Run for Home

I appear to be doing blogs in pairs right now, mostly because they’re being fitted in between other tasks. That meant recording a podcast today, which on reflection should have been done on Monday. It’ll get programmed that way for next week.

Today was also when I did my first 10 km for quite some time, and I know it can be done a great deal better. Finding time to do so isn’t necessarily the issue, but finding the mental space in order to function successfully whilst doing so very much is. That is the bigger ask.

I am making time going forward to address the mental consequences of my previous life choices.

Go

Having said everything yesterday, however, change is occurring.

Nothing ever evolves by empty words and blogs, now, does it…

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Today has been full on, and I’m not done yet. As I type this, I’m waiting in a Zoom space for an Open Mic/Poetry Reading to start. I have a lot to think about as well. There is so much going on, most of which is really difficult to explain, but that’s not necessarily the problem it previously was. I had my first Proper Boxing lesson today and honestly, it’s obvious that this is a bit of a game changer. Now all that needs to happen is my brain to percolate on the consequences…

Last Train to Trancentral

Last few days have been a bit of a rollercoaster. I’ve stopped watching the TV show responsible for filling my brain to capacity, and there will be more on Severance as the week goes on. For now, I’m almost back up to date, have a new project on the go and am ready to go start kicking the arse of a training programme that needs to get me ready to do a 30-mile bike ride and a 10 km run within a week of each other. We’ll get there. For now, however, it’s time to concentrate on adjusting to a bit more hard work everywhere…

Downtown Lights

Tomorrow, I read a poem in a Book Launch for the first time. It’s not just me, there’s nearly 30 other people involved in this, and my single poem is, as are all the others, about being neurodivergent. I’m still no further forward with a diagnosis with my Doctor, and it has been almost a year now. However, when I realize it took my daughter three years to get even seen for NHS treatment on waiting lists pre-COVID? I’m not sure when you start complaining, if indeed you can at all.

Anyway, it’s a busy week, and I am slowly beginning to readjust to a new way of working. The physical changes to a body that’s now accepting both intermittent fasting and more exercise, that there’s strength in places where it never really existed and that I feel more physically confident than I have for some time are all good, positive steps. Other things are still lamentably awful, though. You can’t have everything. The trick really is not to moan about it all too much, or you become stereotypically British.

I booked myself an open mic on Thursday with some new people in Coventry. It’s always good to see how other people do it. It’s not long now to June and having to do it in an actual physical space with real people, and that’s already looking a bit scary. We’ll cope, because we have to, as that’s the next logical iteration of the project. It is a project too. Some people might not like what I do, but that’s never my problem, and always their loss. Let’s keep moving forward.

Down in the Dirt

I should have done this yesterday, but there is a LOT on right now and honestly, this is easier. I thought about time-shifting it back too, but today it’s better to reflect back on yesterday than pretend that this WAS yesterday :D I’ve made some fairly significant weightlifting progress, and the difference between old me and NEW ME (intentional caps) is quite significant. It isn’t just the weight, but it’s how my body reacts to fatigue that is interesting.

I achieved this new weight thanks to a pyramid set yesterday, and at the end fatigued in the way I’m used to when warming up: my lungs literally need time to get comfortable first thing into any exercise. Once I have my heart rate up and running, a lot of stuff becomes quite easy (as demonstrated by the run last week) but it’s that effort to get there which is tough. In the final 12 reps, body told me to stop at six, and there was literal gasping for air.

Once upon a time, after that level of work, I’d stagger home: yesterday the tiredness was apparent in my limbs, but I could still function. Of course, this could be as a result of the second COVID jab too, but honestly I think this is me, getting fitter, and having simultaneously to learn how to deal with the changes that brings… because there is change, and I do need to find the means to accommodate it in a way that is easily digestible to my brain.

Anyway, today is HIIT, as has now become the trend twice a week, and I could not be happier.

Just For You

A weekend of game-playing did the trick. I am back on track and in the groove, and this is progress because instead this morning of playing a game over breakfast, there was exercise instead.

I promised myself something, every day this month, even if it’s just a walk, and that plan has been kept to pretty well, even with the awful weather (and personal news) last week. It’s become the foundation for everything else and no, it’s not all about to go out of the window. That would have been the old me. This, better version understands how everything just goes sideways when you don’t prioritize your own mental health over everything else. In that regard, this is a very decent place to be right now.

It’s also right that only with the ability to heal and address the issues does any significant progress get made. Many people will never have that luxury in their lives, or never feel the need. That latter revelation took a while to grasp: trying to get other people to confront their own demons is not your job. If someone wants to talk, you let them, but there is little or no point in pushing that. Only your life can be altered, and no-one else’s.

Knowing what matters is a big deal now. Making sure that the priorities are kept is still at the habit-forming stage.

We’ll get there in time.

The Race

Dear Strava,

I’d like a quick word about your business model, if I may.

Before we start, don’t worry, this is not a rant about Summit, I have no issues paying a subscription and never have. You have to fund yourselves somehow, that’s a given. My problem, such as it is, revolves around the countless ‘wellness’ companies and fitness equipment providers who you keep encouraging to turn up and ‘challenge’ me for ‘rewards’ which we all know aren’t really rewards at all. What happens is that they get my email address under the mistaken apprehension I’ll buy their stuff, if of course I even bother now to ‘claim my reward’ in the first place.

