Sunday, January 30, 2011

Workout fuel...

Disappointment. Pain. All the times they said you can't. All the times you feel you failed. All the problems you have with yourself, your image, your actions...all of it. All of your frustrations.

The list above has a lot of things that can be destructive...and they're all what's on my mind right now. Instead of falling back to some of my old habits, I'm using them as fuel for my running.

After he texted me and we ended off, I ran about five miles to clear my head and just get it out. All the negativity and self-doubt are fuel to make myself better hurts sometimes when those wounds are ripped open, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and figure out how to put things together in a positive way.

A lot of athletes I've known have been in the same boat. To some degree, we're all trying to prove our worth to others and often to ourselves. In many ways, we're our own worst enemies, focusing on the negatives to the exclusion of the positive. There is a lot of negative, that's a given, its part of life, but then again maybe things are meant to be.

I may be down for the count, but I'm not out. Like I always do when I fall, I will pick myself back up, dust off and keep on going. I'll turn this pain into something positive and I'll be better for it. Yeah, it gets tiring having it happen as many times as it has, and sometimes I wish things were easier...but then again, nothing worth it in life is easy. Maybe finding a decent guy, like getting in shape and improving my mile splits and sparring, will take a lot of work on myself before it happens. If so, then maybe, just maybe, the work and wait will be worth it.

I feel like maybe I should end this on a positive note, so here's a shameless self-esteem boosting song. Hopefully, I find my own spark within and let it out for the world to see...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I really am my own science experiment...

So today I decided to mess around with my nutrient timing and intake to see what effect it had on my workouts.

I had a pre-workout meal at 10:00 for my 12:30 workout and it didn't make a huge difference that I noticed. Then again, my lunch workouts are pretty easy; basic weights for 30 minutes focused on specific areas (today was shoulders/arms) and 20 minutes of vinyasa yoga aimed at runners (help open up those damned hips and lengthen those damned hamstrings). The recovery meal seemed to help a bit, which was nice.

So I had a meal at about 4:30 or 4:45 for my evening workout along with a snack at 7:15, 45 minutes before that workout. The evening workouts are always killer because they're the circuits my trainer came up with, and today was no exception. Burpees w/pushup and barbell push/press, pullups with mixed grip (one hand over, other under), barbell front squats, kettlebell lifts and reverse incline crunches. Yep...gonna be feeling it in the morning, but I love it!

I tried NO Xplode a week or so ago, but got sick because I tried it on an empty stomach. I'm thinking of trying it again, along with a preworkout meal about an hour before my workout; mostly carbs with some protein. I think it'll really help make me a bit less sluggish for the workouts and might help make them a bit more intense, which is always fun.

Very frankly, it has been a hell of a week with work and some personal matters, so I welcome any distraction from it all, even if I end up hobbling around like an old man the next day because of the soreness. That last part was a joke and dripping with sarcasm in case any of you missed that.

Anyways, a couple songs that helped bring out some of what's going on inside of me so I could channel it out into my workouts (see, working out can be therapeutic):

Well, that's really all I have. Tomorrow is another lunch run on the trail and maybe a longer run in the evening if I'm up to it. If not, some heavy bag work and bodyweight martial arts type training/cardio.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Coming back from the off-season sucks

This week has been hell with training to say the least, but I love it!

It all started Monday with a bit of interval work on the treadmill because of weather up here. I should note that I absolutely hate running on treadmills, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
After 20 minutes of that, my shin splints were back in full force and my ankles were kind of cranky as well. I went slow on the speed for the most part...guess my body just has to readjust.

Tuesday was weights and I have a whole new set of circuits that my trainer came up with just for me! And I'm pretty sure he wants to kill me. I woke up this morning hurting like hell in my lats, shoulders and pecs from the circuit yesterday. I love the flow and how it makes me work, but damn I haven't been this sore in a while.

