Adjusted Reality

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

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Krause Springs 2023

This being our sixth trip, Krause Springs has had a lot of time on this blog.

So, I’ll keep this one brief and just use it as an excuse to share some pictures about our few days in the woods 🙂

After my trip to Hamburg (work) and London (play), I got really really busy and just barely found time to steal away for this long weekend (and, admittedly, worked some during it). But, when July 1st hit, we packed up the Lunar Lander and made the far, far 45 minute journey to Krause Springs for Independence Day festivities.

The first day, Saturday, was for hot dogs, adult beverages, and just relaxing with my trees. I don’t think we really left the camper that day.

Sunday morning, I went to the butterfly garden before it got hot or busy. “Hey self,” I said to myself. “You’re really behind on photo editing. Why don’t you take it easy on the photos?”

One hour later

“How did these 100+ photos get on my phone?”

Sigh… at least I got to relax in my favorite hammock, and found my new second favorite hammock on the property!

This was also the day I typed, “THE END” on the crappy first draft of my first book! Thankfully, I put it away after that and didn’t spend my entire camping trip working on it.

Monday, we hiked the falls in the morning, again, before it got too hot or crowded. Then, after lunch and some outdoor guitar time, I started these geometric paintings in the Mondrian style, which I sadly didn’t finish until October’s vacation at the Arch. 🙂

We spent lots of time in the pool too. Sadly, I got terrible sleep that night because it felt like my skin was crawling.

Tuesday, the holiday itself, we spent much time hiding from the crowds, reading and napping and eating good food. When it was time, we watched a gorgeous sunset with the traditional avocado oil popcorn and waited for the big badda booms. It was a good show this year!

After another night of my skin crawling, and then actually investigating and finding the camper was indeed crawling with ants. We were supposed to stay Wednesday night but decided to take a last walk through the butterfly gardens, a dip in the pool, and head back that afternoon instead.

After a nice long shower and quarantining/cleaning everything that was in the camper, we had like the best night of sleep of our lives.

Next year, we’ll come armed with diatomaceous earth just in case.

London – two and a half days of aggressive sightseeing

It is my resolution each time I get a chance to go to Europe for work, and don’t have to be somewhere immediately after, I visit a new city/country.

I ended a work trip on a Saturday morning, had to be home Tuesday night, so we decided to make it work and pick a city “on the way home” and ended up with London. I think hitting another Warhammer store sold it for Joel, but for me, I looked up lots of two days in London walking tours and if you were ready to aggressively sightsee, you could hit lots of the iconic things in just two days.

It hit home later that we only really got to see the OUTSIDE of all of these things, when Joel expressed interest in going into the Tower of London, and we saw a queue wrapped around the whole thing, and I asked if that’s what he wanted to spend the day doing. London was one of the biggest cities I’d been in for a while, and the queueing showed it.

But anyhoo, let me back up and start before we arrived. This was the trip of lost luggage. Our first stop was Hamburg for work, and we both waited an extra THREE days to receive our bags. Luckily I had some extra clothes in my carry on backpack (and will always and forever now), but not 3 days and nights worth. I had jeans and shoes, just needed shirts and underwear and a real bra and just went ahead and slept in the buff which is fine, because Europe was hot and AC there is kind of a joke. Lufthansa reimbursed toiletries and half of purchased clothing items (full reiumbursal if you send the clothes back to the airline, but I was fine having a 50% off shopping spree).

Then, we headed to London, and thought surely, this couldn’t happen again, so I wasn’t super careful with my carry on bag. However, plane delays once more meant we were running for our connection, and sure enough, we were without baggage in London. I ended up in the same t-shirt, underwear, leggings, socks, and shoes for 36 hours, and more sleeping in the buff (which was MORE than fine because London was even warmer). We were assured that our bags would be there the next day, so I just purchased the barest minimum of toiletries and a new shirt so I could get out of my sweaty “Keep Calm and Use Mana” tee I’d been wearing for days and so many miles.

We didn’t let it keep us from seeing all the things though. When we landed, we first checked out the view from our room. It didn’t disappoint.

We were starving after a long day of travel, having not eaten since breakfast, and the first thing on the London bucket list to eat was proper Indian food, so we found something about a mile walk away that looked pretty highly rated – Red Chili. We started with a lovely papadum spread, a chicken pakora appetizer, and for mains, Garlic Chili Chicken (which was served sizzling hot on a fajita type plate) and Chicken Tikka Rezella (which was a little too sweet for us, but we still enjoyed it). We ate every bite and enjoyed it immensely.

