Sunday, January 28, 2018

All the snow!

Raleigh has already seen two snowfalls this year! This is kind of unprecedented. The first snowfall I was here for, but for the second I was at a work trip in Ohio.

The screened porch collected a light dusting

It ended up being a pretty good snowfall!

The front yard got it too

The snow on Jan 4 was pretty good, but it only lasted for a couple of days. The kids went back to school, 2 hours late on the first day, then got out 2 hours early the next day, then got the rest of the week off.

Then the week of the 15th, Raleigh got about a foot of snow dumped on it! I had to go to Dayton, Ohio to lead a workshop around these tools I'm trying to get built at work. I love my job, but Dayton is a strange vacuum of boring space. I got some snow pictures, but none of my kids playing or having a good time because I wasn't there. of course this is the first time in almost 2 years that I've had to travel for this company, it's just ironic that it happened to be the same week that something big happened here.

Lots of snow outside of Cincinnati

Outside of the hotel

Even the pool got a bit of snow

No shit

Baseball field behind the office

At least Ohio knows how to handle the snow

subtle frustration

They pile it up big

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Year New Something

2017 was the kind of year where if you went into a coma, and woke up after two weeks, you would have a hard time believing you were actually awake. Socially it just pivoted so fast! The news cycle was very different week over week and we really learned to just roll with the changing tides.

December totals:
Swim: 3700 yards, 2 swims
Bike: 0
Run: 86.4 miles, 9 runs
Strength: 0
Yoga: 0

At 86 miles running, this was my highest month of the year. Everything else was pretty much dealing with a busy work schedule and the holidays. I finished the month with a 10 day vacation that included several nights in SC with my parents for Christmas, and a couple of days getting to work on my brother Michael's new house - really a special time for us. Still, I really wish I had been able to swim more.

Other stuff that happened in December:
My goofball

Ella got to paint one of the walls at her school

Beautiful warm day on campus

Before the company holiday party

At the company holiday party

Seeing Star Wars: the Last Jedi

Trail running in Umstead

I found the chainsaw art tree!

Kelley had a birthday (again)

People near the church decorated the "road closed ahead" sign

Maness family christmas

Kids playing with the toys from Santa Claus

Then they fell asleep on the way to Grandma's house. Ella has a bunny ear up her nose.

Presents at Grandma's house

our family portrait

With my parents & brotthers

My folks with their grandkids

Got a cool shot with Ella at a pond near Michael's new house
Overall it was a stressful but good month. I love Christmas but feel relieved when it's over and I'm back home in Raleigh for some down time.

2017 Goals
Specifically, since 2016 was such an absolutely horrible dumpster fire of a time frame, I didn't set any goals for 2017. My one hope was that 2017 would suck less than 2016 did. It turned out to be a much better year than 2016.

My Health
In January I started seeing an orthopedist about my foot and the diagnosis was "something tendon related". The solution was no running and some physical therapy. Well that didn't help. I did get to keep swimming, but then my hands, elbows, and shoulders started hurting pretty good. This kind of swelling & joint pain drove me straight to the arthritis doctor, and it turns out I have osteoarthritis in my hands, lower back, and feet. I had to get xrays and everything. Getting old sucks.

At least I was able to get on some medication for the arthritis and start running again. It wasn't much, but it was glorious. Of course by that point I had already gotten myself into several woodworking and landscaping projects too, so there wasn't much time left to run. Boatbuilding is a lot of fun. I had already abandoned my September marathon (in Portland OR) for a boatbuilding class in Beaufort, NC. So my typical pattern of setting a goal, then training for and achieving that goal was completely shot. I just kind of stumbled through each week.

Then in December I had my annual eye exam. Usually I get my years worth of contacts ordered and walk out. This time, the doc said I had cataracts showing and needed to start using reading glasses. The reading glasses actually provided a ton of relief, I didn't realize how difficult it had become to read up close. But the cataracts was a tough surprise.

So there you have it. In 2017 I got arthritis, cataracts, and reading glasses. And it was still a better year than 2016.

I did get a nice promotion this year. It's not an official title change or anything but I got moved into a leadership role on my team. Then I got tasked to lead a second team as well. Then my teams got spun out into its own business unit and I stepped into a role called Solution Architect. Now I'm officially leading 4 different teams and driving solutions for the company to advance our standards. It's really cool, but they keep me so busy. I went from one daily staff meeting to averaging 7 meetings a day. People keep scheduling meetings during my noon swim practices, so I'm about ready to put my foot down on that. This promotion also means I'm going to be doing more traveling for work, and I'm very happy about that.

The Numbers (2017)
Swim: 276,505 yards, 157.1 miles, 90 swims
Bike: 240.2 miles, 22 rides
Run: 237.4 miles, 37 runs
Strength: 38 times
Yoga: 24 times
Weight: min - 194.7 lbs, max 213.1 lbs, avg 204.8 lbs

Compared to 2016
Swim: 199,150 yards
Bike: 82 miles
Run: 1,179.5 miles
Weight: 181 min, 195 max, 187 avg

So while I couldn't run as much (or at all) I got to spend plenty of time in the water. The woodworking, career, and family time all put an additional damper on my athletic ability. I filled the time well.

Carrying all of this extra body fat didn't help my speed in the water too much, but I still had a good summer. I thought I was big in 2016, but both years are a far cry from the typical 170 pound summer training weight I used before last year. These extra 45 lbs are killing me mentally. Now my running is really suffering. And being over 40, the weight doesn't come off of me as easily as it used to.

2017 was the first year:
  • since 2008 when I didn't run a triathlon or multisport race
  • since 2009 when I didn't run a marathon or ultra
  • since 2010 when I didn't get under 180 lbs
  • since 2008 when I finished less than 8 races
We had a low bar to clear this year, and we hopped over it. I finished 7 races, 5 open water swimming races, 1 half marathon, and 1 10k.

2018 Goals
I need to start setting goals again. I need to start running again, and sign up for a race to make it attainable.

1. Run 800 miles
I'm only running 3 days a week and trying to swim twice a week as work schedule allows. Setting the modest goal of 800 miles on the year seems reasonable

2. Delaware
The Trap Pond 50k in Delaware is coming up and that's what I am training for right now. Trap Pond will be my 12th state and 25th marathon or longer race, and I can drive there.

3. Colorado
The Estes Park Marathon will make Colorado my fly-to state for this year. It's in June and I've already bought the plane ticket. Should be state #13 and marathon #26.

4. Get under 200 lbs
Watch what I eat and how much I eat so that I eventually can get down under 200 lbs again. I got over 200 lbs in February 2017, and it's not that much weight to lose.

Those are modest goals. I prefer to set really stretched goals, like finish an ironman or 100 miler, but these are attainable and should keep me focused. If the spring marathons go ok I might try a double marathon weekend, knocking down Maine and New Hampshire in one road trip in September.

Let's make 2018 a good year!