Adjusted Reality

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

May – The Return of the Inverted Batman

My partner in crime, Joel, recently had a change in medication he takes at night. The instructions say, “don’t take within 2 hours of eating and don’t eat for 1 hour after taking it”.

Last decent picture we’ve taken together without one of us (usually me) lookin’ doofy

Apparently, no one follows this rule. He questioned his doctor about it, and she said she just stopped mentioning it because no one follows directions. He then asked if it made the medication more effective, and she said yes. So, he (and I, most nights) now no longer eat snacks after dinner besides a small piece of dark chocolate.

Doesn’t make a huge difference for me, calories are calories and count the same at 9pm as they do at 9am, IMO, but a huge change for someone who doesn’t. He started making more weight loss progress all of a sudden and noted that his garmin weight graph for the year was starting to look like an inverted batman, like this steep drop off with a few peaks and valleys but overall heading in the right direction. Can I be thrilled for him and also similarly frustrated for me? Oh, to be a dude and able to eat +500 calories per day… sigh…

I also failed to remember that my progress seems to always follow about 3 weeks behind my habits. While I am not looking at a full inverse batman myself, I’m actually getting my shit together. But also losing my shit a little bit. Maybe let’s go reverse order and talk about the things that are making me crazy first.

Adulting:

We are currently now 3 weeks into our bathroom remodel. The full contents of two bathrooms and a large vanity are strewn all over the house, and somehow, we can’t find anything anywhere. The lovely people who did all the work are done except for some shelves on the work order that didn’t get put up (Monday!), but it’s a huge relief after fifteen workdays of contractors in the house, loud noises to the point I could barely hear meetings some days, bad smells but thankfully not to the point we couldn’t sleep, and playing the “which bathroom can I use” game (and sometimes, especially last week, the answer was none and I did the camping alternative of peeing behind the bush in the yard). I don’t mean to complain as I realize it’s a privilege to be able to do this at all, and especially the full-service version where they are doing everything for us, but holy heck, I am more than ready to have my happy little sanctuary back to the place where it’s all mine (and Joel’s) and things are in the right places.

Our underwater themed guest bath in progress.

It’s definitely caused us to be short tempered, easily frustrated, demotivated, and just plain cranky. Week 2 was peak pissypants party time for me, last week was Joel’s. At least we took turns so we could talk each other down, but the spoons, they went rather quickly these weeks. Week 2, I logged an absolute GOOSE EGG in terms of workouts besides walking. I mean, I still logged 5 hours/12.5 miles of walking, so it wasn’t nothing, but zero bikes, runs, swims, weights, or elliptical. That hasn’t happened since Covid. I wasn’t sick. I wasn’t injured. I was just so far at the end of my rope I couldn’t manage to do anything but amble. But at least I did that.

First half of the month? Pretty good. Week 4? Oops.

The end is in sight, though. My first steamy jacuzzi tub (hey, we had the wiring from the 1968 jacuzzi tub, we may as well use it) was divine. It is super amazing not to be grossed out by mildew and crumbling tile when I shower in the morning and instead smile at my very nice new bathroom. All that’s really left is to put everything back together. And that starts today.

I will also report taxes are done, we paid less than expected, and our consulted noted that we shouldn’t need to pay quarterly or do anything different than withhold a little more. So we shall.

Getting ready for pool time is already in progress. The pump did an oopsie and reverted all our hard work back to brown pondwater. Something in there is broken, we need to buy a new some-hundred-dollar-doo-dad and for now have resorted to chlorine instead of saltwater so we don’t hatch millions of mosquitos from our backyard.

I knew we’d be very much over responsible things in May, so I already kind of pre-planned a month off. In May we will:

  • Put away all the things from the bathrooms back in the bathrooms but take one more pass on better organization
  • Repaint all the doors in the house while we have the nice white paint out and replace hardware and hinges.
  • Get the pool working on salt again so we can get in it
  • Joel can start planning for his office move but that’s not yet

Weight Loss Goals:

Here’s how it’s not so bad. While I didn’t fully make up for March’s indiscretions, I did reverse the trend.

