Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Smelling the Roses
At Columbia, "The Steps" are similar to "The Quad" at most colleges, or "The Gorges" at Cornell (possibly too soon for that one). It is a place people gather for a shared experience. Because I am a second-semester senior whose most irritating responsibility is to put on pants, I spend a lot of time on The Steps. In fact, if it continues being this beautiful, my time out in the Sun will make my complexion look like I attempted to pull off a Richard Pryor drug experience.
Anyway, the girls wear sundresses, the guys go shirtless, and our little campus in NYC really becomes a happy community. Yesterday, while sitting on the steps around 8:30, enjoying a cold beverage with friends, a Christian chorus sat behind us and began singing hymns. Aside from putting our lighters in the air for the Lord, it was a really amazing experience. Nothing summarizes college quite like going to the steps with a book (currently "Team of Rivals"--with my newly rekindled love for Abraham Lincoln and passionate admiration of Barack, the only way this book could be better is if it had a section of time-travel slash fiction), sitting down with the book on my lap, and getting through a single page before friends gather around.
Aside from that, training has been outstanding leading up to Nationals on April 24th. Yesterday morning I completed my final super-intense brick workout before the big day, with a 2h30min hard bike in Central Park (for those that know CP, 4 hardest laps in just under an hour) followed by an hour run (a friend described my running outfit as 'aggressively shirtless'--considering it was tri shorts and sunglasses, that is very accurate). I feel good; I am ready to go. I will talk about it more in the next couple weeks, but a quality performance in Richmond could hopefully lead to a top-5 finish. Which is good, because LADIES CANNOT RESIST THE BODIES OF OBSCURE ENDURANCE ATHLETES. My Nationals-ready physique makes me look like an extra in "Nightmare Before Christmas".
Enjoying a hard cider out on the steps after that workout, one thing is certain--life is amazing. I really didn't want to make this one of my serious, sentimental posts (see left sidebar for dick-joke free zone!), but sometimes it is really great to take a step back and appreciate just being alive. I wouldn't be surprised if 40 years from now, this particular moment in time will emerge nostalgically from my subconscious---by appreciating every second while it happens, I hope that nostalgia will manifest itself in a content smile rather than a wistful regret.