Cold made its way into the morning. Finally. Two of us took to the roads in the dark. We talked training. We talked guy stuff. We shared our preferences for angrier music, the happy pop not fitting our slightly deranged view of the world. I found it comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one who still appreciated the Sex Pistols, although, my expertise paled in comparison to my running partner’s punk rock acumen. He did show his age, a few years ahead of my own, when he offered to let me borrow his copy of “Spunk.”

With that run done and the sun rising, we headed to the fields for a cross country-styled 5K organized by another friend and populated by a bunch of people we all mostly know. My plan was to chill, take it easy on the course, and simply enjoy the time. Like Goggins in Las Vegas and with “Anarchy” blaring on a loop in my head, I took off with a goal to catch the Mennonite woman running up ahead in their bonnets and dresses. Ego is a strange thing and mine was hooked to an adrenaline pump as I pushed harder than I have in many years. We caught the nattily clad runners and for the rest of the way, I ran scared of being passed from behind.

The community theme of the race was exhibited at the finish line. No egos, no trash talking, only the support for each runner as they finished. Times didn’t really matter. Places, either. Hanging with all my friends at the finish lines was awesome. The sun was out, the warmth everywhere, the angry music out of my head.

Thanks, y’all.

Today, consternation found my way while

In preparation for a snow day siesta

I dove deeply into some outlaw poetry

Taking in the angst and commentary

From some of the sharpest scribes

Then on page 621 was Mumia

His name is mud in these parts

And I went ahead a read his poem

Which I kind of liked, but felt like I shouldn’t because

Yesterday, in the City of Brotherly Love

Another officer sworn to serve and protect

Found himself answering the call of duty

During a robbery at a video game store

He lost his life leaving a young family behind

Officer Wilson and Officer Faulkner

Men doing a job

Men wasted by evil

In the faces of these two young guys 

Intent on robbing a store and preserving their lives

At the cost of another

I see the last line of the poem,

Written by man convicted of killing a cop,

“I dedicate this shield,”

And I wonder what he meant

Is he honoring police or suggesting

More be dropped?

I don’t know.

I know being a police officer is tough

Working jobs where each shift could bring unthinkable violence

Answering calls where someone doesn’t want them there

Working within rules that may set them up for failure

See Ferguson as an example

One thing I know, though,

We need police

We need honest police

We need impartial police

We need policing that represents all people

We need these cop killers locked up

The morning started with heavy decisions
About whether to honor an appointment
With running and squats
Or continue to labor with the cold fan air
And a ragged and semi-pleasant sleep
Quads and calves checked in passively
Unwilling to commit to the battle before them
Shoulders were in, something of a day off for them
Brain and heart, logical and feeling
Gave in to the guilt while
Pretending to be enthusiastic

With a just-woke-up-voice
I garbled “hellos” around the box
Showing my true feelings about the wod
I settled into some stretches
Rubbed the sleep from my eyes
And hoped the pillow creases had worked themselves out
The warm up run, only 200 meters, pounded at my calves
The stretches tugged at my determination
And my resolve waned in the Tabata

“That’s just the warm up???”

As the clock counted down from ten
I searched frantically for motivation and purpose
Mentality WOD, what advice do you have
Mobility WOD, tell me something uplifting
Everett, what am I doing here?…
Lauren, you got anything?…

All I could think was to embrace the agony
By mixing it up and facing the goat head on
If motivation was limiting, motivation would be moved
…Around the building
…Along the rowing rail
And today I would squat beyond
The depths that my rear power train thought possible

Slowly, I pressed through each rep
Ignoring the hip flexors
Who were calling for an end to my descent
Like sirens on the rocks.
Patiently I stayed my course
As the faster, flexible ones raced for quick times
Their Flash-like zooming
Leaving me further behind the group

When my mind began to wander
And technique began to falter
I doubted reaching the end
And then
The messages came through…

Mentality WOD, “Show yourself that you can.”
Mobility WOD, “Fear is a mind killer.”
Everett, “Keep it up, Chris.”
Lauren, “You’re almost there.”

Each little piece of advice and encouragement
Letting me know that while I
Arrived at the workout alone
My accomplishments against gravity,
My completion of these excellently demonic workouts,
My ability to continue when I’d rather not
Are often pushed to that mythical next level
Instead of me

We struggle together
We sweat together
We succeed together
We live in this fitness sanctuary
Wanting others to reach their potential
The same as we hope for ourselves
The ideal being for each of us to hit our goals
Without respect to image,
Or appearance.
Just plain and simple
Hard work and appreciation
For what we all do

That’s why I got out of bed.

Thanks, everyone.

Now, I need some quality time with a lax ball…