My trend weight today is 183.7, which is just about where it was at my lowest in March before the bloatening started. I feel like I’m behind, because I was making such great progress before, but I suppose in my goal to lost 12 lbs this year, I’m only 0.3 behind (my start was 187.4, I’m now at 183.7). So, instead of trying to set some crazy goal in May, I’m simply going to aim to catch up for the year. I’d like to have a 182.4 by the May 31st. Extra progress is appreciated, but not required.

Sporty Things:

After finishing the Cap10k, I realized I was without any other race plans this year and without a whole lot of enthusiasm. I’m stuck in this place where:

  • I am not enthused about triathlon this year. It’s not to say I won’t do one late season, but I’m just not enthused about any of my options early season. The Memorial Day race is crowded and inconvenient. Pflugerville quality has declined over the years. And I’m just not motivated to go crush on my TT bike or swim. And I’m also not in a place where I just feel like participating.
  • I am REALLY enjoying walks and hikes. I mean, I spent 19 hours going 50 miles this month.
  • Walks are truly the best way to lose weight (if you can walk enough and eat the proper amount of calories). When I walk, I don’t get extra hungry. Run, bike, swim? NOM NOM.
  • I am going to need motivation here soon. It’s so pleasant to go for a walk from October to about April/May. Over the summer it sucks. And I tend to pull back on my overall activity because of it.
Finding these opportunities are my jam these days

Couple this with my discovery of the Texas Trail Series. I’ve always been a little ultra-marathon curious, and this definitely isn’t that (yet?) but I think I want to spend some time this year walking (and who knows, maybe running some? I’m still running! I just don’t want to run a whole 13 miles on a trail yet.) for a morning on a gorgeous trail with aid stations and a party at the end. This is probably the first thing that’s sounded fun to me.

So, we’re planning to sign up for the one in June, and see how it goes and decide whether it’s a one and done and we should just go back to doing Sprints like other years, or whether this is a new adventure. Or maybe even both!

For May, I am splitting the difference.

  • Weights 3x week. It’s okay I took a week off, but that shouldn’t happen again for a while.
  • I would like to swim a few times. I want at least one to be in the lake. Even if I don’t triathlon this year swimming makes me happy and stretches my body out in ways nothing else does.
  • Running 2-3x week. I keep trying to convince myself I want to try to claw back to my pre-pandemic 5k time of sub-27 mins, but I know the pain to get there and not sure I’m ready mentally and I’m not sure as it’s getting hot is the best time either unless I go train inside, which also sounds BLEHHHH.
  • Biking 1-2x week. Mostly for activity/calories. IDK why because I used to absolutely <3 bikes, but I just can’t get myself excited about going fast or going far. We’ll roll with it for now (or not roll with it? hah) and maybe I’ll be back to bike adventures and chasing people down someday.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: make a weekly schedule instead of “do some stuff”. If I don’t follow it 100% whatever but I do much better with a plan.

Notice I’m not talking about the hip. 🙂 A week of reset was actually quite nice and it seems to be *knock on wood* happy and well-adjusted again.

And finally… Fun Stuff

After a nice long push to get the first pass edit done in March… I am going a lot more slowly now. Did I need a break? Maybe. Did I have fewer spoons the last few weeks to do something like this rather than something mindless? Also maybe. However, I’m almost exactly 50% of the way through now and the latest material (which I spent more time on) seems to be going quicker than the first ten chapters (which I think I edited very very quickly). I’m excited to get through this and give it another read. Then? Not sure if I give readers a chance to read and move onto book 3 or noodle on this one more. Now that I have the goal to write the whole story before I publish, I know I’ll have a final edit pass over the whole enchilada, so I’m less concerned with it being perfect, while also simultaneously wanting to go tear book 1 apart again. 🙂 Goal for May is to finish the edit pass, read it, have Joel read it, and incorporate our feedbacks.

My final Paris pictures are edited and public. <3 That was such a lovely, exhausting, wonderful bucket list trip. Next up? Seattle from Sept 2023. I only have a few hundred photos there so it’s a softball goal for May, which is perfect!

So, May. Let’s be better than April, shall we?

  • Walk alllll the miles, weights 3x week, short runs 2-3x week, and the rest, que sera, sera
  • Keep doing all the things to summon my own inverse batman on the scale
  • Put all the things in the bathroom back, paint some doors, change some hardware
  • Finish edit pass #2 and read and fix things
  • Edit Seattle Photos
  • Enjoy camping next week and prioritize time to relax

Cap10k and being part of the solution

I ran a 10k. It’s been a minute (or something like 10 years) since I did a standalone 10k not after a bike.

