Week 116: How Am I Doing?

Every year the Columbus Oktoberfest is my favorite festival in Columbus. I love celebration of German heritage, the polka, the beer, the food and all of the other fun sights and sounds. We have been going for years but things have changed a bit over the past couple of years.

Two years ago I posted the following post when leaving Oktoberfest.

Last year I made good on this goal and I ran the Oktoberfest Meiler Vier (which is a 4-miler) and set my very first personal record, or “P.R.” The race wasn’t easy but I did it and it was a meaningful moment for me. I wrote about this in my blog post Week 64: A Proud Moment.

Well it is Oktoberfest weekend again and I ran in my second Meiler Vier race. Once again it was a PR for a race over 5k.

I thought it was an overall personal record but I had a ridiculously fast race on St. Patrick’s Day that I haven’t been able to replicate since. I don’t know why but I am not able to get significantly faster and that race was a clear anomaly.

I am seeing progress with my pace but not as much as I had hoped. It is a little frustrating but I know I am progressing. So, with 2019 nearing 75% complete, I thought this might be a good time to reflect on how I am doing with my goals.

So I looked back at my final blog from 2018 to reflect on the goals I shared at that time. Note that I also have others that are more private.

Weight

Let’s start with the elephant in the room and that is my weight. My weight loss was the focus of the first 18 months of my Operation Melt fitness journey. But the weight loss switched to maintenance at the start of 2019. My weight goal for 2019 was:

End my weight loss journey and maintain a healthy, comfortable weight between 189 and 199 pounds using the techniques that helped me be successful (tracking, good decisions).

Unfortunately my maintenance mode didn’t work for me as well as I had hoped. I learned that I was underestimating portion sizes and, in maintenance mode, I didn’t have the cushion that I had in weight loss mode to accommodate. So I saw my weight tick up a bit in the first half of this year.

Let me pause here for a reality check about my weight. Let’s start with the “tick up a bit” comment… we are talking about a total of 7 average monthly pounds difference between my December/January low point and my July high point of this year – which was during my vacation.  That is just 3% of my body weight and I have brought it back down to only being up 4 pounds on average. So these are micro adjustments.

I need to keep these weight changes in in the broader context. Being up 4 pounds versus my 131 pounds that I decreased still means I lost 127 pounds and maintained that loss.

Also there are some other facts I have figured out about my weight situation. I have gained a lot of muscle which is going to cause my weight to go up a bit and I should be happy about that.

Plus my initial goal of maintaining at 189-199 pounds may not have been practical and healthy. Given how much my daily weight fluctuates now and how much there seems to be a floor on my low weight I am very likely at my lowest healthy weight. My doctor has even warned that the 189 point may result in muscle loss and that I should avoid that.

Overall I am healthy, I am happy and I am able to maintain my weight loss over the long haul. Do I have to periodically make adjustments to stay where I want to be, yes! But these adjustments are called life and my weight is just one small aspect of my fitness and my life. Plus it is lagging measurement that I can’t control on a daily basis. So I need to focus on the things that I can control.

Running

My second fitness goal for this year was focused on being a runner.

Continue to improve as a runner by running 2 half marathons (April, October) and average one race per month with continually improving times. Get to a 5k pace consistently under 9 minutes by summer.

This is another goal where I have had mixed success this year. I have averaged one or more races per month through this year starting on new years day. I have run 6 5k races, 1 4-miler, 1 10k, 1 half marathon race and 1 solo half marathon. That has been a lot of running so far this year and that is just the races not the normal runs through my week.

I have already run two half marathons (1 formal, 1 informal) and my next race is the Columbus Marathon half in October. I also am registered for two 5k races in November and one in December and I still haven’t signed up for anything on Thanksgiving morning. So I am on track to exceed that goal.

As for my pace I am not on track to achieve the goal I set forth. Since March my average pace for my runs hasn’t decreased. When I try to run too fast I end up with pain and a lengthy recovery from the run which sidelines me for a few days. So I intentionally throttle myself to a more comfortable pace. Plus I have injured myself a bit and might have a stress fracture on my toe (but I think it is just a bruise or sprain) so that means I am slowing myself even more.

One thing I could do better with my pace goal is to approach it with more structure. So far I have said that I want to achieve the goal and then I just keep doing the same thing over and over again just hoping to get faster. I think I need to put a more structured plan in place to make this happen.

I continue to do better as a runner (comfort, posture, etc.) and I am doing better on a race-for-race basis so I am mostly happy with my pace. It isn’t where I wanted to be but that may not have been a realistic or advisable goal for this year.

Other Fitness Activities

Finally I had two other fitness goals for this year.

Build a more structured workout routine and continue to build and shape my body while setting new personal records.

Try new things including yoga, CrossFit, climbing and other activities.

I have done an ok job with these goals so far. I have increased my bench press from a starting point of about 50 pounds total to 135 pounds as my maximum so far. That is nearing 70% of my body weight which is amazing. My goal was to get to 100 pounds by June and I exceeded that goal and kept going.

Plus I am definitely seeing progress with building and shaping my body. I have made so much progress that people say that my current headshot photo doesn’t even look like me today. Plus there are lots of people who don’t recognize me at all.

The goal of trying new things has been less successful. I did yoga for a few weeks but then skipped a couple of weeks due to snow storms causing cancellation. Then I just didn’t go back and probably need to. I still want to try spinning and CrossFit but it just hasn’t been a priority for me.

My Story

Finally I have made progress through this year with telling my story and helping others. I have had a couple of small-scale coaching opportunities to help people achieve their goals. So that has been positive but my telling of my story has been even better,

This year, really just a few short months ago, I launched my book. While the sales have been a little slower that I had hoped it is selling. I just hope my readers are getting some benefit from the book. And there are still some surprises coming.

On a related topic my change in my day job has also helped bring my story to life. I am legitimately using project management to help people live their healthiest lives every day. So I am working in a position aligned with my calling. How many people get to say that?!

In summary, with 2019 almost 75% done, I am very happy with my progress versus my fitness goals. I am also happy with my progress with many of my non-fitness goals. But I still need to finish strong!

How are you doing with your goals this year? Are you happy with your progress so far? Let’s keep focused and end strong so we can work together to build a world where goals never die of loneliness!