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  1. So I was gone for a while. Like forevers. Sad day(s) So here's the low-down on my disappearance, my reappearance, and everything in between. This isn't so much a new six week challenge thread, being a wee bit late for that, as it is a getting-back-to-things-and-also-updates-thread. There will be some bad, but hopefully more good! So I ended my last challenge (waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in May) on a note that I will describe as "meh". Meh. I was going through some life changes that involved a lady-friend (yay!) that started to mess with my routine as a single person. I didn't know quite how to react, so things other than my normal workout routine began to suffer, though I can say with certainty that I prefer the time spent with the lady-friend (more on her later!) to all those extra bits. Next, with my job, I had June and July off, so I took a six week deal at a summer program for high school students that I had previously worked with. The only bad things were that I had internet access issues (so no new challenge or updates) and a free dining center buffet (free is good, all you can eat, not so much). I still worked out five days a week and even got to rock climb! But with the added food, I gained about five pounds, which is not terrible overall. Once the program got done, I got back home and got back to my ideal body weight of around 200lbs. Happy beard! So when work started again I stayed in the routine, though food was a slight issue (the lady-friend cooks and bakes all sorts of wonderful things). The workouts managed to keep things in check so that I only gained about four pounds of "relationship weight", which in the grand scheme of things wasn't too bad. The lady-friend and I started talking about heavier relationship stuff! Huzzah! Now the bad stuff. Again with the sad days Mid-September to min-November where not the best days I've had. To start off, My schedule got completely thrown out of whack. I started grad school, started teaching an evening math course, and was offered a small part in the campus musical as an extra. All good things, but coupled with a busy work schedule I really wasn't able to work out and I refused to wake up early. Then in September my grandma had a stroke and died two weeks later. A month after that my grandpa (other side of the family) came to see the musical, went home, and died after he sat in his chair (he had been dealing with cancer). Not a great couple months. I really didn't care what I ate and the end result is I gained about 15 pounds (so up to 218 total). That's the end of the bad stuff, on to the good things. On December 1st, I asked the lady-friend to marry me! Ring pictured below. She said yes! I have gotten into a routine that lets me workout and still do everything I need to in the evenings (i.e. I exercise in the morning before work now). I'm back to eating healthy and I'm down to 209lbs, almost back to relationship weight! I'm doing Stronglifts 5x5 and some elliptical stuff in between. What I've realized from this is that I have a pretty good idea of what to do and how to go about doing it. The real thing I struggle with is how to adjust to changes in my routine, as do many other people. So going forward I need to anticipate what I can and plan ahead for the things I know will happen. That's the plan. Happy beard again! Now to the last things: I missed my fellow assassins! I missed this place! It was great to have a group of people I could share my struggles and triumphs with, especially since many of you were/are going through similar experiences. Like I said before, I'm a wee bit late to the party for the challenge, but I will eventually post some goals and share my progress for the duration! The Beard is back. And so is Shark Beard
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