kinda blog.

5 months 1 week ago

I'm co-opting a term: New Age.

I'm not writing about something spiritual or philosophical, though. Rather, I'm just stating simply that today I'm a new age, and I'm starting my own personal new year, and as such I'd like to make some personal promises to myself for the next 365 days.

January first is great and all, but wouldn't it be better to commit to something great on your birthday instead?

I thought so.

An while I've made a few New Age Resolutions this year, but the one that matters on this site is about my health. I'll be this new age when, hopefully, I'm recovered enough to run the Chicago Marathon next fall. That means I've got not only a lot of training to do, and not only a lot of recovery to complete, but a bit of a refit on my overall health is in order.

Or, in other words, a diet.

As a wise orange cat named Garfield once said: “So I’m on a diet...big deal. - You know what a ‘diet’ is, don’t you? - IT’S ‘DIE’ WITH A ‘T,’ THAT’S WHAT IT IS!”

I have mentioned this here before, but I'm a bit of a fan of the "No-S" diet. It's simple and it works for me (at least when I'm motivated to follow it.)

The rules: No Snacks. No Sweets. No Seconds. (Except Sometimes on S-days, like Saturday, Sunday or Special days... like your birthday!)

So today is day one of this particular New Age Resolution and I'm writing it here to keep myself accountable to that fact. I'll be tracking it and trying to switch up some bad habits I've developed (and that's mostly what this is about anyhow!) And occasionally, I'll post an update here.

That's my New Age.

5 months ago

If you are one of the small handful of people who read this site, and maybe just for my own reference in a couple years, I wanted to note that my absence online through October was not accidental. Over the past month I deliberately chose to post less and spend less time on screens. Somehow, I still managed to write a few updates, and poke my nose through here and my other sites, but generally I pulled back and unplugged.

the actual updates

Of course the knee-hab and the work continued.

Early in the month, right around Thanksgiving weekend, my knee started acting up again. Really bad.

I'd been swimming and active and was even starting to think about kicking the running back into gear after a literal month of further healing after my last attempt flopped.

Thanksgiving was a Monday and I was a bit sick in general so I wasn't surprised that I was a little more sore and grumpy than usual, but into Tuesday and Wednesday things got pretty bad. By Thursday I felt like a pressure cuff was tightening around my knee and the muscles above and below the injured ligament were in a constant state of pre-cramping-like hair-trigger pain. I actually (but briefly) entertained a hospital visit because the Alberta Health site suggested that such pain may be related to a blood clot and required immediate medical attention.

I called my physio instead, and his concern was less urgent.

An appointment on Friday afternoon had me with two big wins.

First, "it's healing well" he told me after another evaluation and the pain was actually pretty normal at the end of that three-month stagnation of a major joint, but...

Second, your muscles all around the knee have atrophied and now the hard work begins.

I told him that I was planning (registration hadn't happened yet) to sign up for Chicago Marathon next year, at that point almost exactly one year away. "That's our BIG goal." he said and wrote it with great excitement into his file notes.

Almost four weeks later I've been back for another appointment and have a third upcoming this weekend. But the takeaway has been a fairly formal plan of stretching and mobilization on that joint. I've backed off my swimming in lieu of my three times per week physiotherapy efforts at the gym which require a long bike warm up, a ton of stretching, and about thirty minutes of walk-run (but mostly walk intervals) on the treadmill... followed by more stretching.

And? Results. Actually factually.

That first set of intervals I was logging about 2 minutes total of run time. My last effort just the other night had me up over ten minutes and only stopping because of some calf pain... or put another way NOT knee pain.

On top of it all, I've taken up a personal challenge of logging fifteen thousand steps per day of walking or running through November (an effort made more difficult with the abrupt arrival of winter cold and snow after a mild October!)

I'm hoping by mid-month I can actually start doing some real runs again, even if it's only on the track at the rec center to start.

And being offline (mostly) has meant that I haven't felt too accountable to hit random goals for workouts or fitness on my lightly-read website, and instead have just been focusing on recovery.


Following through on my offline efforts, with November being the month of my cake day, I've decided to forego New Years resolutions and instead do a couple New Age resolutions. As I turn 46 I'm going to act my age and back off my social media participation.

I deleted Facebook four years ago and have only been back once to get some contact information from an old connection.

With the ownership switch in Twitter I've logged out of my accounts and don't intend to return, not that I was a big tweeter or a blue check or anything, but one less user is one less user.

I post a lot of Instagram, but I'm putting together my own photo sharing website which I plan to send off to a select few people soon and then I can back off that degrading pit of increasingly irrelevant content.

And while I've slowly been more and more active on Reddit this past year, it's starting to churn the same sort of samey content through my feed and it won't be hard to ditch.

Instead, I'll focus on my own private platforms. I have a couple sites to feed and water, and if you know about them you know.

In the meantime, physical, mental, and emotional refreshes to self are on the menu for the rest of this year and next, and I'll have no shortage of words to share here... stay tuned.

6 months ago

Neglecting to write here in a while has been something of a deliberate choice as I turned October into an excuse to reduce my screen time. I've been writing ... on paper. Journaling, etc.

