Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: offseason (Page 1 of 15)

Swords, Shame Monsters, and Too Many Analogies

Guys.  Guys… GUYS!  Holy crap it’s been busy over here.

And all I am is a girl, standing in front of a bicycle, wanting to go playyyyy…

However, I like to make time to do at least a quick weekly check in, and I don’t want to break that habit, so here’s some stream of consciousness fun-and-games for posterity about January and what’s next.

Athleting:

While I had almost no leadup to my two races in two weeks, pushing that hard mentally seven days apart took a bit of a toll on my motivation for training after.  My brain needed and felt like it deserved a tiny little “offseason”, so I’ve taken the last two weeks fairly light.  Last week, all I did was ride my bike three times at no pace which could be considered fast.  Fast forward to today, Thursday, and I’ve swam ONCE on Monday and I’ve had my running stuff laid out since then, ready to go, and no dice.  Hoping to break that streak today, but the struggle has been real, y’all.

I’m not stressing about it, though.  My first triathlon this year is May 5th, and I actually plan to mostly soldier through the full season this year without much of a mid-season break.  I will still obviously periodize my training with shifting focus as the months go on, and schedule in recovery weeks, but I don’t plan on any extended month long breaks like I’ve planned in the past.  This means I’m not in a huge hurry to pursue peak form in March or anything, so this lazing around in early February is just fine. 

Next week this changes.  While I’m not ready to sharpen the sword just yet, it’s now time to mold the clay (how many different analogies can I use today? let’s find out!).  Two three-week periods of lifting heavy (hypertrophy) and then heavier (maximum strength) with a week rest in between did me was so beneficial last year I plan to repeat it.  My main focus in February and March will be lifting 3xweek, and swim/bike/run (1-2 short sessions of each per week) will supplement this, rather than the opposite the rest of the year.

Of course when the weather is amazing I’ll duck out for a smile paced ride with my camera, but not at the expense of picking up and putting down heavy things.

The Scale:

January was a rough start to the year, I did *okay* the first two weeks, and then racing always throws a wrench in the diet, and then a camping weekend… let’s just say I have made no progress.  I think I’ve done well enough that I’m not backsliding further, but I’m not quite back to that consistently under 170 where I was in early December.  I have yet to transfer everything to trendweight (busy and also, if it doesn’t change maybe my weight doesn’t change? is that how it works?) but it really helped me last year so I really need to do that.

Definitely haven’t gained everything back I lost, but it needs to trend down now, kthx…

But, I’m back, baby.  Since Monday, I’ve had a really good streak with my eating habits, and I’ve declared February a month of no deserts.  Everyone and their mother (and literally my mother as well) is trying to eff this up for me, but I will just take their offerings, put them in my freezer, and break them out when I’m at a higher training volume.

So, the plan and the goal is the same as it ever was.

  • 1500 calories per day, slightly less on days I can get away with it, to account for 1-2 days closer to 2000.
  • Mostly snap kitchen meals, supplemented with perfect fit meals since they are a little different/cheaper, with a small amount of bath cooking when I’m motivated to do so.
  • Salads for my mid-afternoon snack so I get in ALL THE VEGGIES (since the prepared meals are small portions, they’re not very veggie heavy).
  • Watch the booze calorie creep – but this is the year I’ve accepted that if I am to only allow myself one splurge overall, it’s probably going to be whiskey.  I just need to make sure it fits in my plan 1-2 times a week.

I know that my weight is collectively what I have done in the last month, and I haven’t been kind to myself.  I’ve been eating things I shouldn’t (and slacking on eating the things I should like those mid-afternoon salads), and probably more importantly, I haven’t been a good sleeper.  I *think* life is starting to calm down a little bit, and I’m hoping that my idiot nights of laying awake thinking about (mostly good exciting but still) stuff will be fewer and further between.

Between lifting and REALLY BUCKLING DOWN FOR REALS in February, I think the scale and I might start being BFFs again.

Life/Deep Thoughts:

Over the last few months, work has provided me a great growth opportunity (sadly without the title, YET, but let’s focus on the good parts).  Essentially, this is the thing I’ve wanted to do since I started here almost twelve years ago, and have gotten to do in smaller quantities as I’ve scratched and fought for it, but finally it’s all happening.  Sort of.  However, I really have to fight for this one since I have to forge my own path here and it takes ALL THE CONFIDENCE AND COURAGE I have built up thus far.

