Zwifting on m’turbo

So yes, I didn’t really answer the question in the last morning journalling blog post…sorry, I got distracted, I’ll try again.

This whole getting disctracted happens to me A LOT haha.

I go off on tangents or my brain finds something more interesting than the thing I am currently doing…the number of times I’ve been walking out of a room and walked into the door or wall because I am already thinking about the next thing I will be doing…but yes.

anyway, I need to focus on this question below!

How have you stretched your comfort zone in the past month (even slightly)?  What did you learn from this experience?  What’s one new comfort zone challenge you’d like to conquer?

Well the thing that springs to mind, with regards to being out of my comfort zone, it’s cycling long distances.

I did my first 100km ride on Zwift, which is a virtual cycling platform, a few weeks ago while in lockdown with my parents in Wales.

AND this Sunday, I made the jump of joining an ‘in real life’ cycling group and doing my first 97km ride with a group outside. It was so much fun, and if I hadn’t spent so much time on Zwift indoors getting my cycling fitness up I would never have had the courage to do the group ride.

But yes, now I am really excited about doing cycling in the week in doors and my long rides on Sunday, outdoors with a proper group of lovely people.

The cycling club I am hoping to join is called SGCC btw.

I’ll put some info below about turbo trainers and Zwift below just in case people are thinking of buying a turbo trainer to start their own cycling journey.

So, I have the Tacx flux S direct drive turbo it was £599 online. There’s also a Wahoo trainer, that’s about the same price and also direct drive. I mainly just got Tacx as it was the only one available, as alot of people were buying turbos 2 months ago when I got mine. Any cheaper than that and you are looking at the wheel on ones and they are apparently not as good for power accuracy etc but then they are like £300 -£400. My Dad has the Tacx Neo which is the high end one that the pros use that’s £1200. That’s super quick changing in erg mode and has road feel, and is less heavy and easier if you need to pack it away or transport it between two places regularly, which is what my Dad does.

So there isn’t a whole lot of difference that I notice between the two given I have used them both. With my Flux S it is super heavy, but that’s fine for me as the bike just stays set up, with the bike on it in my bedroo, also I am not worried about the road feel :). To join Zwift you need a computer/ipad to attach to it and there is a subscrition, it’s currently £12.99 a month but I believe that price is meant to rise soon. Note for most of the direct drive turbos the bike you attach has to have at least 8 gears on the cassette, and you need to buy an extra cassette with the same number of gears to attach to your turbo.

Out of my Comfort Zone

Another ‘morning’ journalling inspired post…

How have you stretched your comfort zone in the past month (even slightly)? 

What did you learn from this experience? 

Well I guess I stretched my comfort zone by returning ‘home’ to Southampton for 2 weeks.

It’s funny, they say ‘home is where the heart is’ and at the moment my home isn’t in Southampton. I love my job, I find it very rewarding but at the moment in this covid world my job is not so rewarding…it’s the face-to-face interactions I live for in my job. It is seeing those questioning faces of the youngsters that fuels me.

I’ve been reading Scarlett Thomas’s World Quake novels (thoroughly recommend by the way). In those awesome books, specifically the second one, Effy (the heroine) almost runs out of her life force and gets a terrible affliction known as the Yearning. I think this is a good metaphor for how I feel now.

I feel low on life force at the moment; so going back to my ‘home’ in Southampton, my flat, with no garden, where I live alone… it has depleted my life force instead of topping it up.

The distraction of cooking my own food, decorating the spare room, doing my own laundry was not enough to calm my racing mind.

Anxiety stirred in me while I was there, my thoughts run a mock.

Even though I tried to meet with friends in the evenings there was two whole days where I didn’t speak to anyone in real life other than the dentist. I cycled to the common to sit in the sun and read a book but I was truly restless.

Somehow (well because of the global pandemic) my ‘home’ no longer feels like a home. It makes me feel restless and pointless. The pointless feelings are the most worrying; as that when I know depression is looming.

So after 2 weeks there I made the decision to come back to Wales to be with my parents and doggie siblings. I packed up my car last Friday and drove back.

