Life is like an interval run

My run yesterday morning began with seven minutes of low-grade torture. It wasn’t like a near-drowning experience at the hands of a CIA operative, but it generally sucked (as in “I repeatedly sucked air into my half-deflated lungs”) and I began planning how to cut my workout short.

I was embarking on what’s normally my favorite interval run, the 7654321 workout which meant six more intervals of running six minutes, five minutes, four minutes, etc.

I toughed through those long seven minutes and walked briskly for three-and-a-half minutes, marveling at the nice weather. For the first time this month, I was able to take it easy for a few minutes without freezing my tush off.

Then I began my six-minute interval and noted how I was still going uphill and now the wind was in my face. Figures, I thought, that my longest intervals are the hardest part of the route. [My route, by the way, was my choice. No one twisted my arm to run uphill. Downhill options exist just a block from my house. I was the idiot who chose to do it the hard way.]

Ah, then came a three-minute interlude of brisk walking. Good.

The end of my five-minute interval  ended at exactly the highest point in my route. The rest of the way was downhill I noted as I surveyed the village below. And the wind was at my back.

And then I began to realize my morning run was a metaphor for my life so far.

At 48, I’ve finally figured out that choosing the easy way is easier. [Took 48 years for that brilliant revelation. Every single decade, I look back at my 10-years-younger self and think, I was such a dope 10 years ago. I’m so much smarter now. Now, at least, I realize my 10-years-older self will still be saying the same thing.]

Those running intervals are getting shorter. And, with a bit of experience and oxygen in my veins, I’m getting faster. And the world seems to be working with me instead of against me.

By the time I got to my three-minute running interval, I literally felt like I was flying. A little bit. My pace had picked up. I was running downhill. The wind was carrying me along instead of spewing in my face. I was floating for a millisecond on every step, gaining an extra inch with every stride. I was airborne!

That’s how my life is some days. Buoyant. I’m married to an amazing man of big adventures. I am doing good, important, creative work. My car functions, the economy is improving, and I’ve avoided having to shop at the local detestable supermarket for more than a year. Hey, I’m within five pounds of my ideal weight. The small things count in the big picture. I’m experiencing a runner’s high of life right now.

My two-minute and one-minute running intervals quite literally flew by. Poof! My morning workout was done.

Not so bad for a run that had me so demoralized in the beginning that I considered not finishing it.

Kinda like life.

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