I was sick in early February – just a cold. I was calling it the cabin fever cold. Most likely from breathing stale, dry air. It started with a sore throat and persisted with congestion that just lingered for a week and a half. There was a period of 2 or 3 days where I was up every few hours with Wonka so I didn’t get a good nights sleep. He’s 16 and in low power consumption right now. When he goes outside he needs an assist down the stairs and a boost coming back up. The only way I get sick is from lack of sleep – my immune system is weakened and I catch a cold. I ran very little during that time and gave myself a pass at not being motivated.
Looking back at past years, I don’t drive myself too hard in January and February. In the context of annual training periodization – I tend to lay low, mentally and physically let myself take a break and begin to make plans about the upcoming spring and summer.
In 2018 I ran 20+ miles consistently for 52 weeks and always tried to hit that mileage. For me it was a mix of a few lunch runs and longer run on the weekend. I made a big effort to just be consistent and it felt like a good balance overall.
The only race I have planned right now is in July – a marathon, but I’m feeling the itch to go longer. I haven’t decided yet, but with many things, past experience builds year over year. Nothing seems very exceptional to me right now. I need to think about where I should point my effort and motivation. I was reading something recently where the questions was asked, “what’s your 10 year plan? well why not just do that in 6 months?”.
I’m less “stoked for whatever” or “down for whatever”. A few years ago I started thinking about the concept of “no epics”. I’ve had many in the past – days where it was unclear if you were going to make it home or things were going to go pear shaped and get desperate. Overall, it’s just experience and maturity. Stack the odds completely in your favor, mitigate risk and go recreate. I’ve found that when people are “stoked” to go anytime, it’s because they don’t have much experience, thus they just want to log hours. That tends to get old quickly. Skiing in whiteouts, climbing when avy danger or conditions are marginal. Maybe it’s just me being older and more risk averse, but it also detracts from the fun.
There was a time in the recent past where I tied much of my identity to my outdoor pursuits — but there’s a risk there, of being one dimensional, of being … less interesting.
It reminds of Walt Whitman’s famous saying, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
My motivation is coming back like a spark growing into a fire. I’m making lists of objectives. I’m looking forward to the mountains this spring and summer. Time to start getting after it.