Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Study in Chicago

Adapting to a new lifestyle can be difficult. Adapting to that new lifestyle in a new city makes it at least an order of magnitude more difficult. Ever since moving to Chicago and completing Ironman last year I've found my motivation to exercise wane as other life events have taken over.

Part of the difficulty I have with getting back on the exercise wagon is what happens to me every year. Affectionately I'll refer to it as seasonal affective disorder. This is a normal part of what happens and something I'll get over once the weather improves and the sun is visible more than once a week. It's the normal ebb and flow of human emotion. Granted, I'm convinced I reach far greater extremes of elation and depression than most but so far it's not something that's unmanageable.

Another difficulty is the location change. Since I'm not motivated to exercise like I used to I'm also not motivated to do much to change that behavior. It takes a lot of work to find new friends, meet up with them, and develop a habit of exercise. The problem is also exascerbated by my thoughts. In a prior life, exercising was simple. In fact it was so easy I took it for granted. Where I used to be able to ride a bike out my front door and ride in any direction I wanted for 100+ miles along beautiful, windy, hilly, scenic terrain, I now have to drive more than 30 miles out of the way just to get to a place that's reasonably acceptable to be on a bike. Where I used to run on any of a few dozen paths, mostly ones I made up, I now have to stick to a small handful, most of them with endless stoplights.

But this change isn't completely negative. Swimming is kind of an improvement. I now live within jogging distance from a 1-mile long lap lane in Lake Michigan. Also, the gym is within walking distance from my house. The lap lane there is 25 yards but at least it exists.

It needs to be impressed that these are just growing pains. It's on my shoulders to adapt to my new environment, pull up my big boy britches and accept what I have while at the same time understanding that I don't have what I used to have. What I lost was a lot of convenience which is making it that much more difficult to get out of my funk. But I'm certain it can be pulled off.

Devra and I also recently got engaged and acquired a new french bulldog puppy. These changes are amazing and I'm very grateful for all of it. Somehow I caught her in a weak moment and she said "Yes" so we're now busy wedding planning. The dog, while a great asset to our relationship, needs a lot of time and attention.

Needless to say, there are a lot of changes and obstacles in my life that don't add up to giving me time to train. It's my hope that when the dust settles (who knows when that'll be) I can return to being the active self I enjoy being.

In the mean time, I'm getting out about 2x per week to do some running and ensure I can run the marathons I've got on the schedule. So far so good.