Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Suck it Up and Deal

As much as I hate being sick, I hate getting well more. Getting well requires sitting around doing nothing, which I pretty much suck at. I got sick over Thanksgiving and now, almost a week later, I am still sitting here feeling myself turn into mush. I went to the gym yesterday, which was a mistake. I spent the rest of the day in bed, stressing about all of the stuff I needed to do when I was lying there "getting well."

I know I get sick because I won't slow down long enough to let myself get well. And I know that the world won't come to a screeching halt because I miss a few days. But it just kills me to sit there and watch my hard work go down the drain.


Anyway, I went home to New Orleans for Thanksgiving, which is not a locale best known for its healthy lifestyles. Needless to say, eating clean and getting exercise is a challenge there. But I did okay, despite being met with silence when asking a friend where we could go for a "healthy dinner". LOL But I am happy to announce that Holiday Food Face-Off: Round One is complete, with minimal casualties.

But while I was there, getting sick and mushy, I picked up this archaic mass-communication tool called a "newspaper" and tried to distract myself from my atrophy by reading. I stumbled upon an article about an inner-city New Orleans kid who had been given the chance at a fresh start - in exchange for keeping his grades up, he would get boxing coaching from a local legend, and the chance to break out of his crime and drama-riddled family and into a life of...professional boxing. Not sure what the big difference is there, but still, it made for inspirational reading. You can read the whole story here.

I began reading as a bored skeptic. I had missed the first part, but it wasn't hard to figure out that this kid was facing a dead-end life if he didn't get some help. When I picked up the story, he had been making great progress and was preparing for his first real fight. But then, Hurricane Gustav forced his family to evacuate, and he was unable to train with his coach. Instead, he ate junk food, didn't exercise, and gained 25 lbs. When he arrived back at his home gym, just days away from his event, he was back at square one. I was annoyed. If this was so important to him, why didn't he find a way to work out? Why did he eat that crap? Why did he let himself decay like that? I didn't feel that bad for him, until he got a call from his dad in prison telling him how proud he was. Then I felt a little bad.

And I kept reading. He and his coach went into psycho-mode to get him ready for his fight, and when the day arrived he was all hopes and dreams - a little high schooler up against a pro. He actually held his own for a while, but in the end his lack of conditioning showed and he lost the match.

He was embarrassed and ashamed at his loss, and felt like he had let everyone down. It would have been really easy for him to throw in the towel and give up, assuming that he would just be swallowed up by a culture that was bigger than him. But you guessed it - he didn't. He got up the next day, put on his shoes, and ran further than he ever had before. Awww.

I put the paper aside and got some perspective. My life isn't exactly hard. I've been feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold. Yeah, I need to take a few days and rest and get better, and then I can pick up where I left off. And yes, I am gritting my teeth and grimacing as I type this, because that is the complete opposite of what I want to do.

Fitness is a slippery slope. One minute you're up, and the next minute you're frantically looking for a tree branch to grab on to. It's hard to watch your hard work shrivel up and fade away, but I guess I just need to suck it up and deal.

And now I am going to bed.

1 comment:

J said...

Something to mull over in line with comments I made about MGP several months back. Just like I argued that MGP may only truly be achievable if a person was born into a physically and environmentally challenging lifestyle (read as: daily struggle just to survive, or primitive civilization), the same can apply to modern civilization. The point is this; live a lifestyle conducive to your goals. Obviously you already do so in nearly everything you do. There is one aspect you could change still. You are an office worker, a desk jockey, a paper pusher. Imagine what progress you could achieve and maintain if you had a more physically demanding job! Just as athletes' bodies are transformed and sculpted by their training, so do are the bodies of day laborers. You can tell a working man from an office man just by looking at his hands and arms. Plus, don't forget, a lifetime of such physically demanding actions, be they work or work outs, will have a lasting effect for many years. So, forget the atrophy of a few days, and focus on the destination. You'll get there long before anyone else I know. :)