The HR Momma is out there rocking away,
Not because she is old,
Broken down, or
Afraid of injury.

She’s out there rocking away
Because she can,
Loves the uncertainty, and
Wants the challenges to be real.

I’m sitting on my couch,
After an ocean of shrimp, Costanza style,
Two glasses of wine, a nap, the start of summer vacation,
And a bundle of peanut M&Ms.

Check that, I’m now rocking away,
Unwilling to accept the fifty minimum,
Unwanting of the bubbles in my gut,
So let these rocks squeeze that air out.

Thank you, HR Momma for your example.
I’ll get these rocks done today, and
I’ll stay on track
Just as you.

Rains fell in that biblical kind of way yesterday,
They cleared out just about the time
We all started to run this morning.

We kept a pace that was too fast,
I dropped back, alone, until the turn for five,
When my bud slowed and brought me along for seven.

We talked, walked, never balked,
It was the good kind of run that happens
When the pace is right and the company solid.

We mentioned emotions and mechanics,
How important they are in triathlons,
Really, in everything we do.

He and I recognized that part of the journey
Is so important, maybe even more so than,
The pace, the distance, the medals.

When we were done,
I felt alive, ready for more, and
With work what it is, today, I was off to lift.

I have a rule, never exercise angry,
That’s the ingredient for tension,
Tension is what gets me hurt.

I got to work and hit the weights,
No distractions, no waiting for equipment,
My music, it was heaven.

Until the crush of gossip information
Entered the sanctity of the glorious grind.
Someone shared “compensation” information with me.

Why should I care what others make?
Why does it matter how people act?
I’m only in control of me.

And I could feel myself losing a little control.
My heart rate went up a couple of zones,
Literally, orange if you’re counting.

The sets and reps got checked off.
An old shoulder injury reminded me that it might still be there,
But I didn’t care, anger is tough to undo. Anger will not be denied.

Guilt too, I suppose, as I talked shit to myself when I finished,
Why did you listen?
When will you grow up?

After a super cold shower, by choice, it’s supposed to help something,
The anger was broken, a new realization was upon me, and
A renewed sense of emotional and mechanical purpose had been inspired.

Listen… Don’t own…
Deadlifts rock!
I’m mostly all “growed” up.

The Talking Heads sang,
“You might find yourself living in a shotgun blast.
Right now, I’d have to say that’s about where I am,
Definitely not the same as it ever was
Because for the first time in a long time in this lifetime,
There’s a lot going on
And I want to be in the fray.

Back in my yute,
I was everywhere,
Hanging with anyone,
Living the dream,
With an idea of what being an adult was supposed to be,
Which became more like a rifle bullet to me
Than a shotgun.
Duty, responsibility, marriage, kids,
That was the way, right?

Gone were the nights at the bar
Talking the crazy stuff,
Living those scenes crafted
In a Springsteen song.
Gone were the jobs that allowed for golf,
Contributed to meager means, and
Were so easily let go of.

Gone were the times of going out
To some far off area
And shooting up some cans
With a .22 or a shotgun,
My favorite was a twenty gauge.
I preferred the cans to animals
Because I couldn’t stomach the death,
Yet I never realized the slow burn
I was living by taking on some Huxstable-Keaton styled life.

Years went by in this foreign land,
Kids came, friends distant and fading,
And all I got was the kickback from a life
That brought little in the way
Of challenge, distraction, or satisfaction.

Not now…

The change has been slow,
But it’s happening.
First, the whole family thing exploded like a hollow point,
Thankfully, missing the true mark,
Although, the rehab was hard.
It paid off, though, and now healing is complete,
Stronger than ever.
It feels like I am in the old and familiar shotgun blast
With friends who get what life is about,
Not too concerned with themselves,
Not too concerned with me,
Just living, laughing, letting go of whatever
That thirty-forty something life was, the
Distorted expectations, warped beliefs in parenting, or the
Hollow bedrocks of being an adult.

I love hearing my friends tell their stories of agave inspired personalities,
Spouses unwilling to share the good liquids,
Or the fragility of men drinking beer from snifters,
Because I know those things, too.
I can laugh with them because I am really laughing at me.
It’s great being vulnerable in that way,
Especially when it’s okay to be there. That’s how friendships should be.

So, there I am, shotgun blasting.
A twenty-gauge, enough to raise the hairs on my neck,
Not so much as to put a hole in my confidence.

Finally.

