Focus

Yesterday – another non-starter. This makes 8 days without significant physical activity. Mercifully, scale was still at 171 today – holding firm to that net gain of 4 lbs since NYC. Holding flab, I guess. The wife? Starting to show actual abs. <humor>Only a matter of time now until she leaves me for someone else who’s fit.</humor>

But I’ve been doing some thinking; spurred on by one of those stunning convergences that happen way too often to be completely the result of random chance: First, there was Jon’s rant yesterday and Blaine’s reply. I’ve also gone back and started re-reading my archives. As the final piece of the puzzle, I picked up a new tri book yesterday on my way home.

So where is it all going, you ask?

First, I’m struck with how excited I was about the whole fitness thing a year ago. Reading the entries brought back memories – each run/swim was an adventure, not a chore. Cold? Yippie! something else to conqueor. Tired? Good run = good sleep. Stressed? Take it out on the pavement, baby. Somewhere in the last 4 months I’ve lost that good vibe.

Blaine hit the nail on the head early on:

It is not that I do this on purpose; it is just the way that I am.

And it hit me – I spent most of the last 4 months allowing the two marathons, and other people’s expectations of me to define my training. Even when it was becoming clear to me that 26.2 was dragging down my motivation, distracting me from the bigger picture of fitness, life, and work, and generally putting me in a foul mood, I stuck with it.

I’m glad I did – I’ve found a new and deep resevoir of willpower, but in hindsight, I may have bitten off the Marathon bite years before I was ready. My running was going great; my lifestyle was improving up through July, but the mindless focus on throwing miles down on the road ended up letting me make excuses for eating crap (Hey, I need the calories, and I’m not gaining weight, so it must be OK); let me make excuses for blowing off regular training (hey, I’m still making my long runs); and let me push my body further than it was probably ready for (after my first case of tightness in the shins, I should have radically cut back my running mileage and subbed cycling or swimming).

In my case, at least, Marathon this year was awful for the idea of continued fitness. I’ll expand later (not in this post).

But, that’s water under the bridge, and carbon rubber on the streets of five states.

New focus needs to be back on quality of life. I want to be thin, I want abs, I want to be healthy, and I want to use exercise as a means to blow off stress, not as a cause for stress. Need to revise the plan from earlier this month.

How?

1. Food. As much as it’s going to kill me, I need to get back to trying to eat as much “real” food as possible. Food that’s as close to when it was walking, swimming, or growing as I can find. Avoid things wrapped in plastic.

2. Exercise as routine. First, I need a core workout. Something I can do in 10-15 minutes every morning. I’ve been surfing back over towards Crossfit – kind of intrigued by the whole garage-gym concept. Next, I need to prioritize working out. Minimize the late-nite surfing so I can get sleep and get out of bed early.

3. Mind. I want to be fit. I want to have the energy I did a year ago; the verve and love of life, the self-discipline and

I still like the skeleton I laid out earlier this month regarding racing and other measures of effectiveness. But I’d missed out on the big flick entirely. Fit Bill is the Bill I want to be, and the Bill that I want my kids to know. I want to go back to the guy who was riding up mountains in August for the sheer joy of it, not the guy who was grinding out mileage in September out of fear. I want to be the guy who shocked himself at the Bluff Point trail race by not only finishing, but finishing well.

I want this to be fun.

12 thoughts on “Focus

  1. Wow Bill. Good stuff. The marathon is a demanding mistress that can really take a toll. I can certainly relate. After my six, I can honestly say I was burned out on them and not (as you’ve pointed out) just because of the physical – the mental aspect of training for marathons is no small thing. to deal with. You and Jon have got me inspired to write on this subject as well.

    I’m happy for you dude. The path of enlightenment…

  2. Coming away from an experience like that with some lessons learned and a new gameplan is making the absolute best of the situation.

    Good luck, and I hope 2006 is a blast!

  3. Great post and great analysis, Billy. I know you will get back there…put yourself first, not the training. It really is fun out there:)

  4. Have you read the latest runners world magazine? John Bingham’s one page article on changing your running goals sometimes midstream is a pretty good one and makes a lot of sense. Not so much advice as much as his own experience in having to readjust goals as things happen.
    As for the Navy Christmas all of my husband’s “guys” had made other plans or something so it will just be the two of us. Oh well, we will try on another holiday (and maybe get the hubby to plan these things a little more in advance!)

  5. I think you’re on to something big. Keep working at it. In related inspirtion, if you didn’t yet, go to Susie’s site to link to the Arizona newspaper story about body image. It had some good philosophy about training etc.

  6. Good stuff Bill. I’ve more or less adopted a policy of making the fun factor a priority for my training. This is one reason that I took up swimming, to have something else on the menu than just running. I also am more selective with my races, looking for a new challenge (mountain, cross runs) and placing less emphasis on fast races. I’m still training for a marathon, but I’m doing it my way and for me. Happy Holidays!

  7. Very thoughtful post Bill. We all have days when exercise doesn’t sound like fun, but we do it anyway. Sometimes we even have periods of that, so I can see how easy it would be to accept that as the norm and not an aberration. But ultimately we have to enjoy it and it has to add value to our lives. Glad your introspection is helping you find that balace in your life.

  8. Sounds good. By the way I just tagged you with coming up with a word for 2006 goals. Perhaps Focus is a good one, but I will let you ponder that. Have a great Christmas and all the best in 2006.

  9. Pingback: Run, Run, Run, Run, Run, Cycle, Cycle Too » A holly jolly Christmas

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