Monday, August 20, 2007

The Second Wind

As I was huffing my way through today's Turbo Jam workout, I got my second wind. Suddenly, I was in the groove, shining my way through the punches, kicks, and jams. I felt so cool.

Back when backpacking was my avocation, I noticed that 90% of the visitors to a state or national park were within a quarter mile of the parking lot. Once you got off the main loop trails, you could spend days hiking through the country with the trees all to yourself. I myself would get tired about a mile into a hike. My legs would complain, my wind would get short, and I'd feel hot and irritable.

At about the two-mile mark, something would change. My legs would hit their hiking rhythm, and my breath would flow in and out of me. Hiking seemed an integral part of living; my entire world consisted of my boots on the trail. Once I was in this zone, I could (and often did) go on all day.

I can't hike like that now. My hip won't take that kind of punishment anymore, and the rest of me isn't in top shape, either. Five or six miles a day is my limit, and even at that modest mileage, my hip moans and groans at me for the next several days. I still get my second wind, though, and I still get into the zone.

I've had that second wind experience in a lot of areas in my life. I start out with energy and motivation then I hit the wall. Going gets tough for a while, my energy flags, my enthusiasm evaporates. When I manage to keep going through that dead patch, however, I can get into the groove. Once I'm in the groove, it's easier to keep going than it is to stop.

How do I convince myself to keep going through the slow patches? More, how do I teach my children about the second wind and the need to keep on going through the wall?

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