Every Match, Both Ends of the Candle

I am not my best self on rest day, which is a shame. I look forward to it, not being on the grind, not putting myself into deficit. But on rest day, my mood isn’t right. I’m not content sitting still. I worry (not really) that I’m dependent on the endorphins and other chemical rushes I get from exercise, that I’m addicted in a real way.

The morning goes fine. I’m not really able to sleep in, but it’s nice not to have the alarm drag you out of bed. I sit. I drink my coffee and think my thoughts, and it feels right. By the afternoon though, I’m getting edgy. Then the worm turns. I’m low level irritated about nothing in particular. I begin to feel very tired. What is happening? Am I off-gassing fatigue? Is that mood the toxins leaving my body? Those are not serious questions.

I don’t sleep particularly well at peak fitness either. I get to sleep fine, but my body starts stretching itself and writhing around before I wake up. Usually, it disturbs me just enough to end the sleeping portion of the night. This is often around 4:30 or 5:00. It’s counterintuitive and a little frustrating, but I try not to let it bother me.

Most days I know what I’m doing, running or riding or working out with Suffer Club, sometimes in combination. I feel happiest, I think, when I’m burning all my matches, and the candle at both ends. I love the feeling of finishing a long run, and then, in the car on the way home, thinking about maybe going for another run later, or a ride to spin my spent legs out. This is not about being tough or doing more work. It’s about having more fun.

Meghna asked me the other day if, after so much running, I was pining for more time on the bike. The answer was yes and no. I want more time on the bike, but without diminishing my weekly run mileage. I also want to get back to Sunday soccer. And once I’m vaccinated, to bouldering at the local rock gym. I’ve got some big hike plans simmering, too.

This is what I want, relentless motion and non-stop adventures. There is a limiting psychology that we take on over time, a mindset that says only a formal workout is exercise, one “workout” is enough for one day, and if we have to be good at and focused on something to enjoy it. That all seems wrong to me, and when I say that I don’t mean that my energy is limitless and by body doesn’t need rest.

I’m just not looking for things to limit my appetite for movement. My body will tell me when I need to rest. In the meantime, it’s all out there, and I’m trying to be that kid who’s having so much fun that it’s gone dark and his dinner has gone cold and his parents have begun to worry about him, but he’s oblivious, because life is now, and this is no time to stop.