I blinked and now it’s gonna be May tomorrow.

This May be my one of my favorite photos from April

So, yeah, time to recap April and talk about what May be. And no, I will never get sick of stupid puns, just relax and go along for the ride.

#1 Weigh 180.2 lbs by the end of the month

Well, sort of. I had not one, but TWO weights in the 170s this month, so that was neat! And I was 180.1 today. But… trend weight still sez I’m 182.0. So, not quite.

I’m still moving in the right direction, so that’s all that matters. April was a bit of a challenge to navigate – we had a four-day camping trip and multiple gluttonous celebratory meals/food occasions with people – so I’m quite pleased the line continues its downward trend. My average in early October was around 194 lbs, so I’ve lost a solid 12 lbs in 7 months. 1.75 lbs per month is super snail-y pace but it definitely beats the alternative!

I’m now in a place where the majority of my closet fits, I can put on my skinny jeans (though they still have a bit of a muffin top), I don’t feel my joints sob in agony when I try to run, and I look like me again – not this weird, marshmellow-y person that’s somehow wearing my face. I was heavier than this by a few lbs (though better trained, for sure) when I qualified for nationals in 2018. If I’m being honest with myself about where I was in March 2020, I’m about 5-7 lbs away from where I started the pandemic (records say 175-177 even if my brain had me closer to 170). While I have further goals, losing all the takeout/ramen/pity-drinking weight is the first big benchmark I want to hit. Eyes on that prize first. If I can not screw it up, I’ll be there in the next few months.

Still haven’t wrapped my head around the fact this me weighed more

I will continue by doing the same thing that I have been doing – 1200 calories + activity, tracking my food daily – as it’s working. My dance card doesn’t seem to be too full of food-related festivities in May, so I’m hoping to get another month of solid progress. My goal is what it always is; to lose 1 lb of trendweight per week. This means, by the end of May, I will weigh 178.0 and that’s heckin’ exciting!

#2 Strength Over Stamina

My weird and wonderful body has worked out the hip issue that sidelined my running much of March. My right hip hurt because my left hip forgot how to activate itself (?). I seem to have retrained it to remember how to hip again. Then, the niggles morphed into a weird arch pain that was okay while running but a bit uncomfortable otherwise the rest of the day, which seemed to be exacerbated by too much sandal wear (?), and also seems to have sorted itself with some targeted icing and wearing shoes (?). All the question marks because these are stupid reasons that shouldn’t make a difference (same sandals I always wear, same hip I’ve had for 44 years). However, I’ll take the glass half full attitude of all’s well that ends well because I’m back to running 5ks three times per week at or below the previously agreed upon pace and not limping afterwards.

This is what the garmin looks like these days. I ain’t mad at 7-8 hours a week right now (remember this skips all my walks, which is now down to probably 2h/week but still nice low-impact activity).

Things to also note:

  • I have figured out my window to swim (Monday afternoons, when I am not out of town) and my pace has magically dropped to about 1:55/100y. Not speedy compared to pre-pandemic but a heck of a lot better than anything since. I just need to keep consistent.
  • The three times a week strength training streak continues through April. Six solid months of lifting and I can definitely tell in numbers progress (15 lb dumbells became 20, then 25, now 30), and also in how I look and feel (read: the joints not groaning when I run). I will maintain that these are the most important workouts of my week, maybe forever and ever, but at least through 2023.
  • I owe myself an FTP test next week. I got a new garmin, so it’s a new test, and I expect the number to change wildly from the last one and use that as the new baseline. Joel’s was much higher than before. I look forward to it.
  • Four of five weekends, we rode bikes outside. Three were road bike outings that extended our comfort zone distance a bit (20-30 miles) and this week we had our inaugural outing on our racing bikes which was also outside the comfort zone until I remembered how to ride aero not on the trainer.
  • Two bricks done. While I may be lighter than I was in 2018 when I qualified for nationals, I’m not sure I can hold that 9 min/mile pace in the 5ks like I did then (I did a mile and a half and then two miles and gosh, I dunno if I have more of those at that speed in me). I suppose we will see when I’m fully caffeinated with people chasing me.

Pretty stoked in April to have hit most of what I wanted in this category. So, in May, I will:

  • Continue with 3x week strength training as my most important box to check
  • One brick per week, and one of them needs to be a practice tri with swim, bike, and run
  • Ride my tri-bike outside at least one more time before the race
  • Swim once a week, and two of those need to be… open water (dun dun dun)
  • Maintain the 7-8 hours a week of activity with 5x30mins or more of swim, bike, or run
  • Prioritize recovery better. I need to stretch and roll at least 3x week. Those have fallen off in favor of just sitting on an ice pack in the massage boots lately.
  • Race with joy. It’s a very large one, so no podium goals, I just want to be happy with my performance after.

