My bag was packed. The alarm was set and my hike was planned out. I was excited the night before and felt ready to go on one of my last hikes before the snows really started to accumulate. I was going to blow it out and feel great about a good finish with a 15 mile hike.
Then I woke up. I felt ok but I couldn’t get moving. I laid in bed staring at the numbers on my phone inching ever closer to the alarm finishing its snooze cycle. I got dressed and headed to the hike and everything seemed ok.
Then I started hiking. I was cold, the sun was in my eyes, I was cranky. The hike was beautiful and there was no reason for me to not be able to enjoy myself. I just wasn’t. I realized I was just going to have a bad day.
You have a couple of options when you are having a bad day. The first is to try to grind it out. This is really common when you start a workout program and you plateau.
When you start, you are excited. You are making changes and nothing can stop you. Then you see the doctor and they tell you that the “Food” section of the website is causing the people at Guinness World Records to enquire about your cholesterol numbers. Wait… just me?
The plateaus come and you have to grind through them and that is OK because after a plateau is usually another improvement. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can see that the work you put in will show results later.
But a bad day works differently. They are the times that you are still improving. You are on a good streak or you may be at your best. They are more of a dip in the graph than a solid line.
Bad days don’t even end up always having bad results. A golfer could shoot par but it doesn’t feel right. An insurance adjuster could deny 1000 claims and still not get that rush they usually do. The results are still there but the feel isn’t. I hiked eight miles on my bad day. A number that would have thrilled me five months ago. It wasn’t a grind that got me through; the results were there but I wasn’t.
Shake it off?
History has many examples of this advice. My football coach had two pieces of advice if we were hurt. We were to shake it off and if that didn’t work we should rub some dirt on it. Maybe we weren’t trying hard enough. The noted 21st century philosopher Taylor Swift told us to Shake, Shake, Shake it off. Is the magic number of shakes 3? Maybe that is why it hasn’t worked.
History has also shown us the problems with this philosophy. Noted pilot Luke Skywalker famously said “I can’t shake him” before needing help from a friend. The culinary experts at Kraft thought maybe the Shake wasn’t enough and you needed to add the Bake. I think the bake part might only work well in Colorado. Pitcher Nuke Laloosh tried to shake (language in link) until he realized that was the opposite of what he should do! (shoutout to those of you who got that reference without the link)
So with all the mixed signals what are we to do when we are in the middle of our exercise program and have a bad day? I have some thoughts.
Bad Day, B’day, Bidet
The most famous Australian phrase I know is, “G’day mate!” What about a bad day down under? I have to assume they would say “B’day mate”. Of course the American spelling of B’day is Bidet, right?
Everyone knows that bidets come from Australia because the toilets flush the opposite way and defy gravity. Plus, I don’t have any Aussie readers to refute that claim so we can go with it.
Wash It Off
In all seriousness, the job of a bidet is to wash it off. That’s what we need to do with a bad day. Some days don’t work. We can fight through, we can shake, we can shimmy but some days you just need to wash it off.
Whatever you do you don’t want to carry it around with you. You don’t want it to linger and stink up your entire program. The key to defeating a bad day is to recognize when it is there. When you know it is there you can deal with it. You don’t want to be a talker of it and complain about it because then it will never go away.
Sometimes the harder you try to get rid of it, the more it sticks around and you can’t have it stay with you forever. Just wash it off. Let it go. Move on without it and have a good day tomorrow.
Now you know what I think about on my bad day hikes.
I think we have all had a few bad days lately. I hope you can try to wash it off, like water off a duck’s back (side) and be able to move on. Lately it seems like a bad day can become a bad week and a bad month.
If you have started to exercise or try to improve yourself in anyway you are going to have bad days but the sooner you can get back to a good day the easier it will be to move forward. Good luck, happy hiking and remember…Screw it I’m trying!
More from the Fatman
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