7-Jan-2016


What I bought.

Smart Wool Headband – $19.35

What I did.

Came home from work and did some 4:20. Very excited to see where Skype for Business on mobile devices is being led. I spent all of last year prepping for expanding our instant messaging platform to the mobile space. Now were going beyond simple IM and presence. Video. Audio. Wi-fi audio.

The obstacle is the path. I refuse to deviate from this.

The soreness from last night is finding it’s way into my muscles. Good. I deserve it. So tonight I’m vegging. The wife is working a bit late so she’ll grab some Outback and we’ll enjoy Blacklist.

I’m powering through multiple posts today (Friday) because I became immersed in the negativity of “why”. Why am I writing this again? Why do I feel any need to share this? Why am I not doing this privately? Why am I not doing this a nightly routine?

The obstacle is the path.

The routine thing, again. But that’s what this is for. Finding the flaws in the reasoning and fixing it. Finding the ambiguity of the trail and building a cairn. My friend Philip shared how he started designating days for what his workout will be. Boom. If behavior is to be changed it must be managed. Like controlling a river the flow must be damned in order to direct the force of flow. Damned means two things.

The obstacle is the path.

So after one week of this new habit I’ve discovered the following:

  1. I must get to sleep at a decent hour.
  2. I must get up no later than 6 am.
  3. I must be happy when I do not meet expectations.
  4. I must document what I spend rather than trying to remember it.
  5. I must make a plan for the week.

I forgot to add that I walked my dog yesterday. My wife and daughter the dogs today. I sure am glad I posted Two Tuesday Quotes.

If someone is reading this I sure hope you had a great day. And if you didn’t I hope you can reflect upon the day and find something great about it.

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6-Jan-2016


What I bought.

Lunch – $8

What I did.

I’m not reading. I’m not listening to audio books. I’m not doing well with this transition from vacation and holiday season to 2016. Thankfully today is personal trainer day. Sadly the weather here in Jacksonville is more like Seattle. It’s cold. It’s raining. And I’m going to exercise.

Smart choice. Today our trainer, Lisa, focused on a nice four station routine. We had eight minutes per station, with four exercises to perform w/in the time frame. Four minutes in the ski cap was off. 10 minutes in the gloves were off. A strong dose of core and cardio, and while I fully expect to feel sore on Friday I approached every exercise with a focus on technique. It’s times like this when I’m reminded of all the wasted years spent training in the gym. With no desire to ever be a body builder my weight lifting regiment was not something that was consistent with my fitness goals. Trust me. If you were to look at me you’d be asking how much and how often I lifted. The past three years have been spent dealing with back/shoulder pain (and of course I sought no medical help) so whatever gains I had were depleted. But I’m not here to discuss my present physical appearance, nor speak to what I’ve trained for the past 20 or so years. My pedestrian advice is four-fold.

  1. Know what you’re training for. If it’s simply recreational then find a way to get fit outdoors. Enjoy the scenery and the company. Gyms suck, but they are nice to have around. But there is enough outside to keep you busy, and get you strong.
  2. Nutrition. Nutrition. Nutrition. There’s a reason why any and all fitness folks press this point. It doesn’t mean starving yourself with a diet, but rather it’s a matter of being mindful of your intake and then working off what you put in. Stay away from processed food and added sugar. Gospel.
  3. One is a lonely number. So here’s the caveat to that. When I’m trail running I love my music/audio book. But when I’m done I prefer someone to share the experience with. You don’t have to talk while your working out, but simply being in the presence of other people can be motivating and emotionally/mentally healthy.
  4. Fun should be fitness. Paddle boards. Kayaks. Spartan races. See where I’m going?

I brought lunch. But damn it if I didn’t get hooked by Muscle Milk and coconut water.

5-Jan-2016


What I bought.

Dinner w/my wife – $87

What I did.

