Difficult Pleasures

June 18, 2004

In How to Read and Why Harold Bloom praises the "difficult pleasures" of great literature.

I thought about that this morning while I was taking the boys and the hound around the park. After walking for about a mile, I dumped the contents of my pockets into the stroller and jogged/ran the second mile. As I usually do when I run these days, I shifted gait and footstrike trying to find something that did not hurt my knees, concentrating on: short-strides, rearfoot strike; quick strides, forefoot strike; easy sprint strides, forefoot strike. The last was the easiest on my knees, the hardest on my wind. I am indeed out of shape.

Still, it was enough to remind me of one of my favorite difficult pleasures: quarter mile intervals on the track. I miss them. I have been unable to maintain a level of fitness where I can run quick hard quarter mile intervals; I keep overtraining or damaging my knees. As I continue to get older, I will have more and more trouble finding that level of fitness. And that hurts. Emotionally.

I like to think about having "transparent fitness" - being fit enough that I can engage in pleasurable activities without having to stop to think about whether my body can handle it. I have some of that - I don't think twice before mowing the lawn, playing in the garden, lifting the boys, or even moving boxes and furniture. But I am not transparent enough, because I can't go out and overdose on endorphins on the track.

Posted by Red Ted at June 18, 2004 07:35 AM | TrackBack