Sometimes, You Just Have to Fall

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I recognize the importance of exercise. I’ve read articles about runners who use it as a place to find clarity. They run to find their strength. Like a healthy breakfast, they use running to help them become smarter, energetic, and productive people.

As for me? I hate running. A lot.

It’s not because I don’t want the benefits that come from doing it. I know that people are happiest when they’re doing things that require some amount of concentration and the pain and struggle brings people satisfaction when they have managed to complete their goal. My wife runs and I see the positive effects it has on her. I hate running because I can’t get past the whole “out-of-breathy-thing”. I’m also not a fan of the shock of my feet thudding on the pavement and being hot kind of sucks.

Instead, I ride a bicycle. There’s no pavement thudding, I don’t have to be completely out of breath the entire time, and keeping a good pace keeps me cool. I enjoy riding because I struggle with turning my brain off. I always feel like I need to be doing something productive and I will push myself too hard. Ironically, this causes me to become less productive. By 2:00 in the afternoon, I’ll find myself staring at my task list, eyes glazed over, just trying to give myself the will to move my mouse. I find that if I ride my bike in the morning I may not begin working until 9:00 AM, but I can plow right through my 2:00 shut-down.

What I envy about the runner is the extreme portability they have. 1 pair of shoes and they’re off to the races. I, on the other hand have to attach my bike mount, mount my bike, pump up my tires, gather up my helmet and other gear, drive, unload the bike, attach my helmet…you get the idea. All of this lead me to getting these:

Land Rollers. On a trail. At a park. When everyone in town is watching a baseball game. Yes. I’m getting looked at.

— Alex Standiford (@AlexStandiford) June 19, 2015

Enter The Land Roller

I bought a pair of Land Rollers, because the side-action design allowed the wheel diameter to be much bigger. This creates a much smoother ride on trails. Think about it: they’re portable, low maintenance, and avoid all of the undesired aspects of running. They’re challenging, a little scary, and a lot of fun. Or so I thought. It turns out I’m not as good at roller blading as I was when I was 10 years old, idolizing Brink. The first time I took these blades out, I foolishly believed that I would be experienced enough to ride on a hilly trail. Luckily, I never made it up the first hill, unfortunately that’s because I kept falling. I fell 3 times that day before I finally took the blades off, drove home, and tended to my myriad of wounds. I was frustrated. My experience was nothing like what I envisioned it would be and I nearly returned them. I ended up keeping them, partially because I wasn’t ready to give up, but mostly because I never got around to it. The Land Rollers sat in my basement for a full year before I used them again.

I fell, A Lot.

I began my freelance career in June. Like many who work from home, it wasn’t long before I got tired of never leaving my house. My desire to go do something active grew until I finally caved. I had to go do something right now. I couldn’t stare at my PC any more. Since running isn’t an option, everyone I knew was at work, and my bicycle needs some serious attention before it is ride-able, I decided to give the land rollers one more shot. I took them on a smoother, flatter path this time around, and had a lot more success in my ride. I went 2 miles and didn’t even stumble. I now visit this trail a few days a week on my Land Rollers and everything was going great until yesterday morning. There are a few bumps on the road and instead of rolling over them I tried to step over them. This caused me to lose my balance. I knew I was going to fall, so I quickly abandoned any hope of recovering from that, I switched from recovery mode to damage control mode, and stumbled toward the grass on the side of the trail. The moment my wheel came in contact with the muddy ground I went down. I tucked, rolled, and came right back up. My body hit soft grass and mud instead of hard gritty pavement and I walked away unscathed. I kept right on going, a little embarrassed, but hardly missing a beat.

Hit a bump in the road today on my rollerblades. I fell, but was able to recover because I fell in the grass, and rolled with the fall.

— Alex Standiford (@AlexStandiford) June 29, 2015

Sometimes Life Is About Falling Better

Working on a project is a lot like rollerblading. Some people are really good at it, some are not, but everyone is at risk of losing their balance at any time. Sometimes you won’t see the bumps in the road until it’s too late.  In the instant that we begin to stumble, our ego screams DON’T FALL! It tells us don’t fall. You can’t fail. Failure shows weakness. Before you know it, you’re flailing, skittering in your skates, and trying to regain balance. With every panicked step your center of gravity is thrown off until you inevitably fall hard and out of control on the unforgiving pavement. If you can recognize when you need to fall you can adjust yourself to make the fall painless and quick. Ignore your ego. Know when to fall, accept the fall, and do it effectively. You’ll be up and running before you know it. Or in my case, rollerblading.

I went rollerblading for 4 miles yesterday. Guess what part of my body is sore? If you guessed my back, you’d be correct.

— Alex Standiford (@AlexStandiford) June 30, 2015