The winds whispered, “Now I have a goal,”
Breezy banter asked, “Are you doing that heart rate thing?”
My morning fog
Took them both in
And barely knew how to process them.

The first, a statement of comradery, made me think
Thoughts about my training
Where the ideas about how to get more fit
Fester in the comfort of a couch
And seem so easy when they are graphed out.

At 5-am the reality of what is really necessary,
The commitment, the drive, the smarts
Are nearly obstacles to getting things done.
Hearing someone say that they had a goal
Punched my gut bringing me out of a morning fog.

The second question, directed right at me, was a jolt of caffeine,
Making me realize my plan for being solo
Would not be good if I didn’t stick to the plan.
Run slower, keep my heart rate down,
Lessen the impact, and see far into my running future.

My talkative friends turned, I headed straight.
I’m guessing their pace was fast, mine would not be,
My watch became a coach, telling me to slow down
When it burned yellow, a cool green was the goal.
It was harder than it should have been.

Navigating the flattest streets in my little town
At a turtle-like pace took its toll on my motivation.
I wanted to let go, let my feet turn over quickly
So my heart and lungs could test their limits, so
My ego could be fulfilled.

But that wasn’t my goal,
That wasn’t my plan, so
I replayed those quotes from before,
Drawing strength from the awareness they inspired in me
To finish that run almost always in the green.

Volcanoes to the ancients,
Eclipses around the same time,
Things that were totally unexplainable,
Things that inspired awe.

That was our coffee table this morning,
Normally a place of sedate conversation,
Organized politely in a circle,
Accommodating for anyone who wants to sit in.

This is how it rolls,
We run, three, five, or seven
High fives in the parking lot,
Coffee around the table.

It’s great, just hanging,
Sometimes I listen,
Mostly I am procrastinating,
Putting work off.

Not true, I love hanging with this group,
But (not bad) we are creatures of habit.
Same routes, same paces,
Nearly always the same seats at the table.

This morning the flock was diverse,
Some took the three,
Some ran off for the five,
A couple sort of ran seven.

The seven’s conversation ran the gambit,
Life has many facets,
It’s cool talking things out, joking,
And taking serious walking breaks.

The run ended, the table was packed,
My overly big, old green shirt sagged with sweat
And I knew that whoever got the seat after me
Might need the sausage toed floaty to help them out.

I made the decision to stand,
Hanging on the fringe drinking my coffee,
Listening to the conversation, and
Making those telepathic jokes that the devilish ones tune into.

Then the volcanoes erupted,
The sun was blocked by the moon,
The unexplainable was in motion,
Everyone was standing.

It was a middle school party,
We were all up, circled up,
Talking shit, the kind that’s funny at six AM,
But might get you shot at six PM…we’re old…

There was an exploration of the word “It,”
Maybe the best personal pronoun,
Vague, lazy, and potentially inappropriate,
“It” is worthy of conversation. (See…)

Runner jokes flew,
Those being of the kind that are just above Dad jokes
Dumb and funny,
It was awesome.

Alas, work called, not really, but it was time to go,
I wanted margaritas to go,
But that would not go over well in my job.
So it is.

black metal armchair
Photo by Michael Morse on Pexels.com

I hope my compadres are hurting too.
We have taken on a ridiculous challenge
And my abs are singing the blues,
They echo from the hollow rock of being sedentary
Which I’m not,
Except for the lack of core work,
The couch,
And those yummy ice cream bars.
It seems unfair that we work so hard,
Burning fuel in the dark morning hours,
Running, falling, dodging the traffic,
Only to neglect discipline in other areas of fitness,
In nutrition, and the sinful hydration practices.
We pay the price, then some idiot… me,
Says something stupid and another says, “Okay,”
And then we are tummy terrorists
Destroying our egos and abs.

Loving it!

The park was never as dark as this morning,
One truck was already there,
No one was inside,
It weirded me out.

The back of the truck was loaded with weights,
Waiting to fulfill their duty
Of being picked up and put down
By an apprehensive and slightly nutty band of runners.

As the sun rose,
The bars began to stir,
The planning came together,
The group chipped away.

There was music,
There was laughter,
There were geese,
There was a good time.

In the end, there was also enlightenment,
Okay, more of a realization,
Twenty-thousand is just a number,
Will and support, that’s how we are.

Cranking out repetitions,
Churning out the miles,
All because we know we can,
All in the presence slightly nutty friends.

So, the creek didn’t rise,
Cottonmouth didn’t stop a workout,
No “doubtful” messages from the 8-ball,
Just an honest probing of us…success all around.