You’re reading hot dogs and eggs, a blog by Chris Gallo since 2014.

Learning with goals

This post will take you about 3 minutes to read.

At the end of last year, I published a few different goals for the year.

This an update on the progress and some things I’ve learned so far.

Run no less than 15 miles and no more than 25 miles in a week

Progress here is good. Using Strava, I’ve logged 464 miles this calendar year. Given we’re about 23 weeks into the year, that’s an average of 20.17 miles a week.

My wife and I welcomed our first child in March, and this slowed progress on the goal. Sleep deprived runs are an awful idea.

I’ve learned two main things so far:

I completed the Elizabeth 8K at the end of April. The race is around five miles and my goal was to run it in under 38 minutes. I met that goal and finished in around 36 minutes.

This race helped me continue to run each week and train. Once I knew I could run a 10K, I could focus on running the 8K race and picking up my pace.

Along the way, I’ve learned just being outside and running helps my mental state. It’s so useful to see the sky and get outside. It helps my perspective.

I don’t think I’ll ever want to run a marathon or even a half-marathon, but one modest race or so a year might be a way to keep training enjoyable.

Read at least one book and no more than three books every three months

Progress is blurry. I read bits and pieces of a couple business books and a parenting book. I did finish Dilla Time, an awesome book about legendary producer J Dilla.

Learnings with this goal:

I tried finishing The Build Trap, a book about product management. A lot of interesting concepts, but it was exhausting to read after being overwhelmed from a work day. I found myself not wanting to read about work when not working. I really lacked motivation and just stopped reading the book.

I like documentaries, biographies, and history. I like the truth. I like reading about how accomplished people are simply just human beings with flaws like all of us. Dilla Time was a great book because it incorporated almost all of those things, and it reminded me of music I first listened to years ago.

I may experiment with listening to audio books as an alternative way to reach this goal.

Write and share code snippets at least once a week

Progress was shaky, but it’s back on track. I’m now focusing on learning R, and sharing code in this repository.

The big learnings:

In the past, I’ve thought about building a web app or creating a blog about data science. This slowed my progress because it was too ambitious. Where do you start?

I reminded myself I can publish and share code immediately. This is what I’ve now done with caRolina, where I’m sharing code that makes charts and graphs about Carolina sports.

The small step of just using a GitHub repo has helped me create a habit of sharing code at least once a week. It’s been a nice change of pace.

My hope is to continue on this path because I think R is a powerful way to communicate with data.