Today it’s the following Saturday, and it’s terribly rainy weather (much worse than when I was in Southampton might I add) but I just went for a run on the beach and I’m now reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley in the window seat, surrounded by dogs.

I feel so much calmer here and my mind is not racing so much.

Environment is so important, as I’ve learned from James Smith’s daily emails (again, thoroughly recommend you subscribe to these!)

I don’t yearn for the ‘old normal’ before Covid but I don’t yearn for this ‘new normal’ either… I think it’s impossible to do so to be honest. How can you yearn for a future that is totally unknown?

I am proud that I did get out of my lockdown comfort zone and return to my life in England. I am proud that I stayed there for two weeks on my own. But I am also proud that I was able to acknowledge that staying there any longer might have significantly impacted my mental health.

For now my home is where my heart is, in Wales, with my family; by the sea.

The Next Steps

Another journal prompt inspired post…

What’s the next step you’ve been thinking about taking, for far too long?

Hmmm, this is a toughy…

I have lots of next steps I think I should be taking…but for me it’s hard to disentangle whether they come from ME…

Do I actually, truly want to do these next steps or are they are something that other people/society dictates that I should want…

Because I am female and 35 and been in the same job for 9 years, have a small flat…

maybe I should be wanting kids and a promotion and a bigger house

but, I’m not entirely sure about this…I don’t think I want any of that if I am honest with myself.

For me I guess the problem is I know pretty well now what I don’t want in life…I just don’t know what I do want.

What do I want? ergh.

and like Matt Haig says the act of wanting something you don’t have just shows there is a void.

But is there really a void?

Maybe not, I don’t feel like there is a void in my life…so maybe that truly does mean I don’t WANT any of those things.

Am I lesser human being because I don’t wan’t those things?

I don’t think so. But it still doesn’t help me with what I do want.

Hmmmmm…

If I am truly happy with where I am now in life then maybe the next step is just to try to grow and improve in small ways…and take small steps

to keep on learning and be positive

But Vex King says you always have a goal to work toward.

but I really struggle with ‘thinking big’ or long term.

So I guess my next steps will indeed just have to mini steps.

I’ll list my intentions for a year from today below:

Next steps to take by 1st July 2021

  1. Finish Creative writing course and start to write first fiction novel.
  2. Complete an Olympic distance triathlon and train with the Triathlon club as soon as I can 😛
  3. Keep up my Spanish learning – at least an hour a week.
  4. Save money for future travel adventures (hopefully more South America/Spanish speaking countries).
  5. Get drafted for a B Team Roller Derby Game.
  6. Don’t buy any more books; read the many hundreds I already have!
  7. Be open to a romantic relationship and try not to be cynical about love and put up defences to such things.

There’s a tremendous amount to risk to playing it safe.

so, another morning journalling attempt…

Over the past month, what have your actions been silently saying about your priorities?

Well we are in lockdown so the past month I have had a lot of my actions enforced upon me by the law!

But, I guess my actions have shown I do have new priorities indeed…

I’m just going to list some of the changes/new priorities here ‘cos I am a scientist and ADHD and deal better with listing things haha, also it’s really bloody hot today and I am having trouble putting my thoughts in order:

  1. I’ve realised for me EXERCISE of some kind every day is very important for my mind and body. I have to do it to stay sane and happy. Even if it is just 2km on the rower or 4 laps of the field next to my parents house. I’m trying to just go running without being super dedicated to a certain distance. I’ve found when I am just running for the love of running and being grateful for what my body can do I actually go further and faster than when I put the pressure of distance on myself. I also get less injures.
  2. READING. Omg so chill time with a book and noise cancelling headphones has been so important. It’s amazing to escape and it forces me to not look at my phone so much which is always a good thing. I now recognise I need to make time to read everyday, even if its an audiobook (which is possibly cheating). It’s so healing and reading really does take you to new places and allow you to live different lives…and travel…omg I miss travelling :./!
  3. SHOPPING. I’ve realised all the things I actually need (toiletries, books, stationary -not food lol) I can buy online and I can buy them from local/small businesses. I don’t need to go to big shopping centers; where I will undoubtedly get stressed and anxious about all the people and overwhelmed by all the items and end up wasting my money on shit I don’t need. AND you can put adblockers on your browser so that’s amazing if you are like me and easily led by ads…and we don’t yet have the technology to block me from seeing end of aisle offers; it’s all too much.
  4. LEARNING a language…I’m still really enjoying taking time each day to do my Spanish learning, even if it’s just a quick Duolingo lesson on my phone. This is something totally different to my work so hopefully it keeps my brain going and expands my mind. Also, it’s nice for me to think that when we can actually travel I can go to a Spanish speaking country and talk to the locals innit. Hola!
  5. I’ve prioritised time OUTSIDE on my own in the NATURE too; I guess lockdown has made me realise how important this is…

