Between marathon training and kicking off a major renovation project, probably the “sleep” icon… if only I could actually click it.
As Leon pointed out, “A sluggish sub 6/Km?”
Yeah. I guess you can be relatively fast and feel like hell. Who knew?
I’ve been running every day. That’s not remarkable either from a running perspective or a me perspective. It’s just not what my body has been used to. In fact, being sick and then on vacation in February meant that I’ve almost (literally) doubled my distance from that month… during the first ten days of April. And I’m about to hit my March total in the next few days, too.
In other words, though it’s been a pathetic year to date, April has been really good. And that’s the point: I was hoping to turn my year around with a run every day challenge to myself. Run. Every day. No excuses. Minimum four klicks per day. Run. No matter how I feel: and today I felt sluggish.
Of course, over the weekend I crept pretty darned close to a cumulative marathon distance over four runs. Again, not remarkable. A lot more than four klicks per day, sure, but just not what I’m used to at the moment.
So… today I am feeling sluggish.
Like my legs had lead in them. Like my shoes had hit the buffet during the night and were a little overweight. Like I should have been propping my feet up on the ottoman with beer in one hand and the tv remote in the other, but instead I was slugging out a sluggish (if fast) four klicks after work.
That’s the point though. Run every day. Push through the sluggish. Burn through the tired. Re-adjust normal. Change what I’m used to.
I’m now pretty much officially at the end of three straight weeks of this darn head-cold.
I’m managing, medicating, and dealing with the unpredictability of this stupid illness, mostly, but there is this lingering bit of congestion that is holding me back. And yet, the darned cold doesn’t seem to be going anywhere very fast. Just like me.
So, running along on a gentle night run had be feeling a bit bagged. Tired. Slow-ish.
My crew showed up a bit late, so we ended up missing the main group and doing our own meandering route around the old standard loop, fending off traffic and fighting back the chill of the quickly dropping temperatures.
We did a quick not-quite-seven, then retreated inside for some hot tea and friendly chat. But my feets are still a bit cold, even a couple hours later.
Could someone please turn off the heat so I can get a proper night sleep.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Sparkle gets to go to doggie-daycare once per week. Sometimes it makes me feel lazy that we contract out that little smidgen of her care and exercise, but given the contrast between the coldness of our winters and the shortness of her fur, that feeling is quickly outweighed by the knowledge that it’s about the only way she gets anything resembling more than five minutes of exercise during the winter months.
Then she crashes when she comes home. Play hard. Sleep harder.
I must be in need of a vacation. Though you might not get that impression from reading this blog on a day-to-day basis, my life is funky with the symptoms of burnout. (And posts like this are what you get of me trying to solve some of that by getting up earlier each morning to find time to write.)
Exhibit A: Running
Here I go again, blaming the injury. Remember when I ratcheted my back into a state of immobility for a few weeks there back in May and June? Has it been that long. I mean, sure, I’ve logged a lot of quasi-inspirational klicks in the months since, basically fully recovered, and I often go hours or days, even, without recalling that month of constant pain that side-lined me, caused me to miss my clinic race, and broke my stride both literally and figuratively. But there is something more: there is a purpose and a spirit in the heart of the sport that is still scuffed and bruised, and I haven’t pulled that back into shape, fully, completely. I lace up, get out there and run, but my goal races are so far off, my life so bumpy, overheated, and scattered it seems, that its largely for show and mostly out of guilt.
dragging my butt along the corporate streets
Exhibit B: Work
Do you ever get that feeling you’re doing the bare minimum to get by? I do a lot lately. I go to meetings. I work on projects. I process tickets from our queue. And I get things done. But that sense of satisfaction that comes from pushing the metaphorical boundary of ‘so-so work’ into ‘awesome work’… that’s just not there. That sense of pride or enjoyment that occasionally blossoms from a job well done… its feet are wallowing ankle-deep in the mud of cynicism. Admittedly, I probably should have taken a week off after that giant, draining, mind-bending project I launched a few months ago, rather than stroll back in and wander onto the next challenge with some drained batteries… but alas, I didn’t and here I am, mid-summer, dragging my butt along the corporate streets.
