At least for running. And for lots of other things.

This is the goofy look I get on my face when ppl make me take pictures in daylight without sunglasses

But… definitely not for the scale. Since it’s conveniently right at the beginning of the last month of the year, let’s talk of all the things. That is goals and progress and such – not shoes and ships and ceiling wax and cabbages and kings.

#1 The scale, and our frustrations with each other

We have grievances with each other. On one hand, I’m aware that it’s been grumpy with my lack of consistency in tracking. And when I AM tracking, I’m definitely not being as perfect as I have been in the past with my numbers. On the other hand, I’m frustrated with it just jumping up like 3 lbs overnight once I started my medication last month and it hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s not as if I ingested 10k calories all at once or anything… it feels unfair.

However, I’ve known this feeling of unfair, and it doesn’t matter what’s fair. Life isn’t fair. If I need to do the dive at the extra degree of difficulty to get where I want to be, that’s what must be done, no sense in wanking about it. So, when does the “buckling down” happen, now or January? This is a slippery slope. If I even THINK about starting sometime later, this invites a whole shitload of holiday eating because “hey, I’ll start in the new year and it’s not here yet”, so then I find myself on January 2nd ten lbs heavier.

NOPE. Goals stay the same as every other month, and if there’s a day or two in here where I half-ass it because of something holiday-related, we just try again the next day.

Really easy to tell I started some medication about 3.5 weeks ago 😛

My December goal here is going to be simply to own up to whatever happens. I’m going to track daily and weigh at least 5x week.

While I’m kvetching over this medicine, it has done WONDERS for my other complaints. While it turned on a few extra lbs in the blink of an eye, it also turned off anxiety and stabbiness, temperature regulation issues, and we’ll see if it fixes the cycle when it’s time for that to happen. It’s worth it. I just have to get over the fact that the place I’ll start losing weight from now just jumped a bit on the scale to somewhere around where I was in March this year.

#2 Sporty Stuff

In advance of 2024, I’ve actually set a goal here – to run (actually run) a half marathon again. I’m not sure if this is 3M, Austin, both, or something else. I don’t have designs on attacking my 2:03 or sub-2 or anything, I’m truly just enjoying that I can run for more than 30 minutes right now and finding the edge where that goes from happy fun to work.

10k waddle done before I gobbled on Thanksgiving

I did multiple 5-mile jaunts earlier in November which felt great. I ran 10k on Thanksgiving, and the last half mile felt difficult and my glute muscles were cramping up a little at the end (reminiscent of half marathon+ runs of yore) and my back was twitchy for a day after. Then, this week, I ran 7 miles, expecting it to be similarly difficult and it was just… not. All my body parts felt great during and after, my pace was faster with ease, and I felt like I had more in me. Same with today’s 4-mile jaunt – a weird knee twinge half way through, but then my stride just felt so good. I know they won’t always be like this, but I’m going to ride this run love wave as far as I can.

Please also note that I’ve been keeping up with weight training 3x week, twice at the gym with our illustrious squat witch, and once either at home or at the gym on our own. Over the summer/fall I maintained pretty well even just working out at home, though I could tell I was starting to lose a little strength by October when I finally gave up and went back to 12lb weights from 15s and did higher reps on some things. Now I’m doing something completely different for each of the three groups – legs/core, back/bicep, and chest/shoulders – and I’d say I’m starting to see some of those gains again.

And and and – three swims in three days? Yeah, that’s some Thanksgiving break magic. I’ve got more time off this month too, so I’m going to try to do similar stuff with the pool and not ignoring it. My cycling has been less than consistent, but with the amazing weather (but shorter days) we’ve been walking instead for low intensity stuff. I posted last on the 19th that I had walked 28 miles in the first 18 days, and since then, I’ve added another 18. So, that rounds out November stats as:

  • 45 miles walked
  • 41 miles run
  • 3 swims (500yd each)
  • 3h cycling
  • 3x week weights all month

While I can be disappointed about the scale, I cannot hate on my activity here. December’s goals will simply be to do what I did in November. Run three times a week. Stretch that long run closer to 2 hours by the end of the month. Strength three times a week, non-negotiable. Go swimming a few times. Cycle or walk for supplemental low-intensity calorie burning stuff depending on the weather and my motivation. Do two recovery methods per day (between boots, ice, stretching, and rolling). So, basically, the plan is to continue.

#3 Not ignoring my surroundings

I actually did some stuff over Thanksgiving week! I set goals to clean off my nightstand and dresser, and clean out the drawers of each. I’m happy to say – done and dusted. I’m now at the point where my little corner of the bedroom is pretty zen and I probably just need to accept that my husband’s side will just never be and make that part of the room disappear from my senses. Or, maybe he’ll surprise me and clean off his shelves and dresser and clean out his closet for Christmas, who knows. Next, I plan to clean out the freezer and pantry, it’s kind of December tradition and they can certainly use it, and we need to decommission and either recycle or donate a bunch of old electronics.

