Live Each Day as Though it Were Your Last?

@postaday 318; #postaday2011.

Whenever I launch on my weekend bicycle rides, there is always a shadowy thought that I might die.

Isn’t that awful? Isn’t that so not positive? But riding a bicycle on Hawaii roads is a little on the dangerous side. Even falling all by myself would probably mean a bloody knee, and potentially broken, brittle, already osteoporosified bones. But there is joy in riding a bicycle. And my survival technique includes complete and full awareness. So I don’t plug into an iPod. I wear bright jerseys, and I wear bright arm sleeves. One set of arm sleeves is tie-dyed with yellows, reds, and oranges, and it really looks like road rash. But that’s OK. People NOTICE them, and they notice me.

Now I’m trying to find joy in running. I may never actually BE a runner, but I’m slowly training to run a #5kin100days. It’s interesting because this training program is based on times and not distance. So lately, I do more than a 5k when I’m doing this program, although more than half as of Saturday was walking. That was the peak of the walking, and now the running will gain percentage through the workout for the next seven weeks.

And then there’s the swimming. Monotonous, and I’m tempted to get a water-proof tunes system, but something keeps me from doing that.

Here’s the thing. If you’re plugged in to music while you’re riding a bicycle, walking-jogging-running your route, or doing an open-ocean swim or laps in a pool, then you’re not aware of your surroundings. Not only that, but you lose touch with your thoughts, your heartbeat, your breathing, your pace. Maybe that’s what you want. But if you want to really be honest with yourself about your level of fitness, you’d do it without tunes. It’s a crutch.

Maybe YOU can get into the zone while listening to tunes. I use my music when I’m suffering on the helliptical or dreadmill at 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai. But in the wild? I want to live.

This morning I nearly hit a woman crossing Kalanianaole Highway in the dark, NOT IN A CROSSWALK, in dark colors. I barely saw her. I laid down on the horn and because she was listening to music, she didn’t hear it at first. Good thing I’m a sharp driver who pays attention. Good thing my brakes worked. If either she or I had been 10 feet closer, she would have been on my hood, and that would have ruined the day for me, her, my carpool mate Carrie, the guy right behind me, and everyone else who counts on us. We were right at the Wailupe Fire Station when it happened.

Lately it seems that people who are working out, running, riding, jogging, walking, are not connecting with their surroundings. Maybe their checklist should include a last will and testament.