Exhibit C: Words & Pictures
Arguably, I’ve had a prolific couple of months with this blog and my camera. That said, if you are an avid reader you may have noticed a big shift in the style of posts here since, say, May. I ploughed through that every-day-in-June-thing, but I think I used up the last few fumes in the mental tank getting to the end. It’s been a chore –and don’t ask why I keep writing it then, because I don’t have a rational answer besides maybe: why does a desperately lost man keep trying to light a fire even when he’s out of matches, kindling, and it’s pouring rain on his head– yet, I keep on. My posts have been short, status-like, with a lot of photos. I write here –started, continued, and perpetually write here– because it is like a brain dump and a public therapy session rolled into one. Plus, it makes me feel productive. Yet the deep stuff, the meaningful, thoughtful, reflective writing has been sparse at best.
for each person, that “so many” is a different “so many”
Exhibit D: Willpower
‘Nuf said? Well, ok… so, I’ve heard, but don’t quote me on it, that your brain has this kinda reserve of willpower. You can put up with only so much, make only so many will-full positive decisions –though for each person, that “so many” is a different “so many”– until you are drained and then you make bad decisions: you snack when you shouldn’t, stay up later that is good for you, skip runs, and generally say “meh” to important things. I’m not lacking willpower, I just feel like I run out a lot sooner than I used to these days.
Exhibit E: Friends
I’m probably a terrible friend. At least from this funk-ridden perspective it very much seems so. I mean, I rarely visit people anymore. I miss social events, sometimes because I suck and sometimes because I can’t be bothered getting out of my chair and moving to a different location. I haven’t had someone over to our house in months, despite the fact that it’s “our turn” to host for almost every name on our dance card. I probably brag too much on social media, though like everyone else I only really post the awesomeness… and the blah is more-or-less invisible. And then I don’t reply to texts or emails as promptly, or sometimes at all, as would be deemed socially prudent. We’re all busy, yeah, and coordinating schedules is tough, but if no one is making an effort, well to each of us it probably seems like just-us is not making an effort. And that’s a tough weight on the ol’ shoulders.
Pessimistic vent, complete…
So, now what are the solutions? I don’t know for sure, but I think (given that I just depressed every one of my readers with a deflating, mind-breaking rant on my quasi-depressive state) I should at least jump back into that previously alluded to public therapy session mode. I think I’m going to at least try to do a few things on this list.
1) Take a vacation. Technically since this is planned, booked, and just waiting to launch for sometime in not-exactly-near but impending future… uh… check!
2) Start a workout program. Running has made my heart and my lungs strong, but that injury woke me up to the need for something broader: when #1 is complete, #2 is kicking into gear a three-times-per-week strength training regimen as strict as my running schedule. Weights. Core. Y’know… gym grunts.
3) Start a photo club. Nothing too formal, but I know there a few friends and readers of this blog who would be game for a scheduled, say once-per-month, by-invite photo walk somewhere interesting in or out of the city. Don’t all put your hands up at once, now.
it’s time to get serious and stop pissing around
4) A big project. Something my own, something with words and code and images and art, that could maybe be a business or just an awesome hobby. I’ve nudged a few of these over the years, but I think it’s time to get serious and stop pissing around.
5) Early to bed, early to rise. For at least a couple months, I want to keep up the 5am wake-up call. Yeah, it means going to be a little earlier too, but for the last week I’ve been fitting it into my life and I’ve got some extra writing done (case-in-point: this post) and have been feeling a lot less rushed and a wee bit more balanced each morning.
And for now at least, that should be enough. I guess. I hope. Does anyone want to play along? After all, how are you doing? Am I just floating out here in sapped-motivation-land alone, or what?
Physically, not too tired… but my brain seriously needs a vacation.
Tuesday night was an awesome 16k run, but running late left me with insomnia for most of that night. Go figure. I crashed pretty early last night as a result. Head meet pillow: now… zzzzzzzzzzz!
Despite what I wrote in a previous post about bike shopping, the epic-craziness of our schedules as the school year ends and summer cranks into gear means the careful and thoughtful shopping exercise, filled with research and test-riding, to procure a new bike for myself is likely going to take the better part of the summer. As a temporary bike fix, I broke down last night and bought some replacement tires and tubes and –though much more repair is required for shifters, gears, brakes, etc– now I (at the very least) have a semi-functional bike with (huzzah!) two inflated tires, as opposed to the recent state of a bike with rims and bits of cracked and decaying rubber on them. It was actually a lot more work to swap out some tires than I would have expected… as obviously I’ve never done that before.
