Monday, July 11, 2011

Burned Out

It's been a while since I've posted a blog entry (three days is "a while" for me) and I just wanted to check in. Let you know that I'm still here.

The truth is that, since Thursday, I've been pretty busy and I burned myself out. Literally and figuratively. I've been so tired that it's a struggle to stay awake at times. Also, there was a time where I had so many things that I wanted to write about that I suddenly felt overwhelmed, and so I wrote about nothing. I took the easy way out.

This year, I wanted to hone my writing skills and I thought that the best way to do that was to keep writing. And so I wrote steadily. This post will be my 167th post this year between my two blogs. This doesn't count the rewriting I've been doing for Songsaengnim: A Korea Diary and the new writing for my next book.

So yeah, I've been writing a lot. Maybe too much, and this weekend, after my last post, I felt somewhat burned out.

Also, last week, I started training for a race that Lori and I signed up for late last year. I'm registered for the National Capital SwimCycle event; Lori is in the Super Sprint Triathlon. The race is on Saturday, July 30, starting at Mooney's Beach.

Yes, that's right. I said the race is July 30 and I only started training last week. I know, you don't have to say it: I'm an idiot. Lori's been training for months. But not me.

The SwimCycle is a 500-metre, open-water swim in the Rideau River and a 20-kilometre cycle along Colonel By Drive. Lori's triathlon adds a 5K run. She runs; I don't.

Like Lori, I should have started training in May, but I'm the king of procrastination. Last year, when I participated in the 2010 Early Bird SwimCycle, I procrastinated so badly that I didn't train at all. I got all excited when my time was two minutes faster than the previous year, but then I learned that they had shortened the cycle element from 22 kilometres to 20. And so my time was slower.

I had originally signed up for the 2011 Early Bird SwimCycle, but because I hadn't worked out since the 2010 event and I was in really bad shape, I deferred my registration to this month's event. And I'm not backing out, even though I've only just started preparing for it.

Last week, I dusted off my bike and cycled in to work. It's just shy of 20 kilometres—before my office moved, I used to cycle 32 kilometres, the last dozen through the Gatineau Park (I now cut out the park and I miss it). It was a good ride, but it showed me that I was clearly out of shape. It took me almost an hour and 15 minutes to complete the journey. I needed to push myself.

This weekend, because I didn't get a second cycle in to work, and because Lori wanted us to practice our open-water swimming, we made plans to go up to Lac Bernard. So I cycled back to my office, which is on the way, and Lori met me there with the family. I improved my time, taking only a minute over an hour to complete the ride. I stashed my bike in the office, and we continued up to the lake, stopping in Wakefield for breakfast. The day was gorgeous: we couldn't have picked a better day to swim outside.

We used a GPS device to plot out a course on the lake. But because a bouy out in the water made for a perfect marker, we ended up with a course that was 530 metres—not the 500 that we needed for the race.

Close enough. If we could swim 530 metres, we could swim 500 come race time.

Lori learned that without pool markers, her front crawl pulled her significantly to the right. I had to call to her several times to get her to change course. I learned that even though I kept a fairly straight line, I couldn't see the marker very well. And so, after about 100 metres out, I switched from a front crawl to a breast stroke. For the most part, I kept up with Lori this way.

The swim went much better than I expected. When we finished the course, I had lots of energy. I could have swum longer. We didn't time our swim, but I estimated under 15 minutes. Lori was less than 50 metres ahead of me at the end, and she had maintained a crawl. I think I'm going to stick to the breast stroke for the race. It seemed to work for me.

After our workout, we had lunch, soaked in some sun, and then headed back to town. Lori dropped me off at my office, where I retrieved me bike and cycled the rest of the way home.

So, in one day I cycled nearly 40 kilometres and swam 530 metres. I was feeling optimistic for the race.

And then I crashed.

On Sunday, I slept in until almost 8:30. That's almost unheard of in our house. The girls woke us with breakfast in bed, and so I didn't lift my sorry ass until almost 10. Again, unheard of. I set up a list of things to do for the day, Lori added to it, and then she headed out for her 20-K ride. I was told to give her about 45 minutes and then head to Mooney's Bay, where the girls and I would pick her up. She wasn't planning to ride any farther than that: she wanted to ride to the start of the cycle component for the race, check out the elevation changes, and stop. No return trip.

I picked her up as scheduled, and after a stop for lunch, we returned home so that Lori could drop off me and her bike. She took the girls for a swimming play date while I started my afternoon chores.

First up: cutting the grass. Little did I know that this would be my only chore for the day.

It was hot yesterday afternoon, and after I finished the front lawn and the strip between my house and my neighbours, I moved into the backyard, which had turned into a sauna. With our high fence and near-full exposure to the sun, no air was being circulated. I decided that it was a good time to stop for a cold drink, and so I grabbed an ice tea and hung out on my Father's Day hammock. I rested for about 20 minutes or so and then got back to the lawn. I had lots of chores to get through and the grass wasn't going to cut itself.

What is usually a half-hour job took much longer. The grass was long and thick after the rain we had received, and for some reason the trampoline seemed much heavier than usual: I struggled to lift it and move it to a bare patch so that I could mow the patch underneath. I didn't have the energy to move it back. When the job was done, I was soaked in sweat. I put the mower away and rested in the shade of our front porch. But my head felt light, and so I moved inside, where the air conditioning gave me an instant chill. I lay down on the sofa for only about five minutes before the girls returned home, with a friend from the play date.

I explained to Lori how I was feeling exhausted from the heat, and she said I could rest and keep watch on the kids while she went to the grocery store. Only, you can't really rest when there are kids playing in the house. And so I sat up, nursing my headache and trying to confine the kids to only one place in the house. It wasn't until our little guest was gone that I could actually lie down.

I was burned out. I could barely move, could barely keep my eyes open. With the exception of helping with dinner—we barbecued a couple of homemade pizzas—I barely moved. We watched TV with the kids, but I nodded in and out of consciousness. Never saw a complete episode of any show we watched. When it was time to put the kids to bed, I went to bed myself. Crashed.

I forced myself out of bed this morning, forced myself to cycle in again. And realized I hadn't blogged in a while. But I was burned out. Had no ideas.

Except to write about how burned out I am.

1 comment:

  1. Exhausted just reading about your week, and I drive everywhere:)