Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: resolutions (Page 1 of 5)

2019 Goals and Directions

When you have a really successful year that you’re quite happy with, it doesn’t make any sense to throw the baby out with the bathwater and change it all up.  To be perfectly honest, the refrain of, “second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse” will be frequent in this post and that’s a GREAT thing.

However, as someone who isn’t content to rest on her laurels, there are obvious improvements to be made even on the best of years.  Let’s dive in, shall we?

Racing/Training:

For the year I planned to have in 2018, I nailed it.  I loved the shorter, more focused training (both per session and per week).  I enjoyed the stability that weight training and proper recovery afforded me.  I thoroughly enjoyed the ability to podium multiple times this spring and qualify for Nationals.  So, I’m going to do that again.   Yes indeedy, the plan is to do a bunch of short races in the Spring with the goal to get as high on the podium as possible each time and head to Cleveland again in August, but only if my husband and I can BOTH qualify this time.

I’ve had a nice long 10 week offseason where I’ve let it all burn to the ground and it’s felt flippin’ fantastic after some fits and starts with learning to let go.  Tomorrow starts pre-season.  This schedule is slightly different from last year but rejoins it in the spring.  Whereas in January 2018, I was focused on building to a half marathon personal best, my focus THIS winter is purely base building.  I will be running the same half, but my only goal is to survive it, not PR.  This means regular weight training, a moderate amount of base miles, a little speedwork but not much, and getting back to regular testing (100m/300m for time, FTP tests, either run threshold or fast mile tests).  Once spring hits, we’ll shed the volume and train more like we did last year (more fast stuff).

As for racing, I am already signed up or plan to sign up for these races:

  • 3M Half (Jan 20)
  • Lifetime Indoor Tri (Jan 27)
  • Some sort of 5k in late March/early April to test my fitness
  • Possibly the St Patrick’s Day Tri in Dallas
  • Maybe a time trial cycling race if one fits on the schedule
  • Texasman (May 5)
  • Wincrest Freshman (June 8)
  • Lake Pflugerville (June 16)

I’ll probably put a few other triathlons on the calendar between March – June.  I want to race a lot again, but probably no more than two weekends back to back in a row, and I have a 10 day vacation planned in April so we’ll see what happens. 

As for the fall, I *think* I want to do a 70.3, but I’m not sure which one.  There’s my perennial Kerrville, and I’m going for sure, but not certain what distance.  There’s Waco, and though a bad taste still lingers in my mouth from that race, the fact is that it’s close in proximity and the timing is perfect.  There’s Oilman in Houston in November, which I’ve never done and always been interested in trying out.  There’s also Indian Wells in December, which is interesting as well, though the timing kind of sucks and it’s a plane flight.  

The long term goal is to do another full Ironman in 2020.  It’s looking like it will probably be Texas because it’s convenient.  Besides swimming in the sh*tcanal, I like the course, especially if we can maybe refrain from 25 mph winds on the Hardy Toll Road this time, and the time of year (late April) is perfect.  With the weather and my work schedule, training for anything longer than a half late in the season is NOT optimal. 

I also just found out that I’ll be part of #teamnuun in 2019, and I’m super stoked to rep something I’ve been using for many, many years already!  Definitely more to come on this as we get more deets.

#projectraceweight:

After eight years of a swing and a miss here, I finally found some success.  I lost over 20 lbs and (for the most part) kept it off.  I weighed in at 169.5 this weekend, so while I’m probably up just a little from holiday indulgences, I’m well within my goals for concluding offseason/holiday eating. 

As of January 2nd, I’m back on the #projectraceweight train.  I want to see 150 lbs reaaaaaaal bad this year, and for the first time in forever, it’s really within my grasp.  I just have to do exactly what I did last year.  For posterity, that is:

  • Track my calories regularly.  Stick to 1500 most days, 1-2 days closer to 2000 +/- depending on activity level (if I do a long run/bike/race, I’m going to eat a little more).
  • Keep an eye on my diet quality.  I probably won’t be as anal with this all year as I was in (early) 2018 because, honestly, quantity is my biggest problem.  However, I need to be checking every once in a while to make sure I’m right around that 20 mark. 
  • Continue to alternate batch cooking and Snap Kitchen/other healthy prepared meals.  I will honestly probably lean on Snap for most of January and then alternate a bit, but having someone else do the cooking and portioning helps me a lot.  We got takeout SO MUCH LESS than any other year because of this and we both lost weight.
  • Quit drinking like a frat boy It was fun to let loose for a while, but it’s time to reign it back in for season again.

My goal is to hit 150 or a little less by the end of the year and evaluate if that’s my happy forever weight or see if I should push on further. 

