New Year, New Me(?)
not really, but maybe? no, probably not. but kinda!
January is on its way, and you know what that means: it’s the new year. What, did you think I was going to make a little joke there? Look, January is nothing to joke about. It is a very special month. BOTH of my older brothers were born in January. An insurrection happened on January 6th—which is also my brother Matt’s birthday! I’m not saying that Matt had anything to do with the insurrection, by the way. As far as I know, he did not participate in it as some sort of birthday present to himself. He hasn’t returned my phone calls though since the event, but I’m sure he’s just a busy guy.
I’ve decided to post these at the end of the month, rather than the beginning of the month, to better act as an encapsulation of what I’ve been up to. So here you go. You’re welcome! Please, don’t send $100 to my Venmo account, I know you’re glad to have this newsletter but $100 is — wait, $200? You want to send—? No, please, that’s too much!
Hey Josh Didn’t You Have a Podcast Thing—?
LEAVE ME ALONE
I GOT THE COVID
Whoops. I went to the company holiday party on 12/17 and me and a bunch of other people got covid. I officially tested positive on the morning of December 21st, after a fitful night’s sleep due to a low grade fever. I’m writing this ten days later and I still have lingering congestion. It’s been a long time since I’ve been sick, especially with a fever. I didn’t like it and I don’t recommend covid to anyone, even if you’re vaccinated and boosted. Sore throat, fever, cough, and phlegm that occasionally appeared in my throat like it was choking me. Plus a lot of fatigue and aches and some chills. Was not fun. I’m doing better every day but today, for example, I had to go downstairs to pick up a delivery and walking back up the four flights of stairs to my apartment was a nightmare.
There’s nothing worse to the self-sufficient man than illness. I had to ask friends for help with simple tasks, which I hate. I needed groceries and asked my friend Ryan to buy some necessities for me (including NyQuil and cough drops, which were insanely helpful, thank you Ryan). The problem with those moments of no longer being self-sufficient is that I realize how little I help people in the same sorts of ways. I’ve had conversations with my therapist about how I help my friends in other ways, but it still nags at me that I am capable of certain things and nearly incapable of others. The truth is that I don’t want to help others all the time, I want to do my own things in my little hermit cave, which requires self-sufficiency; without it, I rely on people for even the basics, which means, to me, that I owe them. My therapist reminds me: “They don’t necessarily think you owe them though.”
Anyway, covid ruined any and all holiday plans I had this year, which absolutely is the worst. Do not recommend.
2022 Wrap Up
Aside from the glaring shittiness that was my father being in the hospital for around three weeks (he’s home now, and doing much better too), as well as the shittiness of having covid during Christmas, 2022 turned out to be a pretty alright year. In fact, compared to years past, it was very good for me. Lots of progress and upward momentum.
In the beginning of the year I learned that I did not, in fact, have the genetic mutation which my brother Matt has, which means I don’t have an increased likelihood of developing colorectal cancer. (At least, not more increased than the general increase people seem to have in modern times.) This was great news! A huge load off my shoulders.
In March, my dad celebrated his 80th birthday and I traveled to Idaho to visit him and my family. It was nice to be back as I hadn’t been back home since the pandemic started. Got to visit the war museum in Nampa and see some of my grandpa Jack’s memorabilia. He was a good man.
Over the spring and summer I started getting more and more into dedicated walks every day, which eventually spurned my renaissance of running. In June I acquired BIG TV. (Big TV is Good.) And then in October I had my first 5k race through Mt Tabor Park, which began what has become a rejuvenation into the world of the exercise, cut a bit short due to covid, but I’ll be damned if I let this disease keep me from exercising.
It was also my first full year in my apartment, which has been a very good apartment to me. Arguably one of my best living situations, and I sincerely hope they don’t raise my rent by a crazy amount.
And during all that time: near constant Dungeons & Dragons playing. Can’t hate that.
2023 is shaping up to be a good year. I have 5k races planned for every month and I even plan on running a half-marathon by the end of the year. The only part of my life that’s not great is my love life, which is arguably non-existent. But I think I just needed some time to work on myself, especially during this global pandemic, which has screwed my brain right up. So hopefully that will change as well. Or I’ll just be a hermit forever with a cat, which could be worse.
Every Park in Portland
A thing I tried to do in 20…16? 2017? was to visit every park in the city of Portland. I had a Tumblr set up and everything, with little blurbs and photos of the parks. Then I deleted Tumblr and didn’t make a backup for some reason.
Well, since I’ve been more active lately, I decided to reset and restart my project. You can read the blurbs here if you’d like, on me ol’ bloggo. British people should call blogs “bloggos.” Or, Australians, really. That’s a very Australian thing to say. “Bloggo.” Anyway, this isn’t something I’m going to finish in a year or anything, it’s just that this time I won’t forget to make a backup of my entries this time. Check it out!
The Inaugural Josh Belville Christmas 5k Extravaganza
Here’s the story: a couple months ago I missed the signup for the December Holiday Half. At the time I thought, Oh that’s alright, I’ll just run my own 5k in December. So I’d have a 5k every month, right? Ain’t no progress without repetition.
