Fake Keanu Reeves: “I know kung fu.”

Fake Alex Trebek: “No, you don’t.”

Celebrity Jeopardy, Saturday Night Live

I think we can all relate to Joe Pantoliano’s character, Cypher, in the Matrix. It’s tempting to live in a world where that steak tastes real, even if it isn’t. Just don’t break my illusion, and let me believe it anyway, and I’ll be happy. If those sequels didn’t suck so badly, that franchise might have been on to something. Unfortunately, they chose the red pill (or was it the blue?), and went for effects over story. George Lucas called, he wants his signature trick back.

I had a point here, somewhere. Oh yes – I know kung fu. I wish it were that easy. Just plug a program into a port in your head, and you absorb knowledge. No need for lessons, practice, discipline, you just know it.

Kung fu doesn’t work that way, it’s complicated. Even something simple like running doesn’t work that way. Just because you can do something one day, doesn’t mean that if you de-train, you will be able to pick it back up later at the point where you left it.

I learned that the hard way this past August. I had signed up for a 5k swim with a generous cutoff time, that accounted for even my terrible stroke form that makes me a very slow, if tenacious, swimmer. When I signed up for it, I probably could have done it. But my lack of any training in July, and painfully slow catch-up in August caught up with me. I didn’t have it in me on August 27.

Today I ran outside for the first time since the Doughboy 5168. I had a short, awful, treadmill session 2 days ago, and ran a mile on the indoor track yesterday with Olivia, to get her ready for the Mickey Mile. (She did a 13minute mile sprint-walk-sprint-walk). Today I hit the road for 3.4 miles and ended with a 15:50 pace. That’s far better than a year ago, but not even close to my progress a month ago.

Luckily there is this thing called muscle memory. I’ve heard of it, but my experiences with it are mixed. There must be short term memories and long term memories, like there are slow twitch fibers and fast twitch fibers. One of those is great for weightlifting, one is a yin-yang of helpful advice and snarky sarcasm on the internet.

My long term muscle memory is what kept me on my feet and actually finishing without losing my breath. But my short term muscle memory is like a goldfish that went on spring break. No idea that we’ve ever done this before.

Six weeks and two days. No more two week breaks. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and a “real run.” That and Muppets.



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