Embrace the Suck

Not too long ago, I wrote a post called Being Scared of Starting Over. In it, I discussed the nerves we all have after we’ve taken a long hiatus from exercise, because we know it’s going to be hard to get started again, and by “hard to get started”, I mean we know it’s going to hurt like hell. The main concept of the post was to let you know that despite your concerns you should push your fears aside, and not let them dissuade you from doing what you need to do. I even came up with a nifty little plan on how I was going to keep myself accountable and establish a fool proof course of action on how to get back on track.

Well, it worked. I have made it back to the gym and at this point, I have incorporated a workout plan that combines a variety of CrossFit and walking/running into my weekly schedule. I’m not at full speed yet, but it was a good start to get where I wanted to be, and it seems to be working. I’ll be able to ramp it up a little in the coming weeks, and solidify the schedule a bit more as things slowdown in the other areas of my life, for like I said in that post, life does get in the way.

There really is only one small issue with what I wrote in that piece. I was totally correct about being scared to start over…

Starting over sucks!

It took everything I had to go back to the gym that first day. The Excuse Fairy was on the job that afternoon, and by lunch that day at work, she was right in my ear telling me all the reasons why going back to the gym this afternoon would be such a grave mistake.

“The traffic’s going to be terrible, you’ll never make it on time. Why don’t you just wait till tomorrow and you can go in the morning?”

We both knew that wasn’t going to work. If I put it off till the morning, she’d have an even better excuse then, and I’d stay in bed. Honestly, I have a lot harder time arguing with her when it’s 4:30 in the morning, when it’s cold and dark outside and my bed is warm and cozy. Nope, if I was going to do it, I had to do it today, like I said I would. That was the the biggest part of the plan after all. I put it out there on the interweb and people were looking for me.

As I drove to the gym after work, traffic was terrible, just like she said. But I pressed on, even though good ol’ EF kept telling me I wasn’t going to make it. As I pulled into the parking lot, I could hear people working out, and I immediately felt tired. It’s funny how your mind works. Whenever you are looking for a reason to quit, you will always find it.

The workout was miserable. Burpees, pushups, squats and an 800 meter run, repeated three times… and that was just the warm up. The only problem was I was gassed almost immediately and everyone else was barely breathing hard. Everyone here must have been in incredible shape, or I just plain suck.

If you have ever done a CrossFit class, you know that the workouts are usually quick and intense. This one was no different, but I powered through. When it was done, I lay on the floor for a while, never realizing how comfortable a concrete slab could be with a quarter inch piece of rubber matting on it. I just got my butt kicked, and the sad thing was I knew this was the best I was going to feel for a while.

I took a couple of days off, because I knew my body was going to be pretty upset with me for what I put it through. every muscle in my body was sore. I walked around for the next couple days like I was an extra for the Walking Dead. As sore as I was though, I felt good, if that makes any sense. I knew I had the worst of it behind me, so it could only get better from here on out.

So now, here I am writing this after my first week back at it. My shoulders are pretty sore from this week, as well as my back, chest, legs and arms. My teeth don’t hurt though, so I go that going for me. The most important thing to remember is that I’m 52. I can’t jump right back at it like I did when I was in my twenties and that’s okay. I can still make progress, but I got to be smart about it. One day at a time, always remembering that slow progress is still progress.

The moral if this story is, getting back on track is going to suck, and there’s no way around it. But you got to get started if you want to get back to where you left off, and eventually better than ever. Sometimes knowing that something is going to be rough is better than expecting it to be easy. That sounds stupid, but it’s true.

Most importantly, once you get started again, don’t stop. I’m not entirely sure how to avoid that in the future, but we’ll figure it out.

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