If I'm going to write about running I want to know what it's really like. I hadn't run for a long, long, LONG time and I'd never enjoyed it in the past. Fortunately for me, there's a program called Couch to 5K that can baby-step a person along to running a 5K. It worked well, I ran the Gobbler Gallop last year. I left off running last winter because I have a hate/hate relationship with frigid cold and couldn't afford decent compression pants and one of those super neat face hood things that make you look like a ninja.
|Gobbler Gallop 5K, November 2014|
And I found it very difficult to get back to it after the winter was over. Since it warmed up enough this year I've been very sporadic about getting out there.
But I can't seem to love running. Part of the reason is I have a genetic condition called beta thalassemia minor. Short explanation, it lessens the amount of oxygen my blood carries. That sounds a bit scary, but with the minor form it's mostly an inconvenience. But I'll probably never achieve the pace I want, because my blood just doesn't carry enough oxygen when I demand more. Right now I'm sort of stalled at 13:30 on a good day.
Insert inspirational platitudes here.
I know I can still train up and get somewhat faster than 13:30 , but it's very slow progress, so running doesn't give me the instant gratification of martial arts or heavy weapons practice. Doing an submission hold into a take-down, punching someone in the face or landing a good roundhouse, hearing that armour ring when you land a good blow with your stick...that's all an instant gratification. Even RECEIVING all those blows is a high.
I have only once achieved a runner's high, the endorphin rush. No, wait...twice.
Chasing the dragon: dolled up like a clown to do
pell work in the back yard. Even in this get-up,
that tree never saw me coming.
So, this wrung out feeling I get after running, which I love, has to be achieved through thirty minutes of shoving my body over the ground and through the air for no immediate gratification and the bitch at the back of my brain HATES it.
So...how do I conquer her? I can't rid myself of her, she's part of me, she gives me courage to do other things. How do I cage and muzzle her long enough to get what I want? How do I make myself want that wrung out feeling as much, or more, as I want my adrenaline high?
Today I tried to concentrate on improving my form. As you can see in that top picture, my form was mostly shuffling. Really that's just jogging. I need to push myself harder to maintain a more upright posture, relax my upper body, pick my damn feet up, and make my strides longer.
Science the shit out of this.
Maybe that will work. One can but try. Because the running will improve my endurance on the mat. I've achieved purple belt level and now it gets tough. No more group testing. We'll still be doing end-of-cycle checks, but they won't be for belt levels. When I go for green belt it'll be me against the class in a specific series of skill tests. I participated in someone else's test last month, as an opponent. It was really tough on him and he's fourteen year old with a black belt in another discipline.
Also I want more endurance for heavy weapons combat. That armour is fucking heavy. I sweated through a gambeson (it's like a quilted coat, it goes under everything else) last week, that's a lot of sweat. And until I really know what I'm doing I can't risk wearing anything lighter.
That's my deep dive for the today. I'm hoping the lead instructor will be teaching tonight. He just got onto the police force so sometimes he's not there, but when he is we usually have second class and that's where shit gets real and it's awesome.