They say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick. I’ve spent over 365 in the habit of waking early, working out, and eating well.
Monday morning, my first day off from a year’s worth of training, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. ready for practice. The same happened on Tuesday and Wednesday. Alan had to remind me to turn off the “row alarm” programmed on my phone.
I felt guilty eating three deliciously soft chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes in one day. The first day my stomach became queasy from the sugar overload after eating a low sugar diet. In the last week off, I’ve indulged by drinking the cider, amaretto and cream, coffee with Bailey’s, eating six slices of pizza (two slices of meat lovers!), and indulging in my post-race meal of fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and honey buttermilk biscuits. Forget protein smoothies for breakfast: banana pancakes layered with butter and peanut sauce, pork sausage and eggs, yogurt and Life cereal. Dinner? Pork chops with gravy. Black ’n’ blue hamburgers and fries. BLT sandwiches. Taco night. More cupcakes.
My body hasn’t figured out what to do now that it’s not working out. Everyday I feel exhausted. My muscles crave movement. I want to jump out of my chair and go run a 5k. My body is used to jump-starting in the morning and then getting a little extra dose of energy in the middle of the day. Telling yourself, “no, you committed to one week off from working out,” and, “no, you will not do crunches or squats,” is weird.
On the flip side, having no pain in my back is a real plus. I’ve slept 12 hours the last two nights. The blisters on my palms have callused, cracked, and begun peeling away. The left knee is still an issue, but now I can direct my energy into rehabilitation.
On Thursday, I visited my doctor for the annual physical. I weighed 144 pounds. She summarily told me that my height/weight ratio gave me a BMI of 23.3, which was overweight and I should consider losing weight. A lot of snarky comments ran through my head on that one. I went with the, “I don’t believe in BMI. My waist is 28 inches. Trust me, I’m fine.” Other thoughts: “My husband complains about my hip bones sticking out…,” “I dropped two pant sizes…,” “You told me when I was 155 I wasn’t overweight and now I am…?” and, “Just look at me. Do I look overweight to you?”
Tomorrow morning I plan to row again for the first time in the week. And it won’t be an intense workout that rips new holes in the skin of my thumbs. I know I’ll leave the water sweaty, but because of the humidity and not the intensity of the row. Recovery is strange.
As for future regattas…for me, no decision has been made yet. I am sure when Head Season begins again, I will crave the challenge of competition and the need for a goal. Not racing will be strange.