Friday, August 28, 2015

Highs and Lows of Summer Training

The trouble with summer in Los Angeles is that it’s hot and sunny. Prior to the miserable heat we got in mid to late August,  I’ve was  gaining training success, measured by consistency and endurance. While I reviled in my success and increasing stamina, after each workout I swore to myself I would write about my running high when I got home. I got preoccupied when I got home. With another month between posts, again I failed.   And it seems that's how I've lived most of my summer. Riding the highs and lows of successes and failures. It felt completely out of my control.  There have been days where I can't wait to get out of bed, waking before my alarm clock and getting to the park to throw some miles down. There have been days where despair gripped me and all I wanted to do was hit snooze. 

Despite depression and sadness lurking in the background there have been more days of happiness than anxiety I won't be able to get "it" right, whatever "it" is.  
I had a short-term Italian roommate during the summer. He is an actor and personal trainer and we talked about cooking and the entertainment industry. Even though he has many training certificates, I never explained how I’ve been working to get myself into Marathon Shape. That just seemed too personal.  

He was a night owl and usually asleep when I was leaving to go on my morning run. Reflecting on the shorter runs I did when I first started endurance running, I focused on theseIt seemed silly to drive 10 minutes to go to the park to go for a 1.5-2 mile run, but this is the same park where I’ve done most of my training. My feet and soul understand the packed dirt and the turns.   

The morning people are very different than the evening-after-work-runners. They engage and encourage. One particular morning sticks in my mind. I had done my run and stretch and now working on my Rhumba walks. Since I was engaging different muscles and focusing more on balance and core, I was using a chain link fence as a guide in case I started to tumble. While I focused on posture and not losing balance, a barefoot runner (a little younger than my dad) engaged me in conversation.  We talked about the passion for running, family etc.  

The nice thing about the running community is that your community is always expanding. Our schedules didn’t always coincide and truthfully, there were days I didn’t sleep well and had to sleep in ‘til 7am and by thenit was too hot to run. On one of the days where we were exercising at the same time, he waved me over and introduced me to a tattooed runner. In turn the tattooed runner offered to run a lap with me if I wanted company.  Now, I had two new running friends.  

On one of these running days I was doing a short run and the barefoot runner asked me if I did 2x2s. I confessed that I didn’t because I hate 200 repeats. He invited me to run one with him. Not wanting to offend a new friend, I did a 200 with him and as I did my cool down, I thought, well, that wasn’t so bad. And I remembered that when I try something new, it’s never easy the first couple times, I just need to stick with it.  

August heat has settled in again, and I continued to talk with my roommate about his training, eating regimen and the benefits of fasting. He’s back in Italy now, but from this distance he offered to monitor me in a controlled week-long fast whenever I wanted. The fasting I am not worried about as there are plenty of cultures that using fasting in religious practices. My roommate turned trainer and I discussed the best time to start the program and what he'll permit me to do. Walking. Twenty minutes a day, that's it.  Once I’m done with this, I can start training again. I have a dance showcase in October and even found a fall 10k I want to do.  While continuing to develop other projects with my partner, I'm also producing a horror short. Am I taking on too much? Possibly. But that’s what I do. I have goals. A lot of goals. Besides, the man I was dating has to move for work and the practicality of a multi-continent relationship for 3 years is grim. The additional challenges will help pre-occupy my mind. As comfortable as I am internalizing things and staying in my head-space, there isn’t a better outlet than exercise.  

And while I struggle with staying active and staying with a training schedule while building a career, one thing is for sure: While I may not be in marathon shape, I am at my most fit and feel more like my family than I ever now that I am getting (physical) balance and need to be active I never had.