After dinner, we walked around Tower Bridge and the surrounding areas along the Thames, checking out the sunset and the little shops and restaurants along the way. We saw also saw a very inebriated gentleman yelling random stuff at the top of his lungs, and people just shrugging like it was normal (this is not the last time this happened).

After sunset, we hit the Dickens Pub, which was supposed to be a must-see stop. It was quite impressive, with the entire outside covered in living, growing flowering plants. This was also very prevalent around town, many shops and restaurants maintained lovely live flowers outside, but not quite to this scale. We were told it was due to the queen’s passing because she loved flowers. It certainly made for a very pretty few days! The atmosphere outside the pub was great. Once they called everyone inside at 10pm, we were in a giant box of sweaty people with no ventilation. We left quickly and resolved to return when we hang out on the patio.

The second day we woke after some mediocre sleep – as I said, there was a heat wave and the room was not really air conditioned – but when you only have a few days you soldier forth!

We started with the Tower across the street and as I said before, we ended up just walking around it vs going inside. As would be the theme with everything, it was surrounded by lovely flowers and looked quite impressive.

Our next stop was the Monument to the Great Fire of London. We climbed the stairs to catch the view at the top, because that’s what you do in Europe.

After we grabbed a few shirts from TK Maxx (yes, just like TJ Maxx in the US, but in EU), we hit up a pub called the Hydrant and had some beer flights and split a giant plate of fish and chips. We both enjoyed both things immensely (especially since it was our first meal/bevvies of the day).

We dropped our new clothes off at the hotel (and checked on our luggage – not yet), and then returned to our aggressive sightseeing agenda. We checked out St Paul’s Cathedral (sadly, couldn’t go inside as they were closed), and wandered to the Borough Market. This was a pretty cool experience – this huge bustling crowd of people and hundreds of various vendors. I watched two chefs cook these insanely giant woks of Paia and peeked into a store that primarily sold types of (non-magic) mushrooms, and got a world famous Prosecco Spritzer, which was refreshing.

We had thought about grabbing some food there, but it was very very crowded on a Sunday, so we went back to the Thames waterfront and returned to this lovely bar that had so many flowers growing out of it and got another very pretty bevvie, a Pimms cup.

We almost ordered some pizza, but then got wind our luggage had arrived, so we decided to head back to the hotel right away to grab it and return to the patio of the Dicken’s Pub instead.

We had a pint, and split a steak and ale pie and a caesar salad (what, we wanted some greens!), and enjoyed the slightly cooler and overcast weather.

Since we had to stay around the hotel to retrieve the luggage, we were a little off and late on our walking tour, so in the early evening, we kicked it into high gear and hightailed it over to the Mall and Buckingham Palace.

It was closed off just to people walking and biking, which was neat, and between this and St James Park, I could probably share a full post full of pictures here. It was so very iconic.

Speaking of iconic, which could describe the rest of the evening, we then made our way to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Obviously, we didn’t have time to actually go into the Abbey and Big Ben was actually closed, but it was really cool to see them both in person.

After more miles, we needed more sustinence, so we stopped and got some mediterranean food. It wasn’t necessarily on the bucket list, but we were hungry and it was close. Then, we started the long trek back to the hotel, stopping to oogle the London Eye. A lot. It was probably one of my favorite things to take pictures of in the dark.

Google said it was about 2 miles to our hotel, so we figured we had enough oomph to walk it. However, for some reason, it must have thought we could fly or something, because the distance kept not going down as we somehow still had one mile left to go, we relented and flagged down a pedicab so we could go CRASH.

Monday, we had important eating to do on the agenda but some sights to see as well. We began the day meandering through Notting Hill and Portobello Market. Notting Hill is one of those adorable areas of the city where you can imagine yourself living for a little while like you’re in that Hugh Grant movie, and Portobello Market added to the charm – it’s blocks and blocks of their little downtown area with a permanent street fair, with kitchy stores that had cool vintage thrift finds and an old maps store, and cool places to grab a bite or a drink.

