The Greatest Love of All

Okay, where to start…?

My PT knows I like taking pictures, so asked if I’d be willing to come visit the site where lots of clients were taking part in a sport that could one day be considered as an Olympic one. The plan, of course, was to try and persuade me to take part. Here is your test of ultimate fitness. My trainer does not as yet grasp the real reasons why I’m exercising, that the assumption initially is that ‘oh look, I need validation of my efforts…’

Three hours I stood, taking pictures, before anxiety finally consumed me completely and I had to leave, simply did not want to stay there any longer. My counsellor has now taught me to ask ‘why’ such things happen in these circumstances, and so I did, in the car. Why was I so anxious? Because I was lonely. The feeling of comfort and security I’d felt on Friday had simply vanished and this was difficult, exposing. What had happened?

You could tell instantly the people on the course who were racing for themselves: these two, for instance, the early (super fit) part of the Gym team who didn’t need to have a GoPro strapped to them or be part of a group of others for encouragement. Their race was theirs without the need to be be part of a collective whole. They were comfortable in their ability, something that still needs to happen with me, because being part of a ‘tribe’ has always been a struggle.

I thought it was the concept of FOMO (fear of missing out) that was my problem but actually, it’s far more judgemental. I am the person who suffers from FOBC (fear of being criticised) and that if I couldn’t do the course, I’d simply not be good enough. It didn’t help that my husband didn’t want to come with me yesterday, and an opportunity to talk (which hasn’t really happened for weeks) didn’t take place. That’s why anxiety rose, clear definition to it’s occurrence.

So I came home, got upset when I couldn’t help my daughter with a trivial issue and ended up taking over in an effort to show how helpful I was, cried some more and then had a bike ride, which was a small but definite improvement on the last bike ride, before making my husband stop and make time to talk about stuff because it has been bothering me for ages. At the end he told me he’d enjoyed the fact I’d come and found him to do so.

Only now, this morning sitting here as the rest of the house sleeps does the complexity of what’s now taking place inside my brain begin to really make sense. No, I’m not lonely now, like I was yesterday, and if I find myself in that situation again now I know what to do. I still don’t have a Tribe, I sit on the fringes of many places and actually, given the choice that’s where I’d like to be. This isn’t about feeling like I am a particular type of person.

This is about feeling like I’m being true to myself.

My PT messaged me, after she’d raced, and asked me if I’d been inspired to compete. When I am sent to Hell, whenever that finally happens, it would look and feel like this obstacle course, and I’d be forced to compete it wet and cold for the rest of my days, appropriate penance for the sin of refusing to conform to other people’s perceptions of my worth. I was honest with her: it made me uncomfortable and frightened. Both of those feelings are easy enough to deal with, but I’d still not need to do the course even when they are

When I’m finally comfortable and confident, I won’t need a medal as validation.

Beautiful Day

No, it’s not Endgame but having seen this movie yesterday I can categorically state this is, without doubt, the #1 Best Movie about a Videogame by quite some distance. It uses the source material without treating it like the Holy Grail, it doesn’t worry too much about taking the piss out of itself, there is absolutely no romantic diversion to detract from the point, which is Pokemon. There’s enough plot twists to keep you guessing, and the last one I didn’t see coming, which was ultimately most satisfying of all.

Accents were nicely spread, London doubling as Ryme City became indivisible from it’s CGI face-lift, Diplo and Rita Ora’s performances were good enough not to stand out as being shoe-ins and even though Bill Nighy ‘phones in his turn, he’s believable. Honestly, truthfully, you could not ask for a better movie, especially when the Pokemon take front and centre. As a barometer: a pack of Bulbasaur moved me to tears. This film did the job. If you enjoy catching them all, honestly, there’s at least one moment you’ll get won over by.

14/10 please make the sequel just as good, because they’re already planning one.

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I needed the distraction yesterday: it’s been a tough couple of weeks mentally, which only now is beginning to manifest. Good sleep is essential for me, and nobody else in the house is particularly doing that right now: lots of early morning get ups and movement due to stress and illness is taking it’s toll. Science is spot on when it states that sleep deprivation is a modern day malady. Two good nights this weekend has done wonders.

