Monthly review – January

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What worked well for me this month?

I started writing to do list for new habit building and I could see the results straightaway. I wrote everyday on my notebook in this month.

I am updating my food habits and expenses everyday. I write date and time and each items I eat and an approximate qty in numbers and weight wherever possible. It was tough initially for a few days but past experience helped me. I tracked my food using an app in 2020 and there were lot of distractions while using phone, so I forget to record and I cannot remember later. But a separate notebook reminds me every time I see the notebook. I would like to continue to do this for the rest of my life.

I am playing online chess(only one game per day) everyday with a random player. I chose chess for rekindling my chess skills and mental well being. All my friends used to come to my house and we play carrom and chess a lot in childhood days. By the time we completed schooling only one another person could manage to play with me while the rest could not even stand with us for more than twenty moves. I continued playing chess with him till graduation. Afterwards work life has taken this habit away from me. Now it brings joy when I play chess everyday. I started getting addicted in the first few days and then decided to play only one game per day which I did for the whole of the month. I would like to continue to do this for the rest of my life.

I started meeting my friends at madipakkam lake post surgery. I will start my cycling activities by this weekend.

In an attempt to reduce my laptop screen time started buying Economic Times Wealth newspaper every Monday. I have reduced atleast two hours of screen time by this way.

Subscribed to Kukufm app and started listening to audio books periodically. However yet to take notes after listening as it is difficult to remember after a period of time.

Book reading:

At present I am reading hard copy of the book “ ALGORITHMS TO LIVE BY” written by Brian Christian. It is not a fast readable book. I enjoy reading the contents and could relate  my life with some algorithms.

Movies watched

  1. Gutta kusthi
  2. Beast
  3. Echarikkai
  4. Everything, Everywhere all At once
  5. Varalaru mukkiyam

Net series watched

  1. Itaewon class – 16 episodes
  2. Fight for my way – 16 episodes
  3. K2 – 16 episodes
  4. My liberation notes – 16 episodes
  5. Misaeng: Incomplete life – 20 episodes

I am unable to decide whether I should reduce my time spent for movies and net series. Few more months of data after I start cycling and running will help me decide. I convinced myself that this is recovery time and you can do this for this period.

Health statistics

There is no change in any of the below parameters this month.

  1. Weight – 77 Kg
  2. Protein – 19.3 Kg
  3. Muscle – 53.5 Kg
  4. Body fat – 26.5 %
  5. Visceral fat – 13
  6. Bone mass – 2.87 Kg
  7. Water content – 50.4 %
  8. Basal metabolism rate – 1540

Now that I can go out and do cycling, running etc after six months. I have to plan activities and lifestyle so as to reduce my weight , Increase my body protein content and water content, Reduce Body fat and visceral fat.

I have started tracking my food habits to find if anything can be done for achieving the above objectives.

I am planning to use my MATLAB programming skills to study weight loss or gain on those days when I ate outside food.

Sleep

  1. Deep sleep – 22:50 hours
  2. Light sleep – 88:20 hours
  3. REM sleep – 36:50 hours

150 hours of sleep in January approximately 5 hours per day. Let me see if this increases with my upcoming activities in this month or remains the same.

Completed the following online courses

  1. MATLAB onramp
  2. MATLAB OOPS
  3. MATLAB machine learning

Pre-Registered for PBP-1200 KM ride

Started organising my physical and digital documents. Converted all my pictures in HEIC format to the much usable JPG format. Changed the settings in iphone to save my files in JPG format. To free up my phone memory space started removing unnecessary videos received through whatsapp forwards. It has become quite cumbersome since the size is over 50 GB.

I have not travelled anywhere this month except to my medical checkup.

New Problems faced in Jan-2023

My laptop crashed due to a hacking attempt by unknown person. Also I am not able to use my laptop for GIS programming.

My wifi device problem was rectified by an expert within a day.

Have to find better methods for my progress tracking and email management.

I will keep writing monthly reviews for my self development. Also by chance if somebody reads this and can give better ideas and suggestions. Day by day in everyway I will strive to become better and better.

Thanks for Reading.

2022 review

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2022 review

January – The year began with lockdown and uncertainty due to the pandemic. The events scheduled for new year got cancelled or postponed without further dates. I was supposed to participate in a long cycle ride and it got postponed. I spent my time inside home as like lockdown in previous years.

