I haven’t had much blog content over the holidays. While I try to focus on the positive, Lisa at RunWiki has inspired me to open up a little about some of the negatives I’m experiencing. It’s important for me to say that by no means did I have a bad Christmas or holiday season in general; I got to spend great times with my family, whom I cherish more than anything, and we created some great memories to cap off 2013. This blog, however is about triathlon, fitness, and getting outside and December has not been kind.
One of the things I don’t talk about much is how poorly we sleep. The Lightning Kid typically has 3 wake-ups a night, and what it takes to get him back to sleep can vary, as what can what time he decides to wake up for the day can swing between 5 and nearly 7 am. Please note, I am not asking for any advice; we have two children who both have/had trouble sleeping and know everything there is to know about good sleep habits, we research on many Down syndrome forums and are always pursuing new and increasingly exotic methods to try and turn this around. This simply isn’t a forum where I wish to discuss sleep issues, I just want to provide background information. Add the extra stimulation of the holidays as well as cold and flu season (with undersized nasal passages more prone to congestion) and things get even worse.
Speaking of cold and flu season, I got knocked down by the flu in mid-December. Weak feeling, achy bones, chills, you know the drill. When all the symptoms subsided, I was left with a nasty cough that seemed to give me a crushing feeling in my chest every time I had a coughing fit. I mean, it felt like a Sumo wrestler sat on me. I went to the doctor and he gave my heart and lungs the all-clear. His theory? That I pulled a chest muscle during a sudden onset of coughing. Nice to know you can get an athletic injury without being athletic (while I had my doubts about the theory at the time, that pain eventually subsided and was replace by one in my right rib which felt a lot more like a pulled muscle).
Which brings this post from general complaining to the more central topic: I have not been active. Every article I’ve ever read about training vs. illness says it’s OK until it’s in your chest (one such article for example). At the end of the season I hadn’t figured out what I wanted to do next. There didn’t seem to be any goal looming that presented something new, while being attainable based on past performance and I found my attentions scattered in all directions.
I had tried to jump start my exercise habits a little toward the end of the year. I tried to play catch-up and use my soon-to-expire Crossfit sessions at least weekly, sometimes twice a week. DOMS and my work schedule kept it from being more, I guess. I signed up for not one, but two Yoga challenges on Instagram. I bailed on all of them, and though the illness is part of it, I have to admit I wasn’t really enjoying any of that. Every Crossfit WOD, every yoga pose had to be modified for my limited strength and/or flexibility. While the leaders were great at providing these, I found being the “can’t” in a sea of “cans” to be a motivational black hole.
So, once the holidays started, I had a routine that involved eating, going to holiday events (Santa visits, family get-togethers, etc) and working. Just about any free time I got, I tried to nap (though sometimes I watched House of Cards on Netflix). The holidays are almost over, and I’m still tired, and still coughing. I’m not sure I can wait for the cough go away before I get active again, and I really think I need to rebuild. I also need to keep it simple, so that I don’t get distracted, or discouraged. What I think I’m going to do is take it only a couple of weeks at a time; first step: Running, Just Running.
Why running? I think running was probably the first exercise I ever did for myself. In a way, it’s the first exercise any of us ever do as young children - run after something. Being slower is not as big a demotivator - there’s always someone faster anyway and every time out on my feet feels like a gain. Running helps me mentally and emotionally; it clears my head. I want to run 7 times in the first 2 weeks of 2014. I’ll use this to prove my body is ready for a little more and take it from there (don’t worry, the hopper is full of ideas, and if it weren’t, there’s always people like Katie and Morgan at WildlyFit making exciting quick-start fitness programs for the new year).
Is it possible to have goal-overload? Is a back-to-basics approach the solution? Happy New Year!