I didn’t expect to say this, but August was a really good month for fitness. My star chart tells part of the story; you can see that I did all my planned work-outs except for one run and one yoga session. For a plan that averages a rate of one work-out per day, that’s pretty good! It helps, of course, that up to three of those work-outs are my bike commutes to and from work, so it’s less tempting to skip them. Even in the August heat, I like not taking the bus to work every day—it’s nice to have some variety during the week.
August was a hard, sweaty month, but I think that sticking with a flexible work-out schedule helped keep my spirits up. I love exercise for many reasons, not the least of which is the way it makes me feel. Without a doubt, regular exercise helps me stay happy and optimistic, which is really important during times of high stress and uncertainty. Things at work were busy during the month, but I would say they were busy in a good way. In a sense, fitness has a lot in common with experimental science: discoveries don’t happen overnight, and neither does fitness…or at least with the kind of science I do. It’s a long, slow process, one that requires a great deal of persistence, patience, and planning. Running and my other exercise pursuits are like that too: one doesn’t wake up in the morning, ready to run a half-marathon. It’s a long, slow process of building up to a long distance, and you’ve got to stay both focused and flexible. I try to keep my eyes on the prize, but I’ve learned that it’s best to stay responsive to unexpected events—an impending injury, or a little too much fatigue, or the need for a day off to recover from a particularly hard run. I build my fitness plans (and my experimental plans) around the idea that shit is going to go wrong, so I like to have some room to make adjustments so that I can meet my big-picture goal.
August, it’s been a good run of things. You’re always a challenging month, especially in Texas, but I think you showed me that I’m tougher, stronger, and more focused than I even imagined. Thank you for that. I’m not sad to say good-bye to you, but I am grateful that I made it through and I feel more confident on the other side.