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Running On Tip Toes

Posted Jan 11 2009 5:40pm
One of the unique things about blogging is that it opens your eyes . Just like walking around with a camera makes you see things differently, walking through life looking for something to write about makes you notice your surroundings and think about them--although hopefully not too much. Friday, I saw something that just bumped around in my mind all weekend, through the long ride, through my long run, and into Sunday afternoon.

I went to the pool on Friday evening to grab a swim. Every lane outside was filled with kids from The Woodlands Swim Team doing their workout. The huge, olympic-size pool looked like it was filled with pirahna, the water churning like an angry sea. So, I took the next best alternative available and prepared to drop into the indoor, 25 yard pool.

As I was doing so, preparing to do a workout that no one was making me do for a race I had no hope of winning, I noticed two kids, probably 14 years of age and probably miscreants from the outdoor squad, who were getting out of the pool, one making the happy observation to the other, "no more practice 'til next week!" Something made me file that away in my brain.

A few minutes later, as I was completing a pull set, I noticed little kiddos, about 5 or 6 years of age, beginning to arrive. These kids weren't dragging into practice, nor would they have been happy with an announcement that practice was canceled. They were practically levitating as they came into the natatorium. They were doing what little kids do--running on tippy toes from the shear excitement and joy. Again, something made me file that image away in my brain.

Then, through the weekend, I noticed myself thinking about that contrast. I don't want to be a glum 14 year old. I want to be the five year old swimmers. How can I avoid the former, and get more of the latter in my life?

Obviously, I've discovered some tip toe moments in triathlon and the friendships is brings. It regularly helps me avoid the tyranny of the inevitably average middle age. In part, that is why I love it so. But I want to "run on tip toes" more consistently in triathlon and in everything else as well. I want to run through all of life on tip toes, no matter how many people tell me to "walk" on deck, and I want to do that until I can't walk at all.

Along the way, I feel like I ought to serve as a herald to all my younger friends:

" The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them." (Henry David Thoreau, Journal (July 14, 1852))

All you kiddos out there--you know who you are--all my twenty-something friends whom I admire and envy so much it probably irritates each of you to no end. Don't settle. Woodsheds suck. Run on tip toes. Fall. Then run some more. Collapse into bed every night and sleep like a 5 year old who played all day, then get up and do it again. Every day. Without fail. Until you don't wake up any more.
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