Monday, February 13, 2012

Heart Week (knock-knock)

“But who can say what's best? That's why you need to grab whatever chance you have of happiness where you find it, and not worry about other people too much. My experience tells me that we get no more than two or three such chances in a life time, and if we let them go, we regret it for the rest of our lives.”

Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Heart week continues. We again talked this morning about the complexities and dynamics that envelop our improvement. Specifically, the need for adequate rest and recovery between sessions. Let us be brutally frank, we are not kids anymore. The stopwatch we once used to measure recovery has been replaced by a calendar. It takes time. It is the flip side of the same coin, heads the work phase and tails the rest. If your yang outdoes the yin, you are out of balance. What was once sweet now tastes sour and your body knows this, valiantly trying to deal with the imbalance as best it can. Asking for more oxygenated blood, more cooling additives, additional muscle fiber, hyper extension of joints and ligaments, endorphin, dopamine, testosterone, adrenaline and cortisone. With that mix the result 99 times of 100 is injury, aka, your bodies' way of telling you to slow down when your brain is busy with mathematics, economics or sociology. The Cliff Notes version looks look this:


And there is faith involved. We all have red letter dates on that timing calendar. We want to be ready. That is why we spend so much of our precious time in training. You have to believe that the recovery phase is actually when the miracles take place. That is when you get stronger. The work, the struggle, the cellular breakdown as a result of intensity, duration, frequency or volume is the easy part. The hard work is allowing your efforts to positively manifest as a better, faster, stronger, healthier and fitter you as the result of the rest phase. And I realize that this runs counter to our beliefs that more is better. It isn't. Everyone who has ever seriously made the commitment to improve, to get faster, lighter, more efficient, last longer, achieve, has come face to face with this fact. It is kind of a paradoxical knock-knock joke. You have to push. You have to work. You have to get outside your comfort zone and you have to hurt some. But when you get to that door, exhausted, beat-up, weary from the road, when the voice inside asks, 'Who's there?', you need to answer correctly.

Take a day. Get a massage. Walk in the park. Pamper yourself. Do nothing. Meditate. Go to a movie. Have a pizza. Have a beer with your pizza. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, do all of the above with your lover. Celebrate the happiness we have created. Share it. Pass it along. Post it.

Experience this happiness in the uniqueness of the miraculous moment in which we find ourselves together. Work hard, rest and recover, find the balance by listening. Like the coin, one side is art, the other science.

It's kinda like the beer example. I heart beer, but sometimes I abstain. This, for several reasons. I can guarantee that the next ale I quaff in two weeks will taste mighty fine. My faith in the training process predicts that my next race will be of high quality.

'That balance thing, who?'

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