Clean. Neat. Orderly. At least this is how I look when I’m just beginning a workout. I don’t really put any effort into my appearance but I do try to ensure everything is more or less in place with my long hair pulled back and out of my face. I need to make sure I put my clothes on correctly so nothing constrains, rubs or snags. My heart rate monitor strap needs to be tight enough. And I need to go down the rest of my mental checklist: Sunscreen? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Hydration? Check. CLIF Shot? Check. Road ID? Check. Garmin watch? Check. I don’t want to have to worry about any of this once I begin my workout. I don’t want to have to stop to adjust my heart rate strap or tighten my shoe laces. Once I start running, cycling or swimming I want to be able to focus only on my body and what it needs to do for the next one to three or so hours. I want to focus on properly stretching and warming — waking — up my muscles, mind and spirit. I want to focus on entering into my zone, listening to my breathing, feeling my heart pound, improving my technique, hammering out the assigned drills and experiencing my special connection with Noah.
Once I’m warmed up and feeling the onset of entering the zone, It begins. Moisture begins to seep through my skin. My body starts perspiring. Usually my head becomes damp first but sometimes I feel beads of sweat forming on my back. And then that first bead rolls from my scalp down my cheek (or sometimes my back). Sometimes it’ll linger for a second or two on my chin and sometimes it drops directly onto my bike or the ground. After that first drop a storm of these beads quickly build up all over me. Sweat pours out of me for most of my workout.
While riding indoors the other day I realized I really look forward to that first drop. It’s almost like a mini-phase I’m eager to reach during every workout. While I’m grateful for the physiological reasons that my body can perspire, I think I look forward to these first few drops for mainly cathartic reasons. I feel as though I’ve begun to cleanse my entire body. This sounds silly when one thinks about the real purpose of perspiration and the ill odor it creates. But sweating during a training session is a catharsis for me. I feel like I’m giving my body, mind and spirit a deep cleaning — a scrubbing if you will — every time.
Once I’ve completed my workout I’m usually soaked with sweat dripping almost everywhere. I’m exhausted and flat-out disgusting with that ill-odor, clothes drenched, remnants of an energy gel somewhere on my face or hands (and its used packaging stashed somewhere in my clothes), bits of snot on my sleeves and most likely around my nose, and specks of dirt on my legs and shoes. None of this matters because at the end of my training session my spirit, mind and body feel deeply cleansed.
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