Absurd Disciplines

“Uncommon disciplines lead to uncommon results” was today’s quote of the day, a tradition at the beginning of every practice.  If I forget to deliver the quote of the day, the boys remind me before they get on their way with 2 laps around the park we gather in to do what I call the “Kenyan shuffle”-a very slow warm-up jog run together as a team before beginning 25 minutes of dynamic drills with some calisthenics thrown in for good measure.

We’ve been meeting 5 or more days/week for 5 weeks now throughout the summer in preparation for the upcoming Cross Country season.  As I stood in front of the 16 boys in attendance this morning at 6:15 a.m. after they had run their 2 lap “Kenyan shuffle”, I was inspired to expound a bit on today’s quote of the day.

What is discipline?  Many of us have our own ideas about the word, but to me it incorporates a few other “Ds” as well.  Discipline starts, but doesn’t end with decision.  When my alarm went off at 3:25 a.m. this morning, I had a quick decision to make which I now make unthinkingly because I’ve made it so many mornings before.  Do I get up?  Heck YEAH!  Why?  Because I made a decision many years ago that fitness is going to be a way of life for me.  My approach to fitness over the years has taken many forms, but it is a part of every day.

Discipline does the work when we don’t feel like it.  How does this work?  We have learned from William James (“We must…go through the outward movements of those contrary dispositions which we prefer to cultivate.”) and others in psychology that feeling follows action.  We simply can’t wait to take action until we “feel like it.”  I explained to the boys that I wasn’t necessarily “feeling it” this morning as I rolled out of my car into 24 Hour Fitness, but I made a decision.  I made a decision, as I tweeted later,  to live this day in answer to the question: “How much kindness can I spread today?” and it started with the first person I saw exiting the gym as I greeted him with a smile, kind word and a hand shake.  It followed with the same for the young man working the front desk and before I knew it, I was “feeling it”!

Disciplined decision making begins with doing.  Discipline leads to action.  Hopefully that action is built on a vision of who, what, where, why you want to BE.  And this is why we run.  Competitive distance running is one of the greatest metaphors for life.  As yesterday’s quote of the day by Coach Bill Bowerman goes: “Men of Oregon, I invite you to become students of your events.  Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves.  But if you find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team; chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: life.”

For many, the uncommon disciplines that you practice will seem absurd and hard to understand, but then again, so will the results you produce!  Cheers to discipline, decision, and doing!  Have a great day!

Funny How Places Can Be

Good Morning! Day One of our vacation. We are back in our quiet place…the little Red Barn.

A nine hour drive became a twelve hour trip after minor car trouble slowed us in one of our favorite towns–Gainesville, FL. About Gainesville she said, ”it still fits like an old shoe”…Funny how places can be.

We arrived at 2:30 a.m.–about one hour before I usually awake on “work” days.

Awakened naturally without an alarm at 10:30 and was immediately struck with the quiet…Ah…the quiet…slowing down…breathing…leaves rustling…rain drops dropping, drip, drip, dripping.

Mountain Writing

Imagining the droplets rolling off the leaf, leaving the leaf and landing…thud…KERPLUNCK!…that wasn’t a drop dripping…an acorn displacing the wet, soiled leaves beneath him announcing his arrival to unsettle things for just a bit.

Birds chirp, chirp chirping announcing the arrival of another day in the mountains.

A hound hounding in the distance…

Greetings, welcome. Somehow she appeared like she did the first time we met…a sweet mountain pup with a sweet, warm unobtrusive “I’ll only come up to you if you invite me” welcome back to the mountains. There she was almost as soon as we stepped foot out of our car early this morning and there she was as I stepped outside into the fresh mountain essence awakening with my first cup of brew.

Mountain Pup
Quiet moves to tears this morning as slowing down breaks my emotions as weights I have been carrying lift off my soul and I’m immediately moved to put something down in words…something soulful, in my sternum or somewhere below creeping to my throat, swallowing, tightening, swallowing that I do not understand…beauty…love…gratitude…thankfulness…somehow a little closer to “good”…Funny how places can be.  Time for a walk…

Mountain Walk