Be Less Intense

get more out of life by doing less

It’s early August. I’ve completed two multi-day bikepacking trips, including the beautiful and challenging Appalachian Gravel Growler and another spin Roundabout Brattleboro. I camped in 10* on my back porch to test out my new (obscenely expensive, expedition-weight) winter sleeping bag in anticipation of a back-/bikepacking winter overnight. I missed Toad Strangler due to illness and rode (a shorter route for) The Great North in cold, rainy conditions. I went cabin camping and mountain biking in beautiful New Hampshire and Vermont with my girlfriends (and Matt).

Yet, I haven’t even cracked 1,000 miles to date on my bike.

At some point this year, I decided to abandon my goal of 3,075 miles this year and focus on Doing Less and Being Less Intense.

I’m watching my friends train for epic events. I’m seeing friends discover new routes, new adventures, and regain strength after illnesses. It’s incredibly awesome.

But right now, I need to rest more. Embrace non-bike life more. Visit with friends, plan road trips, and yeah, even get the non-sexy things in life done – like cleaning the house and doing routine maintenance. Clear out the clutter and bring in fresh air and fresh space in my life.

I had two pretty big anxiety attacks earlier this year, which resulted in an increase in my Lexapro dose and a healthy step back in pushing myself to achieve new levels of awesomeness.

It’s really hard to not get caught up in the competition cycle of More Miles, More Speed, More Adventure, More Hard Core Adversity. But I encourage everyone to take a moment to think about why they are doing these things. There’s no right or wrong answer; only that if something isn’t serving you anymore, perhaps it’s time to try something different.

Because the reality is that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. I’m amazing and awesome right now.

So I’ve been sleeping late, taking leisurely bike rides when I feel motivated, going to slow yoga classes (restorative and yin mostly), and hiking more. Turning off notifications on my phone and filling up my library hold list with interesting books. I’m walking my beagle every day, allowing extra time for all the sniffs and stops. I’m re-evaluating my volunteer obligations and deciding what fits and what needs to be set aside for now.

Living a slow life is kindof wonderful.

I have a car camping trip in a few weeks and then a four-day bikepacking (lodging) trip with my oldest kid and my middle sister. Beyond that, I don’t have many plans. Maybe going home at the end of November for a bit, see the fam and my nieces.

I’m looking forward to how the rest of the year pans out. Taking a break from constant adventure, constant “training,” and constant GO-GO-GO has been a huge relief. While it also resulted in a not-insignificant weight gain, I’m also evaluating my relationship with my body and how I can honor where my physical being is. I’m still strong, still resilient, still bad-ass.

See you out there!

Author: Laura

wife. mother. kick-ass girl. all mountain, all road adventurer by bike.

2 thoughts on “Be Less Intense”

  1. There are many ways to be awesome. Listening to your body and your soul is one. As I move into retirement (yay!), I’m taking your story as a reminder that I don’t have to do EVERYTHING, at least not RIGHT AWAY. It’s good to have goals, but in business and in life, important to reevaluate and not to let any one goal take over your life. Enjoy your family, friends, and bike!

    1. Yes!! We have our whole lives to do fun and interesting things … sometimes we just need some down time to plan and get pumped for what’s to come! Be well!

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