Friday, August 23, 2013


This morning was a hill work out.  The hill we run is described at the November Project this way: "Gradient of the incline varies from approximately 7-8% during the first third of the hill and goes up to 16-17% in the last quarter of the piece."

It's just under a 1/2 mile of fresh hell early on in the morning when your legs (and body) aren't quite awake and the standard set is 5 laps going down and up the hill - after you've gone up it to get to the starting point at the top... so I guess you can call it 5.5 laps.

Today there were some chalk drawings on the sidewalk from local kids of kites and unicorns and cakes and things.  It made me smile as I headed down.

Me, I'm good with three laps right about now because I'm pretty much a wuss. After this morning, I realize I just don't push myself enough.  I added a little this morning in terms of running all the way down and slingshotting around the turn and up the hill to the first phone pole before walking up the hill. Then I started running when I hit the part where it begins to level off near the summit to the crosswalk and slingshot back around down the hill.  But is it enough?


This morning, along with the hill repeats, we had an additional chore: 5 burpees and 5 wall jumps between hill rounds.  I don't really do burpees, my knees have a hard time with them and I'm trying to build up to them so I blew them off.  Instead of wall jumps, I stepped up on the wall and stepped down.
As I was running down the hill, I listened to Nike tell me my average time was dropping.  So that 18 minute/mile mark for walking up and running down the hill is now just over 17 minutes and that included a stop at the top.  But I had to wonder, could I do more?

Perhaps it was today's sound track that had me thinking.  I was listening to Some Nights by the band Fun. - the guys who do the song "Carry On" and "We are Young."  The first time I heard the album, I realized the catchy music hid the story of someone who is drunk, lost and alone fumbling through a really bad night.  But today I realized within that dark night crawl is a lot of determination and inspiration while trying to answer the question "What do I stand for?"

They talk of carrying each other through - strangers and friends, no matter how temporary - those moments when you're lost.  The line that kept me thinking: may your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.

This summer I have been lost.  It's watching the transitions of life from when my kids are now old enough to take care of themselves and my parents are old enough to not be able to take care of themselves any more.  It's supposed to be "my time" (according to all those is the new books and articles).  Here I am trying to get through grad school so I can have my own classroom to try and let kids know the test doesn't define them and it's OK to be the weird kid because we're probably the happiest even if we question that fact the most.  Yet I'm still torn between my parents and my kids.  It's called the sandwich generation, I call it frustration.

Hell, I'm in my 50's and I'm getting my fat ass out the door to walk up a freaking hill with the rising of the sun with kids literally half my age.  I need to own that.  But it's also time to raise the bar for myself a bit.  Time to push for that one more rep - the 4th hill, the next few sections of Harvard Stadium, being able to confidently do a burpee.  It's all good and it's all getting better.

In the end, it's a matter of just being able to carry on knowing it gets better.

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