Day 978: Up late, good row

Running a bit late today; some insomnia, but roused myself to feed the cats, back to bed, and up again for a solid row (music really helps! I don’t care if it’s a crutch!) and knocking this out before dashing to work. No time for bonus Dry and Mighty work today other than cursory looking at the alerts.

Still pretty jazzed up about it, and the LLM, and other things — work’s in a good groove right now, and I’m feeling like balance is attainable if I’m sensible about spending goodly free time keeping on top of studies and making some time for games, etc., but with intention instead of as a distraction.

Day 299: More Daily Rowing

Probably this was a jinx from yesterday, but today I hit a bit of a mental wall with rowing.

Technically, I suppose I should say that it’s not rowing . I’m not on the water. It’s a Concept2 ergometer, so I should say that I’m erging, but come on.

Following yesterday’s “I’m rowing daily, no problem!”, today I hit a minor “ugh” wall before rowing.

But I carried on! And once I was on the machine, listening to music, rowing away, everything was fine. So I guess I’m not immune to “erg fatigue,” but the key is to just promise myself I’ll start. Once I’m started, it’s easy to keep going.

The one advantage of the app I use, too, is it doesn’t record anything unless I finish the workout I set at the start. This has saved my bacon more than once… I’ll be midway through, think “I’m really not feelin’ this,” and consider quitting, but the thought of “wasting” that effort keeps me at it to conclusion.

It’s trite, but “just do it” is not the worst mantra in the world. Ignore that it’s a shoe company slogan. It’s still a pretty good thing to think. I spend a lot of time in my own head telling myself I can and can’t do things. Just getting out of the internal dialogue and moving to action is advice I need to give myself more often.



Day 298: Daily Rowing

I guess I’m feeling pretty good about rowing every day after a few days of doing it. It doesn’t burn calories like running, but it works pretty much everything. I was a bit worried about my lower back, but it seems fine. It was probably strengthened by previous rowing.

So I’m doing kind of the same thing every day, but there are lot more options out there than my first go-round at being a regular rower — apps that sync up via bluetooth, rows of the day, and so on. It might actually get fun to start messing around with the different workout types and results.

This is where I get a bit nervous about getting too ambitious, though. A steady row every day is something I can figure out and plan on. Different rows every day? Might mix things up, but would also be kind of random.

I’ll give it a think. I’m settling into the new routine, so I think I just talked myself out of anything fancy. Get the fundamentals down and don’t worry about super-involved challenges until I feel like I’m solidly back on the path.


Day 131: Changing the Narrative

Arrgh. So as the shoulders get better, the back gets worse. Not awful, just not great. But I had a little moment of changing the narrative this morning that helped.

So I’ve been off running, and I was seriously considering not doing any exercise at all this morning. Then I was going up the stairs, and thought:

“This can be the story of the time I worked through this thing.”

And I liked that story. More than the story of the time I had a setback.

So 30 slow minutes on the rowing machine later, I feel better. In a couple ways.

Changing the narrative means changing the outcome.

The first way is obviously that I feel better physically. Going hard on the rower is strenuous. But going easy on the rower kind of warms me up and pulls everything out. So I am in less hurty pain now that I’ve done it.

The second way is I’m happy to have pivoted off the sad narrative of “I’m hurt” and into something a bit more persistence-driven. This, in turn, is going to drive me to make better decisions for the rest of the day.

It’s a table — exercise, diet, sobriety, sleep. If one goes, the whole thing gets wobbly. If two go, collapse is imminent. And while the started as a sobriety project, sobriety is proving easier in a lot of ways than the diet part. And exercise, when I’m feeling lousy.

So I’m going to allow myself a back-pat this morning. GOOD FOR ME. Carry on!

Day 100: 100 days!

So this is what 100 days feels like. A good time to take stock of what’s gone on so far, and take a beat to think about what’s working well, and what’s not working well.

100 days of sobriety:

Working well This was what I thought would be hardest, and 100 days in, turns out to be easiest. Maybe because it was the thing I was mentally girding myself for.

Key lessons:

  • Don’t drink. That’s a probable truism. But that simple decision, made daily in an affirmation, was pretty damn useful.
  • Don’t freak yourself out. Overthinking it, burning your brain out on never again? isn’t helpful. “One day at a time” really is a powerful tool.
  • Tell people. Don’t get preachy about it, don’t declare things. If you need to be socially diplomatic, “I’m trying a thing where I don’t drink for a while” is a good out that doesn’t unnerve people and makes them feel okay about their choices.


