Monday, June 2, 2014

May 2014 Review

May went ok, but not as well as I'd anticipated. Lack of progress on my goals has forced a reality check.

1. Learn the Ashtanga Half-Primary Series - Home practice is going excellent, happening most days. I attended a few studio classes with the yoga anatomy teacher. While my body is feeling good, I am no closer to a half-primary series. Taking care of my shoulder and elbow has resulted in very few chaturangas or up dogs.

I read half a commentary on the yoga sutras over the course of the month. How I practice seems more important than what I practice. That's good, because I don't know if the Ashtanga primary series will ever be right for my body. There are a lot of principles behind the series I buy into, but the 40+ chaturangas is physically prohibitive so far.

Big parts of yoga as an 8 limbed path do appeal to me, and I appreciate the impact yoga has had on my body and mind. I need to update my goal to reflect the real motivation here. It is simply "deepen my yoga practice". The exact sequence of postures has little to do with my motivation these days. Holding up a series of postures as the goal, is the antithesis of what yoga is all about. It's not even the point of Ashtanga yoga.

Fortunately, despite the poor goal, the yoga practice has  provided the benefits I was seeking.

I put reading the Anatomy Trains book on hold. I have too many things in progress at the moment.

I signed up for a new video class website in June. The Pranayama course starts as well. I'll attend class with the yoga anatomy teacher a few times. Combined with my home practice, I expect a strong yoga month.

2. Post a Class IV Powerlifting Total - The plan for this month was to stabilize my weight without managing calories. I ate much more food than the past few months. My energy levels are high, my mood elevated, and I am warm all the time. I believe learning to maintain that feeling while cutting calories is the key to holding a lighter weight. Pints of ice cream had me pushing 165 by mid month. I cut that out and am holding steady just under 165. I'd like to keep this pattern going through mid-July, then lean out a little during the warmest part of the summer.

I've got my vanilla protein drink worked out. It's good and easier to get down day after day than chocolate. Taking my vitamin, flax oil and creatine remains easy. I keep missing the vitamin D and DHA, often enough that I doubt they are doing anything for me.

Lifting went well enough. I added a little volume, pyramiding my big lift back down each workout. I am shifting my accessory work towards unilateral activity with shorter rest periods. My upper body lifts are 1-2 cycles away from peaking. Once I reset, I'll reduce rest periods for those as well. Both changes lower stress on my joints. The increase in yoga might be limiting my strength, but I am ok with it. I may try skipping a deload week in June.

The perfect opportunity for a power lifting meet has arrived. It's a local meet, 40 minutes from my house, in early August. I printed the form, figured out a plan to hit my goal, did everything short of actually mailing the entry fee. Then I stopped. After watching videos of last year's meet, I just don't want to participate.

The idea of paying someone else $100 to lift on their barbell in front of an audience, just doesn't appeal to me. I don't want to spend another $50 on the approved costume. I don't want to spend a Saturday watching other people do the same 3 lifts repeatedly. I don't want to tweak my form and manipulate my weight into a valley, just to maximize my performance against the arbitrary metric on a specific day. These are all distractions from my real goal, which is greater physical strength. I don't have time or energy for all that other stuff.

A more appropriate target is in order - the ability to post a class IV performance on the big lifts, using the form that is comfortable for my body, at my walking around weight. Let's call it Class IV Strength. This is a harder target, and I'm likely to miss it this goal year. But it's the right target and what I have actually been working towards. I can adjust the time frame.

3. Advance my Profession - I over-extended myself mid-month and ended up sick through Memorial Day weekend as a reward. Very frustrating. I need to do better about keeping my ego in check, and accept that when I am overloaded, something will fail. It's a shame that my refusal to tolerate failure at work triggered it at home.

The worst part is, there was very little forward progress. My stresses came from doing things I already know on a tight schedule, not sleeping due to travel and eating poorly while fatigued. Gah. I did have a few small achievements:

- Used SQL profiler to validate a project
- Revised our change management documentation to reflect use of Microsoft ALM tools. Unfortunately the project is on hold for the next couple months
- Got my internet upgraded to 50/10, along with simplifying my home network
- Finally bought a smart phone and got up to speed on using Android
- Revived an ailing home PC

June will be a slow career month. Vacation, all day meetings, and a massive testing project will dominate my time.

4. Connect - I was on track to exceeded my objective metric, then giving work priority completely derailed things. I am very frustrated by it. This could have been an excellent month for the goal, but turned out to only be "ok" due to my ego. June will be different.

I did spend quality time with family and friends. Taking some time to reflect on the qualitative side of this goal - I am seeing results, but not in the way I expected. Most of my effort has centered on better understanding who I am, how my values differ from others, and how those differences influence relationships.

It's changed what I expect to bring into a relationship, as well as what I expect to result. This is positive, but definitely not what my original vision of the goal was. Instead of becoming more extroverted and caring, I've become more comfortable with the fact that I am not. It brings consistency to my interactions, which is easier for me, and seems to satisfy others.

June I am going to focus on balancing my commitment to work, ensuring I make sufficient time for my other goals. I'm also going to refocus for my yoga and lifting goals, as described.