Adjusted Reality

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

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A little less talk…

…and a little more action?

Oh, gosh, you know me, if there is one thing I’m not, it’s SUCCINCT. Perhaps we can just have both? Let’s give it a try and talk about all the JANUARY GOAL ACTION WOOWOO!!!

January Goal #1 – Be 183.5 lbs by the end of the month

Boom, done. Kidding. Kind of.

Besides a little blip up in the radar early last week (I think I probably ate/drank about double what I burned on NYE/NYD and maybe once again last Friday), things are trending the right direction. Also, I’m doing a mini-dry January thing (my last booze was Jan 6th, my next one will be when vacation starts on Jan 20th), so I expect some nice benefits from the lack of whiskey, unless I sub in junk food for a splurge. The goal is to nahhhht do that. So, cheers. Or anti-cheers. Whatever you feel is appropriate this month.

As a reminder, the plan is:

  • ~1500 cal/day or less on average, track food every day
  • Cardio with intensity 4-5x week for at least 30 mins (swim, bike, run, elliptical)
  • Weights 3x week
  • 10k steps as often as possible

First week in January was 1578 calories/day. While as you can see, I’m still losing weight, it’s just not as quickly as I wanted. Hoping to take it down, take it down now since we are no longer indulging in some “it’s still the holidays sorta” vacation treats.

January Goal #2 – Strength Over Stamina

Being super consistent with my weight training has actually been producing some noteworthy results these days. It may sound weird, but my body feels different, my legs especially. It’s difficult to describe but the places where there used to be wobbles now have indentations? It’s been so long. I don’t remember what this is. Anyhoo, it’s fun using the chunky weights like the 32.5 lb-ers for sumo squats and the 25s for bench instead of the barbie weights and feeling sturdy AF. I kinda feel like a brick… house!

My run has quickly progressed from 11:30 mins/mile being the top of my capacity when I started running 5ks a month ago to easy 10:30s without me really trying. I’m just running what feels good each day, and I keep getting better. I know there’s a point in which that loosey goosey training plan will have diminishing returns, but for now I’m enjoying it. I return to cycling this week (with the same plan, whatever pace feels good), and swimming will happen when it happens (maybe this month, maybe not).

I did start to slack juuuuuust a little at the end of last week on recovery (on stretching and rolling) so I’m trying to make my recovery habits a perfect streak until I go on vacation (and then stretch and roll still every day I can).

I’m going to keep it simple this month and take baby steps forward. Nothing changes except once per week, at one sport, I’m going to do something that is NOT just whatever pace feels fun. Maybe I’ll do some quarter mile repeats in my 5k. Maybe I’ll do some 1 min on/2 mins off efforts on the bike. Maybe I’ll do some 100s in the pool… hahah… ok, that was a good joke. Either way, I will push myself at least once a week.

Because I was a weirdo and scheduled a vacation at the end of the month (who does that just after Xmas break?), I’m giving myself the week of Jan 29th to do an FTP test on the bike. But I willll do it (scout’s honor) and report the results and proudly claim my pathetic watts/kg as a starting point upon which to improve every month this year.

January Goal #3 – Stop Ignoring My Surroundings

Ok, mad awesome progress here!

The workout room is pretty gosh darn done. Sure, there’s a bit more bike stuff that we could pare down and organize, but it’s cleaned out and fully functional. Sometime in the future we might take another pass, but for now, it’s lovely.

The game room/Joel’s office/dining room is very much in progress. It’s been repainted, the shelves have been assembled and arranged, and now we just need to organize what’s in some of the drawers and hang the art back up.

We did enough organization in the guest room to fit all the luggage/random stuff that was chillin’ around the room in the closet. The closet could absolutely use some more love, but everything fits in it (even with a little room to spare). It’s also now on the “we’ll get back to it after other parts of the house have had a pass” list.

Super happy with the progress. Just a bit more in the game room this week and I’m calling January donezo!