Good day at the office. Well, my study. Followed up on a request to repurpose Lync 2010 servers for my effort to build out Lync 2013 Enterprise and upgrade to Skype for Business 2015. Process at the Bank has become very, how should I say this, like walking blind through a burning forest. You can feel where you should and shouldn’t go, but the heat is all around you so you’re more reacting to falling timber. But there are good people, with admirable work ethics, so the community helps alleviate the heat. I also solidified the gleaning date and now it’s a matter of finding a couple of properties we can leverage. The great thing about my contact within the Bank is that she was looking for something different for this international team builder. She appears to have an outdoor spirit so when she saw my event on the Bank’s calendar for the 4th Annual Jacksonville Citrus harvest at month’s end she saw an opportunity to both build people and the community. She further mentioned she’d like to make this an annual event.

Never forget good people will find good news and want to be part of spreading it.

My trip to my insurance was both informative and entertaining. We covered life, auto and home. It had been so long between visits that I sat for at least an hour just absorbing the policy reviews. It is so important to meet, I believe annually, in order to understand what changes are in store for the coming year. I would also recommend asking questions about the history of the insurance industry. One tidbit I learned was how, up to the 1940’s, banks in New York managed every aspect of whatever stood for home owner’s insurance (this is a nuanced statement that I haven’t fact checked, but I trust my source). The depth to what presented itself as insurance was like stacking blocks, so when changes were made to package insurance it really changed how American’s dealt with insurance. I need to read some books on this subject.

I also had a short and civil discussion with a friend on Facebook regarding the Affordable Care Act and whether financial or physical suffering should be a concern when enacting such a law. He didn’t agree with my question, fairly noting I shouldn’t paint it as a decision between only these two items considering quality of care is also at play. I didn’t disagree with him, but I did note such a concern is secondary to how we decide. For example, quality of care can be different based on whether we consider how we act to be a question of money or suffering. The question is who gets the lower quality of care, those in need or those with the means to overcome a higher cost. At base it’s a question of how we approach suffering. Is our decision utilitarian? Is it a question of social justice? His framing of it as painting it narrowly I didn’t agree with.

2016 – Three Days In


What I bought.

1. 3-Jan-2016…nothing.
2. 2-Jan-2016…smoothie for my daughter from Native Sun, just under $6, ticket to Star Wars $8.50 and coffee from Starbuck $2.18.
3. 1-Jan-2016…nothing.

What I did.

Mostly watched football, though on Sunday I did clean the kitchen, bedroom and did laundry (not the Friends version of “laundry). Walked the dog for 2 miles on 1-Jan-2016, and 5 miles on 2-Jan-2016. Rained on 3-Jan-2016 so we stayed in. Could I have done better with my time? Absolutely. On Saturday, 2-Jan-2016, I committed to soccer and college football. On Friday, 1-Jan-2016, it was also college football. Interspersed was recreational reading of current events and philosophy, along with the audio books “The Life We Bury” and “The Way We Eat”.

Let’s just call the first three days somewhat of a final binge. The Spring semester at the University of North Florida starts this week, and while I only have one class it is an independent study. This is because I’ll be doing some serious engineering of our mobile solution at work.

What I will be doing (I was going to type “hope to do” but that is not a positive statement) is tracking my daily activities and spending. I’m thinking to also track food waste, but just mine. I can’t be accountable to my families habits and frankly this isn’t about them. Daily activities will include, but are not limited to, exercise, reading and television.

Why am I doing this? Four reasons. First, thanks to “The Obstacle is the Way” I was motivated to move beyond my reactionary lifestyle. This isn’t an indictment of how I’ve lived, but both the book and hiking Katahdin’s Knife Edge made clear to me I am missing a certain quality of life by not planning and documenting. This is my public attempt to honor a degree of self-monitoring through blind accountability. By blind I mean any unknown internet participant who may happen across this site. I want to work on self-improvement through self-reflection.

Second, I want to work on my writing. Although this is nothing near writing a philosophy paper (I’m in graduate school for applied ethics) it is something that will hopefully allow me to work on articulating ideas and formulating thoughts. I won’t only be writing about what I’ve done, but as a friend once told me writing is habit.

Third, and it’s really an extension of the first reason, I want to journal 2016. To see how I honored my commitment to train for a Spartan Super, not be wasteful of time/money/food and improve upon my quality of life by spending more time learning than reacting to events (or watching TV). Those are but a few elements. There is a website, My Morning Routine, where successful people share what they do to start their day. Many of them have expressed the importance of writing down what you do in order to learn from it. I think I’ve probably exhausted my ability to operate off memory.

