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

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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?

You’re Not Alone

Once upon a time, I would have sat and felt sorry for myself today. There would have been moping about, and sad moments, with wistful stares and quite possibly tears. However, I’m not the person I used to be. Last night there was a forceful moment of revelation: other people do not dictate your happiness anymore. If I am to truly evolve out of my old state and into the person I truly wish to become, there is a part of my life holding things back, which has done for far too long.

This morning, therefore, I took a walk into the unknown.

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The initial signs are encouraging, but I am aware of not getting my hopes up too high. However, the fact remains that I’ll never affect long-term, significant change in any aspect of my life without some pain and effort. Therefore, if it matters enough, it is time to start altering those portions of existence I am not happy with. After a month of my own content being very well received, it is time to put my social needs back into some kind of order.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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.

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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.

Pure Comedy

I heard this song for the first time yesterday. The last time a piece of music affected me this deeply? 1978. I was 12 years old, and at the start of a journey that was never satisfactorily concluded.

Today, I know I’m back on the right road.

I’ve done nothing in the last couple of weeks other than plan a complex, internet-based future for myself. It is only a smaller part of a larger whole, in effect: exercise and self-improvement all happen away from a screen, and long may this continue. I realise that to succeed I need to put myself about far more than is currently the case and that is going to happen. Not today, or by the end of this week, but when January comes to a close I will have stuff to show and progress to capitalise on. By hard work and persistence, so will come reward and peace. I can change the World, and I have.

The slow drip of cash into my Paypal account is testament to this, that people are slowly but surely prepared to take a chance on the unknown girl with the dirty white hair and a gobby attitude. A promise was made yesterday to be more tolerant and understanding of those with whom I don’t agree, but that doesn’t give the world carte blanche to piss on my fireworks without a comeback. Stupidity remains just that, you don’t get a free pass because somehow your opinion’s acceptable to a bunch of like minded strangers. Like the words of the song say:

Oh comedy
Their illusions they have no choice but to believe
Their horizons that just forever recede
And how’s this for irony:
Their idea of being free
Is a prison of beliefs
That they never ever have to leave

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2018 is already my year, and it’s only Day Two. I know this not because I’m an arrogant, feisty woman who’ll use your balls for target practice. Men, not all women are out to get you (you know this, right?) or want to have sex with you (sorry, get over yourselves.) If we can get past those two (seeming) intractable obstructions and just treat each other as human beings? It will all get considerably easier down the line. Maybe this is the year that both sexes release minds from disparate anxieties and expectations, allowing everybody to start working on the stuff that really matters, like fixing the complete disaster area we’re making the Planet via our thoughtless actions.

Strap in lovelies, things are about to get considerably more awesome.

The Best Thing

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‘There will come a moment,’ my PT told me, quite early on in training, ‘when your body will start telling you things. Maybe it will be a pain that’s not normal, or a reaction to an exercise that you don’t like. When this happens, you need to learn to listen, and act appropriately.’

Yesterday afternoon I got back from picking up the youngest from School, came to sit down here to work and my body waved at me. The conversation then went something like this:

– Hi there! You remember that time when your PT told you I’d start talking to you?

– Yeah, I do as it happens…

– Well, this is the moment when I tell you that running 2k yesterday plus the anxiety of both going to the Dentist and your son’s school today has compounded to a situation where I’m forcibly shutting down higher brain functions for the evening. No more thinking for you, Missy!

– But, hang on, I planned to write tonight!

– Nope, if you do that you’ll get frustrated, angry and everybody will just go backwards and there is NO WAY that this is happening. Sorry. You have to believe the flesh on this one. Go play Warcraft all night, switch mind and body RIGHT OFF and we’ll come back to it tomorrow and you know what? You’ll not only feel better, but we’ll get more done. TRUST ME.

– I’m supposed to trust a body that wakes me up at 5am every morning with a hot flush???

– Look, M8, I can’t fight millions of years of evolutionary process, but how about I let you sleep through to 6am coz it’s Saturday… sound fair?

– Okay, dun. Someone needs to order me Chinese takeaway now…

– If you hang about I bet you can persuade Mr Alt to do that… ^^

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That, everybody, is what a decent night’s sleep and a lie in should look like and that’s not just my body talking. Also, the final iteration of my husband’s blog artwork has now become his logo, and I don’t thing he did it just to be nice. I feel it was used because it shows I understand what bike porn is and why my husband is so enamoured with it. Don’t look at me like that, fixating on inanimate objects is perfectly normal, or else consumerism wouldn’t be destroying society. So neurgh.

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I suspect, as has been the case a lot of late, I’ll look back on this week and know it was when a piece of the puzzle finally fitted and made sense. No more need to push the point.

It just keeps getting better.

Bad Day

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There’s a trend of late, that disturbs me greatly. Someone who clearly has an axe to grind at the actions of someone else will post something via Social media to the effect of ‘oh my God this is terrible and WRONG and as a result I won’t buy/watch/take part in this thing any more.’ Let me give you an example that Duncan Jones tweeted into my timeline late yesterday evening:

Of course, all of this indignation hinges on your definition of wrong. As men have been kissing each other since Roman times, I see no problem with television showing the action. I also see no problem with people calling someone out who mistakenly has decided that allowing this in a sci-fi show is somehow appealing to a demographic, when that show has historically broken cultural barriers since debuting in the 1960’s. Some people have short memories, and many others need to understand that the wrong they’re seeing is not somebody else’s problem, but their own perception at fault.

More people need to admit they’re wrong in public.

The last month has seen a palpable sea change in the US over what counts as decent behaviour. There’s a realisation emerging that shallow, indistinct indignation is no longer enough to make the changes people want, and more and more individuals are taking matters into their own hands. Slowly, but surely, the swamp might yet begin to drain, but not perhaps in the way many Republicans expected. The acid test is whether telling other people someone is wrong works in the same way as that person admitting the fault themselves. In this case, silence seems only to confirm culpability, as has been the case for Weinstein and an increasing number of high profile celebrities.

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However, sometimes sorry is not enough. Sure, its great to be vindicated, and refreshing to be proven correct, but when apologies come from people you cannot believe understand the value of either contrition or remorse… it is a very human emotion to want justice, and to demand acceptance. However, nobody learns anything until the fundamentals are grasped with considerably more willingness. Teaching people it is weak to admit failure is bollocks. Knowing how to fail is a skill far more people need to learn and accept as part of life. The trick, as is the case with most things, is finding the balance. I can build myself up and knock myself down without anyone else involved. Sometimes, that’s essential to get the day done.

Mostly, if you could stop thinking that what two blokes do on screen is corrupting your society that seems happy to attack women, ostracise anyone who’s not white and condemn other religions that aren’t Christianity? That might be a start. However, please don’t go too far the other way. Listening to people on my Social media feed publicly blaming other people for their own inability to self-help, self-care or make the best of what are incredibly privileged situations to begin with seems to be flavour of the month. Maybe the answer isn’t to sit there feeling sorry for yourself but start effecting long term change. I began with 30 minutes around the block every day. The first step is the hardest, but the benefits (trust me) are enormous.

After that, if you’re happier pretending everybody else is wrong but you, you’re probably on your own.