I’m Xakara, it’s great to meet you! I’m happy to have joined all the lovely ladies here and all of you, on this current leg of my health journey.
I’ve been struggling with repetitive injuries, as well as a downward cycle in my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There’s more about my CFS and such on my page, so I’ll spare you the repetition. Needless to say, it’s in a bad place right now, but I’m happily in a much better one.
We all obsess on the numbers, usually the ones on the scale or printed on our clothing labels. I don’t know about all of you, but those particular obsessions have yet to actually help me along. No, I do my best when I get to obsess over different numbers, steps, sets, reps, minutes, miles and miles-per-hour are my golden zone. Since this is an energy game, I have to spend what little I may have on a given day, to reach for numbers that remain real and steady in a way the scale never can. This is what gets me going and keeping me doing so. And this is why, at my lowest point of motivation, and one of my highest points of depression, that I set a goal of riding 1000 miles.
I’ve been riding a stationary bike off and on since June, but chronic knee issues and sudden drops in energy would stall me about three or four days into a new routine. In part, it’s because I’d push too far and too fast, focused only on how soon I could get the weight off and feel more like myself. The other part is that once I find a legitimate reason to skip a day, that day becomes a week, becomes a month, becomes three months with only a handful of workouts. Having to constantly start over and rebuild my endurance meant never really making progress.
It took a moment in September, of looking hard and deep while journaling, to realize that I was in a negative push-crash cycle on two levels. I’d push beyond my current energy levels with the CFS, and beyond what my knees can take with the injuries, which halted my efforts. Every time my efforts were thwarted, I’d get depressed and those days off would grow. It’s hard to struggle over simple things, when I was walking 20-30,000 steps a day as recently as February of this year. That’s just before my knee gave out and the CFS bottomed out as well. No energy, and no ability when the energy was there, well, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
I had to confront the push part of the cycle and why it so easily self-perpetuated. Flipping through journal entries, it became clear that somewhere along the line, I had come to equate getting my energy back and feeling good, with getting the excess fat off as soon as possible. Of course, that’s not at all how it works. As with anyone, fitness and health comes long before any kind of goal weight/size is reached. Building the fitness builds the energy, and everything stems from that. Going back to the tried and true fitness goals and decoupling it from weight altogether was the only way to build at a pace that wouldn’t cause me to crash later on.
To ensure that, I put a few rules in place for achieving my 1000 Miles in a year or less:
1.) Ride every single day. No exceptions!
This is vital. Daily is necessary for me to see these kinds of goals through, rather than put them off to write or because I'm too tired. I have CFS and I'm in a vicious insomnia cycle, I'm always tired. It can't be a reason to do nothing at all.
2.) Ride only as far and as fast as I can that day.
Some days will be 1 mile, some days will be 5 miles, my most current ride was a surprising 8 miles. Whatever I can do in a given day is a good day because it gets done.
3.) Every day is a new day.
A string of 1 mile days has no bearing on how far or fast I ride the next time. It’s all open with the potential to be everything I can put into on a given day.
The above mindset has been working beautifully and I haven’t crashed since I started October 3rd. Following the rules, after months of nothing consistent, I’m now fifteen days in with daily rides, and I’m 60 miles into my 1000.
I don’t want to give the impression that the scale is unimportant. I weigh daily and chart the ups and downs to see which foods and activities impact it for good or ill. The scale is a very valuable tool, but it’s not my North Star in any of this. By getting caught up in the miles and my speed and how good I feel from the ride, the excess adipose tissue will come off as a by-product. This happened with walking. I got so focused on my daily steps and dancing in 2007, I actually forgot the goal of shedding weight and looked up to be 60 lbs lighter and then 100 lbs lighter.
Always go with what works, right? :)
Thanks for reading and good luck to us all!
60 Miles & Counting...