January Goal #4 – Relaxing Hobbies

  • Mediation – check! 5-6 days a week, it really helps me get up on the right side of the bed each morning.
  • Guitar – I have decided to end my workdays at home with 3 guitar songs (either before or after dinner). While that’s only 3 days/week, I’m hoping it’s enough to jumpstart the habit again. This is the dumbest habit to get out of – it’s something I can do in 3-4 minute chunks.
  • Painting – I have sucked at this so far this month (haven’t touched a brush), but I’ll give myself a pass since I’ve been in writing land. I just updated my daily To Dos and added “Paint one thing”, so I’m going to try for some level of consistency there (really, just go paint one thing with Joel when he’s painting since he does it most days as well)
  • Photo editing – yep! Almost through my fall foliage, about to start back on ocean sunsets, then go back to Brussels and Paris next month. 🙂
  • Work/life balance is great so far… on my first day back. Check up on me in February, haha.

January Goal #5 – Write (and not just here)

Traded real life “barding” for writing about one (but hope to get back to both!)

The muse who just up and left in 2020 came back on the scene with a vengeance. From December 26th on, I’ve been writing most days and I knocked out a first draft level first half of the book I wanted to write back in 2019/2020. It has made me so incredibly happy to dive back into the world of my silly little bard and expand the minimal backstory I wrote years ago to something I anticipate will be a 2+ hour read right now.

I feel like this is a good halfway point for Book 1, and now I change gears for a bit. I plan to spend January:

  1. Taking a VERY quick editing pass over the whole thing in the next two weeks.
  2. Watching the recordings of our sessions to help plan what goes in the next bits (where I have very few notes).
  3. Send my draft to my kindle to read over vacation to see how it “feels” when read like any other book I read.

I expect the next quarter of the book to be the most difficult to write, so I expect February will have a continuation of the second point and maybe starting on drafting actual words from notes. We shall see!

While January has kind of been easy mode in some regards (a week off work, plenty of time to do stuff!) and more difficult in others (a week off work, let’s eat the entire fridge!), I’m very happy the momentum is continuing nicely.

2023 – the year of momentum

2023, hallo there. Nice to meet you. I’m ready to kick your ass, but in a good way, I promise.

However, with all the planning I’ve been doing to greet you, it feels like we’re already good friends. So, let’s get down to it and start goal setting already.

#1 – Take 2 – Weigh 165 lbs by December 2023.

I sound like a friggin’ broken record, but it bears repeating for me, because this is NOT EASY. I’m going to do this by continuing to do the things I’m doing now.

  • Eat 1500 calories or less per day, and I’ll know I’m doing this by consistently tracking my food each day.
  • Build muscle by continuing to work with a trainer and strength train 3x week.
  • Cardio more days than not, working towards some more intensity.
  • 10k steps on average.

In terms of progress, I would like to calibrate my plan for about 1 lb/week. Right now I’m at 187.5 lbs. That means at the end of January, I should be at 183.5. At the end of Feburary, that means 179.5 (happy birthday to meeee). At the end of March, 175.5. And so on. I’ll reset this each month so I have a short-term but achievable goal for which to aim.

I’ve been hesitant to use specific goals because weight loss seemed so unpredictable. However, I think if I’m truly honest with myself – it’s pretty easy to predict. When I do all of the above, I lose weight. When I skip workouts, graze on snacks and forget to track them, or sit on my ass all day and not take walks, I don’. It feels frustrating because I’m getting some of it right, and that *should* be enough, but history and metrics proves I need to get ALL of it right to keep momentum going.

On a day-to-day micro level, occasionally my goals are not going to matter more than whiskey or chips or chocolate cake. That’s okay. However, to make progress, it needs to matter more often than it has in the past (at least pre-November). This takes consistent tracking even on days that suck.

When the going gets tough, I need to remember my WHYs:

  • I want to continue to run pain free and eventually run faster and further. Going from a 12 minute 1-mile run to a 10:30/mile 5k run has been so amazing. I want more.
  • I want to be able to choose from my whole closet, not just the same 10 things I wear all the time because they’re on the larger side.
  • I want to have better energy. My energy levels are SO improved from 3 months ago, but I know I’m still a slug compared to 3 years ago.
  • I want to feel the most confident version of myself, which is when I look good and feel good. My logic brain knows no one really can much tell if I weigh 180-something or 160-something but the part of the brain that makes the confident words with the people when I’m not feeling it does. So, it matters.

#2 Strength Over Stamina

Every year I say I want to get stronger and faster at the short distances. Also, every year I plan myself a long-distance race or three. While there is nothing wrong with long distance volume, in fact, when I come off a successful endurance build where I don’t wear myself out, I find speed. That’s not been case the last few where I’ve limped to the finish line and then died for months.