While many folks will tell you that you can’t really honestly convert your training miles based on road conditions –that a klick is a klick is a klick no matter what’s under your feets– after twenty seven klicks on the sloppy trails yesterday morning, I beg to differ. Yeah, many of the walks had been shoveled or plowed, but this merely meant that conditions ranged from anything including (a) that thinly glazed lightly pebbled ice that is nearly invisible on a seemingly clean sidewalk, (b) the not-quite-even trail through a foot of snow created by a hundred previous pedestrians that seems like a path but really isn’t, (c) those I’m crossing the street for a few steps at an intersection and navigating between ruts, slick, sludge, or puddles while watching for oblivious drivers, or (d) the we plowed the roads after we plowed the sidewalks and the roads won mess of uneven dirty clumps with no other route around kinda snow. I fell asleep on the couch waaaaay too early for it to have been anything but a tough run.
Once more it is June. Again. And again I embark upon that epic effort of daily blogging, take three, wherein I call upon myself for a kind of rambling focus, picking from a list of daily topics, and with neither planning nor advance writing, strive to pepper this blog with the free-thought, free-writing wonder that is another one of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 16th // Something You Are Thinking About
It’s dad’s day today.
If you read this blog as frequently as I do, you might have noticed a trend in my writing over the last six or so years. That is, I’ve been writing a lot about fatherhood in those years and it has shaped a lot of what I’ve had the opportunity to write upon. And, It’s shaped me.
I may have mentioned in a previous post, but we were at a banquet the other night with some of my wife’s colleagues. And as these thing go, one quickly tends to find oneself in a situation peppered with slightly awkward social interaction. You know the kind: the oh-and-who-are-you-and-what-do-YOU-do-here handshake followed by a few minutes of pleasantries and informal social banter.
We sat beside one of her boss’s-bosses, the reason of which is tough to explain here but the point of which is much more simple: he asked me a pointed question early on in that social pleasantries phase of the conversation: “So, are you enjoying being a father?” to which I found myself, sans hesitation, replying “You know what? I am. And it’s made me a better person.”
I got home from a twenty-six kilometre run shortly after lunch today, and Claire was standing at the door with a small green fit bag in her hand and a ready-made plan for the rest of our day. Now, no dad worth his salt would have turned to such an eager I-just-want-to-be-with-you moment and say, sorry hun, but dad just ran for three hours and you’re out of luck. And neither did I. I made her some lunch, changed the battery in my camera, and less than an hour later we were in the car an off for a Sunday afternoon adventure at Fort Edmonton Park.
And, man, are my legs tired. Aching. Painful.
But, she’s in bed, and I’m sitting here late at the tail end of dad’s day reminding myself, thinking about it all, that I think I did the best I could today and that being a dad probably, perhaps, and just maybe really has made me a better person.
The countdown on my daily photo project has all but began: after three-hundred and forty-some photos captured over the past eleven-plus months (is that enough numbers for you yet?) I have a mere three weeks left in this crazy-epic project.
I had indicated that I was inclined to keep going… and going… and going. But I’ve gotta tell you: I’m starting to hit a bit of an inspirational wall.
Maybe it’s the summer-toll: the heat, the never-ending mosquitos, the daily-grind followed by the notion of an impending and inevitable winter. (The Heat and Burn-Out Factor?)
Maybe it’s all the running: the better parts of my days now seem consumed by training and planning and hydrating and eating just-right. (The Exercising Too Much Factor?)
Maybe it’s the solitude: for the most part I seem to be doing most of what I’m doing here in a vacuum, self-indulging, and a complete lack of any sort of wider interest. (The Everyone’s One Facebook Factor?)
Maybe it’s the technology: I haven’t had much new in the way of equipment for over half a year now, save for some new phone camera apps. (The New Toy-Less Factor?)
Maybe it’s the way of myself: my attention span has never been very long for this type of thing, and a year into the adventure I’m looking at other things with a gleaming interest. (The Yearning for New Things Factor?)
Whatever it is, why-ever I feel this way, I’m actually finding myself plodding along for the last few photos. I mean, there are a couple big events looming: a trio of weekends, the annual Fringe Festival where I’ll be officially photographing once again (though probably for the last year, to be honest) and some short-range travel in the works for a few scattered days.