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James Wanless

this is where I write

A Good Start to 2017

The biggest problem with deciding you want to make some significant change is the dilemma between just trying to do it all, or to prioritize and discern. I started with the former, but over the past two months I’ve had to move toward the latter. So, in no particular order, just a recap of January for my records.

Writing

I started off wanting to journal every day, but having tried this approach a few times now, it simply doesn’t work. Doing so means the writing is too mundane. However, I have found that taking notes and keeping things in draft does entice me to write more. Back in December I wrote 11 posts, many of which were pretty uninteresting, often talking about Christmas or what I was doing. I had two or three with which I was happy.

I only managed two posts in January (three if I squeak this in, even though I’m writing it on February 1st) and, again, the approach has been somewhat random, but with less volume. I’m going to stick with the current approach, to keep taking notes and saving ideas in draft, working toward a more regular practice. With any luck, I’m hoping a decent quality weekly post will start to take shape soon. It’s also possible that I’ll take a writing course or two, though I haven’t decided.

Mostly it’s just about finding my voice and frequency as a reliable creative outlet.

Reading & Change

These two issues are somewhat inseparable. I wanted to have a novel going all the time and I’ve been mostly successful, giving up on an awful Hemingway book halfway, finishing a short memoir and reading the longer A Short History of Nearly Everything. It’s well over a decade old but an excellent read.

As I began considering the next read, I also wanted to ensure I was taking in stuff that could help me change perspective, thought process, improve discipline and the like. So, I started seeking out online sources of wisdom and have been digging into Brainpickings, The Book of Life and Farnam Street more. I get all their newsletters by email now and am just generally trying to read them as I have time. I’m not much for fiction, as I really want to put what I read to use.

I also wanted to get back to a daily meditation practice; something I did for a while years ago, but have long since abandoned. I figured I’d read some of the short books by and about the Dalai Lama, but I think I’ll need to focus purely on meditation via apps and nontheistic sources. I’m picking some solid philosophies out of the Buddhist pieces, but frankly there is simply too much talk of reincarnation and the like for me to take seriously without considerable eye rolling. So, while I’m still pondering the next novel, I’m dabbling in many sources for daily inspiration.

Regardless of the path I end up taking, my goal with change is to get more inside of my own head to better take charge of everything from career, to time management, to home. One of the main ways I can see to get there is to read more and use the right sources. I do feel I’m on my way.

Health & Fitness

Let’s start with the general training. We got so sick over Christmas and into the new year, I wondered if I’d ever get on track. After the Victoria Half (which was supposed to be a full), I consciously took time off running to get my calf back to normal. It seemed like I went right from that to a small cold in November, followed almost immediately by the plague that both my wife and I had through the festive season and into the new year.

I’m pretty happy then, that I got my running and cycling base training going and had a really good first month, all things considered. I’ve stuck with my Trainer Road Sweet Spot power builder trainer program and generally did three base runs a week, including a little bit of hilliness weaved in.

Cycling: 12 rides for 361.4 km (13h:35m)
Running: 11 runs for 127.17 km (10h:21m)

My January infographic on Strava ~ mauve is bike, green is run

Now, aside from getting sick, over the past few months I’ve been dealing with some weird symptoms that I won’t go into here. Suffice to say, I was a touch concerned with both of them. I’m happy to report that one (which my doctor was very sure was nothing to worry about) has subsided on its own and, between personal efforts and an all-clear MRI in the past couple weeks, the other is no longer an issue either.

I figure I’m now in a good place to focus on the other ongoing health issue I have; a tight right QL muscle. It doesn’t stop me doing anything, and I’ve had minor relief from some physio treatments at times and try to keep it loose with specific techniques, but nothing has fully alleviated it. This is the type of thing that can remain with people for years. Happily, it’s not stopping me doing anything completely, but it is making it difficult to consider training hard for any kind of fast or endurance events. A work in progress.

So, in summary, things are moving in the right direction on all fronts, some more quickly than others. I’m focusing on self-improvement, reading and writing more, small health issues are resolving and the bike and run is on track.

Comments

[…] I got the year rolling with some solid running and cycling base work, and felt like I was off to a pretty good start. Yeah, well, the best laid plans and all that, […]

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