If someone asked me the greatest gift I could receive right now, it would be Time.

I really, really, really could use about 3-4 more hours of the day every day. And not stolen hours, ones where I’m already mentally drained or the ones where I wake up in the middle of the night to be unintentionally productive. A handful of quiet, focused hours where I could just DO MORE STUFF THAT I WANT TO DO.

Well, until the universe grants me that thing Hermione got in Harry Potter that allows her to be in two places at the same time, I think I have to work with what I have. So, I’ve stolen some moments over the last few weeks from my other writing (which is going VERY VERY VERY well, btw) and pieced together enough time to pen a note to catch up here.

What’s happened since then? Well, I raced! And it went really well! I had no aspirations of any sort of placement, and that was thankful because it was such a big race. However, I made an effort, the first one since the pandemic, that I was proud of at the finish. So, basically, I crushed it.

Then I traveled to Hamburg (work) and London (fun). It was a really strange trip all around. Jet lag hit me real hard, and combined with an uncomfortable bed and the fact that it was only dark 11pm-345am, I slept like absolute garbage (4-5 hours of fitful sleep max) the whole German part of the trip (though it got better in London as all three of these factors got better). Our luggage was lost for 3 days in Hamburg before it was delivered to us, and it was lost again for about a day in London. We ended up acquiring a bunch of new clothes and toiletries during the trip care of Lufthansa.

Ignoring the work details as this is a personal blog mainly focused on fitness/adventures, the high points of the trip health-wise was that I managed to continue my workout schedule and did three runs and three weights sessions in Hamburg, even with the crap sleep and busy work schedule. I also walked at least 10k steps above and beyond the runs, so I definitely maintained some activity/calorie burn. In London, I didn’t do any formal workouts, but our goal to aggressively sight see the whole city in 2.5 days, I clocked 20k, 33k, and 27k steps those days. Even our travel day home was 12k steps.

Of course, the downsides – in terms of the pursuit of unfluffiness at least – was the food, glorious food. I got myself a bakery sandwich on the walk to work and indulged in a fancy office cappuccino every day in Hamburg. We were taken out to lunch and dinner each day also, and I just got whatever sounded good and just tried to eat a reasonable amount except when I really enjoyed what I got and ate an unreasonable amount. When we arrived in London, we were in a strange situation where we hadn’t had a meal in almost 24 hours, so we ordered everything at this excellent Indian restaurant and ate it in its entirety. And then we ate all the things for the next 3 days. I don’t know if you’ve ever done afternoon tea, but they pretty much make a meal out of a tower of desserts, and then suggest you eat it between lunch and dinner. It’s wild.

I’ll do a post on the trip specifically soonTM (I still haven’t posted about Paris from last year, LOLZ), but I came home with a shiny new promotion, wicked jet lag (it took two weeks for me to sleep past 7am), and if I’m being honest, a little extra weight.

Then, I raced again. It also went really well. I aimed to place in my age group, and I would have placed in almost any other age group, including my current age group on the men’s side. I’m still happy with my performance.

Then, more travel. I just returned from our normal 4th of July camping trip at Krause Springs. I travel back to Germany in August, Seattle in early September, Kerrville in late September, and then probably to Asia for the first time in October.

I am DEFINITELY going to need to come up with some better strategies than “gain a few lbs each trip”, so stay tuned for how I do that. Until then, let’s recap goals.

#1 – By the end of May, I will weigh 178.0

At the end of June, survey says, nope.

It is not as if it’s not deserved. We know what happens when I don’t track my food and don’t weigh myself. I also tend to eat a bit more around races to be fueled (and then a reasonable celebration meal after the race), so the upward trend seemed to start right after my last checkin.

  • Week of May 22 – +20 calories
  • Week of May 30 – +649 calories
  • Vacation timey-wimeness here – My Fitness Pal shows my calories should have been between about 2000 and 2500 most days to meet my goals. I’m going to guess I still blew that out of the water most days with food and drink.
  • Week of June 19 – +820 calories
  • Week of June 26 – I completely fell off tracking. 🙁

So, I can do better. Back to tracking daily. Back to eating closer to what I should. My current trend weight is 182.6, and considering the circumstances, things could have been way worse. I am going to also admit that right now, losing 4 lbs per month isn’t reasonable. For July, my goal will be half that – to get to 180.6 trendweight. That even feels a little lofty, but if I stick to tracking – and there’s no reason I shouldn’t – it’s achievable and can hopefully set me up to feel good when I start travelling again.

#2 Strength Over Stamina

I’m super duper happy with this one, though. Even with travel, I have still maintained my weights streak. The muscle and endurance I’ve built meant I was great with the 20k steps/day while working in Hamburg, like, zero problems at all. They just felt like nice days of activity. I handled the 27-33k days in London with just a bit of soreness by the end of the day but was fine the next. This is what we call functional fitness, folks! It’s nice to not feel wrecked after all that tromping around (which my chiropractor confirmed). All in all, my body feels pretty good, and is able to walk, run, bike, swim, and lift without consequence. At the end of the day, this is the most important thing.

