March. OMG. What a month.

Birthday me. Man, I feel like this was at least two months ago…

It takes me by surprise every time. January and February have not historically been my favorite months, but I’ve come to appreciate them lately for their relative calmness to the rest of the year. Usually there are fewer things going on, more time at home to relax and be productive, and they have great running weather to boot.

Then, there’s March that brings with it all the crazy. We celebrated half a dozen birthdays, entertained people who came to town, went to many social events and work events. I love all of these things individually. I am a social creature. However, all of this packed into one month is a lot and isn’t conducive to a focus on health and weight loss.

This was a great birthday meal! But maybe too many like this…

Compounding this – I was out on a lovely morning run and had a twinge in my hip. It wasn’t terrible, so I kept running (I kinda had to, I was running to the gym for a weights session) and after the workout, it was sore, and then later I was limping around. I figured it was a random ache that would go away… until it didn’t. I saw the chiropractor a week later and she said it’s nothing serious and gave me some rehab but it’s still taking FOREVER to get better. I spent much of the month watching the really nice running weather slip away running only SIX miles total in March and frankly, pouted about it. At least I’m now back to 1 mile at a time every 2-3 days (I’d say it’s pain free but still feel a little muscle soreness and tension at the end of each run). I’ll keep doing that until it feels like nothing.

More food and less running? This is what happens…

As you can see, I didn’t meet goal #1 – weigh 180.2 lbs. I am exactly at the same trendweight as I was when I wrote the last blog (184.2), so I’ll just keep this as the goal for April.

Looking at my April social calendar, it seems to be slightly less challenging than March, but much more than the winter was. I’ve got about 2 social/food related events per week on average. I just need to make sure I go into each one with a strategy. I’m okay maintaining through March, but I need to get back on track this month. No bullsh*t. I’m back to living calories in vs calories out. If I want to eat more I need to move my arse more even if that means an after-dinner workout.

The whiner in me wants to make excuses about how much more difficult this is without much running in my life, but I have biking, swimming, lifting, walking, yes, even the elliptical. It is not as if I was completely idle in March…

…but in the early month, runs became walks and it took me a while to shift my thinking from pity party to making gains in other places.

However, there’s not all sad news on the workout front.

I continue to get a gold star for 3x week strength training – I’m at the six month mark (minus ONE day for surgery in October). It’s working. The squat witch tells me to grab weights that I doubt (15 lbs for 3×10 lat raises, really?) and then get through the exercises no problem. Not only are my numbers going up at the gym, but I’m also noticing functional fitness too. The 40lb bags of salt that go in the pool that I could barely lift in 2021? Yeah, carrying those jerks with one arm now. It’s useful to be strong!

When I realized running wasn’t going to be back to normal for a while, I turned to my old friend, the bike trainer. I did not one, but TWO MORE FTP tests in March. The first on in February, remember, I got an abysmal reading (139 watts), and I realized that I probably screwed up the test but also found it was a great excuse to do a hard workout. I tried again a few weeks later and yet again, it screwed up – starting me at WAYYYYY too high of a reading – which meant the test part was the easiest part. That test was also invalid, though 156 watts was a pretty decent improvement. Finally, the next weekend, I got it right (mostly – my power blanked out for a minute). I aimed for 170 watts and ended up with 167. That feels legit, though I think I still have some HTFU gains not related to fitness (aka, remembering the pain cave and what it is). My best test ever is 190, and it’s nice to think I’m starting to approach the same zip code.

Proof I didn’t just make up the number!

I also started swimming – just 10 mins/500m, but it’s nice to be back in the water. While I really want to go swim in the nicer pools at Lifetime, it’s just so easy to walk half a mile to LA Fitness and swim there. I’ll be much more motivated to get to Lifetime when it’s time to go play in the lake and the waterslides are open.

So, for goal #2 wrap up for March:

  • Swim once a week – uhhh, I have a strategy now, it’s just enacting it every week
  • Bike speedwork/FTP tests – check, if I ride indoors, I’m doing intervals or FTP tests
  • Weekly bricks – not check, but this isn’t my fault (the whole injury thing)
  • Keep up with strength – hell yes
  • Pick my races and sign up – I have picked them (CapTex, Pflugerville, Kerrville) but want to make sure I can run and they don’t conflict with travel

For the next month, I will:

  • Swim once a week
  • At least one FTP test in April, at least 1-2 bike sessions per week with some speed/intervals
  • Run one mile every other day until it’s pain free. Then run 1.5 miles every other day. Then 2, etc (until we get back to 5k).
  • Sign up for races. If I don’t sign up, I won’t go, and there’s only a very small chance of travel.
  • Ride a few times outdoors, once a week if possible
  • At least 2 bricks/Practice tri (either indoors or outdoors)

All in all, in terms of health and fitness goals, this is not the worst place from which I’ve reset, not by far. I took a pause to enjoy me some March, without any significant effects, and now it’s time to get back to progress in April.

