Clear Skies, Warm Temperatures

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Woe to you skiers and skaters and snowball makers. The cold and slippery winter cycle is complete; itís done and behind us, whether or not you can see that outside your bedroom window. I am not disappointed -- you might say Iím thrilled, elated and relieved, almost speechless even though I donít want time to hurry on by unnoticed, unsavored. Alas, the best I can do is underscore the passing moments with a few words to we bombers in flight.

Slow us down, Lord.

Real weather is an experience: a blizzard, bitterly cold exposure, howling winds or a silent snowfall making soft and white the rural fields, empty neighborhoods and the noisy streets of the city. I love it... for about a day and a half.

Otherwise, the winter hiatus to me is for inward journeys and lone tasks mixed with hibernating, hiding out and staying low. The blustery stretch is particularly useful for hardening and toughening our nature, preparing our spirits with the wintry treats of icy shadows, early nights, withering leaves and white snow gone grey in crusty roadside heaps.

Aching joints replace a good pump, gravity strangely increases with each stiff and chilly workout, the body becomes a mystery object beneath layers of clothing and the hard-earned tone, like ducks, go south. Wait... thereís more. Inconvenient holidays place obstacles in our path and a continually runny nose leads the way.

Thank God for the fireplace and hot soup.

Today -- mark it with a daffodil -- we stand at the edge of spring, a sumptuous upward swing full of warming breezes, clearing skies, lengthening days and mile-high hopes. Itís the season of rebirth, revival and restoration. Our days are spent opening doors and windows, shedding hooded sweatshirts, scratching around in fertile soil and letting the sun grace our skin and nurture our Vitamin-D-starved bodies. Those slits above and to the left and right of our recently un-stuffed noses open wide to delight in the burgeoning landscape before us. Joy! Planning is replaced by spontaneity and we find ourselves in the gym while itís still daylight, our favorite T-shirt saturated with sweat.

Gravity fades as our biceps swell. The struggle, toil and hard work; the iron and steel, the sweat and the strain, are released from their frigid barbwire bindings and we are freed to embrace them once again -- to wallow in our training, to bask in our workouts, to blast and bomb it. Bulking up is fun, but Iím gagging, my face is round like a polar bear and my stomach... well, we wonít go there. Let us push that iron.

Nothing like a head start -- fewer weeks slugging it out, more time engaged and inspired -- itís like free money. Donít waste it and donít lose itÖ or what good is it? Invest it and grow rich. Letís crank it up this spring, take advantage of the early high, the rush, and build up unstoppable training momentum.

The change of seasons, the length of the days, the weather, the color of the sky, the temperature -- they are externals that effect our moods, our chemistry, our energy, function and goals, and consequently, our output and achievement. We endured the grey, we persevered through the bleak, we produced under duress, we survived the storm. Imagine what good we will do in the calm and the perfect.

Imagining is important; visualizing and meditating are effective tools in achievement. But nothing replaces action. Researching and study are worthwhile, but nothing beats doing. Planning serves us well, order and timelines, yet without application, they are pointless. Routines and programs firmly established assure direction, but we go nowhere without execution.

Action, doing, application and execution are the obvious pathways in metalworking; add intensity and they are the skyway.

More and more as time passes, the fight becomes a battle of effort and might over injury and pain. We have the will; we have the know-how, the gear, the time and the place, but we donít have the physical freedom or facility. Itís a tender shoulder or elbow or knee and it afflicts young trainers as well as older trainers, though the latter have first rights.

Excessive weight or set and rep overload of certain exercises (bench press comes to mind), extended muscle and joint workload without adequate restoration, faulty exercise execution, the performance of inadvisable movements, haste, loss of concentration, improper training schemes, poor nutrition and age round the list of common causes of sky-high flight fights.

Sheesh! I went from the mile-high hopes of spring to spiraling flight-fights in a hundred words or less. Explain yourself, Bomber.... I want to emphasize spring training intensity -- pouring it on like the noonday sun, bounding from sluggish winter slipping and sliding to solid pre-summer performance, establishing an exciting and unstoppable workout momentum to carry us forward, an ongoing workout habit with traction and teeth.

Muscle and joint injury is inevitable. Limitations and disorders need to be identified and isolated, confronted and overcome. They all are associated with wear and tear, time and toil and they disable the mind and emotions as seriously as they attack the muscle and might. Exercise is the ultimate remedy for injury and pain, discouragement and disappointment.

Who doesnít train when hurt? That is the question. Iím not sure Iím sure. I mean, I know without a doubt, but...

Is it the wise man, the righteous one, the patient person, the good patient or the quick to recover? Hard to say, isnít it?

The sane lady and gentleman, stable in their ways, or the common man, the ordinary woman, limited in their ways? Whoís who, which is which?

The capricious do not train when they are injured. They do not lift weights when there is pain. Itís a willful act and they are void of the substance, an amalgamation of initiative, responsibility, need and nerve. They might do a set or a rep, but not within sight of discomfort. Whimsy and fancy do not clothe the man of iron, the woman of steel.

And arenít you glad? Itís will -- resolve -- that leads us to the iron when we hurt. Itís love that has us chase it down the corridors of our life. And itís not the rusting object so much as itís our relation with ourselves, others and our surroundings, through it, the hard, cold, uncompromising and non-judgmental defender of our self.

Whatever, bombers; itís spring at last and not one of us has time to waste. Push that iron, lift that steel, and by God, build that muscle and might.

Clear skies, warm temperatures, tailwind at 20 knots, fuel tanks full and thereís no stopping us now.

Throttle back, let her rip... Draper


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