Once Upon a Time
I was driving to a meeting a couple of weeks ago when my cell phone rang. I clicked the button on my wireless headset, the one located right over my left collarbone, and the electronic voice in my ear said, “call answered.”
A Change of Plans
“Hi, this is James,” I said, keeping my eyes on the road. It was the person I was meeting, apologizing profusely for being late to our appointment. She would be, she lamented, 2 hours late, and she asked to postpone the meeting for another day. Feeling slightly irritated, I explained that I had already driven almost an hour to make our appointment, and, rather than drive all the way back, and then again on another day, I told her I would wait the two hours. A few more apologies later, we agreed to meet at the new time.
To Virtual Office We Go!
I always travel with my laptop and, thanks to 21st century technology, I can be in my virtual office anywhere with cell phone coverage in two minutes flat. So, after arriving to the designated town, I pulled off the highway, made a right turn at the end of the off-ramp, and wound up in the parking lot at a beach on the California coast. I stepped out of my car to get the laptop from the trunk, and the smell of the ocean invaded my nostrils, and the moist, cool breeze wafted over my body and made me forget that less than an hour’s drive away the heat was searing.
Invigorated, I walked the short distance to the edge of the parking lot where I got a view of the length of the beach from the vantage point of the top of a ridge raised up by centuries of wind-blown sand. The beach here is miles long, wide and rimmed on one side by the breaking waves, and on the other by sand dunes 4 stories high. Aside from a few people enjoying the view from the parking lot, I could see no one for a mile in either direction.
I walked back to my car, opened the trunk and looked at my sleek, black laptop and realized I was facing an opportunity – the chance to walk or run on a fabulous beach. I could spend my time sitting in my car looking at a pixilated screen, or I could move my body through the deep, loose sand while taking in the spectacle of the ocean meeting the land.
The Call Of The Wild
The pull of nature was strong, but my domesticated brain reminded me of what would be obvious to anyone that has had the wild thoroughly removed from them: I was not prepared for a run. I was prepared for, dressed for, a business meeting! Slacks, shoes, and a collared shirt are not workout, hiking or jogging gear. Disappointed, I thought I would have to settle for a couple of hours of laptop work. However, there is still a primal part of my self, a semi-dormant piece of me that, thanks to the writings of Bryan Ward at Third Way Man, has resurfaced to rescue me from total submission to civilization.
It was this part of me that yelled in my inner ear, “What the F#%$ are you doing? Take your shoes off, take your shirt off and, if it makes you feel better, fold it neatly in the back seat, tuck your socks in your shoes and place them neatly on the floor, and then go run on the sand in your bare feet!”
“So what if you sweat! So what if you smell!” Thus went the howling in my ear.
A Short Workout (Run - Walk - Run - Walk)
From the top of the parking lot dune, I took giant leaps down to the beach, the loose sand cushioning my landings. I felt like I was flying, until the ground leveled off and each stride started to feel like running through knee deep water.
Slowed down I thought quickly of several choices: continue at a jog or, start walking fast or, and this was my choice, run all out for 45 to 60 seconds, then walk at a moderate pace, and resume running once I caught my breath, after a minute or so.
If you’ve read some of my previous blogs, you’ll understand that I believe science shows the best results, especially for those of us over 40, comes from high intensity exercise at intervals of 40-60 seconds followed by rest periods of 1-2 minutes. Total workout time, at this high intensity, should not exceed 45 minutes, and, typically should be around 20-30 minutes.
My impromptu workout was both difficult and exhilarating. Between sprints I enjoyed watching the waves, and the snowy plovers, and the seagulls. During my dashes, all I could focus on was the sand gliding below my feet.
The last part of my run was the hardest – an all-out assault to the top of the ridge and back to the parking lot. Starting a few yards on the flat part of the beach, I picked up as much momentum as I could before the steep rise at the base of the ridge. That momentum was gone after two strides as each lunge upward ended with a backslide almost as large. Refusing to quit, I increased my pace and made it up the ridge at what seemed a glacial pace. I crested the ridge as my heart felt it would come out of my chest and my breath taxed the capacity of my chest to the limit.
And that was it. I could have died a happy man at that point. Exhilarated, I let the hot sun and the cool breeze dry my sweat off as my breath and heartbeat returned to normal.
I spent the next hour doing some work and, occasionally looking out the front windshield at the breakers and, in the distance, some fishing boats. Afterwards, I went to my meeting, still floating about 6 inches off the ground on my endorphin high.
Here's The Lesson
The lesson for me and the learning I impart to you is:
Be on the lookout for unforeseen opportunities to train.
My schedule is busy, as I’m sure yours is. How we spend our time becomes the story of our lives. We all have to make a living some how and what you do for a living is important. It helps if you enjoy your work. But, you have so much less if you don’t have your health. Health, good health, requires continuous investment, so, like taking your spare change and putting into the piggy bank, small investments, over time, can make a tremendous difference.
Look for opportunities to invest in your health piggy bank. Even 5 or 10 minutes of exercise can make a difference. Don’t’ think so? Think again – read this report .
The Incredible 9.5 Minute Workout
I have developed a short workout routine called “The Incredible 9.5 Minute Workout”. I developed it for myself because I wanted to be able to get a great workout in less than 10 minutes, without a gym, or weights or even any space. I wanted to be able to do a really intense, short workout, in the space between a desk and a chair. If you find you have some spare time, this workout is a great investment in your health. And it’s free. To get it click HERE.