Yeah, I proved I can still complete a 70.3 (2021) and 50-mile triathlon (2022), so I’m done proving anything this year with stupid triathlete stunts. Doing that shit makes it tough to get stronger and faster at the short distances. So, I’m planning a FULL YEAR of strength over stamina. No races beyond a sprint, no exceptions. My goal is to be back to full short course form by the end of this year. What does that mean specifically by December 2023?

  • Swimming ~1:45/100m for 1000m distance, ~1:30ish/100m sprints
  • ~190W FTP test on the bike
  • Running ~9 min/mile 5ks off the bike

I would certainly be open to improvements beyond that, of course, but this gets me in the ballpark of 2018-2019. I will do this by continuing some habits:

  • Aggressively recover. Stretch, roll, ice, and use the massage boots daily
  • Strength train 3x week as I have been, continuing to increase weights/reps to build muscle
  • 10k steps/day, as often as possible
  • Consistent cardio with some intensity most days per week
  • Lose weight, because free speed! 🙂

And, starting to do a few more:

  • One FTP test per month (let’s say the last week of the month). I can’t move towards what I can’t track. And just because I’m scared of how far I’ve fallen doesn’t give me a pass. The only way to track progress is to quantify.
  • Get back to speedwork. Garmin is begging me to do it, so I know it’s time. Once a week, I’m going to start throwing some anaerobic stuff into my runs to start with, and I’ll incorporate the other two sports once I’m really back to them.
  • Drills and sprints in the pool. I’m keeping swimming rather minimal to focus on running and lifting right now, but that should mean I maximize my time in the pool rather than wasting it.

I don’t want to push it too far too fast, but I’m ready to START doing some of these things badly instead of waiting for some magical time when I’m in shape enough to do these things well. Because how I start being good at these things is first sucking at them.

It would be super cool if this could all translate to some good performance/placement in sprint triathlons or other shorter races, but I’ll just be super happy to feel like I can actually race again.

#3 Stop Ignoring my Surroundings

Two people. A four-bedroom house. We should not have issues with not enough storage space or be wishing for a fifth or sixth bedroom. Also, there are cracks in the shower, the floor, the patio, and many other things that need attention. I’ve spent a long time just shutting all the things that need to be done out, and lived in my bubble, where I can make them disappear. No more. This is a priority next year.

  • Spend a few hours per month cleaning out/organizing rooms that aren’t really usable right now. Order: dining room/office/gameroom, workout room, master bath/vanity, bedroom, and then guest room.
  • Redo the master bath. It’s falling apart. This has to be the next thing we do.
  • Consider hiring someone to help us organize our spaces if we feel too overwhelmed to do it ourselves

I mean, there’s more to do but that would be an excellent start in 2023.

#4 Prioritize Relaxation/Hobbies That Relax Me

I’m digging the chill I’m feeling right now (well, chill for the Type A Flower Sniffing Champion, that is), and want to keep that going.

This means:

  • Keep meditating more mornings than not (I’m about 5-7 days per week right now, I want to keep to it)
  • Work playing guitar back into my life more days than not. I need to establish a workday routine (either playing at lunch or ending work with it).
  • Continue painting. It’s relaxing. When I’m feeling intimidated by my current projects go help Joel paint NPC minis or terrain to do something lower stress.
  • Find the zen activity that shuts off my brain and sends me into relax mode.
  • Photo editing, which means finding pretty places to go and take footage. Aw, shucks. 🙂
  • Continue to prioritize work life balance under normal circumstances. Yeah, I’m sure there will still be crazy weeks here and there, but they can’t all be crazy weeks.

#5 Write (And Not Just Here)

In 2018 and 2019, I spent a ton of time using my words with meaning and feeling, both in narrating my life and in writing some fiction. The muse was my BFF. I was, to quote Hamilton, writing like I was running out of time.

Funny, in hindsight, I kind of was.

2020 was the year where everything crashed and burned. I wasn’t motivated to write here because WTF can you write about when you’re incredibly lost, unmotivated, and have no plans or direction. I wasn’t motivated to write fiction because, I dunno. The muse just left me. That’s an excuse but it’s the one I’m going with.

I returned to writing here in 2021, which was great. But if you look at my posts from before the pandemic and after, you’ll notice a significant difference in quality. Before, I chose my words carefully, thoughtfully, and I wrote with a voice. I definitely lost that voice over 2020, when all communication pretty much was in type, I got used to vomiting words on a screen as quickly as possible, with little care for structure and nuance, and the bad habit just stuck.