Personal Growth:

I need to learn how to be okay with failure.  I’ve found the root of a lot of my hangups rest on my subconscious convincing me that I don’t want something, not because I don’t want it, but I’m scared to try and fail.  This year is about taking chances with the full realization that I may fall flat on my face in some endeavors.  This is the year about eating the sacred cows instead of keeping them on their pedestals. 

And to save myself the trouble of trying once and failing and giving up, I’m also making part of the resolution to FAIL the first time (or two) and still have the courage to pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again.

  • Before the end of 2019, I will send at least THREE pitches out to a publisher about my book. 
  • Before the end of 2019, I will pursue at least THREE other writing opportunities – whether it’s writing for another site, a contest, just something that gets my work out there.
  • Before the end of 2019, I will ask at least THREE people for guidance and mentorship on writing, business, social media, marketing, photography, or something else I’m dying to learn but don’t know much about.
  • Before the end of 2019, I will submit my photography for at least THREE opportunities/contests.
  • Before the end of 2019, I will apply for at least THREE brand ambassadorships/sport opportunities (one down already!!!).
  • Before the end of 2019, I will pursue at least THREE opportunities to get Adjusted Reality social media profiles (probably instagram) shared by a more popular profile.

While I’ve got more detailed goals I’ll share on a monthly basis, I’ve decided 2019 is the year where I stop getting in my own way to get the things I want.  If someone else decides I’m not worthy, that’s fine, it’s just not going to be ME any more.

Hobbies:

These have kind of gotten out of hand but I love the chaos, so I’m not going to quit doing anything.  What I am going to do is stop giving myself crazy goals that stress me out.  Obviously my writing and my photography are the exceptions, which I’ve covered under personal development, but it’s worth a mention below there’s a lot of creativity and adventure to be had this year (so stop wasting time on excessive social media and too much Netflix, woman!).

Camping – go camping at least three times outside of our race trips.  We have one planned in Feb, and our usual July 4th trip, so this means at least one other weekend for funsies.  I’d also like to go at least one new place that will lend itself well to pretty pictures.

Vacations – besides camping, our current plans are a 9 day cruise in April, either Cleveland or some other out of town triathlon over the summer, and TWO weeks in Bonaire.

Gaming – read the entire D&D player handbook and expand my knowledge there, continue to get into and enjoy my silly Bard character who seems to also be a vehicle for self-discovery, for reals reach max level on the games I work on by the end of the year, play more games for research even if I just spend an evening checking them out, and host at least a QUARTERLY game night with friends (and take the opportunity to play more at work during off hours).

Painting – I’m roadblocked here, and I’m not quite sure why.  I want to finish my fish before it’s a year old, start another one, and then do it as often as it’s fun.

Music – I LOVE that I’ve finally picked this up again.  I learned a Christmas Song (Carol of the Bells), and I’m still working on another one with actual singing as well (Colorblind).  I have the next one picked out as well, but I’m not letting myself go ADD on music.  I want to focus on one song until I can play it without errors and pauses.  I want to post at least one “performance” publicly (aka, a video on Youtube/Facebook/Insta) because the idea of it scares the shit out of me.

Videos – I miss doing my one take videos.  I want to do a few more of these as the inspiration and motivations strike.  My husband and I actually talked about making some sort of very short film (not a one take) at some point, so perhaps we’ll focus on that as well.

Writing – While above I’ve focused on non-fiction, I’ve had a BLAST exploring fiction and different writing styles and voices as well.  I definitely want to continue to do.  I wrote a sci-fi adventure over the holiday and also have been writing in my D&D character’s voice.  Moar of this, and I think I have some ideas for opportunities to indulge in this.

Photography – continue to take every opportunity to take footage and work on my editing.  Continue to learn photography and editor techniques.  I want to get back on the horse and submit more stock photos to the sites where I’m accepted (and learn more about hashtagging and how to make them more visible for sales).  I’d also like to set up an online gallery that’s not just my facebook page.

Cycling Adventures – I want to continue to have some rides where I put my camera in my jersey pocket, and venture out on two wheels with the only goals being pretty pictures and beautiful things, not watts.

And last but not least… adulting.  It’s literally three things and a small monthly organizational project and some of them simply involve paying someone to do a thing.  I CAN DO THIS!

  • Financial planner.  For reals.  We will pay off our house soon (about 2 years) and we will have some decisions to make at that point.  We need some guidance.
  • Replace our garage doors.
  • Tear down the bush in the backyard and replace the fence.
  • Pick one manageable-sized organization project each month and do it.  The pantry took like an hour and irked me for 6 months before I did it.  The initial list is:
    • Pick up the pain cave room and fix the broken bike racks
    • Go through our closets and pack up/donate the stuff that doesn’t fit anymore
    • Organize the movie/game racks
    • Finally sell and move the giant terrarium that takes up a corner of our living room
    • Organize the office
    • Etc, etc.  Continue this with one a month all year knowing the projects will need to be reaaaaally small during 70.3 season.