I’ll finish this post with this quote I just stole from one of James Smith‘s daily emails…(I thoroughly recommend you subscribe to them!)

Anyway his email today was about being happy and not striving for a life that doesn’t actually make you happy just because you think that’s what you should be doing; and I really needed to hear that today.

Realize that sleeping on a futon when you’re 30 is not the worst thing. You know what’s worse, sleeping in a king bed next to a wife you’re not really in love with but for some reason you married, and you got a couple kids, and you got a job you hate. You’ll be laying there fantasizing about sleeping on a futon. There’s no risk when you go after a dream. There’s a tremendous amount to risk to playing it safe.

Bill Burr
Oh to be at a festival right now!

What’s something you’ve let go that once meant the world to you?

And, what’s something you love today that you never even knew you needed in your life?

This is another morning journalling attempt.

It’s a Saturday, week who knows of Lockdown. Here in Wales we still aren’t supposed to go more than 5 miles from your home.

I’ve had to force myself to have a rest day because I keep getting calf injuries from too much HIIT workouts (specifically squat jumps and burpees) and then trying to compete with people who run faster than me on Strava.

I think with my ADHD (undiagnosed) I always want to be on the go and doing stuff. Even writing this blog post right now is a compromise…I was supposed to be just sat here having an analogue day. No screens at all…(kindle doesn’t count!) but here I am anyway…

I just finished reading Superior by Angela Saini (I have first edition signed copy from where she did a book launch as part of the ‘Why not a Doc’ podcast at the RI) and then I started reading Girl, Women, Other by Bernardine Evaristo on my Kindle (reading it in a book club, with one other friend lol).

So here I am; perhaps these great writers have inspired me. I want to be like them; to write.

And at least if I’m here on the sofa on the laptop, as opposed to in the dinning room, which is the designated work space, then it’s ok.

I’m trying to think of things I’ve let go of…to adhere to the rules and point of the journal prompt heading for this blog post.

The truth is I have trouble letting go, in general. Haha.

My ex who broke my heart; I’ve mostly let that go, but probably not fully if I am honest with myself. I have let go of the anger though; I think I forgive him and I know I am better off. So, I guess in a sense I have let go of the life I thought I would have with him. It still bloody hurts some times, but I think that’s just the betrayal and the shock and fact I was so wrong about him. It hurts a lot less and I think about it in a much more fleeting and less consumed way than I used to, even compared to like 6 months ago. So that’s very positive.

I guess I have fully grieved for that life and I do genuinely feel excited about what this ‘new life’ has to hold.

So that’s the first part of the journal prompt done!

The something I love that I didn’t expect to love has to be my parents dogs!

Bili, Milo and Stella.

I wasn’t brought up with pets because of my asthma and my parents (especially my Mam) for most of my life has actively disliked dogs and their owners sometimes lol.

But then it all changed when she started to look after my sister in law’s dog. She used to cry when he would go back home. She did a full 180 on dogs…and now my parents have 3!

Bili was the first; he’s a Cavachon. I truly love him (and he is my favourite) …I didn’t realise I could love a dog so much, but I do.

When I had that bad break up which happened just before Christmas. When I came home to my parents he started sleeping in my bed instead of in with them. And he even slept next to me in the bed with head on the pillow like a little human. He cwtched into me as I cried. It was like he knew how much I needed him…

Now I consider him to be one of my bestest friends. As cheesy as that is.

