Better Living Through Chemistry

Let us begin this week correctly.

This has been an earworm since my husband left hospital, so putting it here (hopefully) might finally release the pain of repetition, though I doubt it. There is a phenomenal amount of Real Life Gubbins to achieve today, and I have the uncomfortable feeling my PC hard drive is close to failure. As a result, this morning will also be spent ensuring I have a backup of everything important somewhere else.

After that? New calendars on the wall, new goals to achieve. A major collection from last year gets a re-write. I’m going to start a new one. There’s a plan for NaNoWriMo that this year I may actually be able to stick to along with everything else, if the planning will support it. That’s the key, in all of this. Proper organisation will win the day, it just has to start now and be executed thoroughly.

I think that means I’m gonna stop playing games again for a while.

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I came back before the holiday to play Warcraft which I’d not touched since before Christmas. Now I’ll admit that the urge to log on every day is rapidly diminishing, mostly because of the effort required to get what I want. There are no quick fixes any more, of course you have to work, and that time is better used doing other stuff. The next iteration of the game will be announced next month, and then we’ll see where we are.

Until then, what matters more than online satisfaction is real life progress.

The Sensual World

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Five out of seven days this week will have involved exercise. It has been really, REALLY hard work. I don’t have a problem with this either. In fact, yesterday on the treadmill, right about at that yellow bar, a piece of me detached inside before disintegrating. Holding onto fear is always a bad idea. Historic fear is even more dangerous. I don’t have that to worry about now.

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Numbers help make planning easier. I’ve found it hard over the last year working out how much effort is being placed into exercise relative to feeling. That’s changed in the last month: it is becoming far easier to balance energy and output. Internally the issues of the last month are now classified as ‘past’ and that’s all that is really needed. There’s also a number of significant physical changes taking place. I might even take pictures.

If we can get the posting back on track? Things will begin to fall into place.

Believe

There was a point, in last night’s Blaze class, when I lost confidence in myself. If you’ve been following this fitness journey, you’ll know that particular class uses heart rate to encourage greater effort, via a special wearable piece of tech. It then broadcasts said effort onto a screen where you’re placed beside everybody else in the class. All the instructors will also tell you it’s not a competition with anybody else except yourself.

The truth however is anything but.

Last night, at a crucial moment when I was flat out on a treadmill, looking up to the screen above showed everybody else in the max (red) heart-rate zone, with me in green. The mental v physical disconnect hit like a punch. By the end of the class, I was in floods of tears: fortunately for me, there were people there who not only helped me, but reminded that everything is relative, including the level of effort.

I underestimated the amount of work I’ve done this week. If I add up all the active minutes in the last four days (using Fitbit as my guide) it isn’t 225 minutes, but 353, and this does not include Tuesday where the watch was very intentionally not recording. So yeah, maybe I should factor that in when it gets to Thursday. Also, I did a Synergy Gym class before the Blaze one, and probably didn’t manage my energy output that well whilst doing so.

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Most sessions, my brain’s awake enough to see past the lie of ‘if you’re not in the red zone you can be working harder’ but a month’s worth of mental stress could not be dodged last night. The visual was, quite frankly, just too powerful to ignore. It’s the underlying problem with these classes that’s always existed, but nobody ever talks about. If you allow the red to fool you, everything can and does fall apart.

This morning, truth is far easier to rationalise.

There is nothing wrong with competition: it’s a healthy, normal part of sport. The concept’s there to give you an idea of how other people’s fitness compares with yours, but it is up to you to factor in the variables: weight, age, ability can’t be quantified as colour on a screen. Except I’ve seen what people do when they get tired in this class: they forget which lane they’re in. They forget what exercise they’re doing and just run on autopilot.

The numbers and colours affect mental ability in many different ways. Today, I used that as a basis for a poem. Stepping back, looking objectively at what happened, it is clear that my brain fell for the lie: this isn’t about effort expended, but a longer term view of the journey this is a step within. I wish my club did more work on mental health within it’s auspice and didn’t just assume members have that covered.

I suspect they’d not consider it important because it won’t turn a profit.

P.S.: This is also the problem.

The Sensual World

I’m still having trouble sticking to a daily schedule, but now my husband is back home, things will get easier. It’s been a month since all his health issues kicked off and although he’s nowhere near recovered yet, having him here’s made everything about 1000% less stressful. However, what the last four weeks has done is focus my mind towards what needs to be done.