In summary, my overall goal is to build on the courage, confidence, and worthiness I started to cultivate in 2018.  2019, you’re looking pretty awesome already, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?

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.

New Years Resolutions – Focus, Intention, and Purpose

2017 was freakin’ epic.  I finished an Ironman!  I did my first official century ride!  I went on amazing vacations and got a camper and spent a ton of time outside!  We redid our kitchen!  How the heck do you follow up something that crazy and grand?

By doing less.   Oh yes, by one hundred percent absolutely positively for sure doing LESS.  2018 is about doing less with purpose, intention, and focus.

This will be my junior year with Team Bicycle Sport Shop.  Looking forward to training and racing with them again!

Racing/training:

I want to strengthen the bond between coach and athlete here.  Yes, I am that person in both aspects, so this will take myself being kind, patient, and firm with… myself.

As a coach, I will schedule myself like I was scheduling another athlete.  I will not put crazy sessions that make no sense on my list just to see if I can do them.  I will not fill my week too full without good reason.  I will consider both what the sessions mean to the athlete in the context of goals for the season and also what’s going on in life right then.  I’ve been coaching myself long enough to know how I operate.  I don’t do well undertrained, but I also need to watch my tendencies to want to do way too much and then disappoint myself by either failing sessions or burning out right before races.

As an athlete, I will HTFU this year.  If coach does her job and schedules things better, it is my job to actually complete the sessions AS INTENDED.  If I have 6×400 with a one mile warmup and cooldown, starting with drills and ending with stretching and rolling on my schedule, that’s what I do.  And, I’m going to do my best that if it’s scheduled for Tuesday morning, I do it Tuesday morning because I put the session there for a reason.

I feel like this will help grow my experience as a coach and also my confidence as an athlete.  If I could sum up my athletic goals in triathlon in a mission statement, here’s a go at it:

I am a strong, fit triathlete who is rarely injured because I have good stability from weight training and flexibility/form work.  I have the confidence because I complete my training sessions.  In races, I take that confidence and head close to the front of the pack in most races where it’s appropriate to start the swim, and I’ve closed the gap between my decent pool swimming and subpar open water form.  I continue to do well on the bike because I train and race with power goals.  I leave the bike and can now chase down people on the run.  As a coach, I will set reasonable goals for my athletes (me and Zliten), and include only the necessary training on their schedules to succeed.

Here’s this year’s plans so far:

Winter:

  • Jan 22: take the little bit of training I’ve been able to do and see what I can do at 3M.  My new A+ goal is to PR.  With the paces I’m running, sub-2 is not reasonable right now, but my legs are showing some promise, so, on a really good day, I may be able to come in under 2:08.
  • Feb 3: do an ill-advised-but-it-will-be-fine 6 hour cycling event.  I’m here for the fun and to support the team and go camping.  I may not hammer this one but I know I’ll survive it.
  • Take at least a month after this with minimal swim/bike/run and get into the gym and lift heavy in preparation for the rest of the year.

Spring: goal is to get fit and then race a LOT of sprints to try to qualify to nationals. I want to shift my mindset at the shorter distances to actually racing for the podium vs getting my heart rate up.

Summer: cut off the racing with enough time to give myself an offseason before getting back to it for Nationals (if I make it) in August and then Cozumel in September.

Fall:

Sept 30: Cozumel 70.3.  I have some outcome goals here.  First, sub-6:30 or better (PR).  Second, I’d like to finish far enough up in the results I actually go to the rolldown for Worlds (as a super longshot, I’ve heard rumors of people being in 20-30th place and getting it).  But honestly, I want to race this to force myself to figure out one of my biggest triathlon problems – I do not love hot weather but I’ve had my two best half runs in sweltering heat off of my two fastest bikes those two years (though I’ve also had some pretty critical explosions).  I need to figure out how to succeed in the heat, be it training, gear, or just HTFU’ing.

After this, I’ll make some decisions.  Ironman Waco 70.3 or Oilman last minute?  A fall half marathon?  Offseason?  I’m not committing to anything after Sept 30th.

You will notice there are no marathons, no ironmans, no century rides, no 10k swims on this list.  Will I haul off and randomly do a long bike ride because it sounds fun?  Probably.  But I’m keeping my focus (after Feb 3rd) on one thing: triathlon, and succeeding at the distance that my next race is at instead of random long base training for no reason.  I’m running the longest right now that I need to run all year and that is super refreshing to me!

Less of this face in 2018, young lady!

