Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I choose not to swim-bike-run

There is a triathlon in beautiful Lake Placid in September.

But I am not competing in a triathlon. Not this year.

And it's not because a dude died over the weekend while swimming in a jellyfish-infested section of the Hudson during the New York Triathlon. Even though, as it turns out, that's not what killed him.

It's because I done done it.

I fell on my face within the first ten seconds of last year's Bear Mountain tri---

and got a severe asthma attack that lasted 2 days and I called upon my dead father for help during the biking portion. But I finished. The below pic shows a compatriot, seeing me bleeding and gasping, running alongside me, urging me to go go go. And then she was off.

Came in third in my age group. Got a medal.

I proved to the self that the self could finish.

Not only finish, but finish in what Marsalis in "Pulp Fiction" said to Zed---"Mr. Soon-to-be-livin'-the-rest-of-his-short-ass-life-in-agonizing-pain".

I don't need to do it again. Not never---just not this year. Instead, I am biking 6 miles to Lasker pool in Central Park three times a week, swimming 10 or so laps, biking back home and being at my desk by 9 AM. As work wraps in the early evening, after I see to my music, I look at what further short exercises can be done.

And I've been joined here and there at the pool by a colleague, which is delightful. I don't work as hard when accompanied, but I like that someone says I am motivating them. "If you show up," she says, "I'll show up."

So what goal do I aim for, in absence of a tri?

I'm now exploring that long-neglected area of the Max body---the midsection.

Like an E.Q.---y'got your highs, midrange and bass. All these years, I've been adjusting the treble and bass and neglecting the mids.

I had done maybe 10 crunches my whole life. The belly was to be avoided---just too painful. I thought "Weights-running-biking-swimming means the abs will take care of themselves."


So---for the last three weaks, I have been attending "ab blast" classes at my gym. Last night was my third. ("Weaks" isn't a typo.)

I don't have the naturally lean body of my two older brothers nor my mother. I have a body which, like my crazy hair, C
ommunism or fungus, must be contained, addressed, seen to, kept an eye on. It is also a body which has given me almost no trouble at all my entire life. It is, in essence, a perfect body.

It's taken me a long time to realize this.

It's got allergies, it's got asthma, it isn't very long, its nose is a little smashed, its eyes a little small. Its right eye doesn't see in total focus.

It's also got a high tolerance for pain and heat, its ears have perfect pitch, it's strong, and it's got enough energy to accomplish whatever I ask of it.

I'll miss it when it's gone, but until then, I am seeing to its needs. If not me, who?

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