I saw an executive coach back in November to try it out, and when she heard I wrote, but hadn’t much lately, she encouraged me to pick it back up. My job is creative, but I rarely CREATE anymore, if y’know what I mean, and it looks as if it will continue to trend that way. So, having an outlet like this is helpful. I can definitely see it. I’m feeling energized and refreshed after restarting on the Fork Files, it’s like I’ve collected another one of those pieces of me I lost during the pandemic.

I’m chuffed that I’m about 16k words (25% of a novel-ish?) into the rewrite of my silly genderfluid bard’s journey. It has momentum, I have motivation, and the muse, she is BACK, baby! I will forgive her returning after years at 2am on Boxing Day, I’m simply glad she’s made her return. However, I’m still working on finding my voice again. I’m pleased enough to be putting words to (virtual) paper, at times, even ones that make me laugh and feel things at times, but I was finding some STYLE when I focused on it before and I’m not quite there yet.

However, I know the style will come. It will come with flexing the muscles regularly, it will flex with focus (not trying to put together words while the TV is on or whilst multitasking, shutting myself in my office for some duration to really monofocus), and it will flex with editing.

For right now, I’m jazzed to be putting together dialogue like:

“Yeah, that’s Taylor Alacritous… oh… yeah, I remember now.  The one that broke baby Morgan’s heart at the first concert.”

Morgan huffed.  “Taylor made promises that weren’t kept.  I have no tolerance for flighty vows of the heart.”

Donnchad scoffed.  “You mean, like the ones you make to your groupies nightly?”

“That’s different.  I make guarantees of a good evening but nothing more.  Taylor started talking about a blank space for us and then I found out Taylor was Jessie’s.”

“I bet you wish you could find someone like that.”

Morgan looked down.  “I felt so dirty later when I heard them start talking cute.  I’d get revenge, but the point is probably moot.”

Is it going to last through the rewrite stage? Maybe, probably not. Is it making me giggle and feel sneakily clever right now? Absolutely. And I’m going to continue to have fun with it for now. I could put some big goals like before about publishing it this year, but instead, like the triathlon goal, I just want to feel like a writer again and produce work that makes me happy. And this, this will be enough.

I do believe that’s it. Sure, I want to travel, and I will (two-ish weeks out from seeing fishies again, def some race trips, maybe some subset of CA, Seattle, Germany/EU for work, and I really really want to do a dive vacation). I’m sure I’ll stumble on other goals throughout the year. But I’m really excited to be heading into this year with MOMENTUM in many things that are very important to me. I’m always hopeful on January 4th, but this time that optimism comes with confidence, and that, I believe, will make all the difference this year.

2022 – it’s a wrap

As I’m finally settling down from all the holiday celebrations for a long winter’s nap, it’s time to reflect on 2022.

While I’m lamenting being boring this fall and not going anywhere exotic, it’s simply to counteract the excitement of the previous months. See below.

*Geez, I’m behind writing about that trip. I’ll catch up… someday.

After all that, I really needed to spend Thanksgiving week and also need to spend this seventeen-day holiday vacation right where I am now – home. I know it’s the right decision when the last two weeks of Facebook memories from 2019 spun me a magical tale of a two-week diving trip in Bonaire, and I’m not sad. I want to go to there to do that, and planning on it in 2023, but there’s shit to do here first.

But, I digress. Let’s take a trip in the way back machine to January 2022 and see what progress I’ve made since then on my goals and intentions.

Oh, Dec 31st, 2021 me, the places you’ll go this year!

#1 – Establishing work/life boundaries.

Huge, and successful check. Much of this has come in the last few months and is a result of a long road of hiring and/or training and empowering the right people, but some has also come from letting go a bit. The end result is that I’m able to prioritize other things besides work in my day and not feel utterly behind or guilty about letting someone down or something slide. I’ve got support! Feels good man!

Do I still wake up and look at our daily summary first thing in the morning and check Teams? Often yes. But then I put it down and do 10 minutes of meditation and often follow that up with a workout before I just roll right out of bed and start working. The concept of finishing my day at the end of core hours was laughable this time last year. Now often I can put work away at the end of the normal workday, eat dinner, and do non-work things instead of heading back for my previously regular evening focus session.

