Saturday, September 22, 2007

in praise of slow.

I like the word 'indolence.' It makes my laziness seem classy. ~Bern Williams



Okay, so now September is drawing to a close and my month of sloth is over. I've meandered, whined, and avoided sweaty stuff for a few weeks now.


I claimed this month as my month of sloth - even though I did do a couple 7 and 10 mile runs here and there, and, um, a few bike rides, as well as a lot of swimming, at least until my tat was done.
Oh, and I also did Wednesdays with the Jimmy. Wednesdays are "turbo bricks," where we alternate plyometrics, interval training, and spinning. I never miss Wednesdays with the Jimmy. Even as I dread them, because he makes me go fast. However, during track intervals, the Jimmy usually sends me around the track first, so that there isn't a huge lag time between when the others are done and I finish.


For most of my life I was completely sedentary. Now I feel lazy for 'only' running 10 or so miles in a week! This week, for instance, I was scheduled to do a 10 mile run one morning before work (I have to be at work at 7:10) and I thought, nuh-uh. Don't feel like it. I'll do it later. Then that afternoon and evening, it rained like hell. I'll admit, I was relieved. Still didn't feel like a run. But even as I was thinking that, I was thinking, I have got to quit being so lazy, or I'll never get faster.

Which got me to thinking about lazy, which technically I'm not, and slow, which I definitely am.

I mean, I feel lazy but then the people I know every day don't exercise hardly at all. I guess i feel "lazy" because I hang out with some pretty intense people. Pirate likes to run (and bike) up mountains, and her Beloved runs a half marathon in about an hour and a half.

And relative to the Sweet Baboo, I'm pretty lathargic when it comes to training. For instance, if he had come in from running, as I did this morning, and discovered he shorted his long run accidentally by nearly 2 miles, he'd go right back out again and do more. Not me. I called it good, and made myself a Recoverite smoothie. It's all about the smoothie, baby.

And, as a result, I'm slow. Of course, it doesn't help that I've got 42 years under my belt of having been consistently rewarded for doing things s-l-o-w-l-y.

I didn't go to college until I was 26, and then I took 5-1/2 years to get my bachelor's degree. However, I've had jobs (mostly math teaching) fall at my feet ever since.

I met Sweet Baboo later in life than others meet their true love. But there's nothing or nobody I'd rather have with me if I were marooned forever on a deserted island.

And, despite an average 5K run speed over 10 minutes per mile, and an average bike speed in the 14-ish mph range, I've finished almost every single triathlon I've ever tried, including an Ironman. I've done over 30 of them in two years, and I've never had an injury, no a muscle spasms, and just one tiny toe blister that I disovered two days after Ironman Louisville.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this...

It just seems to me, that if I were supposed to be faster, I wouldn't be having this good a time, y'know? I wouldn't feel this healthy. Right now, my slow run, between 10k and 10 miles, is around a 12 minute mile. Above that, it's between 13:30 and 14:30. My five K time is still over 10 minutes.

Sometimes I think of the benefits of fast and envy faster people: they get done before it's really hot, spend less time working hard, and it's a bit easier. There's still pizza left at the finish line because the faster triathletes and their families haven't eaten it all yet. The photographers are still there.

Then again, I go to the local Wall-wart and compare myself to the general population and feel better. Many Americans can't pass a general fitness test, but I can run down most 8th graders. While others are waiting for the closest parking spot I'm jogging across the parking lot.

And, I was slow at IMLooUHville, but not too slow to finish, y'all.

Lots of things are better slow , such as food, sex...uh, okay, I guess it's just food and sex. (But what else do you want?)

Plus, I notice things during runs that faster folks miss sometimes. The sunflowers at the Oklahoma Redman. The smell of chocolate flower on my long runs up the north diversion channel. That funky smell on the run at the Cotton Country sprint. That mailbox that looks like a fish in the AtomicMan. That one horse that seemed to be looking right at me in Kentucky. The fact that since I'm the last of my friends to be done, I always have a cheering section at the finish line.

But now my month of "sloth" is over. I've run out of excuses: I'm no longer recovering from Ironman LooUHville, my tattoo, or starting back to work. It's time to step it up a bit. Tomorrow I'll do at least a 60 mile ride. I'll go back to swimming next week because the tattoo is nearly fully healed (I seem to heal much faster now than I used to.)

I'll keep working out, and if I get faster, so be it. I'll do a couple weeks of intensity to get back in shape for SOMA. Maybe I'll do SOMA faster this year. Maybe not. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy being slow.

This morning, I did a run without my garmin that I was convinced had to be at least 9 miles. Turned out to be 8.25 (whoops). However, I did it under a 13 minute mile, which was pretty good for me, considering it was hilly. And, I felt FAB. U. LOUS. Beautiful morning, that smelled good and felt good. And I enjoyed it, running as I do, S.L.O.W.L.Y.
...

15 comments:

  1. Healthy and happy -- that's the ticket!

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  2. Great post, I love it!

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  3. I think you and I are very closely matched on the runs.
    You're right - we see things others missed, including the rock star finishes with your entire fan club there. And I always et my picture taken becuase Mike has the camera and he always beats me to the finihs and has time to fetch the camera.
    Nothg wrong with slow and steady. We alwasy beat the folks at Walmart in the ice cream, candy, and donut aisles.
    My favorite thing to do is to moo at the cows as I ride past them. Sometimes they chase me along the fence line - that's pretty cool.

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  4. Oh my - lots of typos there. Sorry.
    **Dyslexics untie**

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  5. It is well known that slow and steady wins the race. Okay - so people like us place really low in the standings but at some level we are the biggest winners because for us this is not natural, not easy and not something we did as kids. WINNERS!

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  6. It's all relative...
    You are meant to do the long stuff, 'cause you can go comfortably, all day long, and all night long (have you ever thought about ultras?)

    It's all about enjoying being in the moment.

    And I would say you are doing that, just fine.

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  7. Excellent post :) It's so easy to feel slow and lazy and defensive when surrounded by skinny fast keensters. But being fit and doing races is so much fun!

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  8. You are not lazy. And I wish folks would stop talking about slow as if it's a bad thing. This morning I wish I had brought my camera with my; it was a BEAUTIFUL morning to run.

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  9. Dangit, you saw me at Walmart!

    Seriously, my sister told me last week she would be happy just to be able to walk a full mile. You've accomplished so much, and are still pushing yourself. And, I'm jealous that you can run all those hills and do "turbo bricks" with no injuries...something would be sprained, strained, or stressed in my body!

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  10. oh, boy, bless you for this post! As much as I keep trying to remind myself that pace doesn't matter, and that my being slower than a lot of other folks out on the trails doesn't mean that I'm not working as hard, it's still difficult sometimes to think of it in a positive light. Thanks for such a great write-up reminding us of all the good things about being slow. :)

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  11. I like people who are like me, we see things so many others miss!!Life IS good

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  12. Yup-when you think a 10 mile run is dogging it, time to redefine yourself! Your "sloth month"-it cracks me up!

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  13. I wonder about the people at Walmart--I think I'm one of them in spirit but somehow have had the undeserved blessing of discovering something else.

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  14. I love this post! I have come to terms with my slowness, accepted that I just ain't going to ride or run fast. I even walk slow. But I'm healthy and strong and I was the only one that saw the alpacas grazing behind the giant sunflowers!

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  15. You have echoed my thoughts exactly. Much better to be able to stop and smell the flowers in whatever you're doing than have the world go by in a blur.

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