Saturday, June 12, 2010

back up the mountain

ugh. i am so out of shape it's unbelievable. my 2-3 week bout of illness, whatever it was, has really set me back. a lot. i'm definitely not feeling like an endurance athlete right now.

i'm at the point of feeling healthy again, but whatever fitness i had seems to have vanished into the aether. workouts that just a few months ago i would have considered easy, or not even sufficient to qualify as workouts, now seem brutal. i'm suffering just to make it through 5-mile runs and 1-mile swims. don't even ask about the bike rides. and 2-a-days are out of the question--i'm feeling exhausted just to get through 1.

i'm kind of shocked at where i am. disturbed, actually. with a mix of emotions comprised of varying degrees of disappointment, frustration, shock, wonder, confusion, and shame. in some part with my current state, but more so with my current state in comparison to where i was. and not just because i've been here before, but especially because i have been here before...because i know enough to know what this means:

i'm going back up the mountain.

that's what my friends and i call it. back up the mountain. because the heights of performance require a base of fitness, and the higher the heights that is desired the bigger the base that is needed to reach them. thus, in order for you to reach the highest heights you will need a mountain of fitness to get you there. which means that the path of fitness is a climb. a long, arduous, methodical, constant, interminable, solitary climb.

part of me dreads this. because i know what it entails: work, and lots of it. physically, mentally, spiritually. blood and sweat and sinew and strain and calories and commitment and concentration and diligence and discipline and drive and motivation and miles and miles and miles and miles and hours and hours and hours and hours. and it's not fun. and it's not easy. and it's not pleasant.

and once you've reached the top of the mountain you realize what it took to get there and you tell yourself that you don't ever want to have to repeat the experience and you promise yourself that you'll never allow yourself to come back down to do it all over again. but of course you do. because it happens. because that's life.

part of me, however, desires this. because i know why it has to be done: to rise. to rise to the heights above. to rise to the highest heights, where the air is clear and the light is bright and the body is whole and the mind is pure and the soul is free to see that the sky is as broad and as vast and as open as the firmament of stars pointing towards the reaches of heaven...where you were meant to be.

and once you've been there you come to know that the journey is what made you and the path is what guided you and the climb is what lifted you and that it all enabled you to transcend the sum of your being to become the full measure of your dreaming so that you understood the full power of what it means to be alive.

and it's then that you tell yourself that you'll do whatever it takes to repeat the experience again, no matter how many times it takes, no matter how far you have to go. even if you're having to do it over all the way from the bottom.

because you've known life. and you want to know it again.

you want to know it forever.

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