What a year. In addition to the severe Melbourne lockdowns keeping me indoors and working from home, I crashed my bike mid-September fracturing my left wrist and right arm, taking me out of action for nearly two months. Grateful that I was able to get anything done this year.
- Read a book (see my reading list for the year).
- 60-70s plank.
- 25-30 push-ups.
- 10min meditation
Everything except reading came apart after my accident. I still can’t put enough weight on my wrist to do push-ups. For plank and meditation I’ve just been lazy. For this year I’m dropping daily meditation, but we have a group session at work in the mornings where I’ll continue to practice. Will work back up to the plank and push-ups.
Solid year despite some setbacks and not being able to run with other people for most of it. Logged 2800K all up, an increase of 400K over the past two years and equal with 2015 for most ever.
Started strong with an accidental 21K PR (1:25:39) at the Sri Chimnoy event in February with what was supposed to be a training run. Set out at marathon pace after an 8K(!) warmup but two laps in was feeling good and flicked on the afterburners for the final lap.
Kept training strong after that, but burned out at the start of April two weeks into lockdown. Decided to wrap up the season with a 5K time trial and nabbed another PR (18:01). Dropped back to about three runs a week, but none of my long runs hit 20K and I was under 50K a week for all of the second quarter.
Started pulling out of my slump late June and after four weeks of base building started Pfitzinger’s 16 week marathon plan on July 20. I managed to find a treadmill despite the shortage and completed most of my training on that, which was a new experience.
Was getting to the business end of the plan when I crashed my bike mid-September, which aside from a couple of test runs took me out completely for 6 weeks. Sat on around 50-60K for the six weeks after that to get back into it. Not a lot of workouts but starting to look like I hadn’t lost as much fitness as I feared.
In December I was feeling strong and got around a lot of trails. Ran a 50K loop around Wilson’s Promontory with Dad which was a highlight for the year. HNTR Tuesday workouts started back up the next week. Extremely solid sub-40 Michigan workout on Christmas day, 30K in the Macedon Ranges two days after, then topped off the year with a Tan PR (14:40) and a solo loop of the Surf Coast 50K route. Extremely solid month.
Best of all: no overuse injuries! Shoe-wise, have gone through many, many pairs of Brooks Levitate 2 for normal runs. Now that they are two models out of date they are quite cheap! Saucony Peregrine 8 for trails, and a pair of Nike Vaporfly for races and the odd workout. The Peregrine’s were my second choice after not being able to find any Salomon Sense Pro in stock, but they’ve been really good — comfortable, light, zero blisters. In particular have been surprised at the recovery benefits of the Vaporflys, so am looking to transition to a similar shoe (maybe the Nike Tempo or Brooks Hyperion Tempo?) for more of my training, which I expect will continue to help with keeping injury at bay.
Feeling really good about the year to come!
- Completed ⅔ of Andrew Huang’s Music Production course — went back to work and didn’t have the energy for the final third — resulting in a completed piece Renew.
- Published more than 20 vlogs and recordings tracking my continued experiments with synthesis, including a few new additions on the hardware front. I’m most excited about the Digitone and the Peak.
- Wrote up the voicings I typically use for Chameleon.
- Did a comparative analysis of different performances of Chopin’s Grand Valse Brillante.
- Played piano most days when I was able, but not a huge amount of actual practice. Had a few new pieces just about ready to record before my accident, haven’t put the work in to get them back up to scratch yet.
- Got about 90% of the way on Factorio Layout Designer. Integrated with Factorio Item Browser API to enable planning of factories using any custom combination of mods. Inspired by wanting to better optimize my Krastorio 2 factory. Worked in dev but never quite got around to polishing it enough to release.
- Finally fixed the crash bug in my VCV Rack modules. Lesson learned: use extreme caution when writing C!