I’m incredibly proud and have become protective of this progress. I’m unafraid of hard work, and I certainly expect there to be ebbs and flows, but I shouldn’t consistently have the plate like the one I create at the Jason’s Deli salad bar. Because when the extra broccoli comes around – that plate can’t bear another piece. My current plate can take on some extra broccoli. And I love me some broccoli!

This has done wonders for my attitude and positivity. I’m genuinely happy to get up and do the things I get to do most mornings and I complain about fewer things these days.

Training in the gym so I can do some BANG! and POW! IRL

#2 Be 165 lbs by December 31st 2022

Well, unless I chop off part of an arm, I think I’m going to have to consider this one a miss. However, I’m trending in the right direction, finally. I make progress when I can establish and stick to a routine. Some curve balls are okay once I’m on the right path (hallo Christmas parties!), but there’s a limit to what I can bear before my habits go ‘a whirling off into the ether. Looking back in 2022, I made the best progress in February, June, November, and December. Shocker – those were the months that I wasn’t travelling and could focus on habit, routine, and doin’ the right things.

I will cite some successes here:

  • I have successfully made regular strength training with a trainer a thing this year. The high-180s weight I’m at right now is a vastly different high-180s that I was in summer 2021. My clothes fit better, and I feel sturdier. I definitely feel much less injured. This is a better timeline.
  • I know what is needed to make progress. It takes tracking my food daily, weighing daily, staying at ~1500 calories or under per day, weight training, getting as many steps as I can each day, and doing cardio with some level of intensity more days of the week than not. This is the tried-and-true recipe. It is science, not art. Now I need to continue the practice until I can again run 8-minute miles and smash faces on the bike and don all the clothes I miss wearing and feel good in my own skin. But I remember HOW, which is half the battle.
  • This is the lightest I’ve been all year. There were a few points where I got close but then I let life get in the way, and I’d reverse all my progress and more. Now, I’m three months into consistently good habits, and progress is happening. My current trendweight is 187.7. My average weight the first week I started weighing at the end of October was 192.9. 5 down lbs in 2 months? I’ll happily continue that slow and steady trend.
Sometimes first is indeed worst (if no one else in your AG finishes)

#3 Toe the line of an Ironman Do some races

I gave up on the Ironman very quickly once I realized it wasn’t my passion this year. And I still have no regrets. However, once that big scary goal went away, it highly deprioritized triathlon for me. I still hung on early in the year to limp through the X-50 (1 mile swim, 40-mile bike, and 9-mile run), but I had to keep pushing through injury/imbalance to do it and I came in DFL. And, as they say, DFL is better than DNF, which I also did this year – at Kerrville sprint triathlon due to the same stupid injury that wouldn’t go away. My only other race was Pflugerville, which was just one day after the exercise embargo was lifted after Covid recovery – and I’d honestly say this one went the best since I performed as expected. This was not a banner year for sport, in fact, it’s probably one of the worst in memory.

I hit rock bottom mentally after DNF’ing Kerrville at the end of September. I’m super glad I did though. It made me really realize the bullshit I’ve been perpetuating for the last few years (“hey, I signed up for this race and then effed off and didn’t prepare for it”; also “hey I have this injury, I think I’m just going to ignore rehab and just hope it goes away”) need to staaaaaaahp. I can’t expect my body to output stardust and miracles when I have been feeding it garbage and nonsense.

So instead, I stopped being a super self-sabotaging idiot for the most part and started doing the right things again even though I didn’t feel like I deserved them (crappy thinking but the truth) and guess who’s got two thumbs and running pain-free 5ks again? Oh yeah, that’s me.

What else was on my 2022 goals list?

I’ve been everywhere, man.

General Stuff:

  • Not being afraid to fail in public – I think I’m pretty good at this these days. 🙂 I’m wearing my “Shhh, I’m overthinking” socks right now and they feel like they’re from another era of my life. I’ve realized that I am doing the best I can and that everyone that stood where I stand now was making stuff up as they went along sometimes.
  • Pavlovian relaxation response – I am still looking for the thing that automatically signals “let’s chill the eff out”. I am also looking to make guitar a habit again. Maybe I will work these two goals together to end of the workday with a few songs.
  • Travel plans – yep! Went all the places. Carribean cruise twice, Berlin, Hamburg, Koln, Brussels, Paris, and camping in San Antonio, Denton, Krause Springs, and Kerrville. Probably could have swung a diving trip, and/or a bit more camping this fall, but it was a conscious choice.
Though I haven’t been playing much, at least I have style when I do?

