Thought it might be a good idea to run to the top of the hill on a nearby trail. It was not a good idea. Had to basically powerwalk the first half of the run straight up a muddy moutainside. Every step a new agony. Got passed by a Chihuahua. 300 vertical feet. I just thought of it as a few sets of squats and that helped for a while, until it didn't help and the despair crept in.
I don't even have a song of the run, I couldn't hear anything besides the blood in my ears and my soul's wracked sobbing and pleas for release. Onward to week two!
Cross training day so I jumped on my bike and rode as hard as I could for the allotted 30 minutes. 8.6 km covered, and I didn't feel like I wanted to die most of the time! The power of human ingenuity. Steve Jobs said with a personal computer he wanted to make a bicycle for the mind. Well, turns out a bicycle for the body is pretty awesome too, and it's called a BICYCLE!
Why are we running like brutish beasts, like a modern Caliban stripped of dignity, loping around a bog? ARE WE NOT MEN!?
It was the first time in a long, long time I've gone on a bike ride without a little kid in tow. Turns out when you're not stopping to look at every bug and rock you can get a good workout on a bike. A dream short lived, more cursed running tomorrow.
Ok, now we're talking - diets up, 3 days till the real work begins. Time to clean up the food and start running with proper fuel, proper endocrine function, and better sleep. A good run starts in the kitchen. Bring it on!
Another one in the books. Heavy legs and a heavy heart, step after plodding step like a mistreated burro that's been whipped so much his spirit is broken. Itchy sides today, a sure sign of love handles mobilizing fat stores. Super freakin sore, getting irrationally angry at the people enjoying coffee and pastries at the cafe I pass on the run. Good times. And by that I mean bad times.
Song of the run - Hello Hi by Dolly Style. Hate all you want this song is the bomb.
If you're like me, that first run left a little soreness on the lower attachment point of your quads, where they plunge into the knee. If you're feeling this you probably ran downhill. Soreness is the result of microtears in the cellular structure of muscle fibers. Studies have shown that the single biggest exercise modality that creates these tears is when a muscle has to strongly contract while bringing a weight to a stop.
For example if you catch a heavy medicine ball a few dozen times, each time you catch your biceps are flexing as they bring the balls momentum to a stop. This will make you sore as hell.
In running, when you're going downhill, the quads activate strongly as a brake each stride. Your quads are essentially pushing your bodyweight back up into itself so that you don't fall down the damn hill. This stresses the tendonous fibers that attach to the knee, (where the lever force is strongest) and rips up the fibers reaaaal good. You can see this as the white fibers in the attached image.
The next day you're sore all around the upper part of your knee. It's not your knee, it's the white tips of your quads!
So that's what's up with that. Just another reason running is misery. Good nutrition and sleep is all that can save us now, and even then only for a few brief years before the ravages of time reduce us all to frail husks of what we used to be.
So that was Day 3.
17 minutes of wondering why I signed up for this torture. Going downhill is hard. Going uphill is hard. Running on flat ground is hard. Got passed by an old man out for a rehab walk with his nurse.
The one good thing about running is that it's so unpleasant that for a few brief minutes I forget about the meaninglessness of existence and ultimate demise of everything I know and love.
Anyway, featured song of the run - Light up the Night by the Protomen.
I've been needing to do this program for almost 3 years now. Have flirted with the idea and always chickened out at the last minute. Running is my nemesis. I have the worlds worst body for it - big blocky shoulders, narrow hips, and stumpy little legs. But the few times I've actually run more than a few days in a row I saw the appeal.
We always preach that people need to spend just as much time on their weak points as what they're naturally good at, so it's time to put it into practice. So here I am.
Not only will I be running in this program, I'll be RUNNING this program as its head trainer! Looking forward to sharing the ups and downs with everyone. I certainly won't be leading the pack, but I'll be right in the thick of things with you! Good luck to us all.
For Christmas we got an indoor herb garden kit. All you do is put the seed pods in their container, set the LED light cycle, and keep the water topped up. So for a few months I've been seeing our little plants grow from tiny shoots to full grown plants.
One of the plants is a chili pepper plant. Over the course of three months it's going to grow into a little tree that spouts mini peppers. This plant grew much slower than the other herbs like basil and chives. I was worried that something was wrong with it but slowly it peeked a little stem out and two tiny leaves.
Over the next few weeks more leaves sprouted, and I noticed that the first two leaves remained small, very dark green, and showed signs of stress on the edges. It was clear that the first leaves were giving everything they had to provide the energy to the rest of the plant. As the new fresh leaves shot up higher and higher the lower leaves were left in the shadows below.
This process resonated with me. The reason I find self improvement (both mental and physical) so interesting is that you're using the power of your mind and body to change the way that same mind and body work. If someone asked you to lean down, grab your feet, and lift yourself into the air you'd find it impossible. But improving your mental and physical health is nearly the same, you're lifting yourself up with nothing but your own inner strength.
Watching how this pepper plant did it, it reminded me that this growth can only happen with sacrifice. Those two small leaves will never get to stretch out in the light and sprout a chili, but they still play a vital role in getting the plant's lifecycle started. As the plant grows it has to move beyond these first leaves. If it tried to keep them well lit and well fed, it would never be anything more than crabgrass, clinging to the dirt.
As we grow we draw power from all kinds of sources. From experiences, people, places, and philosophies. But you have to be ready to let these things go when it's time to shoot upwards. This isn't a betrayal, it's for the good of the organism as a hole.
Doing this work, I see so many people desperately trying to keep older leaves watered and healthy. This leaves you bent over and looking down when you should be reaching new heights. Think about what in your life was important and useful as you grew, respect how it provided the energy and drive to get you where you are, and, as scary as it may be, don't be afraid to leave it behind when the time is right.
Phew, what a week! We're still getting final numbers but the rough estimate is that a full 800 people will have started Kenzai training programs in this two week period. It's been a wild week getting everyone set up and working through the inevitable hiccups that happen with a launch, but (I think) we're through the eye of the needle and into a new year of training.
I'm not usually a big January-fresh-start kind of guy, but I think my brain really needed a clean slate and I'm feeling full of new energy and ideas for 2018. Feels good.
To everyone embarking on a training program this month, I have some simple advice. Take all the momentum, positivity, and joy you feel now at the start of your program, and capture a piece of it, hold it close to you like a candle flame on a dark and windy night. There's a lot of mountains and valleys between you and the final day of your program, if you can access this fresh feeling in the low moments you'll have a fighting chance. The happy, ready-to-rock person you are today and the grumpy, ready to give-up person you'll be in 40 days ARE THE SAME PERSON. Don't let that future you sabotage the positive person you are today.
Make sense? It's a hard thing to put into words, but you'll know the feeling when you have it.
Here's to great training cycles for everyone, no matter what program you're working through, this isn't easy stuff, be kind to yourself and persevere!
Wow, what a rollercoaster. Hit Day 90 of Kenzai Iron on Saturday, was feeling strong, happy and ready for the holiday, then boom, 24 hours later the whole family was laid out flat with the flu. High fever, joint pain, chills, the works. Just now digging out and trying to get back on track. Three days completely lost, I can't even remember most of it.
It's a good reminder that even when you're in shape, you're not bulletproof. Respect every day of health that you're lucky enough to receive.
I'll be getting the flu shot next year!
These are hard, but if you do them right you'll be able to fold them into your jumprope session without too much trouble.