Active Recovery

I wrote this piece as my submission to the the3sixfive project. It was published today on their site, and I’m presenting it here to you.

“Active Recovery” is what personal trainers call it: that’s when you follow a particularly intense training period with one that’s a little easier on your muscles, giving you the chance to recover without losing momentum.

I was halfway through my early-morning bike ride in Busse Woods when I dialed down the intensity to catch my breath. In a moment of clarity (this was at 5:45 AM and I was still an hour away from my first cup of coffee, so this is significant) I realized that the idea of the “active recovery” is as much a part of my everyday life as it is to my workouts.

Last week, I left my position at a company where I worked for six years. For most of that time I was in a role that had me on the phone with London at 2:00 AM, in the office in Chicago at 6:30 AM, and on the phone again with Asia at 7:00 PM. I was the guy you’d see on the train with a Bluetooth in his ear and occasionally saying “Can we get back to the issue?” If there were a corporate-equivalent “26.2” sticker I certainly deserved to have dozens of them splattered on the side of my briefcase.

When I resigned to accept a role at a new company I decided to take a week off in between. And true to form I’ve been getting up with my alarm at 4:30, only now my race is to the forest preserve instead of Metra. While my wife is at work, I’m managing the details of the family reunion we’re hosting this weekend, catching up on my not-for-profit work, and fixing things around the house. So while I’m not spending this week fire-walking through the corporate world, I’ve turned to family, home, community, and the pedals of my Specialized Allez to recharge.

On Monday morning I’ll be at a new desk with a new phone number and a new company name on my business cards, and I’ll be ready for whatever challenges come my way, thanks to my Active Recovery.

The rest of my morning ride went beautifully, and I even set a new personal record.