Saying thank you for Michael Phelps

michael phelps teary-eyed

I took this while watching Michael Phelps listen to the National Anthem being played yet another time for yet another gold medal. He cried; I cried.

As I have mentioned a time or two (or 37), I am enamored with the Olympic swimmers in general, and  with Michael Phelps in particular. Were I to have streaming across my laptop an ongoing film of him moving through the water, in slow motion or in his usual speediness, I would never close the lid.

But I don’t, so I do. Periodically, though, I do sneak yet another peek at this Under Armour video, which made me cry the first time I saw it, again when I watched it while my son was trying on shoes at the Under Armour store, and every time I’ve seen it since.

When the Olympics swimming competition was underway, I marveled at and was mesmerized by the astounding beauty of the (OK, especially his) human body — that elongated leap of faith into the pool, the grace in every stroke, the culmination of exhausting practices I can’t even begin to fathom.

As a result, on days I rarely ever swim, I’ve felt this compulsion to be lured to the pool; to pull my own body through the water; to stop long enough to let my crazy-fast heart slow down before taking off again; to look at my watch at times with pleasant surprise. It is on a much smaller, much slower, much clumsier scale than what I’ve been watching, but that doesn’t matter. This is my workout, and it makes me happy.

The morning before Michael Phelps’s first evening competition, I swam 62 lengths (of a 25-yard pool, not 50 meters like his) this way: 18 lengths to warm up, resting a minute, then swimming two lengths as fast as I could. Then I swam eight slowly and two quickly, repeating that until I had swum 60 lengths, then added on another speedier two, just for good measure. It was a good swim, and I was tickled at the soreness in my arms.

Two days later, after yet another night pacing my living room floor, jumping up and down as each race ended and — I’m not ashamed to say — wiping away tears, I repeated the workout…this time, 15 seconds faster.

So for the beauty of the human body in motion, for being inspired to do better, and for the combination of those two in the form of Michael Phelps… The Grateful Runner says thank you.

Saying thank you for peaks of courage

chuckles laughing

This is my son Charlie. When he’s not working in food service (which he loves) at YMCA of the Rockies this summer, he’s hiking (which he loves even more). He and I hiked when I was up there in July; in retrospect, our 6-miler probably seemed like a lap around the track would seem to a marathon runner.

But that’s OK. I was tickled to be with him, and I’m even more tickled, in awe, and proud of all the hikes he’s taken and the friendships he’s forged while sharing trails and miles and lunches.

A couple of weeks ago, he climbed Longs Peak — one of Colorado’s famed “14ers” and which, at 14,259 feet, is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a hike on many a bucket list (not mine, but I digress), one which many people tend to do once and are rightfully satisfied with their accomplishment.

On Monday, Longs will be one of five mountains that Charlie and two friends will climb in what is known as the Grand Slam

“Climbing Longs and its four buttress peaks in one day,” I read just now, “is a five-peak project that will stir sturdy souls.”

I confess that when I think of this soul-stirring adventure he will undertake, the however-many miles he will trek, the heights to which he will go, I have fleeting wishes that he would instead be indulging in a Denny’s kind of Grand Slam. But they are fleeting; I’m much more proud of him doing this than I would be him eating his weight in pancakes and sausage.

Charlie and his two friends plan to start out at 2 a.m. Monday morning. When I talk to him, or in the texts I have sent, this is how I want to appear:

Grand Slam Photo 1

But I am glad he cannot see my face when he reads my words, because I confess to feeling a bit (OK, more than a bit) like this:

Grand Slam Photo 2

But of course I truly am hold-my-breath, heart-palpitation excited for him. In his 22 years, he has visited more countries, experienced more adventures, reached outside his comfort zone, found his way, and bettered the world more times than I ever will. And that makes me more proud than I have words to say.

So for challenges taken; for bravery he probably doesn’t even realize; for beautiful, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring peaks of courage…The Grateful Runner says thank you.

 

Saying thank you for peaks of courage

chuckles laughing

This is my son Charlie. When he’s not working in food service (which he loves) at YMCA of the Rockies this summer, he’s doing something he loves even more: hiking. He and I hiked when I was up there in July; in retrospect, our 6-miler probably seemed like a lap around the track would seem to a marathon runner.

But that’s OK. I was tickled to be with him, and I’m even more tickled, in awe, and proud of all the hikes he’s taken and the friendships he’s forged while sharing trails and miles.

A couple of weeks ago, he climbed Longs Peak — one of Colorado’s famed “14ers” and which, at 14,259 feet, is the highest peak at Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a hike on many a bucket list (not mine, but I digress), one many people tend to do once and are rightfully satisfied with their accomplishment.

On Monday, Longs will be one of five mountains that Charlie and two friends will climb in what is known as the Grand Slam

“Climbing Longs and its four buttress peaks in one day,” I read just now, “is a five-peak project that will stir sturdy souls.”

I confess that when I think of this soul-stirring adventure he will undertake, the however-many miles he will trek, the heights to which he will go, I have fleeting wishes that he would instead be indulging in a Denny’s kind of Grand Slam. But they are fleeting; I’m much more proud of him doing this than I would be him eating his weight in pancakes and sausage.

Charlie and his two friends plan to start out at 2 a.m. Monday morning. When I talk to him, or in the texts I have sent, this is how I want to appear:

Grand Slam Photo 1

But I am glad he cannot see my face when he reads my words, because I confess to feeling a bit (OK, more than a bit) like this:

Grand Slam Photo 2

But of course I truly am hold-my-breath, heart-palpitation excited for him. In his 22 years, he has visited more countries, experienced more adventures, reached outside his comfort zone more times than I ever will. And that makes me more proud than I have words to say.

So for challenges taken; for bravery he probably doesn’t even see as such; for beautiful, jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring peaks of courage…The Grateful Runner says thank you.

 

 

 

 

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