Crossroads

I started so full of beans last week. I had goals, I had a plan to get them and the will to achieve. I lost 5lb in my first week, I was battering the Sufferfest and all was going great.

Then a day later I started coming down with the plague weakness in the evenings. It smashes you. You just have to eat. Well, I just have to eat. Wendy manages to woman-up and tough it out. I put on 2lb which, with more weakness, took me all week to lose again.

Then I had a bit of a debacle with the swimming. They said my card was declined over the ‘phone, and that I’d have to pay at the door. I went to Sainsbury’s straight away and my card was fine in the cash machine and contactless, so I don’t know what the issue was. Anyway, seeing as they wouldn’t accept my card I pedaled to the baths for my booked swim with the money. They don’t accept cash. What? So that didn’t happen. I couldn’t be bothered doing it again the next day as that was the final one before it was shut for at least a month. I was thinking I’d commit to training and get a membership when it re-opens. It was only about £19 a month last time, and it’s £4.20 a swim so it’s the way to go.

I’ve been doing my Sufferfest workouts. I don’t feel bad at the start of the day. But here’s the rub, after the last two long rides I’ve been completely wasted. I’ve been trying to work out if it’s a serious energy crash from dieting and exercising, or plague. I did a 2½ hour ride today with 2x 25 minute hard (ish) blocks. By the end of the ride I was weak.

I read a few articles on Long Covid last night, by far the most common symptom is chronic fatigue, and there were several mentions of the theory that the recurrent bouts could be triggered by exertion.

That is not good. That is very not good.

The thing is, at the moment it’s a brand new virus, and nobody knows what it does, or how it does it, or for how long. If you read the list of things it can affect it’s just crazy. It does whatever the hell it likes. Brain damage, organ function, lung damage, nerve damage, toes, hair loss, you name it, it can do it. Now they’re comparing the plague weakness to chronic fatigue, autoimmune issues and M.E.

All of that is by the by, my point is, there are no answers yet because it hasn’t been around long enough for them to collect data from beginning to end. The effects of the first wave are still happening.

It has raised some very awkward questions for me, though. I’m going to have to monitor my workout/ weakness and see if it is a direct correlation. It’s rest day tomorrow, so, assuming it goes off tonight, I can start the test straight away.

I am really, really hoping this is not the case. It could potentially mean me giving up all sports. It’s not worth being wasted all day for one training session. Especially if I’m weak after just 2½ hours. That’s not long enough for me to train for, or attempt, any of my goals. I need about 14 hours of endurance in reserve for an Ironman, 3 hours flat out for my goal marathon, and 9 or so hours a day for the Lands End- John O’Groats.

As I say, at the moment it’s all speculation, but at first glance that would seem to answer why it is that I get it so much more frequently than Wendy, when intuition would suggest that being fitter I should get it less. There was other cheery reading, that this could be a permanent condition. And that, as it’s possibly autoimmune related, even if it goes off, it could be triggered annually by less serious seasonal viruses.

As I say, all guess work, but we’ve had this since April, that’s 7 months. At some point you have to consider that this just isn’t going to go away.

I’ll not lie, I’m a bit miffed about the whole thing. I didn’t sign up for this. I heard it was a 7% mortality rate, liked the odds and wanted to get it over with. Live or die, get it out of the way. Nobody said anything about whole-of-life conditions. To be fair, nobody knew, but that’s not the point.

One thing though, a few of the doctors were saying you should be pushing to build your endurance and regain your lung capacity and such. Working to get yourself back to fitness. Which is what I’ve been doing and desperately want to continue to do.

I’ll just have to monitor it and make my own mind up. I only read of the possible link yesterday so I need to see if it is the case.

