I just finishing jogging.
I remember now why I was a distance swimmer.
I remember flinging my body from the starting block into the cool slick water, not wanting to surface. I always wished I could stay under water like a fish or a mermaid, breathing through gills, and propelling along with my flippers. Only I wasn’t a mermaid or a fish. I couldn’t even pretend to be Aquaman. I was just Corby.
My body never warmed up—by warmed up I mean cooperated—until well into the first two hundred yards. those superficial warm-ups Coach made us do before the meets never helped, particularly because my my first event was the butterfly, which was right before diving. Diving was a good forty-five minutes to an hour after our team warm-ups.
The middle hundred yards were spent talking myself into finishing the race. I ached. My shoulders were sore. I wanted to quit.
And the last two hundred yards was spent making up for the time I had lost in the first three hundred. I usually finished a respectable second or third. Once, I even made it to the sectional finals. I came in twelfth. Obviously, I was not Olympic material.
I have kept this same mentality into adulthood. Even though I try to warm up by walking the dogs before I jog, my body takes about the first third of the jog to decide it wants to get warm.
The second third is spent reminding myself why I am doing this: to resurrect my adolescent athlete. The young woman I once was wants to get out. Don’t be mistaken: I was never thin or muscular. I never looked like a jock. When I came in twelfth at sectional, I weighed 170 lbs. Most of my competitors weighed around 100 pounds. Wet. With clothes on.
Sometimes when compared with my teammates I felt a bit like this:Regardless, the athlete who is trapped inside me is slowly coming back out. Slowly. Like a sloth. But without claws.
The last third of my jogging workout is spent in relative ease, jogging along, not wanting it to stop. I think I need to find a psychological trick to get me into the last third mindset sometime during the first third.
I still like the endurance aspect of distance exercise. I like long, slow exercise.
Please, if you are a speedy guy—like one of my professors, who also happens to be a distance guy—I know the two can go together. I just happen to be slow. I happen to like the leisure that distance events give the participant.
For example, in high school I had 500 yards to plod through. Now I will have 13.1 miles to plod through.
And I do mean plod.
Like a horse.
Maybe like a Lipizanner Stallion.
Only I am not a stallion.
Like a Lipizzaner Mare.
My philosophy is: It doesn’t matter how fast you run, you still get to the finish line when you’re supposed to.
There’s a metaphor in there. In case you didn’t catch it.
Running seems to me to be a sport that rushes you through life. You can’t enjoy the sense of the game or of nature. You just run by everything you should be enjoying. Seems to me to be in the top two least personal sports in the world (cycling being the other). Ran X-Country, 1/4 mile and hurdles and never understood what people got out of it that they couldn’t get from being on a baseball diamond or on a frozen pond for a pick-up game of hockey or on an outdoor court playing b-ball or tennis. You can stop and enjoy that which is around you. Running…it seemed to rushed.
treadmills are part salvation, part damnation. i hate them, but i need them. i bought a jump rope for here in Zambia, but ugh…i hate that too. i’ll have to re-learn it, as my coordination stinks.
you will love this: i am pages away from finishing Mama Day…all while i’ve been in transit : )
I am picturing you in the middle of Zambia jumping rope. I am smiling.