3 Big Years: Progress

Let’s be succinct. For my Rock Music Big Year, daily album immersion is now a routine and enriching habit. Can I say I’m tapping the Zeitgeist? Maybe. I run, cycle or heft weights daily, routinely, for the Fitness Big Year. If I’m still well shy of the three annual goals (1,000 kms, 5,000 kms, 100 gym visits), a restorative dose of variety in Sydney has eased my anxiety. What about the Writing Big Year? I missed some early morning alarms in the Sydney week but forgave myself because I worked so intently and diligently. Every month, week and day looms large but every day, week and month witnesses major progress. A book surfaces!

Fitness Big Year: There is joy in steadiness . . .

The past three days, I’ve been moaning about this Big Year. I forget that last year, I was quite preoccupied with the notion that maybe, just maybe, forcing oneself to take a given daily action could lead to a habit. I realized today that even if my jogging, cycling and gym’ing cause me angst, every day I go out and exercise. Every day. It’s no longer a question mark. Exercising is one of my habits. How wonderful!

Fitness Big Year: No easy solution to a poor start (Part 3)

Catch up on gym? Easy if irksome.

Catch up on cycling? Have faith and enjoy!

I simply don’t know what to do with jogging. I failed yet again a couple of days ago. The way I’m going, I’ll fall short of 1,000 kms by 100+. Since 10 kms is my limit, since I can’t jog and cycle on any one day . . . well, I’m in deep shtuk.

There’s no ready solution and I’ve bigger fish to catch right now, so I decide not to decide. I just affirm that I’ll keep lacing up those blue joggers twice a week and heading out to pant. Somehow I’ll keep dejection at bay. Maybe inspiration will strike like lightning, eh?

Fitness Big Year: No easy solution to a poor start (Part 2)

Cycling is such fun! I can’t believe how liberating, how natural, this sport is. But I spilled again the other day, reminding me what a novice I am, and haven’t found adding distance or speed as easy as I’d fantasized. Bum on seat, pumping legs while the upper body is oddly tensed, seems to stress this old human more than running on concrete ever did, and that’s a huge negative surprise.

Right now, with 46 weeks to go, even if I settle into a routine of 100 kms a week as planned (and I’ve yet to achieve that), I’ll end up 300 kms short of the year-end goal. What to do? Blithe answers – go for some of those 100 km rides all the regulars do on Saturday mornings, or just add an extra weekly ride for a couple of months – don’t work. Writing is far more important, so I just don’t have the time!

If it comes to the crunch, I’ll even retrench my aims. But right now, I make a decision to work towards an extra 10 kms a week. I’m not even sure which ride I’ll extend. I can’t even summon the mental energy to program out the year. So for now I’ll just have faith that over the next month or so, I can gradually up weekly distances and at the same time bolster speed in order to keep this cycling gig to a series of modest intrusions into my writing days.

Fitness Big Year: No easy solution to a poor start (Part 1)

6 weeks in, 46 to go, and something needs to be done. I’m over my minor injuries (courtesy of the red theraband in the photo) but all my 3 goals loom  large, maybe even to an insurmountable extent.

I’ve been to the gym ten times this year and easy calculations tell me that, allowing for quite a few weeks when I simply won’t have access to a gym, my 100-workout target is way under water.

The solution? Easy. Trot to the local gym thrice a week rather than twice, as often as possible. This doesn’t fill me with joy – I’ve never fallen in love with weights – but my propensity for ongoing physical niggles suggests that upping the conditioning could be a good thing.

So I can handle this issue. The other two are more intractable . . .


Fitness Big Year: Not easy, fortunately

Just when I hoped the jogging hoodoo was smashed, yesterday’s 30-plus heat brought out the worst in me. After 4 kms, gazing up the hill to Yarra Boulevard, I turned around and then, even more ignominiously, after another kilometre, I stopped. I recorded 5 kms and walked home.

Last year such a lapse would have torn me apart and I’d have plotted a catch-up run. This year I find I have a different perspective: the Writing Big Year is manifestly more important. A nagging chest muscle issue, now over a month old, tells me not to push matters. So . . . I decide to focus on the year-end numerical goals: cycle 5,000 kms, jog 1,000 kms, and attend gym 100 times. I’m behind in all three but have options and time. Plus I remain committed to exercising each and every day. So . . . yesterday’s paltry 5 kms is, after all, good enough.

January progress report

One month in, the Writing Big Year is intense to the point of near mania. I’ve finished two chapters but am falling a bit behind schedule, without much possibility of catching up later in the year. Protecting early rises by staidness and moderation in the evenings is a habit that’s onerous to master. In practice I’ve missed a handful of in-the-darkness alarms and had to scramble to make up time later in the days. So far I’ve honored the basic commitment. February will be key: can I deliver on the (adjusted) schedule? Let me also say how enjoyable this focus is.

The Fitness Big Year is a magnificent work-in-progress. I’ve kept up the daily jog/cycle/workout commitments and find the new activity mix exhilarating. Who knew riding a bike would be so much pure fun? Jogging has turned into a trial by fire but I’m only a bit behind target: 71 kms towards my 1,000-km goal. A persistent chest muscle injury hasn’t stopped me from getting to the gym 7 times, close to what I need to meet the 100 workouts/year goal. That injury, however, has led me to hold back on longer cycles and I’ve only managed 252 kms, only half what I’d hoped for in order to reach 5,000 kms over 2017. I’ll have to ride faster, or for longer, or both, or maybe I’ll have to put in some scary long rides. February also looms large for this Big Year.

Funnily enough, the Rock Music Big Year has proven straightforward. I’ve listened to 11 albums and written 11 “reviewlets,” exactly as proposed. I’d thought I’d listen on couch in evening; instead I’m one of those zombies you see walking the streets in a headphone cocoon. Such revelatory bliss! The only downside has been reduced book reading, but so be it.

February, be kind to me!