Lastly, writing is something I’ve been told I’m good at, but something I’ve not really given myself to. In honesty I’ve lived a relatively safe life. By that I mean if effort, serious effort, was required I probably sought the path of least resistance. Going back to Knife Edge, that experience was a life or death choice. What this man from Florida did, as one who lacked any training in this terrain, was an example to myself of what skills have been accumulated over the years of outdoor activities. More importantly was the competitive side of me which caused me such focus. I want to find that again, but I want to find it in the daily decisions I make. The short version of this: one day I’d like to make money from writing. Maybe it is educational curriculum. Maybe it is research or stories. I just know there is an envelope I need to push. I need to reach the ditch of failure and leap over it.

Or maybe this is all about the Fitbit Charge HR I was given for Christmas. Simple tracking.

One down.

Throwing Myself Into Committment


Sprint triathlons are something I look forward to every summer. My friends and I try to participate in at least one of the many offerings here in North Florida. The two we have historically participated in are the Montaya BFAST Tri Series and the DRC Sports Jax Tri Series. Usually the BFAST is our destination due to proximity and stellar catering. That they adjusted the bike route to go through the Nocatee Pkwy is reason enough reason to register. Unfortunately swimming is our weakest discipline and we rarely enjoyed the ocean swim at Micklers Landing (where the BFAST event is held) due to a choppier conditions. The DRC event used to be held up at Little Tablot Island and while the run was miserable due to an open black top road that cooks you, the swim was much flatter and considerably more welcoming to the less seasoned swimmer.

So this year I threw myself into the fire and forced my training by signing up for the entire DRC series which afforded me a decent discount. My past philosophy has always been that if you pay for it your more likely to train for it. Sadly three weeks removed from dishing out the cash I find myself with limited bike time, even less running and no swimming. Trust me when I tell you that even a 1/4 swim with no pool time is daunting if not stupid.

My friend Philip Hughes got the bug last year and signed up for the BFAST series with a very small preparation window. The first event’s swim reminded him just how much of that water endurance is lost because swimming is not something incorporated into our lifestyle. Jumping on his motivation I signed up for the next two events, with pool work an integral part of our weekly schedule. Still, like him my window was small and those first few salt water strokes forced me to incorporate a high degree of mental strength to trust my ability and not bail.

June 23rd is this year’s zero hour and while that is a good two months away, three weeks is too much time for the casual athlete. The primary motivation of signing up for all three events is to track your progress and hopefully to leverage the event as a gateway to the Amelia Man Olympic Triathlon, a goal we have failed to attain for too long. In an effort to accelerate my conditioning I have given myself once again to Tony Horton’s P90x. The DVDs have been in my possession for I believe 4 years. The first attempt at them found me 45 days in before strained hamstrings sidelined. Since then there has been an occasional challenge, and my body speaks louder than my words, but my fitness regiment has never been that intense. If I can finish the half-marathon, trail run or sprint triathlon without hospitalization then winner me.

I will be complimenting the “X” with bike work and swimming. Due to an Achilles ligament injury the ground pounding will be almost non-existent, which makes the “X” almost necessary. Having only started two days ago, which means chest/back and plyometrics, the soreness is a blessing and motivation is high. Is not drowning enough to demand the needed fitness when your wave first hits the water?

While my preference would be to do this quietly, how better to force accountability than by making failure public. More importantly, how motivational might it be to show success. Remember, if this guy can swim/bike/run so can you.

8 months of doing nothing then maybe a month of training before the event and I look like it.

Considering Peyton Manning’s Release


The guys over at Big Cat Country were nice enough to take my Fan Post about #18 and put it on their front page. You can read it here. In light of all the talk over the bounty system the New Orleans Saints employed and all the bad it highlighted within the sports and the fan base, taking stock of all the good that is Peyton Manning serves as a much needed topic. While I am a Jaguars fan I am a football fan first and Manning never failed to grab my attention. He managed the offense like a seasoned general at war. Not seeing him play live once a year is something I will dearly miss. Everyone seems to be in agreement that whomever he ends up playing for can utilize his abilities so that we are not left watching a horrific shadow of his old self.