The flight of the bumblebee

In previous blog posts I’ve compared myself to the following creatures:

  • Gopher
  • Canada goose
  • A cross between a fattened bull and Bambi
  • Wolf
  • Caribou
  • Wet dog
  • Square dancer
  • Thoroughbred
  • Stallion

Obviously, my similes and metaphors are already horribly mixed, so there shouldn’t be further harm caused by the fact that I now view myself as a bumblebee. We’ll get to that in a moment. But first, I want to pick up where I left off with my previous blog post, in which I assigned grades to my training scheme based on the four rules I laid out in the beginning. I now want to move beyond those grades and assess this project from a broader, more holistic viewpoint.

Let’s begin by discussing motivation. From the time I was a youth up until my mid-20s or so, I enjoyed taking on physical challenges, pushing my body and feeling it respond. I derived satisfaction from the exhaustion that followed. This desire to prove myself physically waned gradually over the years. By the time I hit my 30s, it was just a memory. When I first started this training, I found it to be quite exhilarating and felt a resurgence in the thrill of engaging in physical exploits. Motivation wasn’t a factor; it was just present in an endless supply.

In recent weeks this rekindled interest in physical conquests has withered away to nothing once again. And having experienced less drastic improvements to my hockey performance than I would have liked, I’m now finding that my motivation levels are drooping a bit. I’m still getting out there for my workouts but I’m not bounding to them like I was in the beginning.

The weather is another drain on the motivation. When I started training at the end of August there was a nice heat wave going, so even when I ventured outside for late evening workouts it was still warm enough for shorts and a T-shirt.

By mid-October I was faced with layering up to venture out into temperatures that were sometimes flirting with the freezing mark. It was a bit tougher to muster the energy for that. Now there’s snow on the ground, ice on the road and the mercury seems like it’s dipped below the freezing mark for good. I haven’t yet ventured out into these icy environs but I will try. I’m not looking forward to it but I don’t have much choice as I have nowhere to go for indoor training sessions.

I think a good way to assess my training exploits would be to apply a simple cost-benefit analysis, weigh the physical gains I’ve experienced against the amount of energy I’ve expended. Since I’m lacking the capacity to do this with quantitative measures, I’m left with my gut feel as a measuring tool. The conclusion is rather grim, I’d say. 

This is where the bumblebee analogy comes in. Most of us are probably aware of that old yarn about the bumblebee being physically incapable of flight, scientifically speaking, due to its large girth and feeble wing span, but it flies anyway simply because it’s just not that into science. 

Well, in this analogy, I’m an aged, decrepit bumblebee and flight is my fitness level, but in my case it’s looking like the scientists have a point.

With my hockey training, I worked my tail off to become airborne and now I feel like I’m expending a ton of energy just so I can stay aloft just slightly above the ground. If I ease up at all, by missing a workout for a few days in a row, I’ll come crashing down to earth with alarming speed. It’s as if age has increased the earth’s gravitational pull on me by at least 30 per cent.

The bottom line for me is this: my workouts have become a chore, a means to an end. Yes, they are making my hockey-playing experience more enjoyable, but they are not enjoyable in and of themselves.

My beer league hockey hobby would be much more enjoyable if it involved simply playing more hockey. But I don’t have the time or money for that.

I feel like I’m at a crossroads, with two distinct paths lying before me: either accept an endless string of drudgerous workouts just to remain aloft, or succumb to the laws of physics and accept that I’m destined to become slower and more lethargic.

If I choose option two, I might as well also embrace 4 p.m. suppers, hotly-contested cribbage matches, and yes, shuffleboard ... sweet, sweet shuffleboard.