I watched two Korean series with the help of English subtitles. The first one is ‘Its ok to not be okay’ and the second one is ‘Startup’. Both the series influenced me a lot in a positive way. 

 Every year on Pongal day and subsequent two days , we used to for 100 km rides with our cycling group. These events also got cancelled this year. But unlike previous years there was a hope that this will end soon in everybody’s mind and this positive thinking and other measures and experience of past years led to removal of lockdown by the end of the month. However by the end of the month I had clocked 1700 kms.

February– The event which got postponed in January was rescheduled for 14th of the february. Got my cycle serviced and booked train tickets to Bangalore and packed all things required for the event(Gates of Heaven – 1200 km cycle ride). Couldn’t finish on time but nevertheless completed climbing five hills. The event will take place again in 2024 and I am waiting for it. A short write up was posted recently.

I watched neither movies nor net series during February and all focus was only cycling. I rode around 2250 km in February.

March– It was again only cycling in march and I rode around 2300 km. I was  preparing for a thousand km ride via Jog falls in April. Also a hope of compensating the late finish in February.

I watched the movie ‘Shyam singha Roy’.

April – A thousand kilometre ride which i quit at 450 km was a major disappointment. I did climbed and descended the kudremukh hills before quitting. After returning, I started running to participate in my first ‘Hell race’ which got postponed to the first of next month.

In April I watched the movies ‘ No time to die’ and ‘Hey Sinamika’.

May – In a  65 km trail running in Darjeeling, managed to complete 50 km and then had to force quit due to weather and late coming. For more about this read here. I am participating again in 2023.

A cycling competition between cities as to who will clock more mileage among a selected list of participants. This event was conceptualised by crooze app and the first edition was conducted. Our team Chennai cheetahs won the first place.

I Watched ‘Dr Strange: Multiverse of madness’ in Imax3D. It was a big disappointment in the storyline for me.

Applied online for UK visa to participate in LEL-2022. Ordered online for cycling accessories and a friend of mine carried it from UK.

June –As part of  training went to SL-7 High altitude training centre at ooty and had a wonderful experience. Participated in the first edition of Spartan-600 BRM conducted by Madurai Randonneurs, had to climb four hills and successfully completed on time.

I reapplied for my visa in priority basis and got it on time.

July– The entire month was spent on preparation for LEL, packing for a long international trip. Apart from that I watched four movies in July. ‘CBI the brain’, ‘ Love and leashes’, ‘Thor: Love and thunder’ and ‘Dear Friend’.

I watched ‘Man vs bee’ and it was a disappointment for me. And then watched a Korean series ‘Crash landing on you’.

August – First ever visit to UK. LEL experience. I am yet to post my experiences in UK and the LEL ride. However I have posted about the incident that happened in UK.

While returning back in flight I watched three movies and two more movies on reaching home.

September – First ever surgery on my body. Not a proud thing to brag at. Post surgery I received Memento from WCCG for my attempt at LEL.  

I watched ‘I am not a robot’ and ‘Hometown cha cha cha’.

October – Reading books, Watching net series, Movies. I watched ‘Run on’ and ‘Twenty five Twenty one’.

November – Reading books, Watching net series, Movies. I watched a small series ‘ Remarriage and Desires’.

I started tracking my food daily and writing it in a notebook and by the end of the week entering into excel.

December – Reading books, Watching net series, Movies. I watched ‘Doctors’ in December.

A review of this year for may look like- Watch movies and Net series, Cycle, Sleep and then Repeat. But it was not so. I learnt a lot more things which I forgot to record and hence unable to quantify.

Movies – 34

Web series – 145 episodes

Cycling – 15000 km

Running – 650 Km

Reading – 5 books

I haven’t quantified how much time I spend working, sleeping, trying new foods at new restaurants, hiking, and other things I do in life. I should try to add these things in next year in case I succeed in quantifying.

One month post surgery

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It has been a month now post my collarbone surgery. Xray has been taken today and the doctor has asked me to slowly get used to without the arm sling. It feels different now with a plate inside my body and also removing the sling. Its now time for me to get back to the usual routine of things. However i contemplated a lot of things during my rest period about how to go about everything in my life. Although i am facing more problems now than ever before, i am still cool and confident of overcoming them. Really surprised myself with this new attitude developed over years. Worrying has disappeared altogether. My whole focus has turned towards learning many new things and revise unused skills.