Hobby List:

  • Three new guitar songs – nope. I learned one (Pearl Jam, Black) and part of another (California Dreamin’) but since I’ve been playing less often, I’ve just been playing the songs I know.
  • Painting more – yep! I put some more finished pieces on the wall this year, I painted some minis, and I am working on a project livening up a very-thoughtful-but-definitely-not-my-style gift. I have new paints and canvases and always would love to do more but I’m not going to specifically goal-set with this hobby and instead enjoy picking up a brush when the muse finds me.
  • Fiction writing – this was a big nope until four days ago. Then I got inspired in the middle of the night with how I’d re-arrange and begin the Fork Files and got started the next morning and I’ve been writing for a few hours every day since. I’m about… 10% through a true first draft of what I’d like to make into the first book. Yet more momentum I didn’t expect even a week ago!
  • Photo gallery – also nope. Maybe over break as well but also maybe not. Heh.

It’s been a middling year in terms of hobby goals, but I also decided that I needed to take the pressure off ACHIEVING things in my spare time with work being as it was. I spent a lot of time editing photos and reading books and I have picked up a few games that aren’t Bloodbowl lately. Leisure has been relaxing and pleasurable, and I don’t regret it at all. I have NOT done the thing I hate and spent an inordinate amount of time doom scrolling social media, so I’ll call it an overall win.

Though I got so dang close to winning the championship… twice!

Adulting list:

  • Doctor for checkups – yep! And then I ended up having some minor surgery after which I feel a little bit better in a way I didn’t realize I felt worse before.
  • Investment property – nope. We’re still debating strategy and saving money for it.
  • Fixing the living room floor – also nope. It’s not getting worse, so it’s just going on the future “fix the house” list.

While this isn’t a great showing here, I also did some things NOT on the list. We cleaned out the office and the front guest room and have more projects to do over break. I’m okay with this progress and it has some momentum behind it for next year.

The office has carpet!!! And space to play and work.

And I generally end the year with three words. I don’t have clear winners this time, but I’ll give it a try.

Potential – this is both positive and negative. I see amazing things afoot, but that also means they have not yet been achieved. There are many examples in work, triathlon, health, and life where I’m excited about where I could be going, but not where I am right now. However, there is PROMISE if I stay focused.

Promise – even though I didn’t really complete a lot of my goals, I nailed the most important one (work/life balance). This shows promise that with proper focus, I can make progress on anything else on my list in the future as I have time and space to do so. Many things in my life feel promising right now. Maybe it’s the eternal optimist in me, but I’m feeling very encouraged about my trajectory. That’s a great way to end a year!

Priorities – I am in a situation right now with work and life where I have about 300% of the things I want to do in 100% of the time. This last week of “hobbymas” has been excellent – and has shown me that even without work in the mix, I would more than fill my days with activities I enjoy and not be bored. I’m training a handful of hours a week and I could definitely do more (and would need to, should I want to undertake longer races again). At work, I could dive deeper into a lot of things and cause more problems (in a good way) to solve, and I could easily be back at that 150-200% I was at this time last year. Instead, I’ve done my best to use all the time I have in my day as wisely as possible to have the best mix of work, activity, hobbies, and relaxation.

While each year it takes a few thousand words to get here, I now can sum up my year thusly – I may have taken longer than I’d like to get where I am now, but I like where that is, and like where it promises to go next. That means I’m doing something right.

The most wonderful time of the year

I feel like I blinked, and two weeks have passed.

And in the same time frame, all the leaves seem to have teleported to the ground.

First and foremost, let me brag that I ran not one, but TWO pain-free 5ks this week. 35-ish minutes of running feels like plenty right now, and my legs have one pace (easy) but this is now a thing that I can do again, which is very very very exciting after 2 years of fits and starts. My stride, for the first time in forever, feels good and enjoyable. I can get into the flow and enjoy the active meditation of the run instead of being on constant injury watch. I put together Thursday’s presentation in my head on Monday’s run, while enjoying 50 degrees with fog and drizzle. Thursday, I got high 30s and sunny, which is probably my second favorite running weather (the first being Monday’s!). I’ve been so disappointed to be injured during the most wonderful time of the year to run and I’m so here for it in 2022.

