Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm writing this Tuesday night. I'm just feeling really good right now.

For three days in a row now, I'm doing virtually everything right. The reason for this is that my mind is right.

Just got off the rower where my workout was 10 250 meter sprints. I warmed up with a slow 2000 meters. I had done squats earlier in the day, was sleepy at the end of work on a work day that lacked the challenges (and patrons) of most days. Had to drive Doodle to choir practice. A week ago there would have been no way I got on the rower when I got home. Late last week I took a look at how I was feeling and what I was accomplishing and decided to whip out the old mental/physical toolkit.

One of the things I have learned over the years is not to look too far forward into the future. The farther you plan ahead, the more at risk you put yourself for unforeseen circumstances to pop up.

Karate was one of the best things in the world for me in this regard. I think everyone wants to be a black belt when they start a martial art. No one goes into it and says "Yeah, that green belt is what I'm looking at". They might get into it for other reasons; fitness, self-esteem, self-defense, etc. but you can't help but think how cool it will be when you get that black belt.

Then you get started. You aren't flexible, you're breathing hard, you hurt, you get beat up when you spar, you can't remember your forms, you can't remember what the names of techniques are or how to do them, you can't string more than two techniques together, you can't fall right. You look at black belts and you think you'll never be as good as them.

That's why a lot of people quit martial arts and why so many places that teach them tie you into contracts. They know that the majority of the people will drop out and they'll be out the dough.

You have to go into class every day. That's the first step. If not every day, at least every day that is humanly possible. Why I lose sight of this is beyond me. The same held true when I played the sax. I didn't accomplish what I did on the sax by practicing once a week. Somehow I lose this, though.

Once you're in class, though, you need to have one goal. Leaving class better than you came in. Then once you leave your goal is to come back tomorrow. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. When you look at it that way, all of a sudden you look up years later and you have no doubts, your skills are great, it's all subconscious from being done over and over and you're on your way to a black belt.

Really simple stuff. I've been making a point of doing it each day. Eat good meals. Stop snacking. Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance as appropriate. Not doing a couple things that put me in a poor frame of mind. Write. Baseball. It's not like this takes a huge amount of time either. Cut out some bad habits. Make the time.

Back to the rowing. Before tonight, my best 250 was a 48.0.

First sprint:50.2
2nd: 47.8 (new personal best)
3rd: 48.4 - I pulled up at the end and got mad at myself because I would have beaten my time. I wasn't tired. I just eased up.
4th: 49.2 - Don't know what happened here.
5th: 46.6 (new personal best)
6th: 46.5 (new personal best) - Here I am on my sixth sprint of the evening and I just had my third personal best. At this point I got it in my head that I would try to break the mythical (to me) 45 second mark. 45 is fast (at least for this overweight old man. Kudos to you if that's your cruising speed). I bumped up the resistance thinking that I had the strength if not the lungs to pull it off. Got myself ready and....
7th: 53.8 - I was psyching myself up so much that I didn't have my foot strapped in right and it popped out as soon as I started and I started laughing at myself.
8th: 44.9 (new personal best) -I DID IT!!!! You have no idea how thrilled, excited, pleased with myself I was. That pace for 100 meters has been a challenge for me and now I have done it at 250.
9th: 45.7 - now I'm feeling tired. Bumped the resistance back to my normal for the last one
10th: 45.9 - Still two full seconds faster than my previous best and my second sprint of the evening.

What does this mean for the long run? WHO CARES?!?! I row again tomorrow. Now I'm going to go fix some delicious looking tofu and cashew curry.

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