1% better or 20% worse

Watching the news and listening to music at the same time. It makes it more bearable. You really must pick your news channel wisely. On this day in history nothing fun happened. It’s a bunch of war, guns, evil things, storms, blizzards, tornadoes, and stinky weather. I left that all behind and went for a long walk in the forest with the dogs. An hour down to the lake and then up again. Cold in the beginning and then warm, fast little dogs on the way down and very slow up. Ended up carrying both dogs the last 5 minutes. Muddy paws and very tired long bodies. Took a water break in the back of the car and slowly headed back home. Passed my favorite neighborhood, took in the view, the air and listened to the radio. I wish this could be my everyday morning routine.   

On this day 10 years back, I had a 5h run/swim session planned training for ÖtillÖ swimrun world championship. I’m happy that is not today. It was usually 1 mile swim in the lake, run 4 miles, swim one more mile, run 4 miles… you get it. The worst part was getting the wet suit on after every run to get in the lake. Or worse, the days I ran in the wet suit to get used to it. Or in the pool, down to Idlywood and up, shower, swim, out and run, again and again. For some reason I decided to run 20 miles (32km) on the treadmill in the dark room at ProClub the day after, just because I had three hours before picking up the kids. I sure knew a good time back then. The body was like a nice German sportscar, everything tuned and well oiled.   

On this day 6 years back, I had a long 3.5h bike and run planned, this time training for Ironman Coeur D’Alene. Written down in ink on my monthly plan set up by the master. The weather was kind of the same as today, wet, and cold. I am glad I saved all paper copies of my plans and photos on my phone otherwise I would not believe it was true. The only 3.5h sessions I have now are coffee and books.

Today’s workout consisted of a long walk with the dogs and some easy barbell stuff in the garage. Time changed, body changed, type 2 fun stuff changed. The well-oiled body is now very cranky, and it looks like an old folk race car, like an old rusty Saab. It’s raining outside. If the dogs want to stay in, I’m staying in. When you train for a race, event, or competition, of course you train to get better, and the weather is secondary. You want to do your best. But if you work out for health and for the rest of your life, what then?

The mentality of always wanting to go get it, always chasing, always going for the goal. It’s not doable for the rest of your life. We often get to hear that we should be our best selves. Get a little bit better every day, work it out and add on 1% more awesomesauce every single time we work out. I don’t think that is true. What about good enough? Are we ever good enough? Movement is a part of our lives, it’s not a hobby. It should be like eating or sleeping, something we do every day because it’s part of our routine, our lives. A walk, bike ride, a run, weights, a class, yoga, taking the stairs… Why should we get pressured to get better every day, aren’t we good enough as is? I certainly think so. Last few years I have come to terms with that it’s just going downhill. Most days I don’t like it at all but some days I still feel pretty good. Some days you will get 3% better, but we also have those days when we basically suck and are 20% worse than the day before. I have a bad knee and a foot that has been broken too many times and I basically stopped running all together, and I don’t have much hope that I will ever run much again. The strange thing is that in my head I plan every day when and where I should run. Old habit. And after the plan is set, I realize that I wouldn’t get very far, and I must re-plan and have another cup of coffee instead. It takes time to get used to change. That goes both ways. If you want to start to move or get a routine going you need to force yourself many times before it sits. It can take weeks and months or years before it feels natural. A daily walk, eating more vegetables, a daily workout… I’m getting used to less movement and in a different way, that takes time too.