the personal blog of Greg Bassett, IT Security, Travels & Endurance Sports

Category: life (Page 1 of 2)

The New Normal

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog, and to be honest I’m not really sure how long I’ll continue to even keep it running. But for the time being, I’m going to start posting a bit more frequently to track how I deal with some profound changes in and around my life.

So it’s the mid-point of 2020, and anyone alive right now knows this year has been a conflagration of confusion. COVID running rampant worldwide, an economy in the dumpster, and a global awakening of racial inequality. We’re dealing with a lot of shit.

Personally, the COVID crisis has hit two aspects of my life. First, my return to triathlon racing is basically a non-starter as all my races have either been postponed indefinitely or cancelled outright.

Second, I’ve been permanently laid off from my job.

In the first case, I’m ok with the cancellations as I understand the reasons to be safe for all the athletes spectators and volunteers. I just don’t see any way Eagleman or IMLP could go on with all the social distancing and safety procedures and be the same event. I think of all the lines we stand it, the close quarters at the start, the crowding around aid stations and the outpouring of bodily fluids that occur during the race and in transition and it’s just not a safe place in the times of COVID.

So I’ll continue to train in some fashion, look for opportunities to push myself where I can, and build strength and endurance for 2021.

As for the job loss, I’m not really sure what that means yet. I’m still processing the event, as it just happened on Monday. I had planned to take Thurs & Fri off this week anyway, and next week the firm is closed for summer break, so I was already mentally ‘checked out’ until after Independence Day. To be honest, getting the word that I was cut was a bit of a relief. The firm’s outsourcing program had been going on for close to two years and I knew that there was going to be some impact. Despite reassurances that our group was safe, we still got hit, as did almost 1/3 of the IT staff. So the level of anxiety about the actual lay-off is finally behind me.

Now I can deal with the anxiety of what’s next. I’m processing a lot of different thoughts about what I want to do in this next phase, both short term and long term. I’m extremely fortunate that I have some financial flexibility right now and I don’t have to jump to the first offer that may come across the plate. But I’m in no position to retire yet.

So I’m going to take this next week, knock a whole bunch of to-dos of the list and enjoy what looks like a great summer week.

Weekend Reset

4 days off.  Big zeros in TrainingPeaks.  Not a step take, pedal turned or stroke placed in the water for 4 days.

Not a good strategy for Ironman training you say?  I’m not so sure.

Training for Ironman is in itself an endurance event.  Somewhere between 6 and 12 months long.  Unless you are financially independent, or a professional triathlete (and sometimes even then) there are other things that come up in daily life that can interfere with the swim/bike/run/strength/flexibility/recovery cycle.  During the last two weeks, the interruptions have come from my day job.

I like my day job, but have had several new projects start and others have started to ramp up in intensity and time commitments.  Further, I’m covering a role for a recently retired co-worker.  He’s now off motorcycling around the country (every moment, hard earned), and I’m sitting in his SDLC meetings. I know this is only temporary, but the combination of new tasks, increasing intensity of existing projects and covering a whole new role has me running on fumes at the end of the day.

So there have been more than a few 12-13 hour workdays in the last couple of weeks, and what feel like normal days are 9-10 hours long.  Toss in some extreme drives to remote office sites for good measure.

While the work has been interesting, the interactions with different teams are mostly engaging and stimulating, the energy expenditure has been really high.  So much so that at the end of the day, there isn’t anything left to train.  On days when I am coaching masters swim at the Y or presenting to our Base Builders tem, I’m lucky to be there on time usually coming in directly off a work engagement.

I’m capable of carrying a pretty heavy load and still be very productive, and get my workouts done.  I know that I’m over-subscribed when I only remember tasks at the very last minute, or forget things like gear bags, keys, shopping lists etc.  It’s a clear sign that both ends of the candle are on fire.

