Friends, let me give you a piece of advice: if you ever participate in a recreational sport with any regularly, DO NOT, under any circumstances, take three months off of said activity, for any reason. No, I don’t even care that you’re going to be out of town on a whirlwind tour of Eastern Europe, you’re committed to teaching a semester of High School at Sea, or your little house is picked up by a tornado and magically transported to the Wondrous Land of Oz. Whatever it is you think is more important than doing your sport thing, don’t take a break from the sport thing!
Why? Obviously because of the dying when you go back to the sports thing, duh.
Which is exactly what I did last night, when I resumed playing for my recreational hockey team. The team plays year ’round, one session for every season. For some silly reason, though, I figured that between little league baseball and summer vacations and you know, pool time or whatever, it was as obvious-as-the-nose-on-Cyrano’s face that taking the summer off made all of the sense.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Oh, the folly!
Oh, how I learned the error of my ways last night, when I took the ice for the first time since late spring. My return was not so much triumphant as it was full of panting, you know, with the gasping for air and the huffing-and-puffing of the Big Bad Wolf, except in a not-at-all threatening I’m-not-gonna-blow-your-anything-anywhere-because-I’ll-be-collapsing-momentarily kind of way.
Of course, if that wasn’t bad enough, there were only seven of us skating last night. For those of you not familiar with hockey, there are five skaters on the ice at any one time. And for reasons probably explainable only by smart-looking people with white lab coats and clipboards, ice skating wears you out faster than the DMV can sap one’s patience. So, for a team full of middle aged guys at various degrees of chunkiness, eight is really the minimum number you need to, you know, survive.
When I realized we’d be facing a short bench, I figured that’d be a good time for a little honest correspondence with myself.
You haven’t played hockey in three months, and you’re looking at having to skate like a crazy young person tonight, being short-handed and all. But you’ve been working out, right? For 3+ weeks you’ve been jogging and walking all over the neighborhood, so you should have some mad, fat stamina working for you at this point. Heck, you should be like halfway to fit here, so this 7-man bench is no sweat. Like not even as much sweat as one of those crazy ice bear guys who go swimming in the frozen lakes in the middle of winter.
Yeah, so get out there and rock it, Self!
Unfortunately, as it turns out, four weeks of Couch-to-5K is not quite what it takes to skate a full game a little short-handed. Which is a polite way to say that I might as well have been a traffic cone out on the ice last night. Or maybe a roadwork barrel. Well, let’s be honest, more like a concrete k-rail. That had been bolted into place.
I did mention how I, at one point, was attempting to breath all the air at once, right?
It’s what I get, of course, for being Mr. Smuggy McSmuggerson after getting my first workout of the week in early on Saturday in expectation of the Sunday night game. Obviously, then, I figured I’d have my pick of either Monday or Tuesday night to get run number 2 of the week done.
You know, because I’d totally be ready to rock two and half miles of jogging a day after skating like a 30 year-old, right?
There are three terms that come to mind now that I consider this plan in retrospect:
As my body aches and my legs have been rewarding me for my efforts with sting-y jolts of soreness every time I had to audacity to attempt to walk to the restroom today, it’s safe to assume that jog number 2 will be Tuesday night.
Which is why, as soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to settle into my recliner, and finish the evening watching the Bengals play not-so-awesomely against the Ravens. Well at least until I drift off into exhausted sleepytimes.
Which I fully expect in 3…2…1…zzzzzzzzzz
PS: I don’t regret a second of any of it, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s run.