Week 1 of Active Offseason

Starting Week 1

Today, (Sunday) starts week 1 on a 12-week “Active Offseason” training plan. Here is the schedule:

  • Sunday: 1:50 in the endurance zone.
  • Monday: Mixed zones, 1:45. Drills and intervals.
  • Tuesday: 45-min free workout.
  • Wednesday: 1-hr free workout.
  • Thursday: 2:20 in the endurance zone.
  • Friday: 45-min free workout.
  • Saturday: 2:51 in endurance zone with some quick bursts.

Total: 8hrs 40min, 4 Workouts.

I have not done many 2-hour rides in the last year, fortunately they are in the endurance zone. On one of the rest days I will probably do a weight lifting session. 

Wrapping Up a Solid Week

This week was a pretty good week! It was my second week with my new team at work. They seem like great people and the work is very challenging. 

On the fitness front several thing happened this week.

  • I committed to a friend this week to do a century ride from Portland, OR to the coast in May 2019. It is a little ways off but I have a lot of fitness to build up. 
  • I worked out every day for the last 7 days for a minimum of 50 minutes. 
  • I started a training plan on Strava. It is a 12-week Active Offseason plan that is meant to maintain fitness over the winter. Perfect for the PNW weather. 

I am really liking my indoor cycling setup thus far. I put Strava on the TV. and a mindless comedy on the computer. The time FLIES!

On the diet front, I ate fairly well this week. I brought my lunch to work 4 of the 5 days this week. The food I brought from home was well balanced. Kale, broccoli, chicken, snap peas, etc. 

The number on the scale isn’t moving much but I know if I stick with it, it will. My goal is more centered around creating better habits. I need to stay focused on making good food and fitness choices. 

On that note, I had no alcohol all week. Shocking, I know! Since the only time I have to work out is after the kids goto bed, I have replace my evening cocktail(s) with my workout and by the time I finish my workout, I don’t feel like having any.

Looking forward to tomorrow and what the day brings!

Winter Riding Setup Ready To GO!

Zwift + Wahoo Snap all setup

Last night my Wahoo Kickr Snap smart trainer arrived! After the kids went to bed I set it up, locked the bike in, fired up a free trial of Zwift and tried it out. 

Zwift is awesome and is ridiculously easy to setup. All I had to do was plug it in, open the Zwift app and it paired with my trainer. Super easy. I have never trained by power (watts) before. It seems like a very direct metric for measuring effort that is completely environment-agnostic.

This morning I did a another workout, an FTP test to establish baseline zones for training. It was an hour and 13 minutes and was hard. But the time flew by. Zwift definitely keeps you engaged and downs out the mindlessness of cycling on an indoor training. 

Mid-week Update

This week I have been sick. It started Sunday night and I have kicked it for the most part as of tonight (Thursday). Just a little cough remaining.

I plan to do at least one check in per week to talk about what is working, what isn’t and why.

What’s Working: 
First, I have had no trouble waking up at 5:00am thus far. My kids for the most part stayed in bed and I did get un-interrupted time to do my meditations, cook breakfast, and get ready for work in a stress-free, peaceful environment. 

In addition, I have not partaken in any mid-week beers or whiskey. I know, CRAZY!

I haven’t gotten real worked up about anything thus far this week. I believe it is because of everything mentioned above. 

What’s Not Quite Working:
I have been eating more than I should be. My new desk at work is very close to a conference room that is always catered. I know this will be a struggle moving forward. There is ALWAYS free leftover catering. 

So far I think I am off to a pretty good start. Tomorrow my smart trainer arrives so I can cycle throughout the winter. Very excited about that!

Sick on Day 1, Doh!

Today was the first day of the new schedule I outlined in my previous post. I went to bed last night with a runny nose and sore throat. When I woke up this morning I felt about the same but as the day went on I went downhill. I ended up leaving work an hour early and I lay here now in bed, feeling like crap. 

But, Its all good! Tomorrow is a new day… and I may feel better. 

From the standpoint of sticking to the schedule, it worked pretty well. I did enjoy a mellow morning as a result of having plenty of time to do meditation, make breakfast, and help get the kids ready. It was a very low stress morning, which doesn’t happen often these days. 

Today I ate pretty good: 

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1/4 cup broccoli
  • Snack 1: 2 eggs, small amount of potatoes
  • Lunch: Chicken, snap peas, broccoli, vinaigrette 
  • Snack: None (wasn’t feeling well)
  • Dinner: Spaghetti with home made meat sauce.

It was probably around 1700 calories. Which is fine. I didn’t do my workout tonight on account of I feel so crappy. 

Tomorrow is another day. I start with a new team at Nike tomorrow as my current team has been dissolved. I am looking forward to starting fresh with a new group of people on a new code base. Lots to learn!

The Schedule

In my previous post I mention how being on a route was key to my getting into a rhythm and being successful. So here is my schedule. It is a result of what has worked in the past. 

