04 November 2008

Forecast : Wet and Difficult, Too D--- Bad

Light rain this morning. I haul myself to the gym hoping the trainer will cancel the outdoor workout. Yeah right. Might as well try to ban bags of goldfish and Cheerios in the back benches of Utah Valley sacrament meetings.

So we jog half a mile through the wet, me carrying that stupid 10 pound workout ball which, curiously, doesn't seem quite as heavy as it used to. Strange. Trainer sets up the orange cones on either end of the field. Rain slightly heavier now. The weather is going to make no difference in the routine. On with the cleats and I am sprinting through soaking wet grass trying to beat my best time without slipping and spraining something. On the last try, I cut nearly a second off best time to date. Reward is an extra minute of stretching and breathing it out before next round.

Toss relays up and back on the field. Crouch and cradle the catches, just like a rugby ball (which feels like a feather compared to this deadweight I'm tossing, but that's the point). The ball is smooth and wet. At least a rugby ball has a grain and some grip. Laterals, grounders. I scoop each one up and toss it back as we run through the rain, trainer moving further and further away with each pass. Why is something so simple so fun?

Back to sprint relays. Ball halfway between orange cones. Sprint to the ball, touch, back, sprint to the cone on the far side, halfway back, touch, sprint all the way home. Six times. If I don't beat him the last time I have to do another one. Glad I have cleats on. He doesn't, and slips on the last turnaround. I beat him. Maybe he let me win. Who cares, I'll take it.

By now the rain is discernible drops, not the light mist it was when we arrived. Too bad. More lateral tosses up and down the field, when we stop he is at least 15 yards away. Ever try to toss a slippery 10 pound bowling ball into the air at a target 15 yards away, when you're already running out of steam?

Last drill. I'm sitting on the soaking wet grass, rain in my face, knees up, feet flat. Trainer stands five feet away and tosses me that slippery, heavy ball. Onto my back with it over my head, touch it to the grass behind me, crunch and sit up, push/throw straight back at him. He moves further away each time. I do thirty of these. Not willingly. I am thinking of increasingly colorful strings of profanity to let loose when this is done. On the last throw, he is at least 10 feet away. I aim straight for his chest, and mean it. He catches it and laughs. He knows what I just did.

I change back to running shoes for the half-mile back to the gym. By now it is seriously raining. A guy from Melbourne Australia walks by in wetsuit, board under his arm. “Beautiful day!” he says. And I realize he's right. I just got pushed close to my limits, and had to stretch to get where I needed to be. I hated it at the time but now I'm glad. Working up a sweat in the rain feels good. Muscles growing stronger feels good. Breathing feels good. Being alive feels great. Who cares about the rain.

On the jog back to the gym, trainer says he knows I was hoping for a little slack this morning and he had no intention of giving it to me. I tell him thanks, I'm glad he did the right thing, since chances are that sometime I will play at least one match in weather just like this. But at least it won't be with a 10 bound bowling ball.

Life lesson reminder to self: there will be times when you get pushed to the limit and are barely hanging on, but you'll be glad afterward that you toughed it out. You'll be glad someone demanded that you rise to the occasion, and glad they were there to help you out. Try to be that person for somebody else once in a while. What goes around comes around.


Bravone said...

Are you sure you haven't seen "Forever Strong?"

Alan said...

No, it came and went in theatres here so fast that I didn't get there in time. Yeah, I was major disappointed. But will definitely buy the DVD. Why, does this sound like the movie?

Bravone said...

Like reading from the script!

Mattisimo said...

Wow, way to stay determined and push through! Very true that we just need to push through the thicket of things and you'll feel better once the tough stuff is over. great blog!