A woman who goes by the name of Neonspndx started following my blog today… Now you can’t miss a name like neon spandex so I had to check out her blog, which is quite good. At first look (check out the name of her blog! :D), she and I think a lot a like, so do check her site out.
The reason for the post, however, has more to do with the name she goes by. When I was about 14 or 15, spandex had just become popular. Cycling shorts were all the rage, but not for riding bicycles in. We wore spandex shorts, with longer t-shirts to cover the sensitive areas that… well, you get the idea, just as one would a pair of cargo shorts nowadays.
The most popular of the spandex shorts was a black front and back with neon green side panels. My best friend Art was the first of our little click to get a pair and that necessitated my getting a pair as well. My mother, who left the convent because she wanted to have kids (that’s right folks, she was two inches from her vows – from being a nun, when she left to become a nurse), did not like those shorts. She especially did not like those immodest shorts on her 14-year-old son. Add to that the fact that I was terribly skinny as a kid and she was beside herself. She did, however, eventually cave to the pressure.
So every time I wore those shorts, there’s my mom, absolutely bitching about my neon green paneled spandex shorts. The year was 1984(ish).
Fast forward to about 2002, and my buddy Kyle and I went to see Vince Neil (formerly of Motley Crue)
play with another hair band that I loved as a kid – Slaughter.
At that concert, one of the last major concerts I saw – and I’d been sober for almost ten years, I saw a guy with long “hair band” hair, and a cut off t-shirt…with those same damned neon green spandex shorts…absolutely bombed, dancing to one of the songs. It was one of those, “holy cow dude, did I look like that” moments that you just can’t shake. It was hilarious…
So here I am, I’d just gotten back from a ride, and I’ve gotten a notice that a person who goes by the pseudonym (or handle?) Neonspndx is now following my blog. I’ve long since gotten over the horror of those days, and now being over 40, those memories don’t have the negativity attached to them – they’re just awesome!
What an excellent blast from the past. Thanks Neonspndx.
Diet and Exercise Should Be Worn Like A Track Suit…
When I run, I run because I want to. If I don’t want to run, I don’t. If I don’t want to run twice in a row, it’s time to look at what’s going on in my life that’s sucking out my will to run. I’ve never had a day where I didn’t want to ride – well, maybe when it’s snowing outside and I’m stuck in my office watching a movie while I’m spinning on the trainer… Believe it or not, that does get old after three months – but if I ever do have a day where I don’t want to ride, I won’t… As long as that doesn’t turn into two, or three.
When I eat, I eat what I want, as much as I want and when I want. The trick is, what I want is generally healthy, in proportions large enough only to maintain my weight (which is actually a considerable amount of food considering my lifestyle) and I eat when I feel hungry.
This is the goal. Some people will never be able to attain this, it took me years to get to a place of balance in which I didn’t have to pay a lot of attention to what I eat. It took years of trial and error to get the physical exercise, intake and food choices to balance. It took sacrifice – I missed Coke hourly, for weeks, when I finally gave it up. When it came to snacks I had to learn how to say no thank you – something that’s not fun when you’re staring at a menu with “Death By Chocolate” on it. I had a different goal back then. It wasn’t anything more noble than “don’t get fat”. That goal has changed over time, from don’t get fat, to run faster to run longer, to run stronger to eat healthier, to cycle farther, then faster, then longer, then a triathlon, then to give up soda, then a metric century, and a full century… So I’ve finally gotten to a place where, at least for the fitness/diet part of my life, everything works. I don’t gain a lot of weight or lose a lot of weight, week to week. I’m relatively happy with my performance even if I do want to get faster, and I pretty much eat as much of whatever it is I want to eat… So that’s it, right?
Not so fast – I live my life with the understanding that there is no End Zone though I have found a place where I can be satisfied with where I’m at. Notice, please, that I didn’t use the word “happy”. I didn’t use the word happy on purpose because for a long, long time I had to find “happy” in the search for balance, in the trial and error.
I don’t do all of that work, all of the riding and running, limiting fun foods and soda, to turn around and lead a miserable life with some ridiculously strict diet and exercise regimen… The point is…
The idea is to wear fitness and diet (and life) like a track suit… Not a straight jacket.
For a time, of course, a straight jacket was necessary – especially when it came to snacks and soda. As well, vigilance is, and always will be, a must because the misery of having to go through all of that sacrifice to get to where I am now is out there waiting for me should I choose to slack off.