Human Being-ness:

As a human, I want to be a more patient and kinder person.  I feel like in relentless pursuit of goals sometimes I get a little snitty and self-centered.  I get annoyed by the MOST ridiculous things that shouldn’t even register on my radar.   I joke that I’ve gone from being a people person to an anti-people person – that grumpy 80s TV dad that just wants his underwear and his recliner and silence.  However, in going from a state of fluctuating between mega-maniacal (DO ALL THE THINGS) to burnout, I’m definitely finding human connection challenging to enjoy more often than I’d like to admit.

I actually like people.  I am actually probably more of an extrovert on the spectrum than an introvert.  I love random conversations, and I’ll talk your ear off and listen to just about anything with a few beers in me (i.e. – when I’m finally relaxed and not thinking about the next thing on my TO DO list).  Sure, I’m a little socially awkward at first with people, but I’m mostly comfortable in my skin as long as it’s not a “hi, will you be my friend” situation.  It’s that my brain is so far up inside itself thinking about what’s next and goals and achievements that it’s hard to focus on anyone else.

Yep, my problem is that I’ve become a bit of a selfish asshole.  The way I fix that?  By committing to less and really and truly being IN when I do commit.  If I can have more space in my life between TO DO, then I can actually enjoy these things instead of feeling obligated to do them.

Yes, I GET to have a great group of people in my life that want my time and attention.  I’m not burdened by it.  That is a very negative way to live and I’m going to leave that one behind in 2017 in the rear view mirror where it belongs.

If I had to pen a mission statement for this one:

I will do my best to be present in the situation I am in, instead of having my thoughts stray to the future.  If I’ve committed to something, I will give it time and attention to the best of my ability.  If I’m feeling overscheduled and overwhelemed, if I’m fumbling at life, I will take a good hard look at my goals and to do list, and I will prioritize until it feels reasonable.  I will approach social interactions as a pleasure instead of a chore.

Food/Scale:

It’s nice to weigh a little less than I did last time this year.  Obviously obsessively tracking my food and diet quality didn’t work.  I seemed to only make progress when I actually let go a little and ate… dare I say… intuitively.  I gave my body a break and trained INCREDIBLY minimally.  Or maybe turmeric is actually the magic anti-inflammatory bullet, so obviously I’m going to continue to take that.

So, obviously I want to continue to take steps back towards my race weight, but I don’t honestly have much to say here that’s revolutionary.  Just keepin’ on keepin’ on with what’s *slowly* working.

  • I want to continue (after a slight holiday feasting break) with my diet that’s at least half fruits and vegetables.  I feel the best when I’m consuming a diet high in plants in their truly natural form.
  • This is accompanied by making sure I continue eat my my normal breakfasts and batch cook my meals to get enough lean protein, whole grain carbs, and snack on things like almonds and pistachios instead of chips.
  • I want to limit my indulgences to ones that I truly enjoy and that will will be a fun and relaxing diversion from my normal.  For me, that means most of the sweets I get go into the freezer and I’ll dig them out once a month when I have a craving, but I’ll consume alcohol in moderation on Saturdays and there will be Desano’s Pizza or after long bike rides.
  • If not tracking, I will at least be conscious about what I put in my mouth is going to help me towards my goals or not.  It doesn’t all have to be positive diet quality (just most of it), but if it’s not, it should be for a reason and not simply because it’s there in front of me.

Self-enrichment:

This is another place where my life needs focus.  My eyes are now open to all the things I want to do and learn after a period of just being happy existing as a game developer and triathlete.  But, in true form, I want to do and learn them all NOAW.

The last two years, I’ve had this giant, big, varied, scary to do list.  I was trying to be a jack of all trades, master at none.  I’m going to pull back and pick one focus this year:

2018 is the year I focus on becoming a published author of a non-fiction book.

I’m pretty sure that’s my mission statement right there.  Here’s the steps I envision taking next year:

  • Finish my book.  I have about 3.75 chapters left to go.  My goal is to finish the first draft by my birthday (or at least birthday month).
  • Put it on the kindle and read it myself.  No taking specific notes, no editing, just read it as if I was reading another author’s book it to see if it’s interesting.
  • Ask my husband for help with his dialogue.  I’m a fairly prolific writer with a lot of strengths, but dialogue is not one of them.  If you could, why not ask the character what he would say in those situations?
  • Edit chapter by chapter.  I know I need more environmental description and cues.  I can see and smell and taste and hear all the things that happened to me.  The problem is, the reader can’t unless I describe them.  I know I need to make things a little more cohesive because I wrote the chapters out of order (as in, don’t describe things five times, describe it once and go back and reference).
  • Get some beta readers.  Some that are familiar with triathlon, some that are not, to see if it’s interesting to either/both groups.
  • Become knowledgeable about the industry.  Read books and devour websites about publishing, editing, agents, and marketing your book.  Stuff like this.  While I want to know so much more about marketing in general, I’m going to take 2018 to focus on this slice of marketing.
  • Continue to read in the non-fiction genre.  1-2 books per month in between my pulpy sci-fi 25 book series that will likely never end…
  • If it gets this far… build a website for the book.  Contact publishers about the book.  Get an agent (or not).  This stuff is so far away and I need to learn what half of this means, but my goal by the end of the year is to have a finished manuscript I’m proud of and at least know where to go with it next.

