Thursday, October 31, 2013

Winds of Change

It is about time for an update. I have not forgotten about my blog. I have not stopped loving 2-wheeled adventures. I am still quite injured. My attempts to rehabilitate Achilles tendonitis and IT band syndrome were so incredibly slow, I sought out professional help. I am currently in physical therapy. As of a few days ago, I cannot tolerate a 10 minute walk around my neighborhood with my dog. I have been doing some sort of strength training 2-3 times per week, but despite that, have put on several pounds. I miss the way my body felt after a long ride. So content and at peace. I miss the meditative rhythm. I miss the rush of the wind and the uphill struggles. I miss helmet hair. I miss my favorite jerseys. I miss green light sprints. I miss tinkering with my bikes. I miss planning adventures.

What brought this all on?? I feel it was several things.
- I sit far more than I used to, for work (I do love my job, and cannot put a stand-up desk in the car)
- I bailed on strength training in favor of bike miles, letting my posterior chain muscles atrophy or get "shut off"
- I ate a diet of primarily meat, putting my body into a rather acidic state (chronic inflammation)
- I spent hours upon hours hunched over the handlebars, and neglecting mobility work

It turns out that adds up to significant imbalances. Also, missing out on August, September, and October rides and hikes pretty much threw me into a depression. I hit my bottom when I stepped on a scale recently. Up 15# in a year. And no, it's not muscle. My clothes don't fit. I don't like to go out much.

10 days ago I lost my appetite for meat. I blame it on my backyard hen. She is full of personality and runs up to greet us when we go outside. She comes when called. How is the chicken in the grocery store any less of a living being? I've been struggling for months, looking at the packages of conventionally-raised meat in the grocery stores, having a pretty good idea what kind of inhumane life that animal had in order to be in a nice neat little package, ready to grill. I don't know if this is temporary or permanent, but I do know a burden has been lifted off of my shoulders in this past 10 days. I'm trying to find my place among the fruitarians, vegetarians, raw vegans, lacto-ovo vegetarians, etc. Do I really need a label, though? I think I'll just flow with this and follow my intuition for a change instead of trying to shut it up. Maybe my health will improve.

I've also been struggling with which strength program to choose. I like lifting heavy weights, but I don't want to go to a gym really. I feel very self-conscious. I know better than that, but it's the truth of the matter. Not to mention the expense. The local high school is affordable but has limited hours. The one workout that always, 100% of the time without fail, feels very good to my body in the way of strength, flexibility, and balance is yoga. Every single time, I think I should really incorporate that more. I'm just so inconsistent, always trying to do something harder, frustrated on days that I'm busy and don't have time for all of my stretching plus a good workout. I have not found one form of cardio that I can do without aggravating my injuries, but until then I suppose hitting the yoga mat 5 days per week would get me closer to 2 wheels. The key will be continuing to strengthen and stretch when I am to that point. I do believe I've learned my lesson.

Meditation is something I've also struggled with. This year I finally got it - on the bike. I totally felt that alpha brain state as I worked on deep nasal breathing and relaxing into my rhythm. Since about mid-July, when I tapered down for Wausau 24, I have not had a long road ride and thus, no meditation. I try and get frustrated. Then I quit.

I need a change. I believe 40 days of focusing on these 3 things - plant-based diet, yoga, and mediation - will help me to be back in my state of peace and calm, looking forward to immersing myself in amazing life experiences in the great outdoors. This is day 1. I woke up and did 10 minutes of humming meditation. I enjoyed a solid 50 minute yoga session. And I ate plants. Feels pretty good.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.