Adjusted Reality

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

Tag: weights (Page 1 of 12)

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.

January Goals

Monthly goals are back.  And there was much rejoicing for TWO bullet point list goal posts in a row!

Disapproving me is disapproving (probably because I’m riding my bike inside *grumble grumble*).

I promise I’ll get to some more interesting stuff soon, but I definitely need to be accountable for some habits I’m trying to break and new ones I want to create, so that means I need to shout it out loud on my little soapbox here.

Sporty Stuff:

I’m racing twice.  Weird, huh?  I’m entirely unprepared for both of them, but it will be fun to toe a starting line again after months away from competition.  I’m racing 3M Half Marathon Jan 20th and my goals include 1) showing up and 2) seeing what happens.  I plan to go out rather conservatively and see if I can pick it up during the second half and negative split even though the second half goes up.  The next weekend, I’ve got the Lifetime Indoor Tri.  There, my goals will include 1) swimming as hard as I can 2) biking as hard as I can 3) trying not to throw up until after the run.  I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with the pain place once again.

In terms of training, I will be ramping up the hours a bit, but not a ton.  

  • Weights: one per week this month.  After I’m done racing, in February, I’ll move this to twice a week or maybe even more, but for now, ramping up the running and remembering how to athlete a little is taking prescient.
  • Running: long runs every Saturday until 3M.  Shorter runs 1-2 times a week.  After 3M, move to shorter faster stuff, including a test – either threshold or fast mile – at some point later this month.
  • Biking: short stuff this month, mostly inside.  Next month I’ll take it outside again but with long runs and racing I just don’t see that happening in January.  And, I’ll do an FTP test tomorrow to see where I’m at after 2 months of slacking *grumble grumble*.
  • Swimming: will keep up my once a week swim but it won’t be much of a focus.  I’m so happy to have an indoor pool this year and I want to continue to make use of it and not go weeks or months without a swim as is normal this time of year.  To keep in the testing spirit, one of these will include a 300m and 100m time trial.
  • Recovery: stretching and rolling at least twice a week each, actually breaking the boots out a few times a week as well.  Generally, I should be doing at least one of these things a day, on average.

#projectraceweight

It’s time to set this party train into motion!  Or, well, actually, the anti-party, considering my goals.  January is for being boring and it’s actually kind of a relief after a few months of dietary recklessness.

  • Snap Kitchen is what I’ll be eating pretty much all month.  I plan to do a little batch cooking (probably one soup per week) and some Perfect Fit meals as well for variety and because Snap is sort of expensive, but I’m actually quite enjoying returning to their meal plans after a break.  I love my mostly pasta + chicken strips diet (and I know it works)!
  • 1500 calories most days.  More on Saturdays and/or days when I do a long workout (-500 to -1000 less than what I burn on those days depending on my appetite).
  • No whiskey January.  While I’m not trying to go dry or anything crazy like that, I do need to step things down a bit.  I’m giving up whiskey on the rocks (and whiskey altogether), and I’m aiming to have drinks only on Saturdays unless there is a good and social reason to do so another day.  So far, so good!
  • Weigh and measure.  Get on the scale at least four times a week to get a good average for the Trendweight going again.  Track my food every day.  Check diet quality once a week.  Try not to judge where I’m at right now, just watch the trend.

I will not assess a goal weight for the end of January but I will say that I’d like to weight less the week of Jan 28th than I do this week.

Other stuff:

I don’t want to stress myself out too much while remembering how to human again after offseason and the holidays, but I’ll pen a few goals here.  Mostly, goals of the indoor variety because the world is trying to kill me right now with allergies.

  • Pick one organizational thing – either cleaning/organizing the pain cave OR the media shelves – and complete it by the end of the month.
  • Read Daring Greatly.  It’s been on my list for a while and I keep hearing it’s life changing.
  • Crack open MY book and find the places I truly didn’t finish (notes like STUFF ABOUT THINGS GO HERE).  Then, load it on the kindle and begin to read it.
  • Finish the D&D 5e player handbook cover to cover.  Start catching up on Critical Role so I know WTF people are talking about.
  • Earn some levels in both my games.
  • Play the piano at least 30 mins a week.  This habit is starting to fall off and I don’t like it. 

Basically, this month I want to start the long, slow, climb back to being a motivated, productive human.  The drive is there, but the habits don’t quite flow like water yet.  I hope that being my normal follows-a-training-plan-and-eats-like-a-healthy-human self doesn’t feel weird anymore by January 31st.

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.

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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