December 18, 2012

Time Off or Time Missed?

I've had a lot of free time today, and will have plenty more in the coming days. One of the biggest perks of my job is that I get a week's paid time off, twice a year. It's a boon that nary a barista receives, and I'm duly grateful for it. But as I sit here, I can't help but wish I had eight hours of my day spoken for. I can't help but wish I had milk to steam, shots to pull, floors to sweep, shit to do.

My last break was spent trying to log a 100 mile week, for no reason other than to see if I could do it. In the running community, a 100 mile week is legitimately high training volume - far too high, truthfully, for someone of my talent and experience. (My usual volume is between 45-70 miles, depending on numerous factors.) But given my lack of anything else to do, it proved easy enough. 100 miles, over the course of 7 days, averages out to 14 miles a day. This might sound like a lot, but it's worth remembering that I could run 2-3 times a day, and take smaller, more frequent bites at the apple. (This is what elite runners tend to do. Keep in mind, also, that they cover miles much faster than me.) I got it done, and my legs didn't even fall off. Although I hadn't done anything truly noteworthy, there was a definite sense of accomplishment waiting at my driveway, as I loped to the imagined finish line. The week had been productive, even if no sane person would agree.

But remember that whole foot thing? You probably do, since I won't stop writing about it. Well, it still can't stomach running one mile, never mind 100. In 2-3 weeks I can "ease back in to it" (so says the doctor) - but not yet. For now, I'm (still) ellipticaling (spellcheck says this is not a word but dammit, there needs to be a verb form) and lifting (pathetically light weights).

In other words: It is Tuesday. I will not make coffee again for a week. I will not run again for several weeks.

So, I've spent most of today watching videos of other people making coffee and other people running. These are beautifully shot, featuring world class baristas/runners doing what they do. It is damn near pornographic. Watching the videos, my brain swims with ideas and inspiration. I imagine that I'm pulling those shots, or that it's me rocketing up a technical 20% grade. I go to bed and dream of tamping techniques and Killian Jornet. (But not like that. And not at the same time.)

And then I wake up and my foot hurts and it's 6 A.M. and I don't have anywhere to go and the only coffee I have to make is for myself and fuck, now what?

Deep breath.

This is a good thing. I keep telling myself that, and I even sort of believe it. There are cleaning things to do, books to read, and even cooking to experiment with. And there is still the gym, providing me with a means to elevate my heartrate and cling to (and perhaps even build) some fitness.

Those are a few of the things I have, and they are good. Really. But even those two massive things I lack are not suddenly negatives, just by their absence. I will tamp again very soon, and run again not too long after that. I will return to them with a renewed vigor and an absolute conviction that yes, these are the things I want to spend my time on.

It is a beautiful and lucky thing that I have hobbies that inspire me - and I'm even paid to do one of them. To bemoan the fact that I am deprived of both for a relatively short amount of time misses both that perspective, and of course the fact that I'm getting paid to do nothing.

So yeah, it's all good.

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