Monday, January 14, 2013

Progress and What I'm Thinking About

To help me keep on my fitness goals, I've decided to keep a spreadsheet. Because I'm a bit of a geek for this kind of thing, rather than fill in a boring spreadsheet, I put it in Google Drive, and made it a survey. This way, I have a link on my iPad, I click the link and fill in the survey (Weight, belly measurement, mileage and "did I eat drivethru this week: Y/N). It automatically timestamps it, and adds each response to my spreadsheet. Cool, huh?

Technically, I don't have enough data to actually confirm anything (two weeks), but I'm happy to report that both weight and belly are down! I am trying to do the measurements at the same time, but I didn't, so it could just be the difference between evening and morning.


On a wildly unrelated note, I spent my downtime this weekend thinking about my Garden! Why? That and running are the two things that de-stress me. Since I don't have much to actually DO in the garden just yet, I've been planning. What to plant, when to plant it, where to plant it, what to start indoors and when, what to plant stuff in when I plant it indoors... there's lots to think about, especially because I'm still learning.

I ended up dwelling on what to plant stuff in. Last year, I used left over plastic pots, and a few coir (coconut hull) pot strips that you're supposed to plant directly in the ground. The plastic pots didn't fit together well under my lights, and wasted space, and the coir pots were a pain in the a$$ - they didn't separate easily, and they didn't break down in the ground.

My alternatives are to buy more plastic pots that would fit together better, or buy peat pots that would (in theory) break down in the ground better. Then I came across this concept:
Photo Credit: Lee Valley
It's called soil blocking, and I'd seen it in my Lee Valley catalogue before, but it looked scary. Scary as in: :that looks like it could be a lot of work, and you must have to buy special fancy soil. But wait a minute, I LIKE doing this kind of stuff! And, after a little research, I'm pretty sure the soil for this won't cost any more than I would spend on soil anyway.

The more I look into it, the more appealing it is. The first thing I like about it is that the size of the blocks fit into my trays (and thus under the lights) better. Second, it seems that it creates very healthy root systems, which is really the main goal of starting plants early. It also minimizes transplant shock, because you put the small blocks into the big blocks, and the big blocks go straight into the ground. Lastly, if I buy these instead of peat pots, the tool pays for itself by the second year (based on how much I plant).

I think I've found a good use for the loose change I've been collecting.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Crazy Timing

Sometimes, the weather cooperates and you get that break in the clouds, or the perfect soft breeze to cool you off on a run...

Last night was not one of those times.

On the schedule was 9 hills. For the past couple of days, the weather has been unseasonably warm - warm enough to melt a lot of the snow we've had. I'd heard that it was going to get a bit colder in the evening, but the forecast was for -7 (C) or so; not too bad.

When driving home, and driving to the Running Room, the roads were dry, and the outside temp on my car was showing about -5 C. Still, not bad.

When I stepped out of the car in the parking lot, I noticed a couple of stray flakes. Still, not bad.

In the 5 minutes I was in the store, the wind started to kick up, and the snow was starting to really come down, to the point that running to the hill was shockingly difficult. Not because it's a hard run, but because stinging, wet, icy snow was driving into my face. I was wishing I had my ski goggles!

By the time we got to the hill, it was a full on blizzard, driving at us from the right side going up, and the left side going down. I had several thoughts of quitting, but by the time I'd run up and down three times, I was a little more acclimated (numb), and thought I might as well finish. If you're going to start to run in something like that, you might as well do the entire run so that the suffering is worth it!

By Hill #7, I noticed my face was stuck. Frozen in a weird, drooping, wind-blasted way. I took a photo, but iphoto is acting up, so you'll just have to imagine it.

The final icing on the cake was that by the time I got home, it had warmed up, and the snow and wind had completely stopped!! As crappy as all that was, it was a bit of an ego boost - I was able to stay at the head of the pack, and even more importantly, I toughed out that storm.

And the Garmin data:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Holy Crotch!

Every single pair of running shorts or tights I've ever worn has come apart at the seams - specifically, the crotch seam. Apparently, I'm hard on stuff. And my thighs rub together when I run.

This is frustrating. I really don't want to buy new stuff every year, but it seems like I have to. The only thing worse than clothing rubbing together and wearing out is my skin rubbing together and wearing out. Trust me, not fun. It's happened so often that although I routinely forget watch, sunglasses, jacket, or miscellaneous other vital gear, I never run without Body Glide.