At a crossroads.  Literally.

The self-study I’ve done and have continued to do in the background on these ideals has helped me immensely with this.  I feel like I’m walking a tightrope with no net, one hundred feet above a pit full of hungry sharks, but instead of terrifying it’s exhilarating and exciting and I love the way it makes my emotions swirl, but I also recognize that it is indeed DANGEROUS and RISKY.  This time last year I might have shied away from this, but I spent the 2018 seeking out the dark places, and believing in myself enough to take what I wanted with the tip of my sword.  It’s a different me situation right now, and I’m quite good with dangerous.  It’s miles above boring.

I have about 2031537 essays I want to write about Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and I’m 25% through the book.  I knew this would be a game changer, but I didn’t realize to what degree.  It’s definitely contributing to my sleepless nights but in a way that’s starting to connect and codify a lot of disparate thought fragments, so it’s worth it.  It’s made me feel a lot less weird about some of the things I’ve been cranking on in the old noggin’ lately. 

I will never think about vulnerability and shame the same way.  Her writing shows me the reasons why I have turned away from putting my full heart and soul into racing in the past.  It makes sense why I can say “I want to be a published author” and fully believe it, while simultaneously spending almost a year ignoring the draft I’ve written and spinning up other projects instead. 

I’m terrified of being vulnerable.  I’m not a weak person, and I believe in myself, but for things I really care about, I tend to keep them close to my vest.  My writing is good if no one else can read it and cut me to pieces with criticism.  My singing voice is great if no one else can hear it.  I explored that feeling a lot HERE before I actually knew what it was.  As I wrote the words it sounded super stupid, but now I know that’s the shame monster coming out to attack.

The shame monster says “who are you to dress like this”, and I give it this look.

Fear of shame dictates how I hold back sometimes.  If I share that I’m really going for it during a race, and then I blow up or just mentally fizzle out miles from the finish, what will people think of me?  “Oh, there she goes, talking big about her racing and then just failing again and again, yawn.”  If I share the deeper, more vulnerable thoughts I have on social media, what if it gets no attention?  Even worse, what if someone posts a haterade comment?  What if people wordlessly think I’m weird and unlovable?

The crazy thing is that I LOVE other people’s deep thoughts and long, personal posts conveying who they really are.  I value people that share themselves more freely.  However, as it is with most everyone, vulnerability is AWESOME in others and TERRIBLE in ourselves.

So, I’m working on being the courage and confidence I see and want to see in other people.  It’s heavy work, but each time I push myself further into the danger zone which is vulnerability, it feels REFRESHING and REAL and EXCITING and I think I’m even ready to combat my first haters if they show up outside of my own head. Maybe. 🙂

In the wake of all of that noise, I ignored most of the way-too-large to do list I wanted to do in January.  I needed much more downtime than I expected, and it’s okay.  The organizational projects will be there when I’m motivated to do so.  At some point, my book will come back into focus, when I’ve done the sidework I need to do to be ready for it.  I’m thoroughly enjoying tooling around with some different writing styles and it’s all towards the good and betterment of my command of the written word. 

I think my February focus will be to take the stress off myself here.  I would really, really, really like to complete one small organizational project, it will make me feel like a better human.  However, I’m going to leave my hobbies up to my own whims.  If little writing projects and reading and photography take up most of my time, that’s totally fine with me.  I need a lack of clutter in the To Do List and some freedom to focus on whatever it is that brings me down the unclear and unpredictable path I need to walk right now.

2018 Recap – Finding my Courage, Confidence, and Worthiness

On the heels of a completely epic 2017 where I consistently felt overwhelmed, my biggest goal for 2018 was to do LESS, with focus, purpose, and intention.

#2018bestnine – apparently y’all like bikes, bolts, and selfies with unicorn pants.

In some areas of my life, I succeeded wholeheartedly.  In others, I got waylaid, distracted, or found hidden insecurities keeping me from my goals.  The good news is that it lead me to a lot of soul searching that apparently I needed to do en route to the things I want to accomplish long term.  I feel like I’ve used my words a lot lately, so I’m honestly going to try to keep this one short (er than normal).

While it’s a 3rd, and not a 1st, and I got passed right at the end, I still think this might be the race I was the most proud of this year (Texasman).

