Friday, August 15, 2008

Reality Bites

Well, it's been a quiet week in Spring, Texas, my home, out on the edge of the megalopolis. The Groundhog Day commuters managed their sweating, waddling trip to work day after day like they did last week and the week before that since the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. And I was with them. Sort of.

I'm straining against the gravitational pull of normal, and it's kind of painful. I have visions of growing older like the man in the picture above. It's not normal. Nothing desirable ever is. And it requires work. From what my body is telling me this week, it requires constant work, because there is nothing Iron-like remaining in this 41 year old body. I see pictures of someone who looks like me finishing the Ironman in June, but my body is telling me that someone has been playing with photoshop, putting my head on the body of someone with more muscle mass than me. That must have been someone else.

"So . . . . [long pause] . . . yoo gaht phat." That was the observation given me yesterday by Miki, the Serbian drill sergeant that my gym calls a personal trainer. Miki is real subtle that way. A real nurturing presence, that one. "How long since yooo doo r-r-r-r-r-resistance t-r-r-r-rain-ink?"

"Uhm, yeah, since like, I guess in May I did some."

"OK, so vee stahrt ez vit som full body verk, naht tooo hefffy. Vee do kettle bells. Mehbee tvice in week? Ja?"

And yesterday we did. The workout was challenging, but not impossible. "Great," I thought. This is a good, moderate, start. Except this morning, instead of moderate, I feel like I've been interrogated in various stress positions.

And I managed to get myself down to the pool for my first swimming since Ironman. I had sketched out a plan to begin a swimming block this fall, but I could tell from the first few laps that the plan was too ambitious. When you're 41 years old and you haven't swum for two months, you need remedial fitness swimming before you start doing intervals at speed. I wonder if there is room in the senior center's water aerobics class later today? From all appearances, I would fit right in. All I need is the flowerty swim cap and some heavy perfume.

And then there is the running. This is where the fitness stuff all began for me. And this is where I go when I need to start again. Where did my easy 8:30 pace go? I hope it returns when it gets cooler, because right now I'm running on some planet with unbreathable air and 1.8 times the gravity of earth.

So, the constant work begins again. It begins because I hate sinking under the gravitational force of normal. It begins because I have a date with the marathon in January and I will toe the Ironman start line in Mexico one year from November.

And somewhere along the line I'll remember that this constant work isn't work at all. It's play. It's not just about looking much better than normal. It's about living much better than normal. It's about abundance in every waking moment.

Training is recess.

Go play.


:) said...

Great post. Play on!

21stCenturyMom said...

My body hurts just reading this. I took 1 week off after Vineman 70.3 and the next week of workouts sucked and then I was fine. Maybe I should have sat around for a few weeks and then I too, could get the BIG thrill of coming up that painful curve and finally feeling fit again. Yeah - thrill. That's it - IT'S A THRILL!! GO PLAY! :-)

Unknown said...

You are soooo right. Keep on reminding me....

Fe-lady said...

I agree...normal is boring.

Or as your coach might say..."Normal iss borink!"

Above and beyond normal!

Your aerobics ladies wear perfume and flowers too? What IS that all about??? Universal attire I

Fe-lady said...

Oh yeah...41 is SO friggin old....give me a break!

Bigun said...

You're running on ANOK!

Jamie said...

Hey, even at 25 this crap is hard.

Maybe if I do little by little over the next 40 years, I can end up like that old guy too. :-)

Play on.

CoachLiz said...


between watching the Olympics and my training, I have been sucking it up on the rest part of the equation. I was supposed to go put in a long bike ride this morning but instead I allowed myself to sleep in and I feel much better.

All that 38 and 41 means is that we have to pay special attention to recovery just like Dara Torres. Don't worry, the heat is sucking some of your energy as well. As soon as you start taking the small steps to get back in the game and when the temps start getting a little lower, you will feel much better.

P.S. Kettle bells ROCK!

triguyjt said...

you do the accent very well sir....

and good luck with the new venue for the trial...

nail that sucker

Liz said...

It's good to see someone else is starting over too. makes me feel a little better.

My Dad (who is 64) always says, "Hey you are out there- most people are laying on the couch." So you are already fighting normal. Normal is potato chips and a nap.

I always give myself 3 weeks to get back into the groove- then it will feel like play.

So play on.