Hermes Team Meetup

Two weeks ago our team (Hermes) at work got together in Durham North Carolina to spend time together and plan our coming months. As I’m sure most readers of my blog know, Automattic is a fully distributed company. So while we communicate all the time, it’s rare we get to spend time in person together. That makes the time we do get all the more important.

Even though I’ve only been on a couple meetups, one team, and one company wide, I don’t think it will ever cease to amaze me the awesome people I work with. Since the last team meetup we went on our team has changed a great deal. In fact there are a number of people on the team who weren’t at the Grand Meetup in October so I hadn’t met them yet, so I was really excited for this one.

While I was excited I was also pretty nervous. I volunteered to organize and plan the work we would be doing while together. With the help of my colleague Simon who introduced me to it at our last team meetup, I came up with different activities using Game Storming. This was something out of my comfort zone but very was really fun and seemed to go pretty well for my first attempt. We spent our work days exploring different questions to help bring our large team together and come up with a shared understanding of what our teams contribution to the company goals over all should be, and what we can do to get there.

Although we accomplished a lot work wise during the week,  I think my favourite part are the connections we build. When you spend a week working closely, eating meals, and spending fun time together outside of your normal day to day routine, it really seems to speed up this bonding process. A couple team mates have said that after returning from meetups they can now hear the persons voice when reading things they’ve written. It just helps add that extra bit of context to written communication when you have a better feeling for the personality behind the words.

Durham is a neat city. It is really easy to get around, which is great, as it gave us the opportunity to explore it by walking. In the mornings some of us would get together and go wandering. It’s also how we went to most meals as well. The weather was beautiful just about the whole time we where there and I miss my early morning runs and being able to wear shorts and t-shirt.

We were staying right beside the beautiful Duke campus which we walked around. A group of us also spent a lot of time one day taking in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Coming from a place barely hitting spring and seeing all the flowers in bloom and all the green trees made for a memorable time.

Things are in the planning stage for this years company wide meetup and I’m already looking forward to seeing all these folks again.

Here are some pictures from my iPhone of Durham and the people I’m fortunate enough to call team mates!

FFF Final Update

February is over which means this will be the final update for my Fight Fat February challenge. This week  was rough my knee had been bothering me some, I lapsed in my eating habits, and my weight actually started to go up!

Food

Really I was good over the whole month for eating. I had a couple days where I lapsed but I don’t think with the level of working out I was doing that shouldn’t have been enough to cause my weight to go up. That was my thought process, but I was obviously wrong. I don’t really think it was the little bit of extra snacking I did though. I made the black bean chili I made in the first week and had it for my lunches this week. My guess is that because I was at the end and pretty much at my goal weight I was eating to much of the chili. Portions were the same as the first week, but it was probably too much.

Five Fitness Workouts

For the last week I was able to get in all five of the workouts I wanted to. About mid week though I switched it up from doing the Ripped in 30 to doing cardio workouts from Jillian Michaels Body Revolution.

Forty Kilometers

My running went awesome this week. Was able to get in a total of 45km even with the sore knee. I also had some really fast runs, for me anyway. On Sunday I did a personal best on 10k with a pace of 5:15 min/km which is awesome. There were also another two 10k runs that were in my top four fastest and my fastest 5k since back in 2014 as well.

fast-runs

Fifteen Pounds

Around midweek I was actually up a couple pounds and was really worried. On Friday even it was showing 185lbs which was up two from the beginning of the week. After switching up lunches, and switching to the cardio workouts instead, along with keeping up the running I managed to hit my goal. This morning on the scale I was 182lbs which means I dropped 15lbs exactly in February!

goal-weight

FFF Week Three Update

For week three of my Fight Fat February I had a couple slight setbacks. Nothing super major, but a little disappointed about one day in particular. Thursday this week had me off my game.

Food

For the most part food was still pretty good. There was one day I planned for that Jen and I went out for lunch and I ended up ordering a club sandwich. I did opt for the salad instead of fries but there were still quite a few more calories involved then my typical lunches.

Thursday night, which was my off day, I ended up having my usual night snack of a yogurt. When that was done I added a helping of nacho dip and chips. Because that obviously wasn’t enough I finished off the night with a blueberry bagel. Not good choices and even with Jen reminding me I would not be happy with myself I kept going.