Racing/Training:

My big scary goal was to qualify to Nationals and find myself on some age group podiums.  This year, I qualified twice, getting first place in my age group (and third female overall in one of those instances), and hit the podium two other times for 3rd place.  Then, later, I wanted to PR my half ironman and go sub-6:30 in Cozumel.  I went 6:28 on a rather tough day.

Most of the year was just flippin’ phenomenal, and I put together some solid swimming, biking, and running time after time at races.  I had a few spectacular blowups (3M, Nationals Day 2, Waco 70.3), but in the grand scheme of things, the highs were SO MUCH higher than the lows.  It was a stellar way to close out my last year in the 35-39 age group.

How did I accomplish this?  By training so much less than I have in years and years, but more specifically than normal.  Also weight training, massage, rolling, stretching (strength, flexibility, and recovery) played a huge part.

Getting dressed in the morning is much more fun when your clothing fits.

#projectraceweight:

I started 2018 at 188 lbs.  My low weight for the year has been 165.0.  I cannot be more stoked about my progress.  Whatever needed to click finally happened after eight years of things being out of sync.  Before I get played off the stage, I’d like to thank Snap kitchen and portion control for the success.  While I did my best to eat good food, I always come back to the fact that 1500 calories of pizza will do the exact same thing to the scale long term as 1500 calories of carrots.  Diet quality is huge with how I feel, and my energy levels, but as they say, abs are made in the kitchen. 

Also, I’d like to make sure and thank my appetite this year for being a homie.  Most training cycles, I couldn’t eat enough, ever.  First of all, learning to live with “no longer hungry” instead of full helped a lot, as did hitting that appetite thermocline around 170-something lbs, where I just stopped needing (both physically and mentally) so much to eat.

My favorite fish. 🙂

Personal Development:

A year ago, I wrote about wanting to enjoy human connection a bit more.  I had thought it was about being less of an asshole.  It’s not.  I’m not an asshole (I don’t think, and even if I am, it’s not actually the problem I actually wanted to solve).  While I didn’t show up to everyone’s social event (there’s a few I missed that I still feel crappy about) and didn’t all of a sudden become a people pleasing social butterfly or anything, and sometimes I would rather dig through a boatload of documentation before I get up and ask someone a question, I think I was able to foster and find human connection where it mattered.

This year was about finding my confidence and courage.  I found the beginnings of worthiness.   I also found, while digging in my brain, questioning why I do the things I do when they are counterproductive to my goals, found out that I have a lot of really weird subconscious insecurities that drive me to avoid things I want.  At some point, my asshole brain figured out that if I actually figure out the problem is that I’m scared of something, the challenge is ON I will grab that bull by the horns and do it anyway, so it convinces me I *don’t* want it or want to do it.

Just being conscious of that fact has elevated my training, my racing, my #projectraceweight progress (yep, turns out, my idiot grey matter was plotting against me on that one too), and a million billion other things that I’ve tripped over this year, squinted at quizzically and said, “REALLY?  COME ON!” and gone forward with anyway because they were absolutely MORONIC things on which to be hung up.

While it’s still sometimes a fight, and I still find myself puzzled that I’m actually scared of so many stupid things, at least I’m working on conquering this.  Earlier this year, I wrote down in a scratchpad, “Think of all the things I could do if I didn’t let fear stop me.  If I just hit each roadblock, and instead of stopping and pouting because it was a little hard, intimidating, or scary, just strategized about how to get around them and to the next checkpoint.  Think of where I could be then!”

I don’t see myself as a timid person, but I’ve definitely found that in the past, I’ve been meeker than I’ve given myself credit for, but much less so in 2018.  A work in progress, for sure, but it’s better than being in denial.

The wheels started turn, turn, turning this year (in some areas).

Self Enrichment:

2018 was the year that I was looking to either become or make huge strides towards becoming a published author. 

I like my notes here so much I’ll share them: Book complete!  Started editing!  Read a book on the industry!  Got freaked out and still haven’t returned to it after ignoring it for more than 6 months. D’oh.

It’s not all bad.  I did finish an 88k word first draft, and I know a lot more about the book publishing industry than I did this time last year (which was, like, nothing).  I’ve also spent a lot of time delving into other forms of writing.  I’ve been writing a little fiction and even a little poetry, and it’s been a lot of FUN! Finally, I’ve found that when I’m properly inspired, I’ve found my writing voice again rather than just throwing some words on a page, which has made me immeasurably happy.

