Life is a ride. Remember?

Somewhere along the line, I read this essay by a Zen master who liked to call out to himself and answer, “Yes?” I’ve always liked that. I don’t think I’ve gotten the hang of it yet, as my responses border between timid and Two-Kegger Boisterous. Maybe it’s one of those things that you spend your whole life practicing, and then, just when you get and you know you’ve gotten it, you’re enlightened and get whisked off to the Holy Buddha Milkshakery.

But it’s a good way to remind myself to pay attention, and to keep starting over. Every day is chapter one, every line is a first line, every moment is a chance to get it right. Right? Right.

So, two weeks ago, I was doing this thing, and now I’m not. I don’t define my life by the workout sheets or measures of calories or the number of icebags down my trousers. It’s been a good two weeks of unwinding, doing next to nothing (one yoga session that likely threw my neck out of whack, and a pilates class that probably finished things off). I’ve also probably gained back some of the poundage I burned away, which is also probably good.

But it’s time to turn on the focus again, to call out to myself to see if I’m paying attention. See, I made a deal with myself on the road home from Reporoa: I would get through this day with a finisher’s shirt and medal and a mighty run across the finish line, and then I would move on to writing, cooking and gardening. I tried today, and failed miserably.

And then I reminded myself that not everything on the road to Taupo went right early on. First you crawl, then you walk, and then you run. I tried to run today, when I should just pay attention to how my feet touch the ground. And I felt like crap for not getting right into everything, but you know what? That was today, and it’s done. Tomorrow is a fresh start, and I just have to keep putting one word after another, one plant after another, one step after another. That’s the lesson from Ironman: keep moving forward.

And now I’m moving forward to bed. Tomorrow is chapter one.