These are the kind of adorable things you can more fully appreciate when you don’t have just a few days to see ALL THE THINGS, so we walked a bit of it and then headed back to the Underground to zip to our first food appointment of the day – afternoon tea. Most recommendations said to just try to make it your lunch or dinner, which we did with a 12:45 reservation. Other recommendations we didn’t follow said to book well in advance, and we were lucky to find one place taking reservations just the night before – The Strand.

You begin your adventure with a choice of tea (I got this really lovely herbal to start) and a glass of prosecco. Then, they bring you this tower of ridiculousness – the top with savory finger sandwiches, the middle with assorted desserts, and the bottom with scones, clotted cream, and jam. About an hour and a half, two more pots of tea, and a groaning belly, they rolled us out the door and we moved on with our day. I cannot imagine having that a meal between lunch and dinner. Y’all Londoners are hardcore.

Kensington Palace

Obviously we had to go walk this off so we could eat another decadent meal later, so we headed to Hyde Park. This is yet another place I could have spent a full day wandering around, and if I lived in the area, there is no other place I’d go for a run, as we saw many of the locals did. We spent a good few hours strolling and looking at the statues and art pieces and gardens.

Our last two objectives of the day were to visit Marleybone (both to get a picture with something that said it because it’s in Wiz, and to hit the post office to get limited edition Warhammer stamps), and then go to the Warhammer store. It got really hot by the time we made it to the post office, and in traditional EU fashion we were kept waiting for quite a while before they would send someone to unlock the case, so we had to uber to the Warhammer store to keep on schedule.

My dogs were barking anyway. After 13 miles the day before, and approaching 10 already that day, I didn’t mind someone else conveying my tired arse. The Warhammer store was pretty cool, my first time in one, though I was disappointed in the lack of Bloodbowl stuff. It didn’t miss me that the deadline for Joel and I to play our last league game had elapsed right as we were wandering around the store, and also that it didn’t matter, because the pilgrimage gave me the luck to win my season (go Blodgeass Pitches!!!) a month later anyway.

After we got back to the hotel and got cleaned up, we hit early dinner reservations at the Shard. It was wild, you had to stand in line and show proof of your ressie, and then you got escorted to these high speed non-stop elevators to the 33rd floor where only this restaurant and a lounge exist, nothing else.

The sommelier was flattering and asked me if I wanted a job picking wines, the rest of the service was impeccable, and the view was killer. And the food… oh, yeah. Worth the splurge. We began with this delicious, crusty bread and butter. For apps, we got a shrimp cocktail with avocado salad topped with caviar and some crab cakes. The main course was filet in peppercorn sauce, truffle fries, and broccolini. I can’t tell you what the most wonderful things was, because it was all of it plus DAT VIEW. This might have been a little pre-celebration for my promotion that was confirmed the week before, because I was pretty sure I’d get busy and not have time later.

Folks – always celebrate early and often when you can. I didn’t understand how true this would be. Drink the nice bottle of champagne when you get good news. 🙂

We didn’t quite want to leave the view after dinner, and could not fathom one more bite, so we got one more glass of wine in the lounge on the other side of the floor and enjoyed that view for a while as we digested.

A short walk back to the hotel, and too soon we had to pack up to leave in the morning. We ended the night, in true EU fashion, buying a bottle of wine at the kiosk and drinking it at the park outside with one last view of the tower bridge.

In the morning, we had some drama with our first uber (it just didn’t show up!) and we were cutting it a little close for our flight (you would think departing somewhere in downtown London at 9am for a noon flight wouldn’t be behind schedule, but you’d be wrong!). However, we made our flights and twelve hours later we were home with our luggage this time(!!!) and just barely made it to our theater at 8pm for Hairspray. I may have dozed off a few times during the show since I’d been up 22 hours straight, but no regerts at all!

London was a really cool city, and I appreciated the ~60 hours I had to explore it. I would not be opposed to going back someday to experience more of it, but I don’t quite feel the calling to return like Paris.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

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!

Focus and continue

Hello, superfriends. It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve penned anything here, so let’s fix that, shall we?

My rogue streaks are emerging again…

Let’s refer back to this part of my last post:

Work has been extra special this month. My logic brain isn’t at full capacity right now, and I keep getting mad about stuff I should be dealing with fine. I actually had to call off sick one day because my body and brain were just kind of shutting down and noping out – headache, nausea, could barely look at a screen. I spent that whole weekend nose in a book and sleeping the whole time. I felt much better after three days of that, but I didn’t realize how burnt out I was until that point and how much all that rest was really just barely enough to get me back to the bare minimum to function.