Here’s what I wrote on social media that day:

I signed up for the Cap10k this year one for a few reasons. One, I’ve never done it. That’s crazy! Two, I wanted motivation to keep running longer than 5k after the Austin Half Marathon and to push myself to run a little faster.

Not much of that training worked out. After Covid in January, I slowed down to keep my heart rate lower while training. This adjusted my running gait. Doing that knocked things out of alignment, and I developed cranky hip syndrome (this is the technical term for it, for sure), which forced me to stay at that slower (11:30-12 min miles) pace during runs since then.

After some chiropractor intervention, things are much better, and earlier this week I pulled my flat 5k pace back under 11-minute mile pace. Progress! So, I showed up this morning hopeful but ready for a jog if running faster didn’t pan out. Ten-ish minutes per mile felt challenging but doable on the hills, so I pushed myself to stay there even if it sucked running some of those steep hills. Halfway through, I got 1h5 mins in my head as my goal time, but I had to speed up.

Thankfully, the second half had fewer ascents, but GOSH my legs were thraaaashed running up 15th and Enfield hills. I stuck with it and tried to go to the happy pain place. I was close to that 1h5m so I gave it what I had the last half mile or so downhill and came in at 1h5 and 15 seconds. (10:19 pace) Top 40% overall, top third female, top quarter masters, top quarter age group. This race is truly against myself and my own goals since it’s so large but nice to see I’m not doing so terribly compared to the masses. ?

I don’t hate this at all. Y’all, I’m not a hill runner, up or down, and this is honestly faster than I’ve run even on flat ground for a while. It’s a nice sign that I am ready to push myself this year to do some faster runs because they’re in there, just waiting for me to get over the fact that it’s EASY to go out and run easy. Time to find the pain cave again. Maybe that’s the big scary that I need right now.

Unfortunately, the next day (why is it never the same day?) I was limping around on my hip, and it’s persisted all week. I visited the chiropractor yesterday, and she put me back in alignment but I’m still some days away from running. I also spent the week doing that pouting thing I do, sabotaging myself by eating too much, kinda slacking on workouts, and not doing all my recovery. I also felt draggy as hell for almost the whole week. Garmin said I was sleeping pretty well, but I just felt like my batteries weren’t charging up until literally today.

It’s not been all that bad – I’m keeping up with strength training, I’ve swam both weeks, cycling is happening, and 8-9 logged hours of activity (with walks) doesn’t suck. But, it’s not enough for how I’m eating and drinking, I suppose.

So, I can either be part of the problem, or part of the solution. For the last month or two I think I’ve been part of the problem. Time to be part of the solution.

So, reminders to myself:

  • The gym is half a mile away from the house. You have a home gym and bike trainer. You are either home or work from home 5 days out of the 7 and the other two, you’re home at a decent hour. No excuses not to swim, bike, do weights, or do the arc trainer.
  • Recovery items like the roller do not function as recovery when you give it the side eye and slink past it
  • Stretching only works when you do it, not just think about it, dreading it for more than the five minutes it would take to do it.
  • These things still exist after 5pm/after work, even if you wish them and will them not to.
Doing this instead of recovery is fun but maybe try a little of both?

And an additional one:

  • Your book isn’t going to get edited by procrastinating it by writing blogs/doing whatever

I hadn’t touched it in 2 weeks before this weekend. This isn’t normal. I made such a solid effort to get to the end of the first draft and the first editing pass, I should probably give myself a little grace here. But, I’ll admit, I’ve been less than motivated to pick it back up, finding other things to do instead. In what I’ve learned with writing, motivation doesn’t always just appear when you ask it to, sometimes you have to force the issue. I need to remember that sometimes the Muse comes to you, and sometimes you have to summon her.

The good news is that I made great strides this weekend and am about 1/3rd done with the second edit pass. I think I’m in a hurry because I want to read my draft again and share it with Joel (and that’s a great sign!). I just need to commit to a chapter, or just some pages, every time I sit down with any spoons left in my drawer after work.

