My life, and therefor my messages, have felt a bit heavy recently. In an effort to resurrect some of my joy and playfulness, I have decided to do a blog series about bodily functions. And let’s be real— summer in WI means that no one wants to spend extra time on screens reading millions of words from yours truly. So, I hope you enjoy this series of short, light messages.
I must admit, this was mostly inspired by this funny text I received from a great friend a few days ago: “…our bodies are so fluid-y. A lot of weird, gross stuff comes out of everyone. Constantly. Pee, poop, barf, oil, sweat, snot, semen, discharge, saliva, blood, chunks of uterine lining, eye boogers, earwax, boogers, zits… it’s gross. And kinda cool. And then gross again.”
Hold up. Please don’t quickly navigate away from what you may perceive as a clearly-not-for-you message. As promised, I will keep it light, while still giving some meaning for you to consider. And, I absolutely will not be covering all that my friend mentioned. Stay with me.
I thought I would start with my personal most gag-worthy bodily fluid, one that is a big part of endurance sports training and racing: saliva.
Allergy season is pretty hard for triathletes, especially while running. We are constantly trying to figure out the perfect drug and inhaler cocktail that will allow us to have full breathing capacity. At the same time, we are plagued with constant sniffing, eye itching, fatigue, and nose blowing. Everything feels so drippy. It’s not only gross, but can be quite frustrating. Especially when you haven’t mastered farmer blows. 😉
The other day while out on a tough fartlek run, I experienced one of those moments where extreme heavy breathing involuntarily forced a bunch of saliva out of my mouth. I quickly slowed down, and used my shirt to wipe around my mouth. Still not satisfied with the potential of grossness on display, I slowed to a walk in order to wipe my entire face.
I restarted my interval after my training standard of beauty was reinstated (but, in all honesty— if you know me, this standard is not high). When my brain fired up to full functioning again during a rest period, I reflected on my need to pause my effort in order to ensure that other exercisers did not see the horrific visual result of my heavy breathing if they passed by.
This most definitely was not and will not be my first rodeo with this, and I know I am not alone. In addition to being around the endurance world for a long time, I have also spent many years spectating track meets. I have seen the result of many young people who suffered from this same exact result of hard work. And, as an honest human— these loogies on display cause most of us to look away as they approach the finish line. But, as I considered how I trumped my physical training moment with one of quick vanity, I marveled at the willingness of these kids to literally put it all out there. To be so driven toward success in a moment, that it is not even an option to lift a hand away from the hard arm pumping motion that comes with running fast.
I can’t promise you that you will see me running down the road with streaks of saliva smeared across my face. But, I am truly inspired by these young runners’ commitment to the accomplishing the task at hand. It makes me more curious about if/how I can focus more deeply when training gets tough. I wonder if I can connect further to my competitiveness, in myself, and with others.
So, my message for today: Be brave enough to fully commit. Be grounded. Focused. Digging deeper. (Even if the consequence is sometimes a little gross in the moment).
Spittle is temporary. PRs are much longer lasting.