While I'm waiting for the photos to get here from my mobile upload I'll write about today's run.
I can't believe this happened again but it did. I got the urge to just go run right while sitting in a parking lot waiting for a family member to be done with an hour-long appointment.
I was wondering if I would be able to squeeze a run in today because I had to take a Kung Fu class, and then we had a Kung Fu graduation later in the afternoon. At the graduations we usually have to get up in front of the spectators and give a demonstration with our class. The graduation is not as taxing as a full class, but it still takes strength and energy.
So, there I was thinking that I might run after the whole thing was over. But in between, there was an hour to kill. I had brought along a book and my binder full of choir music to study.
As I sat in my car thinking about whether I would go inside or just read in the car, I started to almost doze off listening to a song on the car radio. When my head came back up and I opened my eyes, there was someone running in front of me. It gave me the urge to just get out there.
Can I? I wondered. Can I just go out and take a run along the river? (It was the same spot I wrote and posted pictures about here.) I was still in my Kung Fu clothes, and a pair of flip flops.
I thought it over a bit.
“I don't have my little waist pack to put my car key and my cell phone in.”
“I can just carry them,” I thought.
“But my cell phone will get all sweaty.”
“I think it will be okay”
“But I don't want to walk across the parking lot and back in my bare feet” (just didn't feel like it).
“You can just carry your flip flops, I said to myself.”
“But I don't like to carry things when I run.”
“Well if you want to run you're going to have to.”
“Maybe I'll be too hot in my Kung Fu pants.”
“You've been hot before. Remember when it was 95 degrees?”
“Can I really just do this?”
“Sure, just do it – but you’d better go now -- you're running out of time” (only 45 minutes left).
Well, I got myself to the walkway, took off my flip flops and started running. Just like that.
And it felt GREAT!
In the beginning, I was struggling with the flip flops, cell phone, car key thing. But eventually I had the brilliant idea (which probably should have been obvious) that I didn't have to have the palms of my hands facing down necessarily -- which would be something I would consider a "proper" position. I could turn them upwards! I then was able to kind of "wear" the flip flops and the cell phone was kind of comfortably wedged between the straps in my left hand, and the car key was kind of wedged between the straps in my right hand, and we were all relaxed and it was good to go. In fact, I didn't really feel too much difference with my palms facing up as facing down.
It is hard to describe how beautiful it was out there. I felt so strong. I would have thought it wouldn't feel too good after having completed that earlier Kung Fu class full of circuit training -- 3 sets of jumping jacks, crunches, pushups -- and Kung Fu moves -- punching, stance work, form practice -- but I was doing very well. I guess my conditioning is coming along.
I have kind of had to stop working out for improvement in Kung Fu while I've been getting this barefoot running going. My original intention was to keep advancing in Kung Fu, and add a new activity -- running -- to the mix as part of overall ambitions to get in condition (I have other future fitness plans too but it's been such a handful getting just a couple of simple things going that they are on the back back burner for now.)
I would like to develop an overall athleticism. I have a kind of ideal in mind. But setting out to develop this has been quite a project. I am actually working on a set of blog posts that tell the story of it. I would have hoped to have been further along by now, but more and more I'm realizing that getting conditioned and developing athleticism takes a lot of patience and a lot of time. I didn't get completely out of shape and very overweight overnight. It was the result of many years of practicing a certain lifestyle that leads to that result. Likewise to reform one's metabolism and physical makeup -- especially when starting late after many years otherwise -- is something that just doesn't happen over night.
For one thing, who really knows how to do it? A person can have an idea of what they want, and read and try to figure out what to do first and how to get there, but as the person proceeds, as I've found out, it can be a jagged and uneven and unpredictable path.
So, back to my intention to add running on to my fitness pursuits. I kind of thought I'd just go along with Kung Fu and keep getting stronger and better and faster there. But the addition of the running has inhibited that. I have finally settled for maintenance with the Kung Fu. I've basically been working out in Kung Fu to keep my level, but not advance while I do the barefoot running.
But today was a good sign. I ran two miles out there after taking the morning Kung Fu class and felt pretty good. Maybe I could trade places with my focus and try to maintain what I’ve gained in barefoot running over the winter, and start upping the Kung Fu workouts for growth. Gotta’ think about that.
Then, I had to go directly from there to the Kung Fu graduation.
But I began to worry about what I had just done (taken a spontaneous run). “Uh-oh. I hope I didn't just do something stupid.”
Oh well, if I did, I'll just sit the demo part out. That's not too cool, but I have to do what I have to do. I am learning and experimenting with my limits and recovery times and this will be part of getting to know about that. I'm not doing this to impress anyone. I am trying to find my way.
I was pretty drenched from the run. I didn’t feel like I was sweating too much out there because it was cool and there was a breeze. But now that I had stopped, and went inside the Kung Fu school, I was very sweaty. I had to put on my dress uniform, which is long-sleeved and hot.
“Oh well! Not my usual comfort level, but we’ll go with it!”
We had to sit cross-legged on the floor in a line with our class until it was our turn. This part is always embarrassing for me, because I have a hard time getting up from the floor when it’s time to run out there and do our routine. Yes, I do. I have a hard time getting up off the floor. Even though I can do kind of amazing things for my age and weight in Kung Fu, there are still so many limitations. That is why I am longing for a fuller kind of athleticism, a more functional kind of fitness that can enhance my daily life, not just specific fitness that trains me to do certain tricks but leaves me non-functioning elsewhere.
It is my dream, actually to be strong enough to move around gracefully within my life, within the ordinary tasks of life. I think this can still be done – that it’s not too late. But maybe it’s just a pipedream.
Okay, so as I sat on the floor a sense of real fun came over me. “This is going to be great! I’m all warmed up from running. I can do this!”
And I did. And it was fun!
What was great about today is that I found out I can do a little more. I can do a little Kung Fu and run on the same day. I most certainly would not have been able to do that at the beginning of the summer, so it’s very good. Progress is good.
I don’t think it is possible to capture in a picture how beautiful it was out there today. I tried to get some shots from my cell phone. Here they are: