Altitude Sickness

New goals of speed and Taekwondo

I have pulled up out of my swan dive into obesity. After working so hard for so long, it has felt funny to take rest days. I took five of them, and in that time, I went from looking like a granite statue to looking like a combination of the Pillsbury Dough Boy, the Michelin Man, and Mr. Stay-Puft when I have my shirt off.

On day six I went for a very slow, very tentative flat terrain run of less than a mile and a half, feeling myself out for injuries. I know from my fighting career how injuries, especially stress fractures and ligament weakenings, can hide during and after an event, and then suddenly explode into view with post-event training, either finally revealing themselves, or finally giving way to an injury that started but did not complete itself.

This morning, day seven, I did a less tentative three mile run up mountain road. Aside from a little bit of stiffness in my left calf and hamstring (no surprise there), I feel better than I did before the event!

I was only sore for about a day and a half and clear of soreness by halfway through my second day. In point of fact, I have felt so good, so injury free, so pain free, that I am wondering if I shouldn’t be doing an ultra every couple of weeks. This is the way it starts. The Spartan mental illness.  The addiction. The point is, however, that I feel really good. Really really good. Really really really good.

Though I will say that when I went to Bear Mountain yesterday to show some Sunrise condominiums, I saw the parking lot of Bear Mountain, part of the course, and I experienced a full-on adrenaline dump, replete with racing heart, sweaty palms, and an inability to think straight. I went right back to the same tunnel vision I had during the event.

Another interesting upshot of my participation in this event is that I spent so much time moving at glacial speeds uphill on trails that my definition of “slow run” has completely changed.  Several months ago 9-10 minutes a mile was my “fast” speed. According to my tracker, speeds of 9-10.5 minutes per mile is now my slow/low tempo.

So in the spirit of my new discovery of speed, I have my next athletic goal in mind: When I go to Dallas for my biannual Thanksgiving family reunion (there are an untold number of Crains, Millers, and Pences there, tumbling with the tumbleweeds between Wichita and Austin), it is traditional for a bunch of us (between 10-20 of the group) to run or walk the Dallas Turkey Trot, a great little 5/10K put on by the YMCA there, usually with about 25,000 participants.

My goal this time will be to run the 5k race in under 7 minutes per mile!

I will be counting my time on the racecourse, and not the five minutes it often takes to cross the starting line (hopefully contestants will be chipped, that would be really neat). I would really like to do it in under 6 minutes per mile (my first run of this race was in 1999 and I accomplished it then in just over 19 minutes, a pace of about 6 minutes/mile, and I was much heavier), but I am wary of running on pavement, and I don’t want to hurt myself for this goal, and it is really easy to injure yourself pounding out high speeds.

Furthermore, it looks like I will be in Burlington more frequently, which means that I will have an opportunity to resume training Taekwondo with my instructor Grandmaster Stephen Barrett (KOJO Academy of Taekwondo), and possibly with my old sparring partner and World Cup bronze medalist Master Gordon White (president of the BLE WAVE Taekwondo association). I have three goals associated with this skill set, all contingent upon my spending an evening a week in Burlington.

The first is to resume training and finish my fourth degree blackbelt, my master level.

The second is to resume competing and earn a place in next springs national championships by medal round placement in state and regional championship tournaments.

The third is to open my own school here in the area sometime in the next year or two.

So, I have my work cut out for me. In the interest of said work, if anyone knows of or owns an unused relatively warm space (doesn’t have to be heated per se, but it would be best if it is above freezing mid-winter) where I can hang a heavy bag and train (floor type is unimportant other than the fact that it needs to be relatively level), I would be eternally grateful. It would be especially wonderful if this space were 8’ tall (so that I can practice jump spinning kicks without knocking myself out), and about 15’x15’ so that I can practice patterns. The windowless concrete bunker in which I reside will definitely not work for this endeavor.

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