Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chasing the Chill

Tundra cotton on a rainy day last week...

I learned a long time ago that newspaper stuffed into soaking wet running shoes helps them to dry out faster. I am hoping that 22 hours will be long enough.

Today was day three of cross country season, and even though it has rained every day, today was the pinnacle of sloppiness. It didn’t take more than 100 meters to determine that the fields we were running for our workout were logged with water from days of rain. First it soaked our shoes and socks, then as the workout proceeded it was kicked up in our faces and up our backs—soaking every piece of clothing we were wearing and freckling our faces with mud.

I finished practice with waterlogged shoes, sore legs, and a bruise on my calf the shape and size of a small carrot. I don’t remember where I got it (nothing has changed since I was a child, apparently), but it is very sensitive to both touch and movement.

Also needed in 22 (well, now 18 hours)? A fully-functional left calf muscle, to help me climb a mountain during tomorrow’s practice.

There’s no question that the soreness I gather from the first week of practice lingers longer than it did when I was in high school, but the satisfaction of completing punishing runs and workouts is just as fulfilling as it was at fifteen. Challenging and testing my body physically is one thing that I will always have an odd attraction to, even if it leaves me staggering around slightly hunched over and not always stable in step in the evening and days that follow.

It has been a quick adjustment back into society these past three days, with details that have been conveniently out of sight needing to be attended to: a large stack of mail, an empty refrigerator, plans for a quickly approaching school year. Yet the rhythm of daily workouts, which will quickly be joined by daily teaching, is welcome after two weeks in the middle of nowhere with hours to walk the tundra, to bake bread, and to read leisurely to the sound of rain on the windows.

Vacations, as wonderful as they are, are only enjoyable because of the substance of life there is to return to. This trip, this summer, has left me rested and ready to rejoin the workforce, the schedule, hours that exhaust and fulfill simultaneously.

When my job finds me trying to keep up with teenagers, headed home wet and cold for the third day in a row, and cringing when I try and climb the stairs to my condo, I find myself satisfied and thankful. There are many things I am thankful for tonight: a job that I enjoy, a body that withstands punishing workouts, and a hot cup of tea to chase the chill—at least until tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I love you. I can't believe this summer is almost over and we have barely traded tales. Eliza commands all of my attention from 7-12 and then during her nap, I have a few hours to do laundry, clean bottles, make bottles, pick up the house, etc. before she wakes up and it's time to devote my life to her again. By the time she goes to bed around 7, I'm so wiped out but there's no time to stop because dinner must be made, bottles cleaned again, toys to put away.. agh! I gotta be honest, though... it's a pretty fantastic life with little E! xx