Renew, resume, refresh

I was a totally different person seven years ago. The easiest way to go back in time to 2012 is to check the photos on your phone. I raced Ö till Ö and was in the best shape of my life. I renovated (think coveralls, paint, wooden floors) and sold a house, I ran a few marathons, I did obstacle races, adventure races and traveled. I honestly looked pretty good. I looked strong, wrinkle free and happy.

All cells in the body replace themselves every seven years. Does that mean I am a new person 2019? I hope it means that all broken bones are healed, and all muscles are brand spanking new, that the heart is pumping and that my mind forgot how crappy I felt after my last long race. That’s why cells renew, so you forget and restart. The same as giving birth, once you see and hold the result you forget and move on.

I am checking my body and I am trying to get it all done in the fun month of November. Doctors’ appointments, you know all those fun body parts that need to be checked. So far nothing bad has happened but it’s not good news either. No doctor will say – hey, you look so much better today than 7 years ago. I can see that those gorgeous cells of yours are renewing in a fabulous and terrific way. Way to go! Keep it up!

I went to the optometrist yesterday. Nothing super exciting, just a checkup. It’s been two years or maybe more since last time. I’ve had reading glasses for a few years, nothing major just a little bit of adjustment. Well stuff happens in a few years. My eyes are still there, and the inside looks fantastic. The photo you get of the inside of your eyes are pretty great, almost like a painting. I am now a person with progressive lenses and reading glasses. Apparently not all cells renew and get shiny and bright. It sneaks up on you. But I just realized that maybe all wrinkles around my eyes will disappear when I don’t have to pinch my eyes together to see. That is good news.

Made my way to the chiropractor. He is one of my favorites and I do my best to see him often. I just needed some overall body repair. Three longish bike rides and a very long run in the past few days isn’t good for my new cells. Or maybe they need time to adjust?

I had to google the whole cell renewal business and it is true, almost. All cells have different lifespans and functions. Some cells renew in a few days and some need almost a decade but overall it is correct. I vaguely remember reading about cells and the human body long time ago in biology, but my cells renewed 3-4 times since then so no wonder the connection is lost.

The question is was everything better before? Do you miss your old cells? Or do my cells miss my old life?

I see a new goal in the future. A big race might be in the horizon if the gods are willing and if the stars align. And the big question – will my body cooperate? I’m overusing Resveratrol in different forms, trying to bump up my workouts and relax like a pro when resting. I am, as always, grateful for coffee, massages, hugs and baths. I see a lot of mountain bike rides in the future. And I need to get back in the water. I got a new training program a few weeks ago. For some strange reason I insisted on adding a swim session every week. I somehow felt that it was important to get back in the water. How on earth? And why? My extremely successful swim career started with a broken elbow and wrist, and endless training for Ö till Ö 2012. It’s a mystery that I survived a full day of swimming mile after mile in the Baltic sea combined with running a wet suit. I don’t know how many times people have asked when I’ll do it again. Well, never, duh. I’m not a big fan of swimming. I can swim and obviously I survived swimming in the deep dark and very cold sea in extreme waves. But every time I go to the pool for a workout, I get the feeling that I don’t know how to swim. Maybe my body forgot since last time. Maybe my body will sink, it might not be able to float or move in the water. I went for a swim the other day. I did not sink. I moved around for 45 minutes or so, meter after meter, minute after minute. I still know how to, it’s like riding a bike… Obviously all cells are new, and the memory is lost…race…swim…pack raft…sigh…

Sleep

The simplest thing. Something we all do and after so many years of practice I should master it. I don’t. It comes and goes. Different phases of my life, thoughts, work, races, it all weighs in. Right now, I’m in a wake-up early phase. We are not talking 6am, waking up right before the alarm sets off. We are talking 2.30 to 4 something. Prime sleep time. The time of the night when you can hear the coyotes howl and the bobcats sneak around in your back yard. When the house is quiet and the dog snores. Long before the newspaper arrives. I force myself to stay in bed to 4.30. I’m not allowed to check my phone before 4 but the Kindle is ok. I have high standards; everyone knows that the phone is bad karma and a no-no in the bedroom. Well, at least until insomnia hits. Then it’s a lifeline to the outer world. It is great to have a kid to communicate with in Europe. It’s prime time for her and I get to calm my mind. And when I finally allow myself to get up and walk down the coffee tastes so good, news on and the day goes by.

