Sunday, May 15, 2011

lost weekend

I rested on Friday. I'd had a solid three days: an excellent lunch-time run on Tue, my pre-BTWD stickering ride on Wed, and my 167 km round-trip commute on Thu. So on Fri I was pretty much cooked. Time to refuel for the weekend.

But when I'd flown out to New Jersey the previous Thu night for a cousin's wedding, the red-eye had left me with a sore throat, congested, and tired. Allergens were in abundance in the area, or maybe I just caught something on the over-crowded plane. I managed a 7.5 mile run on Friday, and a quick 25-story stair run with sluggish legs on Sunday morning, but it was a very light weekend overall. So while my head was feeling crappy, I felt otherwise well rested by Tuesday when I did my run. Then I was fine on Wednesday and Thursday, even if my congestion persisted.

Saturday I was feeling sluggish and devoted myself to some much-needed chores. But then today (Sunday) I was just completely dead. Allergies? A cold caught from air travel? Who knows....

It's been a strange year for me. I've not had any goals, virtually no competition of any sort other than a single trail race (the Montara Mountain Half-Marathon). Sure, I have some fitness, I'm running and riding, but I don't feel like I'm striving for anything. We're entering the peak period for cycling and running. Blink and it will be November and dark, cold, and wet, not to mention I'll be overwhelmed with the Low-Key Hillclimbs. Sure, the last few years have been a steady downhill in terms of bike racing, starting with my crash at Berkeley Hills. But last year wasn't bad: Some solid 30 km trail races, Skyline to the Sea trail marathon, two difficult double centuries. But I'm well behind even last year's place. I've got to kick myself out of my limbo.

Sure, I'm at a different job this year, one with new things to learn and different challenges. But there's more to life than work. The challenges presented by athletic events are visceral, tapping into our deepest instincts for survival, instincts which are completely neglected otherwise. Sure, getting a Tcl script to run is satisfying, but it's hardly the hormonal overload of testing your physical limits and reaching the finish.

But reaching goals, any goal, is tough when allergies or sickness take you out for a weekend. They're too precious. With two-plus hours commuting each day and long work hours the weekdays fly by way too quickly with so little to show for themselves, even if I like what I do and the people I do it with.

We're all cogs in a machine we don't understand. If we divided up "what needed to be done" for society to thrive among those available to do it, surely things would flip and we'd be "at work" two days instead of five. But instead we're locked into the perversely competitive system which is designed to make a very small number of people obscenely "rich" (but not really happier) and a much larger number un-employed. More work is done promoting others' failure than anyone's success. The goal isn't for society to thrive; that's supposed to be a side-effect of the big game. But it's not working, clearly. Mental illness is rampant, obesity is beyond epidemic, and satisfaction with our lives is low by any rational standard. We each have the responsibility to ourselves and to those around us to take our own measure of what's important and where we're going and not fall victim to the consumerism machine. Easier said than done.

Ah, well. If I get a few SF2G's under my tires this week I'll feel better.

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