- Re-did the effects system in Dovin (a MTG puzzle proof assistant), it now more closely implements the layer system for continuous effects per the official rules. This was particularly tricky to find a solution I liked. I tried a number of approaches throughout the year and only just landed on something I feel is going to be sufficiently workable.
- Delivered a well-received keynote at Rubyconf in February My Experience With Experience.
- Spoke to the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology on behalf of Ferocia, my first government engagement.
- Published Short Mantras to Interrupt Imposter Syndrome blog post.
- Completed a Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination course on Coursera. It was fine, but what I really wanted was Cryptopals for accounting.
- Created and hosted two remote trivia nights with Maya.
- Finally made public A System for Email, notes from a class I ran for many years at Square and then later at Bradfield CS.
I wanted to experiment with spaced repetition software (SRS) as a technique for memory and learning, so worked my way through this 968 card geography Anki deck. It includes all countries, their capitals, flags, and locations, along with major oceans, seas, and other significant regions. Many years ago I learned all the capitals using a more cognitively demanding visual association technique, so that part was somewhat of a refresher, but the flags and locations were new.
Using default new card settings but with random ordering, with a couple of bonus review sessions, it took me 45 days to see every card at about 10 minutes study a day. I would often do a secondary session reviewing recently forgotten cards to help load them into my brain — SRS is more designed to facilitate recall rather than initial learning. After that, daily review time dropped to only a couple of minutes and falling. I usually do it with breakfast.
I deliberately restricted myself from more focused study on weak areas, wanting to see how far SRS could get me by itself. After 100 days, my trailing 30-day correct averages for learning/young/mature cards are 100%/97%/91%. I’ve struggled in the last mile on similar answers that I didn’t initially learn as a group, such as the location of Pacific and Carribean islands, Budapest/Bucharest, or the red & white flags of Poland, Indonesia, and Monaco. These would benefit from more focused study. For whatever reason there are also a couple that simply failed to stick with flashcards alone (Anki marks them as leeches if you forget them four times) and I need to develop visual associations to actually remember, for example Zambia, Lithuania, and the South China Sea.
A lot more time indoors this year meant a lot more gaming than typical.
- Celeste. Really tight platformer with phenomenal sound track. Learned the speedrun sufficiently to get a sub-60 minute run.
- Krastorio 2. A well polished Factorio mod that adds just the right amount of extra complexity and new mechanics without going overboard. Didn’t quite get through the whole late game, Factorio Layout Designer was started as a way to design the next factory I needed, but I never actually came back to my save.
- Grim Dawn. Had a couple of dark weeks early lockdown, put in a pretty serious grind on this. What Diablo 3 should have been.
- Overwatch. Got a hankering for team sports, decided to try and learn how to play the tank role from no prior experience. Ranked into bronze, got a lesson on what I was supposed to be doing — best $20 I spent this year — then added about 1000 SR to high silver before feeling sufficiently satiated to move on to other things. Wish I’d stuck with the grind a little longer, was just starting to get somewhere.
- Slay the Spire. A rogue-like deckbuilder. I played a lot of this genre over the year (honorable mention to Monster Train), Slay the Spire was the one I kept coming back to. I also really enjoyed the Downfall mod, which adds a large amount of new content.
- Hexcells Infinite. Revisited this minimalist puzzler to clear out a few of the puzzles I didn’t get in my first play-through, ended up making my own Halloween themed puzzle.
- Hades. Take all the best parts of Bastion’s combat, put it in a rogue-like frame, and add just an increbile amount of story.
Looking forward to getting to know my Digitone a bit better. I’m torn between getting back into a marathon training plan or sticking to trails for a bit longer. At least the training will be somewhat complementary either way.
Got a hankering for team sports after watching The Last Dance documentary on Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and decided to join my local field hockey club. That has been on hold for six months due to the pandemic and then accident recovery, but I’m still keen to try it. Haven’t played since I was 17 so will be interesting to see if it sticks.
But overall I really just want to get back into the office with people and put this pandemic behind us, if that becomes possible!