While, yeah, I’m stressed for reasons, I also have handled stress MUCH better than I have been as of the last 4-6 months, and had a few other symptoms (huge issues with temperature control, my cycle being… well, irregular is pretty generous), so it was time to see the doctor and guess what? I’m just getting old and need some hormone help. I started taking them a week ago and holy wow, my mood, memory, and patience turned 180 degrees almost overnight. The gnawing anxiety edge I’d been feeling pretty consistently just dissolved. Joel said the lack of my stabby attitude was palpable. All of a sudden, a light switch flipped and I could deal again.

The only side effect is that I’m feeling pretty bloaty and the scale is definitely showing it – the last few days I’ve gained like 4 lbs overnight and feel like a water weenie. I’m trying not to freak out because it’s probably just going to take some time to normalize. I am going to continue to track everything, but I realize the next month or so might not go the way I want, even if I do all the right things. I definitely won’t give up, because that’s not an option.

Also, to add insult to injury about my oldness, I had my annual eye exam and I’m now just on the edge of needing progressive lenses (read: bifocals). Way to make me feel even more ancient, universe.

So, for now, I’m focusing on what I can control, which is the fact that my brain is back to normal, happy, peaceful standards, and my body is handling training really well right now. I’ve been back to the gym the last two weeks twice a week to visit the Squat Witch, and plan to keep doing Mondays and Fridays for the foreseeable future (with a home workout in between to maintain the 3x week of lifting). I’ve also been able to run 3x week again for the last month and have been able to increase my distance. After spending almost a full year capped at the 5k distance, between the consistency there and also in the weight room, I’m tolerating some more miles really well. I’m running up to 4 miles for my short runs and my long runs have topped out at 5 miles. And I feel great! I plan to run 10k on Thanskgiving!

Super happy after running 4 miles twice within a few days!

As you may guess there is a race goal with it, if things continue to go along at current course and speed. I’d like to snag a medal that says 13.1 on it in 2024, running the whole way. No PRs, I’d just like to participate. I have no further ulterior motives like a half ironman, marathon, etc – just some motivation to increase my long run from 30 minutes to about 2 hours. But I’m not signing up for anything until I get closer. It needs to be enjoyable and fun, not a slog.

I’ve also continued to walk everywhere. Need something from the grocery store? It’s only a 2-mile round trip walk. Wanna go out to dinner? Time to meander for an hour or two on the way there and back (restaurant food MAYYYY have not helped my goals, but it’s been damn nice, and I’ve been trying to keep it reasonable). So far in the eighteen days of November, I’ve walked 28 miles (beating my run total of 27!). Fall being fall is amazing right now with delicious weather for tromping around outside. I’m loving every minute of it. I’ll get back to cycling and swimming soon, but for now, I’m just enjoying being on my own two feet.

I dino about you but my legs are a little saurus with 55 miles in 18 days

To recenter here on goals #1 (weigh less) and #2 (do sporty things):

  • Keep tracking, keep active with the runs, walks, and lifting, and don’t freak out if the scale takes a bit to get on board
  • Try to get to the pool a few times this month. Mostly for the hot tub after and to remember how to swim
  • Ride bikes when it sounds fun (adventures) or when the weather doesn’t cooperate (trainer)

Regarding #3 (Not Ignoring My Surroundings) I have not cleaned out a damn thing. However, this Thanksgiving holiday week I have resolved to clean out my dresser and my nightstand. Baby steps. Maybe if I get inspired start looking up bathroom remodel stuff but that sounds like so 2024 it’s not funny.

Do geometric art, I said. It won’t take a long time, I said (LIES)

On, #4 (Relaxing Hobbies) – this took a bit of a pause when my old laptop died, the damn thing stopped charging. So, I need to find a way to recover my photos and reinstall my photo editing software on this shiny new one and I can start catching up on photo editing and vacation blogging and such.

However, I finished painting a thing! It’s hanging in my office at work. I’m not sure it will stay there but it was super nice to finish something. And now, my goal, this week of Thanksgiving, is to start another canvas, whatever it may be. In the glow of accomplishment before the start of the next holds such gravity; you just always have to begin again so you don’t get stuck there.