Today I finally got to run outside on the trail by my office. It was really nice, even though my ankles and shins acted up again. I need to remember to bring my tape for the shins and some ibuprofen for my ankles...I only ran 3.2 miles, so nothing special but it was still a good warmup after having been exercising indoors since the end of November.
When I got home, I did some punching work on the heavy bag and about ten minutes on my foam roller to work out any tight spots before I do some yoga before bed. I'm shifting some focus over to flexibility training in my hips, shoulders and hamstrings for my martial arts.

Its really weird that my IT bands get tight from almost anything I do except running. I know a ton of runners who have IT band problems just from running...but anytime I run, mine end up with less hot spots than normal. Crazy body of mine, I guess.

Tomorrow I have a workout with my trainer, so I better prepare for the pain.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Be like water...

变化. Bian(4) hua(4). Change.

As I've looked around at many things; my city, my home, my life, even specific stores and places, it has become very clear that nothing is permanent. Life is but a series of events, some related and some not...

When many start training, myself included, we have a goal in mind, a destination: A black belt. A competition. To drop a certain number of pounds. To gain confidence or regain lost confidence.

As we train, some reach their goal and call it good. Others find new goals to pursue and other still find that their training, like everything else, is in a constant flux. These ones realize that perhaps it isn't about a goal or destination...but that maybe it is about the journey.

Today I had to pick up some things, so I went to a particular couple stores I hadn't gone to since my ex still lived with me, and one had completely changed its layout while the other had not.
During my busride to the stores, memories flooded; as I passed by the Japanese Cultural Center at Mukogawa I could almost hear the faint sound of the taiko playing Ogi Matsuri in the warm summer with the main door open. As I passed by my old community college, I almost expected my old crew to be out there somewhere waiting for me to show up...all my groups of friends that I've had, many of whom I've lost contact with.

The people in the taiko group I practiced with have all moved out of the area and the SFCC campus has completely changed since I was a student with new construction and destroying of old buildings.

Over the past year, I've dealt with a lot; douchebags and relationships with them, news of my grandpa's health and impending death, a textbook case of existential crisis and a lot more. I've also been confronted very often with demons from my own past, and I think that I finally have dealt with them in a positive way.

One thing many will never understand is that as a martial artist, one eventually turns inward and what we learn is applied to one's self. It is the source of that mystical inner peace that the masters seem to have...and a skill I am still learning myself.

I've learned one thing over the past year, and that is that nothing will ever be guaranteed. Friends grow apart, relationships fizzle out and goals change as we grow. The only constant in life is change. We cannot fight it, as much as we may want to (and believe me, I know from firsthand experience on this one), because it will happen. There is no way around it and never has been. The ancient Chinese were on to something when they developed the I Ching. The Buddha was on to something when he discovered impermanence...sages throughout the ages spent the majority of their lives just discovering that much.

Rather than fight or resisting change, we must adapt and change ourselves (i.e. personal growth). As life goes on, most of us get better at it and realize that by changing, we grow into a new and often more complete person.
It isn't always easy, though...we sometimes cling to the past, to "better" days, because we want to experience the joy and feelings that we once had. But we can't.

A band I once saw live before they broke up has a song about this. It didn't make much sense when I was 20 and saw them, but it does now.

In sparring, a student eventually learns many things:
-Never anticipate and have only one counter ready; if you anticipated wrong, you'll likely get struck.
-each event occurs only once. The Japanese have a saying: 一期一会, one life, one meeting. You may spar an opponent many times or see a technique done by many people, and each time is unique and will never be repeated. Your styles, techniques and art will all grow and develop. No two matches will ever be the same.
-The only way to be successful is to be like water. Flow, adapt, move...

Perhaps through my musings today, I've realized something that I learned over the years...that I've finally learned to be like water in some ways. I've finally learned how to live and enjoy moments for nobody knows when my last one will be. Maybe, I've finally learned to let go of the past and accept it for what it has made me. Maybe, just maybe, I've finally learned how to make some peace with myself.

Be like water...and it will all be okay.