I Go to Sleep

I just had a kip on the sofa. It means I’ve managed eight hours of sleep for the first time since the weekend and is a reminder that if I want to get better at exercise, there has to be more rest.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this tired before in my life.

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The problem is that this isn’t just physical: yesterday was a day of getting my brain around the two writing projects I want to get finished. I realised just how awful my work was back before I believed in myself and what was possible. Then I finally lost my temper with a group of toxic people who I will no longer allow to hold back my progress when it comes to doing what matters. Now they are all on time? I can start to focus on what matters, which tomorrow means a day of self-care and pampering. I have skin products and am going to take care of hands and feet as well as body and brain.

Then I hope to finish week one of the Hard Bastard Exercise Regime on a high.

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Nobody said this would be easy, and it hasn’t been, and there have been some stutters on the way to becoming more consistent. However, progress is undoubtedly forward.

I hope tonight’s bike ride will be a distinct improvement on yesterday’s.

Relax

There should be a ton of stuff that is freaking me out today, but nothing is sticking. Finally, after a long period of being unable to reconcile all the emotional variables, mindfulness is beginning to have a real, tangible affect on mental health during stressful periods.

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There’s a ton of RL stuff to cope with, plus there’s a bit of a meltdown happening in an area which should really have been better prepared to cope with change, but (amazingly) isn’t. On top of that I’m working on improving physical strength and stamina, which is far harder than I’d ever imagined would be the case. Yet last night, despite having been offered an easy way out, I took the harder road. I’m glad I did. It was actually enjoyable.

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The previous night, due to the fact I’d swapped to the geared bike, I only managed 70% effort. I used to get annoyed at people telling me how little I’d be doing in raids when I was a Warcraft player, or if I was playing a spec that could do more damage. Eventually came the realisation that if you’re truly going to master a skill, doing a half-assed job will never get the results required. Gone are the days when I want to just be good enough. I don’t need to beat you, or even be in competition, but I have my own (very exacting) standards of competency. That means I can make 90% effort and more, if brain can be worked around the gears.

Today is my new scheduled PT slot. I still have an ache in shoulders from working myself really hard on Monday in the Gym, and I’ll do the same on Friday morning. This entire regime seems to be working out far better than I anticipated, mostly doe to the fact I’ve stopped obsessing over details and overthinking everything.

Let’s hope I can keep this up.

Ride on Time

My husband is a member of British Cycling, and last night printed the first page of a PDF file that he was directed to as part of his membership package. This details an eight week Sofa to 50k Bike Ride training programme.

As it transpires, I’m quite tempted to use this as the warm-up to Eroica because it ensures I get plenty of rest before the day. I’m going to take it and show my PT as a discussion starter next week, but before then I need a new Fitness Plan on the wall.

Next Five Weeks planned. Orange is the bike.

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My starting weight from five weeks ago is EXACTLY THE SAME as it is now, except with a crucial difference: I am eating more to fuel the extra workload. That means, logically speaking, once I adjust to more miles and start eating less? My weight will fall. The PT (quite sensibly) suggests not fixating on the scales, especially as I’m adjusting to a completely new form of exercise. Undoubtedly my stamina is improving, and the fact I’ve increased just about every weight in my upper body sessions suggests that side of things is benefiting from the change.

Now, all we need is legs at a consistent level.

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The key in all of this is the Weighted Average Power number: the higher that number, the harder my legs are effectively working. This is the second day in a row I’ve been able to maintain 134w and the plan now is to settle at this level for a while and build the endurance. Ideally I’ll want more but both ankles and knees need time to get the plan and work with it. I also need a Physio to poke my right foot at some point which I suspect has a trapped nerve somewhere. They’ve done wonders for my hands via shoulders so I would hope something can be done to at least reduce irritation.

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The other massive, positive change is my sleep pattern. I’ve had no choice but to go to bed at 9pm all this week, I’ve been physically incapable of anything otherwise. Both body and brain have been shattered and that lasts until I have to pee, almost without fail. Tonight I can afford a couple of extra hours because there’s no 7am school run but honestly, my life is getting better and not worse despite the need to rest more. I’m noticing more attentiveness and crucially, when I am tired, it is everything that shuts down. Fighting the tail end of my cough/cold/illness this week my body pretty much insisted I go have a kip, or we were not doing anything at all.

I cannot remember the last time that happened.

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The plan remains to aim for 110 miles a week, which is utterly doable at my hourly rate. As this is a static bike there’s no worries about the weather, and the recording tools I have (heart-rate monitor, Zwift) allow some decent number crunching after the fact.

I’ll let you know how I’ve gotten on in five weeks.

Warm Sound

I have an infection. It is quite possibly viral, sitting in throat and lymph nodes. I am often guilty of overthinking illness, and in previous years would have dismissed all forms of exercise until I knew things were ‘better.’ Yesterday, I did a session of PT and the most productive hour on a bike I can remember since I started using Zwift.