The thing is, I don't think this will change even if I lose the few (dozen) pounds I need to. Maybe I should get one of these:

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Goals

Let's get right to it. There's no other way to say it, but in 2012, I did not focus enough on ME. I'm not saying I was a selfless saint, but I just didn't spend enough time, thoughts, and energy on myself. Work, family, distractions all took precedent, but in 2013 I'm going to focus on me a little more, so that I can be a better dad, husband, boss, employee.

So, here's the plan:

Start Each Day with Intention, or, Focus On the Little Things
Reflecting on 2012, I got out of routine in the morning. My work is extremely varied, I work a lot of hours, and I'm near the top of the "org chart" (if we had one), which means that I'm able to get away with a flexible schedule. In early, in late, I still work a lot, so it didn't really matter when I showed up. This really throws off a morning routine. So, in 2013, I'm going to get up sooner, have a consistent routine that focuses more on little details, like taking at least 5 deep, focused "yoga" breaths the moment I wake up. I've started doing this, and it's amazing how it shakes out the cobwebs, physically and mentally.

I've got a whole list of things like this that I want to do, but I'm going to take on 1-2 of them until they become routine. This is probably the biggest, yet smallest change - spending a little more time preparing for each day, rather than just zipping out the door to tackle the world.

Save Money
Wifey has a great blog post about this here, but the gist of this one is that I've been spending too much money on fast food (which makes me feel like crap), and less money on distractions - especially iTunes (TV shows and movies on Apple TV, in-app purchases like digital comic books). I'll do this cold turkey in January, since I have more than enough stuff to occupy my time, and I've been contemplating disconnecting the credit card from my account and budgeting by buying iTunes gift cards and using those instead. Oh, and no drive-thru at all in 2013.

More Exercise
(Duh). I'm actually in the worst shape of my life. My asthma and allergies are worse than they've ever been, the "triplets" are back (ie my gut looks so big I might be carrying multiples), and my running times are not so great.

The plan here is to a) make up missed runs from my running room training plan, and run at least 10k per week, shooting for 750 km in the year, and b) work out in the basement after baby goes to bed, at least three times per week. I'm hoping we'll have more time to go hiking this summer, too.

Part of my work goals this year are to measure more, so I'm going to carry this over into my personal life. This part might be overly ambitious, but I like spreadsheets, so I'm going to put one together to track my exercise and physical progress.

Oh, and the last part of the exercise goal is to run at least two half-marathons. I'd also like to do an Olympic Triathlon, but we'll see if I can squeeze that in.

Take More Down-Time
In 2012, I had one week off when my daughter was born, one week in Phoenix in the fall, and a few days here or there (that I more than made up for in "overtime"). This year, I want to take at least an extra-long weekend in Fernie this summer, go back to Phoenix, and go fly-fishing in Smithers, BC, with my Dad.

Lastly, I'll spend more time on my garden this year. 2012 was okay, but I was working too much to really take care of it properly.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Coming to Terms With My Social Media Personna

... aka Why I Haven't Posted for So Long.
... aka (Hate the Word, but) Resolutions part 1
... aka Full Circle

I started this blog a long time ago (well, long time in technology years, where there's some sort of exponential-growth calculation needed, not just times seven like dog years) to discuss my discovery of triathlon, and to keep me accountable to my goals.

A new year naturally inspires reflection, as we come away from Winter Solstice with new hope as days get longer. I've never much liked the concept of (ugh) Resolutions, they just seem like over-hyped and under-thought broken promises to yourself each year. But I am a big fan of setting goals. And it is true that putting stuff "out there"is a good way to stay accountable.

The thing is, I think about technology a little too much. I work at a desk, on which sits a laptop, an extra monitor to handle the 25 different windows I seem to need open, a landline phone, an iPhone, an iPad... and a couple hundred pounds of paper. I haven't had time at work to blog, and when I come home, usually the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer. Tried Twitter, it's too impersonal and, well, just too much information. Facebook is okay, but well, too personal. I stopped blogging primarily because I kept wanting to write about things other than my original intent, and I felt obligated to reciprocate comments, and felt a need to foster views and comments.

So what changed? I just decided to look at blogging differently. I've decided I don't care what you think! No promises as to frequency or what I'll write about, and I'm okay with that.

Happy New Year.