Saturday, January 19, 2019

Step Back to Surge Forward

The last two weeks have been a bit of a wreck in terms of achieving my personal goals.  The year started with illness, and that sapped all of my momentum, so the 2nd week of the month was a struggle just to get my work done, with very little time for exercise, or the energy to ensure I followed my nutrition plans.

That's over now.

Today is my first non-workday of the year and I'm counting on this being a turning point.  I got a run in earlier this week, and managed a long run today (10 miles), with some other exercise in the past three days, so I'm getting some momentum back.  My nutrition is getting better, but I'm not in just the right place yet. 

So what's the plan now?  I've done the step back part, now is a good time to surge forward.  My bank account says I still need to work, so I'm going to keep up with that.  But now I need to re-assert my priorities and ensure that I put the important before the urgent as often as possible.  That's true in both my work and personal life, in fitness, nutrition, and relationships. 

Setbacks are a part of life; I get that.  They stink, and are demotivating, but I'm taking what's happened, and focusing on what can happen.  Progress takes time, but at least now I think I can get really started for the year. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Two weeks down in this year......

So I expected this would be an interesting couple of weeks, and I was totally wrong. 

Two weeks into the new year, and just about all I've done is work, sleep, and (to some extent) suffer.  I shouldn't be surprised - this is how every January works, and it's usually about the 15th (today) when I pick up my head to see how deep a hole I've managed to dig in the start of the year.

This year is no different.  Where I should have run about 40 miles, I've run 13.  Where I wanted to lose a couple of pounds, I'm up about 6.  Where I had hoped to cut back on overtime, I had multiple days of 15-hour shifts, and have worked full days all 4 weekend days this year.   And where I wanted to preserve the good relationship I have with my wife.....well, that's not too bad, actually (she's very forgiving when I don't see her for days, and then when I do, I'm grumpy).

So now I am looking forward.  Why?  Because just like every other year, I expect the next three months to be good for me.  Busy, of course, but some of that in a good way, and in a way that should help, rather than hurt my health.  I'll get back into my workout routine, rev up my training, run a few races (including one this weekend that I'm really not prepared for), and get ready for real race season. 

So far this year, I've lined up a progressive build-up to the Boston Marathon (no, I'm not running that), the NYC 1/2 Marathon, a cross-country 10K in a local Preserve, a 1/2 Ironman in August, and a few other local races, mainly 1/2s and triathlons.  I'm not ready for any of this, but I'm feeling ready to train for the first time in a good long while. 

First steps, get my nutrition back in line - no more convenience store stops, cut the sweets, knock off the extra calories, and go back to healthier options.  Since giving up soda four months ago, I've taken to tea, and for a while there, fruits and vegetables were my staples.  It will take a transition, but I'm headed back into that territory, and back into the outdoors for my workouts.  

It should be a good Spring.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Day 2, too

Today was supposed to be Day 2.  And it was, just not the kind of Day 2 I was looking for. 

I decided yesterday at noon was going to be the beginning.  I wrote it in notebooks, put an alarm on my phone, and had all good intentions.  The rest of yesterday went fine, even though I had to work until about 11:00 pm (I'm an office worker, and even though I'm always more than 9-5 (more like 8-7), a night that late was unusual.   At least it's supposed to be.

So cut to today.  Packed my lunch, had all plans to be healthy, but I woke up late (overslept due to getting to bed at 1 this morning) and while the beginning of the day was fine, I broke in the evening, as I found I would likely be at work until 11 again.  [As I write this, it's 10:45, and I'm waiting for someone else to finish work so the rest of my team can finish theirs].

The evening was a disaster.  Hungry from the day, and having expected to be home and potentially exercising in the evening, access to the dinner I had brought in for the team just threw me off.  *sigh*

So, here I am  - no exercise today; eating too much; intensely stressed once again, and facing another 9 days of long days.  I have just about had enough - it's time to change.

Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 - On to new sameness

Another year has passed, mainly with silence on this blog.  2018 was not the year I had hoped it to be when I wrote last year’s post.   A lot happened as expected, and there were lots of high points, but for me, it just didn’t seem to be my year.