So, what now? Nothing. Well, sort of. I plan to continue to run this distance for cardio 2-3 times a week, and that’s enough for a while. Once that feels easy peasy lemon squeezy, I’ll start working on that stuff the garmin keeps bugging me about – anaerobic speedwork. However, for now, I’m just super happy to be able to smiley jog 11-minute miles around my neighborhood a few times a week. If you would have told 2019 me this, I wouldn’t have believed you but here we are, we are here, and it feels better than where we were.

Here’s the rest of it – weights remains first priority, then at least 4xweek cardio, THEN running (as you can see with only one run two weeks ago, oops). Monday, we start the week with chest and shoulders. Wednesday, I do back and biceps on my own. Friday, the squat witch abuses the noodles which were previously known as legs. I seem to get about 4 days of official cardio (run, bike, elliptical), and I’m averaging a decent number of steps – 10k and 8.5k respectively for the two weeks. I haven’t figured out swimming yet again, but the crappy pool near my house is open again and I should have more free time in the next few weeks, so I want to make a weekly swim a habit by the time I have to go back to normal schedules.

Speaking of chronology – can you spot the moment it became the holidays?

I mean, besides Christmas, it was also Bloatmas, the most wonderful time of the month, but that shouldn’t still be kicking a week and a half later. No, it’s been the cavalcade of holiday parties, celebrations, and other adventures in socialization with food and beverages. Because of this, I skipped delivery of one week’s Snap Kitchen box worth of meals. When was it? Yeah, right around when the line went up and leveled off. I’ll try not to do that again.

  • Dec 5 week average: 1630
  • Dec 12 week average: 1673

So, if we’ve established that around 1400-1500 calories per day seems to make steady progress at my current activity levels, 1600-1700 per day seems to stall it out or even reverse it a little. Good data point. Since I plan to maintain my activity level, I need to dial the calories back. Looking at the days where I really went over, it was all holiday celebration craziness, which is great, because that’s not a habit I need to break. There’s a bit more of the nonsense this month, but now that I recognize the trend I’ll better plan my calories to accommodate those days.

And one of those celebrations includes this meal so it will be worth it!

I’ve failed to mention the recovery stuff for a few posts, but that’s simply because it’s become a habit – not quite like brushing my teeth but not too far from it. I can confidently say I’ve rolled, stretched, iced, and used the massage boots most days each week and it’s just no big deal. I’m not sure what was so impossible before in the quest to take 15 minutes to roll and stretch daily, but I’m glad I worked this out. Thinking back to the days of yore, B.K. (before Kerrville), I can’t even fathom how I started my days without meditation, I did zero recovery, I wasn’t tracking my food, I wasn’t lifting regularly, and now that’s just the norm. I was also still putting the pieces of my life into place to prioritize this stuff, so there’s that, but still!

The one habit that has really fallen off is playing guitar. I now have this amazing space in my office, so I have zero excuses, except that I haven’t figured out how to work it into my daily life. I shall endeavor to change that soon.

I should have a chance to establish some habits soon. My life should slow down a bit this week and then I have 17 glorious, wonderful days off planned during and after the holidays. I’m looking forward to hitting the good gym whenever I feel like it, eat good healthy food (except when it’s not!), relax, do hobby things, do some re-organization, and being boring again for a bit.

It may not be the most wonderful time of the year for goals, but I’ll restate next week’s here even though it’s really just “do all the things I’m supposed to do:

  • 1500 calories per day average. It may be a bit of a challenge, but I’m going to do it. The early week should be fine, but I have a feeling the days around Christmas might be a little bit more. I’ll try to eat a little less early in the week to compensate.
  • 3 weights sessions, 2 runs, 1 swim, and at least 2-3 other cardios (yeah, stepping it up just a little because of the above and below)
  • 10k steps average. The weather is absolutely awful on Friday and Saturday, so this won’t be outside. I need to get in some good walks in the evenings before then.
  • Play guitar at least 3 times. Has nothing to do with physical health, but I miss guitar. 🙂

Let’s see if we can make that plateau go down again before the end of the year.

Contentedness through achievement

I am the poster child for the type A personality.