On Thursday this week I ended up with back-to back meetings or work assignments from 7:30-4:00pm, and about 10 min for lunch where I tossed back something quick and crappy.  By the time I came up for air in my office it was almost 7:00pm, and any energy left to train was shot.  A zero in the training log

Friday wasn’t much different.  Instead of getting to the pool at 5:15am, I overslept (another sign of impending burnout) and barely made it to work in time for my 1st meeting.  I also left my access card ID at home (another sign).  I planned to get out of the office for a ride or run at 3:00, but never made it out the door until after 4:00pm.  I decided to swim with the group on Friday, and opted to get other chores done on the way home from work.  At 8:00pm as I entered the Y for masters, I realized I didn’t have my swim gear with me.

At that point I knew I needed a ‘reset’ weekend.  A whole weekend of sloth, sloppy eating, too much TV and no work, workouts or any mental stimulation beyond a James Bond movie.  The only commitment I had was mothers day brunch with the family on Sunday, and I knew that the rest provided by two full days off was just the prescription for my ailments.

Thankfully, Saturday was a wet, and eventually stormy day.  I sat in my easy chair from the moment I awoke, until I went to bed that evening.  I ate lots of comfort stuff, and didn’t give a rats-ass (until I had the GI upset that comes with too much dairy and grain products).  I took a long nap in mid afternoon, and went to bed early and slept a solid 8 hours.  I sort of thought about running on Sunday, but still didn’t feel completely rested.  I did get my meals back on track for breakfast & lunch, and had a lovely drive in the country with mom after our meal out with the family.  I purposely drove on one of my favorite bike routes in order to kick-start my brain into wanting to ride.  Once we got back home, I set up my hammock and spent a couple of hours reading magazines and daydreaming.  Just a delightful afternoon.

And now I’m totally recharged.  I spent the last hour catching up on my RSS feeds, filling the Buffer pool with good stuff and finally kicking out a blog post.  I’ve also updated my calendar, and blocked out the energy necessary to have good workouts for the next several week.  I can feel my creativity increasing, and am looking farther forward in planning than just the next 15 minutes.

I’m back, ready to hit it hard, fast & often.

 

Moving to the next phase

I’m starting to make serious plans to embark on a new phase of life.  Starting to list action items, do the research, experiment with installations and lots of reading.  By the end of the months I hope to have registered with the state, & fed, lock in domain names, and set up initial web presence.  By the end of April I should have certifications completed and can hang out the shingle.  Stay tuned for the news!

PBSC Donation

A couple of years ago I signed up to be a bone marrow donor.  I did this at the ‘Ride for Life’ event at work.  Oddly enough, I tried to donate blood at that time, but could not because of an erratic heart beat.

After I signed up, I didn’t hear anything back from the donor center until just a few months ago.  I found out that I was a match for a 64 year old woman with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.  I went through initial blood tests and information sessions, then was told that I wouldn’t need to donate immediately.   This can sometimes happen if there is some change in the recipient’s condition, or a timing issue with treatment.

Earlier this week, I found out that the donation can now move forward.  Today I received the information package with lots of reading material and a DVD.  So I guess I have more homework to deal with!

I’m getting pretty excited by this whole adventure.  Apparently patients who do not receive donation have a 0-15% chance of survival, whereas patients who receive donation have a 30%-60% chance of survival.  It’s a pretty simple calculation, so I’m not sure why more people don’t donate.  PBSC donation is pretty simple and doesn’t involve general anesthetic.  The process involves 5 days of filgrastim injections to generate more stem cells in the blood, then two apheresis procedures over two days.  There are some potential side effects of the filgrastim, and most people experience some bone pain.  I figure a few days of bone pain isn’t that much of a issue compared to the potential for the patient.

So now I’m scheduled for donation during the first week of March.  I do need to check with the marrow donation center to see if my blood donation a couple of weeks ago will affect the marrow donation timeline.  According to the forms from the blood center, I’m good to donate blood around mid-March, but it doesn’t say anything about apheresis.

So far 2011 is shaping up to be an interesting year!

More numbers

Got the bloodwork back yesterday.  CK was elevated (no fooling, I was twice as sore than normal from any workout) but cholesterol & triglycerides were reduced.  Dr. wanted to change to different statin (a 3rd try) and add an additional drug to reduce CK levels.  I vetoed that idea.

