Friday, July 30, 2010

Comfort Zone

Two Sundays ago I accomplished something I've never done before.
I ran 5 miles continuously for the first time, either in competition or in training.

I arrived at registration just 5 minutes or so before the race started, enough time to get registered and pay the fee. Since my goal was to finish the distance without walking, I queued up at the back of the pack and set off at a comfortable pace. My rule of thumb was not to run so hard that I couldn't talk, which I figured to be maybe a 12 minute-per-mile pace, practically speed walking for me.

Throughout the course I chatted up a number of friendly runners, including a fellow in his 50's or 60's with the same goal as me, several first-time racers, even a mother pushing her two sons in a jogging stroller!

There were two young ladies who started off next to me, then pulled ahead. Any time there was a hill, however, I'd catch up at my steady pace and pass them. Then when the course flattened out or went downhill, they'd pass me up. It became a tortoise-vs-hare kind of situation, and made for quite an entertaining race.

When we hit the last mile on main street, where the course was straight and flat, I spotted the two women walking again. I hollered at them to get running, or they'd be "in serious danger of making me look good!" They promptly picked up their feet to run, finishing perhaps 30 seconds ahead of me.

At the finish line, I was excited to see that I came in under an hour; my pace was 11:23 per mile, very satisfactory. I was nowhere near the fastest people, but I completed the course and didn't finish last, accomplishing what I'd set out to do.

Meanwhile my Karate training has been lagging; I missed two weeks from a sprained ankle, another week from pulled quads, and last week a busy schedule only gave me opportunity to attend one sparring class and a kickboxing cardio class.

On Wednesday of this week, we were doing a series of back-to-back slow kicks, and my balance felt so far off I may as well been drunk. I totally attribute it to a lack of training and losing my conditioning in the process.

Tomorrow I am volunteering to hold pads for Danny Long-Legs at his test for Black Belt in the morning. Danny holds a 2nd degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do from many decades ago, and is being certified in my school's system as a 1st Degree Black Belt. I'm very proud of him and his hard work ethic, and honored by his invitation.

My hope is watching Danny and 6 other students getting their Black Belts will inspire me to get out of my comfort zone and get serious about training again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Running from the Storm

I'm officially done with Tornado kicks for a long time. 2 weeks ago I sprained my left ankle from a bad landing after--wait for it--a Tornado Kick.

I took it as a warning shot across my bow, it could well have taken my left knee out as easily as it sprained my ankle. I'm just not ready for them yet.

Saw my PT today, and I need a lot of plyometric work to really satisfy him. Back to hopping exercises! Did fine on straight single and multiple hops (one-footed), but adding any amount of zig-zag and I just about fell down. Doing some really high retro step-ups as a warm up didn't help, as it somewhat fatigued my legs right off the bat.

I see him again in 6 weeks, hopefully the last visit for a long time.

My running endurance has increased quite a lot this year, and I plan to run in my city's 5-mile race on Sunday. My goal: to complete all 5 miles without walking!

Monday night I plan to return to sparring. I will do warm-ups, work drills, and work with partners on a strictly upper-body basis: no kicks. It'll be a challenge for me, but also for anyone working with me--but it should result in getting some great hand work in. When I do start kicking again, I hope to have mad upper-body skills that aren't typically emphasized among point fighters!

Meanwhile I still plan to make 40-somethings cry as I steal their dreams in open hand forms and weapons at every tournament I can...