Musings: The peak and rock bottom

I peaked too early this year. It was back in April. I was skinny and in terrific climbing form. My weight was at 73 kilos on my 1.83 meter tall frame (160 pounds and 6 feet tall). My diet was great, lots of fruits and veggies, no deserts and just a glass or two of wine or beer on the weekend. I was on a monastic schedule, getting to bed early and waking up at 5 a.m. I was on the bike almost every day, with four-hour rides in the mountains on the weekends. I was in the best shape of my life since my cross country and track days in high school when I could run a 4:30 mile. Still, that voice was in my head, whispering, “Why must you be depriving yourself like this? Live the good life! Enjoy things! Or you’ll regret it.”

With just a few days left in 2010, I have yet to hit rock bottom. But I’m close. My weight is at 78 kilos, probably closer to 80. I’m afraid to step on the scale. I feel puffy, sluggish and bloated. I got on the rollers yesterday and struggled to do a 30-minute workout without stopping. To be fair, I just finished a two-week trip overseas that wasn’t conducive to working out. But even before then, my training had become erratic. Now, I lack that wonderful confident conquer-the-world feeling we have when we’re in great shape. Last week, while in Sao Paulo, I was shuffling back to my hotel around midnight after another dinner of steak and some sort of fried potatoes, washed down with red wine and lager. I started thinking about how I’ve been living the good life, indulging with friends and colleagues. But a voice kept getting louder in my head. It was saying, “Help! Get me out of here! If this is what the good life is, I don’t want it anymore!”

It was an epiphany of sorts. Partying past midnight, intellectualizing over pints of micro brew and amid clouds of ciggy smoke – it’s not me. Wearing a middle-age paunch and dreading a jog around the park. I don’t want to be that person. I used to wonder if on my death bed, I will regret living the discplined athlete’s life. The self-induced suffering, deprivation, early morning wake-ups, skipping the cheesecake and leaving the bar after the first drink – or skipping it altogether. Now, I’m more certain than ever that I will have no regrets. It’s just not my kind of life.

Most people wait until Jan. 1 to reform themselves. But for me, the comeback has already begun.

Posted: December 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Musings: The peak and rock bottom”

  1. 1 Stefan said at 9:37 pm on December 20th, 2010:

    It doesn’t have to be quite as black and white as it sounds. I did go through these extremes before as well, but now I have managed to balance an athlete’s life (road racing) with the indulging life (e.g. having cheesecake), without going over board on either side. Finding that balance is the goal.

  2. 2 Sara said at 3:28 am on December 26th, 2010:

    I agree with Stefan. Find your balance. But I do understand that for some, digital is the only possibility. It’s like multi-tasking…some can do it well but most can’t.

    Glad to hear you’re in such good shape though. Wow! You inspire me. I’m training to run my first 10k this May in SanFran, which means hills galore and I have a bad ankle. But I will undoubtedly eat calorie rich food and for sure drink lots of red wine before I get there…

  3. 3 wafflesandsteel said at 7:59 pm on December 29th, 2010:

    I completely agree about moderation. But I’ve been slow to learn that the meaning of “moderation” changes as I grow older. In my teens and 20s, moderation meant I could eat junk 50 percent of the time and get away with it. But now that my metabolism is slowing and it’s getting harder to shed kilos, I can only eat junk 10 percent or 20 percent of the time or else I really start feeling it. That’s why I only allow myself to consume sweets and alcohol on the weekends. Indulging throughout the week, as I’ve been doing during this special year, really drags me down fast. Good luck with your 10K, Sara!

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