Since I’ve changed my diet (no alcohol, no processed food, extremely limited dairy, extremely limited grains) and upped my exercise, I wanted to see what my numbers are when I’m off all statins.  I also complained about some of the side effects of the Benicar, so the Dr. suggested 1/2 dose.  Again, I vetoed opting to drop all meds to get my baseline reset.  I’ll be getting bloodwork done again in about 2 months.

Moving in the right direction

157.0#
15.2% BF
BP 110/70
The numbers are moving in the right direction, almost 2# down and 1.4%BF lost. I think that the CrossFit is really working as I’m feeling a lot stronger. I was feeling tired yesterday afternoon, when I went to run, but once I got out on the road the legs opened up and felt really strong. I’m also noticing my shorts and swim suits are tighter across the quads & hamstrings. That’s a good feeling! My diet feels just about right. Not ravenous at any time, lots of fruit & veg and meat. Simple, clean diet. I’m allowing my self to indulge in regular coffee (as in, “Coffee, Regular” to the NJ folks) and I’m actually feeling BETTER for it.

I get bloodwork done today, so we’ll see if the REST of the numbers are moving in the right direction as well.

Checking in

158.9lbs/16.6% BF

So the resolutions went on hiatus while I sorted out schedules and fought off bronchitis.  But I think I’m back on track starting this week.  I’ve created a 2xday/6 day week workout routine and a homework schedule that should keep me on track.  I’ve managed to hit at least one workout this week, and hit two workouts today.  It’s tough getting back on the fitness wagon, since I’m essentially starting over.  I need to continually remind myself that I’ll need time to get back to the shape I want.  Patience isn’t my strong suit, but I do have experience on my side.  I’m keeping my eyes on the prize!

I’m also cleaning up my diet and cleaning out the fridge and pantry.  I’ve given up the O’Doul’s since all it was doing was adding 70 empty calories to my diet.  I’ve got better things to do with 70 calories.  Giving up the chocolate, cheese and other goodies will be harder, but I’m not buying the stuff any longer.  Keeping the stuff out of the house is key to resisting temptation.  It plays on my inertia, since I’m too lazy to run out and buy more crap food when I’m craving something .  I’m trying to get dinner finished by 7:00 or 7:30 and not eating for the rest of the evening.  I’m finding that a cup of herbal tea with a touch of honey is just the ticket when I’m peckish at night.

I’m now creating metrics that I can maintain and publish.  I’m measuring weight and body fat percentage on the Tanita.  I’ll be running monthly 5k’s for time, and tracking key CrossFit lifts and tests.  At first I’ll just drop them on the ol’ blog but I’ll be looking at various training tools (Training Peaks, Daily Mile, Buckeye Outdoors etc) to see if one fits most of my needs.

We don’t need no stinkin’ resolutions!

Okay, so maybe we do.

  1. I will hit 80% of my planned workouts – I can strive to hit 100%, I know that life is dynamic and stuff happens, so I’m not going to worry about missing 20%.  I’ve reactivated my YMCA membership, and will continue CrossFit, just so I have plenty of options for training.
  2. I’m sticking to my paleo diet 80% of the time.  – Giving up cheese is going to be harder than giving up alcohol.
  3. I will blog at least 3x per month.  I’m not sure what I’m going to write about, but I know that I need to write more.
  4. I will do the GTD weekly review at least 3 times each month.

All of these fit into my main goal of “more life, less TV”

1 Picture A Day

..which is starting out to be two pictures a day.

During my 5mile run in the cold-cold air this morning, I got to thinking how much I’d rather be riding my MTB.  Then I remembered that the Ibis is missing its boingy-boingy Mojo, front & rear due to a routine visit to the orthopod:

Mojo Sadness

When I got home I forgot all about my MTB dreams today, until I thawed out (thanks to Weazer’s 3-Alarm Chili!).  So when I went down to snap a shot of the forlon Ibis, I found enlightenment from my cat, Jaco:

The Reclining JacoHe was napping on the top step because the basement door was closed and he was temporarily locked downstairs.  Not long enough to complain, but just enough time for a quick nap.

Which lead me to the thought for the day.  Be at peace with where you are.  If you are running in the cold, embrace the moment.  when the MTB is working, ride the bike, and whenever possible, nap no matter what!

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