Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Sunday Morning Workout

Sunday's training provided a good workout and a good start to my year (yes, happy birthday [November 28] to me). I've decided to renew my commitment to health and fitness and a good workout on the morning of my birthday seemed like a good way to do it.

I don't know where the rest of the guys were, but Glen gave Howard (a fellow lawyer) and me plenty of intensity. While I prefer to have a larger group of guys (more camaraderie, more chances to train with different styles, and a faster pace on rotations), it's nice to get the more intensified treatment when just one other boxer attends the workout. Here's the recap:
  • about 30 minutes of roadwork
  • one round shadowboxing
  • one round on the punch mitts with Glen
  • two rounds on the punch mitts, working on combinations to the body and head
  • lots of rounds of drills, several of which reminded me that Howard is a southpaw
  • two rounds of sparring with Howard
  • three rounds of heavy bag drills
  • five rounds of abs
  • three rounds of 30s as the finishing touch
 I felt good and finished strong. I always strive for a solid finish. Physically, it's always good to build up more endurance so I can control the pace and keep the pressure on my opponent. Mentally, the strong finishes during training reassure me that I have a little left in the reserve tank when I need it most. That increases my overall confidence.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Escape from Starbucks

It's a dark, Saturday afternoon at a Starbucks in Chicago. I'm sitting in a comfortable chair near the door, and the place is buzzing with activity: the occasional blast of chilly air as someone enters or exits the door; the whirs and whines of blenders and other electric-powered devices preparing our coffee drinks with their 16-syllable names, and the incessant chatter that some individuals nearly yell into their cell phones. Above me, a recording of piano music from a Peanuts TV special plays a cheery little tune. That music bears the strong imprint of Vince Guaraldi's style.

In a different time and place, that music might carry me away to some boyhood memory of being fascinated by the adventures of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and the awful, squawking voice who was supposed to be the teacher in a school classroom. Today, however, my reverie is broken by these damned people who are arguing with someone at the other end of their mobile phones. Damn, why do they always have to yell and argue into those phones about the most inane crap? Don't they realize I don't give a rat's ass about what Keesha, Jack, or some third party did or is doing, and how awful it supposedly is?!?

Alas, there's no cause for worry because my silent, mini-rant itself is being interrupted by a man seated--like I am--in a single chair, his being just a few feet from mine. My beef with this guy? He's listening to something via headphones, reading a book, eating, and talking to himself--all at the same time. I sigh deeply as that audible self-talk triggers frightening memories in me. I have an uncle who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia; he used to talk to himself a lot, too. It's an unpleasant sight. When I stop and practice mindfulness, I can see my thoughts in mid-flight. The memory really is a lot worse than what is happening in the present moment.

I’m thinking of leaving. After all, laundry waits for me at home. I’ve let it pile up so long that I even have to wash workout clothes, if I want to get to fight club tomorrow morning. I hate to leave, because I want to learn how to deal with aversion without running away from it. At the same time, I’ve learned a little from this experience, even if I’m not working with aversion in the best way.

I try to keep an open mind about and be kind to people who suffer from mental illness; I am working to make things better for them. The man next to me just returned with a sandwich, and he’s complaining to himself: “My meat went dark…” Agh!

Dang, now on the recorded radio stream, that wretched “Me and Mrs. Jones” song has started playing. Bleh. Since I was a boy, I’ve hated that obnoxious little ditty that seems to glorify adultery and extra-marital affairs. That’s it; I can’t take anymore. I’m leaving.
A few minutes later, I arrive home to my toasty-warm apartment. Are there any football games on tonight?