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Final Lap of 2020

Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.

I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

This week’s post is going to deviate a bit from my Fitness Lessons are Life Lessons series and is going to be more of an update on my journey. I will get back to sharing my lessons learned next week.

Final Lap of 2020

The most difficult races I have run are the ones that are multiple laps. When you have to cross the finish line multiple times there is just something mental that makes it feel longer and more difficult. But you just have to push past that difficulty and keep going.
Every year is very similar to a multi-lap race. You have 52 weeks. They make up 12 months and that leads to the 4 quarters that comprise a year. You have to finish each of those quarters strong to win the whole race.
Guess what… October is here and the first 9 months of 2020 have elapsed. We are heading into the final lap of 2020.
My goal is to finish 2020 strong and that means that I need to know exactly where I stand in this race. So, this week, I am taking a look back over the year-to-date and asking myself “how am I doing so far?”
As I review my progress through the first three laps of 2020, I am going to deviate a bit from just looking at what has gone well and not-so-well, I think 2020 deserves something a little different. I am going to look at where I stand in terms of good, bad and ugly. This is a year with plenty of “ugly,” right?

2020: The Good

The Big Stuff: let’s start with the most important category, all of the most important things, especially this year. My wife and I and all of our family are healthy, happy, COVID-free and still able to work through this pandemic. Everything else pales in comparison to this right now.
Running: my performance as a runner has significantly increased this year. I chose to reinvest my now nonexistent commute time into exercise and a significant amount of this has been in running. Starting in March (quarantine time) I doubled my average weekly running distance and went even further when summer hit. I am now running an average of 15 miles per week with some significantly higher. My average “fast” pace has decreased from high 9-minute miles to high 8-minute miles. Plus I set a new personal record in my August half marathon, which is particularly impressive for a virtual race without the energy of a crowd. And my recovery time from a long run is getting much better too. I am very happy with my progress as a runner just three years after my first run.
Nutrition: I have learned a lot about nutrition this year and have reshaped how I fuel my body. I have significantly increased (or tried to) my protein intake. I have learned more about carbs and have made an effort to correct my significantly under-carbed diet. There are worse things than learning you have to eat more carbs, right? Plus I am learning how to better fuel my body before a long run and am feeling better during these runs.
Body Shaping: some parts of my body are continuing to take shape. Without over-sharing (why stop now, right?), I am seeing my biceps continue to grow and get definition and all of the running is really making my glutes tight.
Career: as I mentioned above, I am very fortunate to still be gainfully employed. My current client, a healthcare system, extended my engagement with them and asked me to take on a large, challenging project. I enjoy what I am doing and am definitely getting stretched and learning.
Operation Melt: I continue to evolve my writing and contribution through Operation Melt. I have started focusing my weekly posts on the life lessons inherent in getting fit but also continue to share my journey along the way. I am also on the cusp of launching something new that will help share my love of project management with others to help them achieve their own goals. While my readership is still pretty modest, I think my quality has improved. Plus I know that I am having an impact and occasionally hear feedback that reinforces that I am on the right path.
Daily Gratitude: finally, I am over 200 days into starting every morning by sharing something I am grateful for with my social media friends. I started this as a reaction to the negativity I was seeing around me at the start of the COVID quarantine and I wanted to put some positive energy in the world to help balance this. I am very glad I did and I, as well as many others, look forward to my morning dose of gratitude.

2020: The Bad

Weight: I mentioned my increase in running and my focus on nutrition above, well there has been a negative byproduct of this. My weight has increased. I am up about 10 pounds from where I ended last year and about 5 pounds above the top of my desired weight maintenance range. My trainer and I believe that some of this is over-training and under-nourishing myself and I am continuing to work to fix this. Some of the weight is definitely muscle growth too, which I like. It is not new to me to see my weight be higher during the summer months, but this year was more than I expected and I am working to correct it if there is a healthy correction to be had.

Gym: while my running frequency has increased, my gym visits have definitely decreased. With gyms closed for a couple of months in Columbus, I took a real hit in my gym time. Once they reopened, I didn’t come back full force. I really only average one gym session per week and need to get back into a better gym routine.

2020: The Ugly

While 2020 has had lots of positives and just a few potential upgrades, this doesn’t tell the full story of this difficult year. There have been some areas of my 2020 so far that can only be described as ugly. You may notice that most of them have occurred in the one square foot of real estate known as my brain.
The World Around Me: let’s start with the ugliness in a place that has impacted all. The world around us this year has been ugly, to say the least. This pandemic and the election year has brought out the worst in a lot of people. When I saw veiled (and not so veiled) threats online to people because they were following precautions and accepting lock-downs, it was just too much for me. That was in March and many areas have only gotten worse since then. It is just so disappointing and sad and was what originally led to my daily gratitude posts.
Too Much Time in My Own Head: I spend a lot of time exercising and listening to podcasts, books, music and silence by myself. This gives me plenty of time to think. That does not always have the positive outcome you would expect. Post-weight-loss identity struggles are a real thing. Now that the weight loss phase of my life is over, I am spending a lot of time trying to discover who I really am, the new me. I am trying to listen to that little voice that I hear whispering in the distance that is trying to help me figure out what’s next, where I am going next. I feel like I am right on the cusp of unlocking something big but I just can’t get there. I have done a lot of reflecting on my own biography, my back-story, and trying to play it forward to extrapolate what impact I want to have. Put simply, I am stuck in my own head and spending too much time thinking and need to take some pressure off of myself. I totally know this logically, I just need my emotional side to catch up.
Weighing Heavily on my Mind: this time in my head has led to me stewing over the fact that I gained weight this year. I logically know that some of the gain is seasonal, some of it is false and just nutrition and over-training. I know that I really only gained like 2% of my body weight while my body fat percentage stayed the same. I know that this is just a number and doesn’t define me. Again, I know all of this logically, but weight has been so much of my focus over the past couple of years that it still pisses me off.
Quarantine Fatigue: in Columbus, we have been in varying states of quarantine and lockdown since mid-March and I can honestly say that it is getting old. It is getting to me a little bit and I am developing something I am calling quarantine brain. I struggle to focus on things and find myself binge-watching 24-hour news stations. That caused anxiety and anger with the world so I force myself to walk away to do things I like to do to take my mind off of the situation. But those things are limited and it is hard to find opportunities to see friends and enjoy the places that I usually enjoy. Because of COVID all of the races I would normally participate in are canceled or have gone virtual so I am by myself again and that makes it tough to find opportunities for achievement. I can work to achieve at work but this doesn’t feel like the time to try to have some big achievement since so many people are out of work I feel like I am just lucky to have a job. In short, my quarantine brain is unsettled, nervous, frustrated, lacks focus and struggles to find things to pivot back to a sense of normalcy. The only solution is to do my best day after day and continue to try to help others.
There you have it, my recap of the first 3 laps of 2020 as I head into the final lap. I hope to continue to focus on the good things above while working to improve the bad things. Then, if I just need to continue working to be the best me I can be every day, I can manage through the ugly and I will absolutely finish 2020 strong. Like everybody else, I am certainly looking forward to moving past this year while learning from the events that I brought.
Have you stopped to reflect on your first three laps of 2020? What are your good, bad and ugly experiences from this year so far? How are you going to finish strong? I’d love to hear from you.

I Need Your Help

Before you go I would like to ask you for a favor. I can’t build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness on my own. Please consider helping your friends find today’s post by following me on Facebook, on LinkedIn or via Instagram and share today’s post to your feed.

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Thanks again for reading today’s post and here’s to achieving your most important goals!

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Published in.My Journey Updates