Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rediscovering Old Habits...In a Good Way!

               I’ve had a real problem getting motivated to ride this year.  I mean it’s just not been the fuel that gets my fire burning at all.  It’s not that I don’t want to ride per se, I think it’s more I don’t feel fired up to ride as often.  Last year I was riding four or five times a week by this time and having a blast doing it.  This year it seems like two rides is about all I can get excited about.  I don’t think its burn out really but rather more of a ‘been there done that’ sort of thing.  (Although I guess that is sort of what burn out is) I’ve ridden most of the roads around here multiple times and there are really only a few trail systems to hit up with the Mountain Bike.  This has really bummed me out because I don’t feel like I’ve been active enough at all.  I gained a bunch of weight this winter due to stressors somewhat out of my control (I could’ve controlled my reactions to said stressors but that’s another topic for another blog post) and now I’m sort of paying the price for it.  Bike riding has been pretty much my sole form of exercise and this two rides a week thing just won’t cut it. 

                Enter spring time.  I’ve been really just jonesing to get out of the house, to do something and while the bikes have helped they haven’t been the salve to my jones that I wanted them to be.  Lately on here I’ve been posting these little lists.  These lists have been items that have worked for me as I’ve grown into my ‘adult’ life and the other day, while re-reading my 10 steps to a life fulfilled post, I realized I needed to expand my horizons.  I needed to break through my safety zone a bit.  I sat down and examined my work out log for the past two years and started looking at the entries and how I felt as the year progressed.  I read some of the comments I made about what I was eating and my body weight through the year.  I came to a conclusion or five.

1.)    I love to ride but the ‘sameness’ of it gets me down after a while.

2.)    Mixing up the style of biking helps some (mountain vs. road)

3.)    The first quarter of the year is always rough for me both from an exercise perspective and a bodyweight perspective.

4.)    From my comments I seem to be the happiest when I really mix things up (ride/run/weights/hiking/camping/backpacking).

5.)    I get most excited when I have something to shoot for like a race or a trip.  Goals work but not like a race or trip.

So I sat with these conclusions for a few days and thought about what to do.  The answer probably seems obvious but it the ‘light bulb’ moment didn’t smack me upside the head for about a week.  My kids are nearing the end of their school year and I realize that I’ve promised them to go camping.  This was the catalyst to more thoughts and ideas about how to spend our eight weekends off.  I thought of campgrounds, tents, day-hikes, and park visits.  From there I started thinking about hiking and backpacking and I started seeing pictures of the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Mt. Whitney.  Oddly enough these all led me to remember how much I like Trail Running.  Running in and of itself isn’t all that exciting and my Clydesdale like body type doesn’t lend itself well to the act but I love to be out in the ‘bush’ so some of the awkward ‘retarded elephant’ stomping I seem to like to imitate is acceptable to me because I’m out There.  I may not have time to hike, or backpack but a good trail run seems to trick my mind into believing that I did….or at least got close to it.  I tried a few runs (I may have even talked about it here once or twice) and I’ve really enjoyed it. 

The great thing about this desire to return to running is the balance it seems to have brought to my exercise regime and the desire to eat a bit cleaner.   Yes both running and riding are ‘leg centric’ activities and I will have to watch that to insure I don’t overwork the legs (especially the knees) but it’s nice to go out and get a couple of runs in and a couple of rides in during the week without feeling like I’m overdoing either one.  There are new ways to see the same trails/roads, new trails altogether that I can’t access via the bike, new foods & food combinations to try, new gear to look at, new people to talk to, new podcasts to listen to, and a couple other magazines to read.  These things excite me and connect me to the outdoor/athletic culture and I love it. 

It’s an awesome thing when you rediscover an old activity and are able to use it to relight the fires of motivation to get you up and off the couch or out of the house.   Hopefully this will also get my weight a little more under control as well as re-ignite my desire to ride and be healthy instead of a couch potato watching the clock tick down to my next work shift. 

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