It’s not all rubbish, I promise. Here are some good things I/we have accomplished in the first half of April

Les photos de la Louvre, c’est fini!
  • Taxes are done, and we got confirmation we don’t really need to pay quarterly/hire a CPA like we thought and we owed less (and have a plan to hopefully owe MUCH less next year).
  • Bathroom remodel starts Monday. This will indeed throw my life into chaos for a bit, which is why I’m reminding myself of all the reasons this doesn’t need to disrupt my fitness.
  • The pool is on its way from brown to clean! So, like full scale adulting this April is a go!
  • Paris pictures are very much in process. Perhaps it’s a little procrastination of book editing, but it would take an act of god for me to not finish the last 50 or so this month! Now I need to figure out what’s next.
  • We are really close to booking our end of year trip to Bonaire! Joel got cleared by his doc (not that there were questions but apparently for men over 45 they can ask for a doctor note) and we’re excited to go for another week of diving after we make sure we get our gear serviced.
  • Our plans for late summer are up in the air dependent on work travel, there are probably different options depending on where the origin point is, but we’re considering options there too.
  • Debating between camping and Mexico next month. I know, wild variation. Camping was the plan, but we have been over a year without diving so we need to log a dive before Bonaire or they will make us take a refresher course. Less likely when shore diving in Cozumel. 🙂
And, y’know, I kinda miss this place.

So, I just need to get back into the habits I had made earlier this year and make the numbers go down.

  • Raising my activity levels/daily calorie burn a little. No preference on how it happens (walk, bike, elliptical, swim, run when I can run again), but it needs to happen.
  • Eat less than 1200 calories a day + activity and THATS IT. Not “sorta kinda oops too much today oh well”. Do this by logging your food as you eat it, not 2 days later and then acting surprised.
  • For the rest of April, back to aggressive recovery. Every day I will: stretch, roll, boots, ice, and do the silly crab walk things. I can go back to two things per day once I’m reliably running again with no pain.
  • Go back to doing my meditation at least 4-5 days a week not “oops I did it once this week”.

This blog space is repetitive. I say the same things over and over because they’re easy to say and difficult to follow and re-affirming them in text is a way to get back on track. It’s easy to fall off good habits with a “treat yo self” attitude once or twice and then you realize it’s been two weeks and the trendweight, she’s going up. So, I need to do the right things. I’d like the numbers to go down. I’d like to not be limping around. I’d like to have a second pass readable draft. I just need to remind myself to be part of the solution for these things instead of the problem.

What goes down sometimes comes back up

And, not always in the good way.

Joel left for a week and I still put on clothing and drove myself to the office, I want a cookie.

Not that it wasn’t a very nice month full of very nice things, but a lot of those things had a lot of calories in them and made trendweight very sad. It’s not like this is an anomaly but still, I start every March going, “why yes, I am going to celebrate our birthdays as a day of celebration and not a month, and this will keep me going towards my goals.”

And then…

…I’m over my calories pretty much every day (by a significant margin) until March 17ish. Ah well. What goes up also must come down (or I say it must), so we are back to clean living and abiding by the numbers, not just what I feel like.

  • Week 1 (Feb 26): 1249 OVER
  • Week 2 (Mar 4): 715 OVER
  • Week 3 (Mar 11): 1153 OVER
  • Week 4 (Mar 18): 1397 UNDER
  • Week 4 (Mar 25): 1 OVER (lets call it a tie)
Believe it or not this is from the thousands of calories under week! I walked EVERYWHERE

It usually takes 2-3 weeks of habit to show on the scale, so I’m guessing the weight will start going down – should I continue the trend of not being a jerk with food – this week or next. Hooray! April should be back to normal, not alllll the celebrating, so goals here are same as they ever were – log all foods, stay under calories for the week, and be no more than 182.4 lbs on April 30th (let’s see if we can make up a little bit for a lost March).

#2 Running and Stuff

I keep thinking my hip issue has cleared up, and then it comes back. Right now, it’s feeling great but I keep saying this and then a few days later… BOOM. I really would like this to get resolved so I can get back to running faster and more often. However, my on-again-off-again relationship with running means my enthusiasm for triathlon has resumed a bit. Cycling (indoors and watching Bloodbowl games) is a thing in my life again and with Joel out of town last week, I managed to get to the pool TWICE in March and once this evening.

