Monday, January 14, 2008

Running On Tip Toes

One of the unique things about blogging is that it opens your eyes . Just like walking around with a camera makes you see things differently, walking through life looking for something to write about makes you notice your surroundings and think about them--although hopefully not too much. Friday, I saw something that just bumped around in my mind all weekend, through the long ride, through my long run, and into Sunday afternoon.

I went to the pool on Friday evening to grab a swim. Every lane outside was filled with kids from The Woodlands Swim Team doing their workout. The huge, olympic-size pool looked like it was filled with pirahna, the water churning like an angry sea. So, I took the next best alternative available and prepared to drop into the indoor, 25 yard pool.

As I was doing so, preparing to do a workout that no one was making me do for a race I had no hope of winning, I noticed two kids, probably 14 years of age and probably miscreants from the outdoor squad, who were getting out of the pool, one making the happy observation to the other, "no more practice 'til next week!" Something made me file that away in my brain.

A few minutes later, as I was completing a pull set, I noticed little kiddos, about 5 or 6 years of age, beginning to arrive. These kids weren't dragging into practice, nor would they have been happy with an announcement that practice was canceled. They were practically levitating as they came into the natatorium. They were doing what little kids do--running on tippy toes from the shear excitement and joy. Again, something made me file that image away in my brain.

Then, through the weekend, I noticed myself thinking about that contrast. I don't want to be a glum 14 year old. I want to be the five year old swimmers. How can I avoid the former, and get more of the latter in my life?

Obviously, I've discovered some tip toe moments in triathlon and the friendships is brings. It regularly helps me avoid the tyranny of the inevitably average middle age. In part, that is why I love it so. But I want to "run on tip toes" more consistently in triathlon and in everything else as well. I want to run through all of life on tip toes, no matter how many people tell me to "walk" on deck, and I want to do that until I can't walk at all.

Along the way, I feel like I ought to serve as a herald to all my younger friends:

"The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them." (Henry David Thoreau, Journal (July 14, 1852))

All you kiddos out there--you know who you are--all my twenty-something friends whom I admire and envy so much it probably irritates each of you to no end. Don't settle. Woodsheds suck. Run on tip toes. Fall. Then run some more. Collapse into bed every night and sleep like a 5 year old who played all day, then get up and do it again. Every day. Without fail. Until you don't wake up any more.

23 comments:

Curly Su said...

nice post; thanks!

greyhound said...

ps-- changed the code on the table to see if it would all be included now--

of course, my computer doesn't have a problem with it, so let me know what's up on yours...

21stCenturyMom said...

Your table looks great now and your post was an excellent reminder that working out is tip toe inspiring recess. It's hard to remember that sometimes when my bicycle saddled butt is screaming for mercy and my quads are in tears but then I think, "would you rather be sitting at a computer composing some official sounding email about something you really don't care about?? - IT'S RECESS!!"

So thanks for the reminder.

21stCenturyMom said...

OMG! I just noticed that you will be at Wildflower - woot! I think I'm in for short course again this year for the same reason - REDEMPTION!!

Bill said...

The table looks good now. All included.

Wonderful post, BTW. I'll always take a workout over sitting at the desk or watching TV. Better yet, I love it when I'm given time at work to squeeze in a run. I laugh when I'm the only one in the room looking forward to it.

stronger said...

Don't you run on tip toes to T1?

IronMatron said...

I hear you. Well said.

I got tripped up reading your entry, however, when I realized that you can actually swim outside at this time of year. Holy sh-t! Now that would bring me child-like joy!!! I need to move south. I'm looking out my window at more than a foot of snow. Guess I'll build a snowman instead.

Fe-lady said...

Thanks for a great post...I have been writing about "play" and how kids do it naturally, all weekend, but it's not coming together as I had liked...but I did have a similar ending to my article...
"....get dirty, get muddy, get wet. Go back to those 'being in the moment' times of childhood, and you may find yourself smiling a lot more."
Whatever.
But if you send me your address I will send you my recently published article and I would like to tell me what you think!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

I am lucky to be surrounded with joyful 5 year olds when I'm not at work - a constant reminder of what energy looks like. Real energy. Constant entropy. One is a hummingbird, one is a butterfly. Sit still? Hah!

come borrow my kiddos any time if you need a prod.

Jen_runs said...

A wonderful post & a timely reminder.

Kim said...

i like to drunkenly dance on my tippy toes, does that count?

Tri to Be Funny said...

Very timely post. Just yesterday, I was telling someone that this training feels like penance somedays. A good reminder to run on my toes!

supalinds said...

Geez Greyhound, I have a tear in my eye after this post.

Thanks, your posts are always so uplifting and motivating. I want to be like you when I grow up...

Go Mom Go said...

Thank you for this post.

My youngest son is 5 -- he spends the day kind of hopping around. He truly cannot sit still. You nailed it!

Rainmaker said...

Awesome post, especially the last paragraph!

a.maria said...

ha. great post. i'll remember this next time i'm grumbling about time on my trainer!

Andra Sue said...

Wait, wait...what about us 30-somethings!? You didn't tell us how to actually do it--run on tiptoes I mean. What's the secret then? :)

Tarabay said...

Well said...

tri-mama said...

would it surprise you to learn the Tribe were tip toer's? I love this reminder- keep the writing coming

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

your post reminded me of something I read recently - (I am comment happy today - can you tell?)
A traveler walked up on a group of men laying large stone and mortar. He noticed 2 men in particular because of the stark contrast in their faces. One man looked drawn and tired, almost beaten down. The other fellow seemed jubilant and was humming a tune.The 2nd man's face seemed to be filled with light. Both appeared physically to be about the same age - late 30's or so. The traveler, out of curiosity asked the first fellow, the older looking of the two,"Sir, I see you laboring and it appears that you have a very daunting task ahead of you. Please, share with me what it is you men are doing." The tired and drawn looking man did not look up at the stranger and continued laying mortar and placing the large stones one on top of the other as he replied "Well, if you would open your eyes you would see that I am here laying stones. It is backbreaking work and I have been doing it for almost 20 years."
The traveler pondered this response and turned to the happy, tune singing, jubilant looking man. The traveler asked nearly the same question of the happy man "Sir, I see you are doing the same difficult job here as your friend. Yet, you seem so happy and joyful. Please, share with me - what is it that you are doing." The happy man did not stop what he was doing. The smile never left his face as he lifted his head to look into the eyes of the traveler and his response was "My dear friend - I am building a Cathedral. One of which the likes have never been built before. I have been doing this for near on 20 years. This will be the most magnificent structure ever to be seen by any human!"
2 men - doing the same job. I love your perspective Greyhound. If we could all go through life on our tiptoes imagine how much more jubilant we would ALL be. Thank you for the reminder.

Peter said...

As an "older triathlete" I enjoyed your post. It really is in the mind isn't it?
BTW - I like your blog so I linked it from mine, I hope that's ok...

The Lazy Triathlete said...

This is why we compete. I don't always want to get out of a warm bed, but once I get started I am almost that little kid.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Carly said...

I printed it out the last few lines of your last paragraph and have it posted next to my desk to constantly remind me that LIFE SHOULD BE FUN!

I especially giggled last night when my tri class instructor had us doing drills on the track that involved prancing on our tippi-toes :)

Feelin' the love.