Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eye of the Tiger

I have a brother named Matthew, who is only slightly younger than I. Growing up, we got into all sorts of mischief. Mom always said, "what one mind couldn't think of, the other would". I remember pouring small puddles of dad's aftershave onto the bathroom counter top and lighting it on fire, blowing bubbles in the bathtub, mixing motor oil into mud, and all other sorts of naughtiness. As Matt got older, he turned into more and more of a tease and a tormentor. His favorite game became Eye of the Tiger. Eye of the Tiger was a constant running contest to assess who was the toughest of the contestants. We did the dumbest things to prove our "toughness". Whoever wimped out first was the loser:
  • Laying the iron on bare skin, then turning it on
  • holding our hands out the windows while driving in a blizzard
  • who could run the most laps around the outside of the house barefoot in the winter (keep in mind that I grew up in Idaho)
  • laying on the unheated concrete of our unfinished basement
  • holding the 50lb bag of rock salt

Virtually anything painful or miserable was bound to become a contest, with Matt yelling "eye of the tiger, eye of the tiger" at us if we even thought about giving up. Family hikes usually featured Matthew devising some new torment to prod the slow ones along, bellowing "eye of the tiger, eye of the tiger" all along the trail.

As I've gotten older, I've developed more and more of an interest in endurance sports, particularly distance running. Maintaining an aggressive running schedule has been a real challenge with a baby. I am so grateful for a good jogging stroller, but still spend all week looking forward to Saturday, the one day I get to leave TJ with Rob and run free. The Saturday run has come to mean so much, that I am willing to run in some pretty wild conditions in order to meet my mileage for the week. Yesterday was one such day. We awoke to pouring rain. I waited and waited, hoping it would let up. It never did, and I finally decided to stop waiting and just go for it. It was by far the worst I've ever run in. I was soaked through before I'd run a quarter of a mile, and when I got home, I had to stand over the sink wringing water out of clothing.

But all along the run, I kept thinking, "Eye of the tiger. Eye of the tiger." Matt would have been proud.

No comments: