Early on Sunday morning (at 9am) I found myself sitting listening to the clock bells ringing in Warwick town square. The world was slowly waking up around me – and as usual I was already a few coffees into my day.
Although it’s something I used to do a lot I no longer understand any more how people can waste their weekend by lying in bed.
I guess that not having a hangover 24×7 (it’s now over two and a half years since I drank any alcohol) and actually being capable of getting a good night’s rest without my old sleep apnoea makes a massive difference.
Now the mornings are light I’m usually up and out of bed by around 6am at the absolute latest.
These days on a Saturday or Sunday by 9am (if I’ve not already started my day) I’m of the opinion that three hours have been wasted.
Thankfully this wasn’t the case yesterday because I’d already managed to get four miles under my belt before I sat down to listen to the bells and planned to do a lot more before the day was done.
On Saturday when I went to Cheddar Gorge I’d made something of a tactical error though and the following day I was suffering a little.
Before heading out to the wilds of Somerset I’d neglected to apply suntan lotion to any part of my body – and despite carrying it in my bag throughout the whole frikkin day – due firstly to the hill related fun and then the car related stress I forgot all about it.
I ended up getting home that evening with a bright red head and rather pink legs.
This had faded a bit by the following morning and was just a bit itchy. Given how sunny it was I had a rather lucky escape.
Yesterday I was determined not to make the same mistake twice and made sure that I proactively applied lots of lotion to my head and arms before leaving the house.
Furthermore I wore long cargo trousers to give my pink shins a break and secreted a travel tube of suntan cream in one of the bigger pockets near my knee for later re-application.
This proved to be a good call because on Sunday it was a HOT day.
Originally I’d planned to make my weekend a ridiculously intrepid one – and Sunday was supposed to be much like Saturday.
I had originally intended to go far afield yet again and have another day of exploration and adventure.
Unfortunately my car had scuppered that plan completely and was sitting close to death parked outside my house.
Until I could get in front of a mechanic (it’s been booked in for tomorrow) my options were limited.
I could have jumped on a train to somewhere – but I also needed to do some shopping. When you don’t have the luxury of hopping in your vehicle and quickly nipping to the supermarket to get frozen food and heavy items this becomes a bit more time consuming.
I was therefore left with the the unenviable task of carrying various items from distant supermarkets (Some things I can only get from one place – others I can buy from a nearer supermarket) in the blazing midday heat.
By the time 3pm had arrived I must admit that I was feeling pretty worn out – which was when the second ‘hangover’ from Saturday began to make itself known.
Whilst I’d been giddily running up and down the hillsides at Cheddar Gorge I’d not paid any attention at all to tiredness in my legs – mostly because I was enjoying the sensation of feeling the burn.
I was much more interested in how quickly they would recover and how soon I could get my breath back and power forward.
However – my quads (from the downhill segments) had clearly taken a pounding – and as the day wore on I found that I had less and less to give in my legs.
By around 3-4pm my quads had pretty much siezed up and I retreated indoors where it was hot and stuffy – but there was also a nice comfy sofa and a massive pouffe.
Time to chill with the fan on.
Although it’s not a particularly cheerful topic I’ve found myself unexpectedly addicted to a Vietnam War documentary on Netflix recently.
It’s a rather epic series – with around 10 episodes, some of which come in at the two hour mark – so it’s an undertaking not for the faint hearted if you plan to have a look.
However – if you’re at all historically curious it’s a fascinating (albeit grim) look at the potential for hubris in people with great power and the devastation they can cause to the lives of so many when they choose to go to war.
It’s also a fascinating insight into how decisions made by people with the best of intentions can sometimes have the absolute worst of outcomes.
Maybe I should be watching something different to this though – because I’m very much aware that my mood is still one of reflection and introspection rather than relentless buoyancy.
I’m far from down but I also wouldn’t categorise myself as completely upbeat if I was pushed to describe my mood.
Mostly because of this if I’m being completely truthful the last two weeks have been a bigger struggle than most I’ve experienced since I started Slimming World with regard to eating.
I’m (as always) making good choices whenever I can – and food optimising with a passion – but I’m finding that I’m having a harder time than I normally would recognising the moment when I should be flicking the eating switch to the ‘I’m full up now’ position and calling it a day.
The only way to deal with this and not decimate any progress I’ve made is to nibble wisely – and as such I think I’ve probably eaten the weight of a Shetland pony in gherkins and pickled onions over the last few days.
It’s not ideal though because I like to feel in control – and it’s been a long time since I felt that grip slip so noticeably.
It’s not nice – and it reminds me of darker days, which does little to improve my frame of mind.
However – Saturday was a definite turning point – and as stressful as my car breaking down was it took my mind off what had been bugging me for a while.
There’s no such thing as a bad day or a good day – even in extremes.
There’s only perspective.
Often it takes time to formulate that view but it’s possible to view almost everything in a good light.
Sure – things may go wrong but it’s only your perception of an event like a car breakdown that makes it a bad day.
The guy who gets to fix your car earns a living, and the industry associated with making the parts you use to repair it ensure people have jobs and can support families.
There’s often two sides to every coin and the yin to my particular yan was that I had to fill up my brain with nervous energy and think my way around the potential problem I was faced with – and try to find a way around it.
If I hadn’t been able to drive it home I’m sure I’d have found some way or another to overcome and persevere.
It’s just who I am now and I love that deep down I feel a strength that years ago used to be fear.
Today the theme of trying to regain equilibrium has persisted and as I sit here at 10pm writing this I’ve just completed a near six mile evening walk with a friend around the park and am now resting in front of the TV with a full belly.
In that belly is a delicious food optimised dessert made with sweet and succulent blackberries that I picked off a bush on the way home, mixed with some frozen fruit, fat free yoghurt, oats, a banana, cinnamon and stevia.
What isn’t to love about a life where I can walk all day long, pick some of my dinner from a bush, mix it with delicious and wholesome ingredients and feel full up at the end of it?
Who the hell needs ice cream when this is the alternative?
Not me that’s for sure.
Sure – on a day like today the idea seems like a nice one – and when I’m low it seems like an easy choice, but doing that will not improve my mood.
Making the right choices, talking to friends, going out, seeing the world and keeping fit will do that for me – and THAT (dear internet) is what I choose as my antidote to stress and worry.