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.

The World is Not Enough

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Between you and me, I am not a great fan of competition. However, it is undoubtedly true that having goals and objectives makes the process of putting in the miles (whether literal or metaphorical) easier to achieve. It is the reason why a daily list of Things to Do is now written without a thought with the second cuppa of the day. In the exercise department, self-motivation is key. Pushing each day to obtain what can often seem like nominal targets does have a benefit: those thirty-six tiny push-ups achieved yesterday will be a little bit stronger once completed today.

Last night, my Functional Threshold Power went up by a massive eight points.¬†It wasn’t through a scheduled test, simply doing the Richmond World Cycling Championship course on Zwift¬†as if I was trying to win it. What is now apparent is that setting goals matter far more than they ever did, because by these yardsticks does the true ability of an individual emerge. It’s why I’ve signed up for all those challenges: sure, some of them dangle free shit like juicy, fresh carrots… the realistic chances of winning any of it is slim to none. That’s not why we’re taking part.

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This effort, plus the fact there was no car to use yesterday in the rainiest day remembered for some time, also pushed the step count up in the range that’s not been seen for many, many months. I miss walking, and that needs to be fixed as the weather improves.

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The Fitbit won’t normally record my steps as miles, and so this is not a strictly accurate representation of effort (18 miles ridden plus about 6 miles walked yesterday would be closer to the truth.) Asking my Fitbit to record the activity as cycling will work if bike moves, but is largely redundant when static, so the thing is shoved in my cycling shorts (at leg level) to record movement that way. As a heart monitor is worn it’s easy to equate an accurate calorie count regardless.

However, if truth be told, the camera and I need to be outside, by the Estuary and in the woods and at the old buildings that are crying out to be photographed. That’s the plan for May, and with an improvement in general organisation, all these things should now be doable.

That’s the plan anyway.

Addicted to Love

Day #2 of Weekdays in the Gym by 9am¬†is beginning to have an effect already. I’m definitely clearer of mind, and there were even some novel ideas that sprang from my brain. I think, if I’m good, I’ll plan for breakfast there on Thursday.¬†It is part of a long-term¬†objective to wean me off getting overly hung up on Social media: if that alone works out it will be worth the effort. My body isn’t nearly tired enough, however, so I’ll be doing my FTP test today.¬†If that doesn’t wear me out, I’m not working nearly hard enough.

After that, I’m slowly becoming capable of planning a month’s worth of work in advance.¬†It is immensely satisfying to be able to produce consistent content, and then still have time to work on my own projects. I have not had a day since before Christmas where I didn’t feel I was working at capacity, and once this planning is set, there can be the opportunity to add more to the roster. For now, I am ridiculously proud of the Art Aesthetics sequence running on Instagram and Facebook. It does not matter one¬†iota that only a handful of people are seeing it either, it is simply the start of another journey, exploring what can be done with simply my own imagination and a graphics programme.

This is what I have always wanted to do, and it remains glorious.

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Mr Alt had his first real PT session last night. I’ve been trying to encourage him to do it for months, and finally, after Christmas, persistence won. Last night, after getting home, he thanked me for pushing him to make the decision.¬†There is already evidence of physical alteration that Gym time has wrought, and it is quietly encouraging that this is possible with someone who has been previously quite resistant to change. Yesterday I was reminded too that that other people find inspiration from these words. Yes,¬†it really did make my day,¬†plus, anyone sticking the current 007 in my timeline gets extra snacks regardless.

If I can keep this momentum going until Friday, it will have been a great week.

You Wear It Well

I was in the Gym at 9am this morning. There’s the first changes to air quality which, I suspect, is the beginning of cherry blossom and daffodils making my hyper-sensitive lungs splutter and strain their way to the end of July. Ah, hayfever.¬†My weight’s up again but not by much, so, we’ll keep on with the food monitoring and driving myself into the ground under the auspices of Fitness (TM) Don’t get me wrong, I still love all this shit, but on days where my brain is trying to process all the mental stuff that is going on above the priority of physical relaxation… it gets tough.

I managed a significant step forward on the exercise front yesterday, as it happens.

Twenty-six seconds faster is MAHOOSIVE, people. It shows a considerable strengthening of leg muscles and improvement in stamina. There needs to be more hills in my training now and tomorrow an FTP test is scheduled. Improvement is not just about doing the same thing over and over, after all. I struggled a bit with heavier weights this morning so went down a bit to complete maximum sets of everything. It is the hangover from last week’s negatives, but there is strength there which didn’t exist before. It would help if I’d have managed more than six hours sleep last night, but that’s what happens when you decide to change everything pretty much overnight.

It’ll take a while to sort out all the changes I instigated over the weekend, but today is a decent start. I have to hope that fatigue won’t completely¬†scupper everything by Friday, but am already cautiously hopeful. It’s when something unexpected happens that everything goes tits up, so *fingers crossed* the next seven days can be as stress-free in that regard as possible…

Another Way To Die

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SKYFALL.

