Thursday, September 14, 2006

A change is as good as a rest

A sudden lethargy has come over me. I don't know whether the exertions of the summer have finally got to me, but I just seem to have run out of will to keep on plugging away. I skived Spanish tonight. I didn't go last week either. And I suspect that, with Berlin excitement building, I won't go next week either. That's the end of the course, and I've pretty much decided that I'm going to take a break for a while, and not move on to the next one.

I haven't done badly I suppose, I've stuck at it for almost a year and I'm a lot better at it than I was when I started. I've also made a decision to keep on doing something, by going to a free, six week, series of Spanish films, and by going to conversation group more regularly. Studying in my spare time, at times that suit me, not for 2 hours on a Thursday night when all I want to do is to go to sleep. I have piles of Spanish books at home, and I can watch TVE on Sky (it's on now, as it happens, because this is my Spanish spot. I'm even getting the vague gist of a piece about efforts to stop Senegalese immigrants attempting to row to the Canaries, which is actually a subject which I'm quite interested in!). I can always go back later (lots of people in my class had taken time out), and maybe even skip a class if I take a level test and I've been able to keep up with their progress. Maybe once I've had a break I'll feel like going back and putting more effort into it again.

But while the Spanish decision alone seems a sensible one, it doesn't explain the all pervading feeling of laziness round these parts. I was using the training as an excuse, but even as I taper it doesn't seem to be making too much difference. It's been building for a while, but I've kept on ignoring it, or making excuses for it. I cook less and less often, my menus are nowhere near as carefully planned. I think about doing yoga, but can't bring myself to get off the sofa to do it.

I don't know whether boredom is the right word. When I first started this whole lifestyle change thing it was all so easy. I liked the changes I had made, and I didn't want to go back. I still don't. But now I'm more used to it, there's nothing to get me excited any more. I don't have the rush of trying out a new recipe, discovering that it's healthy and delicious, and adding a new food to my list of things I like. I'm no longer excited by the fact that I can run 5 miles without stopping before work, I just assume that I can and get frustrated if it feels harder than normal. It just doesn't give me that buzz any more.

Going back to eating junk wouldn't give me that buzz either, so I know that's not an option. The main question is what can I do to get my mojo back? I think that the film and conversation group might actually help with that, because it's something different that I'm not bored of yet. Maybe thinking more about triathlon will help on the exercise front, if I decide to really focus on swimming and cycling rather than running for a while. Or maybe just trying a different way of running training, maybe doing a proper HR training programme, and seeing where that takes me. Food wise, I might try to change the sorts of veggies I'm eating, as the seasons change.

This really rubs home how hard it is to commit to doing something for the rest of your life. Even where you enjoy it, you just have to mix it up a bit, to keep things feeling fresh. I wrote earlier in the week about willingness to change, and it strikes me that change isn't just something you need to do where you want a certain result with your weight or your career or your life, but change is essential every now and then, just for the sake of it. Just to keep things interesting, and stop ruts forming, imprisoning you in a particular set of ways.

I've read articles suggesting that even the smallest things make a difference, like lying the wrong way round on your bed, or going a different way to work. I might try a couple of things, and see whether that lifts me out of this hole I feel like I'm in at the moment. I suppose that no longer having a marathon training schedule won't hurt either. But for now, I'm just going to make some small changes. I'll take myself out for a treat day on Sunday (to alleviate taper madness), to the cinema, and possibly for the curry buffet I've been promising myself for months. I might go into town on Saturday and try on expensive clothes that I have no intention of buying. I just want to add something different for a change.


One thing always guaranteed to perk me up, however, is the prospect of a holiday. Exploring somewhere new (see, that change thing again), always livens me up at the weekend. (In which case, why can I never be bothered to take a day trip in England?). Today I got a fantastic offer. A friend of mine won a return Ryanair flight voucher, but it's only for one person and has to be redeemed within 7 days. (That's booking the flight, rather than using it within 7 days). He didn't want to book anything because the cost of taking someone with him would outweigh the benefit, plus hotel, food etc etc. And he's not quite as impulsive as me, and would want more than 7 days to arrange things.

When you have a single free flight to get rid of, who do you call? Miss City Break herself, obviously! As it happens, earlier in the week I was wondering where I would go this year for my Christmas shopping trip. I had a good time last year just getting the train up to Edinburgh for the day, and had been looking at trains down to London to do something similar this year. But with the prospect of a free flight to anywhere, my horizons expanded slightly. A couple of years ago I went on a christmas markets trip to Prague, and had a really good time, other than the fact that it was a day trip (the most expensive day out I've ever had, but I was just desperate to go somewhere at the time). So I started thinking about where else, on the Ryanair network, would have a christmas market and be nice in December. By nice in December I actually mean cold and meant to be like that, rather than going to a Spanish resort that's closed down for the winter. Oh, and I also wanted somewhere

I came up with two options - Riga and Bratislava. I think I'll probably plump for Riga, on the basis that it's been on my "to visit list" for longer than Bratislava has. Hotels look cheap, food and drink looks cheap, and the flight's free. It will probably work out cheaper than London on the train in the long run, and it gives me something a bit more exciting to look forward to. The Christmas market isn't as long running as some, but they do have one, which will do me. As long as they serve mulled wine and hot chocolate with rum, I'll be happy!

But, it's not booked yet (I have to wait for the voucher to arrive in the post), so if anyone has any comments or other bright ideas of places I could go, feel free to leave a comment! (The main criteria are (a) Ryanair flights, (b) out early Saturday, back late Sunday, (c) will fly from anywhere within reason - Riga and Bratislava are both from Stansted, and (d) preferably cheap when I get there - ie not Dublin or Paris. Do they even fly to Paris? And not Amsterdam, because I'll already have been there twice this year by then)


Blogger Shauna said...

oooh planning a holiday is always a great distraction and something to throw yourself into :)

i'd say go for riga, i went there in 2004 and it was a real adventure. i'm sure it's more developed and tourist-friendly now and perhaps a tiny wee bit pricier as its popularity has increased. my sis and i found the shopping good! oh yeah and there's proper historical things to see too :P i think i mentioned to you on one of your previous trips but we got some fantastic info from their Riga guide. we picked up the paper copy when we arrived for only a couple of Lat, heaps of good ideas of what to see, where to eat etc etc.

hope you enjoy your treat day! rock on...

3:39 PM  

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