Proof! I swamz!

Things I have learned:

  • If I am to ever swim regularly, it is probably going to just need to be on my own initiative/schedule, and let Joel find his times separately. We just never find the time during the day that works for us to go together and lack the enthusiasm at night. Monday night seems to be a magical exception so we will continue to try for weights n swim Mondayz.
  • I can absolutely bribe myself to do 30-60 mins of biking with the promise of watching a game or two and some sort of candy snack every 5 mins (like an M&M).
  • I think I need to figure out how to change my stride/pace back to run like I did pre-Covid. This issue developed after I got back to running and intentionally slowed down 1 min/mile to keep my heart rate lower. Now, the stupid hip is keeping me at that pace :P. Maybe I just need to force myself run faster? Who knows?

Check out the difference between the first half of the month and the second, especially that week I was on my own.

Now, remember, it doesn’t log walks, I walked 64 miles this month (24 hours) and that’s not nothing. Check those activity times – 8-12 hours a week – I’m walking A LOT. But besides that:

  • 1100 yd swimmming (22 mins)
  • 47 miles cycling (3 hours)
  • 16.2 miles running (3 hours)
  • 4 sessions elliptical (2hours22min)
  • 11 sessions weight training (5h37min)

So, that means I walked a little over 2 miles per day and did 30 mins of other tracked activity. That’s honestly pretty great and healthy… just not for the amount of food I ate in March. So, I need to either ramp this up a little or ramp that down. Probably a wee bit of both.

In April my goals are:

  • 3x week weights, non-negotiable, at the gym as often as possible, up the weights at home if I can’t.
  • Swim once a week. Just friggin’ do it. Yes, it’s not an efficient use of my time as a workout due to prep time and waiting for a lane sometimes and all the rest of it. Yes, I’m going to do it anyway.
  • Bike at least once outdoors and see if that can resume some enthusiasm with that particular sport.
  • Run a 10k on April 7 and then do whatever running makes the most sense to rehab the hip (none, short, fast, treadmill, sandwiched with walking, bricks, etc etc etc)

#3 Adulting

This month we shall do the taxes and get the things for/clean out the things to remodel the bathrooms. All this stuff has to happen in April, no getting out of it, and I’m sure by the end of the remodel I will not want to do any dang thing else for about a month. Only exception is prepping the pool for the summer. We’ll do that. So, yeah, garage and fridge – maybe in June?

#4 Fun Stuff

Everything has truly taken a backseat to Book 2’s completion and first editing pass. And I did it! Kinda. I have two “notes” left (find a good place to add a specific scene/conversation and make the ending better). I believe it’s currently readable as a first draft, but obviously needs some improvement. I spent more time in the second half of the book on my first pass edit noodling over word choices (did it need it more or did I just have more patience? I’m not sure). I did deliver Joel a plane draft at midnight before his morning flight the next day and said “don’t read the last two chapters”. He only read the first 5 chapters and is kinda now waiting on me to give him the go ahead for a full read. I’m stalling. In April, I want to get a full and complete grammar/word noodling and voice pass and re-read the book myself.

I did have a great and productive photo sorting day and have everything from Paris now ready for editing. I certainly didn’t finish this month (still on the Louvre) but the big hurdle (picking which pictures to edit out of literally thousands!) is done. I’m three sets away from done with the Louvre, so my goal in April is to finish Paris and move onto something else.

I’ve looked at my guitar and paints a few times. It’s fine. I’ve been writing and playing outside and it’s fine, maybe there will be more crafty stuff over the summer when it’s too hot to spend hours tromping around the neighborhood.

So, April is about:

  • Actually freaking focus on making some scale progress. Track daily, don’t go over calories, weigh almost every day, and stop with the unearned treats.
  • Do the normal weights stuff, add some biking and swim once a week, run less but faster after the race
  • Get the bathrooms redone, prep taxes, get the pool up and running
  • Word noodling pass on the book and Paris photo editing

And… enjoying as much outside time as possible before it gets too hot. All the walks to all the things.

Marcheroonie and other made up months

I just spent five nights camping and all I got was my patience back. And a little older.

