Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Finding Some Balance

Yes The ChesapeakeSailor has been on hiatus since this summer.  Gone but not forgotten.  This is just a quick New Years Eve note to assure any readers I have left that I have not retired the bike; nor do I intend to retire the blog.

When last I posted I was about to head out on the Many Rivers and Fords 600K.  Like the 400K two weeks prior I wound up with a DNF on that outing.  I completed the first 244 miles of a planned 375.   I did that in a respectable 22 hours.  Conveniently the control for the intermission at mile 244 was the same hotel as the start and finish.

When I lay down I was feeling very good about the whole endeavor, looking forward to taking on the last 200K the next morning.  But when I tried to wake up and get moving again, nothing was working correctly, in particular my fingers and eyesight.  Apparently a 3 hour nap wasn't quite enough, or maybe it was too much.  If I tried to lay down for only one more hour or two I feared missing the next control.  So it was either go then or quit. I chose what I felt was the safe option and stayed put in that hotel, slept about 6 more hours.

I have spent a lot of time since then second guessing the details of that sequence.  Could I have kept riding at 2 am and then napped later in the heat of the day, with many critical miles already behind me? Could I have worked through my fatigue when I woke from my nap at 5 am, with over 14 hours left to finish the last 200K?  I'll go in to those details more in another post.

But it also caused me to take some time to reflect on some bigger questions.  Why was I riding so much?  What did I want to accomplish?  Was the time on my bike worth the time away from other parts of life?

I kept riding but not at quite such frantic pace.  I took my first "tour" on the bike.  I rode solo for two days from home in Severna Park, MD to our family vacation in Lewes, DE where I met my family for a week at the beach.  I camped over night in a state park. 190 miles total.  I loved it:  2 days of solitude, no time limits, no controls, no kids or customers to attend to.  No ride partner to worry if I was holding him up, or stewing he might be holding me up.  But it was REALLY humid in July.  Next time I think I'll find a hotel, or go in October when I can count on a little nicer weather.

After that the riding pace backed off a bit and my focuse shifted to the kids, to work, to the Cub Scouts.  The bike still has a place, but it had become a little too much of a focus.   With less miles came better balance, and I'm afraid a few lbs.  It seems I was still eating for the higher mileage pace.

So that sets the stage for my 2013 goals:  To keep the balance and get more fit.

That means smarter eating and smarter training.  SMARTER not harder.  There won't be a specific mileage goal this year.  Fitness will be measured by weight loss, how my clothes fit, and how I feel.  My left knee REALLY objected to the Thanksgiving day Turkey Bowl I played in with my kids' and neighbors.  It took nearly 3 weeks for swelling to go down.  I'm sure the extra weight contributed to the problem.  Yesterday's perm demonstrated it's healed; 200K with no knee issues.  I don't want to skip next years' Turkey Bowl.  So I'll start learning and doing, exercises to strengthen the knee and lighten the load a bit.  I'll be working on the rest of the bod too.  Off the bike, physical conditioning has gotten much attention.  I realize that needs to change.

Balance means making time for my wife, my kids, the Cub Scouts (I'm committed through February, 2014), work (not really a choice), and the rest of life. This was re-enforced by some friends' personal tragedies this year.  None of us is immune to bad things happening.  If my family should ever face a crisis or a death, I don't want there to be any regrets.  I don't ever want to say "I wish I had...." in that context.  I think my friends offered a tremendous example in this regard.  They put their family first, they did everything right.  When the time came to confront their moment of crisis, they had to deal with terrible grief and loss.  But I never heard regret.  Putting so much energy in to cycling goals, and coming up short on some of those, made me realize I was over-committed. That I might be putting myself in a situation where I'd later regret how I set my priorities.   So I shifted a bit.  Finding that balance is still a work in progress, but I know I'll get it right.

This is all a bit rambling, and if you read along this far, thank you. I don't plan to write too many more ride reports.  I'm just not that impressed with my own narrative skills.  So instead I'll use this forum to share my thoughts on what happens to me and to my life.  I'll post less frequently and only when I have more to say.  Like tonight.

Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you find your balance too.