December is here in all its tawdry commercial tinsel and glitter, saying “Hey everybody, look at me, I’ve got Bodhi Day, Chanukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve!” To that I say, “Curb your enthusiasm, December.” But for this dude, it’s just that same time of month, i.e., the first, in which I sometimes recount what I did the previous month on bike, foot, and yoga mat. So let’s see how I did.
Bicycling: I made it to 450 miles, which is down from previous months. That’s mostly due to being plum tuckered out, as we sometimes say in the South. But also intentional tapering, or reduction of miles. For a moment I thought I might increase my goal yet again. Because I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t. So I’m on track to make it my second biggest year every, mostly by riding consistently every friggin’ day. Whether I wanted to or not, and believe me, there were some days I really would have rather not bicycled. The point though is that I still do ride my bicycle, good day or bad. And that’s a good thing to be proud of.
The last four weeks I’ve averaged 107 miles, which is just above what’s needed to make my annual goal. So it’s great to know I’m on track, while it’s not so good to feel as if I felt each of those miles. Because the slower one goes, the longer it takes, and that’s tiring mentally as well as physically. Since I began this journey of being car free back in 2005 (til last year), I’ve never been in a hurry or any kind of speed demon. However, it’s good to go fast so you can get off the bike and get on with your life. Alas, I seem to be slowing down with age. I suppose that happens to the best of us. Just do your best, dude.
Walking: I just get out there and do it for 30 minutes a day, and it added up to 39 miles. Again, I’m not fast nor do I care to be. Although the goal is first thing after the morning ablutions, usually it’s late morning before I get out into the neighborhood. One thing I’ve learned is that after many years on and off in this neighborhood, I must admit that the same sights can grow grow a bit repetitive. Not that they don’t continually change, if subtly.
With some undesirable paths near highways on two sides, options are limited. A while back, I got some decent noise-cancelling headphones which make walking much more pleasant. I crank out the tunes, usually classical music, sometimes classic rock. Walking is still good for the bones, heart, and on occasion, communal spirit. So far, no dog attacks, but no meeting my soul mate either. I walk on, even though I’m limited to a slower gait. Maybe I do some good thinking, too, without a bike or cars to worry about as much.
Yoga: After biking, usually towards the end of my evening, I’ll unfurl my faded blue yoga mat, a gift from my mom. I leave it folded up in a conspicuous place so I could never forget about it if I tried. It sits on top of a larger black mat, and along with a home speaker to play some gentle sounds, that’s all I need. I do my gentle stretches with breathing and awareness, mostly focusing on legs and making sure to get in the six motions of the spine.
I’ve added five minutes of foam rolling at the end before sivasana (corpse pose — the most important one, I was taught). I end with another five minutes of guided meditation. I’ve been using Insight Meditation Timer for a number of years now. This year I’ve used my Garmin watch to log yoga as well. Although sometimes it feels repetitive, it helps me recover from the daily wear and tear of bicycling, and helps a bit with stress, so I see no reason to stop. Although sometimes it feels repetitive… Just kidding!
I’m looking forward to completing this year by finishing off December by continuing all three of these ongoing daily streaks. As I’ve said before, one never knows when life, illness, or even death might intervene. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that tomorrow is never guaranteed, so we should try to appreciate today. Like an ugly holiday sweater at a white elephant exchange, the ‘rona is the gift no one wants but that just keeps on giving.
Perhaps this newest deadly omicron variant of the coronavirus will force us many steps back as a society. Unless we’re completely locked down again (doubtful the regressive governor of Texas would ever allow that), I plan to keep my legs and lungs and blood cells moving. To the extent you are able, I hope you will continue to do your exercise regimen as well.
Please take care of yourselves. Why not let fellow readers and me know how you’re doing in the comments?
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