I am dis many (done backwards for the camera :D)

‘Twas a really, really nice time to disconnect. I kind of screwed it up a little by doing a lot of editing of book 2 early on in the trip (but I was enjoying myself! honest!), though I also enjoyed a ton of hiking in the sunshine and a full day of read/napping, so I came back super refreshed. I did jump right back into the frying pan with the roughest 2-day workweek evar, but I digress. I am still not sure how it was Feb 29th and I blinked and now it is March 10. I’m convinced that time is all made up.

Figure I’ll get back to that trip once I sort out the pictures (though, honestly, daily hikes, great food, time to relax was a great TL;DR), let’s do that thing where I do a monthly update on goal progress.

#1 Lose 12 lbs or track 365 days

Check and check for February. I started the month at a trendweight of 186.4 and ended at 184.2. That’s 2.2 lbs lost, much more than the 1 I’m shooting for, so I’ll totally take it! So far, March is very much trending in the right direction as well, however, it is a (delicious and awesome) minefield of birthday celebrations, so I just need to stick to tracking each day, even if I’m over, and stay as active as possible. Knowledge is power. Goal is 183.2 or lower on March 31. My trendweight is actually real close to that already so I just need to not completely screw it up for the next 21 days.

  • Jan 29 – Feb 4 calorie deficit: 1191 under
  • Feb 5 – Feb 11 calorie deficit: 126 under
  • Feb 12 – Feb 18 calorie deficit: 591 over
  • Feb 19 – Feb 25 calorie deficit: 1737 over

The race kinda screwed things up but I truly believe that a few hours of racing keeps your metabolism higher for a few days (definitely noted in how hungry I was Sun/Mon/Tues). First month of March while camping is going to be similarly over, but I’m still making progress. *shrug*. I just need to be consistent, not perfect, I guess.

Keeping track from early January, my worst trendweight was 188.0, so at the end of February, I have lost 3.8 lbs. Almost 1/3rd to my goal. Yay, let’s keep it going!

#2 Continue to earn my right to run

I lost it a little bit last month, but I’m back, baby (2 mile run Friday, 4 mile run today)! My hip did the cranky thing in February, which meant I only ran a few times, and then did a half-marathon and went walk-only for the rest of the month. It’s not even worth sharing the normal garmin calendar because it doesn’t show walks and that’s like the majority of my activity this month. So, stats instead.

We did the thing!
  • Running: 34 miles, including a half marathon at 2:39!
  • Cycling: 31 miles. Basically just 4 trainer rides.
  • Weights: 11 sessions. This just works out to missing one session on race week. Can’t complain.
  • Walking: 36 miles. Most of the second half of the month was just walkies
  • Elliptical: 1 hour/3 sessions.

This works out to about 7-9 hours of logged activity per week. Can’t complain even if a lot of it is low intensity!

This month, I’m back to running and prepping to yet again participate/maybe race against a projected time for myself in the Cap10k on April 8. I’d love to let the legs loose on this one a little bit since the distance is comfortable, but the course is super hilly (similar to the half marathon, some of the same streets even), so we’ll see. The goal here is mainly to meet up with some friends and have an excuse to keep running longer than 5k for a bit.

I very much slacked on weights this week, since I was camping, so I’ll just resolve to hit it the rest of the month. A few sessions missed isn’t the end of the world as long as I have overall consistency, and we have appointments next week so we can’t skip it!

Do I even want to do this?

Other than that – I need to decide whether I actually want to triathlon this year. The enthusiasm for biking and swimming is at an all-time low. I am guessing when it gets warmer it will come back, but I just don’t know if I feel like racing tris this year, which is a weird thing to say. I’m down for some more running races, but all the bike gear and swim gear and riding the tri bike outside just sounds exhausting and I feel, honestly, kinda burnt out about it. I think I’m going to wait and maybe sign up for things at the last minute instead of committing to see if I even want to swim/bike/run instead of solely focus on running/weights/weight loss. Then again, next month I could be talking about how sick I am of running and how biking is the best and I’m ready to race all the races. We shall see.

So yeah, this month is all about resuming my 3x week runs, hitting the rest of my weights sessions, and getting enough other cardio (walking, elliptical, biking, swimming?) to stay active and offset my noms.