Happy Birthday, Daniel <3 Don’t @ me, this is my World and I can do whatever the fuck I like, plus you’re only fifty once.


This morning’s been a bit of a brain fog day, I’ll be honest. However, I’ve now sorted my gaming life to be considerably less cluttered than it was, and the next stage is to use the weekend to get myself well ahead of the planning curve. I had briefly entertained walking to the Gym today but concluded my day would be better served in PJ’s, with copious amounts of tea and the time to start some more reflective planning. Last night, despite it only being 4 days since Blood Donation, I broke a PB on Zwift, and I’ll be doing 150km over the next three days in order to keep my weekly total intact.¬†Suddenly, it is not enough to just sit around and do enough.

Suddenly, I need to be doing more.

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I got a rejection e-mail yesterday. I’m getting used to them, and every time one happens I just become more determined to write better work. In this case, the poem written is one of the best things I feel I have ever produced.¬†As a result, I’m not going to share it publicly but will keep it as the first part of a wider portfolio of work that I can use as a benchmark. There needs to be more work like this, but for that, the organisation has to happen. At least I am now capable and aware enough to grasp what has to change as a result. It isn’t the time to sit and work, so much as the mindset for this and everything else.

Yeah, it’s still fucking freezing, but the temperature has risen slightly so things are looking up. We were supposed to have a guy come start working on the garden today… that’s not happening for a while.

Right, I need to get my arse in gear.

This is My Church

This morning, whilst the rest of my house slept, I was up and in training¬†kit. Walking home from the Gym yesterday I turned my ankle, which is painful to walk on but isn’t affected by pedalling¬†on a¬†bike. Therefore, the plan was set: 50k yesterday meant I needed 60k today to hit my training goal. In the end, it transpired that was closer to 62k (coz rounding up and down) but that was still completed in two hours. I am still in shock.

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The last three months have been fairly revelatory: I’ve used Zwift¬†before, but never stuck to any kind of target. Now, I cannot think of not training: when the weather gets better, weekends will be spent cycling outside, but I now have a sure-fire means by which to exercise which does not need anything other than me strapping on a heart rate monitor and walking down the end of the garden. It’s a fantastic part of my health regime, has undoubtedly made me far stronger on the lower half of my body, and is pushing me to do stuff that I’d have never really considered before.

I have finally become a convert to the Church of Virtual Cycling.

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Ideally, I shouldn’t have taken three rest days this week, but health circumstances dictated the big weekend push which, on reflection, is no bad thing. Next week is going to be a bit tricky, as tomorrow I give blood: that means at least a week of just not having the energy to push at anything, and coupled with the menopausal trauma of this last couple of days… well, it’s going one of two ways. I’m hoping we don’t get the Disaster Movie scenario: tomorrow will be a rest day regardless, but for the rest of the week there’s a plan to do my standard 30k in whatever time it takes, without breaking any records. Next week is very much a ‘doing the miles’ week and my aspirations of an FTP increase will need to wait not only until I’ve had seven days to regen but on my ankle, which is not really that happy to be pushed to do anything.

I’m on a week of light, maintenance weightlifting, supplemented by an hour of the treadmill at the Gym. I’m on the waiting list for the Bluetooth device which is¬†needed to pair the Gym treadmills with Zwift, which will allow me to run virtually as well as cycle. Yes, I am a full convert.¬†Well, if you’re gonna do something¬†properly…

It is still a shame I can’t embed my Strava data in WordPress, but you can’t have everything.¬†For now, I’ll make do with copy-pasting, and just keep on racking up the miles.

God, who would have thought I’d get so much enjoyment out of exercise?

Walk this Way

Yesterday, I rode 50k before lunchtime.

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That’s 31 miles for the metrically challenged in the room, and amazingly easy on reflection. I had so much left in the tank I went and crushed the step goal in the afternoon, and this has pushed me to try and keep 12k minimum for the rest of the week.¬†I have a choice of walking to the Gym in the rain or going an hour early and doing it on a treadmill. I suspect the latter is going to win, just because getting wet is not that attractive when the temperature is just above freezing.

This week is two PT sessions too, and a focus on HEAVY LIFTING which should be easier as I’m having my left elbow worked on in tandem. My health¬†issues are now down to a couple of minor niggles, and I’m determined to keep on top of body maintenance. However, not gonna lie, 50k was tough. I can feel it in my legs today (my arse hates me) and this week there’s gonna be a bit of hill work in my normal run of easy flat roads. At some point, those muscles need some heavy work. It may as well be sooner than later.

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Today’s all about sorting out everything else so I have more time to cycle, edit the novel and play video games.¬†By lunchtime, all the scheduled content for the week should be ready to go regardless, which is a definite improvement on previous weeks.

Is this what grown-up feels like?