I’m using Strava to track my relative effort on the bike rides and this puts me right in the ‘recommended’ training zone’ area, so we’ll keep doing it whilst building strength as we go. I had thought about doing some weights today but actually we’ll just do another ride and possibly a walk with the belt: if I can put in a bunch of press ups and mountain climbers before and after the ride, that will do as upper body and core. As tomorrow is Body Image week (poetry being written) there’s a lot to say about how I look and feel.

Right now, it really is very good all round.

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See you in five weeks :D

Reality Bites

Not gonna lie, TOTALLY fucked this morning, so much so parts of my body are not functioning at all. However, last night was a revelation. Two lots of exercise, back to back, at a baseline level of fitness that simply has not existed previously. No, it won’t break any records, but to be able to do this at all is progress. Dehydration’s been a bigger issue than at any point in my blood donation process. I see this as significant.

I’ve also done a phenomenal amount of walking this week, which has undoubtedly helped.

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Tuesday was intentional, yesterday not so much, but both have contributed to making me feel like the hip injury isn’t being exacerbated suddenly by a drop in red blood cells. The pain I’ve felt has been a far greater variant of discomfort felt by reactivating scar tissue at the injury site: last night, even with painkillers, I was in more pain than has been felt for some time, stiffness that made fluid movement impossible.

So, I adapted: walking instead of running, reverse lunges instead of jump lunges. I managed an exercise on the Synergy rotation that proceeded Blaze that my Trainer struggled with, and did everything well. No, it wasn’t full out or at highest possible heart-rate, but everything was done. The key here is perseverance, effort and persistence. Before when I’d have gone nope, not doing that instead there is a do one, breathe, do another attitude which really works.

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Now, if I can get my arms to work, time for that vital second cuppa…

A Whole New World

I put a lot of stock on my fitness devices and the result they provide, but today’s post is a reminder that sometimes, numbers are not the whole story:

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59% effort looks, on reflection, like I didn’t try. In this case, nothing is further from the truth. What those numbers don’t show is how long I was able to hang without arms dying, after two days of Blaze that took a lot out of them. It doesn’t consider the 25 40kg bench presses done with little to no recovery time, or the 16kg weights held when doing step ups.

What yesterday showed me is significant enough that I need to write it down:

  • My initial first burst of exercise is tough, and will leave me breathless. Once I’m over that hump, it becomes increasingly easy to manage breathing and push harder. I know this now from an absolute boatload of historical evidence. Management is the key.
  • Overthinking is inhibiting my ability to push further. There needs to be considerably less worrying about how hard shit is, and just focus on ignoring that voice that constantly suggests I should temper effort. Learning how to listen to my body is one of those skills that requires most work.
  • I am way too hard on myself. This is massive. I’m strong, and able. Technique is solid. What is required is speed, and that will only come via practice, so that is what needs to happen going forward. Less fear in being capable will then allow for increasing confidence elsewhere. Honestly is winning the day.
  • I possess so much potential to improve. There was a minor epiphany this week: the people who work hard, and practice their moves, get so much more overall out of their experience. They are the ones for whom progress really means that. All the hard work that’s being put in isn’t just about conditioning and weight loss, it involves learning how to exercise more effectively. My brain is missing out on a load of developmental activity, and that needs to change.

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These are extremely interesting times for my body. Once upon a time, half of what I’m doing seemed virtually impossible, but is now conducted with a measure of ease. Moving forward, it is time to make giving blood every sixteen weeks a bit less of a trauma, to keep building stamina and good technique, and to deal with the continuing psychological fallout when I fail to keep going at a level that feels acceptable.

However, today I’m having a rest from lifting and only doing a bit of cycling…

Bright Eyes

It’s quite nice out. I walked to the Gym (and back) and afterwards did 40 minutes on the bike. My plan, going forward, is to do weights only when it’s not PT and Blaze, and shove all my cardio into the shed. If my maths is correct, that’s at least 700 calories today 2004193

Cycling is most definitely getting easier. The biggest single issue has been the hip injury I’ve been treated for, which still causes a measure of pain when pushed. However, there’s no doubting how things have improved in the last month. As long as I get lots of rest (and yeah, that lack of steps between 2.30 and 3.15 is me having a nap) the recovery is going great guns.

