Monday, November 17, 2014

The Daily Struggle

The winter season is here and I am not even going to bother mentioning fall again since we got our first snow today. The last post should have plenty of fall in it anyway. So... winter. Winter blues, the seasonal affective disorder... or should we call it the off-season affective disorder? For me it's more of the latter, but what else is new? I always struggle in the off season. I struggle with my weight, my motivation, my goals. Now add very stressful work days to the mix and not being able to run and you get a big old pile of mess that gets stinkier every day.  Maybe I should compost myself since I cannot remain composed. Ha!

But let's see if I can put a positive spin on this post before it gets too late.

First, I have a somewhat structure of a plan going on, that I have to poop out of my head every week and it hurts my brain so much, you have no idea. I do strength training, some swimming, some biking, some walking combined with geocaching and soul searching, and when I'm desperate, some ellipticalling. Being self coached is definitely not working for me. Recently, I even thought of my training being somewhat alike to Cody Beals's experience:
Back in my self-coached days prior to this season, there was a cycle that repeated again and again: several days to weeks of impressive looking training followed by an unplanned collapse. These bouts of physical and mental fatigue would derail me for a few days, blowing gaping holes in my training before the cycle would begin anew. It wasn't a very enjoyable or productive way to train.
I had a few such collapses this season, but I think that I finally started to adapt a little. It's a long process, I know.

Cody's suggestion?
As we all settle in for a long winter of training, I encourage everyone to find a training plan that they can execute like clockwork.
No kidding. I know this is exactly what I need. But since my Goal #1 is to get stronger, and NOT triathlon training, how can I get off this spinning wheel that tells me that I MUST swim/bike/run for X number of hours a week so I can just FUNCTION? Nothing else motivates me. Nothing. Maybe the glimmer of hope that one day I can run again. That's it. If it weren't for my knees, I would have quit this program a thousand times already. Prior to this goal, it was simple : keep moving!! And I'm not the only one... Just as I was writing this post, I came across Jennifer's post from Kinetic Fix. I can't believe how many people around me are affected, and the SADness just started for crying out loud!!

Speaking of which, I had way too many crying spells which got me into trouble more than once. There is no easy way out. But for me, being outside, breathing the fresh air, even for an hour or two, makes everything 1000 times better. So given that I spend 9h/day stuck in a chair at the office, going outside for a walk or a hike, is a feat well worth mentioning in my training plan as BEST WORKOUT OF THE WEEK. I don't get to do it too often, but since I picked up geocaching again, I had a few more opportunities, like the Friday nights looking for tupperware in the woods with friends. Yes, at night. My kinda fun - preceded by a meet at Tim Hortons, warm tea in hand, talking about all geeky things. Jeez, these people even have me playing Ingress now, and there is some sort portal in the middle of my office where not many people have access. What am I getting myself into?? Then we go out for a few hours, and come back for another tea, maybe even a donut. Awesome times! Look, ma, I even found Ironman.
With the winter training programs that I am signed up with the FMCT tri club, I have now added swimming twice a week and spin classes twice a week, while I keep maintaining my focus on fitting 3 strength sessions in every week. I even started counting calories again, in the hope of losing those 10 pesky pounds that have put so much more stress on my knees this year. But overall, the feeling is the same: I don't know what the fuck I am doing. I just know that I MUST keep moving. My body, my mind tells me so. As soon as I give it too much rest, it starts squeaking like a rusty toy. Strength is the first priority, yes, but my mind's health comes before everything else.

Moving helps me discover all these places, which helps me feel alive, recharge my batteries and makes the world wonderful again. To many more days like these, even if it's 30 minutes at a time. Can I get an Amen?
Biking the Caledon Trailway
And seeing the sunset setting the trees on fire
Going across the Hwy10 overpass just one more time!
Is this a geocache? Yes it is!
And this is my trusty 20yr old hybrid bike Carrie
The day my beautiful Ginkgo tree lost all its leaves at once
The day I spent a few hours by the Bay
In the office, there are magic spots like this one.
The pool building in the blues of the morning
It's the prickly plants season
When the urban trails were still dry... soon to be covered in snow.
And have you seen the green at the end of this tunnel?
This free-for-all golf course sure knows how to stay green... just one more week.
Still with me? Glad I didn't lose you in the woods. See? I feel better already. Do you? Days come and go, and at the end of each of them, I try to take the positive and throw away the negative. The last few weeks have not been so great because a lot of the negativity started in the office and was staying with me all day long, but there is a silver lining to all this struggle, I know it. I started writing this blog post a few weeks ago and I thought of deleting it 12 times already, but this is how I exorcise my demons. I get it all out and I move on. Tomorrow is a new day. This week I am going to hit all my workouts again and thank my body once more for making me stronger each day.

It can only go up from here, yes it can. Salty ball, anyone? It's that season again.