Changes In Attitude.

Normally, when I'm "training" (in the context of a middle-aged hack cyclist), I have one day a week that is designated as a "rest day". I don't get on the bike at all.
This year, thanks to sickness and other obligations, I've had a lot of unscheduled "rest days". Everyone tells me that as I get older I should ride less, that I will ultimately ride stronger when it matters. Problem is, all I feel is weak and fat. The aches and pains I feel have shifted from being the inevitable result of activity to being the consequence of inactivity.
Now that I've taken some time off from training, I don't do "rest days" anymore.
I do "screw that, I don't feel like it days".
When I don't want to ride, I don't ride. When my schedule or any number of convenient excuses (I have a long list for this very purpose) interfere, I don't ride. Instead of waiting for a pre-ordained day to not kit up and get on the bike, it can be any day of the week. Sometimes more than one.
It's not burnout (at least I don't think so). Rather, it's my desperate attempt to avoid long-term burnout. When hobbies that I passionately pursue become crushing obligations, I have to back away and do something else. I'm not to that point, but I saw the signs this time around. I don't want to get to the point where I'm frustrated by not consistently meeting expectations to the point that I lose sight of why I started in the first place.
That's easy to do at my point in development. I'm starting to see a lot of plateaus in my performance that are natural as I reach whatever meager potential I have. Big gains aren't happening anymore. I'm filling out certain parameters that I neglected before, but a lot of the numbers have been stable for a while. When you're not getting these reassuring pats on the back from jumps in capability as rewards for effort, you can begin to lose enthusiasm.
Where I can make considerable gains is in power-to-weight ratio. I'm carrying 50 more pounds than some guys around me. I'm putting out more wattage, but gravity just doesn't find them as attractive as it seems to find me. I blow up putting out the wattage required to climb with them.
I just have to stop stuffing my face.
I've started paying a little more attention to what I consume. I've made a conscious effort to avoid the snack bar and its plastic-wrapped, chocolate-covered goodness. It's not enough, but it's a start. Next I'll have to start counting calories religiously to reset my perception of what is a decent serving. I'll have to get used to feeling hungry all of the time, until that's the new normal. Call me crazy, but I don't like being fat.
Thing is, it's sitting differently this time. My waist hasn't ballooned like it used to. The fat has found new places to rest, which means it's easier to delude myself. Progress is likely going to only show up on the scale, and I hate watching the damn scale. It's just another new normal I'm going to have to get used to.
A few performance parameters are looking up, though. My core is stronger than it usually is this time of year. I think an unexpected decent result or trend will do a lot to fill the space between my ears with some enthusiasm.
Then I'll start to train again and take some well-earned rest days.


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