Remember, I had fallen into disrepair. I was sitting too much and moving too little. I’d fallen down on the job of staying fit, and I’d vowed to turn my life around…but I’ve failed to provide the promised bi-monthly reportage of the journey.
C’mon, Brad! What’s the dealio?
The dealio is that I’ve been thinking of you, dear reader. Seriously, there’s an art to writing these comeback kid narratives, and I struggle to post when there’s little to report. I’m sparing you from the kind of drivel that would have you dropping me like a fedora-wearing hipster riding his fixie up the Eastern Sierra’s Onion Valley Road:
“I came, I ran and I crushed. I did everything my coach asked me to do this week. Feeling great! More of the same next week. Thinking about buying a pair of not-so-minimalist running shoes. Can’t wait to fill you in next Friday.”
Yawn, gap and stretch. And if I didn’t care so much about my readers’ user experience, that’s the kind of narrative I’d deliver, even if it were perfectly true (which it isn’t). So I’m attempting to shape these posts into an arc, a yarn, a tale, a chronicle, a missive that’s neither too tall nor too small. Namely, a story that’s compelling enough to keep you reading when you really should be getting back to that report your boss has asked you to deliver by the end of the day, or that dear yelping child pulling on the hem of your running shorts, or that Pinarello Dogma 65.1 you’ve got tucked under the sheets on the barren side of your California king.
Question: what do The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Repo Man and Son of Flubber have in common? Why, the hero’s journey, of course. To wit: An everyperson falls into an accidental adventure that morphs into a redemptive quest to capture the boon and to bring it back to share with the world. (Almost as heroic as Fred MacMurray’s career arc, which took him from the film noir classic Double Indemnity (1944) to The Absent-Minded Professor(1961) and its sequel,Flubber (1963). What was poor Fred’s boon? I’ll get back to you on that one.)
My point is that everyone appreciates a well-told everyman’s tale, as long as the highs aren’t too high and the lows aren’t too low. At the same time, who wants to read about the Übermensch who’s just killing it every week, and has gone from doughboy to heart-lung machine in a month’s time, outpeddling guys who ride 7,500 miles a year? Incipient admiration would morph into envy, which would funnel into hatred.
Even my alter ego would quit reading this blog.
On the same token, who would willingly consume the chronicles of a total loser – say, the story of a guy who reports each week that he’s failed to perform the Pilates program his brilliant coach, Julie Young of O2 Fitness, designed for him well over a month ago. Ahem.
Finally, there’s little demand for a colloquy without a crisis, and thus far, that’s precisely what this “story” is, because we’ve yet to nail the stakes to any kind of adventure that might prove the story’s climax. Or anti-climax. Or something from which a denouement might flow.
Enough. I’ll come out with the truth: I totally fell down on the job last week. I missed four workouts. I consumed two cans of Pringles and swilled a bottle of Squirt. I was stressed, spent and dealing with the kind of stuff that made working out seem trivial.
Can you relate, mate?
Here’s my learning: One day’s break: fine. Two consecutive days? Well, all right, take them if you must. Three consecutive days of inactivity? Not recommended when you’ve spent most of the past two years practicing slouchdom. Four days of sitting around? Well, you might as well go back to start, because here come the butter-toffee macadamia nuts and Cherry Coke.
The good news is that I pulled myself out of the sewer – again! – and put in 4.5 hours of training on the weekend – just what Julie slated on our Training Peaks package. Despite the Pringles and old-fashioned chocolate donuts (forgot to mention those), I’ve lost five pounds. My pudge pockets are not quite as evident when I’m riding in the drops of my road bike, and my chest doesn’t jiggle (as much) when I run. I undoubtedly have more strength and endurance than I did a month ago. And after jumping back on the horse this weekend, I actually feel better than I have in a long while.
Now – for that grand ordeal. What should it be?
Run? Hike? Climb? Peddle? Paddle? It has to be an endurothon, it should take place in a wilderness-ish setting (big mountain road bike riding is fair game, too). I’d like to stay in the Sierra Nevada or beyond. It can last more than a day. Should take place in August or September. No formal races.
Email me at brad (at) sustainableplay (dot) com with your thoughts.
Your fantasy adventure might well become my own. If I select your idea, you’ll become the feature of a blog post. Imagine that!