We have also agreed to (and have already today) spend a bunch of time immersing ourselves in Baulder’s Gate this week. It’s fun to play a game with Joel (not against Joel) again. I’m back in a Bloodbowl league, and I’m not practicing at all, but it’s still a regularly scheduled reason to play a game per week. I need to remember to play more games in general, so I can remember why I do what I do for work!

And, finally – #5 (Write a Book). When I wrote this goal a year ago, I didn’t really believe it would happen. Now, I’ve officially finished my second pass draft for book #1 that I am pretty happy with, and have sent to not one, not two, but FOUR readers, and I am awaiting feedback. Awaiting is an incorrect term – I’m 16k words into the first draft of book 2 while my readers take their time.

I’m pretty stoked I was able to do this all in one year! If any goal exceeded expectations – it was this one!

Thinking back to a year ago, I had just began to run again, had a nascent 3x week lifting streak, and was just finding some life balance. It’s been a journey, and not one I expected quite the way it panned out, but this 2023 Year of Momentum has in most aspects lived up to it’s name. As I was about to write myself goals for the next few weeks, yeah, I need to clean out some stuff and kickstart a few minor things that have fallen off, but truly, I just need to focus and continue what I’m doing right now.

Kerrville and everything after, but different…

Hi, hello, it’s been a while so let’s catch up.

First of all, I did a race – since it’s been something like 5 week since, here’s what I posted on Facebook for posterity…

Verdict: much better than 2022, but definitely some work to do if I want to approach pre-pandemic form. And that’s an acceptable place to be! Race prep went just fine, the only annoyance was the heat. It was hot AF yesterday during setup, bike drop off, and the forecast was even hotter today. Luckily, I picked the short course this year, so I was hoping the impact would be minimal. And it was, sort of, definitely compared to slogging through the half in this weather, but also not really.

Morning stuff went like clockwork, I’d be amazed with how little attention I’ve given race prep but it’s my 13th year racing. I guess that pays some dividends. Swim start was very backed up with a huge turnout this year, so we took off about 20 mins late to help with crowding. Somehow, I still got kicked three times and my goggles pulled off once but was up and out of the water quickly. 13 mins and change, but everyone’s swim was long.

T1, I walked up the hill. My body is in so much better condition than last year, but a few spots are touchy since traveling, so I played it safe. A real slow 4 mins, because of that and the fact I haven’t been practicing this. ‘Tis what it is.

On the bike, it was windy, but in the right direction, so it was just sort of a constant effort. My bike training has consisted of 30-45 mins at a comfortable pace, so that’s what I did. The course was crowded and while I felt comfier on DeathStar than I expected with no outdoor riding, I didn’t feel good enough to bike aggressively. So, 46 minutes and change for 14 miles at 18mph was just fine, and about what I could expect for my training.

T2 was also slow. I’m better but scared of my calves cramping running in my bike shoes so I walked it in. I really had to pee so I took care of that quickly and dawdled getting my run stuff on. It takes training to overcome transition gravity and I didn’t. Ah well.

The run is where everything fell apart last year and where I’ve put most of my effort this year. I got out and got my legs under me and felt fine (yay) but already kind of overheating (boo). I managed to fight through and keep running the whole time, minus a quick walk through an aid station to grab water around mile 2. I’d push the pace until I started feeling the beginnings of dizziness and goosebumps and then back off and recover and rinse and repeat. 32 mins and change for 3.2 miles isn’t terrible considering the circumstances. If it was cooler I could have pushed this more. Everything felt great besides the imminent heatstroke ?.

Results 1:40:30, 14th/30 AG, 69 (hehe)/214 women, and well into the top half overall. Considering my training it was a pretty good day at the races and I’m a happy camper. If I want to get back to 201x me (who would have podiumed in 3rd), I need to hammer the bike more and practice transitions. I’m in a bit of a different place now with different focus. Would be really nice to see if I can accommodate both next year. We’ll see what the off-season brings.

Spoiler: the offseason so far has brought stress, slackitude, and a minor (already recovered) injury but I think we’re rounding the bend.