#3 Ignoring My Surroundings

Note the title, it’s indicative of April’s progress. My focus has been elsewhere this month. And that’s okay as long as it doesn’t happen every month. I’m going to repeat the goal but also change tactics a bit.

  • First priority goal: declutter the master bathroom and vanity area. The “spend 5 minutes a day” thing just didn’t work out. I’m going to take an hour a week to do this instead.
  • Second priority: help Joel with the pool and organize the craft/work/dining room whenever he gets motivated to do it.

While we’ve slowed here, I am really happy at our progress thus far. It’s nice to have a guest room that doesn’t have crap all over, an organized and fully usable workout room, and a pleasant and decluttered office I’m actually happy to walk into each day I WFH. When I whine about precious free time spent on the herculean task of the master bedroom, I need to remember how much calmer I’ll feel when there’s not piles of stuff everywhere.

#4 Relaxing Hobbies

First up – let’s talk meditation. I was so, so, so good about this earlier in the year. I know I wake up a better me when I do it first thing. But, I don’t know why, but lately I just get BOOOORED doing it and am excited to get out of bed and DO STUFFS. If I’m being honest, I’m probably down to 3x week. Better than nothing, but still. I need to make it a priority each morning and figure out a backup plan (when do I meditate if I don’t do it first thing?).

The rest of the fun things are appropriately being enjoyed. I am picking up my guitar a few times a week (WFH days as a break or the end of my day works out really well!) and actually started learning a new song (!) for the first time in a year. I blogged about Koln. I finished the minis I wanted to finish in time. While I’m not *quite* done with day 2 of Paris pictures, I’m really far along. I went camping and it was nice to be in the urban woods for 4 days. Fun was had. Much enjoy. Wow.

For May, I would like to:

  • Touch a paintbrush to a canvas for the first time in forever and relocate the existing ones to their new home instead of in the corner of the kitchen.
  • Edit through middle of Day 5 of Paris (the Louvre). This should get me halfway through what’s left of the 2022 EU trip (before I go back again!)
  • Continue WFH guitar breaks, aiming to play 3x week and make sure the new song is in my “known” archives by the end of the month
  • Blog on our day in Brussels last year and our camping trip last month

And finally… #5 Write Stuff

I continue to plug away consistently at the book. I’m at 51.5k words again (which doesn’t sound like much progress from mid-month, but it is, I shall explain). I’m at this point with my current draft:

Thanks I Hate It Die Cut Sticker - Etsy

…but from what I hear from one who does it professionally, that’s progress. And I get it. I’m no longer just super stoked that I’m making coherent words on a page, I’m actually able to critically analyze what I’m writing. And it’s all crap right now! Why? Because I’m powering through this part of the D&D campaign where I just didn’t know or really like the character I was playing and it’s all just super awkward. It will get better, little Fork, don’t worry!

Allllso, last week upon some solid feedback, I switched the POV character from third to first person with a quick few hours edit of the draft which knocked a few thousand words off the count. It takes away about 5% of the charm of awkwardly trying to write a gender-neutral character without using many pronouns but solves 95% of the problems of trying to write a gender-neutral character without using many pronouns. Me, my, and I are so easy and comfortable. It’s the right call. But I need to do a better edit now that I have them at my disposal (not just replacing Fork or the bard or they with me, my, and I, but also reworking the language to fit it better).

I have realized the way out is through. Instead of getting hung up on the deficiencies of the current draft, I need to ignore all that noise and power through to the end of the book, even if I hate the words right now. Once I have a full picture of what Fork Files Volume 1 actually IS, I can shape it into coherence. I have the character development sorted, I know where it goes, I know where it ends, I know why it goes where it goes and why it ends how it ends and I know how to set the stage for book 2. This is exciting stuff, folks, to finally have a map and a plan instead of just putting words on a page and hoping they make a story.

I also have a writing buddy, who’s doing the same thing, and we’re trading feedback and war stories about writing, which is awesome and motivating.

My goal in May is to continue continuing. I don’t think I get to the end next month, but unless my progress slows to a crawl, I could be really close. The 12+ hours of travelling each way in June I’m looking at? That is CHOICE writing time and on the way home could be the moment I type THE END (well, not really, since I’ll pick up the story right after in book 2, but y’know what I mean).

So, to wrap up – in May, I may (just kidding, I WILL, this is the year of MOMENTUM, after all):

  • Weigh 178.0 lbs by May 31
  • Get ready for racing with bricks, riding my tri bike outside, swimming in the lake (and once a week), and one more FTP test.
  • Declutter the master bathroom and vanity
  • Prioritize recovery (full list 3x week) and meditation (5x week)
  • Start a painting!
  • Blog on Brussels and Camping
  • Continue guitar breaks and Paris photos
  • Keep plugging away on my book, with the end in sight this month

Looks like it May be a good month to me 🙂