Dogs. They give you unconditional love. And it’s impossible not to love how they react when you come through the door. Their excitement at seeing you.

How they force you to relax by snuggling up beside you and going to sleep on the sofa.

How they roll over in front of your when you are walking about the house and want a belly rub.

How they put their ball on the floor in front of you and look up with those loving eyes. And you have to throw the ball.

They have truly thawed my icy heart lol.

I really love them and they have made this whole lockdown thing berable.

These dogs have honestly been better than therapy for me.

I just wish I could take them back to England with me. But then I could not give them such an amazing life…

What do you need to forgive yourself for ?

Ok, I found another journal prompt website on marcandangel.com and the first one is the title of this post.

It’s about forgiveness. It’s a bit deep and scary this subject, but I guess that is the whole point of this, the act of the journaling; to stir up your thoughts, bring them to the forefront of your mind, make you see them and embrace them.

It forces you to think about the impact these deep, inner thoughts might be having on your wellbeing and your actions going forward.

I think the only thing that comes to mind for me personally is that I need to forgive myself for being so in love with someone, and still not being ‘over it’.

It’s taken me three years to get over the betrayal, and I am still not ‘over it’ and still that feels like too long to just be sad.

I am just so annoyed at myself, I am annoyed that it still feels like the volume has been turned down now, on my whole life.

Why has it taken me longer to ‘get over it’ than the time we was actually together as a couple? That’s mad.

And I do beat myself up about it, and I shouldn’t!

I should forgive myself for loving him so deeply. And forgive him for leaving.

For replacing me.

I think I shouldn’t still think of him; almost everyday, but I do.

I have to accept I may never be over it…I guess I just have to embrace all that I’ve learned from having my heart broken; from trusting someone so completely and then having that destroyed.

Because in the end it changed me into the person I am today. Maybe the problem is I don’t know if I like this person?

I think I miss that other ‘Sadie’.

The Sadie from before. She wasn’t so cynical and jaded. She trusted in people.

She loved with an open heart and so completely.

She was all in.

I don’t think I’ll be all in again. But I have to forgive myself for that.

I miss her.

But I have to forgive myself for changing.

This is what evolution looks like I guess.

Forgive yourself.

Well that didn’t happen…

Well my grand declaration to write everyday that didn’t really happen did it ?!

I can’t even blame the Coronovirus because I was already ‘working from home’ when I made this declaration to write everyday…

I guess I was wanting to be productive, to do something useful in the extra time at home in front of the screen; those 30minutes I would have spent commuting I could now spend them on writing.

Writing is my dream after all.

I guess it didn’t happen because actually I am still grieving.

Grieving for all the work events that wont happen, all the interactions with the public and school children I won’t get to have. The trip to Munich with the roller derby girls, the Tenerife field trip, training with the Triathlon club at the Quays, the Southampton 10k…I am grieving still for all these things that aren’t going to happen…

Sure, I have recently finished three books just these last two days, and my XP on Duolingo has doubled. So that is positive.

I actually feel like I am doing more ‘admin’ and data crunching at home and I am definitely having more meetings…but this is weird. And I actually really dislike admin and meetings. I crave social contact in my job and in life generally lol… It is not ok and I am not going to pretend it is.

So yeah, I guess the point of this post is that I am not going to beat myself up for not writing every day. And I am just going to do my best to make the most of this situation, it is a big change, for everyone.

So yes, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to DO STUFF while in lockdown.

Just be kind to each other. And to yourself. OK?

#WeGotThis

How do I Love ?

I was debating whether to post this ‘poem’? But it might help someone, and I did say I would do a daily post so here goes.

When my brain is full, usually when I am in bed at night, before sleeping… I really want to go to sleep of course, but I can’t, because my thoughts are moving so fast and they fly off in tangents and it all gets a bit much and it usually makes me feel a bit panicked. Call it anxiety, call it anything you like but I have absolutely no hope of falling asleep.

So I have found that a good thing for me to do is just ‘brain dump’ these thoughts either into the Notes app on my phone or write them in the notebook. I don’t really think what I am writing too much; I just get them out onto the page.