The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.
~ Leonard Cohen

Don’t worry about all the things you can do to make it better. No caffeine in the afternoon, alcohol, very cold and dark room, good bed and nice sheets, exercise… I’m on it. Only complaint is Doris. She is from time to time extremely annoying. Crawling around my feet. She has fur but thinks she is a nude cat. Skin to skin under the down duvet. Her mission is to keep my feet warm. She is the one that wakes me up. But to her defense, she is always asleep after 2am.

It’s kind of funny that this is going on. I’m a snoozer. I love sleep. From time to time I sleep more than enough. I have a hard time getting up in the morning. I take naps during the day. If I run a lot, I take every chance I can to nap. Doris is usually a candidate for heating cold feet during couch naps. And who can resist that? And now I can’t even nap.

I remember the worst time I went through a phase like this. 18 years ago, 3 kids under the age of 4, went back to school for a second master’s and gave myself a year to finish it. Renovated a house. Exhausted. Woke up every night with three kids around me or in a very small bed counting sheep, minutes, breaths. Kids with asthma. And its endless when you are in the middle of it. And then one day everything is back to normal and sleep is the last thing you must worry about. And you kind of forget about no sleep and tired days.

When you google sleep it’s easy to get a tad bit worried. If you don’t sleep, your brain and your body don’t rest and recoup. Scary stuff. But according to a very serious webpage there is hope. Or a stroke. Since my brain is not getting enough rest, I have a hard time understanding the information about the neurotransmitters and the risk of stroke if you don’t get enough sleep. I turn to WebMD instead, the Bible of real home medicine. And – drumroll – get supplements. It’s not going to happen. My brain and I are going to wait it out. Count sheep, think of life decisions, overthink race scenarios and look forward to the first cup of coffee every day.

“A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky –
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
Sleepless…”
~ William Wordsworth

 

Fredagsvandring

Den här veckan har varit en helt vanlig vecka men med strålande sol och kyla, blå himmel och fågelkvitter. Så är det faktiskt här ganska ofta men vissa veckor är ju bara extra fina. Jag har haft turen att kunna vara ute varje dag, och till och med i skogen varje dag. Det kanske är det som gör att det känns extra bra. Hur lyxigt är inte det? Det är inte så att jag hasat runt i gympapupporna och skubbat på skogsstigar hela dagarna men någon timme här och där, lite då och då. Och så fick jag en riktigt lång fredagsvandring som bonus. Mjuka skogsstigar, krispig luft och gula löv som frasar när man går på dem. Sol på kinderna och röd, droppig näsa. Trött kropp. Det finns inget finare än när solen glimmar mellan träden, letar sig fram och skjuter strålar i ränder långt in i en mörk skog. När man pratar om livskvalité så tror jag att det ligger väldigt högt upp på listan för mig.

Igår var en sådan dag som man minns. Jag drog iväg på en bergsvandring lite mer än en timme hemifrån med några kompisar. Det var en ny trail för oss alla. Tanken var att vi skulle gå några timmar uppför och hamna vid en alpin sjö och sedan gå tillbaka. Och det gjorde vi. Vi såg Rainier skina i solen på långt håll. Känslan att veta att jag varit på toppen är ganska skön faktiskt. Vi knallade på, delade upp oss lite för att vi gick olika fort. Men speciellt med dagen var att vi var mer eller mindre ensamma i skogen. Solen sken, luften var riktigt kall och här och var klev vi över is på stigarna. Vi passerade ljudliga vattenfall där vi balanserade över stock och sten, smög genom ödsliga skogar. Vi vandrade över stora stenpartier där vi klättrade över stenblock, vi gick uppför i flera timmar innan vi sedan började gå nerför igen. Och så kom vi fram till en kall sjö där vi gick några kilometer längs kanten och stannade sedan på en sten i solen och åt lite. Och inget hände. Vi satt tysta och tittade ut över det vackra, tomma. Inte en själ. Hur ofta är det så att det är helt tomt, tyst och solen skiner hela vägen in i hjärtat? Och så gick vi tillbaka över stock och sten i flera timmar genom skogen, uppför och sedan nerför. Det är fint med vänner man kan hasa runt i naturen med och dela tysta stunder.

När man pratar om att ladda batterierna så tror jag att min sladd kopplades in där och då. Hikingbrallorna på, ryggsäcken på ryggen, en banan och en nötcrème, svartvinbärssaft i termosen och 6 timmar vandring i benen.