Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: 2015

2014 was a huge year for me personally. Here's the highlights:

  • Finished my Ph.D.
  • Got my first real science job at the University of Miami
  • Got engaged to the love of my life (!)
  • Travelled to Germany
  • Received the NSF AGS fellowship

Each of those things have left me feeling very lucky. Sometimes I feel bad that it took me longer than most to finish my Ph.D., but that's hardly something to complain about, given that I've found a career that I really enjoy, which something a lot of people don't have.

Last year I made a few goals, one of which I failed to meet. Here's the list from 2014:

  • run at least 2x per week on average (success!)
  • have 3 publications either published or submitted (fail)

I had 1 paper get published, and I submitted another paper in late December, so that's why I failed on the second goal. This year I'm gonna set the same goal again. If the recently submitted paper gets published, that will count. So I have to submit 2 more papers. This shouldn't be hard since I still have most of my Ph.D. dissertation un-published, and I've got all this new interesting stuff from my postdoc job with Brian Mapes at UM.

The running goal was new for me because it was quantifiable. In the past I had made an effort to do similar things, but I was always too vague about it. Like I would tell myself to "run more", but at the end of the year I never had any idea whether I actually done what I hoped to do. This year I made a serious effort to get better about tracking my running. Part of this was to use an app called Strava, for tracking miles and such. Strava is my favorite running/biking app for a few reasons, one of which is how it keeps stats for you. However, since my goal was to run a certain frequency per week, I need to calculate my own stats.

I decided to use Google drive to make a spreadsheet. The great thing about doing it this way is that I can edit it from anywhere, like my phone or office computer. Here's a snapshot of the data for 2014:

I really like this layout that I settled on. I can add more stats to the right hand side if I need to. This layout is nice and compact, and even is easy to work in leap days! The newest version of Google's spreadsheet program has lots of new and useful functions, which I make heavy use of. a good example is my formula for the "#/week" column:

= iferror(COUNTIF(B2:AF2, ">0")*7/count(B2:AF2))

The "iferror" function is a nice way to not have "ERROR" messages all over the place when you are dividing by a "count", which can often be zero.

Another nice thing about Google spreadsheets is the plotting capabilities. Here's a plot of the "# per week" and "miles per week":
The big dip in the middle is when we were travelling in Germany. in order to pack light I didn't even bring my running shoes, but I did do a ton of walking, so I don't feel bad about it. But because of some large gaps in my running, I barely made my goal at 2.03 runs per week!

So now I need to make some new goals for this year. I'm gonna up my weekly frequency, and also add a goal on getting my pace much faster. To do this I've made a new Google spreadsheet that can average times! it's pretty sweet. While I'm at it, I'm also adding a spreadsheet to track my weight, so this year's end-of-year summary should be pretty interesting.

To wrap up, here's my resolutions for 2015:

  • Run 2.5 times per week on average
  • Get my average pace down to at least 9:30
  • Get my end of year weight down to 165 (which will be harder if I start lifting again)