But, about the book specifically, once it became real, it started to freak me out.  I found out that I’ve got two HUGE hangups here.  I’m confident in my ability to produce the work, even work that will make me proud.  However, I was intimidated by the amount of thoughts and feeling I would be sharing with people who know me IRL (the faceless masses, I’m fine with, but people who I might see at a party or at work freak me right out), and second, that I might write it, and it might be amazing, but no one will read it.

I made some strides in the first category by being a little more open on Facebook later in the year to test the waters, and I didn’t die!  Hooray!  However, I still have to figure out how to handle the second thing at some point because I will be an author someday and I hope to sell more than 10 books.

And, as always, here’s the lists:

Just occasionally I can look super serious.

Adulting:

  • Wills – done
  • Financial planner – not yet (I definitely have some hangups here, and I’m not sure why)
  • Fix our occasionally around kitty stray – nope (he disappeared for a while, and is not really around enough anymore for him to be “ours”)
  • Organize our entertainment center and pantry – nope and yep! (I swear, the first one will happen in January, it will take less than an hour)
  • Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off – not done (but I did just clean that room, so, that’s something)

Two of my very favorite things this year: diving and photography!

Fun stuff:

  • Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February. – not to the letter, but in spirit.  We did a few game nights at home, some at work, and sort of unrelated, I’ve really gotten more into D&D this year.
  • Camping!so much.  Love the camper.  Can’t wait to see more amazing places in turtlehome!
  • Making videos – I did quite a few early in the year and then stopped.  I’m doing a lot more filming with work now, so that’s something, but I haven’t done much at home.  However, I’ve gotten REALLY into photography and photo editing, to the point where I’ve actually sold three copies of the same crab on stock photo sites, which I didn’t even mention here, so, let’s just say this hobby has kind of morphed?  
  • More video games.  – Yes during the winter, then not again much the rest of the year.  January is almost here and I usually end up gaming a lot then…
  • VacationsCruise in May, Krause Springs Camping in July, Cleveland in August, Cozumel in October, and Fredericksburg Camping in December. I appropriately traveled.
  • Painting – I made one and started another.  Oops.  I really fell off this over the summer and never picked it back up.  Too many hobbies, not enough time, but also, I need to let go of the fact that even if I don’t produce amazing art, it’s still FUN!
  • More bike adventures.  While my original intention was playing on the cruise bikes, which I haven’t ridden much this year,  I’ve really enjoyed playing bikes with my camera, adventuring with my bestest bike buddy and taking pictures of cool stuff.
  • Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps – getting there, especially later in the year when I found my voice and a little fire in my belly again.  While I love a good recap and they’re not going away, my writing gets stale if all I write are status reports.
  • Crafting.  I did some beading, but I have yet to break out my sewing machine, but that’s okay.   So many hobbies, so little time.  

2018 was a lot of things, but one constant?  Bikes.  Always bikes.

This was one of my favorite years yet, and a great way to close out my thirties.  As always, I try to sum up each year with three words, and it wasn’t even difficult this time.

Courage.  Confidence. Worthiness.

While I can’t say I mastered any of these things this year, I am hot on the trail, madly pursuing them into 2019.

Running out of steam…

Facebook’s “this time last year” feature keeps reminding me that I really should be on a beach somewhere by now. 

It me, last year this time.

For the last five Decembers, I’ve spent time at the ocean – either in Florida or the Caribbean or Bonaire.  While I spent my epic diving vacation pennies for the year already on Cozumel (and I am taking my sweet time editing those photos or I’d have posted about it already… sigh…), and I certain haven’t been short on the traveling, it feels like something is missing when it’s December 10th and I have been nowhere near a beach.

I’m spoiled, I realize this.  But my mood has been a smidgen more melancholy and I’ve been affected by the seasons changing because of it.  It’s still over 100 days until our next trip.  We’ve discussed a long weekend in Florida in February simply to eat as many Publix sandwiches and squeeze in as many dives as possible (priority in exactly that order), but either way, it’s a while until we get to blow bubbles.

Fishies, I’m coming for you in APRIL!