The day after this race, we hiked for 2 hours around Kerrville Schriner Park and the bike and run course. I felt nothing but gratitude I was not out there – it was just absolutely miserable even walking around in the heat and standing in the shade, and these poor schmucks had to bike and run in the sun. When I decide to return to 70.3s, I just don’t think it’s going to be at Kerrville. The weather is way too unpredictable at the end of September.

Also, the middle of my foot randomly decided to hurt after all that and didn’t let me even WALK for the next week and a half. Instead of being a good human, I threw myself a bit of a pity party and didn’t do jack or pucky. I also decided to try and change up my shoes for no reason. The ones I have are just a few months old (and I haven’t put that many miles on them) and my Brooks (this is my second pair) have been fine for a whole year. But, for some reason, going back to my giant Hoka Marshmallows that wrecked my calves last year have been lovely now. It reinforces that I need to be varying my shoes – I can’t wear the same ones day in day out for a whole year for both walking and running. Go figure.

Thankfully I got back to walking just in time for the best season ever

Work has been extra special this month. My logic brain isn’t at full capacity right now, and I keep getting mad about stuff I should be dealing with fine. I actually had to call off sick one day because my body and brain were just kind of shutting down and noping out – headache, nausea, could barely look at a screen. I spent that whole weekend nose in a book and sleeping the whole time. I felt much better after three days of that, but I didn’t realize how burnt out I was until that point and how much all that rest was really just barely enough to get me back to the bare minimum to function.

It SUCKS not being on top of my game. I KNOW I should be doing more – in all aspects of life – but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I need both a break and also to hold myself accountable to do the things that will long term make me feel better.

Perhaps surprising to no one but me – work travel is not vacation and it hit me that I haven’t had a relaxing vacation in quite a while. San Antonio in April was the closest as a long weekend, but our toilet broke in the camper and I had to work a little bit during it so it wasn’t as relaxing as it could have been. Then Krause in July should have fit the bill, but it was stupid hot and the ants invaded the camper so I felt shit crawling all over me for the last two days and I also ended up working a bit during it. Kerrville was a race and it was SO hot and miserable I was pretty miserable and didn’t sleep well (again). After that read/nap weekend earlier this month, I decided we needed a getaway like WOAH and it couldn’t wait for a holiday, so we took last Thursday and Friday off and headed an hour away NOT in the camper.

We went to the Arch at Lighthouse Hill Ranch in Johnson City and rented the Napolean Suite (fancy word for tiniest room in the place with a small kitchenette) and spent the whole time hiking, painting, watching pretty sunrises and sunsets, reading, and checking out the little town. No ants, there was working and functional AC, no toilet issues, and no maintenance needed. I knew I was in a better place when I got dragged into an antique store and I DIDNT HATE IT. After the trip, I felt like my patience and productivity batteries recharge a little bit, and I was able to get through a fairly tough week better than expected. I’ll do a post on that trip soon, mainly to share all the amazing photos of the place.

Happy Anniversary Celebrations

I haven’t been doing the good things I need to be doing. I’ve been succumbing to the short term happy in favor of the long term happy. I haven’t been eating as well as normal, lots of splurges because of celebration or circumstance or stress, and I haven’t been tracking regularly. The scale has reacted accordingly – this week I’ve been 184-185, which is a few lbs up from pre-Germany. And… my weights streak has officially been broken. October has only had eight sessions, and a few of those weren’t complete workouts, just doing half sets or whatever. Which is obviously better than nothing, but I’ve definitely lost some ground in the last few months. And it’s not like I’ve been killing it with the cardio with six bikes and two runs this month (swimming? ha!).

What I have been doing is WALKING. I”ve clocked 31.65 miles of tracked walks since Oct 6 (when my foot decided to let me walk again) and 14.64 miles of hiking the weekend at the Arch alone (and that was true hiking with elevation gain and loss on trails, good stuff). I need to get back to all the other stuff, but I haven’t been SEDENTARY. So, that’s something.

So, here I am, admitting my sins and failings, so I can move on and do better. While stress is stress is stress, I need to prioritize the healthy habits that have been spotty or slipping away the last few months. So, it’s time – as it was around this time last year. We’re going to keep it simple for November. We’re not going to try to put up a bunch of other goals to stress myself out. I’m going to keep to the basics:

  • 10 healthy habits (check as many as possible off daily)
  • Track food and stay in calorie range
  • Strength 3x week and get back to working with the Squat Witch

Everything else can wait while I get myself back on track.

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