So my subconscious has taken a break from presenting vivid dreams where I am eating copious amounts of some indulgent dessert item, and returned to the ones where I am riding my bicycle. The one from last night even featured some lactic acid leg burn as I went up a hill!
Cycling has been so much a part of my life and sense of self. For a number of years my business logo and personal icon featured a bicycle. Someone asked me what it signified once and I thought and replied “freedom and control, like flying”.
Losing my ability to bicycle without major fatigue symptom backlash is something I think about constantly, even while asleep. I know that learning how to manage my daily life pace will help bring me to a higher level of functionality, and that I may return to my active self. I also know that it may be many months before this is achieved. It is easier to train gradually for an athletic event than to re-train your life-impetus and put beloved activities on indefinite hold.
I also miss my sporty friends, but can sometimes find it challenging to handle their bright, shiny, dynamic energy with my much dampened, symptom-laden, wet-blanket-style aura which now surrounds me. However a few at a time are OK, so one on ones and small groups are my social sweet spot.
Sitting around being sad does not serve me well, so I am using my resources and recently acquired knowledge to amend my not-working-so-well exercise schedule and make my “exercise recovery plan”:
- Weekly early morning run/walk appointment with a friend changed to weekly afternoon gentle “water running” for no more than 30 minutes. If I feel physically challenged during this, my internal rule is to slow down, float in place or get out of the pool.
- I have marked on my calendar the yoga and tai chi classes at the gym that I could attend as an optional basis. Only if I feel up to it. I have a backup “5 min yoga” routine that I can do if I do not feel up to going to a whole class, which fits in nicely with a 5-10 min meditation.
- I have a handy rating scale from http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org which I use to check in with myself to see how I am doing. I have noted the point at which a higher intensity of exercise is allowed. Currently I have a ways to go, so I must be patient with myself and mentally be OK with feeling the way I do.
- When I do walking errands or move about the house, I notice if I am moving hurriedly and encourage myself to slow down to “walking meditation” speed. I am much more productive if I move methodically rather than rushing about.
- When I am not so fatigued and brain-fogged as I have been this week, I have the option of riding my bicycle around my neighborhood. The rules are that I must stay within the flat grid that immediately surrounds my house and ride in a gear that is neither too resistant nor too floppy. “Baby bear gear”. I ride up and down the grid. I can make two passes. If I find my breathing and/or heart rate elevating beyond “calm” I return to home base, even if I don’t want to.
This last one will be challenging for me as I tend to prefer a big gear and a big effort on the bike. I don’t have to try until I am ready for the challenge.