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Ten Years Back

This weekend there’s been a bit of a “ten years ago” meme going round social media, and while I won’t get involved (mainly because I don’t do photos of me, let alone photos of me from a decade ago) it did make me go back to the archives here and have a look at what was going on.  Which was quite interesting (to me, anyway)

Ten years ago, I was still with Herself, we were in the Norfolk house, and sleeping abysmally while also sick as chuff with a chest infection of sorts. So, some things never change. I was working in a local-government job I hated – and the post about that was exactly ten years ago today – and generally doing OK.

I did also find a post about my weight – and again, not much has changed. I’ve lost a bit of weight since then – which I’m happy with – but all told it’s really stayed pretty stable. (There’s another post back in Jan 2005 about the same thing, with similar figures to where I’m at now)

Of course, there have been a lot of changes in that ten years, but it’s also interesting to see what’s stayed much the same…

Closing The Year

And so we’re at the end of 2018. And as such, it seems apt that the last post of the year should be a quick assessment and overview.

All told, it’s been a good – and busy – year.

There’s been more travel than usual, with that week in Toronto to add into the bargain.

There’s been more work, but also more fun times, trips out, meals, etc.

I’ve been doing a lot of work on weight-loss which has ultimately ended up not doing much – but I have more knowledge, more figures, and the steps I’ve taken have improved my health, strength, stamina, and resilience. They’ve just done sod-all to lose actual weight. But I’m OK with that, and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.

On the downside, I’m ending the year with a bit more debt than I’d like. It’s nothing earth-shattering, nor even major. A fair chunk of it is for tickets for things in 2019, of which another decent chunk is owed to me by others for their tickets. But all the same, it’s more than I’d like it to be.

However, in a fit of progress and being grown up, it’s also now all in one place, with zero-interest ’til 2022, and it’ll be done by the end of 2019.  I could do it even quicker if I wanted – and I may do so – but it’s all under control, and I’m OK with it.

There are, as always, things I haven’t done – no matter the good intentions, they just haven’t happened. I’ll continue to work towards those things, and I’m going to write more about that tomorrow.

All told, it’s been a positive year, and I’m feeling pretty good at the end of it.

Endurance

The “Weekend Reading” posts by Gordon are one of my regular sources of interesting stuff – I know I’ll usually find something interesting there that I haven’t found/seen myself.

A few weeks back, he added a link to this story of endurance (and absolute lunacy) which I found fascinating.

Gary Cantrell clanged a bell at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, signaling 70 runners to jog off into the woods on his farm in Tennessee. They had an hour to complete a 4.1667-mile loop trail. Easy. Most of the group finished with 15 minutes to spare. The bell clanged again at 7:40 a.m., and they ran it again. And at 8:40 a.m., and 9:40 a.m., and every hour after that until, one by one, they quit. There was no known finish line. The race went on, day and night, until the bell clanged and only one runner answered.

(That’s the introductory paragraph to the story)

I find myself hugely in awe of people like these – the determination to keep going, at the cost of just about everything, until they simply can’t do any more. I know my own endurance isn’t bad (well, at least in the context of general humanity) and that I can keep on going for a decent amount of time. While I’d never do a challenge like the Backyard Ultra, it’s not the walking/running that would destroy me, it’d be the time spent stopped each hour. If I’m walking (or working, driving, whatever) I can keep on going for as long as necessary. But when I stop, I stop. Restarting is (for me) far, far harder.

Regardless though, the entire concept of running four miles each hour, every hour, without a break – that’s awesome.

A Very Foodie Week

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to make my birthday into a bit of a foodie thing, since starting off the whole “Eating on my own” thing with the Michelin-starred restaurants a couple of years back.

This year I’d taken the week off and booked a week in Northumberland, which made it even more fun.

So this year my actual birthday meal (well, the day after, but it counted) was at L’Enclume.  One heck of a drive across-country – two and a half hours each way – but still better than the five hours each way it would be from home.

Then during the week was an evening at House of Tides – which I love, and rarely miss taking the opportunity to go to when I’m in the North-East.

And finally, while I was in Manchester I visited a very new place, Mana, because it sounded interesting. (And it was!)

So it’s been a foodie week, and very enjoyable. But I might need to walk a lot over the coming week or so to make up for it…

Nasturtia

So far this week, I have been Unwell.  It was very similar to the episode in February where I was also spectacularly Unwell – thankfully this time wasn’t as bad, but it’s still been no fun.  Well, I say it’s been better, whereas actually it’s been just as nasty, but in different ways – and I’ve been more prepared this time to deal with the warning signs early.

