2019: A Review

Jan 01, 2020

Big changes this year! After eight years in San Francisco we moved back to Melbourne in March. This was always the long term plan, and we finally made it happen. We also bought our first home, in Fitzroy, and are loving both it and the neighbourhood.

Work

After a year of part-time consulting, I was ready to dive back into full-time work. I spoke to a number of companies in Melbourne for many types of roles but ultimately decided to take a non-management job at Ferocia building Up, a new digital bank. Ferocia was the combination of two previous teams I loved working with (Clear Grain, The Conversation) and I was excited to build something cool with them again.

I really enjoyed writing code full time again, in particular learning first hand how much JavaScript has changed in the last decade. I had the opportunity to learn more about emoji than was probably good for me, and get down into the guts of Rails for the first time in a long while.

Perhaps inevitably I ended up drifting away from code though. Over the last few months I have been running point on our TransferWise integration, helping out with support, and working with the leadership team on more general management as our team continues to grow. So I think that tells us where my heart lies!

Habits

I kept the same three daily habits from last year:

Since November I’ve re-introduced meditation. I was doing this un-guided, but for the last week have been working through the Waking Up course and finding it valuable: I feel like the change is leading to better sessions and more lasting impact through out the day.

Travel

I deliberately avoided much travel this year. After everything I got up to last year, I wanted to re-engage with Melbourne and work. That said, I’ve enjoyed seeing a bit more of Victoria and in particular have spent a bit of time down the coast (helps that family is down there also).

Running

It was a good but different year for running. Total volume was solid (~2500K) but only two races: an equal 5K time trial PB in March (18:16) and my second fastest half in April (1:26:47). (I never wrote a race report for that: went out too fast, died spectacularly. If I was chasing 1:26 instead of 1:25 likely would have PBed.) Leading up to the half I worked with a coach, TJ from RunDoyen. I really valued that experience. He helped find sensible ways to increase my workload, adapted my plan as needed (for either life or fatigue), and in general was a great partner in my training. One downside was that, though he lined up similar workouts I was “doing my own thing” from my running group. This was OK in San Francisco since I was already well entwined in my club, but moving back to Australia I felt it would hinder me finding my scene here which is why I decided to move off a plan after April.

I was under the weather heading into June so had a few down weeks (including my only full zero for the year). Was also struggling with motivation in general over winter. Always have a plan going into winter, because you’ll never start one! Through July to September I took advantage of our gym and coach at work and experimented with incorporating lifting into my training. I figure this is probably better for my long term health than simply running all the time. In practice this meant easy run Saturday, long run Sunday, then bench, deads, and accessories during the week.

Year in running

But I like running too much! In October I started running consistently Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Hunter Athletics. Strength training faded away, and after a two month build (30-50K weeks) by December I was up to 5.5 days and 70K a week.

One goal for this year was to incorporate data from an Oura ring into my training. It was a fun experiment. I was impressed that it could tell me when I didn’t have enough sleep or when I was sick … but I already knew that. I didn’t learn anything that I could feed back into my training. Either I’m consistent enough in my sleeping and recovery routines, not training hard enough to warrant it, or insufficiently sensistive to the data. I’m still wearing the ring: am used to it now, and perhaps the longitudal data will be interesting.

Projects

Music

I don’t have many life goals, but having a real piano was one of them. With the space in the new house, I went overboard and acquired a beautiful Yamaha grand. That kicked off a foray back into music:

Programming

I did intend to stream more this year, but by the time I’d moved back and got my office set up again I wasn’t feeling it.

Games

There were a few standout gaming experiences this year. Retroactively, it appears my theme was “learn why other people like things I don’t” … and then end up liking them myself!

First the computer ones:

More physically:

2020

Who knows? Still feel like I’ve just moved back. There are many exciting things coming up at work that will keep me engaged.

With running I probably should pick a target race, but I’ve been enjoying training without a goal over summer. Important that I pick something for spring to get me through winter. Maybe this is the year of the marathon!?