Friday, May 27, 2011

Flex This Muscle

What are these people lining up for at 9:59 this morning? An event so important that they would congregate in ever-increasing numbers in this lobby? It's something that makes where I live pretty interesting, as smallish cities go.

There are three things that really distinguish my little city from any other in the U.S. of A. Things that make us completely unique. Firstly, we are known as "Track Town USA", we host the Olympic trials, the stadium at world-famous Hayward Field fills up for track meets, and one can be passed by an Olympian or world-class runner at any given time while jogging on our wonderful running trails.

Secondly, we are the only mid-size town to consistently make it into Kryptonite Lock's Top 10 Worst Cities for Bicycle Theft list year after year. All the other cities on the list are big places like NYC and LA. I'd like to think that this is because we have a LOT of people who ride bikes here, and also because we're known to be a pretty tolerant city for homeless people (and come to think of it, I have seen a park hobo riding a carbon fiber framed triathlon bike, with the aerobars turned upwards as if they were tall handlebars). Probably the fact that we have a lot of meth labs here also factors in.

But finally, the answer to the question about all of the people lining up is that we have the highest per capita library use in the country. Yes, that mob are all queued up to enter the library at its 10:00 a.m. opening time this morning. We Eugeneans collectively check out over 10,000 items a day from our library (and with just over 130,000 people, that's a lot over the course of a year!)

So often on athletic blogs we talk about training and nutrition and building muscle and gaining endurance, we sort of leave the brain right out of the equation. But it's important to strike a balance. The other day, a serious triathlete friend of mine said she had been training so hard in the last twelve months that she hadn't read one book all year. One Book. All Year! Wow, that just boggled my mind. I mean, I totally understand. Because you have X amount of hours of free time when you're a mom and you're working and cooking dinners and doing laundry and trying to fit time in to train sometimes eats up everything you've got available.

BUT, I think we also have to make the grey matter upstairs a priority too. When we neglect part of ourself, whether it's our intellectual selves, our spiritual selves, or our physical selves, we become lopsided and out of sync. We need to occasionally just skip that run and sit down with a good book. Or turn off that alarm and lie in bed and pray or meditate or somehow center our spiritual selves. Uni-dimensionality is something that I think as athletes we have to become aware of and actively work to counter.

So if it's been too long since you played a board game, read a book, or did a crossword puzzle, maybe it's a good day to make time for it.

You know, looking at that photo, I noticed one more interesting thing about my city. Despite the figures that 68% of Americans are obese, with 35% being obese, my city is overwhelmingly not. Perhaps it's all that bike riding to the library?

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