The start of 2019 finds me largely in the same place I was last year.  I’m in the same job, which should have changed 18 months ago, but my boss made a promise, and then let me down, and I haven’t moved.  (Someone in HR referred to me as the ‘stuckee’ person, and I swear I’m going to scream the next time someone points out that I’ve been in my job a long time).

I’m coming up on 4 1/2 years in a job that would burn out ordinary people in 3.  And as of right now, there is no sun on the horizon.  I’m being a team player and waiting for a problem to get resolved, but once that happens (later this month), I’m going to start making a lot of noise about it.

At least that’s what I tell myself.  The reality is probably quite different, and I’ll continue to be the team player and let things happen to me.  I don’t know, though, as I seem to spend every day driving to and from work thinking about how I’ve been neglected, and trying to decide that it’s time to leave the company.  If something doesn’t change soon, I may need to do that, if only for my own sanity.

And, of course, there’s fitness (or lack thereof).  The other major disappointment last year was a marathon that I ran, and ran badly.  I say ‘ran’ but the reality is that I walked the last 8 miles.  I wasn’t trained enough, I’m carrying a lot more weight than I used to, and I’ve lost a lot of fitness these last 5 years, the last two especially, given my longer commute and very long days at work.  In the last two years, I think my workload has increased by about 20%, with no let up in any responsibilities.  So even when I’m home, I’m stressed, and I spend almost every night with my laptop open doing e-mails.

So that’s why I’m writing tonight - to convince myself that it’s time to change things.  To focus on me a bit more.  To drop the 20 pounds my doctor said I need to (now probably 25).  To put my own priorities first, and focus on the joy of achieving them. To join my wife, who is probably as fit as she’s ever been.  I convinced her to run a half-Ironman triathlon with me this year, and she’s training better than I am.  At this point, I’m hoping to find the time to train properly, and finish the course again.

Yes, right now, I’m down on myself.  Unlike much of last year, I do see opportunities to get better though.  Last year was a really rough year for me, mentally and emotionally.  I was let down by someone else, and I let myself down as well.  This year can totally be different, even if just because I walk in with a different mindset, a different attitude, and a different way of handling my stress.  I won’t say that writing will become an outlet for me (see my various other false starts) but something must.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Social Media Black Hole.

I'm not very good at social media.

As both of the readers of this blog can attest, I am at best sporadic in my posts, and they lack any kind of consistent theme.  And that's the problem.

I'm on social media, at least the common sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and I read most of them each week (although Twitter has gotten even less enjoyable over the past year).  But while reading about what's going on in the news, and peeking into the lives of my friends and colleagues, both recent and older, is useful, I normally find that I don't have much to say that should interest others.

Not that stuff doesn't go on in my life - sure it does.  This year is going to be an exciting one, with an Eagle Court of Honor, High School graduation start of college for one, start of college search for another, K has a marathon coming up, I've got lots of races planned.....there's plenty going on in our lives.  But it's that "why would people be interested" that holds me back. 

And I can do it - when I have a project, or something that I need others to focus on where SM is the platform we use to communicate, I can be very active.  But it seems it's always got to be *about* something specific - a goal, a project, an event....just the activities of my daily life doesn't seem to make the cut of things I want to talk about.

Maybe I'm just too old school....that's the point - do I just have the wrong mindset about social media and sharing?  Not 'wrong' per se, but just mis-aligned to a lot of the culture today.  If so, I expect I'm not alone - I have lots of connections on these platforms from whom I rarely ever hear, including many members of my own family, and my wife's family really isn't even on social media (but that's not surprising given who they are). 

I also don't know why it gives me (low-level) stress not to be more active.  Maybe it's seeing the activity of frequent posters / twitters / podcasters that makes me think it's what I should be doing.  I think that urge to join is part of my psyche (always has been).  It's just that - at this point in my life - that doesn't hit the high priority list, and as you can tell, even this blog which I use as a personal outlet, doesn't get the attention it probably deserves.

