Monday, April 23, 2012
That ended up being a very good thing. I started high jumping after I made the team (turns out they didn't cut anyone that year) and fell in love with the sport. Thanks to a lot of hard work and a few very good coaches and camps, my jumping improved and track and field ended up paying for my college education. Success in NCAA Championships, Penn Relays and a US Olympic Trial followed. I went through a lot of running shoes in those 20+ years, but believe it or not, I never really liked to run. I did it because 90% of the high jump is running. Never one to just lace up my trainers for a leisurely jog, I ran road races and competed on my school's cross country team to get stronger for the high jump. Today, I run so I can do what I need to do on the mat. To me, running was and still is sort of a necessary evil.
My honey is a nationally ranked track coach. He and his teams have won nine national titles and are known for all of the top athletes - including a national record holder and an Olympian - that do very well in high school and go on to collegiate and post-collegiate success, due in large part to his tough workouts and high expectations. He and I actually met on the track while going through our respective divorces; he had just begun training at the field house where I was also training for another Olympic Trial run 12 years ago. So, of course when I mentioned that I wanted to tweak myself cardiovascularly before my upcoming nidan grading, he was all over it. "I could coach you," he told me yesterday. But my schedule is so crazy that I can't really squeeze in any additional training sessions. "All I'll need is 30 minutes a few times a week," he said.
This morning when we met in the gym, it took me all of 15 seconds to realize he was completely serious - and all about business. First - just to add to the fun - he had me lift weights before we got started which is totally opposite of my normal routine. He started me off with a 10 minute run on the treadmill at a moderate speed but a slight incline. Not only did he run on the treadmill next to me, he COACHED me the whole way, telling me how it was better to hurt now than after five of the 10 or so fights I'll probably have on grading day. After six minutes or so, my entire body went numb. I gently asked if we could go eight minutes instead of 10. He actually laughed and reference my track days of old. "You've been here before," he said oh-so-sweetly. I thought about giving him a back fist to the head but I swear, I couldn't lift my arms.
That treadmill was relentless. It was difficult. It was grueling. Plus my arms were screaming from the weights I'd just lifted. Then, he actually had the nerve to toss his shirt over the timer so I couldn't see how much time had elapsed. In my head, I called him a bunch of names, but I didn't have the strength to utter any of them out loud. My "Zen place" had totally left the building. Suffice to say it was not one of my better moments.
As the last few seconds elapsed, he told me I'd only have a three minute rest before staring 30-second intervals. On the treadmill. With the same incline. Only much faster. And the rest period was almost non-existant. The goal was four at a ridiculous pace but I couldn't complain or negotiate because it was time to get to work.
I truly love this man, but I was soooo hating him each time my meager rest period was almost up. He had transformed into the Gestapo right before my eyes. I wanted to kick his stop watch across the gym.
But I didn't. I kept running knowing that the pain would eventually end. And it almost did - except each interval was at a faster pace than the one before it. But before I knew it, the workout was over. He let me catch my breath before announcing that I still had a five minute cool-down to go. Yep, he's that tough.
When I was finally allowed off the treadmill, I looked at my watch. Exactly 30 minutes had passed since I'd started running. I'd survived but I still wasn't sure if I wanted to kiss him or kick him in the shins.
He hugged me and told me that Wednesday would be a little tougher as all the intervals would be a mile faster than the speed I'd run for my last one today.
So I kissed him. That was the only thing that saved his shins.
Posted by Felicia