For several years starting after I left for college The Support Staffers would call every Sunday and using a variety of openings, pointedly ask if I was going to church. About three times a year - when I am visiting The Staffers - the answer is yes. Otherwise, for the last decade - and before that, when I lived with The Staffers, before or after the church service I did attend - the answer has been I'm attending the Congregation of United Saints of [fill in the appropriate sport].
During my recent holiday in Indiana, The Staffers inquired what a normal Sunday looks like, if not church-oriented.
Here is the first Sunday I am back in DC...
The overarching theme for today is COLD. The Clock at the Bank in Dupont Circle said 30 degrees when I rode past at the end of the day. That is a big, fat, warm lie, Clock at the Bank in Dupont Circle, and you know it. Go sit in the corner, think about those running and riding in the wind, and come back when you have a more respectful answer.
7:41 AM - Whatever acts as my internal alarm goes off. Usually this is the no-longer-avoidable feeling that I really have to go to the bathroom now, the serious downside of the constant struggle to stay appropriately hydrated.
7:59 AM - According to my microwave I left now for run #1. Outside temp: 12. It's double-running-jacket weather. I have one for cold, but not so windy, and one for slightly warmer, but windy. Pulling out both is...saved for special and painful occasions.
8:49 AM - Microwave reports that I have returned. After sessions there are just so many things to be completed semi-immediately - change, stretch, eat, drink, shower, sit down and recover - and since I have never have enough limbs to do them all simultaneously, I usually feel like I am attempting a Chinese fire drill. In this case, under-caffeinated with swollen fingers and snot frozen on my face.
8:50 - 10:30 AM - Chinese fire drilling. From spandex to sweats - and warmth - ASAP. Stretch while I "cook" oatmeal, coffee, and water. I pass up my first opportunity in the day to shower; there will be others, trust me. Sit and eat and email, with TV on in the background, and set up bike for next session.
10:30 - 11:00 AM - Ride, not surprisingly inside. In retrospect, this may be the warmest I am all day until I crawl back into bed tonight.
11:00 - 11:24 AM - More "cooking" in the form of a smoothie and eggs with salsa. What I lack in cooking skills I more than make up for in eating skills: everything is gone before I move away from the kitchen counter. Rinse off - still not a real shower - in the shower and sweats back on.
11:25 - 12:43 PM - More sitting and emailing. I start writing this blog (how meta is that?).
12:43-12:58 PM - I pack up for the gym and "cook" even more smoothies, this time with yogurt and bananas and without strawberries and chocolate protein powder. Yeah, I know, I'm crazy like that sometimes.
12:58 - 1:12 PM - I ride to the gym. I wear six layers on the top and two on the bottom. Have you ever seen the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man ride a bike? Well, you missed your chance today in NW DC.
1:12 - 1:21 PM - Prepare for run #2 with a gel, debating to the last moment whether to do it inside or out. It's COLD. I did my hill workout last week on the treadmill and it went great. I've done all of my second runs on double run days on the treadmill. I have lots of upcoming runs that will need to be done on the treadmill.
1:21 - 2:42 PM - Well bundled - jacket count: 1.5 since I ditched one for a vest - I head to, and hit, the trails west of Georgetown, searching out the hills I need.
2:52 - 3:26PM - More Chinese fire drill and smoothie drinking. I am not ashamed to say I hid out in a hot shower for a good 10 minutes, using no soap, and then decamped to the sauna to stretch and change. At the peak I was occupying - and hanging wet clothes on the doors of - four lockers. Next time I'll just bring some home appliances and a cot.
3:26 - 4:26 PM - Strength - and last - session of the day.
4:26 PM - The sweaty part of my day is over. My prize: an orange and a yogurt.
4:26 - 4:51 PM - Layer up and head home.
4:51 - 6:24 PM - I sit down and simply do not move. Full disclosure: I may have said a few prayers asking for a Diet Coke, some peanut M&Ms, and the ability to walk tomorrow.
6:25 - 7:10 PM - How I put this delicately? I smell. Most of the clothes I wore today smell. I set about the business of undoing the destruction of the day, to my body, to my wardrobe...to my apartment. A REAL shower, like with soap, a few snacks, some stretching and self-massage, clean-ish sweats, and despite wanting a pizza or something fried for dinner, start lentils and chicken. Let's not confuse this with cooking, ok?
7:10 - 8:03 PM - Food is ready. Eat food. Another food is ready. Eat another food. See, I don't sit down and eat a complete meal. I want food now, well actually I want it five minutes ago, so when one part of the meal is ready, it disappears. Between starting, finishing, and eating mini-meals I field emails from some of my athletes and The Staffers and work on finishing up a project.
8:03 - 8:04 PM - Chicken is ready. Chicken is gone. Chicken wasn't half bad.
8:05 - 9:03 PM - With stomach finally sated, actually focus on and finish project for my athlete. Send.
9:03 - 9:28 PM - Finish this post and pack up for tomorrow. To bed for a 6 AM external alarm so I can get to PT by 7 AM.
So that's the story: multiple offerings on the alter of sweat, stretching, and smoothies, my deity or false idol or whatever you want to call it. I have faith that these sacrifices are worth it, in the long run, and I make sure to pray extra hard when I get the chance to join an actual congregation. Until I find a church with a trainer or treadmill in the back, you can find me among the Congregation of the United Saints of SBR.