The Lists

Here’s where I break my mold of focus and intentions, because I am me, and I am not doing away with TO DO lists.  However, I’m still trying to stick with the intention of planning LESS.  I’m trying to keep the first list reasonable. I am also trying to leave off a bunch of fluff so I actually do the things I really need to do, like actually see a financial planner for eff’s sake.  Focus.  Intention.

The second list should be FUN!  I will do these things as they sound pleasurable and enriching to me, not as TO DOs I need to check off.  These need to be things I GET to do, not that I *have* to do.  If my sewing machine stays hidden, that’s ok.  If I post weekly recaps because I’m pouring my time and energy into my book, that’s totally acceptable.  They are here simply to remind myself there are better ways to spend free time rather than Netflix and dorking on social media on my phone.

Now that this is done, we can do smaller, bite size projects.  After a break, that is…

Adulting List:

Yep, a lot of this is carryover from this year that didn’t get done.  Still want to do them.  Will try again.

  • Wills
  • Financial planner
  • Fix our occasionally around kitty stray
  • Organize our entertainment center and pantry
  • Build leezard a lounging platform she can’t knock her plate off
  • Probably some other small organizational projects that emerge as I check these off.

Mostly take the year off adulting because HOLY HELL we adulted pretty hard last year with house projects.  Actually taking January ENTIRELY off any sort of TO DOs minus the normal cooking, keeping the house to the point where the cleaning service can do their thing, and laundry.  I need a friggin break.

Fun List:

  • Resume monthly-ish game night with friends in February.
  • Camping! ‘Nuff said.  Especially in the spring when it’s nice out.
  • I love pictures but shy away from video.  I had a blast playing with it underwater, and I want to do short videos about random stuff 3x per week, if nothing else, posted in my Instagram stories.
  • More video games.  I’m serious about this.  I got Grand Turismo 5 for Christmas and we are going to stream “Drunk Driving Saturdays” (i.e., having a few beers and playing GT in the comfort and safety of my own couch) for a while and I want to actually feel like at least a casual type gamer again.
  • Vacations: Cozumel for the half IM and then a week of diving, family cruise in May, family trip to Port A or Galveston, maybe a long weekend in Chicago, maybe somewhere snowy (with the camper?) in the winter to cross country ski or snowshoe?
  • Painting… I’ve been having a lot of fun with minis but I also would love to expand to canvas again, even if only on camping trips.
  • More bike adventures.  I mean, the kind where it’s beautiful outside and we hop on the cruisers in the morning with backpacks and baskets and only have a vague plan for the day and coast back in at (or after) sunset.  I’m open to the other kind with clips and kits and friends as well, but I want to do more where the bike is just the transportation, not the focus.
  • Posting more interesting things besides weekly recaps.  It really helps me when I’m training towards a goal race, but other times it’s like… yep, rode my bike some miles, ran when I could be arsed to, ignored the pool and weight room, and ate, drank, and slept a lot.  You don’t care.  I’d rather write something else with focus instead of this being my glorified diary all the time.
  • Crafting.  I recently found my beads and I really want to spend some time playing with them and making new pieces (I did one over break, and I love it.  Moar!!!).  I would really like to get my sewing machine out long enough to be comfortable getting it set up and stitching things.

2018.  Let’s do this.  But not too much of this.  Because it’s the year of LESS.

2017 wrap up – an epic year of drive and exploration

I can’t let December 31st come and go without a nod to how the year went, so, without further ado, the tale of the year of freakin’ epicness which was 2017 shall commence.

One of the best moments of 2017.

A Race: Ironman Texas.

Done, and dusted.  It’s kind of amazing to have such a warm glow around a race with so many trials and tribulations during it, and one that you can envision literally taking HOURS off your time with a better day, but you only have one first IM and I’ll always remember it fondly.  Shit canal, Hardy toll road headwind, and wonky knees and all.

I envisioned it as the training being a means to a goal, and all the payoff being that day.  I actually really enjoyed the process, the journey, and I might have been just as proud of some of those long training efforts as I was finishing the Ironman proper.  But that red carpet moment was pretty effing awesome, don’t get me wrong.

Smiling because I did not at that point know exactly how close I had come to Nationals.

