Too far/not far enough

Posted: October 2, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What’s you’re reading was written on a Friday night just after 10 p.m. Just got home from the gym. Only one other member can say that. It was a decent workout, but not great. The ball of my right foot is starting to get sore, finally giving in due to increased miles.

This will be my way out.

See, renowned ultra-marathoner Steve Jurek is in Sioux Falls promoting his latest book, and as part of the stop he has invited the public to join him on a leisurely Saturday morning run. This practice of elite athletes allowing the masses to follow in their footsteps is a recently new phenomenon (at least as far as I’m aware), and one that I’m in favor of. Lance Armstrong did something similar during a stop here last year, letting folks join him on a bike ride. That’s like having an open invite to, say, play catch with Alex Rodriquez. (I would have used the Michael Jordan analogy, but decided to go with A-Rod given that he and Lance may or may not have a pharmaceutical kinship, if you catch my drift.)

TV passed up the chance to run with this guy.

But I’m pretty sure I’m going to chump out – and, yes, those are the right words, at least in my mind. There’s no real reason not to go, not to embrace this unique life opportunity and maybe even write about it. It’s just that I’m anticipating being tired (the narcolepsy has been on high alert lately) and I have to cover a college football game in the evening. I’d be better off sleeping or spending time with my (pregnant) wife and kids.

Still, I’ll beat myself up for not going, accuse myself of being lazy. This is what I do; this is (probably) what most of us do. Some things just have to get done: Feed the kids, balance the checkbook, go to work. That’s easy in that there’s no decision required.

What I find more difficult and more interesting are the sort of personal-challenge decisions we all have to make. I’m not talking about whether to go meet the guys for a beer; I mean stuff that’s good for you – getting in a workout when you don’t feel like it, volunteering, maybe checking out an art exhibit that’s in town for a limited time.

I find myself cutting little deals with … myself. (Very Austin Powers, right?) Like tonight: I didn’t burn any more calories or build any more muscle that normal, but I feel better about the effort because it came on a gorgeous Friday night when I could have been watching football or drinking a beer or sleeping – that’s what pretty much everyone else that belongs to my gym was doing. Therefore, I feel like I gained on the field. Stupid, right? It’s like I’m living out a high school t-shirt slogan: “Our blood, our sweat, your tears.”

That’s hogwash, probably. There’s a fine line between going hard and running yourself ragged, and other opportunities may arise out of missed opportunities. (Like, if you skip a social event to stay at home and veg on the couch and wind up stumbling upon your all-time favorite movie on cable.) I like to think that I’ve got decent self discipline, something that was passed along by my parents and grandparents. Yet I’m not the kind to be able to, say, eat only grilled chicken and vegetables. Why? I’d like to say, it’s because balance is healthier than extremism. But I don’t completely buy that. Frankly, it’s just as likely that I’m pretty committed just not totally committed. Only sometimes, I’m OK with that.

The idea that we’re working when the competition is sleeping is romantic. It’s validating, creates the belief that we don’t lack for effort. It can also be a slippery slope to martyrdom, if you start hanging your purported extra efforts over the heads of others. And by you I mean me. I hate when I do that, even if it’s not aloud.

On Sunday, more coolness bypassed: Minneapolis-based rapper Astronautalis was in town for a show. I missed it, instead putting the kids to bed, doing some writing and kicking out five miles on the treadmill while watching “Boardwalk Empire.” (Thanks, HBO Go.) Afterward, I didn’t have a beer. Why? Because skipping a cool concert in favor of running was arguably a healthy decision, and I didn’t want to offset that by tipping back some empty calories.

Ideally, I would have done all of it: put the kids to bed, hit the show, tread the mill and had a beer. Hopefully, there’s some consolation in that.

Here’s to staying hungry and curious, to forcing yourself to make difficult decisions about how to spend your precious disposable time.

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