Struggling To Start
When I first began the journey to reclaim my health, I struggled with daily feelings of personal failure and disappointment. Couldn’t run right. Couldn’t swim right. Biking was difficult. Everyone around me was bench pressing twenty reps with half a dozen plates on each side. But I couldn’t handle anything other than the tiny weights, without shaking or losing control. I had overwhelming feelings of inadequacy because I’d sweat uncontrollably and lose my breath when I would try cardio. And I was constantly angry. So I trained alone because I didn’t want anyone to see how bad I was. And I didn’t want anyone to hear me belittling at myself.
Then, one terrible, sweaty day on the track, an older woman who frequented the gym at the same time each day started to glide past me as I tried to grind through my workout. Then she matched pace alongside me. Her arms pistoning like an alpine skier. A huge smile across her face. She said, “Honey, you are trying TOO hard. Want to be a better you? Get a little better each day. You can’t do it all at once.” Then she accelerated back up to her pace and left me alone with all my sweat and angry thoughts.
Eventually I understood. She’d seen me in the weight room. And the spin room. And on the track. And she saw what I couldn’t. That I was measuring myself based on other people’s abilities. On other people’s performances. Instead of focusing on my pace as an individual, I was struggling (literally injuring myself in some case) to match the performance of people who had probably spent months (if not years) developing their abilities.
So I throttled back my efforts. Focused on fixing my form instead of maxing my power. Stopped looking at other people’s weights. Didn’t worry how my pace was compaired to theirs. And after a while, things started to suck less. Little by little. The sweating lessened. The breathing improved. Once, with a lot of practice and gradual improvement, I broke a six minute mile. (But just once.)
I’m me. I’m not anyone else. I can’t lift more than any of the twenty-something guys in my gym. Hell, I can’t lift half as much as some of them. But for a lanky, middle-aged nerd who never played a team sport in his life, I am happy with what I lift. I’m not the fastest runner, or second fastest runner in my age group. I’m probably in the bottom third. But I can run faster and run further than every guy sitting at home on the weekend.
Patience and a focus on personal improvement are all that is needed to get started. Then get a little better each day. Just get off the sofa and do something. Anything is always better than nothing. Always.
60 Days without Energy Drinks
Two months ago, I took my last sip of an energy drink. To be fair, I only had as One-Drink-A-Day Habit. But in early November I noticed that I started to crave more each day. And once those cravings became an incessant internal voice badgering for another, I went Cold Turkey. So here is the What, Why, and How of that adventure. What was I consuming? My drink of choice was Bang. Low calorie. Low/no sugar. Vitamins. Minerals. Branch Chain Amino Acids. CoQ10. Caffeine (of course.) And even creatine! Plus, it tasted pretty nummy. I usually had one, after lunch, to keep me fired up for the rest of the day. Why did I quit? Despite the promising contents, it came with several negatives. Not the least ofRead more
What A Tangled Sole We Wiiv
Bear with me. Briefly. (Thanks!) I’m going to have one of those flashback-moments… It is 2009. I stroll into my local triathlon store. A bright, smiling sneaker-sales-lass convinces me to stand on Dr Scholl’s Foot Fit Kiosk. Lo and behold, Your Humble Narrator’s feet have some of the highest arches in the South East! Fortunately, Dr Scholl’s happens to have a solution. And for a decade, I’ve worn generic orthotics with some degree of improvement over previous decades. Okay. We’re back in 2019! The march of technology has continued at a rapid pace. Ten days ago, I stop by Wiivv’s Website, load their app on my phone, and take two curated pictures of each foot. Today… BOOM! Custom-made, 3D printed orthotics are waiting to join me on theRead more