Sunday, July 17, 2016
It's easy to do.... The first couple days you feel “Meh” and then that cookie you could've said no to calls your name.
I got a new job. My daily rhythm is out of sync. In an effort to be optimum at the new job and understanding all the moving parts that go with it, I opted for sleep over the gym. I was feeling slightly lethargic and I could see and feel my body changing. More alarming, I could feel my brain chemistry changing— I didn't and don’t like it.
Through the first three weeks of the new job I battled.
“Today will be the day I start exercising before work.”
“I am behind on my weekly sleep. If I'm going to understand this thing, I need to get adequate sleep. I can go back to the gym later.”
“I feel crummy. These non-gym in the mornings can’t continue”
“What has happened to my cardiovascular system? Five miles was getting easy.”
And this is what the last three weeks have looked like. The job consumes all my mental bandwidth. I’ve been too tired or too scared to exercise in the morning. The fear comes from the possibility of not having super-human intellect to grasp all the initiatives, causes and responsibilities that the director I’m working with has.
The evening is out the window because I have other commitments or need to get home, eat and go to bed so I can repeat the slippery slope tomorrow. This slope looks like guilt because exercising before work could either A. physically drained me or B. I wouldn’t be “early” to work.
Silly I know. I cannot stay here any more.
The last three weeks have been filled with me telling myself exercise is necessary. Then guilt and or fear creep in for doing it. Worse, when you repeatedly don’t do it, not doing it starts being easy. Not doing it and making less than good food choices becomes easier. The first week I was counting macronutrients. I haven’t counted a macro in 14 days. It would be easier to not count them; they are a pain.
I like macros. I feel really good when I focus on them. I feel even better when I eat them with a solid exercise program. To be my best self I need both.
Knowing this, I still have frustration with myself. By now, my running schedule had me up to 9 miles for a long run on the weekends with a mid-week run of 7. If all I was doing was training, I could be here. BUT, I live in the real world and am supremely lucky to have a job that I enjoy and challenges me. I have to find a balance. It can’t be helped. With this setback, the inner critic starts wagging it’s finger: “You could be doing better. See, who were you kidding? You are not an athlete. An athlete would not let themselves we waylaid by a new job.”
I have friends that are by the true definition, an “athlete.” They are the ones that qualify for the Boston Marathon. They train to run sub-3 hour marathons. They take a divisional fist when they race.
They also get injured. They get sick. Something happens and they have to work back from being on the Disabled List. It’s not necessarily the nature of training; it’s the nature of being human.
When the flu or injury subside, they have to start training again. It’s not from the beginning; they have to pick up somewhere in the middle, knowing that the first couple sessions back, maybe even the first couple weeks back won’t be fun.
Now, it’s my turn.
I was nearly doing an inclined bench of 30 without effort. Now, 25 is rough. Who knows what my average running speed looks like. More alarming than these physical challenges, I do not like that I was able to feel my brain chemistry changing. I don't like it. I need to shift myself back to where I was (again).
The first week will be rough, like I'm learning to do it all over again. I feel lucky. I work for an MD. Yes, he pushes his staff with work and expectations until they cry uncle or make it clear to him that his expectations are unreasonable. But, while he pushes us to intellectual and organizational capacity, he has told me numerous times "we need you healthy." He gets health. He understands the importance of exercise. Now, that I mostly understand the job and he has made this declaration, exercising before work has become priority (again). It needs to stay there. If not for my birthday goal or for my half marathon goal, at the very least I need to keep up the momentum of exercising for myself.