In between then and now, my leg was giving me some serious guff. What with the hurting and the muscle seizing up and whatnot. By the end of the November my revised thought was, You know? I think I’ll just rest my legs until next year.
Then, a week ago I decided to incorporate strength training into my exercise routine. Specifically, I started a bodyweight routine I found on the goddamn Red Bull website. To be fair, these were exercises you could find on hundreds of websites, but the fact that I found one I liked on the Red Bull site was funny to me.
So cut to yesterday: I’m up, I’m feeling energized, I think, Hey, let’s go to the track and run a couple of laps. I figured I would run a mile or until my leg started hurting, then call it a day.
I get to the track. There are always soccer games happening on the weekends, I think high school games? So there was a nice gaggle of people to make the experience feel wholesome. And I ran. And I ran two laps entirely (three laps is about a mile). The third lap I ran 75% of. At that point, after hitting a mile, my leg was feeling a little stiff, but otherwise fine, and I decided to keep going, splitting the track 50/50 for running and walking. When I got to mile two, I realized I could do 5k. So I did! That’s the end of the story.
My time was a full five minutes (and twelve seconds) faster than the Turkey Trot. I am amazed by this. My pace was 1:47 faster. I attribute this to the 50/50 splits, because when it got to the running portion, I pushed myself to run as fast as I reasonably could. Definitely going to incorporate this into future runs because I think it was very successful.
I also side note own a Pixel Watch now so I was able to track my BPM as I ran. I was, as you might say, running a bit hot, especially with those running splits. I think my highest was around 170, going down to about 130-140, then back up, etc etc. Not terrible but I’m hoping to lower that a bit as well. I’ve got some work to do.
All in all though, strength training! It’s good for you! Building muscle helped my body protect the parts that weren’t doing as well. Ice and rest helped too, of course, but I truly think the squats and stretches were the key factor. Felt good, bro.
Anyway, next year hopefully I’ll A) get to do the Holiday Half and B) actually do a half marathon. (This is a 2023 resolution.) Until then, it’s 5k races and getting my pace down.
So, I’ll be honest: almost every time I create new year resolutions, it is done half-assedly. I make them as a sort of amorphous guideline of something I want to do, and then promptly forget about it two weeks later. This year I wish to eschew that in favor of putting down actual, serviceable goals that I can achieve in a calendar year. Thus, instead of making a resolution that says, “Do less of a thing,” I am instead going to write down five achievable goals. Here they are!
Run a half-marathon and/or run a 5k every month. I’ve been thinking about this one a LOT. I really want to do this, and I think with enough training and time, I can do it, even by summer. I don’t know where all this positive energy came from buy god damn it, I am going to grasp onto it as if my life depends on it. Because it does, kind of; exercise is good! Right now my goal is to keep running 5ks until my legs feel strong enough to run farther, so if that doesn’t pan out, the plan is to run a 5k every month and just get better at those. But I am raring to swap out one of those 5ks with a half, I’m telling you!
Bench press 225lbs for reps. This requires me to get a gym membership, so maybe that’s the resolution. But regardless, I’ve done this before and I can definitely do it again. I was going to put a few weightlifting goals here, but I decided to settle on one because otherwise it gets to be too many and I end up doing none of it.
Eat 100-150g of net carbs a day. This will be the toughest one. Lord knows I love carbs. And carbs are good for you! But I suspect I eat too many of them, and often those high on the glycemic index. I need to change this, for my gut and my own good. I actually did this a few years ago, as part of a research thing for 23andMe, and I ended up losing a bunch of weight and feeling pretty healthy. Plus, as I get older sweet and sugary foods just don’t cut it anymore. They’re too sweet now! It’s time to cut back. I’m going to measure my carb intake each day and track how I’m doing overall. In truth, I’ll also probably eat more carbs before races and such, but those will be utilized carbs, not just “floatin’ around in my blood stream doing fuck all” carbs.
Avoid social media. I already started this (you can read about it on my blog), but the idea is to just get away from it all, with a few exceptions. The biggest one being Instagram. I need one tether to humanity, you know? And that’s the one. But no more Twitter, no TikTok, I unsubbed from all my Reddits except the D&D related ones because I get maps from them sometimes. Strava is social too I suppose but it’s exercise-related and fairly positive, so I’m keeping that. And BeReal, because I love BeReal. This should be an easy resolution.
Twitch is annoying most of the time, so it’s lovely to watch a guy like Limmy, a (Scottish) BAFTA award winning comedian take fifteen goddamn minutes to try and figure out how Worldle works. Guy’s a gem, truly, and I’m thankful that there are people who are putting his clips out there (with Limmy’s permission too) to watch on YouTube. If you have a chance to watch Limmy’s Show, do it! It’s funny and weird.
Honestly, I’m just suggesting that because I’ve got covid brain and can’t think past five minutes.
Happy New Year
Thanks for reading and I hope you had a good holiday season and I hope you have a great 2023 as well. I almost wrote that as 2013 and you know what, I hope you had a good 2013 too. See you in January.