I'm not sure anything will change in the near future - at least not until I get a new job that provides me more free time than Saturday evenings.  But maybe I'll stick my head out of the frozen ground once in a while.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 - Reflections

And so we come to the end of another year.  It's almost New Year's eve, but I've been reflecting today on the year now ending, and comparing the year to my goals set about 360 days ago.  Its interesting how the year turned out to be entirely different than I expected, but in a few good ways.  Some highlights:
  • I finished my "run every road in town" project, and even got written up in a local magazine, complete with glossy photo!
  • I managed to get myself to speak at a conference for the Institute of Management Accountants, and travelled to Denver for it.  Lots of work to prepare, but also lots of fun to do.
    • While there, I got free tickets very suddenly to a Colorado Rockies game!
  • I ran my first half-Ironman triathlon.  I say my first, but I'm not 100% sure I'll ever do another one (remember when I ran my 'first' ultramarathon)?
  • I was on NPR!  Lots of friends heard me on the NPR Sunday Puzzle, where I did okay as well!  
  • I visited two new states, including Colorado and Montana, where we took our summer vacation.  Water is cold in Montana all the time.......
Also on the plus list, my son finished his Eagle Scout, and was accepted into the college he wanted, so he is in good shape, and my other son continued to grow into his own, taking on more challenges in school.  My wife is doing well, and has recovered from some minor running injuries, and is ready to take on 2018.

On the down side:
  • I wasn't able to run a marathon for the 2nd year in a row.  Bad timing and lots of workload got in the way, and I wasn't focused enough (I did do that half-Ironman, though, so it's really not all bad!)
  • I did not lose some weight that I had promised myself and my doctor that I would do, nor have I gotten my strength training, nutrition, or flexibility where I want them (think those are related?)
  • My home management (both familial and physical) still isn't in the groove I need and want.  Maybe it never will be......

I have been able to remain active in my community, at least partially, with Election, Scouts and church and (to a far lesser extent) running club, but candidly, work has me spread so thin that I haven't fully participated in any of those. 

Now that it's time to set objectives for next year, one of them is going to be achieving a better work-life balance, finding time and energy to do the things I want to.  We'll see how that works out, and I'll share my goals for next year (well, at least some of them).

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Eve (squared)

It's December 23rd, or Christmas Eve Eve.  Another year has passed, and as always, I now reflect on goals achieved and goals ignored,  the good times and the bad, and also as always, I appreciate the fact that there was more good than bad.

It was an unusual year in running.  While it was my lowest mileage year in a long time, my running got me some attention this year.  I was written up in a local magazine, did my first half-ironman triathlon, and inspired others to join the running circuit.  I didn't get to do a marathon again this year (second in a row), but I'm ending the year optimistic, and signed up for one in May.

My weight - well, that's a different kind of high.  In looking back, I realize that this year has just been the latest in a string of years of decreasing interest in taking the steps I should be taking on nutrition.  Frankly, this is also the year that I realized what's really going on in my gut and in my head, and I'm starting to separate the two.  I had a really good fall in being able to handle certain trigger foods, and it's been a long time since I have had a doughnut (last one: National Donut Day on June 6th!).

My family - well, for the most part they are great.  My older son earned his Eagle Scout, and has been accepted at two colleges already, including one he really wants to attend.  My younger son is doing really well in school, and seems more comfortable with that environment.  Kristen is doing great too, now also in training for a marathon next year, while maintaining a better balance than I am.

Work?  Story for a different blog.  Suffice to say that I'm not sure if I'm a workaholic, or if I'm just in a really busy position.  It didn't let up at all this year, but I'm hopeful for a new role in the new year that may give me more of a break.

In my community, I'm stretched thin.  Mainly due to work.  Again, another blog post.  I haven't been as active with Scouting as I'd like to be, and had to step down from being an assistant Scoutmaster, as I couldn't make time for some required training.  I have been able to pick it up a bit this Fall, though.  I have stayed active in the Church, and got to speak at a conference, which was really exciting for me (and I didn't really mess it up).  Coming up this year will be some changes - I'll leave the parish Council (my non-repeatable term is up) and perhaps turn toward more political endeavors.

There's lots of planning to do for the new year, and some goal setting, some of which I'll share here at a later date.  For now, I've got a week off, and some time to relax.  Before the new year (and our fiscal yearend) starts, I'm going to take advantage of the break.