We’re trying to make the best of it by taking a long weekend popup trip to Fredricksburg, and I’m excited to try out some cold weather camping.  We plan to ride bikes all over the Texas hill country, hit up some of the wineries in the area, and check out the Christmas festivities in town.  And, of course, all the normal camping fun – reading, games, and maybe I’ll even break out the paints?  Anything could happen!

I plan to take a complete and total social media detox those days.  I’ve been a little too wrapped up in it lately and my sanity can definitely use the radio silence.  I KNOW I need this when I start negotiating with myself that I’ll just log on to post pictures and then log off.  Nope. If I’m struggling with this, it’s imperative that I disconnect fully.  I really just need everything (besides my lovely husband) in my life to shut the eff up for a while.  Time to cut the cord.

It me this December, hopefully

I have a few days off solo before camping.  I plan to sleep, to ride bikes to places to take pretty pictures, to start running a little longer and more often but only if it sounds fun, to practice my music, to edit a few photos, possibly go shopping and/or clean out my closet, and possibly, maybe, crack open my book to edit, or maybe just lay in bed and read.  I’m not sure which of these I will actually get to, but I’m really excited to find out!

I feel as if I’m writing this post simply for posterity, because I can barely put words together about things right now (not a good sign for book editing).   As for the usual weekly banter, one bike, run, swim, and weights session per week continues to be what I’ve been able to negotiate with myself as offseason activity.  It’s enough to keep competent at everything but not to improve.  Which is TOOOOTALLY fine.  There’s a time and a place for that and it’s 2019 for the most part, maybe a little more running before then because I’m signed up for a half marathon in like 5.5 weeks I want to complete without dying, but I have no ambitious goals.

Real talk: I’m super unmotivated on the diet side of things.  I’ve probably put on 1-2 lbs legit (not water weight) since Waco and I still haven’t yet calmed the eff down with the staying up late and indulging in holiday cocktails (holiday cocktails = whiskey in a glass, just in December!).  I haven’t really been tracking my food.  I haven’t been eating massive quantities, but I also haven’t really been watching myself at all.  I’m a little cranky that I feel kind of puffy but I also can’t be arsed to care too much.  It might be easier once I’m done with work for the year, but I highly doubt it unless I keep myself super busy because the kitchen is like RIGHT THERE, YO.

Gratuitous Iguana in the tree shot because holidays.

I sound rather grumpy about this whole thing, even to myself, but honestly, I’m just kind of… tired.  And sort of in awe that I’m tired when I am doing so little right now, but I suppose it’s just indicative of what a year it’s been overall.  Despite my ennui right now, I am really looking forward to my 19 day vacation and all the amazing things it will entail.  I just am too lethargic to do the dance of joy about it yet.

Long winters nap, I will be in you soon.  And then, hopefully, I will wake up at some point.

On taking up space in the world…

As my mind quiets as we delve further into offseason, I keep finding more tendrils to unravel, though it’s all probably the same ball of twine, twisted up in different ways.  Last week I fretted about where I might practice my music.  Upon reading my blog and many times after, my husband replied consistently, over and over, “I don’t mind you practicing in the living room at all.” 

Next song I need to learn… I can ride my bike with no handlebars… no handlebars… no handlebars… (though it’s not really a piano song)

I continued to try to give him an out. “That’s kind of you to say.  You don’t right now, but you WILL if I want to do it more often. And what about the singing?  That can’t be pleasing to the ears listening to me try to get a tune right over and over…”

I’m starting to get over the piano conundrum.  I can practice with the volume low enough it feels like background and when Zliten ducks out of the living room for five minutes, I usually take the moment to play a bit.  But… the singing… the anxiety level ratchets up a few notches when *I’m* the instrument (without great volume control).  However, even after much prodding, I still continued to get nothing but support, so on Friday night, we set up my headphones so I could hear music and also still hear myself sing.  It sounded absolutely terrible and crackly processed through the computer, but when I took one ear partway off… IRL, I actually sounded… decent?  Good, maybe even?  The setup definitely helped me keep pitch and with practice, I think this song might be less out of my vocal range than I expected.

