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In 2021, my run/ride/lift schedule was maxed. It was over-maxed. I’m not sure, in retrospect, what I thought I was doing. I could guess that, being 49 and having some irrational anxiety about turning 50, I set out to prove to myself that I was still physically worthy of something, although quite what I couldn’t tell you. Nonetheless I chased it until the predictable came to pass. My body broke down. I was sick, over and over again, and basically all the air went out of the whole boondoggle.
2022 looks very different.
I tried to get back to the hammer-and-tongs method, but my health told me, over and over, that wasn’t gonna fly. So now I’m just taking it as it comes. I’ve had to go back to just doing rides that are type 1 fun, workouts that are not full tilt every time, rest days that are restful. No guilt. No shame. No pressure. Just keep moving, saying yes to stuff that’s fun, no events to train for, nobody to disappoint (i.e., me).
At this point, things are going well. I’m showing up for rides with friends. Enjoying them. I’m doing some solo adventures. Enjoying those too. I’m lifting and doing core work, but not so intensely that it retriggers old injuries. I’m getting stronger, fitter, and I’m enjoying it all.
Is sanity a thing you can learn?
The biggest change is my rest days. First, of all, I take them. Second of all, I’m much less tense about them, which is to say, I’m not beating myself up in the background the whole time I’m allowing my body to recover. Third, they’re not really scheduled. I just let them happen. No one asked me to do a thing maybe, and I’ve been pretty active, so I chill. NBD. Summertime and the living is easy.
The upshot of all this is that I’m not nearly as fit as I was last year, but I’m enjoying everything I’m doing. I’m in a lot less pain, and my headspace is less frenetic (although everything is relative), and I’m more available to my family (because I’m not always out on the grind). I could be wrong, but this might be what balance feels like.
It’s possible I’ve never really had it before. Again, can you learn sanity?
This week’s TCIF asks, do you have a regular rest day? What do you do on it? Or do you sorta just take a day when you’re too tired to keep going? How would you say your balance between work and recovery is tilted? Toward work? Or toward recovery?
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