Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Once, and Still

We're in day...geez, I dunno, feels like one hundred or so, of cold incarceration here. I cannot believe how cold it is. It's been silly, dangerous cold for going on 10 day or something, and we won't break into the teens until this weekend. Allegedly. So cold that this morning when I let the dogs out, through our back sunroom, which is uninsulated and if the fireplace isn't on is pretty damn cold, I smelled the pungent aroma of red wine. Some bottles on a rack in there had frozen and pushed their corks out and left this weird slushy, winey glob on the carpet. So that's good times.

I have to admit - this cold has totally derailed my training. I've just not been willing to go out there, and I'm not the kind of guy who looks for excuses or is unafraid to face some discomfort. It's, like, dangerous out there. So that leaves the treadmill, and seriously. The treadmill sucks all the fun right out of the game. But, what do you do? So today I had 6 miles on tap, but hell if I'm running in place that long. So I ran 3. I haven't had the mileage I've been supposed to these last 2 weeks, and my base training is suffering for it. I'm 3 months away from my first triathlon of the year, and 3 months and change from my first marathon. This weekend I have an 11 miler, and I don't know how it'll go but I can tell you I'm pushing it just going 11 miles, and that it probably won't be pretty. I'm behind schedule, friends. Next week I begin to phase in triathlon training, rather than exclusively running.

I gotta tell you that the whole state of affairs has really depressed me a bit lately. I've felt untrue. Like a chump. One of those guys who has one sensible reason or another not to be out there, getting dirty. And I'm not that guy - seriously, I'm not - but if I have to say that out loud too much, then it's because somebody needs to hear it and I need some kind of affirmation. Which is bullshit in my book. If your actions can't speak for themselves, well then you're just another one of those who talk a lot but don't bring it on game day. I don't want to be that guy. It's been hard feeling like this, all cooped up and falling further behind and all due to the cold. Other people have been putting in their time on the treadmill, I think. Why aren't I?

Then tonight, somebody commented on one of my Becoming Ironman videos on YouTube, a guy training for IMFL '07. It was thoughtful and nice, about how much he enjoyed the series, which I think is great, and kind of him to say so. And while I was there, checking his comment, on a whim I hit the link for the first part of the run. I watched as we ran through puddles, as my friends and family huddled together under umbrellas and blankets waiting for me, as I ran past and hugged them. Amy came in and we both just sat and watched for a moment, the way you look at pictures of a good vacation. You're not watching yourself, you're just re-engaged, for the moment, in the experience you had. It was like that. It all kind of came back, in whatever way it does. I said to Amy, "That was a good day." "A cold day!" she laughed. "Look at us!" And then we sat quiet a few more moments and just watched, each in our own memories of it. Finally she said, "G'night babe" and headed upstairs.

And just then I thought - you know, s'okay. Just enjoy the ride - isn't that what I said? So I'm a bit behind where I'd like to be just now. It's okay, it'll come around. I don't need to prove things to myself for the sake of having something proven. I don't always need to be Sysephus. I know what I know now. I'll always expect more of myself than is probably rational, and I'll never be complacent. I'm just not wired for "good enough". But that doesn't mean I can't do a better job of accepting some things that, in the grand scheme, won't matter come July, nevermind the rest of my days. I hate the treadmill. I'd rather not run sometimes than be on one. So why subject myself to things I don't enjoy? S'okay. I'm not getting paid to do this. There are more important things, believe it or not, than if I get my mileage in this week. Meanwhile I've been able to spend some evenings at home, get some important work done, and work on my Half Ironman training plan. Important things that are valuable to me, part of me. Things that also require attention and dedication. I'm bummed I've missed some workouts. But it ain't the end of the world.

It's the attitude I think I need to have this year. This isn't my year for 6 hour bike rides. To obsess over ever calorie, every mile, every watt, every second, every heart beat. That time will come again, and having the right attitude now will make that time more valuable, more useful, and better experienced. This is my aid station, as it were. It's okay if I walk through it, or at least slow down.

Important to say that this isn't my way of allowing myself some kind of laziness. It's not about that. I'll be out there braving the cold soon. I'll be back on the treadmill when it's practical. I'm still the same old me, sprinting the last hundred yards if I can. It's not about what I'm doing, it's about how I'm doing it. Joyfully. Like swimming at the Harmon Park Swimming Pool with my brother. Like racing down 9th street on my red and white Chaser. Like jogging with my Dad, when he was on a jogging kick for a summer and even borrowed my walkman to do it, or those perfect summer evenings when we'd toss the football around or play a game of HORSE. Or when I got old enough to join him on the church softball team. Why else play this game if we can't recapture the simple joy of playing. It's only a game, after all. It doesn't always need to be this scientific, elaborate, difficult thing I often make it. Not always this metaphor on personal growth and strength. Just a game. Easy breezy. I'll choose to enjoy just having the privilege to play.


Todd said...

Great post my friend, here's to 2007...

Easy Breezy and lot's 'o' smiles!!!

TriSaraTops said...

awesome post, X!

Well said.

RunIrisRun said...

You're not the only one behind schedule. It's cold and icy here. I have no idea how I'm going to do my 11 miler safely this weekend. Maybe invest in some yak trax? Good luck!

RunBubbaRun said...

You will get your groove back.

I run on the treadmill and hey you get to run with other people in shorts. Can't beat that sometimes.

Yes, the IM videos were really great. Always takes me back to that day and puts a smile on my face.

Anonymous said...

9/10/2006. It's one of those days where we had so much fun, you want to do it again, organize it again like it's an event that you can start again through an evite....I don't think the experience can be recreated again. Not like it was on that day. I too like to watch the dvd on occasion, by myself to remember. What's fun, is I have a smile on my face the whole time- and even as I write this, I smile. Stay warm- em