The Battle

I start to sweat. My normally low blood pressure rises and my heart pounds even when my body is not working that hard. I get anxious and stressed out. Running, swimming and hitting the gym don’t do that.

I have such a love hate relationship with mountain biking. It’s a battle. A battle with Logic. Logic is the cautious side of my brain. The side that generally wins because she’s in control, she calm and cool. Logic fights with Competition, the side that peaks her evil head out rarely, but when she does she makes me uneasy. But that side also tells me to push harder, faster, further and makes me do things out of my comfort zone.

Logic tells me to stay on the easy double track; no rocks, roots or puddles to trip me up and knock me down. Then Competition chimes in and yells for her to shut the eff up, to go for it, to get uncomfortable and challenge not only my body, but my mind—basically my entire body: Mind, Body and Soul are put on edge during a ride.

 

I love and hate this so much. But yet I continue to do it—so it must be good.

             

Seeking Shelter

I’ve been craving quiet lately. We live in such a media driven world where cell phones are ringing, text messages are coming through, snap chat, facebook updates, twitter posts…on top of that I live with boys. Well, father and son actually—son with a bum knee and a knack for falling asleep on the couch with the TV on or a video game controller still kissing his fingertips, I felt bad at first clanking around in the kitchen at 630am, but quickly remember he has his choice of three bedrooms upstairs to sleep in. Grind on, coffee maker, grind on.

            The television is generally turned on right away. Fraiser, Will & Grace, or some other sit-com is what blares at my brain by 8 o’clock. Not Matt Lauer, Al Roker or one of the other friendly faces on the Today Show—it’s laugh tracks and corner gay jokes are laughed at right on cue while I sip my coffee. Which is fine, I have a bedroom that I can seek refuge in, and I often do, grabbing my novel and hiding away under the covers with candle lit to cover up the stench of my work out clothes.

            By the time I head to the Tavern I work at, hungry families are lining up to order lemonades and afternoon beers. Families. That means children. Whenever a couple brings their child into the bar I find myself quoting Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama; “You have a baby…in a bar” [cue face drop] I was ready to join my co-workers for a smoke break after my 20 top that consisted of more children than adults…the tavern was taken over my ankle biting, high pitched screaming, sticky fingered children. I told my manager that that was the best birth control, ever.

 

My answer for some quiet this week? The pool. I swam competitively for nearly ten years. Swimming is comfortable, swimming is easy (unless I have a tough workout planned), swimming is like a big, quiet hug. I’ve been training for a triathlon, and eventually will be swimming the first leg of a half Iron Man this fall. Needless to say, I’ve been in the pool quite a bit lately. But today, today I appreciated the pool for more than it’s caloric burn, it’s ability to stretch my body and build my muscles—it was quiet.

            No. Wait. The deck wasn’t quiet at all. The lifeguards had music playing, there were children (though the pool is an appropriate place for those munchkins,) there were other swimmers swimming laps. I jumped in. In that moment being surrounded by bubbles, I recognized the silence under water. I had known how loud my life was outside, but I hadn’t realized how quiet it could be.

I seeked shelter there for an hour. Not enough, but enough for the moment. Just noticing this quiet refreshed me. As I put my ear buds in for my run home I played soft, soothing tunes that were enough to ease me back into reality.

 

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA