It is a well-known reality that exercise helps ease the symptoms of depression, so to present a bunch of studies that show this to be true would be obvious and a little too easy. One of my favorite observations of the triumph of exercise over depression occurs at the start and finish of the Crim 10 mile race every year – the only race I will pay to run in. At the start you’d be hard pressed to find one person in a crowd of 7,500 in a depressed funk – gloomy, head down, quiet and brooding. At the finish, it’s all but impossible – at least I’ve never seen it. A part of depression, having mildly been there myself, is the inability to dig one’s self out of the hole that they’re in with the current capacity for thought. I’ve gone through times where I just didn’t have what it took to get out of the funk I was in. Work stress is my biggest failing lately because I’m simply not used to dealing with the level stress that I’ve got. It’s not always like that but I’ve had some days string into weeks, string into months that literally made my hair thin. This is not an excuse, but I’ll get to that in a minute. That said, the one thing that will pull me out of the ditch is to get a good sweat on. Specifically, I can throw a good bike ride at any bad day and always come out smiling. It wasn’t always like that though.
It absolutely must be noted, if you’ve got problems with depression, the first place to look for redemption after you’ve found a good therapist is on the road. Running would be the easiest and quickest because after you’ve found out how much the therapist is going to set you back, you may be requiring something on the inexpensive side. Follow that with swimming and then cycling (unless you’ve already got a decent bike, in that case get on it).
I am, and have been from the start, a social exerciser and I highly recommend it. Running (or riding) with Mrs. Bgddyjim, or my friends English Pete, Marc, or any of my other running buddies is much more enjoyable than running or riding alone. This isn’t always practical of course, but even starting out together and then eating together afterwards, even once a week, has its benefits above the loner approach. First of all, if we’re meeting as a group, as we do every Saturday morning, we help each other along if one of us is struggling with getting off the couch. If I had saved a dollar every time one of my friends provided some much-needed motivation over the last ten years, I’d have enough for a new triathlon bike. Second, after we’ve finished, we’ve got five to fifteen guys on endorphin highs talking about the next big adventure or the last personal best – it’s pretty difficult to stay stuck in a mire in that environment…and God forbid one of us is down, the rest of us will help the poor fella out of the pit and make sure that we keep in contact to maintain positive forward motion (I’ve been the poor fella more than once of course). This, in recovery circles, is called a support group and it sure as hell beats trying to pull yourself up by the bootstraps when you’re standing there barefoot. (more…)
I’ve been watching the weather report intently over the last few days because it appears that we’re in for a warm-up in southeastern Michigan and I couldn’t be more fired up. I brought the Trek in today for what will hopefully be the last time until November. I’ll have the Cannondale for the few days in between now and April 15th where the weather won’t allow for an outdoor training session, assuming that I won’t be selling it for another couple of months.
The ten day forecast shows high temps ranging from the upper 40’s to mid 50’s and an exceptional amount of sun. The one thing that is well known about Michigan in late winter/early spring is that the forecast more than two days out is subject to wild change – I wouldn’t be too surprised if we end with a snow shower in there somewhere.
Somebody mark this day on your calendar… My wife and I took the kids to the grocery store today and we ended up shopping for nail polish for about a half hour. It marks the very first time in my 41 years that I went shopping for nail polish on purpose. Thank goodness my kids haven’t asked to paint my toenails yet. I was shopping not for the final stages of a pedi of course, but for a match to the paint for my ’99 Trek 5200. Believe it or not, I found a color so close that you have to squint to see the difference. It’s darn near perfect, right down to the orange metallic flake.
The color of my Trek is Ice Roja – a deep red with an orange metallic flake. We searched for about a half an hour through about 15 different shades of red until we found the right one – Revlon #650 Saucy.
If you’ve got a Trek, deep red with orange flake, this is your color.
I have to add, when I started this blog I never would have guessed this would be the topic of a post.