Thursday, June 24, 2010

In the zone

Under no circumstances would I consider myself an athletic person. I was more content as a kid to go to lay in my room in the summer and read books than joining a little league team. It is not that I didn't like to play baseball or football or other sports. I was just wasn't built to be a jock and I had little in the way of talent when it came to running, jumping or throwing.

Oh, I had a competitive nature, just no skills to back it up. So I shied away from competitive sports until I was in junior high and participated as a necessary evil to get service points and be recognized as a well rounded student in anticipation of getting into a good college. And though I tried hard in wrestling, basketball and tennis, I was less than mediocre in all of them.

I was an 'A' student in everything but physical education. I hated it with a passion. And one of the things I hated most about it was running. My 7th grad PE instructor used running as a punishment so I grew to loath it. I developed a psychosomatic cough I'm sure was related to running the dreaded "cross country" in P.E.

I say all of this because now, at this juncture in my middle aged life, I find myself running. Oh, not all the time, but for the past year I've just about gone to the gym everyday. And to mix up my workout, I alternate between an elliptical machine and jogging on the treadmill. The longest I have jogged on any given day is an hour, but believe me, that is something that I would never have dreamed I would attempt a year ago, let alone accomplish.

After a year of doing this, I have built up enough endurance that I'm not gasping for breath after three minutes. But psychologically, I have to say I dread running as much as I did as a teenager. I just wish I could achieve that "zone" they talk about where you get euphoric, pumped with the chemicals released when you exercise vigorously. I even try bending time like I've written about so that an hour running on the treadmill only seems like a few minutes. But I get pulled in by the gravitational pull of the ticking off of the seconds on the treadmill clock, turning the hour into an eternity.

But as much as I dread it, I force myself to go to the gym everyday. It is too easy to string together excuses for not working out into stopping all together. And then, instead of dreading going to the gym, I'd dread looking in the mirror.

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