5:00 am: Wake up/Get up
5:15 am: Coffee (in my belly)
5:20 am: Headspace (meditation)
5:45 am: Cook and eat breakfast.
6:45 am: Let the wife get ready. (Im on kid duty, pack my lunch)
8:15 am: Leave for work.
9:00 am: Snack (Protein drink)
12:00 pm: Lunch
3:00 pm: Snack
6:00 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm: Workout (weights/run/cycle)
9:00 pm: Bed

This is mainly for Monday thru Friday but will stick to something very similar on the weekends. In addition, this may not work, so I plan to try it out this week and massage it accordingly. 

So here we go. Day 1 is today!

The Weight Loss Yo-yo That is My Life

For the better part of my adult life I have been a bit overweight. Not morbidly obese or anything like that but every time I goto the doctor they tell me I should weight about 180 pounds. I typically fluctuate between 215 and 220 pounds.

Health issues last year lead me to get motivated and I lost 35 or so pounds working with Chris DeVecchio. One of many things I learned working with him was that I do better on a schedule. Getting into a daily routine is key. This was confirmed several months after working with Chris when I incorporated Versatile Fitness into my daily routine.

So based on the yo-yo I have experience thus far in life here are some facts about my behavior. 

  • Much more successful if exercise and diet are etched into a routine.
  • Enjoy working out with other people more than by myself.
  • Make poor dietary choices if meals are not prepared in advance.
  • Emotional events can derail me VERY easily. (anxiety, stress, anger, etc.)
  • I have seen a positive impact in managing emotional events with daily meditation. 
  • I am subject to constant interruption with often times leads to a loss of motivation. 
  • Alcohol has always been a struggle, especially in social situations.

The next few posts are going to be about pushing the reset button, getting into a routine, and getting started on hopefully the last yo-yo swing. 

The purpose of this blog is in part to document the physical, mental and emotional processes in hopes that I learn more about myself. All with the goal of changing my lifestyle to one that is all-around healthier. 

The Bicycle Gets Some Love

I just finished my first bicycle maintenance job in years. My goal was to replace my handlebar tape, shift cables and housing as well as brake cables and housing.

The end result was awesome and I am super stoked I was able to do it. I figure I prolly save $120 or so in labor doing it myself. #hooray. 

The biggest challenge was ultimately not having the right tools and accidentally cutting the brake housing too short. But for the most part I just looked as how it was done before, and copied it. Nevertheless, once I got some proper cable cutters, it was a lot easier.

I replaced the cables one at a time left side then right so I always had a reference to how they were supposed to run around the handlebars and the front of the bike. 

  • Front Brake cable: cut it too short the first time, had to get another cable. Learned that I should measure the length of the housing with the brake calipers closed, not open. 
  • Front Shift cable: no issues here, cut housing to match the length of the ones I removed.
  • Rear Brake cable: again no issues, by now I was getting the hang of it and my cable cutter was making the job easy. 
  • Read Shift cable: like butter.
  • Re wrapped the handle bars. I watched a couple you tube video on how to do this since I forgot how they were wrapped then i remove the old tape. 

I watched youtube videos on how to wrap the handlebar tape as well as how to get the shift and break cable out of the shifters. Turns out its not hard and the design of the shifters is pretty cool. Proof anyone can do some routine bike maintenance… if they really want to. 

All in all, a very fun and rewarding project. 

Reflection on a Great Medium Article About Software Engineering

Those of you who know me, know that I am a passionate software engineer who loves all the things web related. One of the things I enjoy is reading Medium articles on software engineering. There are any number of articles that get delivered to my inbox each day that I get sucked into. 

One that recently caught my eye was this gem.

The article is about how this person got a full-stack engineering job with no tech degree or work experience. In addition to that, it was this persons second career. 

It goes into depth on the process of making this happen. I wont bore you with a recap in the event its not your thing… But I will share some insights I pulled from the article that apply to more than just software engineering. 

  • You don’t need a college degree. You can learn what you need to know to get you foot in the door at a decent company for the price of attending a code school. (Get them 529 accounts setup for your kids)
  • It only works if you have a passion to learn about code. Like many other things in life, if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, you are far more likely to half-ass it. Don’t half ass it. Hole-ass it. Hard.
  • Being a fast learner is probably the best skill you can have. Fine tune that skill. 
  • Managers are getting better at sniffing out bullshitters. They want you to prove you can do what you say you can do. So whether that is in software engineer or not, backup your claims with proof. In my case it is code. 

Giving the Bike Some Love

I realized a couple weeks ago, I have had my bicycle for a few years now and have not done any maintenance on it… at all. 

So I decided to take on the task of replacing my brake and shifter cable and housing. I changed it up and bought white cable housing instead of the old boring black I have before. 

New SRAM gear.

It turns out, its a bit harder than I thought. The kits come with EXACTLY enough cable housing… so don’t mis-measure. Well, I did. I cut the front brake housing too short. Nevertheless, I had to order another kit. Thankfully they are not real expensive. 

Another interesting note. I thought a sharp pair of dikes would cut the housing easy enough. I was wrong. It did cut through it but its not pretty at all. 

I will update as soon as I get farther along in the project… but so far off to a humbling start.