Mother effing flower sniffing champion at your service

It doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to be content. I know how to be content! Contentedness arrives through goal setting, progress towards things I want, and achievement. When I am moving towards what I want, I am happy. I wake up excited (most mornings) these days to check all the numbers of all the things that I need to check the numbers for, attack my to-do list, and then relax later after it’s done. This is my perfect day. I can even correlate this with my Garmin – when I am doing the work that I want to be doing/should be doing, my stress levels go wayyyyy down. Give me a whole morning to focus on tasks and the actual attention to do so, and I am a very happy little type A nerdo. I do need to save myself from myself occasionally and have a do-nothing day, but that causes me significant stress unless it’s PLANNED.

I’ve had more of this lately, checking things off the list and making progress, and it makes me very very content. While we got a chance to go play in the woods once over our week off (yay), and we also spent plenty of time relaxing on the couch playing video games, reading, and watching TV, we also did a lot of productive work around the house. I didn’t realize how satisfying and stress relieving that would be.

I was worried that this productivity might just be a vacation week fantasy but getting back to work kept a similar vibe. Monday, I had something big I feared would take me all day take two hours. My focus workday Friday began with three tasks and two appointments. Once I stopped getting distracted and dug in, I was able to get almost everything done, which was better than I expected! It feels really really really good starting these days not emulating me with the 1-plate salad bar at Jason’s Deli.

Don’t challenge me to min/max ONE plate of salad. Or tasks, apparently.

I keep arriving at finish lines of proverbial marathons I didn’t even know I was running and recover mentally and physically a little bit more each time. I was so used to my piled-up “to-do” plates, I had forgotten what an achievable day felt like. My body has been in sad shape for so long, I forgot what a functioning meatbag that isn’t injured feels like, on that isn’t overstressed, and takes the time to do the recovery things, and it feels great. And the house stuff. I had turned a blind eye to the condition of my office and stayed in my little bubble corner for so long I didn’t think it really bothered me. However, now I’m happy to walk into the room in the morning to start work instead of having a little unconscious sigh before I go back to ignoring it. I have a feeling as we fix each room in the house, I’ll feel the same way about it.

By the end of the year-ish we have three more projects:

  • Finish the office – this means get the music nook set up and organized, unearth Joel’s desk, figure out what to do with the fabric/sewing machine, and get the guitar cases back in the closet (since they have nice stands and get played now, they get to stay out!).
  • Tackle the pain cave – Joel has a bike desk that has been sitting in the hall waiting to be set up for nine months now. 😛 We also need to clean out some shelves and drawers and closets and just clean the floors. It’s another office situation – I can tuck myself in my little useable bubble and ignore the rest, but it will be SO NICE when I don’t have to.
  • Finish Joel’s office/gaming/hobby room. This needs the third set of shelving to house the printers, and the artwork to be put back up once we fully decide on a layout (this may wait until after Christmas stuff is put away)

None of this is huge, just a few hours each project max. Next year we’d like to tackle some bigger stuff. First up, our master bathroom is literally falling apart so we need to get it redone, but we have so much to clean out in the vanity area first, so I think the master bedroom/bath has to be the next room for us to unearth and organize and it’s going to take a LOT more than a few hours. But thinking about alllll the things we need to do is overwhelming, we’ll just do our 1-2 hours per week and make progress and that will be enough to make me happy.

Speaking of progress… look at this sexy beast…

Last week when I was off, it could have gone bad- but instead I made some solid progress because I stayed consistent. I tracked my food, stuck to my workout and calorie plan, and used the time off to make progress on things and destress instead of pigging out and being lazy. I went a few calories over on Thanksgiving (as one does) but got right back on track the next day. Spoiler alert: December looks similar to this trend and yesterday, I weighed the lowest I have all year. So, consistency brings progress and progress brings the motivation to continue consistency.

I got 7 hours of activity on my week off (and almost as much this week)! Two runs, lifting three times, a bike, a swim, an elliptical, and eight miles of walking. That’s great! This week, I hit my goals to run 2.5 miles twice, lifted three times, cycled once, elliptical’d once, and I friggin’ TRIED to swim (but the pool was full and I ran out of time). The weekend was for walking/hiking since these beautiful fall colors won’t be lasting forever. Yet again, more weeks like this please!

I ate 1583 calories/day the week off, and this week I’m back to 1509. I got just over 10k steps both weeks. Overall, I think I’ve found the sweet spot with achievable goals in calorie input/output which seem to be working. They take consistency and diligence but don’t feel overwhelming. And that makes all the difference.

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