Thursday, August 28, 2014

Artistic Living is Relative

 “We don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't the fish.”
~ Marshall McLuhan

A month ago I completed a Half Ironman Triathlon.  This was the third triathlon this summer, the other two of shorter lengths (Sprint and Olympic respectively). Those who don't linger in the triathlon world, the Half Ironman is a bit of an undertaking. A 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and a 13 mile run back-to-back like three acts in a 5-7 hour play.

Transitioning from a 51 degree swim to the bike portion of the
Sourdough Triathlon (Half-Ironman).
Over the past two years, I've gradually traded in my ballet shoes for running shoes; then bike  shoes and added a wetsuit to my collection.  Before I knew it athletics consumed my life. Artistic endeavors came to a complete halt as competing became my focus.  It was like meeting a whole other side of my personality.

Then I injured myself. A pain in my knee after the Sourdough Tri Half took me out for a full week. By the second week I could bike and swim. By the third I was sort of running.  This week I can sorta run a little better. Physically, it's taken its toll, but mentally and emotionally it's left me in crisis. If I can't be an athlete to the extent I want, then what can I be?

In a time of crisis I knit.  Well, first I overeat until I acknowledge that a real emotional problem exists.  Then I knit. Something about concentrating on the knit/purl, row/pattern counting of it all relaxes my mind.  Productive meditation, I guess. In this case, it doubled as a way to make me sit down while I recovered from injury. It also reminded me that deep down, no matter how many miles I swim, bike, and run, or the number of competitions I enter, I am still an artist at heart.

And so that's been my last week.  Yeah, I'm running and swimming. I'll bike this weekend for sure. But in between I've been busy with websites, flyers, event tickets, and photography.  And when I'm not, I'm still finding other creative outlets related to athletics. Tweaked out recipes, gnarly fashion statements that keep my body temperature sane, or scoping out new scenic routes to train on. It's subtle and calculated, and highly reflective of my life at this time.

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