Keep on keepin’ on.

100 days of exercise:

I’m doing something every day, sometimes just stretching, sometimes not working as hard as I could. I think there’s a factor here, a fourth pillar, that I need to get into starting on day 101.

Key lessons:

  • The metaphor of running 10k by running 5k in one direction is a good one. Set myself up for exercise in ways that are hard to get out of. Make appointments with friends to run.
  • Try to figure out my fine line between “take it easy and don’t hurt yourself,” and “go hard and work for it.” I don’t know how to navigate that yet.
  • As much as I hate it, I need to have stretching and strength as part of the routines, not just running/rowing.


Give myself a few more ease-into-rowing sessions, then set myself up with RowPro or a rowing app so I  have rowing appointments that will be hard to break.

100 days of eating sensibly:

Ugh. This is the boondoggle. The beast. I thought this  one would be easiest, and it’s hardest — maybe the most insidious of the areas. I’m still not great about diet, snacking, etc.

Key lessons:

  • I can’t keep snacks in the house. Period. It sounds childish, but having my wife hide the jellybeans and mete them out every evening was the best move I’ve made, foodwise, in 100 days.
  • I clearly have undeniable stress eating issues.
  • Keeping bad food out of the house is key, and avoiding food when out of the house is also key.


Food logging is going to be key. I have to tackle why I’m not doing it head-on, and aggressively attack any thing that’s preventing it from happening. This will be a major endeavour — it’s going to involve meal planning, more time in the morning, and a solid partnership with my wife.

100 days of sleeping poorly:

I don’t think of this as taking on more, I think I’ve been trying to build a stool when I should have been building a table. The fourth leg is sleep. I’ve always thought of sleep as a value-add: it’s great to have, but I can do without. I’m starting to realize I’ve been wrong, wrong, wrong about sleep. Sleep’s a foundation.

Key points:

  • I need to be less churlish about sleep aids, especially ones that are supposed to prevent middle-of-the-night wakefulness. Not get hooked on ’em or anything, but be open to them as a tool.
  • My bedtime wrap-up needs to be something I take more seriously, rather than just being on devices up to the minute I hit the hay. Less electronics, more books and writing.


Better sleep.

100 days in summary:

The above is kind of necessarily self-critical, but I feel good. Right now, but also in general. I feel better than I have in a while. An older version of me would be despondent at not having reached all my goals by now; current me is learning, slowly, to look at the trend lines. The trend lines are good.

I’ve got a table instead of a stool now, and some solid objectives in every area.

Bonus challenge:

No Netflix except for stuff I watch with my wife until the next milestone. I’m burning too much time on shit TV.

250 days is the next milestone.

Let’s do this thing.

Day Seventy-Eight: Spring is Sprung

Spring is sprung! The grass is riz. I wonder when dem boidies is? Dey’s on da wing? Why that’s absoid? Of course, da wings are on da boids!

The first day of spring in Ontario is frequently not that different than the winter; this morning’s run was exactly at the freezing mark. Sidewalks clear, except for one patch of ice that nearly did me in at the end. Fancy dancing saved my butt.

I have never been this excited about running before — the rowing machine should be arriving today, so I’m looking forward to getting back to the rowing/running alternations that marked the fittest period of my life. Which was admittedly about 15 years ago. So I’m not setting myself up for 30 pounds of weight loss and being absolutely back at peak fighting trim in weeks. It’s going to take work, and I may never get back there. But I’m looking forward to trying.

Spring is sprung, and UPS is insane

The only hitch in my day is having to engage in tense negotiations with my wife. I have a new person starting at work today on a placement, so I absolutely have to be there in the morning. But UPS has a delivery window of, get this, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Twelve hours of uninterrupted possibility. We don’t own a car, and the box is 70 pounds, so it’s really, really inconvenient to try to pick it up.

Twelve hours. Seriously. In 2017. Uber can have a car at my door in five minutes and I can track it in real time. UPS can’t narrow down a delivery window to less than 12 hours.

Anyway. Lots of negotiation about her being home this morning, me maybe having to come home this afternoon — it’s a pain. But by tomorrow, I’ll have a rowing machine, and spring is sprung with my absolute favourite form of exercise in the world. Life is good. UPS is dumb. But life is good.