Monday, February 23, 2015

Easy is Evil

I've kept working out at this crossfit gym realizing that being a decent runner doesn't automatically translate into many many things... I'd say it's humbling to be getting outlifted and out performed by people who are both younger, older and lighter than you regularly but that would be lying... it's not humbling... it's fairly humiliating to come in dead last. Still I've only missed one workout since I enjoyed and while I've got a long long long way to go, it's kind of cool to see some of the initial progress.

Just like with every athletic event I've ever done from running to triathlons to sports to my personal favorite game, a sport so sure of itself that it actually calls itself "ultimate," there are people who think everyone should do it, or everyone should try it at least a few times. I won't quite go that far about anything but I will say what I often say about many activities... "don't knock it, till you try it; you don't have to try it, but if you haven't don't knock it." Still when I'm sitting there doing a deadlift for the first time (who the hell names these workouts by the way, dead lifts in weights, suicides in running... no wonder so many people are out of shape when you're naming things that suggest you're encouraging the grim reaper by doing the activities)... anyway when I'm sitting there doing deadlifts or the proper form of pull ups or pushups which I did not learn till I was 34, there's a sign on the wall that says, "Easy is Evil."

I'm not sure I'd personally subscribe to it at that level of black and whiteness  (it's painted in orange and black just for the record) but I do like that the attitude there is that signing up for the challenge is important. In the age of constant measurement or instant gratification whichever way you choose to label it, you're supposed to put in your workout everyday. I'm old enough to where once in a while is enough on athleticism (i.e. only races counts as personal bests with me) but then acknowledge to myself it's because I'm more constant in the physical stuff while getting a personal best on brain exercises often makes my day. And of course, I'd much rather be around people who are around pursuing their personal best in any area of their life than people who are accepting mediocrity in every area.

So it made my day when on a recent school holiday I took Kiana to the gym for the first time and she was thrilled. She ran in the ridiculous cold 400's outside and came back in. She climbed rope slightly higher than where my hands could reach before she was directed to come back down and was disappointed I wouldn't let her climb all the way to the ceiling. I actually am fairly sure she could have but somewhere the protective father won the go have adventures father while she's still 8. A couple of days later she really thought she was going a whole lot faster on her most recent 5k than the one she had done 3 weeks before but I told her it was faster but not as much as she thought. As I started talking to her about it, I realized that the second one was much hillier so part of the confusion was simply because the second one was much hillier and she regularly does track workouts and a 1 mile loop at a park that's completely flat. So I asked her if she wanted to do hill repeats and we tried it out... Took it in stride the first time saying, she was going to do 2 at a time and take a water break and taking a cue from my running group she did 9 instead of the 8 I'd suggested because as we say at the Ship of Fools, you can always do extra.

So seeing her do that at the two immediate workouts after her best 5k inspires me to keep trying. Those are always the best moments when enthusiasm, passion is contagious. I'm not a guy who has ever done video much but I've made a couple recently because I met someone whose good at them. Then someone from Team Livestrong who had read an article made sure that it now has a typo, I am now going to the 2015 Boston Marathon!  (I'll be raising some money for a charity for it relatively so if you want to be my hero have your checkbook ready). I'm certainly nervous about it as I'll have less than 2 months to train and I've been working off this calf injury and nowhere near 100% yet but wasn't I just talking about how easy is evil. So to quote Augustuna, I think I'll go to Boston! Maybe I'll even find a lover tired of the weather  who will fly me out to Spain ;).

So thinking of Kiana's hill repeats, while I took them slow, especially at the start and finish since I'm not allowed to be explosive for a bit, I went and did 5 miles of hills on Thursday and Saturday I ran 18 miles. The iPod shuffle was nice enough to where at mile 17 what came on was a song I've never actually used in a race because I think it's been over used to the point of being almost cheesy, "Eye of the tiger" but I sped up for the last smile and sang it:

Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

And then I went and did a Spartan workout with my cousin. And still motivated by the fact that both a Spartan and a marathon are on the calendar, I ran trail slow as a recovery and biked with my friend Julian after in the cold with some hills that were tough enough where I'm not sure how much longer he'll be my friend. I somehow have complete respect and little understanding of the people who work out really hard despite no competitions on the calendar. I'm obviously competitive so having a race where I'm trying to beat my best times and other people is higher competition. And with less than 8 weeks to train, let me state it here, while it may not happen, my goal is to try to qualify for Boston at Boston.


With that said, what I'm infinitely more happy about is remembering that Boston is where it all started once upon a time. That was the first time my mom and Kiana had ever watched me race as an adult and now she's done plenty on her own, some on the same course and some on her own. That's where the stroller idea came from to get her to do her first race at age 60. And while there's been way too much media about it all, the enthusiasm I have about that is very small. I'm glad that cancer is not contagious but enthusiasm for life is. My cousin Sammy came Saturday and we joined up for a Spartan workout. He and my cousin Omar are getting ready to do their first, now my older brother who whooped me in soccer my entire childhood is talking about joining me for a race (with my little brother it was the right thing to run his first race beside him cause that's what older brothers should do, right? With my older brother, its tempting to decide between that and whooping him). I am honestly a bigger fan of team sports than "solitary" sports like running and so it really makes my day that somehow we've managed to make these events team sports. And the honest to God truth is forget all the media and interviews or Boston qualifying time, if my approach to putting off brain surgery to run a marathon and continuing resulted in my family being more active, that would be an immense reward. I wouldn't sign up for cancer for it but I'm glad we shared enough of a positive attitude to handle it that way. We've not taken it as easy as we used to because well easy is evil...

I've had to attend to this injured calf and the doctor felt the need to tell me that these types of injuries only occur later in life but she was a sports doctor and just wanted to give me awareness. She gave me a way back to get to what I was doing. There was a friend I was visiting at the hospital who was having some health issues and he's twice my age and was thinking about taking it easy but I told him that the awareness of my mortality had made me want to take life more intensely and well since then he's traveled all over the place and taken on some great adventures.

So as I often joke for people who say they aren't competitive, life started as a swimming race and the first one there got to keep living. It gets a little less competitive after birth, it's not all or nothing. But my experience and my favorite people are those who keep taking life on with conviction with their mind, body and soul knowing that enjoying some challenges is a path to goodness because taking it too easy is evil. 

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