Thursday, January 2, 2014

Why would you want to do that?!

Here's the thing. As one gets older there is a few different paths they can take.

After Thira was born Danielle and I both chunked up.Mainly due to stress on my end and bed rest on hers. We took charge of the situation and got back to a sexier shape. This led to a rebirth of sorts. Why get older, slower, chunkier, start wearing a cpap machine, lose sex drive, wheeze climbing a set of stairs, etc. etc. you get what I am saying.

Everyone gets one life, no more, no less. What you do with it is up to you. Reincarnation believers aside obviously.

So as I get older and what hair I have left starts to show flecks of grey (fuck you grey) I push harder to stay young physically, and mentally.

This is why I do silly things like run a 5k nude, or wear incredibly sexy swimwear at the July 4th 5 miler. It is what attracted me to the High Rock Challenge in 2007 way before the Obstacle Course Craze blossomed.

Humility is an afterthought for me anymore. I do not care one bit how I look when I run a 5k or how long it took me to finish my first 50K this December. I ran 31 miles, on the trails in one shot and I loved every second of it. A 22 year old me would not have done that. He would have smoked a stupid Marlboro light and made a sarcastic comment about the event instead of thinking about actually trying it myself.

Yesterday I joined the ranks of those who jumped into the freezing Atlantic Ocean on New Years Day. The Polar Plunge. Started by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club
The annual event has grown much like the popular mud runs. All part of a growing current of reliving our youth, and seizing the day I believe. For me it's also about being more positive, less cynical, and continually saying yes when it's easier to say no.

When I met up with the Staten Island Athletic Club yesterday in Clove Lakes Park the sun was shining, the wind was nil and I thought "A quick strip down, run in, run out, change, fin." Walikng to the famed Parachute jump in the Coney Island boardwalk the sky darkened, the wind churned, and my outlook dimmed. "What a stupid idea. "I thought to myself, and probably expressed it out loud as well. A group about 15 strong including my two lovely, but unhappy daughters Thira, and Lucia claimed a spot much like Columbus did all those years ago but for SIAC not Spain and then we stood there.

A bit of confusion set in until we realized that we had to sign a waiver. Okay, so we shuffled up to the boardwalk, which looks great btw. stood in line and signed our lives away. Again, just like most events I sign up for lately the chance for harm is hanging around like a specter waiting to claim its prize.

We were up in a few minutes so the strip down began. Brutal is the best word for this. The more you take off the harder the wind whipped your skin. I defrocked in segments thinking it would sting less. It might of. The worst part was the sand. I think it was sand, it could have been frozen thumb tacks thats what it felt like anyway. We get the call to go and were off. A mighty troupe of warriors, male, female young, and well seasoned charge into surf. the waves were crashing down as if the ocean was trying to slap us back onto the shore but we valiant SIAC polar Bears would not be denied. We plowed through, pushing past bundled up spectators, using their cheers encourage us on as out feet meet the surf.

"Do not stop!" was my mantra. Once I stripped down, and ladies I looked good. Anywho, Once I was only wearing my swimsuit I decided to stay mobil and thats how I met Posideon yesterday. I charged in  weaving through those who have stalled "Keep moving". I ran, knee deep in the salty, frozen sea all around me I start to see my comrades disappear. Paying homage to the sea god by baptizing them selves. I see a clearing and I go for it. I dive in and like a frozen mallet the cold water smashes my face. I pop up, let out a victory yelp and keep moving. We're all in a mixed state of euphoria, and shock.

A departure seems prudent but as I head out I dive under one more time and this time the water feels inviting, like it was beckoning me to stay but I already feel like I overstayed my welcome so I continue to run out. As we leave we are corralled through more huddled masses yearning to cheer us on. The route into the water was quick. The route back to base camp was long, and quite cruel. Every out of the way step meant that my body was exposed to the wind, and the unforgiving sand was bitter cold. Why were we forced to run on piles of scorpion stingers?

Once I reached home base I toweled off and put a hat on.  I kept drying off and putting on my post plunge clothes. Each new layer brought splendid warmth, and comfort. But by the time I got to my sock my feet were screaming. I had nice, soft, wool socks to put on but the felt like they were made out of concrete when I slipped them on. Eventually I changed everything and I began to think back on this experience. I immediately thought that it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, in fact it was a lot of fun.

The worst past of the entire day was the traffic getting back onto the Belt Parkway heading home.

So to get back to my original point. You can sit back and be someone who poopoos everything or you could get off your duff and try something new. Something that you never thought you'd do in your life. When you get to the stage of your life that you start looking back don't you want to think about the things that seemed "crazy", or even better seemed impossible at the time?

I do.