On rediscovering my über

Call me sentimental, but I’m the kind of guy that believes that everyone – every single last soul – has a little über in ’em somewhere.

You know what I mean, right? It’s-lashing-monsoon-rain, your-shoes-are-full-of-tidal-slush-but-Ride of the Valkyries-is-booming-in-your-skull-and-you’re-damn-well-going-to-knock-down-that-last-hundred-meters über. You’ve-been-up-for-two-days-putting-the-project-to-bed-but-you’re-hellbent-on-shutting-the-club-down über. She’s-never-looked-twice-at-you-but-there’s-not-a-chance-in-hell-you’re-leaving-work-tonight-without-getting-her-number über. Yeah, you know what I mean.

Everybody’s got their own personal flavor of über, of course. I’m no different. Trouble is, I haven’t seen mine for awhile. Too busy writing a book, building a practice, developing a curriculum, flying from hither to yon. It’s all rewarding, but it leaves precious little time to…to kick my own ass, I guess, is the best way to put it.

Today I woke up and decided on the spot that I’m tired of being soft, I’m tired of being overfed, and I’m tired of letting mi vida loca provide me with manifestly “reasonable” excuses for a sundered acquaintance with my own body. I used to be fairly hardcore, after my own pencil-neck fashion, but those days feel like they’re dwindling in the rearview even as we speak. This state of affairs, it hardly bears saying, is suddenly striking me as but-thoroughly UNSAT.

I took two concrete steps. On my buddy James’s recommendation, I went over to Crossfit NYC, thinking I’d see what they’re all about. Turns out that one of the partners in the studio is a great guy named Court Wing I knew like fifteen years ago, when I worked an espresso concession inside Seattle’s Scarecrow Video. In all honesty, I hadn’t thought about Court through all those years until last week, when I (somewhat uncannily, it now seems) wondered what he was up to, more or less out of nowhere. Crossfit bills itself as a “hostile workout environment” – between that and the oddball coincidence of running into Court, this is all the confirmation I need that I am in the right place. The über, yes, is strong here.

Three hours later, at Fahey‘s behest, I registered for this Prospect Park duathlon. I used to do Bay to Breakers and Philadelphia Distance Run fairly regularly, to say nothing of all the running I was doing in the Army. But by now it’s been, oh, say eight years since I’ve run any kind of race at all. [How could I forget the 10K around the Imperial Palace I knocked down with Raye, summer of 2003?]

This should be good: I’m almost certainly an even match for anyone in my age group on the run, but bikewise I’ve got only the one speed to my name. And if competing on that basis doesn’t kickstart me into something resembling high gear, no pun intended, then something is truly amiss.

Oh, hell yeah. Even thinking about it feels great. So this is how one goes about getting one’s fugitive über back.

8 responses to “On rediscovering my über”

  1. mikepop says :

    If you need some extra competitive biking motivation, come join the Metafilter group at We Endure :)


  2. Josh Ellis says :

    My friend Alex calls this “turning pro”; it’s the moment when you stop being Bruce Wayne and start being Batman. :-)

    I need to do it too. I’m working towards it. (I’ve lost 40 pounds, and two shirt and pant sizes in the past six months, so I’m getting there.)

    Good luck, man!

  3. padawan says :

    Bien mon ami, bien :-)

  4. Christopher Fahey says :

    Some call it über, some call it mojo… I like to call it good old fashioned ch’i. I feel great just about having signed up for the race, and it’s a huge deal for me that I’m not going out and doing this alone. It’s amazing how great it feels to have (a) a target in front of you, only a week and a half out, and (b) at least one person who will give you endless grief (as I assume you will) if I bail.

    And dude, if you’ve got the flow go out and buy a bike with gears. I don’t want to be granting you a time handicap or to have you claim gearlessness as a post-defeat excuse ;-) … and I certainly don’t want to handicap myself by keeping my old 18-speed steel horse locked in one gear.

  5. speedbird says :

    Now where on earth would I put another bike? We live in, like, umpty square feet. Naw, son: you will know me by my trail…ing behind all the riders with multiple gears. : . )

  6. speedbird says :

    Oh, also, mikepop, I just joined up at We Endure. Looks like a good crowd, hooah.

  7. Ellen Greenfield says :

    It’s about time! I am doing two races in September, both 10k’s. When is your event?

    Love Mom

  8. speedbird says :

    Tomorrow! : . )

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