In these times of ‘endless’ lockdowns and separation from friends... Read more
No Matter How Tough It Feels... KEEP ON MOVING
13 November 2020
There’s a moral of the story at the end of this one, so, if you’re prepared to read on, I’m going to thank you in advance.
I’m 51 this coming Christmas Eve and whilst my mind’s still in my 20’s, my body’s now telling me I’m 30 years adrift. Not good, but something I’m prepared to do something about.
I can’t lie, the pandemic months have been challenging. If they haven’t been for you, you’re either kidding yourself or I hate to say it, lying. It is however, important to acknowledge there will be some positives from the hardship we’re collectively experiencing at the moment in varying degrees – Perhaps the main one being, we may all just value what we have, that little bit more.
Having lost several friends and colleagues only a few years older than myself over recent years and more pertinently, three since the start of April, I’m more conscious than ever that being fitter, may help me maintain my performance at work and also give me a greater chance at growing old gracefully – something I’m sure we’d all like to do.
So, with a mind that’s become more than a little ‘foggy’ over recent months during this frustrating time and a back that’s hurting more by the day, I decided it was time to get back on the bike – something I’ve put off for months, either because “I can’t be ar$#d” or because “what difference will it make anyway?”. Both really poor excuses and ones I’m disappointed at myself to have used. But you know what? They are what they are, at least they were what they were!
Having been recently inspired by my colleague ‘Nathan’ who’s up at 5am most mornings with his mate ‘Joe Wix OBE’, down giving him 20! (I’m hoping Mrs Tinkler’s aware and enjoying the benefits) on a recent dark, dreary and rainy Saturday morning in Suffolk, I rolled (or rather hauled) myself out of bed at 6am, pulled on my cycle gear and headed to the shed to ‘say hello’ to my trusty steed – a 10+ year old mountain bike aptly named ‘Scott’. After some much needed ‘CPR’ to his tyres and a squirt of lubricant to ‘numb’ the pending squeaks, I climbed aboard, and we were off. I can’t say I was looking forward to the ride, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and this was somewhere! I’m not going to lie, it was tough, the legs ached, my eyes streamed and I was a little shaky on the balance as I navigated the off road obstacles in my way – but after 2 hours, a LOT of mud and legs that ‘were on fire’ I rolled back onto the drive. Job done!
Inspired by Saturdays ride, I made a plan to replicate my endeavours the following day – after all, repetition leads to habit and habit makes success easier and more importantly, longer term. Sunday came and with the clocks going back it was lighter, this made it easier to get up at the same time and I just felt more awake and ready to ‘take on the world’. I quickly scoffed down a sugar-packed tarte au citron, kindly purchased for me by my colleague Michaela the previous Friday for our breakfast meeting, that I hadn’t eaten, yet she’d encouraged me to take anyway as I thought this might just give me the energy I needed – and it did just that.
So, off Scott and I went. The sun was up, the air clear after another storm, courtesy of ‘Barbara’ the night before. After the initial pain in my backside the pay back for from only having sat on a saddle for the first time in months 24 hours earlier, I settled into a pace, focusing on being in the correct gear and taking a more considered route around the obstacles I was now a little more familiar with – I made quick, assured progress and it felt good!
Usually I’d take up to 5 regular stops on my 24 mile route, today however, I thought, what if I don’t stop and just push through, hydrating ‘on the hoof’ – another challenge (2 in as many days – I was impressing myself), but those who know me, know I rise to a challenge as just like my father, I’m a determined sod!
It felt good, tough, but good. The legs were, once again at 1000 degrees and my chest heaved to fill my lungs with the O2 I needed to press on. Over the course of my ride some of the mental challenges I knew I had over the coming weeks at work, became clearer, solutions to issues became apparent and I was even able to chuck in a few new ‘creative’ ideas that seemed to materialise out of nowhere.
An hour and forty minutes later (20 minutes faster than the previous day) I rolled back down the drive. Mission accomplished! And so, to the moral of this short story. We may all be going through some dark days at the moment in our personal or business lives, but rest assured, there are brighter days ahead. Whilst you may have times when you doubt yourself and feel ‘weak’, as long as you’re prepared to dig deep and are determined enough to keep moving forward, regardless of your pace, you’re making progress. Negotiating the obstacles in your way, will become easier second, third, fourth time around and there ARE people around you (friends, family, colleagues alike) who through their actions, kindness and support can give you inspiration and a much-needed boost, just when you need it.
So, regardless of how old your equipment is (and as a 50-year-old, I’m trying to avoid the innuendo here, but struggling), don’t be afraid to get on it! – It could just be the start of something great and If your actions inspire just one other person, your own achievements will have meant your successes has doubled in value.