I also did a little bit of looking into bathroom remodels and figured out a few things. First, while in most other things I gravitate towards darker colors, I really like the light, bright, airy bathroom look. Second, in the master bath, I’ve put this remodel off so long because I had designs on trying to reshape the room, make space for a nice garden tub or combine it with the vanity area or something. Instead, we’re just going to keep it simple and not mess with the structure because I realized how much I actually didn’t care myself. It’s an older house from the 60s. It doesn’t have a palatial master bath, and if the next owners want that, they can make it happen. So, the next step is getting some quotes and just making it happen. December? Maybe. But I think redoing both bathrooms will be 2024 goals.

#4 Relaxing Hobbies

It’s about to be hobby-mas time (which is also one of the most wonderful times of the year), that is the two weeks I take off around the holidays so I can putter around the house and pretend I’m retired and work on my own projects and play some games when I’m not tromping around outside.

Bull Creek Hikes are good hikes

Goals here simply are simply so I don’t end up doomscrolling all day forgetting what actual fun stuff I want to do. If I get wrapped up in painting or gaming and don’t feel like travel blog writing and photo editing, that’s fine!

  • Photo sets left to edit: Paris 2022, January Cruise 2023, EU August/Seattle September 2023, The Arch 2023. It’d be really weird to be without a backlog in January, so I’m pretty sure I won’t end up there. I think I’d like to prioritize finishing the cruise (I’m amidst it right now), and then suck it up and make my December project finishing Paris 2022 even though it’s a lot and it’s intimidating.
  • Travel blogs left to do: all of the above + Krause Springs and London 2023
  • I also each year talk about watermarking and collecting my photography favorites into a gallery of sorts. Maybe this is the year I actually figure this out.
  • I want to get paint on a new canvas, and I want to make progress on my silly pumpkin that I’ve been staring at for a year.
  • I’m happy with my more-often-than-not meditation schedule and whenever-i-feel-like-it on WFH days schedule. Maybe I’ll set a goal to learn a new Christmas song if that sounds fun one day.
  • GAMES! I would like to play some things
    • Enjoy our Baulder’s gate YOLO playthrough, try to play like once a week and maybe more on break
    • Give up and go Story Only on Persona 5 and make some progress
    • Find my Peglin or Shop Titans (or maybe just buy Peglin or start up Shop Titans again). That is – find the game where I can just turn it on and relax while not paying attention to whatever TV is on – something fun and relaxing and mindless.
    • Maybe some table top stuff like Kill Team, Blood Bowl, or whatever.
    • The point of vacation is to disconnect, but I would also really like to get caught up on my own game!

#5 Write a Book (or two)

Still no feedback from my other alpha readers (I get it, everything is super busy right now), so I’m going to continue to happily plug away on Book 2. Since I know I’m writing to the end anyway, as a personal project, no matter whether the books have zero audience with anyone but me, I’m not planning on publishing them until I’m further in – maybe even through to the end. I like this for various reasons that aren’t all just delaying the terror of putting my work out there – writing the whole thing assures continuity because if I happened to write myself into a place where I don’t want to be at the end, I can go change it.

It’s weird to write a story that has such a concrete middle but not beginning or ending. My character at the D&D table had a past before we met up with the group, which I created in great and storied detail. We adventured together for years, and I don’t even just have vague recollections of this, I have video. It’s been fun to pull direct quotes out that are both so much in the characters of both the character and the player behind them, almost as love letters to the campaign itself.

Elik looked torn, but Ember piped up.  “Yeah, we should get going.  I want to test out my new armor.  I bought it last week and haven’t seen combat since.  They called it something that started with a p-”

Simon sneered.  “What the hells, can you wear Plate armor now?”

“No, but that sounds close, I think it was called… Plot?”

We all collectively groaned at him as he showed off what was clearly standard brown leather armor.  “Hey buddy,” I said, “I think you got duped.”

Ember frowned.  “But they said that it was neato, and it would protect me.”

However… the campaign ended before we finished, so it’s up to me (in consult with the DM, if he’s interested in helping) to figure out how the story ends. I’ve had some ideas, but I’m trying not to jump back and forth in the timelines too much – I’ll figure out the future when I get there!

I was worried I’d lose a little inertia at the end of Book 1, and moving on to just keep writing was absolutely the correct answer to keep it. I have 35k words, some in first draft and some in notes form, and I’m really excited to see how much progress I can make this month without it eating my life. I want to play games, I want to paint, I want to make sure I take time to relax, but I also love working on this project.

If you told me this time last year I’d have a book done that I’d be reasonably proud to show off and are this far into the next one, I’d have called you crazy. But, when the Muse showed up at 2am on Boxing Day last year, she stuck around and has been a homie to me in 2023. I plan to continue to keep her around, and happy, hopefully for the rest of forever.

So, December, one of my favorite months, let’s be friends, shall we? I agree to:

  • Track daily and weigh most days, no matter what.
  • Continue to be active in ways that make me happy, lift 3x week, and extend my long run
  • Do the annual kitchen cleanouts
  • Enjoy hobbymas and play some dang games!
  • Keep on writing Book 2

This sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me, let’s do it!