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Heartrate’s been a constant indicator of health issues for some time and that tiny spike was the start of what felt like a cold but which is now fading away. Tonight I’ll have finished the first week of three exercise classes in five days, added to which there’s been two PT classes, two very brisk thirty minute walks plus a thirty minute general fitness class.

225 minutes of exercise over that period seems a decent starting point.

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64% is the new benchmark for effort. I reckon this can be improved.

Time to get started.

Flawless

Before I went to bed last night, tea cups were put out for the morning, bags already inside: chai for youngest, breakfast blend for me. A protein shake got made and refrigerated. These are simple tasks that, for the last month, weren’t doable. Not enough space in my brain existed in order to plan that far ahead. Finally, order is returning from chaos.

There’s a lot of anger to deal with currently. Most of it is out of my hands, which makes rationalising situations occasionally problematic. Being the sole parent at home is the hardest thing for so many reasons. I miss my husband terribly. However, he is undoubtedly ill enough to be in the best place for him physically: mentally, however, there is a creeping doubt this is doing more harm than good.

I can only support him and hope there’s some comfort with each passing today.

The fallout from this month will continue to be felt for some time. Right now, it’s time to attempt to inject normality into existence as far as possible. That means a gym trip shortly, and a new exercise class this evening. Better eating, more sleep and less stress is the long-term goal, all three of which are very much dependant on personal circumstances.

After that, it’s time to fix my formal writing.

Coming Up

Hi.

You won’t know me, but I’ve been here for a while. It’s been a long, difficult journey to finally start blogging: lots of courage, a fair measure of faith. However, circumstances have dictated change: starting tomorrow, this is how things work.

Neophyte Me could tear the book up and start from scratch, but that would ignore a lot of very good work undertaken over the Summer. It is no longer possible to pretend everything is the same as it was at the start of this year because… nope.

Instead, truth’s a better bet.

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The first plan after illness was to ensure September’s exercise output exceeded August’s, which is now done. In 30 days, exercise happened in 20. Next month that will increase to 25. I intend to *gasp* do a third Blaze class on Monday evenings. I have new, workable goals to exceed and then, after Christmas, we’ll see about some redefinition.

I also want to get back to Zwift-ing. Three times a week is the first checkpoint.

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My husband is still in Hospital. We should tomorrow know what exactly is preventing his return home, and all things being equal I’d expect to see him back on Tuesday. This has completely destroyed submission plans for the end of this month, because being both mum and dad to a 14 year old plus maintaining domestic sanctity is fucking hard work.

On that front, disappointment versus realistic expectation will be Monday’s writing blog. It’s National Poetry Day on Thursday so that’ll gives brain summat to look forward to. Plus, Think-tober starts on Tuesday. Everything will find a level.

It is all doable, eventually.

As to being the new girl, and what that means?

See me in the morning.

Games People Play

The world is changing fast. Some of it is still glacial, but with the amount of melting water around the planet right now we’ll probably need a better metaphor soon… and within it all, so many wish desperately to be right, above all else. There are reasons why laws exist, going back to the days of the bloke with the tablets came down from a  mountain. Human beings are fundamentally flawed. There needs to be a means by which this behaviour can be highlighted.

Law is fundamental to current existence, like it or not.

Without law, #MeToo doesn’t change women’s rights. Serious assaults are ignored, historical abuse condemned to memory. Major companies and organisations, more and more, are finding it impossible to circumnavigate climate change regulations, emissions standards, deforestation… and the list goes on. You can’t say laws matter for one thing but then they’re insignificant somewhere else. Good or bad, this is the Social Contract we all signed up for.

Except more and more, people are doing just that on their own personal platforms.

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Democracy is a hot topic right now, and I’m not going there other than with a couple of tweets and the understanding that there will be people who now believe with 100% certainty that a bunch of posh judges are taking away their democratic right to fuck out of Europe like they voted to. You have fun with that. The reality is so much more nuanced, subtle and complex it’s taken three years for anybody to be in a position to present a reliable version of truth. That’s where we are now.

This is the real future you voted for.

I now have to hope that the people in power who do care about the reality of our future, knee deep in water as it will be, are well aware of what needs to be done. Leave or Remain are irrelevant when you look at the facts. The PM acted illegally in order to ensure he gets a ‘democratic’ vote ratified by any means necessary. I’m sorry, that’s not how this works. That’s never how democracy has worked.

The people in power have shown themselves to be very much left wanting.