Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Joy of Training

4:20 a.m.
The red digital alarm burns the eyes. Loud static blares. Turn over, shut off alarm. Danny wakes up. Snarling, he jumps off the bed. Brother stirs nearby, mouth wide open. Mess with him? Grab backpack, grab swim bag, close door to room. Contacts in. Upstairs for cereal. The last of Honey Bunches of Oats. Mix with Cheerios. Chew.

4:35 a.m.
Outside. Bags into car. Cold. Dark. Dry. Quiet. 1984 Jimmy roars to life. Jawbreaker - Sluttering (May 4th)  Reverse. Drive. 60...70...80...90... Too fast. Losing control. Let off gas pedal. 70...60...50...40...

4:50 a.m.
Parking lot. Bob's car. Colby's car. Lora's car. Others. Stumble down cement steps. Double doors are unlocked. Locker room is cold. Grunts and one word acknowledgements are exchanged.





'You seen the set? Crazy fly set'

'I miss my bed'


4:55 a.m.
The clipboard sits by the water fountain. 1,000 warm up. Then sprints. Absurd main set of nothing but fly. Choose a lane.

5:00 a.m.
Why do I do this? Really, I'm tired, that pool is going to be cold, and this set is going to suck. I could be sleeping right now. Who wants to jump in a cold pool at five in the morning? I guess this will make me better? Who was it that said the workouts you least want to do, but end up doing, make you the better athlete? Damn that pool looks cold. This really is insane. It's one thing to get up at some ungodly hour to work out, it's another thing to get up to jump is a freezing cold pool. I wonder if...


'It looks cold'


'Okay, Bob'

5:02 a.m.
Forgot to pee...


For whatever reason, specific periods of high school (less than college) morning swim practices stick out in my mind. I never enjoyed this. It's absurdly repetitive. It requires an insane amount of time going back and forth, staring at the bottom of a cold pool. I haven't been in the pool for years, and don't miss it one bit.

Potentially, you could say the same about ultra-running training, but I don't see it that way at all. Ultra-running training is fun. I care not about what time I get up. I care not about how warm or cold it is outside. I enjoy every aspect of it. I occasionally have some runs where it's more of slog to just 'put the miles in', but those normally happen to all be on the road. According to my iPhone app, a 60+ mile, 8,000 ft, week is in the books (I've been considering investing in a nice Garmin, though, to better track elevation and mileage). Darn enjoyable week.

I think that in life, we can easily get immersed, or assimilated, into things that we feel that we have to do, or we are supposed to enjoy. It could be the byproduct of people in our lives such as teachers, parents, mentors, family members, friends, religious leaders, or college professors. It could be due to pop culture influences, advertising, an employer, or some other accepted societal norm. It could be due to some overriding human emotion such as fear, jealousy, or maybe the desire to simply survive. It could be that we don't have the guts to make a change. It could be just me. Whether this be the case or not, ultra-running has never felt 'forced' for me. I've never felt as if I'm supposed to enjoy this. The enjoyment from this just seems to come so naturally.

It's an indescribable feeling.

Keep moving forward.