Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tilting At Windmills

As the earth orbits around the sun, it tilts on its axis. One of the earth’s hemispheres is always closer to the sun than the other, and we get seasons as a result.

October in the Northern Hemisphere is the product of a severe tilt away from the sun, and it only gets worse from here.

This morning, I rode my bike—or Sam’s father’s bike, if you want to be technical—down to the parking garage to retrieve her Ford Focus. It was cold like a penguin’s asshole. I wore a layer of thermal underwear beneath my workout gear, making the ride slightly more tolerable.

There are no distractions at 6 o’clock on Sunday morning. People don’t beep at you, and the constant fear of being run off the road by an over-zealous soccer mom is eliminated. It’s a nice break from the fight-or-flight vigilance usually induced by Boston traffic.

My tires hummed softly against the pavement as I coasted down Harvard Avenue, leaving me with my thoughts. Always the deep thinker, I wondered if anyone would be brave enough to endure the near-freezing temperatures of Jamaica Pond at sunrise.

I would know shortly.

After jamming the bike into the trunk and returning home for coffee, I made my way down Commonwealth Avenue to Boston College. Sam stumbled to the car, her eyes still blurry with the fog of sleep.

We jetted over to the Pond, arriving a half-hour too early to do anything worthwhile. I practiced my handstands as we waited, slamming onto my back in the cold grass several times. Sam laughed, documenting my lack of coordination with a few poorly exposed pictures.

The cavalry arrived at 7:53. Always the Boy Scout, Thor carried his own thirty-pound dumbbells across the Arborway, Ilene at his side. It was time to rock.

I designed the workout as pure torture—350 reps for time, every exercise as difficult and metabolically demanding as the one before it. I planned on watching my Charges crank it out, snapping pictures in the cold morning air. That didn’t work out so well—Ilene said two words, and I was into the fray.

Fifty reps of each for time:

One-Arm Split Jerks
Weighted Squats
One-Arm Snatches
Weighted Burpees

My body temperature defied my outerwear as we slogged through, demanding that I drop layer after layer to prevent overheating. The cleans hit me hard, allowing only eight or nine reps before I dumped the dumbbells. Clean, drop, lift, repeat.

At some point during long workouts, pain ceases to be an issue. You continue, heedless of the work in front of you or the work already done. You move onward like a mountaineer to the summit, each small step bringing you closer to the end.

A half hour after we started, the last rep was complete. Sam, Ilene, and I roared for Thor as he pushed through his last burpees, ignoring the stares of curious onlookers.

At Again Faster, cold weather is not a decent excuse. Of course, neither is fatigue, injury, or chronic disease. We’re a little excitable.

Thanks to a few good friends, we made this week’s workout a hell of a good time. If you stayed in bed, you missed out.

Go faster!


Blogger Jonathan Gilson said...

Way to brave the cold, guys. I'm extremely proud of the effort I saw this morning.

You both embody dedication to fitness, and I appreciate your hard work.

We're going to go all winter long--let's call this one a warm-up.

10/15/2006 06:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Toby said...

Without having anything better to offer, I'm sure Erica would point out that penguin assholes are actually quite snuggly and warm, thanks to their rather exquisite plumage.

Congratulations to you and Sam again on your certification!


10/16/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Gilson said...

Sam pointed out the same guys sure know how to ruin a perfectly fun similie!

10/16/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Toby and congratulations yourself.

Thor and Ilene- you guys rock!


10/16/2006 07:59:00 PM  

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