fitness

Snow, more snow, and some insights: Christine weathers a huge storm

As I mentioned in our 100 Day Reclaim review post on Tuesday , I thought this post was going to be different. 

My part of the country had a HUGE snowstorm on January 17. As in, 93cm of snow, 140+km/hr winds. This cluster of cities and towns on the Avalon peninsula has been under various forms of a State of Emergency for the past week and, as Martha noted in her post yesterday, it’s been a challenge.

Two large snowbanks are in the  foreground and houses can be seen in the background.  There is a bright blue sky above.
In front of my house on January 18. A.K.A: Oh, there was a storm? Really?

Before the storm hit, I suggested to the other bloggers that I would write a post about my fitness efforts during and after the storm. I thought I would spend the stormy hours alternating between writing and exercise and get all kinds of things done and then, afterwards, I would rack up some serious strength training and cardio shovelling out my driveway.

The thing is, though, that you don’t really realize how much snow 93 cms is. You may understand it as a measurement but, until it is falling, you don’t really understand what it feels like.

The storm was so intense that it was disturbing on a visceral level. I got caught up in weather updates and social media posts, and I couldn’t shut out the sound of the wind. I felt that, even inside the house, I was being buffeted around, as if something terrible could happen at any second.  I couldn’t write, I couldn’t make myself exercise, I couldn’t seem to settle into any specific activity.

The only exercise I did during the storm was yoga (I’m one of the people Cate mentioned in her post about Yoga with Adriene’s Home practice). That practice was great but it wasn’t all that I had planned. 

I did go out after the storm and start to help to shovel the driveway but I sank in a drift that was up to my hip and managed to hurt my knee while getting myself back out. I had to take it easy for the rest of the day. 

Now, as I mentioned in the 100 Day Reclaim post that is linked above, I was kind to myself about the whole thing. After all, you can only do what you can do, and there is nothing to be gained by judging yourself harshly. 

So, I focused on the things that I could do. 

Once my husband and sons had some ground cleared outside, I went back out to help shovel (keeping my foot on a stable surface meant less pressure on my knee.) I shovelled for short spurts, alternating where my hands were on the shovel, until the driveway was clear. 

The author, a white woman  wearing a black and grey winter hat and a black jacket stands in front of a towering snowbank. A corner of a brown mansard roof can be seen in the background.
Here I am, smirking away in front of a snowbank. As one does.

I kept up with my yoga.

I did lots of stretching. 

I let my knee recover. 

By Wednesday, I was back to my full shovelling strength and I spend most of my day helping to shovel people out. In the morning, I joined a group of neighbours helping to excavate someone’s car. In the afternoon, I helped my brother-in-law (who has a snow clearing business) break up the snow in someone’s driveway so it would fit into the snowblower.* In the evening, I joined a local ‘snow brigade’ – a group of volunteers who were accepting requests for help – and we dug out someone’s basement apartment. 

On Wednesday, my Fitbit logged 17,433 steps, 11.3kms, and 275 ‘active’ minutes.  Most of those steps were with a shovelful of snow in hand. 

It was an incredibly hard day but it was also, somehow, really energizing. 

I get why people with ADHD could thrive in jobs with intense physical labour. This was challenging enough to keep me engaged, it had a good social component, and it gave me the opportunity to help people without having to overthink the details. 

I was tired at the end of the day (and even more so on Thursday) but it was very satisfying and it gave me some more insights into my plan to increase my fitness levels.

It turns out that I feel really great after exercising for a long time.**  

And, I apparently enjoy functional fitness – I find the repetitive nature of strength training really hard on my brain. It’s not that I don’t want to put in the effort, it’s that I find it so boooooring that I have trouble making myself start it in the first place. I like being strong and I want to work toward greater strength but I need to find ways to get there without having to fight my ADHD to do the work. I’m still figuring out what that might look like but the insight is still important to me.

The physical effort I have put in this week – in yoga and in snow removal- has made a difference in how I feel, both mentally and physically. I want to keep those gains so I will be following Nia Shanks advice to keep taking action toward my goals – the thinking part will develop as I go along.  

Please note: I recognize that there is a lot of privilege involved in being stuck in a State of Emergency and having the leisure to reflect on how it affects my fitness. This situation has uncovered a lot about food insecurity in the communities in my area and I have done what I could to support those who were working on the front lines to ensure that people had the supplies they needed in these dire circumstances. In this post, I focused on my fitness because this is a fitness blog, not because that was all I thought about. 

*Snowblowers can only chop up snow that is the same height as the blower itself. Snow that’s higher has to be chopped down to an appropriate height. Chopping snow is not quite as hard as shovelling it but it is still pretty hard work.

**Perhaps you have always known this about yourself but my ADHD likes to dissuade me from starting anything that is going to be ‘too long’ or ‘too hard’ so this realization is really important for me.

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