Also, getting your big goal race out of the way in April was kind of awesome.  I committed to nothing for the rest of the year and found out a few things:

  • I wanted back on my bike rather quickly and I set goals to ride centuries because they sounded fun.  So, 2017 organically became the year of the bike with over 3500 miles, very little of them indoors.
  • My run training went so well from Jan-Mar, and then everything went to hell, both with my body condition and also my motivation.  It was a very small mileage year with about 450 miles and I’m okay with that.
  • Swimming… eh.  Again, I did a lot to prepare for the IM and then all I wanted to do was ride my bike after.  Even during the summer.  All said, I swam 52 miles this year, so that’s not shabby.
  • Weights – I hit a routine for a while with bodyweight workouts over lunch but struggled to get to the gym to lift heavy most of the year.

I actually had two pretty decent sprint triathlon results at Jack’s Generic and Kerrville (let’s ignore the shitshow that was Lake Pflugerville 8 weeks out of an Ironman), which have ignited my goals to qualify for Nationals next year.

I also spent a lot of time really digging into coaching (got my cert) and psychology reading non-fiction triathlon books, and have started working on my mental game here (and will expand upon this in 2018).

Habits and Practices:

Full of washed veggies. And also cooked and eaten outside.

  • Facebook and twitter – I spent a lot of the year using them sparingly, and then I found some awesome triathlon groups on Facebook and found myself involved (but also wasting a lot of time on social media).  I’ve logged back out in December, and I think I’ll just have to continue to be conscious about the mindless and not-super-relaxing scrolling while watching TV.
  • I made a goal to stop rushing and fumbling with things.  I would not give myself a passing grade on this, and it’s kind of the core of my intentions for next year.
  • Washing my fruits and veggies – I would give myself a 98% on this one.  It’s one of those stupid things not to do and an easy goal to conquer.  It’s now habit.
  • I wanted to weigh less than I did Jan 1, 2017.  Check.  I’m about 5 lbs down, give or take, but that’s still something.
  • Beer January – check.  The rest of the year watching my alcohol portions?  Still something I struggle with – mostly because I have a large tolerance and it doesn’t affect me the way it affects most mortals.  One large slice of cake makes me ill, but I can drink a mess of whiskey and feel fine (as well as the next day).  I also enjoy  whiskey way more than cake.  But… neither of these things are great in large quantities.  The battle continues to control my portions next year.

I made some way-too-ambitious goals for self-enrichment and I think I learned from that for 2018.  If this was my full time focus, if I wasn’t also a triathlete and a wife and a daughter and a full time game producer and didn’t have friends, maybe I could have made more progress – but right now, all those things take priority over these.  And that’s ok.  It’s not my livelihood, its just something I’d like to pursue someday.

One of the best books I read this year…

Learning/Certification:

  • Finish my triathlon coaching class and pass the exam – CHECK
  • After IM Texas, start researching some sort of part time or volunteer opportunity that will help me get some sort of experience. – NOPE.  Instead I rode my bike a lot.  Oops.
  • Continue to work on my social media plan for this blog as practice. Eh… I use hashtags on Insta.  I post occasionally on my AR facebook page.  I haven’t really been trying as of late.  It stopped being a focus and that’s ok.
  • Read some business books and other triathlon training books instead of JUST my pulpy sci fi. – CHECK.  At least 1-2 per month starting in the back half of the year.

Set Up

  • Write a business plan and figure out who I really want to reach and the services I want to provide. NOPE.  I’ve had some thoughts here but nothing concrete.
  • Create a website with all the bells and whistles it needs. NOPE. 
  • Start writing some book notes CHECK.  More than, actually.

(Big) Baby Steps.  By the end of the year I want to:

  • Have a website ready to go that can take people’s money and provide a service. – NOPE. 
  • At the very least, start providing a small service via fiverr or something similar to test the waters. – NOPE.  I decided this wasn’t a great idea until I really decide what my business plan is.
  • Have a published book (even if it’s just self published).  NOPE, but I’m getting close to draft 1 done, so that’s something!

Other Stuff:

Sunsets and stars outside were definitely highlights of 2017.

Game night – we had three and then our end of year booked up so fast we didn’t have a free weekend.  I’m really looking forward to reviving this next year!

Video games – I was really bad at this in 2017.  I wanted to list 20 that I played multiple times, and I can only do the games I work on, Clash of Clans, Dance Dance Revolution, Gran Turismo 5, Stardew Valley, Job Simulator, That’s You, and… errr… that’s it.  Oops.

Vacations: I didn’t do my reunion in Reno/Tahoe, and we chose Bonaire over a liveaboard diving trip, but I was super excited to take all these trips:

And, all the other things.  Did I mention I like goals?

Little stuff:

  • Hem/fix a few pairs of pants. NOPE.  2018?
  • Clean out both cars. CHECK (and then they got dirty again, funny how that happens…)
  • Take my existing extra hoka soles and cut them and put them in my less comfortable shoes. NOPE.  So easy, and not done.  Oops.
  • Appointments
    • Find a new doctor and get an exam – CHECK
    • Financial planner – NOPE (2018)
    • Bike fit – CHECK!
    • Eye doctor appt and exam (my frames are SOOOOO scratched) – CHECK!