Five Fitness Workouts

Reading back over week one and two I realized I’ve been saying I’m working out with Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. It is in fact her Ripped in 30 program I’ve been doing. This is week three now and I don’t believe I made it this far with this series before. This one I missed my goal on this week. On Wednesday I was pretty sore and tired so I decided I was going to take the day off and do Saturday instead. That would still give me my five workouts and would have been fine. But then Thursday happened and I flaked on my workout as well as stuffed my face.

I despise the fact that I’m still letting my emotions dictate my eating and activity levels.

Forty Kilometers

This is the one area that I really kept up with this week. In fact after taking both Wednesday and Thursday off from working out on Friday I was able to do my fastest 10k run since late 2014. If I hadn’t ran through a busy area at dinner time causing me to get stuck at red lights and crosswalks I would have creamed my personal 10k record from back then. That Friday run also put me to 40k for the week.

Fifteen Pounds

Even though I messed up on eating and only completed four workouts during the week the weight loss still turned out OK. From 187lbs I am down to 183lbs. That four pounds puts me at 14lbs all together. So close to the fifteen goal and I still have one last week to go! If I could pull another 5lbs in this last week it will put me at 178lbs which puts my BMI in the normal zone. No longer would I be classified as overweight. Not sure I can do another week of 5lbs lost and I won’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen.

FFF Week Two Update

This is my second week update for my Fight Fat February month and things are still on the right track.

Food

Food went again this week. My usual breakfast, but switched up lunch. Most of the week I had a spinach salad. Stuck with the same snacks, carrots, apples, and yogurts. Again had the same dinners as the rest of the family, we even had cheese burgers one night!

Five Fitness Workouts

Moved on to week two of Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. This week is a lot tougher than the first. I had to take a break one night during the week so I did Saturday night as well to get my five in for the week.

Forty Kilometers

We had some rough weather the beginning of the week that kept me from getting out running so it made the rest of the week tougher between the sidewalks and running so many days in a row. However with a 9km run on Saturday it took me to 40km even.

Fifteen Pounds

This week ended up being a surprise to me that this goal went as well as it did. I’m down another five pounds. That’s down to 187lbs and 10lbs total in the two weeks. Only 5lbs to go in the next two weeks.

FFF Week One Update

This is my first week update for my Fight Fat February month and so far so good.

Food

All week I ate very well. Breakfast and lunch were pretty standard. I typically have granola and yogurt for breakfast. For lunches this week I made a black bean chilli and ate it a bunch this week. I had a few small snacks throughout most days. Usually something like an apple or carrot sticks. For dinner I just ate what ever the family was eating, making sure to have proper servings.

Five Fitness Workouts

Monday through Friday each night I did the first week of Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. It was rough at first but by Friday it was getting better.

Forty Kilometers

This week I ran 45km! Five days of 9km each. One day was really rainy and I was drenched by the end but it was still fun.

Fifteen Pounds

So far so good on this front too. I’m down five pounds so far. That’s down to 192lbs. The first week of pushing always seems to be the easiest for weight to come off, but if I keep pushing it I’m in good shape to hit the 15lbs lost.

Fight Fat February

For the past little while I’ve been doing pretty good health wise. I’m been running quite a bit and usually eating well. There have been some setbacks in eating though where I for about a week recently regressed and ate way to many snacks especially at night. So far though the scale has been going in the right direction, even though if it has been slower than I like.

In the spirit of 30 challenges I’m going to make February my Fight Fat month. There is still some weight to before I’m happy so I want to set out a series of goals for this month which will hopefully end me up where I want to be. They are going to be ambitious goals and there are some especially that I’m scared already I won’t be able to do, but we’ll see how it goes.

Food

The first thing is food. I’m going to do my best to eat healthy for the whole month, with no snacking on junk. Also make sure my serving sizes are proper portions. This should be one of the easier ones for me to hit. As long as I stick my mind to it I can usually do good at eating well.

Five Fitness Workouts

Starting a workout program again and aim to do it at least five days a week. Jillian Michaels has always served me well so I’m starting with her Ripped in 30 series. I like it because I can do it in my house and all I need are some hand held dumbbells and my own body.

Forty Kilometers

This is the one I’m most scared for. My goal is to run forty kilometers each week for the month. I have done it a couple weeks, but my legs get sore and tie it in with the other work outs, not sure I can keep up this distance each week for the whole time. I’m going to try though.

Fifteen Pounds

By sticking to these other goals, I’m hoping the end results will see me down the last 15 lbs that I want to lose. That will put me basically at the healthy BMI for my height. Even though I know that isn’t a perfect indicator I felt very good the last time I was there and want to get back to it.

