Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Shhh...I'm Hunting Wabbits

We’ll come back to that.  Stick a pin in it.  Trust me; I won’t forget.
My body is giving out.  After the Rough Trail race my activity level has fallen to nearly 0.  I’m at like 0.01% activity.  I sit a lot.  My muscles stiffen a lot.  My soul dies a little more every day.
I don’t run.  I don’t ride.  I rarely hike or walk or take the stairs.
I have done some trail work in the past couple of months.  Mandy and I have been going to a personal trainer at the gym, but consistency is still a problem.  The holidays just suck, okay?  In case you didn’t know.
It was a relief to be finished with Rough Trail and know I didn’t have another event on the calendar.  I was happy that my “training schedule” was blank.  But since then I have had absolutely no motivation to get out and do…anything.  I rode two days a couple of weeks ago before the rain set in.  I’ve ran exactly one time since RT and I hated it.
There is a lack of motivation.  There is a lack of inspiration.
Leadville is an option to fill that void.  When I say “Leadville” I am referring to the Leadville 100 mountain bike race which is also abbreviated LT100 or Leadville Trail 100 MTB.  I tend to use the “Leadville 100” shorthand, but ultra-runners take that as reference to the original one hundred mile trail run.  Still…
There is baggage with Leadville.  I want to go back and get a buckle and finish my book.  But there is a huge cost.  The entry fee is $345.  The cost of the trip out there is going to be significant.  And the cost if I fail to perform (again) would be onerous.  There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to go back to Colorado.  Ever.  Some days I see moving back to Kentucky as the biggest mistake we’ve ever made.  Some days.  Most days I just want to put the past behind me and make the most of the path ahead.  So yeah, going back to Colorado might be detrimental to my mental well-being. 
Why does it have to be a race? you ask.  I need the pressure to motivate me to improve myself.  Just saying I’m going to take a mountain bike trip to Brown County this year does nothing to motivate me to eat better and try to stay healthy.  I can ride my bike in Brown County as a fat slob.  I can’t crush twelve hours at Leadville without commitment and focus.
Ah, focus!  The one thing that is most elusive in my life…if I could unlock the secrets of focus then I might finally be able to feel like a normal human being.  I might be able to feel successful and grounded.  I might be able to shrug off the self-doubt.  Signing up for a race doesn’t grant focus, but it incites it.  As much as I can be incited to focus, anyway. 
The book was focused.  It just didn’t have a good finish.  The end is a dangling participle. 
And I can’t just go out and finish the Mohican 100 in less than twelve hours and be satisfied.  I should be able to…I should be able to have normal feelings of self-worth without seeking some odd validations like finishing a mountain bike race, or being a rock climber again, or living outside my cubicle when the paycheck is hidden somewhere inside.
Monday night two weeks ago I got home from work and my body was defeated.  I collapsed on the bed in a limp heap; breathing hard with all my synapses firing out of sequence.  I sit too much.  I’m not active enough.  It feels like the longer I’m lethargic the more lethargic I become.  And it happened so fast this time…
The smart thing to do would be to skip Leadville this year.  I could do the Mohican.  I could do a different NUE race.  I could do a different Leadville Race Series event. All of them look appealing, though none are closer than nine hundred miles to where I live. The NUE races are closer.
Tomahawk has nothing bad to say about State College, Pee Aye.  He raved about it after a visit there with his bike some time ago.  There is a NUE race there: The Wilderness 101.  It’s about an eight hour drive versus the six hours to the Mohican.  That’s doable.
Anyway, my life is a constant struggle now to keep myself from taking on new activities.  I don’t need new obsessions.  I need to learn to focus on one or two good obsessions and let the extraneous stuff go.  I need to learn to let go. 
But in order to stay active and healthy I need to have a target to shoot for.  That is a reality.  The real puzzle is how to do that with the least impact on the rest of my life.  Where do I get the most bang for my buck?  I want a healthy activity that I enjoy that I can do close to home in a short amount of time.  Long distance trail running almost hits that target.  It just takes too long.  Mountain biking would be the magic activity if there was a decent amount of legal mileage closer to home.  I hate road running.  Road cycling ends up taking up a lot of time and I get bored of doing short rides.  Rock climbing ends up taking up too much extra time and I know I’ll become overly obsessed with it if I focus too much.  Bouldering could work if my elbows, knees, and lower back could handle the abuse.
If knitting burned more calories…
Having an event to train for gives me a fiction of focus at least.  I tried trail running and it banged me up too much.  Mountain biking is really what I love to do and what I would pick over everything else except maybe rock climbing.  So there you have it.
This is really as close as you're going to get to a New Year's Resolution with me.

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