mostly there!), eating at a deficit (1500 calories avg or less) and STAHHHHPING with all the snacks. Like, yesterday, actually.

Goal #2 – Strength over stamina

While I’m not losing a ton of weight, my clothes are definitely fitting better, I’m winking at myself in the mirror instead of sighing, and I can tell my body composition is changing for the better. In spite of all the crazy disruptions, I have completed three weights sessions (legs/core, back/bicep, chest/shoulders) over all other priorities. I’ve been consistent about this for the last four months and I’m reaping the benefits. I keep picking up 25-35 lb weights expecting them to be heavy and they’re not really anymore. It’s very cool.

Running has sort of stalled out, but it also hasn’t, and I know that makes absolutely no sense, so let me try to explain. I have settled in at somewhere in the 10-minute miles for a happy-feeling 5k, and that’s what I’ve been running three times a week, with few exceptions. I have run 15 times since January 1st. Exactly two of 5k these runs have been speedwork, and twice I ran a fast-ish mile off the bike (9:41 and 9:12g – we’re working on it). The numbers aren’t showing much improvement yet, but the feeling when I run is night and day. Three months ago, I hobbled through my first mile since the race. Two months ago, I was back up at the 5k distance and it felt long, difficult, and I wasn’t sure how I’d run this distance capably instead of it being the top of my fitness. Now I look forward to these days – runs feel enjoyable, and my body feels strong, capable, and solid during them. I am now holding myself back from eeking out more miles on the days I would have time to do so. This inspires confidence that there’s untapped potential when I really start to train.

Right now, I’m aiming for 5 cardio sessions per week. Besides my three runs, cycling and the elliptical round out the schedule, once per week each. Notably absent is swimming, but it’s always difficult to motivate myself in the winter to go freeze in the pool and I’ll get there eventually. Since I’m aiming at all short course races this year, I’m less worried about that sport – it’s just a few minutes of the race total, and any deficit, I can easily make up in transition or with better bike/run fitness.

Here’s next week’s (this should be doable, I’ve accounted for my work schedule and the weather)

Monday: 8am elliptical/weights (office day)
Tuesday: AM run (warmup .5 miles, .25 miles fast, .25 miles recovery), lunch bike (home)
Wednesday: lunch weights (home)
Thursday: off (fulllll office day)
Friday: AM run/weights (office day + offsite)
Saturday: 1h bike, 1 mile fast
Sunday: off

For the rest of the month, I will:

  • Plan my workouts and follow a schedule (5xweek cardio, 3xweek weights)
    • Start including weekly bricks in the plan
    • One run per week is speedwork, which will be planned vs “uhhh, I’ll randomly run faster for a bit”
  • Complete an FTP test by the end of the month
  • Resume aiming for 100% recovery completion each day (stretch, roll, boots, ice)

Goal #3 Stop Ignoring My Surroundings

This fell off after we got back to work. It’s okay though, I’m very pleased to have all our rooms reasonably organized and usable. My current annoyance is with the bedroom which is the most cluttered and least zen place in the house (and, surprise, it’s the next big thing on the list!). Since this month has been pretty traumatic already, I’m softballing this one:

February house goals:

  • Rid the office of the boxes that are accumulating again (most go to work!)
  • Store the rest of the music accoutrements still sitting in the corner of the room
  • Actually take the stuff in the cars to Goodwill

Next month, we’ll start tackling the work we need to do to clean out the master suite (so we can get someone in to do the dang bathroom someday). This is not a February thing though.

Goal #4 – Relaxing Hobbies

I’m going to give myself a pass on much of this because of the 2.5 weeks of disruption and there’s no need to stress about relaxing hobbies, seems counterproductive, no?

I’m getting back to things though now that we’re through vacation and Arbor-geddon. I’m editing photos, and if there’s a goal here, finish the PREVIOUS cruise this month. I composed and played a song for our D&D campaign and I now have an acoustic at work to tinker with for breaks/annoy the office with. I haven’t painted much on canvas, but I have helped with minis and have two more to finish. The one place I will hold myself accountable is meditation. I have been inconsistent with it since I went on vacation, and I really do wake up a much better human after 10 minutes of cycling my breath. This will resume daily.

Goal #5 – Write Something (and not just here)

Ah, the optimistic goal setting I did as someone who had copious amounts of free time to write without the perspective of how challenging it is to make time for it during busy weeks. I have not completely ignored my novel. However, I didn’t make nearly the progress I expected.

In January I:

  • Read a book on beginnings, middles, and endings (a great read which made me completely rewrite my beginning!)
  • Read a book on dialogue (which will be useful during future editing passes)
  • Quick first pass edit on about 4 chapters
  • Read my draft on the kindle on vacation (and shared with Joel)
  • Got through most of the first session of video to take notes on the campaign for the next section

I forgot how much video I’ll need to sift through – it’s hundreds of hours total. I don’t want to completely disconnect from the thing I’m writing just to watch videos, so I’ll split my time.

February writing goals:

  • Take notes on at least the next 10 hours (3-4) more sessions
  • Continue to edit what’s there, aiming for 4 more chapters

Long term things I probably need to do are main character profiles, some sort of thought towards whether the promise I make at the beginning pays off in the end, and some other serious writer things, but I’m having fun right now just winging it and really feel like the story will come together organically. Let’s see how much I regret this in retrospect.

So, in summary, by the end of the month I will:

  • Resume my to daily to do list (meditate, train, track food, ice, roll, boots, stretch, hobby time daily, writing time weekly)
  • Make a training schedule each weekend for the next week to include 1x week bricks and speedwork
  • Complete an FTP test
  • Donate the stuff to Goodwill
  • Spend about 1h in the office making the boxes go away
  • Watch and take notes on footage for my book

It’s a shame this is a little daunting right now, but I have a feeling it will back to habit by the time I check in here next. 🙂