Once again, my birthday has come and gone with little, really no fanfare. My birthday weekend also, unfortunately, coincides with Valentine's, giving me that extra little twist of the sucks-to-be-single-knife. I had held out hope that there might be a last minute invite for a rendezvous, a chance to dress to the nines in tall boots and short skirt, maybe have some sushi, but it didn't happen. Though I didn't log in to write a woe-is-me-I-am-so-lonely entry. Well, not really anyway. Okay maybe, just a little. I knew it was unlikely that anyone would surprise me with glorious Valentine's or birthday plans, so I made plans of my own. No, nothing glorious, glamorous, or covered in chocolate.
Instead, for Valentine's Saturday I went on a 5 hour hike up in the Columbia Gorge, that was a real quad burner, and visually stunning as well. Birthday Sunday I went to my first group bicycle ride. called a Gravel Grinder. You guessed it, a long ride on gravel roads. Needless to say, a few miles in I decided that neither gravel nor group rides were my thing, so I turned around and went solo for 3 hours. I spent a glorious morning riding through the Spring-like weather, letting myself get nearly lost on narrow roads winding through rolling farmland. I have gotten quite good at Valentine's and birthdays alone, as long as I try to not think too deeply on just how alone that can make me feel. I had expected some sore muscles come Monday morning, but apparently I am even tougher than I think I am.
Again, I am swerving near the brink of a pity party. About 10 years ago I made a vow to myself that I would be healthier on my birthday than I was on the previous birthday, year after year. This is a challenge that gets a bit tougher every year, as I inch towards being so ridiculously fit and healthy that I just about can't stand my own smug superiority. You should hear the conversations that go on inside my head, I can be a self-righteous little bitch to myself sometimes. Seriously though, once again I have managed to up my game. Four months ago I competed in a 250 kilometer triathlon. I swam and biked further than I ever had before, and I ran well after. No, I didn't get a qualifying time, but it was still an accomplishment I could not have done a year before. Now, today, I know that I could easily step out my door and do a half Ironman and just think of it as a strenuous workout. Yes, I'd be a bit sore for a few days, but nothing that would be debilitating. I have held onto a diligent strength workout throughout the winter and am a stronger swimmer, cyclist, and runner than I was a year ago. No, I'm not quite at the level I was in September, but I can get back there pretty quickly when I need to. I am 5 pounds lighter than I was last year at this time, though I am 7 pounds heavier than I was on race day. I am keeping decently lean, but not tweaking about it. I am eating even healthier than I was a year ago, remarkable as that may seem. So put physical health in the Plus Category.
Mentally might be just a bit dodgy. It is February after all, one of the toughest months for me (see paragraph one for a partial explanation...). I am single again, or still, I'm not sure which really. Also, I am unemployed for the first time in almost 15 years, and then I chose to be a stay at home mom. Being unemployed is messing with my head just a little, I veer from enjoying the freedom and loving the chance to start a small sideline business, to having an absolute spaz attack over finances. Money is tight, and getting tighter, and that does not bode well for my mental health. On the flip side I am getting plenty of sleep for the first time in my life, as well as enjoying not having to deal with idiots out in the real world. So at this point my mental stability is kind of a crap shoot day to day, today being one of the less than stellar moments.
So, final tally on Birthday Health: Physically fitter, leaner, nutritionally dialed in versus Mentally a bit of a lunatic. Since I am always a bit of a lunatic, I say that once again, the Birthday Health Challenge is a Win. Dear gods, what will I do for next year?