Writing Practice – 9/8/2018 – a Letter

Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen in a long time…

Dear ________,

I’m sorry that I haven’t written in, gosh, probably 25 years, almost. The last time was when we were back in high school. And I do apologize – I’ve forgotten your name. Somehow. But I haven’t forgotten that you lived in Ames, Iowa. I thought it was cute, back then, like I thought you were cute.

Do you remember, we met on separate Choir trips to the same place? Must have been Chicago – that’s the only trip my choir ever went on. I was Treasurer of the club that year, so I spent more time counting checks than I did counting eighth notes. But that was okay – I learned quickly and sang well, so I could afford to miss rehearsals.

I would ask you how you have been, but I realize that’s a very bland, very “standard” question. I want to ask what has made you happy? What made you cry? Have you ever seen a sunset, all by yourself, standing or sitting at the top of a mountain you just climbed? What makes you laugh?

I would tell you about my life, but there’s too much. Facts aren’t that interesting, really. I know you want the stories – I want to tell them. Like how I ended up on the floor in my underwear at 2 am, crying and praying and dripping snot down my cheeks onto my chest. Or how I put half a dozen holes in the walls. Or how I almost passed out when I fell, once, and that shook me up enough to make some more drastic changes. You want to know my successes and failures. You want to know what I’m proud of and what I regret.

You know what? I’m proud of the fact that I can park 2 cars in my 2-car garage. It may seem like something people don’t often brag about, but I’m really happy I can do that.

You know what I regret? Not keeping in touch with people. Not just you – Andy, Andrew, Nathan, my brother for a while. I want to be a better friend. I want to support my friends in their journeys. I want them to support me. I don’t want to blow away like an ash from a campfire, tossed up into the wind, tumbled along without intention, without purpose, without goals that, when I achieve them, will bring a measure of satisfaction for a job well done.

I want to be happy. And I want others to be happy, too There is enough in this world for us all to achieve what we want. Why hoard? Why restrict? Give. Even if it is not returned to you, that happiness, that love, that community, give anyway. Because it is the right thing to do. If it comes back, then give again. And if it does not, well, then, you will have done the right thing, and that is most important.

Please, do write back. Maybe then I will remember your name. 🙂

Sincerely,

SJ

Anatomy of a Workout

Plan:

Run up a hill, walk down, 10 times. In other words:

  1. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  2. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  3. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  4. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  5. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  6. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  7. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  8. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  9. Run up a hill. Walk down it.
  10. Run up a hill. Walk down it.

 

Actual:

0.  Jog to top of the hill. Walk down it. This is my “warm up”. Who am I kidding, I don’t “warm up”.

1.  Start watch. Run up the hill. Stop watch. 1:06. Walk down.

2.  Start watch. Run up the hill. Stop watch. 1:18. Walk down. Notice pain in my knee. That’s different.

3.  Start watch. Start running up the hill. Start cursing. Start feeling the pain. Pass by a bench. Stop running. Stop watch. 1:01. I’m not at the top of the hill. Think, Is this where it ends? Decide, Nope. Walk to the top of the hill. Another 0:46. Walk down. Think about quitting. Think about giving up. Think about just saying fuck it to fitness, to losing weight. To my goals. Why did I Nope?

Think about how much I’ve invested in my life to things like this. Think about elementary school, when my dad made me go running because I was chubby. Think about high school, when I did it on my own so I could lose weight for wrestling. Think about college, when I got up at 4:30 a.m. to ride in a bus for an hour to row for an hour to ride back in a bus for an hour to then go to class. Think about my twenties and running 13.1 miles the very first time. The tenth time. The twentieth time. Think about my thirties and completing triathlons. Think about my forties, and finishing a 69 mile bicycle ride.

Think about the future, when I want to complete an Ironman triathlon. Think about my fifties, and hiking the Appalachian Trail, the Ozark Trail, the Pacific Coast Trail. Think about my sixties, and taking a year-long bicycle ride around the country. Think about giving all those up, just because I can’t get to the top of a stupid hill a few times on a Friday morning? Nope.

4. Start watch. Run up the hill. Stop watch. 1:36. Walk down the hill. Notice the pain in my knee is gone. The pain in my feet is still there. It’s always there.

5. Start watch. Run up the hill. Stop watch. 1:23. Walk down the hill. Get a drink of water.

6. Start watch. Run up the hill. Pass the bench at 1:00, start walking. Get to the top of the hill. Stop watch. 1:58. Walk down the hill.

7. Start watch. Run up the hill. Pass the bench, start walking at 1:06. Get to the top of the hill. Stop watch. 1:44. Walk down the hill.

Think, Only three more. I can do this. I hate this.

8. Start watch. Run up the hill. Swear a lot. Run almost the whole way. Stop watch. 1:25. Walk down the hill.

9.  Start watch. Run up the hill. Swear. Run the whole damn way. Stop watch. 1:32. Walk down the hill. Get a drink of water.

10. Start watch. Run up the hill. 1:23. Lay on the ground. Wave to the guy sitting on his porch. Walk home.

Set a goal that some day I’m going to run all 10 reps under 1:06. When I do, it will be time to find a new hill.