My cycle is yet to be assembled after my return from UK. Will this new attitude of mine stay shorter or longer, only time can tell. My weight has not significantly increased during the recovery period. And another good news is that visceral fat has started reducing after 20 months. Once visceral fat goes down, rest of things like body water content, Protein, muscle mass etc will fall in place. one area of concern is my skeletal mass is going down despite taking calcium tablets. May be because of lacking vitamin-D since i am staying indoor all the time.

Likely to resume cycling by middle of December month as per my estimation, Missing out the participation in next week dandeli ultra running event. I am now setting my eyes on “The buddha trails” scheduled in the month of April next year. Finished reading another fiction book “The influencer” and binge watched another korean series “Run on”. Gave my used ipad air to my cousin. And now ready to spring up to new highs.

See you in another post.

Time travelled to my room in 2008

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I was cleaning and organising my room today with left hand only. Suddenly my mind travelled back to 2008 and i checked my photos of my room in 2008. I stayed away from my parents for the first time in 2008. It was in KPCL quarters at raichur. When i joined office, i was told there was a vacancy in quarters where no one wanted to occupy. Someone has committed suicide and people imagined the house to be a haunted one like they show in movies. The house was very close to main road, very near to our office mess, and close to a football stadium, helipad and swimming pool. Despite its strategic location, out of fear no one occupied it. When i was offered the quarters , i readily moved in. What a wise decision it was. I was too minimalist at that time, which i regretted later. I should have bought basic things and lived better. Now in 2022 i miss that big house which was spacious. It is not that i have too much stuff, i am living the best of my life now. Spending time the way i want to and Doing things i love too. Back in 2008 i had a big house for myself with a hefty salary, which i did not spend wisely.

Wall poster in my room in 2008.

Everyday morning i will wake up to this poster and think positive. It sure kept my day positive.

I wake up to see this every day in 2008

I did not even buy a bed with my hefty package. Slept on a mat without a cot. This went on for two years till 2010, when i became little wiser.

Books i wanted to read

Due to mismanagement of time, i couldnt finish reading half of the books. Most of them got damaged when flood waters entered my home in 2017. Now i use kindle. Some of these books cannot be read in kindle and i want to buy again.

Hall
Gifted

Back to 2022, I am determined to organise my room better than it is now. Getting used to commonly use left hand, dreaming of becoming ambidextrous. That’s how you have to see the current scenario.

Cheers.

Rebound time

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Exactly one month back I fell down from my cycle and broken my collar bone after riding  1200 km . Falling at 300 km short of the end point, it was painful to quit at that point, especially your riding partner has to quit along with you, with so many dreams crashed. It was a moment of pain, suffering and agony. After seven months of hard work, an accident made you quit. There is no way I can ride the 300 km after the fracture. It took hours to accept that I can’t, though I realised it immiediately.  This time gap between realisation and acceptance is very painful period.

Though initially no dislocation was observed in the first xray film, a month later showed contradictory. I had to undergo a quick surgery. A plate has been fixed inside my shoulder and I am under recovery mode now. Doctor has advised for two months rest followed by physio theraphy later. I cannot use my right hand for next two months. With lot of stories to write post my 25 day London trip, I couldn’t sit quite. So decided to type using left hand and tell my stories that happened in august in London.

With a positive mindset, I am able to manage a lot and with support from friends and family, feeling more confident to get back in the game, but without rushing soon. In the next two months I will be reading lot of books, write more blog posts, and time to do and plan for things which I neglected, ignored, forgot, avoided, feared. Its time to explore myself.

My apple watch broke two years ago during a cycle ride and recently my MI smart band also broke. So got myself a new MI6 smart band. Apple and garmin are on cards for next year, when i take my run more seriously, now that i cannot run my 100 km runs registered for october and november. But i am super confident of bouncing back.

I binge watched the korean series ‘I am not a robot’ just days before my surgery to avoid any anxiety. Now that i am getting used to wearing arm sling all the time and typing this post in left hand.

C u all in next posts.

In search of a deer-park

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Twelve years ago when I was staying away from my parents for the first time in life, I was already eager for exploring the new place. I was posted in such a place where nothing is available or so I thought at that time. My view is not he same now and I have posted in “The grass on the other side looks greener”.  Over the course of time I have learnt many times, locals are not aware of the valuable  things around them to see and learn. Even the so called explored places remains largely unexplored. No when I was posted in this remote place, I would ask everyone what are the places to see around. What is this place famous for. I would google around so hard that nothing would be available and we would curse the place for not having anything to see or do. Some people would say there is a park nearby. If you would visit the park, nobody will be there. You can have the park for yourself. It will be deserted after evening. Once when my room-mate was coming back from his hometown to this place, he saw a board with a picture of deer and some text on it. On reaching our room he told me of this and it would be approximately around ten kilometres from our room. So we enquired a lot about this deer park to so many people. No one would now of it.