The next question to ask is whether I trust the apps being currently used or not as a judge of how much recovery time should be taken.

I’ll admit to having a sneaky look at my husband’s stats to see how this whole zonal training works out, and there’s also a mindful think about how I’ve struggled with recovery when overdoing things. Everybody is different, and I am a long way away from my husband’s level of stamina. Knowing that, and how my body’s suffering because of the mental demands of the last few weeks, having a nice long walk tomorrow seems like a better way to get my steps/exercise in.

There is a lot to think about in the next week or so. Being physically stronger will help that process enormously.

Bad

I wasn’t sick per se yesterday: my throat’s been scratchy and uncomfortable since Friday, if truth be told. It was the two night’s worth of terrible sleep because of that which did me in on Sunday: instead of working, I relaxed. I dozed. A lot of sport was watched along with playing basic tablet games. By teatime, balance and comfort had returned; rest of the evening spent happily pottering on nothing important. Significantly, there was no exercise.

Today has dawned with a renewed sense of optimism.

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This is cycling for last week, done. Not as much as I’d hoped for but setting the benchmark for what ought to happen next: bit more effort, slightly less grumbling. After Easter, one of the 45 minute classes per week adds a 55 minute variant. I have to decide this week whether I take the challenge or not. It has to happen at least once, so there’s an idea of the difficulty curve.

It’s really lovely to have a lot of exercise options on the table.

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This month has been absolutely transformative. Good and bad, both have shifted so much of the bad away. The more good that can be built as a result, the better things become.

Thank you for sticking with me as I evolve.

Bang Bang

At the end of my first round of Blaze last night,  brain wanted to go home. Fortunately, only my PT (who runs this Thursday class) picked up on the issue. Everybody else thought I had an off night. I cried for a bit in the car afterwards, again in bed. It didn’t help, not did it make me feel any better. It happened, it’s done, and there is nothing sitting here that can be dome to improve the situation. Anxiety can only managed, not eliminated. Once upon a time I would have run away.

That’s not happening any time soon.

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Somebody yesterday introduced me to the concept of Callahan’s Law, and it makes perfect sense: from the spike of anxiety comes a final understanding, that joy is forged from my own pain. Before I wasn’t physically or mentally capable of doing the transformation: even last night, in the depths of exhaustion, stuff got done, things were completed and real, tenable progress made. The bad session was needed to enlighten and move forward: lessons have already been learnt.

Today we’ll be back on the bike, because it transpires my legs are now where the most work needs to be done.

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Ideally, my paper doll colour bars need to match that of my right arm: weight on hips and lower stomach is included in my legs ‘colour’ and that is where the majority of excess fat now resides. It means carrying on the ‘something every day’ mentality that was going to be kick-started with power-walking, but cycling is just as effective. Taking the Fitbit off left wrist and placing it at the bottom of cycling shorts reproduces the movement required to count as steps. Strava does the rest.

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This will be the benchmark week for effort, showing what factors contribute to those scores in purple and red. I can cycle for longer and score lower, if the amount of effort placed in maintaining RPM (spin speed) and Watts (effort in each spin) is not high. The harder it is to pedal, the more Watts are burnt, if there’s sufficient understanding of the principle here. Wednesday’s ride therefore, where there was more effort but less time, scores higher. Ideally, that ought to be the benchmark on high energy days.

Today there won’t be any weights because two days of Blaze means the top half of my body’s knackered. We’ll see, when I get on a bike later (probably at lunchtime) how much is left in the legs. If it’s a 9 today, that’s as productive as a 15 or a 25. Right now, there’s no contest, just the need to start eating away at the shortfall. Oh, and there’s a good chance I’ll fuel with dirty sugar before it begins.

Sometimes, you’re allowed to cheat.