The Weakest Link

The Weakest Link

I don’t normally make New Years resolutions. This is because I never follow through on what I tell people at the beginning of the year.

Getting into better shape is one of those thigns that I tell people that I want to do.

And yet, I never do it.

Which is stupid, really, considering that I am in a Karate dojo that emphasizes physical endurance along with everything else.

And it’s not easy.

Once in a while we will have an intense exercise class, in which we really push ourselves to the limit. It’s more than just aerobic exercise. It’s torture.

But it’s a good kind of torture.

Even though I’ve moved up to Brown Belt level, I still attend the Orange/Green/Blue class on Tuesdays to help out. It’s tucked in between the children’s class I assist in and the Brown Belt class.

When the time is right, exercise classes usually carry on all week in most of the adult classes. For example, yesterday there were two exercise classes in a row. I decided to tough it out and try and do both toe Orange/Green/Blue and the Brown Belt Classes.

How embarassed was I when I was ready to heave at the end at the end of the lower-level class?

Very much so.

I don’t think I will be hearing the end of this.

Considering I’ve been doing martial arts for fourteen years, you’d think that I’d have built up some kind of stamina. Granted, it’s been fourteen years of different martial arts, so different types of endurance. But still…

My problem is an inability to push past a wall. This permeates all athletic activity that I do.

I can’t swim more than one length of a pool without stopping. Running is torturous, as is practically every other exercise.

I’ll approach this wall and the feelings of nausea and fatigue seem to overwhelm me.

I have an athsmatic friend who can run circles around me. He runs 10K races without sweating. He is an inspiration. He also is convinced that I am a wuss because I can’t think past this wall.

And he is right.

With every failed attempt to surpass this barrier, I seem to be losing a little more ground.

Well, no more.

I figured I would write this down here, on my blog, as an incentive to kick some ass.

I have a half marathon that I will be running with Dave next year. I also have a canoe trip coming up where I have to really kick some ass.

I’m not writing this as a fishing expedition so much as an admission of inadequacy. Please don’t bother trying to be complimentary. I really do appreciate it. However, I would much rather have people comment on how they push past their own barriers to improve themselves. This might help me figure out things for myself.

Consider this a life resolution rather than a New Years one.

12 Responses

  1. I think more people need to make Life resolutions rather than new years ones, because its almost as if you only have to do it for a year, and even then… hardly anyone does. I resolve to have no resolutions:P Basically mine was Im giong to go to school in the fall:) how exciting eh. xo ~Leah~

  2. Nothing complimentary eh? Okay… Wuss.. Wuss.. Wuss.. There.. you happy now? Somehow, I don’t think that’s what you were going for either.. *w* I will say this much.. one of my favorite quotes is, “The strongest swords are forged in the hottest fires.” I always think of this..whenever I am pushing and it is burning… Good luck Jorge.. Break a….. Oh this is Karate.. nevermind.. sol-

  3. I started smoking when I was 16. I quit 8 years later at 24, but continued to smoke occasionally until I was 27. When I was 15, I was on my high school swim team and even placed 8th overall in the city. When I had started smoking, I couldn’t even survive the warm-up the following year. I hadn’t done cardio of any kind since then and like you, I can’t swim a length without feeling like my lungs are going to explode. Sometimes, I can’t even swim a length, depending on the size of the pool. Just this past Monday, I was forced to do cardio training by my boss at the personal training company I work at. First time in 15 years. It 20 minutes on the recumbent bike with cascading difficulty levels while maintaining at least 80 revolutions per minute. I didn’t think I’d make it, and my legs burned and felt like lead at the end and I thought I was going to vomit, but I made it. I think the key is finding a point near your impasse and training near it and actually training at your threshold during your workouts. I don’t know if you’re giving it your all when you train, but I don’t think you need me to remind you to pace yourself. I’m sure your marathon running friend paces himself and trains consistently in order to survive his 10k runs. He also trains in other sports that require running at various intensities. I’m not sure how often you’re training cardio or endurance, but it sounds to me like the PT classes are somewhat infrequent. If that’s the case, then you’ll probably have to train a little more frequently to see any benefit and break that barrier. But I think you’re aware of that.

