Writing

Wind

Early this Sunday morning, Mickey and I were up to join a group for bike ride from Oviedo Aquatic Center out to Fort Christmas and back. Full disclosure, I do not yet keep up or ever make it to the full length as these guys can easily knock out 50 miles in the time it takes me to do half that. I do, however, love being up and out. I secretly hope to make a “brick” of it. A brick is the combination of two sports. I have never been able to transition from the bike to a run as my legs come off the bike feeling like concrete or bricks. I can only assume that’s where the name came from, but I will have to check into that. I hope to add a mile run after a 10 mile bike this morning.

As the group took off and headed East along 419, I jumped into the middle of the pack and enjoyed the first mile or two with the group as they stretched their legs and added speed. I am fine with the consistent building of speed. Where they lose me is when we slow for a stop sign or for some debris in the road and then they take back off with serious acceleration and I am dropped. By mile three, I am off the back. Before mile 4, I can no longer even see them ahead.

After mile 5, I decide that if I have any chance of pulling off this brick, I had better turn back. I make a casual u-turn. Enter wind.

The first 5 miles had some false flats with slight climbs and a couple of long sloping downhills where I was able to pour speed into the bike. I was completely unaware of any breeze at all. After making my turn to head back, I became bluntly aware of what I would later learn was a 14 mph wind that had been at my back all along. I don’t know if you are all aware of what a 14 mph headwind does to the pace of an overweight bicyclist, but take my word that it took longer to get back than it did to go out.

Simultaneous to the wind hitting me in the chest was the epiphany of this metaphor in my brain. I had many thoughts as I lumbered my bike into the wind for the 5 mile slog to the car to transition into my running shoes.

I was unaware of the wind when it was supporting and pushing me in the direction that I wanted to go. I took all the credit for my athleticism and strength as I rode along the highway. I did not consider the wind at all. I certainly was not thankful to have it. I was blissfully ignorant. The birds were singing. The sun was shining. The trees were green. The cars were happy to pass me leaving plenty of room.

When the wind literally hit me in the face, my bike slowed. I immediately felt as though I was much too far from my car. Where had this wind come from? Why is it just appearing now? The smallest uphill became mountainous. The birds fell quiet. The sun was beating down on me. The trees were swaying. The cars were impatient and dangerously close.

The ride back was harder, but I enjoyed it for what it was. The resistance of the wind made me work harder. I became immediately grateful for the tailwind I had received for the first 5 miles. Now here is the part, you need to get your head around. I was also grateful for the headwind on the way back as a chance to grow. The resistance would reward my efforts with added strength in the future. I was not the victim of some evil force. I was the benefactor of an empowering force. I had an opportunity to face the wind with grace or to quit and curse it.

I can’t see wind, but I can surely feel it. I can’t see wind, but I can surely see the impact it has on people and the world. I don’t know the word for wind in every language, but I am sure that they are describing the same thing. I can’t see wind, but I know that whether everyone believes in it or not, it’s there.

Remember that I said it was a metaphor?

Categories: Family, Sports, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Opposite of Writer’s Block?

I hate to complain about what some might see as an embarrassment of riches.  I have not posted a blog in quite some time.  I did have a busy summer between work and family vacation.  I have written many partial posts and have working notes on quite a few more.  I am getting bogged down with which of the many topics to talk about first.  I begin writing about an amazing restaurant that I visited in Memphis or Chattanooga and then decide to wax poetic about the economy or election year drama.  I make notes about a high speed rail trip from Paris to London and then get lost in a sea of ideas about this summer’s Olympics.  I get emotional about my daughter getting her license and my youngest heading off to high school and then get distracted by EURO 2012 and the upcoming fall football season.  I get inspired by a talk at church and move on to some new book or gadget.

I call it “analysis paralysis”: A massive amount of data that bogs you down in a selection process and keeps you from moving forward.  This polishing process is good to a point, but not if it impedes action.  I have heard it said that a team can get to an 80% plan in 24 hours when 100% would take a month.  If the 80% team gets right to work implementing the 80% plan, they will be many generations, adaptations, course corrections and product cycles down their path before the 100% team even starts.

I know that many experienced writers would advise making time to write everyday and even an inexperienced blogger would know that these ideas are more prescient if written about in a timely manner and published nearer to the event of which I am writing.  I subscribe to a lot of blogs and enjoy the short focused topic selection that reflects their voice and brand so well.  This causes me to edit and judge my work more harshly than it deserves.  I make no apologies for my writing, voice, brand or lack thereof.  I need to edit less and publish more.  Not every posting will get nominated for a Pulitzer, but at the very least, my mom will know that I am still alive.

I resolve to tell you about everything hinted at above and so much more.  I will write however often as I can and push the publish button whether I like it or not.  I will edit and share and keep you updated as life unfolds.  I would love for the communication to become a dialogue as I look forward to your comments and blogs, but I will hold up my end of the bargain either way.  Whether or not these writings head in a direction and take on a theme or stay diverse and all over the map remains to be seen.  I am excited to build on the habit and  of writing everyday and also send some pictures and quick posts from travels and restaurants.  I will share some of my favorite places, events and things.

I had a friend comment recently, “at least you have something to say.”  And, that, I do.

Categories: Writing | 1 Comment

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