Keep Your Hands Inside The Ride At All Times

You could eat out of this pantry without being poisoned. No more canned goods from 2003!
You could eat out of this pantry without being poisoned. No more canned goods from 2003!

I’m a strange beast. For most of the year, I operate at breakneck speed. I can’t stand to be bored. You likely won’t catch me growing mold as I fester on the couch, not even during the winter months. I’m busy, and I like it that way. But, for three weeks, three glorious weeks beginning mid-December and running through the first full week of January, I shut down and become Slothstine rather than Justine. In all likelihood exhausted from 49 straight weeks of running headlong into my future, I quit moving. I don’t work out. I only go out when absolutely necessary (apparently Christmas with the family is compulsory). I lounge in bed reading, surfing Al Gore’s Internet, playing games on my iPhone, and going into some sort of trance while busting through episode after episode of my latest television show du jour. It is decidedly, uncharacteristically, not at all like me.

There are pluses and minuses about this annual holiday shutdown. On the bad side, without my usual workouts and time on my yoga mat, I often resurface during the second week of January only to find a random Hot Tamale candy stuck in my hair and tell-tale orange fingerprints on my clothes from excessive Cheetos consumption. And, it’s right about that time that I step on the scale and hear it whimper. My house is a pit because it’s hard to clean a bathroom when your butt hasn’t moved out of bed. My husband, like a dog whose repeated enthusiastic requests for a nice walk have gone unanswered, stops barking at my door. Of course, that might have more to do with my slovenly state than with ego-bruise gained from the repeated times I smacked him on the nose with the rolled up newspaper when he asked if I wanted to go for a long, winter’s walk with him. My kids. Well…where are my kids, anyway? I have no idea. And, at the end of this three week period of sloth and gluttony, a time during which the only real accomplishment I can note is my OCD completion of three puzzles (2500 individual pieces, thank you very much), I’m usually ready to hit the ground running as soon as the kids start back to school after Christmas break. If I can find them, that is.

Just as Punxsutawney Phil emerges after a long, shadowless winter, I too am ready for spring. Yes. Spring is still over two months away. I know this. But, I’m well-rested after my three weeks of hibernation. To that end, in the past four days I’ve picked up the pace. I’ve done insane things, like wash light fixtures, clean out our pantry, and scrub the laundry room floor on my hands and knees. I finally made it back to yoga today, and they’re having a promotion that coincides with my fitness goals. If I complete 20 classes in 30 days I’ll get a retail credit for new yoga clothes, so that’s a win-win, right? I registered for the Tubbs Romp to Stomp 5k snowshoe event in Frisco, the 7k Running of the Green (which, knowing me, will be more like a Walking of the Green), and my annual MS150 ride. Yesterday I whipped out 16 handmade greeting cards so I won’t miss birthdays during the first quarter of 2013. I think I’m finally back on track.

I used to feel bad about this rollercoaster ride I’m on. I would berate myself for falling off the wagon and losing myself to Christmas cookies and movie theater popcorn. I don’t anymore. The way I have it figured I’m merely one of those people who needs something to motivate her. And, nothing motivates me more than the chance to let go and fall apart occasionally. After a quick, exhilarating downhill slide, my coaster car is back on the platform and about to begin its next ascent up the highest peak on the coaster. I’m a lifelong coaster rider, and I’m ready for another go around. There will be plenty of time to relax again when I head down the big hill next December, arms in the air, smile on my face. It’s all good.

 

 

 

 

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling….Rawhide!

Me and my riding shadow.

Tonight the kids are staying with their aunts, so hubby and I are enjoying a quiet, relaxing dinner and a bottle of wine, right? That’s what any rational American couple temporarily released from the bonds of parenting would be doing with their free night at home. That’s not, however, how it works in our lives. Instead of savoring the solitude of an eerily vacant house, we’re getting our bike gear together because we’re meeting friends at 6:45 a.m. tomorrow. It’s almost 10:30 and on our night off we’re getting ready to go to bed. No. Really. To bed. To sleep. Our Saturday plan is to get in a vigorous 80-mile bike ride, hopefully before the skies open up and we get hailed on. Why are we doing this? Because it’s our final opportunity for a serious training ride before we do the Colorado Bike MS 150-mile ride two weekends from now and because, well, we’re insane. That’s the only logical explanation I can come up with right now.

I like to ride my bike, especially with friends. I enjoy it as much as I can enjoy any activity that is technically exercise and therefore is good for me. But, the getting ready, the gearing up, the waking up early, and the first ten minutes of the ride are pure torture. Once I get going, I truly do like riding. It’s the getting there that kills me. I try to live in the moment. I do. But, right now, I wish I could fast forward to 4 p.m. tomorrow when I’ll be finished doing the 80-miles, feeling the rider’s endorphin high after burning about 3,000 calories. Sitting here in bed in this moment, though, I am already exhausted simply thinking about 80 miles tomorrow. I would give my sons to the devil if he could make the next sixteen hours finish in an instant. All right. Maybe I wouldn’t give my darling boys to Satan, but I’d be tempted.

I know I will have a wonderful time tomorrow. I know I will enjoy it, even when it gets tough, because deep down I relish the opportunity to push myself a bit. But, as the idea of tomorrow stretches out before me, I am not enthusiastic. I am tired and I am going to sleep. And, I am praying that my forty-four year old legs are well rested, my new bike tires repel sharp debris, and the 800+ miles I’ve put in so far this year on my bike (mostly on its indoor trainer) will make this outdoor ride bearable. No matter what happens tomorrow, I can guarantee you two things: 1) tomorrow at 4 p.m. I will be drinking a beer that I truly earned and 2) tomorrow night I will sleep like the dead. Wait. Maybe that’s why I do this? 😉