Monday, December 16, 2013

Week #50: Chunky

After outlining some of the challenges that I would be facing in the month of December in last week’s post, I have since made good on my intent to keep making forward progress in spite of having many upcoming events causing me anxiety. Moreover, there are six fewer days left in December than there were at the time of my last post, and for that I am very grateful. I’m also two work-related lunch things down, have a driver’s license that now says “Lindsay Hall” on it (not December-specific, but something I’m glad to be done with), and I did, in fact, complete my first trainer workout in at least three years.

Behold, my new antic "training studio". My second floor is really cold and not used for much else.

Regarding the latter, my choices were really ride trainer or feel crappy about not riding, so I settled on two sets of Tabata intervals to make me feel like I’d accomplished something but still only have to be on the trainer for less than 40 minutes. I’m sure this isn't at all something that should be in the ideal training plan that I should be undertaking at the moment, but I’m not shooting for ideal. I’m shooting for a balance between the mental stress of doing nothing and the mental stress of doing something exceptionally unpleasant. We’ll call it the shortest route through the dark forest. (Seriously, click that link.) This workout fit that need quite well. I also managed a 2.5 hour outdoor ride on Saturday, despite the slushy drizzle. This neither was neither the four hours duration nor gravel for which I’d hoped leading into the weekend, but more than I expected of myself when I finally yelled “put clothes on, go outside, and pedal” at 2:30 p.m.

The root of my distress last week was really the idea of “all the things”, because I kept mentally naming off the all of the mildly unpleasant things I would have to face during the month and getting overwhelmed by the sum of them. You know, pretty much the opposite of that whole “count your blessings” thing at which happy, secure, “complete” people are supposed to be so adept. The fact of the matter was there was nothing on my plate for the next three weeks that was individually all that unpleasant; I was just going through a phase where I was tired and wanted to give up.

You would think that after the year that I've had that I wouldn't sweat the small stuff, as I've exhibited a level of resiliency that I never imagined I could possess two years ago. I think the problem is much like what Frank and I experienced at the Gravel Grovel; we thought it would be smooth sailing after covering all the major climbs during the first half of the race only realize that it was the regular old rolling chunkiness of miles 30-50 that were the most painful. I believe that I am in miles 30-50 of the approximately two-year “hole-healing” process that my therapist (yeah, of course I have one) has told me I can expect. My emotional legs are shot from the big climbs, and I’m not yet close enough to the finish for my “old lady strength” to kick in yet. I’m just at the point where I’m rolling along and the chunkiness is wearing on my patience.  

Once thing that did help my perspective since last week was receiving a nice Christmas card from one of the many new friends that I have made this year. I did have a momentary feeling of failure that I had not sent out Christmas cards to any of the people to whom I would like to show appreciation, nor had I purchased presents for anyone besides Frank and my parents, but luckily I didn't dwell on it too long and forgave myself that oversight. Sometimes I wonder if I energy that I've been putting into improving my connections with people is really paying off, and I also sometimes feel like I don’t have enough energy to put into my non-Frank relationships lately (thus the lack of Christmas cards), but getting that card was sort of a nice reminder that my efforts and existence are appreciated, even when they’re imperfect. 

So another week of December and another mile of chunky gravel have been traversed, and I am proud of the efforts I made to get some good out of them. Most days I still wish it didn't take so much effort just to do normal people things, but supposedly in life, unlike cycling, it does eventually hurt less instead of just going faster. Hopefully, the Hickory Church sign will appear on the horizon soon.

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