Slow Going

It’s been about a month since the collision happened now, and recovering from the concussion has been frustratingly slow going. Over the weekend I made my second attempt at running since the incident, and the next day I was nauseous and dizzy again. I had been looking forward to being healthy enough to do the prep work and testing week that my coach has had the team doing, begrudgingly accepting that I’d just be a week behind. It took me a lot of internal arguing and self-reflection but ultimately I accepted that it just isn’t time yet. I wrote my coach that I wasn’t ready. Then I sat down and cried.
It’s not all a sob story – it gave me some important realizations. One is to crystallize my goals and intentions. My wife told me “at least it didn’t happen the month before a race.” Sage advice, to be sure, but in hearing it, I realized that the race isn’t my ‘why.’ It’s not actually the most important thing to me, not by a long shot. I’m gunning for consistency and lifestyle change, becoming a “full-time-part-time” athlete. That’s what had made me sad – the realization that I had to let go of my ambitions to be consistently active through this period of the year, which has always been my most challenging period. I was so motivated and prepared and ready to do it. My brain just isn’t ready yet. But now I clearly see what’s most important to me – consistency over time. So I feel more prepared to be patient and exercise restraint.
My goal now is to be healthy. I want to do my baseline tests, not because everyone else is doing them, but because they will give me and my coach information and data that will make it achievable for me to train consistently over the long term. That’s the point of doing it. And I suppose I have my bruised brain to thank for the realization. I guess concussions are good for something.

In the good news of the day, I got my bike back from the bike shop, and it’s a thing of beauty.  Upgraded wheelset means it dropped a full pound.  It’s so light now, it’s like it doesn’t even exist! 

Day 1 – Strength

Air squats, dumbbell row, bench press, calf raises, crunches – 25 min

Weight: 273 lbs

Day 1 of a 12 week training program for a triathlon, based on Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel. Strength training, using some rusty old free weights I think I purchased in 2001 and the kids’ play mats on the floor in the rec room. The guinea pigs squeaked at me when I started, the dominant one eyeing me from the hutch the whole time as if looking for faults in my form. I have no idea what I’m doing so I’m sure she found a few. She can critique all she wants though; I have opposable thumbs.

The last time I worked out seriously with weights was circa 1994, with my brother at the local gym. Not even after purchasing these weights did I ever really use them. They became just another unused relic of failed intentions along a timeline of inconsistency.

The triathlon is interesting because it’s three sports. Not just one. If you get bored running, no matter, tomorrow is a bike day. If your butt hurts, that’s ok, time for a swim. And on and on into unfailing novelty. That’s the theory anyway, but I don’t have a great deal of optimism if I’m honest. I’ve never been good at sticking to something, and though I’ve run two marathons and biked several 100+ mile bike rides, it has never failed that periods of athletic productivity are followed by inevitable slumps when I fatten up and stagnate utterly. Training for a tri may get the race done after 12 weeks, but then what? My hope is that the three modes will give me enough variety to stick to at least something. And that I’ll be in shape enough to move on to winter sports with some kind of regularity.

It all remains to be seen. For now, I’m just going to focus on meeting the goal of doing the workouts on schedule, despite never seeming to have the time to do much of anything besides parenting and working.

If I can do that, and lose a few pounds in the process, it’ll be something, at least. And these rusty weights will finally see some use.