But I figure at some point I'll wander back here and start writing and tracking again, and when that day comes I may want to mark this week as important in the long, dark story of my declining sanity.

So. I registered for a marathon.


Back in 2019 I put my name in for the lottery for Chicago. 2020.

If you've studied your recent history you may have heard of a little thing called "the world shut down for two years because of a viral disease!" that happened. Chicago 2020 did not happen. Not for me. Not for anyone.

The folks who organize it, kindly sent a note letting all of us 2020 lottery winners know that we could instead run in a later year, either 2021, 2022, or 2023.

In 2021 things were getting back to normal but international travel was not on that normal list.

The 2022 race happened about ten days ago.

And the 2023 registration, my last chance to use my deferral, opened up with an invitation email about 48 hours prior to me writing this.

So. I registered for a marathon.

It's in about fifty and a half weeks. Almost a full year away. And though I haven't run in three months and can barely walk, my physiotherapy seems to be paying dividends. I'm hopeful. Or crazy. Probably both.

7 months ago

Among other frustrations, the inevitable finally happened. It slipped my mind to do my daily pushups

For the last 40ish days, I've been incrementally adding to my daily push-up tally, working up from a modest 20 reps in early August to missing the mark of hitting 60 (which I would have done yesterday... had I not forgotten!) In all, I accumulated a respectable one thousand, five hundred and eighty push-ups. And combined with all my swimming, I'm feeling quite a bit of strength improvement in my arms and chest.

So today, I'm restarting and kicking off a slightly different challenge, not resetting but instead leveling out and trying to do a maintenance push in my fall 50s pushup challenge.

For each day over the next, um, let's say until at least Halloween, I'm going to do fifty push-ups per day. No increments. Just trying to get to a grand total of two thousand push-ups before the end of October.

(To cut myself a bit of slack, I'm going to implement a single day catchup rule. As in... if I fall asleep at the wheel again, I can do double the next day to get catch up.)

In the meantime, my second challenge officially begins today: fifty push ups per day. Go.

7 months ago

September 2022

I've been recording a lot of zombie time lately.

That has nothing to do with the quickly approaching Halloween season nor with my unfortunate gait that has resulted from a damaged knee ligament. It's just what I've been calling that mental paralysis that results from having free time, a vague list of hobbies, and decision fatigue.

An example scenario:

It's 7pm on a weeknight. I've done a full day of work. We've eaten dinner and cleaned up. The dog has been walked and the kid is hunkered down texting her friends for the evening. It's not a night for a workout so I'm pretty much free to do something else of my choosing.

I could go in the basement and practice my violin (did I mention I play the violin?) A high value. way to spend an hour. Um. What else?

I could sit down with my art gear and do some painting (did I mention I'm into watercolours at the moment?) A creative and relaxing way to spend the evening, perhaps with a podcast or audiobook in the background. Hmm.

I could write a blog post. That would be fairly productive. Though I don't really feel like I have much to write at the moment. What else is there?

I could play some video games. I've been working my way through the latest Assassin's Creed installment and and hour with that would be fun. A chill bit of time before bed. But, then again...

I could watch some television. I have a few shows I've been working my way through. A less valuable use of time, but still relaxing after a long day. Sigh. I really should do something more productive though.

Instead, while I waver back and forth, I flip on the TV and load up YouTube. I'll just watch a five minute video while I try to motivate myself. Virtually, completely, a total waste of time.

Not motivated yet? Another? Another... another... another. Oh look, it's bed time. I've just spent the evening in zombie time.

i've ordered a paper journal

It's a fancy one. It's from one of those companies that makes high quality notebooks and watercolour paper.

How does this fit into a technology blog post? Or into a recovery blog post?

I see it like this: technology or tools that enable us to plan and organize our lives, our days, our motivations in a way that allows us to accomplish our goals may be almost as vital to success as the right running shoes, drinking enough water, or having a good social support network.

I get my runs done (well, right now my swimming laps done) because I timebox. Mentally, at least.

I set a goal.

I pick a time.

I fill that time with the planned activity to achieve the goal.

I'm going swimming on Saturday morning. That's when I'm going. That's when I'm planning on going. That's when my opportunity to go will be. That's when I need to go. If I don't go then, I'll sit on the couch and end up watching YouTube until the time evaporates into nothing.

I'll zombie time my Saturday morning.

And while this may seem like I have my days and motivations under control, really I've just applied this to my fitness and it's a lingering effect of having to be accountable to a running crew. We run on such and such an evening or morning, so we run. Now I've been swimming in those same time slots.

I haven't put the same sort of time boxing around my other bits of life. I haven't set thirty minutes aside for working through my scales and some music on my violin. I haven't put two hours aside on a Tuesday evening to paint something with my watercolours. I haven't given myself to kill ninety minutes on a Monday before bed enjoying a video game.

Instead, I do none of those things because I struggle to prioritize myself on the fly.

So, I've ordered a paper journal. A calendar with months and pages to do some kind of bullet journaling, time boxing, check list making effort.

People swear by such things to organize their lives.

I'll find out soon if I'm destined to be one of those people.