Prince or Mat Fraser?

Raspberry beret…
The kind you find in a second hand store
Raspberry beret…
And when it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more

Twenty-five minutes. Almost non-stop. Raspberry Beret–Prince’s 1985 hit. Not the whole song, just the chorus. My mind is supposed to be clear, blank. Meditating. Not matching my gait to a pop song. I’m out for my fitness walk, the weather sucks, I’m the only person I see.

“Whoa” you say. “Walk? I thought you were supposed to be some big runner.”

I was, fourteen months ago. Overuse injury, I took a long break. And when I started up again I had trouble with cramping in my right calf. Running’s off limits. I’m riding a spin bike… and walking.

Today is snowy, but just a dusting. A couple hours to the east they got the bomb-cyclone. I’m not making this up. Not only do they now give a person’s name to every storm with more than a quarter inch of participation, but they’re also inventing new types of storms, as well. Today’s storm was a bomb-cyclone. They named it Grayson.

Yesterday was cold. Five degrees. This was better for meditation. Step, ouch my toes hurt. Step, ouch my toes hurt. It was my mantra. I was too preoccupied with numbness to sing any songs. I was the only person out walking yesterday too.

As a family, we gave ourselves a spin bike for Christmas. I set it up in an out of the way corner of our house in front of a small smart-TV. Here’s my plan: as I exercise, I’ll binge-watch all the shows everyone talks about, but I’ve never seen—the Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones. I started with Stranger Things, but the sound was all screwed-up and I could follow the plot. So instead, I watched a documentary on the 2015 CrossFit Games. CrossFit is a chain of gyms. Each year, they hold a competition to see which CrossFitter is the fittest in the world.

It took me four sessions on the bike to watch the whole thing. I’m sure this seems weird, watching a documentary about people exercising while I’m actually exercising. Maybe, but it was really motivating. When I got off the bike each day, I wanted to do push-ups, sit-ups and squats. I’m sort of bummed that I finished it.

This morning, when I wasn’t singing Raspberry Beret, I was thinking about the CrossFit Games. The guy who came in second place, Mat Fraser, was a miserable soul. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a clear display of poor sportsmanship in my life. He railed about his poor performance in every scene. The winner of the losers. That’s what he called second place, although he threw-in six or eight F-bombs as he said it.

Mat showed zero gratitude for his fitness, for his almost-win. He’s the second fittest person in the world, but all he could muster was disdain and disappointment in himself. I was envious of his achievements. My longest run in the past fourteen months has been four miles, and even that distance hobbles me.

It occurs to me that, like Mat, I’ve probably been whining a bit myself when I talk about my fitness, my exercise—although I do it without the F-bombs. I’m suddenly seeing things differently. I’m feeling some gratitude. I’m exceptionally fit for a guy in his mid-fifties. I never get sick. I have the motivation to get out and exercise even when the weather keeps all the sane people inside. I have a spin bike and a smart-TV and a family that gives me the time I need to get my blood moving.

I thought I was going to write about Prince today, but really I’m writing a thank you note to Mat Fraser. In my senior-level business management class in college, the instructor told us everyone has redeeming qualities—at the very least, they can serve as a bad example. Clearly, I needed this example. Today, I feel better about myself than I have in months.

I read on the internet that Mat went on to win the 2016 CrossFit Games. I hope he’s able to give himself some peace now.

12 thoughts on “Prince or Mat Fraser?

  1. Winter Storm “Grayson” left 10-15 inches up here. Plus temps this coming weekend of -5 to -10.

    When I hike in the woods (my principal exercise mode) or use an elliptical I use podcasts. I try (unsuccessfully, often) to watch some of the interesting shows that my kids tell me about. I don’t “binge watch” very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I see a similar phenomenon on American Ninja Warrior. Some of the contestants are congenial, while others are obnoxious. I don’t enjoy the antics of people with poor sportsmanship.

    I like the idea of owning a spin bike. I have a CycleOps Trainer so I can ride my road bike indoors while the snow and temperature falls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed this post, Jeff. As I nurse a few aches and pains and sometimes get discouraged by the decline in physical ability that comes with age, you reminded me that I am grateful for my over-all good health. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy new year to you. It gets hard to look on the bright side when things aren’t going perfectly. In my Molly days, I tried Gratitude journaling but got quickly bored with it. I much prefer trying to find something positive while story-telling.


  4. I always try to go into a store through the out door, just so I can sing the song line in my head. I like what your instructor told you and how you applied it to Mat Fraser. And appreciating your good fitness, even though you are frustrated. Also – I just binge watched Stranger Things and am halfway through the Walking Dead. Both are great. And I too spend my time on my treadmill watching documentaries. The Barkley Marathons and Finding Traction are a couple I have watched recently that I have enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So far it’s going really well. It;s lunchtime, and my wife, daughter and I have all ridden it today. It’s so easy to do (like going for a walk) but it’s single digits outside.


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