There are a lot of things easier about being in my 40's, but being at the pinnacle of ahleticism is not one of the them. Few have the opportunity to achieve a regional, national or international level in sport. I was lucky enough to experience a national level and dip my toe in the international level competition in not one, but two very different sports.
As the saying goes, though, I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was. Although I may not still be able to bring the heat like I once could, the stories of my past exploits keep getting better. This though, is not the point.
All those years of relentless training, two practices were the norm. While competing in whitewater slalom, I even figured out how to get in three while working full time. Now, with a young family, this is about the only reliable time to get a workout in. Early mornings training outside no matter the weather have been a part of my life since I was 14 years old. Early morning training has been part of my life for most of my life.
The thing is, I hate getting out of bed. When the alarm goes off, more often than not, it sucks getting out of bed. I never have liked getting up early.
Here is the thing, though. Not once have I regretted being up early. The days while running in college it was sleeting outside, and there was absolutely no way to stay dry. I could not feel my feet or hands. My quads were stinging from the cold and sleet. It was strangely satisfying...not for the sense of accomplishment, but truely the doing of the thing. It was fun to be out there.
The mornings doing workouts having to break ice off my lifejacket because it perceptibly added weight. Oddly, I paused before getting in the car. The moment was crisp, clear and invigorating.
Most of the time it really is just enjoying being outside as a new day is starting. Now, mostly I paddle on the Puget Sound in Budd Inlet near our house as dawn is breaking. The seals like to swim closse and try to figure out what I am. The Chinese freighers sometimes are getting guided by the tugboats to and from the Port.
As the day dawns, frequently the Olympic Mountains are visible in the early morning light. In the fall, if lucky, sometimes I get to see the shadow of Rainer cast on the bottom of the clouds just as the sun is starting to rise.
I get to experience all of this most mornings before nearly anybody else is stirring. Most people will never get to experience it. Part of me feels sorry. Then there is another very large part of me who is quite glad the rest of humanity is not out here. They will wake up and be stirring about soon enough. I am pefectly content to be left alone and keep my mornings.
While I hate getting up. I have never once regretted being up and moving. It is always a fabulous reward in the doing of the thing.