27 April 2013

My 3 Rs

It's April, and I just got in from my first group ride of the season. Being a full-time student, I've found, has not left a lot of time for some of the more ambitious exercise I enjoy. That, I believe, is about to change. Thanks to the 3 "Rs" that will shape my summer:


READING This week I received approval to write a thesis for the M.A. in Historical Theology. Already my stack of books for that work is impressive. I'll have to post it before some go back to the library.

RIDING Cycling is my body's love language. So, many people have assumed that my academic hiatus (my self-funded sabbatical, my season of unemployment) has meant lots of riding. Not so! But now that my semester is winding down (two more days of classes; one essay due; one independent study paper due; one final exam) I can see where the bike fits back into my life.

RUNNING I started running four years ago, made a little splash in a local 5k event that I admire so much (the only organized 5k I've run; and I commend it!), and completed two marathons. Well, technically one marathon in two successive years. For two years my "running calendar" has been empty; I've casually kept up the exercise but intentionally kept down the distance. But now I am registered for my first event in two years, which is also my first trail run.

Why these 3 Rs? Well, for the 3 Ws, of course!

Reading is the prelude to Writing. Over the next four months I'll be working on my thesis. If you are a glutton for punishment, or just want to feel superior about the way you live your life, you can track that at my other blog: Te decet hymnus. I love to write, and a thesis (I didn't know it would be this thesis) is why I returned to grad school in the first place.

Running is the means of my Weight control. Especially in these rather full days of reading and writing, a 30-minute run is an easy, quick break, and a much more effective calorie burn than cycling. I've had to watch my weight all my adult life (and should have earlier!) so it's nice to have something I enjoy that has such a direct impact on that.

But Riding is the key to my Well-being. I experienced it again this morning. After weeks of being off the bike - I took it off the trainer, put it in the garage, then got busy with other things - I felt what I feel every year: "This is where I belong." It's uncanny, really. You may know the line from "Chariot's of Fire," where Eric Liddel tells his father, "When I run, I feel the pleasure of God." Well, I won't claim to feel the pleasure of God, but I do feel that he built me for this particular pleasure. Man, I love to be on a bike!

In fact, it is not far-fetched to say that Riding will be the carrot for my Writing this summer, the reward I give myself for hitting certain daily goals. If I see you on the roads, think twice before asking me about my thesis . . . unless we're on a really long ride.

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