But, every five minutes, I had to keep asking him, “Are you over this yet?  I’m sure this has to be annoying as a cat wailing…”.  I continued to get empathetic “No, you’re fine” responses, but I still quit after five songs, even though I was enjoying myself.  I’ll practice on the piano for 10 minutes and quit because Zliten’s decided to sit back on the couch and I’m not alone in the room anymore.  My first instinct is that this music is a terrible imposition, not because it really is, but because I am incredibly self conscious about it even if I’m kind of impressed with myself at how quickly I’ve picked it up again.

This is all a metaphor for the tenebrous grasp I have on self-confidence right now.  I’m in this place where I think I’m actually pretty fly for a white (gal) at various and sundry things in my life, but when the situation switches from an internal to an external locus of judgement, my confidence falls flat.  It’s the weirdest feeling to have this dichotomy of thinking you’re awesome but also everyone else is going to think you’re absolute rubbish.  I suppose it’s an improvement on complete unworthiness, but this HAS to be a stepping stone to something better, because it’s weird and awkward.  Keeping this awesome secret identity from the world is definitely causing some of my mental friction lately.

Feels like maybe there’s a cape under there somewhere, I just haven’t found how to show it to the world yet…

This weird double life is the feeling that I could probably write an awesome book but no one would read it.  It’s the feeling that I could build a smart and useful business but I would have no patrons anyway.  It’s the feeling that I could create something wonderful and no one else in the world would give a flying fig.  It’s the misunderstood, tortured artist syndrome.  The world doesn’t understand me, but it’s because I’m bad at sharing and I don’t give it the chance.

Marianne Williamson says this:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

My logic circuits get super pissed off at the first part of this quote.  OF COURSE YOU ARE NOT AFRAID OF GREATNESS! THAT IS ALL YOU WANT IN THE WORLD, WOMAN.  And then I take a look at all the things I’ve *really wanted* in my life that I’ve abandoned or half-assed.  I am totally afraid of the light.  Something in me both wants to shine brightly and is immensely afraid of doing just that.  What makes me tell myself that I’m good, talented, and worthy at a thing in my own mind, but that light has an impermeable barrier enacted five millimeters from my own skin? What in the actual eff is my problem here?

From my few moments of feeling unbridled self confidence and unlimited possibilities before Cozumel 70.3

If I’m being truly honest, I’m in the habit of playing small when things get uncomfortable, and I have a great fear about taking up too much space in the world.  I have moments where I think, “oh gosh, what if I’m being too much right now” and I shrink in the consideration of the world around me.  It’s weird, because I can easily and truthfully say to myself, “I don’t care what people think” and in the same breath check to see if I got any more likes on my last Instagram post or hesitate to speak up in a conversation because I don’t want to sound stupid. 

I think the proper sentiment may be that I have a higher tolerance of being weird among strangers in public.  I have a greater understanding of how people really are absorbed in their own head most times, and they don’t really have any opinion about what I look like running around in wet spandex or doing a silly dance in the middle of a department store.  When it comes to people I know, it sort of does.  And then, when the people are familiar and it’s a subject that makes me feel vulnerable (art, writing, music, something subjectively creative), it’s like walking the highwire for me.  And we’re back to the marked difference for me between the stage (where I’m okay) vs where I can see people’s eyeballs (total paralyzing fear).

Unfortunately, I don’t have answers on this one.  It’s definitely something deep seeded in me, I’ve been dumbing myself down since my pre-teen years when I didn’t want to appear too smart in school.  I don’t really have a course of action besides keeping an eye out for when I act and feel this way and keep pushing myself to do things that stretch my comfort zone.  Singing and playing music in front of my husband and not feeling as if I’m imposing deeply on his life is a good start.

Finding fall, and other transitions…

The opportunity to indulge in a four-day break was incredible last weekend.

Thiiiiiiiiiis thankful! 🙂

However, it was just enough to sort of *start* the healing process from the sheer stress of the last few months, so I’m really longing for that nineteen day break beginning at 6pm on Thursday, December 13th.  This really came into focus when I spend DAYS freaking out about something that actually happened two weeks previous, but I had NO recollection of it.  When my memory gets this fallible, I require some time to defrag the hard drive which is my mind. 

Things get weird for me this time of year.  I tend to have some sort of minor mental breakdown, due to the combination of the lack of daylight, end of the year work stress, and since I usually save a lot of time off for December, the lack of downtime.  This year has honestly been fairly innocuous, thanks to not being an idiot and trying for a late season marathon anymore (with all the other stress, let’s heap MORE TRAINING ON IT! YEAH!), but in years previous, I have done ridiculousness like put my fist through a wall before because an errant electronic device wasn’t cooperating (spoiler alert: it wasn’t about that at all).  My frayed nerves right now are actually probably below par for the course.

