- Some don't worry about fitness and laugh at those who do. "Tillerman! My diagnosis is that you're either masochist or suicidal, or both."
- Some people told humbling stories about their former super-fitness and/or about how major accidental injuries had changed their lives.
- And some struggle with the motivation to stay fit (as I do) and have even more creative excuses such as "my jump-rope is kinked" or "the boat ate my bicycle".
Anyway enough about you. Back to the real subject of this blog. Me.
I blame winter.
I blame the fact that when god created the universe she saw fit to tilt the earth's axis of rotation relative to its orbital plane at an angle of 23.44° thereby causing the phenomenon known as seasons and, in particular, the cold gray depressing monotony known as The Northern Hemisphere Winter.
Everything is fine with me in the warmer months of the year. I sail a lot. I run a lot. I do all sorts of other healthy outdoor activities such as mowing the lawn, digging the garden, maybe occasionally a spot of cycling and swimming and, best of all, purposefully moving hunks of meat and other delicacies around on my barbecue grill. Life is good. Every week I feel fitter. I achieve a healthy weight. I wear Spandex and Lycra sailing gear and don't look totally ludicrous.
Then around October or November each year it all starts to go downhill. The days are colder so I sail less. It rains more so I run on fewer days. I don't even think about cycling or swimming. I eat more. I drink more. I take Tillerwoman out to lunch at waterside restaurants and consume vast quantities of fish and chips, and bangers and mash, and strong German and Irish beers. I gain a few pounds. Every month I feel less fit.
By December and January I am in near total hibernation. I rarely go outside except to drive to the liquor store and back. I eat vast quantities of turkey and Christmas pudding. I awaken my dormant tastes for whiskey and rum and various mixed drinks. I work out with my blender. I take up time-wasting sedentary pastimes such as playing Sailx, or trying to figure out what the hell is the point of Facebook. (Never did find out). I gain a few more pounds. I become even less fit.
February is a total write-off.
Then in March I realize that it will soon be the sailing season again and I start a desperate attempt to regain my former fitness. I weigh myself several times a week and realize that I am much too heavy to be fast in a Laser and, even worse, that I'm actually several pounds heavier than I was this time last year. I buy a new pair of running shoes and, after staring at them a few weeks, actually put them on and head down the road a few hundred yards before collapsing into a pool of sweat.
And then the seasons of Tillerman repeat themselves. Except that every year I slip back a click or two on the ratchet block of life. My weight falls in the summer but never quite back to where it was the previous year. My running times improve during the warmer months but never quite back to my former personal bests. Every season my sailing skills progress from awful in April to so-so in September, but I never manage to raise them to a totally new level.
Yes, I blame that 23.44° of axial tilt. It has a lot to answer for.
But this year will be different. I have the solution. Watch this space...