Don’t Think, Just Jump

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Don’t Think, Just Jump. Photo by Pete Waterman (whoispete.com)

I just had the best solo training session I’ve had in a long time. It was the same old story… I was exhausted from a long day at work, and I was frustrated because my shoulder’s been injured which has limited my training quite a bit lately. I got home from work and immediately ditched my work dress, jewelry, and ballet flats for a pair of joggers, a sports bra, and my trainers. I felt better already.

I had no food at home and I usually walked through a park on my way to the supermarket, so I decided I’d stop and play for a bit as I went to get some dinner. I grabbed my backpack and headed out the door, putting on my headphones, letting myself get lost in the music and the simple rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement.

The light turned green and I ran across the crosswalk, putting more force into my steps as I neared the other side and went for the running precision from a fat white stripe to the curb in front of me. I felt better with every step.

I ran around the park, forwards, backwards, and side to side, my feet matching the beat as they struck the stone pathway. Lindsey Stirling’s violin-infused electronic beats pulsed through me as I went skipping, dancing, and spinning in circles along the stone walls, walkways and handrails.

I traversed the stone walls throughout the park, tic-tac-ing my way up to another wall, striding the gaps between them, balancing down handrails and leaping to the next wall. Finally, I came to a stop in front of a jump that was just big enough to make me hesitate. I almost got down but I felt that I could do it. I took a deep breath and jumped.

My feet touched down perfectly on the edge as I bent my knees to absorb the impact. I felt triumphant.

I continued my run, nearing the edge of the park where I had recently spotted a jump I wanted to try. This jump is a little far for me, it’s at a weird angle, and it is also a pretty big drop. I knew I’d have to work up to it mentally.

I ran up to the jump and felt strongly that I was capable of doing it, but I wasn’t 100% ready yet. I walked to another end of the same wall where the jump had all of the same obstacles as above, but it was less of a weird angle, making it a little cleaner and shorter.

I stood there, staring down at the wall below me, wondering why I was so afraid. I squatted down. The fear eased up a bit. I stood up. It got scary again. I repeated this exercise over and over again. Finally, I went for it. It was a horrible landing and I had to sort of catch myself with one arm as I landed, but I was glad I did it. Okay, that’s an understatement. I was ecstatic that I did  it. It meant more to me that I had made the attempt than anything else. The next hurdle would be landing it properly.

I started walking away from the park, feeling tired and accomplished for the night, but then I turned around. I wanted to try again.

I went back and repeated that fun stand up-squat-stare at wall-stand up-squat-stare at wall exercise. A stranger walked by and said something to me, pulling me out of my trance. I then felt distracted. I felt off. My thoughts started racing.

Now he’s watching me. I don’t want to have to perform for him.
I feel tired, maybe I’m too tired to try it again.
Maybe that’s just an excuse…?
The Yamakasi never gave up, they kept training. Always be prepared. Tired is never an excuse.
Okay, so I should do it.
But they’ve also said if you don’t feel it, don’t do it. You have to feel the jump to do it right.
Okay, so do I feel it? Or will I hurt myself because I’m tired?

This is what happens when I train alone… Normally, I might have had that conversation with a friend or training buddy, but tonight it was all in my head (don’t hate, you know you do it too). Finally, I decided I wanted to do this for myself. I knew that my body could do it, it was just about the fear. Don’t think, I thought, just jump.

I let myself sit there for a few more seconds as I waited for the line I needed to hear in my new favorite song. Whatever helps, right? The music was slow at first, “…and even though you’re scared, you’re stronger than you know…” then the beat picked up and gave me the last little push I needed as I took off “If you face the fear that keeps you frozen, chase the sky into the ocean, that’s when something wild calls you home…” I soared through the air, landing softly on the balls of my feet. Without hesitation, I transitioned smoothly out of my landing, down onto the sidewalk and jogged off towards the supermarket, a huge smile on my face.

My body knew exactly what it was doing. It was all in my head.

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