We decided to explore on our own. Every Sunday we would go and search for this deer park and return home without finding any clue. We were not able to find the board with the picture of the deer. We would take lot of pictures, rare sceneries, seeing birds in natural environment. You can see the pics below.

Baya weaver

After few months we successfully found the board with a picture of the deer. We didn’t know the local language so couldnt read the directions to the deer park. We asked the route for the deer park to the people nearby. No one knows about any deer park. We told them there is a board which shows direction. Still no one knows. Finally one man came along with us near the board and translated for us. The board didn’t show the direction to the deer park. Instead it read “ Deer crossing- Go slow”.

Is there a way if there is will?

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Runners all over the world are now using treadmills and some who don’t have like me run inside the four walls of home. Thanks to the social media and the many people who have run ultra marathon inside their homes to inspire us. Over a period of 60 days, I am now able to run an half marathon inside home. It proves you only need willingness to start and perseverance and hard work to anything. It was a terrible thought in the beginning, but now I am thinking of taking to the next level. Leading by example is a great way of motivation. Fitness freaks are able to identify newer ways to keep themselves fit. There was no complaint about the lack of equipment. Body weight exercises has replaced weight lifting due to non-availability of gym. Yoga and meditation are becoming norms. Early risers always rose early. More people are now addicted to workouts.  Even the virus could do nothing to stop them. The sense of boredom by doing exercises and workouts alone was overcame by connecting thru video calls. Virtual events are on the rise. Those who adapted to this change are the people who find a way in all circumstances. Their willingness will bring the world to normal by building immunity. Apart from social distancing, building immunity is a better way of defeating the virus in the long run.

While runners found a way to satisfy their urges, cyclists are worst hit. We don’t have as many indoor trainers. We miss the morning ride to beaches, sunrise photography, that morning juice/tea with friends after the ride, that fresh air, that new place etc., Runners can run inside their homes. Cyclists can no way ride inside their homes not certainly their mountain bikes. It is not always “where there is a will there is a way”. There are dead ends too. No matter what you can go thru a dead end. You have to mend your route else get stuck up there to rot and die. Change is the only thing that doesn’t change. Endure till you find the alternate way, like you endure during endurance rides.  Even if there is no way, if you will, there is an alternate way. Find the alternate way and move on.

Apple watch – The best gadget I used in my life

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Smart watches not only shows time, it saves time. The realisation dawned upon me while I was stuck in covid-19 lockdown. I have been using one for five year nearly until It was broken accidentally about which I have written earlier. I should have invested in a new one. I was in a dilemma. Its costing so much time now. You only realise the value of something only when you don’t have it. Anything can be replaced except time.

  1. Step count – I was tracking my steps everyday for five years hassle free. I need not carry my hone with me. All the steps are recorded. Now when I realise that I have to carry my phone each time I take  step it is mind boggling. Step count revealed whether I was active or not and I was improving well in 2020.
  2. Also it tracked exercise minutes, distance, heart rate etc. which were very crucial in my weight loss journey, fitness activities.
  3. Sleep – The difference between manual tracking and automatic tracking is vast. You will not know how many times you woke up in the middle of the night while using manual tracking. The combined tracking of Sleep timings and heart rate gave the following insights
    • What time I go to bed and what time I woke. And also whether I am consistent in these timings
    • How many time I woke up in the idle of the sleep. I woke up to a maximum of 8 times which I was not aware.
    • Even after waking up, am I active or lazing around. This is measured by a term called readiness score.
    • Duration of sleep, Duration awake in bed etc.,
  4. Heart rate – The maximum and minimum heart rate, How well your heart rate is consistent , range etc are now missed. I have been consistently tracking these for many years.
  5. Other advanced measurements like VO2 max, recovery rate after workout etc are also very useful insights
  6. Apple watch is the best run tracker I have ever used. Its precision is very accurate than other devices I have used. Now during lockdown , I have to run inside home and I couldn’t complete some of the challenged solely because of not having it.
  7. I am not complaining about other features like reading messages, attending calls etc., which can be done thru phone.

