Caren Ware's Blog

January 18, 2012

Intently, not intensely

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:49 pm

“Be Slow in your haste,” my 90 year old friend coaches.  It grates.  I want to wail back,” Wish I had the luxury.”  But I know his point is in love.  He is trying to nudge the same key to success my hurdle coach, Gayle Watkins knew to train. “Be fast, but don’t be in a hurry.” What?  Sprint, but leave out the haste.  Fast, but not frantic. The race is usually won by the ‘cool cat’.  And with endearing movement.

I got the opportunity as a master’s hurdler to train with young, elite, college athletes.  They would line up on training intervals.  Joking. Jiggling.  Then they readied. They would quietly roll the muscles on the back of their necks, draw in a long, sweet breath…and wait for “Go”. Burst.  Turnover.  But relaxed.  It’s an art that should take form in our everyday work and relationships.  They ran intently, but not intensely.  Smooth ,flowing, cool cats. It was pure body poetry.

I have seen the same lesson in Cross Fit.  This competition of working with weights, obstacles, and time while in oxygen debt and fighting lactic acid build up is won by the fluid, patiently fast, athlete.  Chad, a professional marine, operates South Redlands Cross Fit a few doors down from my office.  I am guru-ed by his power, strength, speed, and fluidity.  He trains us. I watch as he and his co-trainers pit themselves.  While the gym is clanking weights and bending over gasping for air, Chad ,and Eric ,and petite Bianca are moving at the speed of smooth. They regain oxygen as they chalk their hands.  They rest used up muscles while stepping to the next activity.  And they post ranked times.  Fluidity though totally tapped out.

Chad says it is of this importance. He demonstrates.  He knells as a man in battle and under fire. He explains. “ I am about to be ‘Nervous  Ned’ and I am about to get all my battalion killed trying too hard.” Chad moves through the motions of loading and reloading a machine gun jerking and yanking, visibly frustrated.  He fumbles bullets, drops the imaginary weapon, and is shot and killed. Splat.  Chad sprawls on the gym concrete floor.

He sits up.  “Now, here is how I trained my marines.  Meet “ Keen and Concise”.”  Though under the same intense fire, he draws a calm breath, grabs the charade bullets and systematically fires. He quickly, but precisely reaches back.  Reloads.  Breathes.  Fires again.  Reaches back . Reloads. And fires and fires. The enemy is dead and his men are alive. Respectfully, he turns to his gym members.  “See the difference”.

Now, let’s learn to fire through life’s battles like that!  Thank you, Chad.  That’s life poetry that makes sense.  Yep.  I can do that. I declare the quest.  I am going to be a cool cat.

Next moment.  My phone is ringing.  I spring for it, tipping the glass of water over. I am pulling the lap top off the table as I am tripping over the power cord.  I am diving to press SAVE on this journal jot as it is crashing toward the imminent floor.  I am catching a shiner on the table leg as it impacts with my shin.  Meet “Careening Caren”.

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