#3 Adulting

I did absolutely nothing here. February was a rough month. The fridge still needs to be cleaned out. With all the work/birthday/social stuff going on, I give it about a 50/50 chance in March. Let’s move on.

#4 Happy Fun Stuff

I’ve picked up my guitar a few times, once my acoustic whilst camping and ow, my fingers. Those strings are tough! I have really, really slacked on photo editing. I would really like to make some progress here. Not sure if it’s simply lack of enthusiasm/overwhelm with the Louvre photos, or just the fact I’ve been super dedicated to finishing my book… which I have! At least, sort of.

Too busy doin’ this and writing to do other stuff but THIS IS OKAY.

I finished all 108k words of the first, crappy draft, complete with THE END and an epilogue. However, I wrote this one in such a different way, I am not sure if it needs more or less editing. Book 1, I read drafts and edited a lot along the way. I also watched sessions, took notes, and then later took those notes to dialogue and prose. Book 2, I barreled through, not reading my draft at all, minus occasionally re-reading part of the previous chapter to get my brain back into the flow. I also wrote much of it while listening. I’d just watch parts of the session, then pause and write it out, then unpause and listen, rinse and repeat. It was more efficient… we’ll see how good it is.

I’ve read the draft through once as more of a “am I enjoying this” pass, and good news, I did. I don’t absolutely hate it. That’s something. I have some passes left to do though:

  • Regular old grammar/flow pass. This is my favorite! I love noodling on wording, and I will do it forever if given the chance.
  • Tying up loose ends pass. There are a bunch of lanterns. I either need to hang them (and make it clear the loose end is still unraveled by addressing it) or put them out and connect them to something already going on.
  • The “make it more about the main character” pass. IRL this part of the campaign was definitely not Fork-centric. For a narrative in the first person, it has to be. I’ve added some things to get some character progression and a moment of change and some incremental steps to some of the character’s long-term goals, but I need to make sure it’s enough and add more bits and pieces through the story beyond the one cool moment at the end.
  • Voice pass. Each character has their own voice and I’m not sure I hit that well typing out dialogue very quickly with the first words that came to mind.

There may be more, but this is what occurs to me now. I had a goal to finish editing by camping (didn’t). I’m now trying to get Joel something he can read on his plane flight home from traveling later this month. I don’t think I’ll hit all these things by that time, but loose ends and make it about Fork passes are the most important. The other two I can tweak and play with forever. In fact, I re-read Book 1 recently and GEEZ I want to jump back in and edit that one more now. Nope. Focus ahead. This is why I’m writing all of them before I publish anything.

Lots of this in March, hopefully

So, March. What do?

  • Track my food daily, do the best I can on birthday celebration days, try to make up for at least some of it with activity and being under calories other days
  • Run 3x week, weights 3x week, other activity as I can/need for moar food in my face
  • Clean the fridge (?)
  • Work on some Paris photos. Really. Even if I post one set a week. Make SOME progress.
  • Loose ends and Main Character passes, cut Joel a readable draft, and then grammar/flow/voice passes (maybe into next month)
  • Enjoy the beautiful weather!!!

Austin Half Marathon Stupid Hills of Stupidness

I ran (I can say this without irony, minus some short walks because stupid hills are stupid) the Austin Half Marathon yesterday.

Two weeks ago, I was just getting back to the tail end of my training after Covid. I successfully did 10.5 miles, but the two mid-week runs that next week, my hip flexor felt… off. So, I decided to pull the plug on running until the race and aggressively rehab (boots, ice, massage gun, stretch, roll every day). I did a test run Wednesday off the bike and it didn’t feel bad during but didn’t feel completely awesome after. So, I went back to aggressive rehab and figured que sera, sera. I’d start the race and see what happened.

The day before, we ate very normal things: a rotisserie chicken, potatoes, and veggies for lunch, and a turkey sandwich for dinner (switched up the normal order though because the chicken arrived hot and fresh from the store, wasn’t passing that up!). We had planned to take a walk to stretch out our legs but sheeeesh it was frigid and windy, so we skipped it. It’s been in the 60s or 70s every day for weeks, but a cold front blew in Friday afternoon, taking it down to lows in the 30s and highs just barely at 50 this weekend. Back up to 70s today!