An actual picture of my brain in November.  Just kidding, that’s our holiday lights through a set of those “christmas lights” fractal glasses.  But the feels-like is just about right.

I’m about a month’s distance from the last race of the year.  I’ve spent it in the company of a LOT of whiskey.  I built a sturdy ship over the previous months, and I have had great fun wrecking it.  Thankfully, it feels like we’ve moved past that phase and my body and mind are just in sleep-all-the-sleeps mode right now.  If I thought my mind was quiet last week, you can hear a pin drop in my mental echo chamber this week.  I’ve realized there is a time and a place to worry about all the shit I was fretting about and that’s not right here and right now.  If I want to be a useful human being ready to pursue goals with vim and vigor at some point, I need to be rested and refreshed and that takes letting go for a while.  Like, really let go instead of pretending.

I’ve found a nice cadence of activity.  It’s worked out to an average of one short swim, one 5k-5 mile run, a 2+ hour weekend bike adventure, and a little lifting every week.  I was hoping to focus more on the heavy stuff, but my body has made it clear that it’s not ready to be back in the gym doing that 2-3 times a week so I’m listening.  This relaxed, easy, whatever-whenever schedule has worked out to about 5-6 hours a week so far, which is PERFECT for offseason.  Everything feels good and joyful and restorative, both to my body and soul, but it doesn’t feel like TRAINING, which is exactly what I need right now.

Finding fall (narrator: fall was found).

This weekend’s bike adventure was an especially fun one.  We set out on two wheels, with our good cameras (aka, not just our cell phones), searching for FALL.  In years past, I don’t know what I’ve been typically doing around this date, focusing head-down on running, I guess, but I can tell you I’ll do my best not to let another season go by like this without exploring and capturing it.  The logistics and execution of this ride at times were tedious – every few minutes, I would to call out to Zliten that I was stopping RIGHT NOW, I’d spend a few minutes taking pictures in various modes and at various angles, and then I’d go find him and catch up.  He rode almost two more miles than I did overall.  This is nothing I would ever do during a serious training ride, but I think the results were worth it!

Turning back the clock a few days, I set out for my first run since Waco on Thanksgiving.  For reasons I detailed here, it was not an official trot, but I aimed to cover the same amount of miles (five) as fast or slow as I felt like, and cut it short if I wasn’t feeling it.  Thankfully, my easy pace has stayed approximately the same (10:45/mile), and we both ended it feeling like we *could* have gone a little longer (with some nutrition, we ran on zero fuel or water before or during), but it felt like enough.  I thinking the exact same thing as Zliten turned to me and said, “can we do that again next week?”.  Yes, yes we can (and actually already have).

While I’ve spent the last month embodying the drinking habits of college frat boy with the liquor tastes of an aging upper middle class white male (mildly expensive bottles of whisky, on the rocks), I have been watching my business with the food intake, for the most part.  I can pinpoint maybe one or two days in the last month where I ate like a jerk, but typically, my appetite has been in line or just a little below my calorie burn.  I’m pretty proud of this trendweight entry for someone who is not actively trying to lose weight:

Over the last two weeks, I’ve lost 1 lb.  That’s still trending down, even over Thanksgiving, during offseason.  I even hit my goal weight for the year (165) on the nose over the weekend (extremely dehydrated, but still…).  Calling this one in the bag is almost a done deal, it’s close enough to taste it. 

I think one of the key things I’ve learned this year – which is helping me right now even if I had one day over the weekend in which my food intake could be entirely described with one word (pizza) is to deal with not being FULL very often.  For me, there’s a vast chasm between being satisfied and the actual sensation where my mind pushes against eating more food.  On the satiety scale, 5 is no longer hungry and 7 is full.  For ME, it feels like about 12 actual integers between those two.  If I am careful, I’m fine on about 1500-1600 calories more days of the week than not, and that’s enough to keep the line pointed very shallowly down.  I can just as easily eat the same quality of food in higher quantities (to the point where I feel, not uncomfortably so, but just full), not feel any differently, and have the line point slightly up.  Full is an occasional indulgence.  No longer hungry has to be the norm.

