Saturday, December 22, 2012


I love it. I absolutely love it.

Leaping out into water I am suspended in mid-air. Somewhere between the sky and the earth in a dreamy world of flying, gliding, rhythmic twisting through space. My lungs burn and my chest swells as I climb to the broken mirror of the beneath the surface. The water is both resistance and support. The roar of broken water cascades across my face as I turn to breathe. A gasp for air, the splashing of water and then the muted din of my strokes is all I hear as I twist and strain against fluidic resistance.

The rhythm of the bike is a steady rasping of rubber tires on pavement, the harsh inhalation of ragged breath. Human powered machinery mirrors respiration. Revolutions are ceaseless, broken only with the sharp clicking of shifting gears. Air rushes across face, ears, the roaring passage of distance and time. Muscles aching, the acidic burning of tissue swelling in thighs, calves and shoulders as the road is slowly devoured by the amaranthine whispering of tires against asphalt.

The rhythmic beat on the pavement of running feet, the tingle of burning air in my lungs, my chest pumping, compressing, expanding, my arms swinging and pumping in the air.  When I’m running on a road, a long, flat, black, hot, asphalt, searing heat, shimmering road, sweat pours down my back, chest and arms. My forehead drips into my eyes; I wipe them off with a sweaty, dirty hand. The heat rippling in the air reflects the organic combustion in my body. Oxygen is consumed, converted and ignited into precious energy and dirty exhaust is forced out through dry, chapped lips.

The cacophony of broken water is the crashing cymbal of excited melody. The interminable cadence of my bike resonates through my legs and arms, a harpist plucking along my gears as the road rises and falls. The rhythm of running are drums tapping out an unremitting beat through my body.

It’s all music; percussion and winds together devour the miles and minutes and hours. It’s the rhythm that captures me, beats out a pattern in my body and mind and lifts me outside my daily rigors and self-imposed anxieties. There is a freedom that I find in the pain and soreness and prolonged endurance that is fleeting in what is otherwise a daily mundane existence. It lifts burdens from my mind and allows me to think clearly and truly enjoy the unique phenomenon of just being alive. The focus required to keep moving, the priority of just breathing each breath completely to gain as much oxygen as possible is a reminder of what keeps us alive. The trivial concerns of a life far removed from survival are forgotten and for a few seconds or minutes or hours, I am truly alive on the edge of a pure, primal and guiltless existence.

Of course I keep going.

Heating-coil in the pool has been broken for a month, temperature hovers around 65 F, but I am still hitting my laps three days a week.

I can’t bike anywhere here, but I endure the static cardio room and the uncomfortable chafing of the indoor bikes by holding on to the expectation of the amazing rides that await me when I get home.

My feet are starting to look like a bad Halloween prank, but I won’t stop running.

Especially, when I remember why I’m training so hard.