Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Executing the contract
So, yeah, busy-busy. There are some distasteful life things going on right now, taking up more than what I think is a fair share of my limited remaining heartbeats.
That's life though.
Sunny and warm today, with air temperatures in the 60's. The west wind is howling; 30 gusting 45. I'm not a big fan of the wind but there's nothing I can do.
Not a big fan of the radiculopathy (nerve pain) I'm dealing with either.
What I've found out over time is that fighting through the pain while hiking/running/scrambling is no fun at all but yields several benefits.
The immediate benefit is that while it hurts to exercise, the pain is always much less on days I work out. On days I don't work out, the pain is worse.
Working out also loosens stiff joints and muscles, leading to easier movement in general and better overall mobility.
Working out improves my cardiopulmonary fitness. Yesterday I did the Rockport mile walk test, which is one way to measure cardio fitness. My score was 52 and my VO2 Max was 35.41. Those numbers were 81 and 41.9 last June. I didn't test when I began exercising again, but I have unquestionably improved.
Working out improves my mood and my feeling of wellbeing.
Working out makes me stronger and more fit, and that carries a great many benefits.
So the contract is this. Work out and get better/feel better.
Today I did three miles. I sprinted (as best I could) on up-slopes. Joint geometry and the lever effect of upright mobility means that impact forces are spread out over space and time when I'm running uphill. That's an excellent thing for my radiculopathy. Running downhill is similar but a bit more jarring. Running on flat ground is far too jarring. So I sprinted up-slopes, jogged down-slopes, and power walked on the flats. That was two miles, the remaining mile was glacier scrambling, which yields excellent high intensity work and is also, perhaps strangely, sparing of the nerve problem.
After finishing I felt great.
Feeling great is in the contract.
On my cool down after working out today I saw a woolly bear caterpillar out motivating around.
Woolly bears are basically tiger moth caterpillars. They hatch from eggs laid by the adult in spring. They spend the growing season gobbling up caterpillar food. In the fall they find a place to burrow in so that they can hibernate over winter. In general they are most often seen in the fall as they gallivant around looking for winter shelter. During the winter and while they hibernate they produce a natural antifreeze which prevents cell damage from the frosty conditions. In the spring they emerge and find a place to wrap themselves up in a cocoon and pupate. At the end of this process they emerge as adult tiger moths. The adults only last long enough to breed and lay eggs. They don't even have mouth parts to eat with. The adults die, but their eggs hatch and they live on in a new generation.
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.