speed vs. endurance

In thoughts on me on January 19, 2010 at 4:42 am

there are two types of people in this world.  people who are inclined to speed, and people who are inclined to endurance.

today the weather was perfect and, to match, i did not have to work.

when you live in boone, you don’t have 65° days in january.  or february.  or march.   maybe some in april, but until then, you don’t even let yourself hope for warm days.  you endure the coldest of colds, the negative degree days and nights, the snows that don’t cancel classes.  and after a while, you begin to like that.  you get a real, mountain winter.  and that’s what i’ve had the past 3 winters.

so when i walked outside yesterday and the air was warm and sticky (in true raleigh fashion) with a light breeze, i thought to myself how much i have missed this kind of winter.  i get to watch raleigh come to life in dogwoods and dandelions, celebrate easter in a sundress, and fall into the thick, sticky summer aloud with birds and crickets.  it is good to be here again.

today was just the same, minus the humidity, plus more breeze. i donned my tennis shoes and baseball cap, my running shorts and an old tee, and decided to explore the neighborhood.  i can feel a vivid difference in my body and my lungs on days when i haven’t exercised in a while versus days when i’ve been exercising, even little bits, days before.  my chest was burning, constricted, but it felt good.  all the jiglier parts of me i let jiggle as needed, imagining fat cells blasting and my heart getting stronger.

i am great at speed.  terrible at endurance.

as a kid i remember racing in the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids, taking great pride in beating the boys at all of the sprint matches.  and then at school, i absolutely loathed the timed mile.  it was torture to me.  i walked most of the way just to spite my androgynous p.e. teacher.

i start projects with great intensity and vision, and gradually lose speed until their eventual completion.  i get very hopeful about relationships, but haven’t let one last more than 4 months.

intentionality.  it makes me realize how out-of-shape i am in so many areas.

when i’m out of shape, out of the practice, my first day of running is accompanied with unattractive heaving and gasping, along with the narcissistic checking of my watch to see how many minutes i’ve lasted.

my friend catherine and i are getting ready to go to thailand and cambodia this friday.  our trip is going to be special.  i, along with cat and our families and friends, have been praying in preparation.  i’ve been praying hard and praying often.  praying intentionally.  i realized how out of shape i am.

i live a pretty healthy life and it doesn’t take me a great deal of intentionality. but when i do something really intentional, like going for a run, i realize how deficient my previous efforts were.  my spiritual life has mirrored that.  it’s been “pretty healthy,” with little intentionality.  the pretty healthy part is a blessing and a curse, coming from years of practice in spirituality served with a whopping side of comfortable.  what i thought was intentional was a pretty pathetic try when i started practicing a daily routine of spiritual running.  i feel  myself leaning over, hands on knees, gasping for breath – but knowing it is making my heart stronger.

i, with so many others, may  not be the attentive-to-detail type A.  i am the big-picture thinker, the dreamer, the inspired, the artistic.  i accept this, because we should all love the suits in which we are naturally strong and ept.  we must know they’re not only our greatest strengths but can also be our biggest weaknesses, so let’s sway them in the way of strength.  it takes training.  i want to train myself in the way of endurance, making my speed not only strong but balanced, reliable, healthy, and sustainable.


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