Readers can now conclude why I called apple watch – the best gadget I used in my life.

The journey was more beautiful than the destination

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Trying new things gives lot of hope, energy, excitement and sometimes increases your enthusiasm. Last week was such a great time for me. I got my wish fulfilled. It was a dream come true for me. I haven’t  heard the name of the book in my childhood and into my teens. When I came to know , I couldn’t afford to buy it and when I could, I was too busy with my life. Over course of time I even forgot. Once forgotten even when you could find time you wouldn’t do it. There are many such books which wanted to read but couldn’t. Life brings surprises. During the lockdown period, all the book shops and libraries are closed. Not all books are available in digital platform. And even if it is available I am not comfortable to use ipad for longer duration of time. I was a voracious reader. If I start reading a book, it will not last for more than a week. Smaller books last for a few hours. One fine day during lockdown I remembered one of the name of the book which I had forgotten for so long. It is none other than the historic tamil novel “Ponniyin selvan”.

I took a week for me to listen all 293 audios. The narration was good both due to storyline and way in which it was read. The joy of listening is so overwhelming, that when I completed listening to the full book, I am speechless, but word flow thru my heart to fingers to keyboard. The stories and incidents mentioned in the historic novel were so captivating, I forgot my daily routines, didn’t do any exercise, and my streak for non-stop step-count came to an end. I am both enthralled and excited. Different emotions raced through my mind. The characters still live in my thoughts. If appears to be true even after I opened my eyes. It may be because of the abrupt end of the story, the suspense built by the author was really appreciable. To keep you glued to one place, one thought, vivid imagination and satisfaction at the end.

It is an happy ending story. But the way in which story had been written, it cant say it cannot be described by words because it is already written and incidents in the story has happened a millennium ago. Details are taken from available inscriptions in copper plates. The characters visualized in my mind, portrayed by the author , were once real. They lived on the same country where I live today. It is is the history of my fore fathers. It is my history. The journey called life was sweet for some, sour for some, tasteless for some, delicious for some. My mood is not the same during listening the book and after finished listening. I feel something vacant. The silence is deafening. I felt that author could have extended the story. But in the conclusion he gave an apt explanation for the ending and I am convinced and felt I was more happy listening to the book and expected it to be never ending. I have been in many train journeys lasting more than 24 hours. I always enjoyed the destination. But this time, Listening to this book, makes me say “ The journey was more beautiful than the destination”

Note:

I could find an audio book of the ponniyin selvan. Yes all 293 chapters in the form of audio book available for free in youtube. Providing the link below and thanks to sathyan audio books for their efforts.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxFUANaEWB5Gd97Q5dFCK8g

How lockdown is changing me?

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e-books to audio-books

In the beginning of the year, I had decided to throw away with physical books and go with e-books. I did throw away most of physical books. E-books are difficult to read for long time. The job of transferring the books from PC to ipad is annoying ever since my macbook air broke. Then I also wanted to reduce the screen time from digital gadgets. So thought of using audio books. I has been a week and I am nearing completion of my listening to second book. Though many books are not available in audio form, still I feel it is a good beginning.

Tracking food and nutrition

The biggest change in the lockdown period is I have not gained any weight and I am not starving also. I have started tracking my food and nutrition and built it as a habit. Each time I eat my mind raced to log it and I find it very useful. The insight gained i.e., low consumption of protein is to be addressed.

Workouts

Everyday morning I would go to the beach and watch sunrise with my friends. Nothing can substitute that. However we still have to keep our body fit. Initially everyone tried doing exercises and workuts and finally decided to do in group video chat/meeting apps. Checked the cost of indoor cycling trainer and found it pricey but still worthy. May be I will get one soon.

Running inside home

Can’t run on the roads due to the present situation, many of the people started doing ultra running inside home. Inspired by these people, I too started running inside the four walls. Could have got a treadmill. Planning to invest in one after the lockdown is over.

Virtual events

Started participating in more virtual events. 5k global distance challenge, The latest one being 10k run inside home on mother’s day. And many more coming.

Time and mindfulness

Now I feel like I have all the time in the world for me and I am fighting to reduce the digital screen time. Have started practising yoga and feeling better.

Finding solutions

Stuck with a problem of importing and exporting data to apple health app for quiet a few months. Found solutions during this lockdown time. Thanks to the relaxed mind.

The lockdown has brought enormous change in me. Staying inside has given me the me-time. I am trying out new things more than before. It is turning out to be better for me.