My First Rule

Tiny, glittering snowflakes swirled gently in the air around me as I headed to the beach road this morning.  Pebble Beach was softly lit by a sun whose light was diffused behind rich, complex cloud layers.   Clouds rested upon each other in an orgy of grays.  The largest bank of deep purple rolled along the horizon and upward, as if a child had taken a crayon and drawn wide circles in a hurry to finish a picture before the end of the day school bell.  Heather-ed purple settled on top of the deep purple, blending into bluish-lavender mid-sky, then pale gold as they swirled closer to the sun.   The clouds became lighter and fluffier as they rose to meet the light.  The water was silvery, sparkling, calm.  The tide was low.   The dark, wet rocks along the shoreline drew a stark, intense contrast, making me want to return with my paint box and a fresh canvas to try to capture the color and dark sweetness of the moment.

This morning’s recovery run from yesterday’s  long 9 miles was challenging.  I had a hard time taking it easy.  No part of me hurt, and my legs kept taking over, paying no attention to my mind telling them to slow down.  I let go of what I was supposed to do and I stopped worrying about my pace.  I  just let the run happen.  Instead, I spent some time thinking about what rules I might design around fitness.

Physical fitness is a group of characteristics a person achieves/possesses related to physical activity.  The main components of fitness are: cardio-respiratory (aerobic), muscle endurance, muscle strength, flexibility, and body composition.  In order to achieve physical fitness, a person must choose to achieve it.  After making that decision,  a person must search out their path for their journey to fitness. The path is important because it is the road to a new way of life.  Who wants to clamber onto a path where they don’t like the scenery?  Who wants to start a journey on a path that is rocky and scattered with boulders and footfalls?  A person has to choose a path that is appealing to them and is, for the most part, smooth, if not always easy.  Each time a person reaches a fork in their path, they must continue to choose, and recognize that they have the power to backtrack and choose again as many times as they need to keep moving forward toward their goals.

A person has to like what they do to achieve fitness. They have to enjoy the new path they have chosen.   That’s the first rule.  Pick something you like.  It’s hard for a person to choose a new path, but it’s impossible to stay on it if they don’t like it.  For example:   for me, I can’t imagine packing a bag, getting into my car, and driving to a gym with a pool.  Once there, the effort to change into a swimsuit, get wet!!!, and swim seems completely daunting.  I can say for certain right this second that I will not consistently swim in a chlorinated public pool 3-5 times per week.  Someone else might love to swim.   It would be effortless to go to the gym every day.   They can feel the warm water rush against their skin, feel their body buoyed up in the water,  and experience the power in their arms and legs as they swim lap after lap, their breath coming as easily as mine does when I run.  That is their path.  Sure, I might go to a gym and use weight machines some time, or attend a kick-boxing class.  And yoga classes are challenging and fun, especially when the instructor is good.  I know what I enjoy.  I have tried many fitness paths, and have found what I love the best.

I like to dress in running clothes right when I get up in the morning.  I like to walk out of my front door, down my front walk, take a look at the ocean, and begin to trot toward it.  As I close the gap between my house and the shore, I speed up, continually glancing to the sea and breath in the fresh, salt air.  When the weather is warm, I love to run and then ride my bike as a cool down.  I feel the wind in my hair through my helmet, the sweat cooling off of my skin, and the speed I create as my legs pedal faster and faster.  I like my Hula Hoop.  I like my exercise ball, and the privacy of my own living room as I do core and strength training.  I love gentle Svaroopa yoga and the openings it unfolds in my tight muscles, the deep stretches in my lower back,  cervical spine and hip flexors.  I adore the power I feel and see reflected when I do drop sets with free weights in front of a big mirror, with loud hip-hop music thumping big speakers in the corner of the room.

This is my path.  Have you found yours?  If you haven’t, it’s time you did.  My first rule:  pick something you like.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Fitness Rules, Run notes that run into life, Tips, Training

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One Comment on “My First Rule”

  1. Craig Says:

    I loved your first paragraph in this post. Very visual.

    I guess I am still looking for my own personal fitness path. I too hate that recumbent bike. Can’t wait for the weather to break so I can get on the real bike. Maybe I will invest in an indoor bike stand for riding my outdoor bike indoors.


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