I think it might be time to evolve past the digital finishers badges to something more tangible.

We all know you’re only competing with yourself, when all is said and done, except those people who do genuinely enjoy racing and being best. I know they’re out there, and also grasp all too well the significance of that as motivation. The psychology is above fault here. What might be nice, as is now the case in Zwift, would be to have some kind of virtual currency earned from events that could translate to… I dunno, being able to customise my homepage, or which you or a wellness organisation might take and match for a charity donation… because the more this becomes about consumerism, the less I want to take part.

Exercise, I will grant you for some, is a quite lucrative career path, but for most of us the fact we’re running or cycling is because we can’t realistically afford all these high-end ‘luxury’ goods that you seem to think we’ll buy if you offer a discount code. Being more ethical is something I’d like a lot of the companies I interact with at least try and look into, and although obviously you make quite a bit of money from selling us as a captive and aspirational audience, there is more to it than that. Take this group I’ve become a part of…

Mental health’s a subject I’ve always been passionate about, and this group is, like it or not, a reason right now to push hard. I get no reward except knowing other people have formed a community where nobody will /flex at me or try and belittle my progress… in fact, it’s quite the opposite. This is a place where I just feel happy to be, and thanks to this I’m beginning to stretch my legs as a runner… and that’s where my second group comes in. I ‘ve given myself three months to run across the UK, where my progress on a street in my town translates to a medal, thanks to @MedalVirtual‘s setup. Yes, I’ve paid for it too, more than happy to do so. It’s a memento, not a transaction, and that’s a vital difference.

The brilliant nature of Strava’s setup means I could easily enter an event across the planet and take part virtually, and the pandemic has highlighted how the importance of exercise is not just about large, group events but simply the business of getting yourself more active for both physical and mental wellbeing. I’m halfway across the country from both the people who have organised these groups but neither mind, this isn’t about having to turn up on the day and just be seen. I can contribute significantly and still remain at home, and that’s what makes this so brilliant.

So, Strava, if you won’t consider virtual currency for sprucing up my homepage, maybe you might consider working with companies to provide me some better rewards… other people are already aware of the benefits.

Yours, six days ahead of her January mileage total,
S
xxx

Fear

Have decided to do what I said I wasn’t going to do and publish myself on video to YouTube. It’s another tiny step outside the comfort zone [TM] and as I already know the worst that could happen, there’s very little left to lose. I’ve not had a new Patreon sign-up for months, so stuff needs to change. If I get one new person as a sub, it was worth it. That’s the tiny benchmark that needs to be attained. One new Patreon Sub.

It worries me that those surrounding me have little interest in what I do. It makes me wonder why they follow in the first place. When you ask, the answers are always wrapped around how interesting I am or thought-provoking, yet that is not enough to make them take part. There is the very real understanding, of course, that I have chased true fans away in the past, because that level of devotion I found worrying, and in some cases actually frightening. Finding a balance is a tough ask.

This is as much about me as it is them.

Comfort zones are hard things to break free of. If life’s good enough, especially in the current climate, why on earth would you want to in the first place? There’s enough fear and loathing in place without intentionally manufacturing any more… but to grow, this is the task. It’s why today 10km outside needs to happen for no other reason than sometimes, the only way things improve is when they hurt. I know this will be painful and difficult and that would once have been enough to prevent any forward motion. Now, it just has to be done.

Also, there could really be better trainers at some point, so yeah, being rich and famous won’t happen without showing my face in this world that is utterly obsessed with looks over stats. Sometimes I wish I was better at things that get you better noticed too. Being as susceptible to jealousy and social avarice as the next human being… all of this is part of the exam syllabus. How you cope, and how you react. Getting five people to follow the YouTube Channel yesterday was the most excitement I’ve had virtually for days.

Fear must be overcome for us to proceed.

Staying Out for the Summer

Okay then, MONDAY. The plan today, such as it is, will be to try to better attack the level of ‘work’ I have placed upon myself. I can catch up on backlog this week without everything collapsing in a heap, because the pressure of that previous deadline has passed. The next major submission window is August: instead of planning that a couple of weeks in advance, we’ll stick it in with plenty of lead time.

It’s a long game, after all, juggling a bunch of different requirements simultaneously. I also realise that some people think updating a blog weekly is more than enough. I do not understand this. These are people just here doing their business in a different place to mine. For me, writing has to be a daily endeavour, in some form… so if I’m not doing it online, it will be happening offline.

These things are now part of my DNA.

I’ve decided to start a twelve-week training plan on the bike: I would have been doing a 50km ride twelve weeks from yesterday (mid September) so it makes sense to do the training regardless, as a way to build stamina and keep my momentum going. That means this week I hope to complete the 14 bits of exercise a Week goal I set at the start of June.

We got in 12 last week, with almost six hours of high intensity effort. I’m feeling pretty good about the process ahead: walk Tue/Thur/Sat, ride every day. Some will be less stressful than others, obviously, but there will always be something going forward. I’m thinking of doing the rides early and the walks later, or we might vary them according to my mental workload.

Either way, I am ready for some major effort going into the Summer.