Exercise is now becoming relaxation:Β once upon a time, I would have slept through yesterday. Now, I’ll freely admit this is will what will happen (but only for a while) after I’ve finished writing here today. I needed yesterday as proof that I am physically in a better place than was previously the case. Having proved this to myself I can relax. All of this is, I now realise, as much a test of stamina and endurance as anything else. The numbers exist as evidence to other people that I’m doing the work. After that, the only person I’m really doing all this shit for is myself.

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I’m also finding drawing my three panel cartoon surprisingly fruitful. There’s a plan in place for the first month or so, leading up to February 1st which is Time to Talk day. I’m planning to spend some time visualising what Depression looks like to me. This is a fairly ambitious plan for someone with no real skills (as yet) in that department but aiming big’s worked in the past. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?

If I need to be reminded how much has changed since this time last year, I’m currently on a three week uninterrupted exercise streak. It won’t be the end of the World either if that finishes today. Life now is about understanding that even with obstacles to health, you can remain so with enough enthusiasm.

There is certainly motivation to spare at present.

Silent Night

I know I said I’d be along sooner, but there is a reason.

My planner, normally chocablock, has been bereft of anything since Tuesday, which was when I finally sent out my final piece of Patreon content to users. After that, I realise, things needed to stop. I have run myself both to mental and physical standstill this week, which culminated in a 7.30 am Hospital trip yesterday with my youngest, and who is now going to live the rest of his life carrying an EpiPen. As the Specialist stated (mostly I suspect for my reassurance) sometimes you can do nothing about these things in childhood, they just happen. That’s a metaphor for the Patreon thing too, I now realise. It would have been easy to just ignore all the grand plans and simply go back to the way things were.

Sometimes however, the unknown is your best way forward.

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I know how stressed I’d been last night on the bike, and can feel the tension in neck and shoulders this morning, slowly melting away. Months of stress over performance and parental responsibility won’t vanish, but it will ease. It is helping me push through lack of energy (legs hurt this morning, that means progress) and will, undoubtedly, keep me keen as I go into the Christmas period. There is no intention to stop, even with provision for a ride on Christmas Day in the ManShed. This whole exercise thing has become the foundation on which everything else will be based, and it is glorious.

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For now, therefore, I’m gonna make some toast, write some blog posts and then muck around for a bit before I go do my last Gym session before Christmas.

The future, undoubtedly, is looking fitter.

Work It :: Week One COMPLETE

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I’ve never lost this amount of weight in one hit before. It was a shock to watch too, that even with the occasional chocolate bar in the mix, this was what my body needed. Six days of consistent, focussed effort has meant that the weight has vanished. I’ve done work on a Watt Bike for the first time, gone back to the Rowing machine (and not performed that badly) and run. Yes, there has been lots of running. I’m going to have to retire my knackered shoes this week, the tread has worn to nothing on both heels.

The key, of course, has been adhering to the calorie goal. It means on certain days I’ve just skipped lunch to be able to have a substantive evening meal. A lot of protein has been consumed, yet the sugar will return today, as I have my husband’s Christmas meal this evening (who eats their festive dinner on a Monday?) but after that I intend to keep up the good fight right up until Christmas Eve. Then, I suspect, there may be a slice of Christmas Cake with my cuppa.

Week One DUNSKI

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I’m not going to weigh myself until Wednesday, so I can get the excess of food today out of my system. The kids finish school on Wednesday, and after that I intend to exercise early, and often. That means I paid my Zwift sub this week and I’ll be back on the bike before I’m scheduled to ride on Christmas Day. There’ll be updates as we go, of course… because I firmly believe there is even more weight to lose…

Work It :: The Beginning

Right then. Time to stop fucking about.

I spent an hour yesterday with my Trainer, and she made me a plan. It is, without doubt, quite a conservative affair, but has the potential to break me. Except, as I hung on the Roman Chair yesterday after 30 minutes of really very hard treadmill exertion, sweat literally dripping off me and onto the floor, there was a realisation. I don’t hang any more. Now I hold on and in my arms is the distinct realisation that, if I wanted, I could pull up. Sure, I wouldn’t get very far, but there will be a point not far from now where, when that happens, I will do pull ups. I will go up and down, and that will be another thing ticked off my list.

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I made this happen. Sure, my Trainer encourages, and lots of people support but, deep down I have become my own evolutionary process. I’m the one putting in the hours and working everything else around it. I know the limits of body and that’s why this new plan will be hard because there’s so much new stuff to learn. I’m gonna find a way to save every new cardio workout in my Phone, and then make reminders of all the other stuff in the same way. I’m gonna spend time at the weekend making new iTunes compilations. Then I’m gonna turn up on Tuesday after my PT on Monday and fucking smash the next five weeks into the ground.

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When I do pull ups properly, you can absolutely bet your fucking arse there will be video. Then it’s onto the next thing I couldn’t do, and the next one, until I run out of shit that scares me in terms of exercise. I’m too far into this now to turn around on January 1st and say fuck it, stopping now. This is not about proving a point or letting my progress slide. This is making absolutely sure that I am strong enough both internally and externally to do all the stuff I want to, for as long as is need, on my terms.

Fight me, fitness regime.