In Training

O Sensei Roensch

There was a time I considered myself “in training.” At the peak of my martial arts practice, I spent 10-12 hours a week with an enlightened, sanctioned, holisitic teacher (Hanshi Roensch) training in mind, body, and spirit. I even travelled for weekend conferences and occasionally assisted fellow karateka if work was needed around the dojo. If I could have quit everything and become a “dojo rat,” I would have. For three years, I became utterly hooked.

Those years, “in training” felt like the most honest way to describe my fond, fierce, and focused efforts in the art of traditional Japanese karate. (Here’s a brief, narrative history of that training.) More than any other mentor in my life, my teacher inspired an appreciation of the mind, body, and spirit connection. I have not forgotten his gift and aspire to train with such integrity in all areas of my life today. It’s an ongoing process.

Recently, I blogged about needing something more to balance my work and writing life and have since decided to train for a 10K. As if my upcoming backpacking trip to circumnavigate Mt. Rainier (93 miles in 9 days) weren’t enough…But still…physical exercise gets me out of my hyperactive brain and into a cooler state of mind more effectively than any other activity. Make no mistake; this 5’10”, curvy, strong, slightly overweight woman is actually built for physical activity. But running is one of the least “body friendly” pursuits I could have chosen. If I stop too long and consider past injuries (1 bone surgically removed from each foot due to stress fracture and dislocation, 1 broken fibula, 1 broken metatarsal, countless torn ankle ligaments, chronic left ankle sprains, left lateral meniscus  deterioration, patellar cartilage wear…which is to say nothing of the other regions–cracked ribs, 2 concussions, broken finger…), I could very easily talk myself out of this. But if I likewise consider the reasons I want to be “in training” again, it’s an easy decision.

Having a physical challenge to set my sights on, much like martial arts, allows me to apply my best focus and determination on something other than writing and business. I can take what works for me day in and day out and apply it in a wholly other realm. This teaches me more than I ever anticipate, helping shape my character and enabling me to challenge myself. I can’t continue to train with my martial arts teacher, but I can continue to learn from all he taught me. So much of what I do at the desk is intangible. No one can see the people I make up in stories. My business may be going strong, but no one can actually measure influence and coaching, as I work with adult writers across the country. But a timed 6.2 mile run? Now that’s something I can practice, improve upon, learn from, and ultimately achieve.

Inspired by this training regimen published in Outside Magazine, I began the 10K work two weeks ago. Last Saturday I was supposed to run for 1hr5mins. I did…and when I looked down at my FitBit Zip and saw how close I was to hitting 6.2 miles, I kept going. The next day? I felt tenderness in my feet and knees where past injuries have occurred; but no pain. Nothing out of the ordinary. More importantly–everything else inside of me felt great. I could only think of the upcoming week and how I could balance strength training, diet, and rest with small bursts of cardio that might help me by the next weekend…when perhaps I could run a 10K again. Just to see. Just to find out…

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