So far, one full day in and I’m on track to hit my targets 🙂 Even though February is a short month there is still a long way to go. I haven’t done well at hitting these goals I’ve set for my self the past little bit so I’m going to work especially hard this time to make it happen. Wish me luck!

Making Progress

If there is one thing I can take away from today is that I finally think I’m making progress. For the past couple weeks the scale has been seeing a steady decline, although not huge. I’m putting in lots of km’s running, and tracking my calories has helped me stay on top of my eating. But this isn’t the main progress I’m pleased about right today.

For some reason today I woke up with a poor attitude. Without even knowing the reason I’ve just felt down all day. These days happen sometimes and they go away fairly quickly thankfully. Normally when these days happen though my default to get through them is by eating. Eating a pile of food that is not good for me and not needed. In the end it always makes things worse because then I feel down about all the food I just ate for no good reason.

Today, even though I still feel the same way, I stuck to eating the way I should. Just a few minutes ago I came very close to grabbing a bag of chips along with a homemade muffin and cookies, but instead I grabbed a little container of yogurt and am now done eating for the day.

The plan is to wake up tomorrow feeling like myself and make sure I force myself out for a run, as that in itself has a way of clearing my head and making me feel better. All the while keeping my eating in check so the progress can continue.

Christmas 2015

It’s amazing how much a difference a day can make. Yesterday was Christmas Eve, and it was a bit overwhelming. All the kids seemed to have too much stored energy and it was coming out and not always in the best ways. There was lots of bickering and arguing going on. It was a busy day with Jen and I working to get lots of headway made for today and meals last night.

Christmas for me is all about getting to spend time with family and friends. We are lucky enough to usually celebrate with multiple meals between getting together with my family and Jen’s. In years past though we have always had meals with Jen’s family at our house and meals with my family at my Mothers house. This year though we are doing both sets here.

There are lots of upsides to this because everyone gets to come to us and we don’t have to travel and hurry from one place to the next. It also means a lot of work getting meals ready, cleaned up, house presentable etc. Getting to be with everyone is worth it though, and the food is always excellent.

With all the prep work yesterday and the kids the way they were I ended up going for a run more or less to clear my head and get some time alone. I always feel better after a run and indeed it did help.

Today has been a different story. Because of all our hard work yesterday there wasn’t as much to do today. The kids let us sleep in until shortly after 7:00am which was lovely. We opened gifts with Jen’s family and celebrated my Mother In Laws birthday at the same time. My sister and her family came over for what has become our Christmas lunch tradition of enchiladas and quesadillas. Once we were done we took advantage of some amazing weather and went for a walk all together at the marsh. There were many other people out with the same idea.

When we got back I peeled some sweet potatoes for dinner and then, strictly because of the beautiful weather, I decided to go for a run again. For Christmas I had received a couple items of winter running wear but I’m very thankful I didn’t get to try them out today. Instead I went for my first short sleeved run in quite a while.

After a delicious Christmas/Birthday dinner in which I was able to control myself and not over do it on the desert, unlike last night, it was very nice to sit and relax for a bit.

Once everyone left though we did a final cleanup of the gifts so that we can make it through and sit in the living room without squishing anything. Now with the kids off to bed we can really relax, just Jen and I, with just the lights from the Christmas tree.

I’m very thankful to have so much family close by who we can share these special holidays with, it really does make the little bit of stress that comes along with the busy time of year all worth it.

Hodge Podge

Last night for supper Jen made hodge podge. This has to be one of my all time favourite things to eat. It’s a local dish could convince me to become a vegetarian.

Usually a fall tradition when the vegetable harvest comes in but really the main thing is having fresh baby vegetables. We were able to pick up everything we needed. There are a few variations but our hodge podge usually consists of new potatoes, baby carrots, peas, and beans. You boil all the vegetables together and then drain them off and cover them with a cream and butter sauce.

Most of the peas for this came from our garden but everything else came from a local farmers market. I can’t wait until our beans and carrots are ready and we can have almost everything come out of our garden for it. Next year we are greatly expanding our garden and we’ll have to grow some potatoes so we can have the full supply.

The Wikipedia article for hodge podge even directly mentions the Nova Scotia version. This is the closest recipe that I could find to how we made it.

It makes me very happy that I had enough restraint last night not to eat it all so there was some left over for me to be eating for lunch right now. It looked better yesterday, but still tastes just as good today.

Photo 2015-07-23, 11 45 29 AM