Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the highway's alive tonight...

I never thought that Zach de la Rocha et al would be anything more than music I try to not let my kids find out about, and to which I listen more than just occasionally. Today, however, as I took this year’s first long road ride, it became apparent that Iowa culture is a real machine, and that if I want to be ready for the monster triathlon I’m shooting for in September, I am going to have to feed my rage appropriately.

January was full of a new and awesome baby, plenty of call nights, and the reality that I was not going to the Ruth Glacier this year. Five or six attempts at getting back on the wagon were made in desperation over the next two months, but the dark winter won out each time and by April fitness was far from my mind.

Then, on a whim, I stopped into 2nd Wind, a used fitness equipment shop in Minneapolis, and there was a Stairmaster and a rower. These pieces gathered dust for a couple of weeks, I do confess, but something in my gut told me a new phase of life was about to begin.

The details are not important, but in one week’s time the Iowa bubble was burst in a manner that left me locking my doors and saying hello to a lot fewer people on the street. All at once my inner fire was moving in life again, and as a byproduct I began seeing the Iowa anti-fitness machine for what it is.

It began slowly, 20 minutes each morning, six days per week. I kept my rage to myself for three weeks until disciplined eating and my daily 250 calories of Stairmaster loosened my pants to the point that Jojo noticed.

One of the night nurses at our ER is to blame for the next phase. I knew she was into triathlon, a sport I formerly worshipped with a disturbing amount of time spent training. I also somehow knew she would understand when I said, “I am going after a big race this year. I have no idea what it will be, but it will be big.” She told me about the full distance tri in Oklahoma City in September, and my rage came into focus.

No one has really noticed my rage, but I have never felt so entirely disconnected with the culture of the place where I live, not even while living in the desert of northern Chile when my Spanish was pretty weak. No one has really noticed anything but me being really dang tired, which has been blamed on taking too much call.

Rage is not the ideal. Its heavy. But somehow its effective sometimes where forces like long dark winters and pervasive piles of truck-stop food are in the local. And so its time to rage, and in so doing actively live in a separate world from the kind people with whom I live and work at the greatest hospital on earth, if only where my course of living that life of aggressive training is concerned.

The highway's alive tonight, nobody's fooling nobody as to where it goes.