Now Is The Winter Of My Content
March 3, 2009
I think it is fair to say that, from a fitness standpoint, this has been the winter not of my discontent, but of too much contentedness, as the title paraphrased from Shakespeare’s Richard III suggests. After a successful fall season, highlighted by a decent (though personally not up-to-par) showing in the Head of the Charles, and a surprising 2nd place at Silverskiff in Turin, Italy, I got very mellow. Very, VERY mellow. I came up with new excuses that staggered even my own vivid imagination. I finished my log book and needed a new one. And since I can’t work out without a log book, the month or so that it took me to buy a new one at the drugstore was filled with a sporadic, at best, workout regimen. In fact, “regimen” isn’t even an applicable word for it. I tried to take up running, buying new running shoes in November, under the assumption that coughing up a wad of cash would motivate me. It did – for about 4-5 grueling runs, which were more painful than I can begin to describe. I avoided the erg, weights, and even yoga – my usual three-pronged attack during the winter months.
What I discovered was…….sleep. Beautiful, Glorious, Slumber. Sleeping in late on Saturday and Sunday mornings has become such a thing of pleasure. I stayed up late during the week, watching Seinfeld at 11:30 PM. You have to love the two-Seinfeld night, once at 7:00 and then again at 11:30. I lazed around on weekends. Hell, I lazed around all the time. I did use my bike trainer – maybe half a dozen times this winter? – and that was okay. But really I just lavished in the luxury of doing a whole lot of…NOTHING. Ok I did some things. I watched a lot of movies. I spent a lot of time online (match.com kind of sucks, by the way). I brought “couch potatoing” to a new level. I figured, hell, I’ve been through a couple of really tough years, and I’m still going through a divorce (which will hopefully be finalized soon)…I deserve to be a complete and total slug. In late December, I finally got a new workout log. Early in its pages I decided to take my running shoes indoors (since there were mountains of snow outside) and run on the treadmill at my gym. On or about the second time of this experiment, I got a little overconfident on a four-mile run and decided to “crank it up” for the last quarter mile. Well, that effort ended in “cranking up” an injury to my left achilles tendon. Niiiccceee…. Fortunately, being older and wiser, and having had many debilitating injuries, I stopped all workouts, iced it for many days, and ate Advils like they were M&M’s – the standard routine for all “elite” athletes (HA! Had to throw that word in there for a good laugh at myself). Not only did this allow me to really slug it up (I counted no more than 5 workouts for the entire month of January), but it actually prevented a serious injury and healed the tendon quite nicely. My laziness was not only enjoyable, it had become practical.
At Riverside, my beloved rowing club, they have a winter event called the “Tri-WRATH-alon” which involves running half a stadium at Harvard, running back to the boathouse, and then erging for 8,000 meters – or something like that. I’ve never done it. Maybe some day I will do it, but not this winter! No, I have come up with my own brutal event. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s the Official 2009 John Tracey “Tri-SLOTH-alon!” First, you sleep in on a Saturday morning…you get out of bed no earlier than 9:30 AM. Second, you roll into your sweats, stumble into the kitchen, turn on the coffee (both coffee and oatmeal have been pre-prepared the night before), have the usual oatmeal (with a ton of brown sugar, raisins and banana slices), and read something from a magazine or newspaper while listening to classical music. And finally, third, you sit on the couch, sip the glorious Peet’s coffee from your mug (Part III is a two-mug minimum), play on the computer, watch the morning news, and…just totally sloth it up. You only get up to take care of personal business (that’s all I will say about THAT), or to get the 2nd Glorious Mug of Joe from the kitchen. Part III is about 60-90 minutes in length. By 11:30-12:00, your day has gotten off to an amazingly wonderful beginning. Now it’s time to really kick it up a notch and find a good movie!
I hope this blog has been inspiring to all those who need an excuse to chill out. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I consider myself an expert in this newly developed field. I’m getting a Ph.D. in Winter Bliss. But watch out for me on the racecourse this season – I will be WELL RESTED!