Just over a year ago I became a triathlete. Not in the sense of a real athlete, more in the sense of someone who turned 50 a while back and wants the next 50 to be good ones. And that means getting out there and moving. And as a triathlete I don't get bored just doing one sport. It's important for me to mix things up.
Anyway, when I am training for a race it's about building blocks. I don't go out every day and swim/bike/run the length of my events. I run one day, swim the next, bike on another. ( And when my schedule permits I'll go to the lake and row just to really screw with my head.) And when I DO get out and train I don't do the full course every day. It's about the simple act of getting out there and exercising. Building on the previous days work. Slowly but surely I'll get strong enough to put them all together and hopefully that is close to race day.
I am beginning to add this same philosophy to my photography. A few weeks ago my friend Carla, from my "when life gives you lemons" post was in town. We thought we'd have lunch and I'd show her around the beautiful Princeton campus and we would take Pulitzer prize winning photographs. Well, it didn't happen the way we had planned. The weather did not look like it was going to cooperate (seems to be a common theme for us) so neither of us brought a tripod. I just had a single camera, no extra lenses, no additional stuff. I was going to challenge myself to making it work with no equipment support.
It wasn't race day. I did not bring home any medals, but I feel like I added some building blocks. And perhaps someone looking over my shoulder at my work from the day won't see the progress, but I see it. I know the building blocks are there. I know where some new strength was added and a split second of time shaved off. And that's a really great feeling. Not so much that I can do it, but that I can recognize the growth. I can see progress being made. The simple act of exercise is a very good thing.