I’m finding it hard to reconcile the fact that I ran 10 miles, pain free, in the fastest time I have run 10 miles in a LONG time, this past Saturday, but all I can think about is how much fun I had mountain biking on Sunday…? Don’t hate me, running friends, but I think I have (re) fallen in love with something else…!
The stupid, maniacal grin is back… The one I haven’t had since the first time I put on armor and stepped on to a heavy weapons fighting field to beat my friends with sticks (if you don’t understand that one… just ask). The one I had when I broke 23 minutes in a 5K for the first time. The one I had when I broke 45 mph through the speed trap on the Mammoth Mountain downhill course (circa 1995). The one that makes my friends say “uh-oh” in that knowing way. The one that says “I’m hooked”.
Look, this whole fitness thing has got to bring joy, at least as a byproduct, or you won’t stick with it. Why do it if it’s not fun? The whole noble “Because it’s good for you” bullshit only goes so far if you are constantly in pain and frustrated. Or, even worse, exercising your futility by doing the same thing over and over (and over… and over…) like I did this past summer. Nothing will kill motivation quicker.
My wife and I were talking this morning and (I’m stealing a line here) she was telling me about a saying a friend of hers has. It is something to the tune of “Sorrow (sadness/depression/frustration/etc.) comes easily… Joy takes effort to achieve”. The more I thought about this, the more I like it. Joy takes effort…
I think, to go even deeper, there is, or at least can be, joy in the effort itself. Let’s face it, none of us are getting paid to do this whole fitness thing. You have to work to be happy and fit, so why not enjoy the work to get there?
As an aside, Dan H. and I were talking about our perspective kids and our frustrations trying to get them involved in active pursuits. It reminded me of a line of philosophy that Dan S. used on him (and subsequently me a bit later). He said we were just afraid to breathe hard. And that getting past this is a big step in getting stronger/faster. Dan H. and I batted this around as we discussed our kids. Both of us feel like we may have pushed performance too much and forgotten to emphasize the joy. The fun of moving under your own power and experiencing life at your own speed. I’m wondering if it is not too late for me to share this with my son… It can’t hurt to try… right?
Anyway, the point of all this is simply that I’m having fun again. All the performance crap has been put aside and it’s helping. Immensely. There is and will always be time for that. But in those hours in between that make or break your fitness habits, I have found the fun again. For me, this may just be THE key to keep me going… Stupid grin and all.