Loving the athlete’s grind is in many ways a vastly reduced and simplified mirroring of loving the noble grind of life itself. There are brief moments of joy and euphoria, but always preceded and succeeded by vast time periods of the righteous labor that is at life’s foundation.
The athlete’s grind.
The one who trains daily goes to bed with varying levels of satisfaction. They might even feel a sense of spiritual oneness with the universe at large…depending on the intensity with which they pushed themselves during their workout and the endorphins released (not to mention the quality of their fuel).
A beautiful buzz.
Then they have to wake their rickety, lactic-acid-laden ass in the morning to figure out a way to do it yet again.
And that’s the athlete’s grind. We seek that daily buzz, but we have to walk through the muck every day to get there.
We all have our strategies of taking that first step through the muck. Music. Motivational videos. Maria Juan. Often all three.
Sometimes I’ll even commit the cardinal sin of training at half-ass intensity with my favorite show on.
Sometimes I’ll be pretty honest with myself to just get my ass off the couch.
“Do whatever is needed to get those first 5 minutes out of the way. Just do some push-ups and squats, and take it from there. Forget about your lofty-ass goal of becoming a pro bare knuckle fighter and just get some blood pumping through your depression-prone self. You have to get your ass to work the next day and cook dinner tonight, so you know you’re probably gonna smoke a cigarette on your lunch break and have a couple of beers while the onions are frying…
Make the poisons count asshole.”
I think the athlete’s grind keeps me honest in ways I rarely find elsewhere in life.
The only other endeavor that keeps me truly honest with myself is parenting (even the athlete’s grind doesn’t compare to that).
And so it goes on.
Day after day.
Sometimes I really don’t know why, even questioning the futility of insurmountable athletic goals when I look at the endless, winding path ahead of me.
Then I realize that life can be hard and that I want to feel a little better about myself. So I do whatever I can to get my lazy ass up to do some push-ups, and squats, and oh, maybe a few minutes of shadow boxing to get those endorphins going before I enjoy some whisky with my dinner, and a smoke before bedtime.
This noble grind is perfectly imperfect.