Moving onto personal goals, spoilers, there’s some good news incoming!

Now with 100% less stuff in the right corner!

For #3 – paying attention to my surroundings, I can happily report the office is completely done, and everything fits where it should. Could we possibly clean more out of the closets? Sure. But we actually have extra space to store things now, so I’m super content with this.

We didn’t get to the guest room closet, but that can go to another month, organizing where I spend my workdays is more important.

For April, our “around the house goals” are:

  • Get the pool ready for the summer.
  • Speaking of organizing where work days are spent, Joel helped me with my room, I’d like to help him with his. So we will organize and clean out the game room storage (and maybe come up with a label system)
  • If there’s time, we’ll start on the bathroom/vanity area. I think my strategy here will be spending 5 minutes doing it as many days as I can, not with the intent to finish but doing a little each day.
I am ready for some of this, just need to make it blue, not green…

For #4 – Relaxing Hobbies – I was about 50/50 here

  • Continue meditation 5x+ a week – I’d say more like 4 days on average. Not bad, but I can do better. 🙂
  • Finish the fish pictures and start Paris – Check! I have edited an image of la Tour Eiffel and have about 500000000 more to go.
  • Get some paint on a canvas before the end of the month – Nope, attention has been elsewhere
  • Finish friends’ D&D minis I promised to paint – Also nope (sadface)
  • Play guitar 3x week – I have played a handful of times but definitely not that often
  • Write a post on Hamburg – Check! I even started Koln!

The level of social activity this month meant I prioritized that vs hobbies. S’okay. We’ll allow it.

In April, I’d like to:

  • Continue my meditation goal of 5xweek, and also go camping for 4 days and truly defrag my brain (no work Friday through Monday)
  • I will finish the minis by next Friday when we play. There’s no excuse for this taking so long.
  • Every WFH day take a guitar break. There’s also no excuse why I can’t take 10 mins and this also helps focus my brain
  • Finish the post on Koln
  • Get through the first 2 full days of Paris photos
Paris, je t’aime…

And finally, #5 – Write Stuff – I took that big goose egg with the novel in February and turned it right around around. I wrote 15k words that I am reasonably happy with at a first draft stage. Not surprisingly, I stole some of this time from time I would normally spend writing here, but I think it was a worthy sacrifice. I’m becoming a little more adept at writing even when it’s not super quiet as long as I’ve gotten started and am flowing already.

My goal for April is to continue. I’m not going to put a super detailed goal here, but next step is to watch the next session or two, take notes, and then write. I’ve found that the closer I can put these two things together, the more I remember, so I may watch partial sessions or at the very least, just one, and then work on writing instead of trying to binge watch.

This is producing a very interesting method of novelization – I have no plan on where this one ends. I know probably in ~30k words (twice what I wrote this month) I’m going to need to wrap things up. I’ll be interested to see if the sessions help me get there or whether I need to make some stuff up or at least shift events around so I can have a climax and a resolution of some sorts of “Volume I”.

So, all in all, while I spent a lot of March frustrated with lack of progress towards my goals, it’s not as bad as it seemed. Progress happened, just not as much as I’d like (story of my life). Surprising to no one but me, I can’t do all the things I want to do, but I can do MANY of them. 🙂

In April, I will try to be this happy!

So, let’s summarize. In April I will…

  • Resume strict attention to 1200 calories + activity calories daily as my top limit.
  • Swim once a week, do vigorous cardio (not walking) five times a week at 30mins per day minimum, work running back into my life as I can, push myself on the bike with an FTP test or an interval workout once a week
  • Prepare for the next race by riding outside, doing a few bricks, and signing up 😛
  • Help Joel get the pool back in shape
  • Help Joel organize the shelves in his office/game room/dining room
  • Start chipping away at the bathroom/vanity 5 minutes at a time
  • Koln blog post and Paris photos
  • Finish the minis. This week.
  • Destress by meditation, WFH guitar breaks, and going camping
  • Make forward progress in the book

Sounds like a great month to me! Let’s go!