Just don’t stop.
That’s easy to say, but not easy to do. Especially when you didn’t want to quit in the first place but were forced to the sidelines.
But I am, however, cautiously crawling back in to my old habits. My 6 months of self pity, depression and neglect are about all myself, my family or friends can handle. When all was right with the world, this was one of my happy places. I have been away too long. This blog held me accountable, kept me honest (for the most part) and gave me a place to put my thoughts so I could see them. My head is too dark and dingy a place to read sometimes. The bright lights and bright eyes of the web make it easier to see and sometimes even think.
To say that last year was anything but a total waste (health wise ONLY. Everything else was good) would be an understatement. I spent from January on spiraling down into an abyss of one problem begetting another until I was depressed, hopeless and had given up. The tendonitis in my knees would not go away. So I stopped exercising altogether to see if that would fix it. However I kept eating (and drinking) like I was still working out twice a day. Slowly, this began adding weight to my body. Which didn’t help the pain in the knees. So I cut back for a little while longer (except the eating)… Can you see where this is going?
So… Let’s look at the scoreboard:
Weight gained: 40 pounds
Minutes per mile lost: 3:30 (from a peak of a 7 minute per mile average to my current 10:30 average)
Number of events completed: 0 (that’s a ZE-ROH)… for the year… this makes me very sad.
Number of bike miles for the year: 488 (my peak MONTH in 2012 was 703 miles)
Number of running miles for the year: I didn’t really count but I would estimate less than 500
Number of swim miles for the year: 27
The Blerch wins!
I have never been so frustrated. I really just gave up. I stopped going to Finger Lakes to swim. Stopped riding altogether. Just gave up.
I guess the most frustrating thing is that this was not a significant injury. I didn’t crash or blow out a knee in a heroic effort someplace. I just put too much weight on the leg press machine. And I haven’t been the same since.
This is not, however, a pity party. All of the above is my fault. I chose the weight to lift even though I knew better. I chose to not rest. I chose to keep eating (and drinking beer) like I was training for an Ironman. I chose to give up.
Well…! That was my year! How was yours?
But this blog is about moving on and moving forward. As is this post. So here we go…
2014 will be better. I have already begun to prepare for it. Trimming my portions (and cutting back the beer), cautiously venturing out into the woods or trails again to do what some would call a run. I even dug out the mountain bike and, yes, went back to the scene of the crime… the gym. Not to lift, but to jump on a spin bike, swim and stretch. Moreover, I have shed the self pity and started digging deep for some determination and motivation. I still haven’t had my “Aha!” moment yet, but I’m kicking around some ideas. I know I am more dedicated when I am training FOR something. I also know that I am more honest when I am training WITH someone (even if we are not together). So I’m digging for a REALISTIC first event back. More than two months out and a half marathon or less (emphasis on the “less”). I might start off with what used to be called “First Night”. But we’ll see. And I’m going to get back to at least the group runs. My consistency there will only be impeded by my crazy travel schedule. But I gotta pay for those race entries somehow. There will have to be a mindset change to. Treadmills and stationary bikes will have to be accepted as a “necessary evil”… not just an “evil”. When you are on the road sometimes it’s all you’ve got.
I spent some time over the last month re-acquainting myself with my running shoes. During that long, slow, painful time of getting past the first two weeks of agony always associated with “getting back into it”, I had lots of time to walk or run slowly and think about the mindset that got me back in shape in the first place. It went something like this:
- Workouts are mandatory
- Quitting is not an option
- It’s OK to slow down
- If you want to get faster, you have to GO faster
- Your body and your brain BOTH have voices.
- LISTEN to your body.
- IGNORE your brain.
- You CAN do this.
- You WANT to do this
- You LIKE to do this
- Extra miles are good. Garbage miles are bad
- Swim through the tube
- Spin the cranks! All the fast guys do it!
- You are doing this for fitness and fun. Nothing else matters.
So… I guess I’m back. Sort of. I never was fast, but I won’t even be slow for a while. I have 40 pounds to lose… again. But please understand that if I make the ride/run but drop off the back (or even fly off the front), or politely decline your offer of a beer afterwards, it’s not personal. I’m just trying to listen to my body, not my brain.