I also feel like my appetite has hit a small thermocline at this weight I’m at now.  I am satisfied with significantly less than my husband who weighs 15-20 lbs more than I do, whereas even earlier this year, I’d find it hard to not eat exactly the same thing as he did day in day out even if I knew my metabolism burned 3-500 less.  I’m sure it frustrates him to no end right now when we eat lunch and I’m fine and he’s like, “where’s the other half?”. 

However, it’s working for me and I’ll keep at it.  It would be an immense triumph to actually get to January and be ready to set my next (and maybe final) weight loss goal of 150 lbs.  That knowledge in and of itself may be enough to stave off the normal crap-tastic holiday eating.

Hopefully when we take these DOWN, I’ll be at the same or less on the scale than when we put them UP.

I am admittedly still avoiding my book.  Knowing what I’m stressed about is half the battle, but I’m not quite ready to tackle the other half yet.  It still gives me anxiety and I’m unashamed that I’m going to avoid that battle for a little while longer until I’m feeling a little more mental fortitude. 

I have been extremely productive in my procrastinating though!  I’ve been pretty deep into photography lately.  It’s a wonderful hobby in that I can gather a whole bunch of source material over an afternoon or a week of adventures, and the editing?  I can do that sitting on the couch watching TV at my leisure.  I feel like I’m improving and finding different tricks each set of photos I edit.  I’m finding more photographic opportunities than just diving and vacations, just a random bike ride or putting up holiday lights or a particularly cool moon is excuse enough now to drag out my camera.  I’m not great yet, by any stretch, but I think I’m at least getting better than your average person snapping shots and slapping an insta filter on them.  Onward and upward!

For various reasons, music has snapped back into focus in my life.  I’ve found myself really into it the last few months, not just putting it on as background as I have in years past to get into flow or to take my mind off a particularly hard run, but more.  I’ve been looking up lyrics to songs that tweak my fancy and thinking on what significance they have, and listening to music LOUD to feel things (my new headphones are awesome).  It’s not just a backdrop, it seems like it MEANS something, if that makes any sense.

Maybe finally inspired by living in the Music Capital of the World?

I had an urge to pick up the guitar recently.  I’ve never played guitar.  I picked up my cheapo ukulele and learned some chords but it sounds crappy and I’m awkward at it.  Many years ago I played piano and I have a keyboard sitting in my dining room I haven’t touched in years, except to play Heart and Soul on it a few times (the only thing I could remember).  I figured this would be a much better use of my time as I can actually read music, so I found a song that seemed easy and repetitive, and I actually learned it by heart in about an hour total of tinkering over the break.  I’m pretty good at patterns.

Now the hard part.  I like playing music, but I LOVE to sing.  My next challenge is that I need to learn how to proverbially pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time.  I want to learn how to accompany myself.  This should be interesting.  I assure you, because part of the motivation behind this is to overcome mental self-confidence road blocks, I’ll embarrass myself with it by sharing on the internet when I’m ready.  You can look forward to the nonsense coming soon.

I also realized I had been reluctant to undertake this as a hobby because it’s quite imposing on the house.  Photo editing is silent, for the most part.  Writing my book is the next step up – I have to remove myself from the living room, but I don’t make any noise.  Video creation makes noise and takes a mild level of quiet on the set, but it’s shut away in another room.  The piano is in a common space.  I can turn the volume way, way down, but it’s not really conducive to practicing because I can barely hear it and definitely can’t FEEL it.  I can solve this with headphones, but I don’t know what to do about the singing.  I can whisper to get the cadence right but I’m not a quiet singer so that’s always going to be rather disruptive and probably the part of the music I’m most self conscious about. 

I’ll have some time alone over the break to practice, but if I want to actually get into this, I’ll need to find some quiet where I won’t disturb my husband playing and screeching over and over until I get it right (or at least less wrong).  Then again, this might just be a fun distraction to learn one song, post it on the internet, check that item off my bucket list, and move on to other things.  Hopefully that would be my book, but maybe I’ll take up underwater basket weaving and become the champion of the world at it.  Who knows?

All I know for sure is that I have eleven more workdays left.  I can do this.  A long winter’s nap is so close, I can taste it (but hopefully not too much tasting, lest trendweight get upset with me).

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