Next day…

I was waiting until I had my (second) hearing at work before posting this, but apparently that is just a stage, the next, and presumably last, stage is the disciplinary hearing which they said I should get by the end of the week. The good new is there are some permanent jobs out there, that look OK. Not as good as the one I’ve got, but OK. *sigh*

In other news, the Sufferfest, as part of the mental toughness programme, had me list my goals, define my personal Mount Sufferlandria, and plan towards it. OK, all well and good. Then, to keep your goal crystal and fixed in your brain for when the urge to quit is at it’s worst, they said I had to write down the reason I wanted it. WHAT? Seriously, WHAT? I’m better at clarifying my thoughts when writing them down so I had a go:

“Why. You. Want. It.

My first thought is to say “I don’t know/ absolutely no idea” but that smacks of negativity.

So here we are.

Why do I want it?

Bolton (one of the hardest) Ironman

Lands End – John O’Groats

Sub 3 hour marathon.

First observation: those are all events that other people consider benchmarks. Is it a need for recognition and approval? Certainly not on any conscious level. The thought of it being that makes me despise myself just a little bit more.

I started all this fitness lark just to pass the army run test. Then found I quite enjoyed it. And thought I could do better next time. Then someone on twitter said about a half marathon and that was a massive challenge, did that and suddenly it wasn’t a big challenge, it was something even I could do, so 9 months later I did an Iron distance tri.

Perhaps it’s to do with me not being able to feel pride in my accomplishments, so always looking for the one big enough that I’ll be happy and proud of myself? Again, not consciously. I never expect to achieve that and I’m not sure it’s even possible for me, though I’m sure it would be nice.

I read a book in which people had 7 lives and then the bits of them that were interesting and unusual enough to distinguish them from the humdrum of the herd were kept alive in the virtual reality afterlife. That appeals on some level. A life less ordinary. I want my life to be a catalogue of extraordinary events.

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. It’s not other people’s recognition, or contentment and fulfillment I’m looking for, it’s just a narcissistic, vainglorious, futile attempt to give my life meaning.

Well, that wasn’t so hard.

Cool.

Crack on.”

I’m a guru of navel gazing insight. Pity it only applies to me or I could be rich!

Well, on to Twitter. It’s been a great week!

The man who was sued for not renting to black people, who said nazi protesters were “very fine people”, who left his wife when she got cancer, is accused of rape by his second wife, has 26 allegations of sexual assault against him, who slept with a porn star whilst his trophy wife was having his child, who is alleged to have attended paedo sex parties arranged by his good friend Jeffery Epstein, who told nazi militias to “stand back and stand by” in case he lost, has finally been booted out of office.

I don’t know much about his successor, but he’s not Trump. The slide into fascist demagoguery has been suspended. Not without last minute shenanigans. Trump tried to stop the postal votes, closed voting stations in predominantly black areas, and reduced opening times at the polling stations that were left open. He failed.

When it became clear he was losing badly he called for the count to be stopped.

His redneck white supremacists tried to invade a counting station to stop it.

In final act of moronic incompetence he tried to rally support in Philadelphia by holding a press conference at some famous luxury hotel, The Four Seasons. Being Trump they turned up at the Fours Seasons Total Landscaping, a garden management company. Rather than admit the error they held the press conference in the car park. Four Seasons Total Landscaping were quick to capitalise.

The (non-racist) Philadelphia residents turned out to make sure Trumps Brown Shirts didn’t get uppity.

CNN had a bit of a hoot honestly captioning Trumps tantrums.

But in the end sanity prevailed.

Oddly enough, as soon as draft dodging Donny Bonespurs was out a job, Boris Johnson said he was going to negotiate with the EU after all. And not show contempt for the rule of law. Can’t think why. Then he backed down on starving kids over the school holidays.

Away from the Poundshop Hitlers, Twitter was more fun.

A bit of feel-good news. Some guy with Downs Syndrome (and a pretty good sense of humour) became the first person with the condition to finish and Ironman. Go Chris!

And my new favourite account, @dinoman_j.