It’s not exactly the norm, but considering the travel June 3-13th, I don’t hate it. And yes, I raced a damn triathlon on June 25th and then came home and lifted chest and shoulders to keep up my streak. It was one of the toughest legs of the race. I didn’t enjoy it. But since last November, I have lifted 3x week. I’m not stopping now!

For July, I’m back to training for fitness. I don’t want to let any of the sports drop out of my list, but I don’t need to do any specific race prep since my next race is end of September. So, goals below for the next month:

  • Stay consistent with 3x week weights. If I do nothing else, it’s this.
  • Resume swimming once a week on Mondays next week during the normally scheduled time. Get to the lake at least once during the month.
  • One brick per week.
  • Outside of that, one bike and two runs per week (or two bikes and one run, it’s hot…).
  • Prioritize recovery. Boots and Ice 5-6x week, stretch and roll at least 3x week.

If this looks familiar, it’s because it is. Getting back into the habit after travel is important, and I’m getting there, but just enforcing normalcy in July is where we need to be.

#3 (Not) Ignoring My Surroundings

As you may have guessed, as the thing I hate the most on my goal list, I haven’t made any more progress on the bedroom. So, since July is looking *relatively* calm in comparison to recent months, I’ll set a few bigger goals.

  • Finish decluttering the vanity area
  • Clean out the right side drawers
  • Clear out the space under the vanity
  • Clear off the unnecessary items on the bathroom sink and find a place for them.
  • Help Joel clean out the gutters (if he’s motivated to do so)

In theory, this all just takes a couple hours. I’d really like to make it happen. I also, frankly, don’t see much progress happening in August or September due to travel. I think in the grand scheme of things, I’m going to set an end-of-year goal to have finished the bedroom in its entirety (all surfaces, drawers, and closets decluttered), and that may be all we have time for this year in this category. At the very least, that gets us ready to do some renovations in 2024. Yet again, I very much appreciate the work done last fall/winter to make livable space in the office, the pain cave, the spare bedroom, and Joel’s office (though I mostly ignore that space when it’s in office/craft room mode since it’s an explosion of stuff).

#4 Relaxing Hobbies

Travel definitely disrupted some habits here. It’s an excuse but it’s been tricky to get back in the swing of things. I just feel like I have NO TIME FOR ANYTHING OMG, but it’s also been the fact that I’ve been focusing on goal #5 in my spare time that I can tolerate focused and productive activities.

In May and June I pretty much ignored my paintbrushes and guitar, however, I did both whilst camping. Sometimes vacation can disrupt routine for the good (see above for photo proof).

I haven’t really been able to get myself back into photo editing since the trip. I know exactly why. I’m many, many, many trips behind now (need to finish Paris, I have a cruise, I have camping, I have Germany/London, and now I have Krause). Editing photos is fun for me. Sorting through photos? Not as fun. And Day #5 in Paris was the Louvre. I have over 1000 photos to choose from. I’m overwhelmed by both of these things and have just started to nope out when I look at my editor. I think I’m going to break from Joel’s advice and flip to something else, the smallest project (April Camping) for a bit to get some momentum. And I kinda need a nature fix. 🙂

I have been trying to make an effort to meditate most mornings, though I always lose this one while traveling. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not going to let my lackluster productivity on relaxing hobbies stress me out, but I’m going to set some goals for July because have you met me?

  • Finish April Camping Trip pics and then decide what’s next
  • Catch up blogs: April Camping Trip, Day 1-4 Paris (this is a good stopping place to recap anyway)
  • Get back in the habit of playing guitar on WFH days (I did today! yay!)
  • Finish the set of geometric paintings I started and hang them up somewhere (which means they’re actually done)
  • Meditate 5x week

#5 Write Stuff

On Sunday the 2nd of July, around 5pm, I wrote the words THE END. Yes folks, I have a full first crappy draft of my book. I am so excited!!! I started around December 25th, and it took me about 6 months to do it, but I have Book 1 of the Fork Files written, all 83k words. Now, it’s time to begin the edit pass. Luckily, this is MUCH easier for me to make time and attention for. I can easily give myself 30-60 minutes an evening and make progress rather than wait for multi-hour weekend chunks.

However, I am certain if I approach this phase with a general MAKE BOOK GOOD NOAW, I’ll get overwhelmed. This first edit pass, my goals will be more broad strokes than nitpicky grammar fiddling:

  • Identify places where my characters are floating heads. That is – I always forget to build the world. Find places where some visual (or even other sensory) details would enrich the reader’s immersion.
  • Find where the story drags (in my case, it will be overusing bickering in dialogue)
  • Identify what the story promises at the beginning and make sure I deliver on it
  • Make sure the ending is sufficiently exciting with proper lead up.

I think I’d like to have a draft I’m happy with willing to let other readers read by the time I leave for my next trip in August.

So, to summarize July:

  • Get back on track with weight loss. Tracking daily, and actually adhering to the 1200+activity goal.
  • Continue with 3x week weights and training all three triathlon sports, but just for fitness and familiarity, not specific race goals.
  • Edit pass #1
  • Clear the vanity area and help Joel clean the gutters.
  • Get back to photo editing (April Camping) and complete the blogs about Paris Day 1-4 and April Camping
  • Finish my paintings and play guitar again a few times a week