Bigger Stuff:

I still have yet to do a full reveal but here are some fruits of our labor…

  • Clean out and renovate the office.  We were hoping to get to it over holiday break, but it didn’t happen. CHECK!!! This is where I’m writing this right now.
  • Figuring out a place to store (or a new home for) this other gaming table we have that is currently threatening to impale anyone that sleeps on the left side of our guest room. CHECK! (It’s right next to me)
  • Make the workout room a proper pain cave with a TV, computers and monitors for Zwifting.  CHECK – the trainers now live in the workout room and I found I actually enjoy music more than movies/screens so we’ve been rocking that (though I haven’t done more than an hour).
  • Figure out a more permanent solution than boxes and a blanket in a closet for the leezard (though she seems ok with it). NOPE – 2018.  She’s fine with it but her plate of salad falls over and makes a mess.  
  • As long as our financial situation seems stable, picking a renovation project (kitchen, patio, etc) and do it. CHECK.  Kitchen has like two things left on the TO DO list (to do later today).
  • Get a shed.  CHECK. 
  • I want to train myself to be ambidextrous on the bike.  NOPE.  Need to work on this one on the cruiser without clips first.
  • iFly.  NOPE.  At least they never expire…
  • Comedy tickets.  NOPE.  We went to a few shows but not enough to use up the tickets.  I gave them away as presents to people at work.  Oh well.
  • #goplayoutside – CHECK.  The camper and being a crazy cyclist really helped me spent a lot of time outdoors.  The last two months (between cold weather and kitchen renovation obligations) have been driving me nuts, but I know playing outside season will come back again and I’ll be out there.

I usually do this thing where I try to distill the year into three words and I’ll do it again.

2017: the year of turtle home, for sure…

Epic.  I mean, yeah, this word is overused, but my first Ironman, riding so many bikes, buying a camper and spending almost three weeks in it in the second half of the year.  25+ hours underwater back in my happy place in Bonaire.   Tri coach certification, finishing a kitchen remodel and a lot of other fairly major house projects, and eeking out 3/4 of a draft of my first novel.  SO MUCH THIS YEAR.

Explore.  I feel like I got to know my town better, biking over what felt like every inch of it over and over.  We camped SIX times in the span of four months in the camper.  I hit the water in five different countries this year.  I also explored the inside of my grey matter a bit pushing myself through Ironman training and racing, and then working on my head game in for Sprints.

Driven.  I felt a pull this year like no other year to really expand my goals beyond being a triathlete.  I’ve wanted to write a book for over half my life and I finally started it.  We’ve been talking about redoing the kitchen since we moved in.  We’ve been talking about Ironman since we started triathlon.  While there are a lot of things on my list still to do from this year, I checked off, or at least started, some of the real big ones.

Hope you have a happy New Year’s Eve, and cheers to a fabulous 2018!

What’s your biggest 2017 accomplishment?  Share in the comments, since goals make me unreasonably happy!

10 years and 5 top tips for healthy new years resolutions

Ten years is a really long time.  I keep saying “it’s about a third of my life” because I still THINK I’m about 30, but I’m getting closer to it being a fourth.  Still a long time, regardless.

2007-1

I don’t enjoy dredging this picture up every January but it proves a point.

Anyhoo, about ten years ago, I barely fit into size 24 jeans.  Walking around my apartment complex or across my tiny work campus was a WORKOUT.  I drove the mile to work because “I would get sweaty” or “there’s a hill”.  A marathon was something you did watching a lot of a TV show.  A triathlon was eating pizza, drinking whiskey, and working or playing games at the same time.

While I was proud of my work accomplishments, I had given up on the rest of my life.  I figured that I wasn’t young anymore, so I had missed my opportunity to do something fun for fitness like I did as a kid.  Hello, I was in my MID TWENTIES.  Who thinks that?  I thought if I wanted to lose weight I needed to do the elliptical (ho hum) and lift weights (bleh) and eat low carb (HATE).   I would stick to this stuff for a little bit, then I’d get bored and have no overlying goal besides wanting to hate myself a little less, and get frustrated and quit.

However, a decade ago my New Years resolution was to lose weight, and it actually stuck!  I’m down a small human from where I was ten years ago and I’m fit, active, and competitive (sometimes) in triathlons.  However, there are days, weeks, and months where I’ve felt like an utter failure at it.  I’ve gained weight back.  I’ve let myself get so far off the strength training wagon I’ve become weak, imbalanced, and injured.  To be a little nerdy and quote Alfred from Batman, “Why do we fall?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”  I’ve learned that the key is lifting yourself up over and over and over.