Plague update before I go. I haven’t done any exercise today. I was fine this morning, troughed like a herd of starving swine at dinner, and I’m starting to feel weak again. Not badly, but certainly not a calorie crash. *deepest of sighs*

Right, I’m out of here.

Later,

Buck.

Mental Toughness.

The Sufferfest has some brilliant advice on mental toughness. It starts with a 3 point plan.

1 Taking the positive path.

2 Creating the excitement.

3 Fostering a strong will.

Taking the positive path is a mental decision. They give the example of a group bike ride, going up a hill, and you start to struggle. As soon as you think “I can’t keep up”, you are thinking you are going to drop off the pack, you think you’re not good enough, it was stupid to come out for the ride, you start beating yourself up and making it worse. That’s all before you’ve dropped off another inch.

Instead, as soon as the negative thought occurs, they say imagine a STOP! sign. Then picture two paths behind it. One leads to defeat and disappointment, the other leads to your ultimate goal, your Mount Sufferlandria. You have to STOP! the negative thought chain, choose the right path, then determine what the very first goal is past that STOP! sign on the path to Mt S, and don’t stop until you’ve achieved it.

Creating the excitement is about controlling stress. You think it’s your race in the morning and you aren’t ready, you can’t do it, it’s too much. Instead, STOP! and visualise yourself at the start line, pumped and ready to go. Review all the training you’ve done to get here, you are prepared. Do some deep breathing to calm yourself then picture yourself on the finish line, victorious. Turn worry and stress into positivity and excitement.

Fostering a strong will. Now this is where it all goes pear shaped. When you know what you want, and why you want it, nothing can stop you.

Why. You. Want. It.

My first thought is to say “I don’t know/ absolutely no idea” but that smacks of negativity.

So here we are.

Why do I want it?

Bolton (one of the hardest) Ironman

Lands End – John O’Groats

Sub 3 hour marathon.

First observation: those are all events that other people consider benchmarks. Is it a need for recognition and approval? Certainly not on any conscious level. The thought of it being that makes me despise myself just a little bit more.

I started all this fitness lark just to pass the army run test. Then found I quite enjoyed it. And thought I could do better next time. Then someone on twitter said about a half marathon and that was a massive challenge, did that and suddenly it wasn’t a big challenge, it was something even I could do, so 9 months later I did an Iron distance tri.

Perhaps it’s to do with me not being able to feel pride in my accomplishments, so always looking for the one big enough that I’ll be happy and proud of myself? Again, not consciously. I never expect to achieve that and I’m not sure it’s even possible for me, though I’m sure it would be nice.

I read a book in which people had 7 lives and then the bits of them that were interesting and unusual enough to distinguish them from the humdrum of the herd were kept alive in the virtual reality afterlife. That appeals on some level. A life less ordinary. I want my life to be a catalogue of extraordinary events.

Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. It’s not other people’s recognition, or contentment and fulfillment I’m looking for, it’s just a narcissistic, vainglorious, futile attempt to give my life meaning.

Well, that wasn’t so hard.

Cool.

Crack on.

Week 1

Goals (month):

Get to 10st 6lb.

Move 4DP profile to a harder setting.

Swimming: get floaty.

Goals (Week):

Lose 5lb – done.

Raise 4DP (hardness of turbo trainer on The Sufferfest) – too ambitious, not done.

Start swimming, 1 swim – done.

Reflect: Good week. I’ve never managed a diet before. I have serious issues about going swimming, so that was a major success. Due to me not being able to do an accurate 4DP fitness test with my trainer on the Sufferfest I can’t just try harder on the test and move my settings up a little bit, I have to use previously established results. The lowest one above where I am is a third tougher. I’ve been back training seriously for a fortnight, with a few weeks of commute riding before that. I’m just not able to raise my power by a third in one go, yet. I did manage to ride up Frodsham hill without going into the Ring of Shame today, so, progress.

Reward: My chippy tea last night. Guilt free.

Revise: Next week: lose 2lb, and do 2 swims.