Hello Hello

This week has become rather important for a lot of reasons. A number of these cannot be spoken about (as yet) but once the processes are complete, that will change. For today, however, I have daughter here after an extremely torrid week abroad and husband after a weekend where he couldn’t walk more than about six steps without someone admiring his bike. I’ve almost managed to clear the largest pile of washing that’s ever existed in the house, and (once my writing duties are done) the Gym is already calling.

Having comprehensively established there is no such thing as a body detox, my regime when starting a new exercise programme is lots of water and religious calorie counting. I’ll be taking the RideLondon46 training quite seriously too starting today, with at least five days a week involving some time on a bike.I am rather looking forward to a focus on exercise and not much else, with the free time dedicated to writing and preparing written stuff for awards, bursary’s and contests.

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It is going to be a bit me-focused this week as a result, for which I apologise in advance.

This is Not a Love Song

As we head to the halfway point in the year, I’m behind on some stuff but ahead on others. The back issue is definitely improving, my attempts to clean need a real kick up the arse, but this week should see me exceed the step total for every day (including the rest day.) The only problem, such as it is, comes with there being no cycling for a week. Real life has taken that time away from me, but with this being a Bank Holiday weekend, once I’m done here the shed is open and I’ll stick an hour in on Zwift to start Sunday properly.

My husband, of course, is out doing the real thing: there’s still a concern about my proficiency on roads. However, that will be fixed by the time London to Southend comes around. That’s the race this year that will matter most in terms of real confidence. Everything else can just be winged. I’m already looking forward to a Summer of pushing myself, because the strength thing is really beginning to come into its own. Mind over matter does work. All that ‘you are good enough’ stuff makes sense now.

I just gotta believe it more.

Self-loathing might actually have gotten old. Sure, there’s still days where I don’t think I’m capable, but they are tempered now with an understanding that honestly, it doesn’t matter. I’m doing what’s best for me, and that is enough forward momentum on the bad days to stop them becoming worse. Trusting my gut is the right thing to do. That means doing this, riding a bike, writing some more and then going for a walk, before I come back and clean.

Yeah, it’s as boring as fuck and not nearly glamorous enough for most people, but right now this is perfect for what is required.

Look Up

Thursday has become weigh in day at the Gym. However, yesterday marks the two year anniversary of me starting a concerted journey to fitness. The Boditrax machine I use to gauge progress is capable of telling me exactly what that means in terms of how body has changed, and yesterday’s snapshot of health is… well, a revelation.
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You don’t need to lose weight to get fitter. In my case, this is proof positive that being lied to by my scales at home is doing far more harm than good. When you understand how efficient I am at converting fat to muscle, a under one kilo increase in body weight is pretty much irrelevant. That equation was bought home by this week’s numbers, first time weight’s been taken since the arm injury and the subsequent forced lay-off.

I’ve lost an inch around my waist in the last month, mostly from ensuring there’s daily exercise and effort to increase my heart rate. Although not close as yet to pre-accident weightlifting numbers, it is close. This is also the salutatory wake-up call that numbers only matter with the right context, facts are truth only after you are able to reconcile their significance in relation to a larger picture that is not centred inside yourself.

For me, the revelation of these numbers cannot as yet be properly described.

Better Days

I’ve been suffering from the after-effects of the arm injury for a while. Having had to over-compensate with my right side for a few weeks, getting everything back to a) normal and b) balanced has been a bit stressful. Also, having shifted emphasis to core work for a bit whilst arm returns to previous levels of fitness means that shortcomings in hips and back became more pronounced. A week’s worth of discomfort from pulling a lower back muscle was finally sorted yesterday, highlighting how tight my left hip had become. That’s a long-term issue that stems from an injury almost twenty years ago.

Finally, blissfully this morning, my hip clicked back into place.

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The temptation now is to throw myself back into full-on exercise, but instead there’ll be a nice long walk to the Gym shortly, followed by lots of stretching. The reason why the back got fucked this time last week was thinking I could do more than was actually possible, then pushing myself past a safe limit. Slow and steady has always won this race, and therefore it is back to the routine, just with a little less enthusiasm.

This will at least help quell rising panic over the large number of organised bike rides I’m about to become a part of in the next month :D

The Other Side

From the low, you inevitably come up. How that used to happen was normally accompanied by a lot of thrashing and wailing. This time around, the day started with a lot of playing Warcraft and no worries about the consequences. Stuff is scheduled and ideas are on the table. There will even be a short story finished by the end of the weekend for Mr Alt to edit. After I’d played, and progressed some stuff that was planned, there was a walk to the Gym. Lots of stretching happened both before and after the session.

There I worked REALLY hard.

The key is to keep moving. Once upon a time I’d have sat and felt sorry for myself, but having learnt the difference between good and bad pain after a year of experiencing plenty of both, there’s now the ability to discern the difference. Getting back on the road to fitness isn’t as painful as was expected, when all is said and done. What is hardest of all, and which prompted the Tweet yesterday, is everything outside of my control. It will mean that there will have to be a reassessment of priorities in the next few weeks. I have Eroica in a month (Saturday outfit sorted, Sunday will not take long.) There’s a distinct possibility I could be doing Ride London.

If they both come to pass, there needs to be more fitness than currently exists to complete both. If the latter happens, there’ll be a sponsorship page for a mental health charity going up because without support, I’d not be here.

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The problem is big numbers; building stamina, without my body failing to cope. That’s where the bike comes in, and why I’ll be getting back on tonight.

That whole ‘no pain, no gain’ thing is the absolute truth.

The Pleasure Principle

There’s a blog post I could write this morning about how all of us have short memories and fixate on the things that often don’t need fixing at all. Instead of that, there’s a bit of writing, then it is high time some weights were lifted, some cardio undertaken and my own shortcomings taken care of. If we all took as much time correcting the faults in our own lives as was consumed by the critical assassination of others, the World would undoubtedly be a better place.

In fact, that’s what matters more than anything else. Fix myself, as well as is possible (and if that’s not attempt to find someone who can help) and when that’s done to a standard that is acceptable, then there’s the opportunity to consider something else.

Life is too short to obsess about things that are out of your hands.

Singularity

Yesterday was my first session with the new PT, and BOY was it a revelation. I’ve never used a Bosu for anything other than the odd exercise and yesterday, the whole thing evolved past being ‘just another piece of equipment’ and became… well, something quite transformative.

Hang on, you don’t know what a Bosu is?

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If I had said balance board you’ll have probably got the idea: two sides, either is capable of being used as a way of engaging more muscles than just arms or legs. In fact, use one of these to balance on (one leg only, please) and then add some light weights to the mix and BAM there is no need for intense workouts. My new trainer knows I do cardio on my own, without a need to be prompted. Weights are now not a frightening concept either, so what is needed in this new relationship is cerebral plus the effort.

The Bosu requires a level of concentration that I’d previously have struggled with, were it not for meditation via Mindfulness. However, now it is not only possible but incredibly satisfying to stand on the board for protracted periods of time and simply exist. I’ve always watched with awe the guys who use a full balance ball to weightlift on (there’s a rugby player at the Gym who makes it look effortless) but now there’s fledgeling understanding of how that can and would work for me.

Three guesses what I’m doing when I get to the Gym later.

I’m already looking forward to training, and it’s been a while since that happened :D