So yes, this post is basically just one of the Notes from my phone which I wrote about Love; when my brain was panicking about moving on. I am sure other people must experience this fear that they may never find love again…?

I feel some comfort in that I have experienced Love in my life. That mad, intense, aching love. So maybe I should be happy with this, and I think this ‘poem’ is me trying to make peace with that.

If you find the pain in this post disturbing I’m sorry, but hopefully it will ring true for someone and let them feel less alone in their fearful thoughts.

Please don’t worry about my mental state too after you read this, it is quite raw I know. But weirdly when I do these ‘brain dumps’ as I call them, and even when I read them back and I’m like ‘bloody hell, that’s some dark sh**, I sound like I am on the edge of a breakdown’…but often, I am not, I don’t feel as dramatic and hopeless and the post actually sounds. jJust the act of writing it all down, and not thinking about how depressing it sounds. The ‘getting it out’. I instantly feel better, and those thoughts don’t trouble me anymore.

And then I can sleep.

How do I love?

How will I ever know someone like I thought I knew you?

I just can’t be bothered to try. 

I have hope it might happen again, I have to, but at the same time I’m so close to giving up. I’m ok with accepting I have been in love and been loved. I experienced it. It’s more than a lot of people get in a lifetime. 

This is just that parallel Universe where I’m alone. 

Maybe in the other one I’ve actually been sectioned because of being with you did that. You would have made me more crazy than I am now… This is the better outcome. It has to be. 

How do I be? How do I love? Again.

Being, is just so tiring. What’s the point? 

Well at least I felt something, I really did feel it and now maybe, it’s like I’ve had my time, so I just have to find a way to exist. But how? 

How do I stay hopeful that I will feel that love again? And to be honest do I really want to. That sh** really hurt.

But if I never feel it again, then really…what is the point? 

I’m really worried it wasn’t real for you and you are just a crazy who manipulated me and said whatever you needed to say to make me love you? Your actions never really were the evidence, it was always your words I relied on. You told me you loved me multiple times each day. But did you? 

They are just words. 

If that wasn’t real then what is? 

You’ve been with her longer than you was with me now, anyway. So I really should be over it. Really.

Why am I still so sad? 

Mainly I just feel numb. Tired.

Isn’t time supposed to heal this? 

Hurry up and heal. 

Why does healing the damage take more time than the damage took to do? 

I don’t know what I want. 

I need someone to tell me what to do. 

I just know what I don’t want. 

I don’t want you. 

I don’t want him either. 

I don’t want to go through that ache again.   

But where does this all leave me? Now I’m just writing into my notes on my phone so I don’t write to you. Cos you are with her. You moved on.

I can’t seem too.

This grief. 

This pain for all the love I had for you that now has nowhere to go. 

You still exist. You are still alive and it’s so weird I don’t know who you are now. Are you the same, or totally different? What makes your soul alive now? Do you love her?

How do you experience love without the pain.

And if you don’t feel pain when it’s over does that mean it wasn’t actually love? 

I seriously don’t think I could take that pain again. 

Maybe that’s why I’m here, on my own.

I don’t actually want to love again. 

Those times where you forget to post on Instagram

At 11pm last night I picked up my phone after my good friend left my flat. We have just spent a day just like it was the 90s; it was great.

She came and ‘called for me’ and we went on a bike ride in the forest, then we sat on the sofa watching TV and drinking tea. Then we ate dinner on our laps and watched more TV while constantly talking over it and having to rewind it constantly and then we sat on the floor and played Labyrinth (a board game from the 90s).

And suddenly it was 11pm, and it was time for her to go home.

And I realised when she left that the whole time I didn’t feel the need to post on Instagram. I did take a photo of us at the half way point of the bike ride and I sent it to my Mam, but that’s just so she knew I was outside getting some ‘fresh air’ because of the Covid-19.

It was such a good day. Maybe quite a ‘simple’ day. If you read that first paragraph again It doesn’t seem that special; not really. But I think when you are genuinely ‘having fun’ and totally living in the moment you don’t actually want to waste time posting about it…

I feel so lucky that I was a teenager in the 90s before social media to be honest.