Change is uncomfortable, and you’ll occasionally revert back to comfort and then feel frustrated about it.  You’ll have a bad day at work and scarf down a burger and a beer and feel a bunch of guilt about how weak you are.  You’ll get sick or busy and get out of the workout habit and berate yourself for not sticking to it.  The scale will, for NO GOOD REASON, go up one week and you’ll want to cry and say FUCK IT, my best isn’t good enough, I guess I deserve to be fat now.  I have done ALL THIS AND MORE and yet, still, here I am.

Odds are, you have a health or fitness related goal for 2017.  Since it’s coming up to that pivotal time where you’re either going to quit when the going gets tough or persevere, here’s my 5 top tips for actually succeeding with a health/fitness related New Years resolution.

jan9-2

Instead of being too busy to work out because you have all the errands, don’t drive there – get a cheapo commuter bike and some storage (my bike was 200$, my storage cost less than 100$, bike adventures instead of sitting in traffic – priceless).

1. Work the goals around your life, not your life around the goals.  Are you not a morning person?  I’m not either.  Setting a goal to wake up at 5am to work out every day is PROBABLY not the best first step.  Try finding 30 minutes a few times a week that makes sense for you.  Use your lunch break.  Take 30 minutes out of your social media or TV time.  Stop at the gym on the way home from work.  If you have trouble getting out of the house, find workouts you can do inside (treadmill, trainer, videos, active video games).  Maybe it IS the mornings, but if it’s not, don’t force it.  Find the time you are MOST likely to work out and do that.

2. Have lofty goals but take realistic steps.  Want to lose 100 lbs?  Awesome.  Set that really scary number aside and concentrate on losing 5 lbs this month.  Or better yet, use process goals, like tracking your food and steps and eating 500 calories less than you burn daily as measured by fitbit.  You can’t lose weight just by wanting it really hard, you have to go through a process to do it.  I know – I tried for MANY YEARS to just want to lose weight as if it was magic.  It may be a little mystifying, but I guarantee you, the more you quantify your actions, the more success you’ll have.

3. Have an ultimate (quantifiable) goal.  Wanting to be skinny or get fitter is admirable, but hard to quantify.  What’s your motivation for wanting it?  Do you want to fit into a pair of jeans?  Do you want to be able to play soccer with your kids?  Do you want to run your first 5k?  Once you identify this, figure out those incremental steps to get there and make a plan and set a date.  As they say, a goal without a deadline is just a dream.  For the 5k example, you may say you’re going to follow the Couch25k program (giving yourself a few extra weeks just in case) and sign yourself up for a 5k in 3 months.  This means you can’t just say “someday”… someday is in 12 weeks – get to it!

4. Be gentle with yourself if you falter.  Progress is not linear.  We are human.  The aforementioned bad day burger and beer, missing workouts, and scale being a fuckwit WILL happen.  Let me shout this one.  IT IS NOT INDICATIVE OF YOU BEING A WORTHLESS HUMAN BEING.  However, why do we fall (because we all fall)?  To learn how to pick ourselves up again.  After the burger and beer day, wake up in the morning and eat a healthy breakfast and go sweat a little.  After missing a week of working out, get back to it.  If the scale is not cooperating, keep trying, because the other option is giving up and I guarantee you, this is not a good alternative.  Sometimes we vacation off the wagon, and that’s fine, but we should live ON it.

5. Celebrate when you succeed.  Did you lose 15 lbs and your jeans are loose?  Fuck yeah!  Go buy yourself a new pair that fits and looks good.  Even if you’re not at your goal weight.  Even if you have to go to the thrift store to do it.  Just because you are not at your vision of perfect yet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate the little steps along the way.  Progress should be should be met with a hearty fist bump, not a sigh about how far you have left to go.

In ten years, some things have not changed.

sept19-1

Yep, this is still a thing…

Sometimes I’ll eat like an ass just like before.  I love me some french fries.  I still have pizza and whiskey nights in my life.

I still hate the elliptical.  And I constantly fall off and restart on the weights bandwagon.

Right now I’m cranky about barely fitting into some of my jeans.

However, when I eat like an ass, 99% of the time it’s because I’ve just finished a super long workout and I can justify the calories.  I may hate the elliptical, but I love to swim, bike, and run.  And the jeans I’m cranky about?  They’re half the size (or less) than in 2007.

So, there are some things that HAVE changed.  And while 2007 me and 2017 me are very different people, it was through very gradual evolution every step of the way.  2007 me would have balked at my current workout schedule and many other things that are just part of my normal life now.  But 2007 me DID find it acceptable to do 20-30 mins cardio and 15 minutes of light weights three times a week, and track my calories.  And then it evolved from there.

If 2007 me could do it, 2017 you TOTALLY can.

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