  4. jorge. don’t lament. You’ve heard of the fight or flight response? The gazelle runs away while emptying its bladder. The tiger plays tetherball with your head. you can kick most peoples ass using only whisker-burn, so why run away? you’re a tiger baby, a tiger! -b

  5. I, too, am working on pushing past that wall. I have never been able to run for more than a couple of minutes, so I am currently trying to train myself to do it. On my treadmill, I start out walking, and then at every ten minute interval, I run. I started out with 1 minute at each interval, and now I add 30 seconds at each interval every night. It seems to be building up my endurance, and where previously at one minute I thought I was going to vomit and die, at one minute I can now actually think that I kind of like this. My only advice is to do it slowly, slowly, slowly. Build up your endurance one minute at a time. In this case, slow and steady really does win the race.

  6. What you need is a Bruce Lee-like experience. You need to get attacked by three guys, fight them off smartly, get upset over how winded that made you, recondition yourself, and then create your own maritial art: Fig Kune Do.

  7. i am back in the boat of having to build up my fitness level again, so i am not speaking from PRESENT experience. HOWEVER, back when i was all fit and crap, and when i was approaching my own walls, i had to play games with myself when running. i’d run however many miles and then tell myself, “i won’t stop until the next stop sign…” and then i’d get to the next stop sign and say, “not until that driveway with the bike,” and then i’d get to the driveway, and say, “that tree up ahead…” so on and so forth. i would guess you could apply the same thing to whatever training — either using small increments of time to play your games (not stopping for another 2 minutes…) or maneuvers or reps or sets or whatever. big goals were always too intimidating. so i had to trick myself with little ones. once you do bust through a wall, though, i’m sure it will be much much easier to push yourself even further. gooooooo JORGE! patresa

  8. You need incentive to kick ass? You DO kick ass buddy! Way to go on the workouts. How long before you establish your own Dojo with Sansei Ian?

  9. This isn’t going to be inspirational really. I rarely can kick down the wall unless I’m competing against someone. And “beat my own time” doesn’t help. I have to beat someone else’s time. Unhealthily competitive? Probably. But on the other side of that wall is a nice floaty feeling and then you can keep going forever (or so it feels until you hit the next wall- I think once you pass the second wall you just die). My workout motto: Go hard or go home.

  10. Hi Jorge, I was just heading over to your blog. 🙂 I don’t have any advice for you. I will say, though, that most beginning swimmers are so freaked out about making it to the end of the pool that they swim TOO HARD. Then once they reach the end, they can’t breath. Slow down people. The end of the pool isn’t going anywhere, and not breathing between strokes doesn’t help any. (Unless you are building your lungs). Damn I miss swimming all the time in Florida. Stupid Brooklyn with its stupid lack of Olympic size pools.

  11. I’m always accidentally leaving a blank comment. I have no idea how that happens. Something about pressing the :”return” key too soon. I’m no athlete. Never was. They opened a yoga studio near my house and, having never taken a yoga class, I thought “I could sure use some relaxation techniques”. Turned out to a “hot” class–there’s nothing particularly relaxing about holding poses for over a minute in a room that’s 100 degrees for an hour-and-a-half. Talk about exploding lungs! What finally helped me break through the wall (well, the first one: although there’s a different new wall every class, even though the class itself does not change) was NOT competeing with the others in the room. Once I was completely in my own head concentrating on what I was doing, I could go farther, last longer, out-do myself, and eventually, pass out less. I find it far more motivating (and subsequently more physically challenging) to pit me against me. At the same time, maintaining an acceptance that some days you go frustratingly backwards. But then you can look forward to going twice as far the next time!

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