Being a teenager really sucks as it is, and to be honest I was anxious and moody enough without having to worry about social media…the ‘World Wide Web’ and MTV only really started to get popular when I was 17, so I got to experience the excitement of it all, like making your MySpace profile look ‘so cool’ by learning a bit of html, but mainly this was all for my own benefit. I can’t ever remember obsessing about other people looking at my MySpace and what they might think of my teenage life, or the pink anime gif and stars I had chosen for my page.

For us, back then, before the Internet, it was relatively easy to live in the moment, and to have genuine shared experiences with another person. I think it was maybe easier to know them, not just the best bits of them they want to present to the world.

It was simpler times in my opnion, and don’t get me wrong when I got my dial up modem working I can remember totally losing my mind with the fact I was having an instantaneous conversation with someone in the United States, in real time! on MSN messenger…I literally spent hours waiting for him to pop up online, he wasn’t even that interesting, or at least the only thing interesting I can remember about him was that he lived in Chicago, and I was in Wales, and we was able to chat and then stuff I would say to him, he would see it straight away, imagine it, an instant penpal! OMFG!

Soon, I was on the PC in the dinning room long after my Mam had gone to bed, when she no longer needed the phone…I would be up till gone 2am most night writing pages on my yahoo! Geocities website like everyone else; well maybe not like everyone else, because I was so dedicated to writing pages and pages of ‘inspirational quotes’ on my website that I ended up getting sty’s on my eye where I didn’t blink enough in front of the screen.

Don’t get me wrong the internet is cool AF.

But yeah, make sure you take notice of those days. Those days where you genuinely had so much fun, just hanging out with another person and you didn’t actually have ‘time’ to post on social media. The truth, I think you will find, is that you did actually have the time to post, you just didn’t want to because …you was just having too much fun chatting and being alive, you were just being in that moment and time just flew away, but in a good way.

You weren’t bothered about making anyone else jealous, or showing off about what a good time you was having, because you was just genuinely having a good time.

(I am aware that writing this blog post about this amazing day might be construed as me needing to post, or show off about how awesome it was, and kinda totally contradicting the whole message; but ye…I don’t care. )

Setting Goals

So I recently finished reading James Smith’s book – ‘Not a diet book’; I say ‘reading’, I actually listened to it in my car in audio book form. But as far as I am concerned that is still reading ok!

I consumed this book very quickly, mainly I listened to it while going at 50 mph on the drive back and for to roller derby training in Portsmouth ( the M27 is becoming a smart motorway so this journey now takes one hour instead of 35 minutes). I took so many things away from this book, specifically the ‘calorie f***ing deficit’ mantra, but another thing that really stuck with me is the importance of having a daily goal, something that you do every day.

You don’t have to do ‘the thing’ particularly well, but the important thing is you do it, and do it repeatedly!

In the book James talks about sending his, now famous, daily emails; in the beginning perhaps no-one was reading them and in the beginning they probably weren’t any good. But obviously by doing this every day alongside his other media posts, something has clicked, because he now has a really big following and people do actually read those emails; well I know I do. 

I really enjoyed writing a daily blog about our adventures while I was on the Aurora Quest research expedition this January. I’ve always had the dream of being a writer, and ideally I would write a book, but at the moment I feel like I have too many ideas and I don’t know what that book would be on. So, it feels most natural right now to just to write about my daily thoughts and life (also I have some extra time right now because Covid-19 has meant all my work events/trips have been cancelled).

I have always felt it was in my soul to write, it is part of who I am and it’s possibly why I have so many beautiful notebooks scattered about my house and hidden in the bottom of rucksacks, all waiting to be filled up with my crazy thoughts on all the things.

I found writing something every day during the expedition was actually very good for me mentally, it really focused my thoughts from that day. Now my thoughts were out of my brain and on the ‘page’ they gave me a feeling of clarity and my brain felt less crowded. 

So… with all this being said I have decided to take James’ advice and make a daily goal.

For me, the goal is to write something here, everyday, it won’t always be long, it won’t always be sensical or informative, but I WILL do it!

May this post be the first of many 🙂