In February I wasn’t sure what had caused it – I’d had a meal at a (now closed) Michelin-starred restaurant, and was pretty certain that it wasn’t food-poisoning in any way that I recognised.  This weekend was the same, no real idea of causation – although I’d had another couple of spectacular meals in the preceding days.

However, there’s only been a couple of common ingredients through the various meals, and with the whole set of symptoms being so similar, they’re what I’m looking at in particular.  (And this is also where it’s really useful to have taken photos of the stuff I’ve eaten, to be able to use them for reference on stuff like this)

The conclusion I’m being drawn to is that I have a *really* unpleasant reaction to either nasturtiums or marigolds. It takes about 24-36 hours to kick in, and then yeah, no fun at all.  In the case of this week, the lunch I had in Manchester on Saturday was very heavy in nasturtium garnishes, and I think that’s what triggered everything.  And looking at WebMD (via a Google search) I found that nasturtium can cause stomach upsets (look in the “side effects” tab) – which is one nice term for what’s affected me on both occasions.

I may at some point decide to experiment a bit, by trying another meal with nasturtium garnishes and see if the results are the same – but it’s not something I’m going to be eager to do.

In the meantime, it’s not an allergic reaction – and I’ll never be dramatic enough as to claim it as one – but at the same time I think it’s going to be something I might need to start mentioning to restaurants when I book in. Which sucks, but when all’s said and done, it could be a lot worse.  And at least I’ve now got a fairly good idea of what’s going on.

2018/19 – What’s the Plan?

As has become traditional round here, it’s time for a list of what I’m aiming for and hoping to do in the coming year.  Some will be familiar (because I keep starting and not finishing) but I’m also hoping to get rid of a couple that never really happen, and maybe add a couple to replace them.

  1. Keep on working on losing weight.
    This one is a long-term thing, and one I’ve written about before. For me, it’s a struggle – I’ve worked with a number of resources this year so far, and feel better-informed than I was, but there’s still a long way to go. If nothing else, this year so far has eliminated a lot of options and bullshit.
  2. Keep on improving fitness/health
    Linked to losing weight, I’ve had more success with this one over the last 12 months, but there’s still stuff to do and improve.
  3. Continue doing the stuff I enjoy
    Various bits here – but basically, do stuff I want to.  Not as a “fear of missing out” (“FOMO”) thing, but just as in “I really want to see/do [x]” and doing so.  (This is, of course, in direct contrast to ‘doing less’ in the list below, so it’s a bit of a balancing act!)
  4. Be more sociable
    I’ve realised this year that I’ve been utterly crap with seeing friends – I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, but at the same time it hasn’t been overly sociable, hasn’t involved going to see friends at all.  And that needs sorting.

I’m getting rid of some of the longer-running goals. They’re still things I want to work on – I’m not giving up on the plans, just on the having them as goals – but it affects me more when I see my ongoing failure to complete/do/start them year on year.

So I’ll note them here as reminders, but they’re not part of the main “What I’m aiming for” list. See if it works better for me as advisories, rather than as targets/goals.  And those reminders are…

  • Writing
    I want to do more writing – I’ve got the ideas, but it’s finding the time, inclination and drive to get them actually going. I hope to schedule more in – I’ve also invested in some tools that should allow me to do so – but we’ll see.
  • Business plans
    As with the writing, I’ve got the ideas, but need to allocate time and energy to getting them to work.  In some cases I’m frustrated by time, in others by funding for getting them how I want them. We’ll just have to see how things go.
  • Doing Less
    This is kind-of related to the above two – if I could sort my brain out so that ‘doing less’ was better, then I’d hopefully have more time to spend on the writing and business ideas.
  • Plan Better
    And the final one, which controls all of the others – make better plans, notes, and be better organised.

Gutless

As part of my whole weight/fitness thing, I’ve been going once a week to a programme called Gutless for the last twelve weeks.

It’s been an interesting programme, basically one two hour evening session a week, which consists of one hour of physical exercise, and one of information and chat about food and nutrition.

For me, the exercise has been of more use and interest than the food and nutrition stuff (as I learned more for exercise techniques etc. than I did for the food/nutrition) but it’s all been a generally positive programme.

As with other things I’ve been trying this year, it hasn’t been as successful as I’d have hoped – for me, at least – but in general it appears to have worked well for the other members of the group.

For me, it’s given me extra ideas and stuff to do, as well as knowledge of better workouts and so on, I’ll take that knowledge and go forwards with it as well, so it has been a positive process.

I’m glad I’ve done the course – and the workout/exercise side is going to be continuing on as a separate programme we’ve worked out with the instructor from the programme – and we’ll see how things work out going forwards.

All told, I’m happy with how it’s been. I’d be happier if the weight loss had been better and so on, but I know that it’s also helped me make other positive changes, and right now that’ll do me.

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