Yesterday I received an e-mail from a subscriber named Brian. He was wondering what happened to me.
“I’ve noticed your blogs have not been posted in a while. Looked forward to them. Hope all is well.” – Brian D
Ironically I had been thinking about the future of this blog for quite some time. So let’s begin at the beginning.
Defiant Wellness began back around 2012 in a “Lazarus Period” where I was kind of brought back from the dead. More specifically I was spared a premature death from a stressful sedentary lifestyle. The blog began simply as a personal online journal of my road back to health. I shared it with my friends in my local CrossFit gym.
At that time, “Vintage CrossFit Masters” were a rarity, and people began sharing links to my blog posts with friends on Facebook. Now there are many social media outlets serving “classic” athletes.
Over the years I have written about my discoveries within the gym, at the dinner table, and in the doctor’s office. I wrote about wins, losses, successes, and failures. My sixties were becoming a period of self-discovery. And I was having fun doing it.
I admit my experience with fitness has been a mixed bag as I have found that the effects of aging and recovery are seldom simple, and I break far more often than I’d like. I also discovered that when one is in his late-sixties he no longer has the option to just “tough it out” when some things break. That is a great segue to answering the question – Where have I been?
When I retired three years ago I ended up commuting 25 miles each way to a premier CrossFit Box in the Boston area. I did CrossFit at least three days a week, often more than one WOD a day. I was also doing Olympic Weightlifting Barbell Club at a box closer to home two nights a week. Then I ended up interning and coaching a Masters Class. My retirement pastime had evolved into a fulltime job.
I found my performance would peak, then wane. Plateaus became troughs. I had reached a point of diminishing returns. I’d cut back and rest, I’d scale workouts but I seldom came back to my previous peak levels of performance. I had zero endurance for any cardio-intense activity. The shortest of runs left me gasping for air.
As you can imagine, it’s difficult to write about health and fitness when you, the writer, are not feeling healthy and fit.
Last summer I stepped away from CrossFit and limited my activity to two nights of Olympic Lifting. Eventually, that also was leaving me gassed between lifting complexes. In January a visit to the cardiologist revealed that I was in Atrial Fibrillation.
To date, medication and treatment have not rectified the issue. In July I resumed my Olympic Lifting two nights a week. I have lost strength but my form is intact. It has taken me five years to grasp the nuances of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. I figure I can gain the strength back over time.
So where have I been and what have I been doing? I’ve been learning new things and doing things I had put off for years. I finally learned to ride a motorcycle. I have ridden over 16,000 miles since last summer. I have read at least a book a week and I have written hundreds of essays in my personal blog (for my eyes only).
So what have I been writing about? Life, learning, friends, bikes, country roads, coffee shops, well being. Simply stated, I have discovered life outside the gym, though I no longer “live in the gym”, I look forward to resuming a path to strength and fitness, even though it will most likely look different than my CrossFit days.