Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Body Reboot

My body needs a hard core reboot.

November started out as a fantastic month for me. I was on an evening schedule at work, so I would wake up to sunshine each day and spend the morning outside exercising with Derek. Then I’d have a yummy, healthy lunch before strolling into work for the afternoon and evening. With the exception of the Thanksgiving holiday, I didn’t really drink coffee or alcohol. And, until I got the head cold from hell, things were going pretty great. I felt fantastic, and I felt like I was really getting stronger - check out the massive shoulder muscle gains!

Now that it’s December, I’m back on my normal day shift. I haven’t really settled back into a routine of working out everyday. In fact... I haven’t actually worked out in... ehh....hmmm... crap. Since the weekend before this past one. Crap. And thanks to that along with some poor food choices, my body has pretty much fallen apart on me. I’ve had a headache for days. My stomach is constantly rolling. I feel tired and achy. My low back is being a total pain. Did I mention that I’ve had a headache for DAYS?!

Being the list maker that I am, I have identified the following contributing factors to my total body failure:
  • ME. I take full responsibility for lacking the discipline to maintain my own health this month. But the rest of this list definitely didn’t help...
  • I wake up in the dark and come home in the dark. No matter how much I mentally prepare myself for this each winter, it leaves me depressed. I openly admit that. And depression sucks.
  • It’s a lot harder to stay motivated without Coach Derek to tell me what to do during my workout. I really love working out with him. If I could hire him to be my personal life coach I would. Since I can’t afford a personal life coach, I’m glad I married him instead (okay, I might be glad I married him for other reasons, too. i.e. I love him and all that mush)
  • I come home exhausted and grumpy from working in front of a computer all day. It’s much easier to work out when I wake up naturally than when I get home after the 7:45AM to 4:45PM servitude that is our typical American day.
  • The head cold from hell never really went away. I am still coughing up phlegm from my chest. Seriously.
  • Final Finals. I am soooooo glad to be done with grad school. But in finishing grad school, I ditched out on some weekend opportunities to get outside & climb so that I could stay locked in the library and finish up my finals with style. I don’t regret this decision. I wanted to finish school well. But it did contribute to the total body failure.
  • I fell off the no-coffee-no-beer bandwagon. Now, I don’t think coffee and beer are evil - I think they are absolutely fabulous. In fact, I LOVE coffee and beer. Unfortunately, my insides do not feel the same way - and these two beverages stimulate some horrid acid reflux along with less than pleasant IBS. When I indulge, I constantly feel the need to vomit and I have a horrible time sleeping. And eating. And moving. In order to maintain my health, I really shouldn’t drink them.
All of those bullets mean that now I feel like the south end of a northbound donkey.


I need a reboot. I need to reset my system and restart my routine. And above all, I need to be disciplined and actually stick to my healthy habits. My next list will be how to fix this!


  1. I suggest some time off, we all need some time off. No training, just staying active. We are not wired for 12/365/24. I always use December, its too busy anyways with the holidays

  2. I am right there with ya. I could have written this same post but as I said before I am taking baby steps.

  3. I just tagged you with a versatile blogger award. Check it out!

  4. My physician recommended using light therapy to deal with the winter darkness. I have my lights set on a timer, wake up to it, read or journal for 30-45 minutes each morning while I soak up daylight spectrum light. You could also have one at your office instead if that works better for you. I frankly was surprised at the big difference it made in my mood and energy, not the least lessening the sugar/fat cravings.

    Another change came when I attended the winter solstice ceremony at my local Unitarian Church. It really helped me understand the darkness as essential part of the cycle of life. Appreciate the slower pace, rest, incubate ideas and projects for the next year. Think of hibernating animals getting ready for a burst of ewnergy come spring. Love the stillness, the greyscale of colors outside. I had to change my attitude towards winter, and winter became kinder to me.

  5. Hi Susan - I just found you from your comment on my pal Sonja's blog, Desert Tortoise. I'll be doing more climbing in the coming year, but mostly mountains. Here's my website for my film project, which includes summiting several peaks: It'll be great to swap stories! Where are you headed in January?

    I've been bouncing around all over, trying to stay in shape, so I hear you on the challenges. I've managed to reasonably maintain my running, even doing Zumba online classes while cooped up inside when Winter hit in Alaska!

    I haven't been on a rock face or gym wall on 1.5 years due to injury. I'm hoping to get back on the wagon soon. What I offer to both you & Sonja is "Easy Does It". Sometimes life _does_ just get in the way! Big deal! It's happened to me tons in the last 2 years. Doesn't mean squat. Just start over where you are _today_. Just keep at it. As long as you commit to starting up again, it's no big deal. It's just hard on our egos to face having to train a flabby bicep away when "just" last year you were sending 5.12's. It's all ego.

    When asked how she still loved climbing after hitting it hard after 15 years, my climbing mentor said, "Every day you start from where you're at, and try to improve. It's the only way to get from the bottom of the route to the top." The point of this zen koan is to accept where you are as the starting point, and be OK with it. Only then can you go up. Trust me on this - because I didn't think like this, I caused severe re-injury the first 6 months back when I thought I was ok.

    Same idea with what Sonja said on the darkness & needing to hibernate. I'm so happy to be back in Chicago this Winter just for that reason, to have nothing to do!

    Good luck!

  6. @BDD, Christi, & deserttortoise: Thank you for sharing your experiences and advice!

    @Marissa: Thanks for stopping in! I just checked out your site - very cool! Derek and I will be in New Hampshire for January, mostly in the Mount Washington & North Concord area - after that, it will be the southeast for February (TN, AL, GA, NC), and then Red Rocks, NV and Joshua Tree, CA for March & April. In May, we'll finally settle in one spot for a bit to work with North Carolina Outward Bound for the summer :) After that? Who knows!