Hi hello the caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet

At first, I was fretting about the temps (32 at the start), and overprepared with layers forgetting 30s, sunny, and little wind is actually a great race temperature – it’s just been a minute since I did a run only race. I got to the gear check with about 20 minutes before official start time, deciding between two layers of sweatshirts and a garbage bag (which provides excellent disposable warmth) and ditched everything but the throwaway black hoodie I picked up at goodwill the day before. We got started about 15 mins after official race start, which meant we were close to the back, and that was fine with me – I didn’t need to get caught up trying to catch faster people.

However, that meant a lot of dodging and weaving, which actually seemed to be okay on my hip, it liked the variance of different surfaces and angles. The first three miles were mostly uphill going south on Congress from the bridge, and my pace was in the 11s, but I felt oddly fine. Happy even. A starbucks coffee pod – which is for me absolute overkill rocketfuel – was keeping me smiling and bopping to my music. I ate one small chew every mile I didn’t take a gel, and I took the first one at mile 4. More caffeine! Wheee! I really and truly thought I might just speed up and negative split the race with how I was feeling right around halfway.

Really and truly, up until a few miles to go, I spent the morning enjoying the weather, my caffeine buzz, and my playlist thinking, “gosh, this isn’t so bad, what the heck was I worried about?” Joel and I were running different race plans and paces, so we just kept texting back and forth with progress. I’m impressed texting and running is something I can do without falling on my face. Then around mile 8, I had to walk a hill, a very short steep one, and then got right back to running. I was well ahead of my (slower than normal but achievable) goal pace of under 2:30, so I didn’t worry about it.

From the top of the previous hill, it looks even stupider

Then, I was reacquainted with Enfield, which is frankly, just dumb. I’d blame it on the fact that I was underprepared, but I remembered walking some of these when I was in fighting shape. I am not sure why every race course that goes through downtown has to be on this street, but it has entirely uneccessary ups and downs. I saw my goal time feasibility slip away somewhere between mile 11 and 12, but I couldn’t really do anything when the steep inclines threatened leg/back cramping (both downhill and uphill).

My face at mile 12.

The last bad hill at the mile 12 marker was the one where you have to run a very steep long downhill just to get to a steep uphill and you question WHY, for the love of peanut butter, why do we have to go so far down just to go so far back up again. As I was making the face pictured above, I noticed spectators were handing out Fireball shots. I took one, which I never do in races. Once I summited the hill, it was just enough to loosen me up and I ran the rest of the way in, no more crampies. I’m not saying it’s race strategy in the future, but it certainly worked for me this eighteenth of February in the year of twenty twenty-four and I will take it.

Somehow the Enfield hills weren’t enough and instead of sending us directly down Congress, we had to weave through other streets and find JUST A FEW MORE. My adjusted goal time was 2:40 and I hit the finish line at 2:39:54. Can’t complain.

Then, after making my way through the finisher corral, I sat on the ground, ate my pretzels, vibrated with too much caffeine still in my system, and was thankful I didn’t ditch my throwaway hoodie (it rode 12.5 miles with me tied around my waist) because I was shivering again by the time Joel joined me to make the trek home. Yesterday was a smorgasbord of air-fryer snacks and whiskey (it was a few glasses before I could actually walk around without cramping, heh). Today, I’m super hungry and imagine I’ll eat a little more than the calories say I should (1200 ain’t happening today and I am not exercising!) but will be back to normality by tomorrow.

Om nom nom

Hopefully my legs get with the program. I mean yesterday was OWWWW my everything. This morning? Cranky hip is mildly cranky. I’m kinda shuffling around today because of general soreness. I think I’m probably going to skip running this week and prioritize walking and biking and weights and maybe get my arse to the pool for a swim, finally. Longer term (as in, maybe in a couple weeks), my run focus will be shorter (5-10k max) and faster. I want to try to keep that base over the summer if possible so I can try this again next year. But, like, 3M. Or something else late fall. Not this stupid race of stupidness.

All in all, glad I did it, glad it’s done. The main motivation for signing up was to get me to increase my run endurance over the winter, which I did. With Covid, and then my hip, I had feared I’d just limp this one in, but I was able to do more than that on the stupid hilly course of stupid stupidness. All smiles now.

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