Happy Bastille Day.

The non-discipline of May and June is gone, replaced by the start of cross country practice and the daily butt-in-the-chair rigor that I call Book Writing Mode. Just like running, the mind gets sharper from the daily game of stringing together words. I've got a series of running essays I'm pulling together, a screenplay in need of a third act, and a ton of research books piled around my desk. I typically need a break between long projects, but these past few months away from the writing process went on too long. It's good to be back at my desk again, with the shortened hip flexors and dangers of prolonged sitting that it implies.

Having said all that, I've been feeling a little beaten down lately. The new coaching season seems to be rife with unnecessary conflict from external forces. And I will admit to being discouraged by my failed attempts to become a serious runner again, which is contingent upon my right knee behaving like a champion, which is contingent upon my weight dropping, which is contingent upon me eating more fruits and vegetables... which may very well be contingent on giving up craft beer.

Ah, the liquid bread. My Achilles Heel. It might be fine if I were content with a pale fizzy Bud Light or a simple Merlot, but I have a passion for the spicy, the hoppy, the bold, and the extreme. In one of those random twists the universe likes to throw out there to make sure we're all paying attention, those attributes in food and beverage always turn out to be high-calorie.

I paid a visit to my bathroom scale the other day, having summoned the courage after a month of June that can only be described as wondrous, filled with beaches and forest trails and hour after hour of Game of Thrones. The number is not what matters here, although it was mildly appalling. What matters is that I found a sliver of self-acceptance in the realization that I am not a sleek supple leopard right now, but I am capable of getting into that zip code with a little more daily focus.

For me, a lot of that focus comes from the discipline of my beloved routine. If someone had told me thirty years ago that I would embrace routine like a foxhole buddy I would have seen it as selling out to the anal and the status quo. But when your mind is as frenetic as mine, skipping from writing topics to training plans to remembering which song asked about a dream being a lie if it doesn't true, routine is what holds that marvelous mess together. So here's to routine. Here's to the discipline of daily 6 a.m. cross country practices. And here's to Book Writing Mode, the earthly salvation that keeps me sane.

Today's Workout

Pack Tempo. Steady warm-up and cooldown with a solid tempo push through the eucalyptus forest to keep it real. Focus is on running and suffering as a team. No one gets dropped. Short speed on the track to finish.