Back to Running… Reasonably

homerI’ve talked a lot about running and lifting on this blog. If you don’t feel like getting totally caught up, here’s the story in a nutshell: I used to run a lot. Then I hurt myself. Now I lift a lot.

There. You’re basically caught up on two year’s worth of posts.

There is a part of me that misses running regularly. It won’t ever become my go-to exercise since I think I’m much more suited for the lifting lifestyle (and a much bigger fan of the results). But I find running to be extremely honest. If you run regularly, you will get better at it. If you haven’t run in a long time, you cannot fake being good at it. It will hurt. And you have to push yourself through the pain (but not too hard… otherwise you’ll end up with problems like me) over and over again until you get back in shape. And it’s humbling. And I like to be humbled.

But this year, I’m prepared. I’m of course going to continue my regularly scheduled gym routine (because I find it the most efficient and effective for me), but I’m also going to add back in little bits of running. Even if it’s just a mile here, a set of interval sprints there, ten minutes on the treadmill…whatever. And I’m prepared because I got a specialty running sock that supposedly helps when you’ve got a messed up club foot like I do.

It’s not a traditional club foot. I call it a club foot because it hurts like I’ve been standing in heels in da club for hours after ten minutes of running.

Anyhoo, I’m excited about it. And because I’m all about being reasonable this year, I think it’s a reasonable compromise between my present lifting self and my past runner.

Get Your Reps In

female2In many ways, I approach my career athletically. I grew up playing lots of different sports and learned the value in practicing daily for incremental improvements in order to become overall better during game time. I understand that every chance you get to practice even the smallest of moves, you improve your overall performance in the game. I also understand that it’s helpful to take notes of specific games and how you did in them to analyze and see what you do well and what needs improvement.

And I apply a lot of that to my career. Daily. I treat performances as game time. I do the best I can given whatever surroundings conditions I’m playing in and analyze how I did afterwards. I know it’s not the same because in the entrainment world- especially in comedy- so much is arbitrary. But you can find ways to evaluate yourself. And you can understand how different moves help overall performance.

For instance, I consider doing stand up open mics the same as doing cardio at the gym. It’s necessary and can make a big difference in your overall physique. But doing hours and hours of it doesn’t always give you the best outcome for your time investment. You’ll improve, of course, but it’ll be incremental. And I consider writing like lifting weights. The more time I spend writing- whether it’s these blog posts, screenplays, short films, sketches, stand up jokes- the better I become as a comedic brain. In the best case scenario, in a good workout, you can get in both your weight lifting and your cardio sessions. But if you only choose one, you can just choose based on the immediate goals ahead.

Lately, for me, I’ve been lifting more weights and doing more writing. As a result, I’ve sculpted my body more effectively and created a ton more opportunities for performances that feature my strengths and sensibilities I wouldn’t otherwise have. And I’ve been happy with the results on both ends.

But I’m of course itching to find time to get that cardio back in my routine. I like to get those reps in on the mics to stay fresh and connected to the community. Even just one mic a week (or a couple cardio per week) and I can keep from getting too rusty.

So gotta keep the performance and practice routines balanced. Otherwise you get fat and not funny. And that’s just an odd combination.

I don’t mean it. I just needed a way to quickly end this post because things were getting too real. 

Golf! Who knew?

20140106-091806.jpgSo… it turns out I love to golf. I learned this yesterday. It was very exciting then. It’s still very exciting now. Even just thinking about the next time I can get out on a course is very exciting to me.

And I’m shocked. Because it’s golf. GOLF.

It’s a sport that I have a stand up bit making fun of. I would shake my head when people told me they liked it. I didn’t ever understand why people would watch it. And- to be honest- until yesterday, I wouldn’t have even called it a sport.

Yes! I was mean to golf! You’re daggum right I was! I’m not proud of it! I’m trying to set the record straight!

It turns out, it takes a lot of patience, finesse and athleticism to golf. Sure, it’s not the best cardio workout on the planet. You’re not going to shred pounds while golfing. But you are going to connect with your mind and body. And golf etiquette is going to keep you off your phone (for the most part), so you’ll unplug for a couple hours from the rest of the world. And golf courses are super scenic and pretty, so you can be outside in nature for a while. And other golfers are polite. And it’s quiet. It’s… awesome.

I was nervous beforehand because I had no idea what to expect. But I had a great coach/golfmate who helped me with my swing and helped me understand strategy and helped me learn etiquette (and even was sweet enough to get me an official golf glove so I could look totally cool!). Plus, we went to a course that was pretty easy-going. People didn’t seem to take themselves all that seriously. Before we even got started, some old man handed me some extra balls he found on the practice putting green. When I told him it was my first time golfing he said, “Just have fun. That’s all you have to remember.”

And I did have fun. Even though I hit several balls into a lake and nearly hit an innocent person sitting on a bench on a different hole because I swung way too hard and didn’t get anywhere near my own hole. It was fun the whole time.

I can’t wait to get back out there. Especially since golf outfits are friggin’ amazing. And given my own outlandish and eclectic taste, I finally have a place where I can wear whatever I want and not get judged for it.

Like this guy:

golf pants

I know he’s probably someone very famous in golf (because he came up a bunch on my google searches). But I didn’t take the time to do my research on it yet.

I just started yesterday, you guys. Gimme a little break.

I can’t wait to get out there again. I was getting better every hole with every stroke. I started understanding strategy and the benefit of the different clubs. I still don’t completely get it by any means- but that just comes with time and practice.

Not to mention, afterwards you can totally splurge on beer and cigars. If that’s your style. At least it makes you look badass in pictures.

To Rest or Not To Rest?

That is the question.

I really need to whip my body into good cardio shape because in one month I have to run another half marathon race.  The problem is, every time I try to get back on the cardio bandwagon, my foot gives out. I did something to it (see my previous post about it) and I don’t know how best to go about fixing it.

I was grateful enough to get the perfect new running shoes, which have been extremely comfortable and I’m excited to run many miles in. But some damage has already been done to my shoes from my last long run and I don’t know how to fix it.

I’ve been trying to massage it with a tennis ball daily to keep it a little loose. It seems to help. At least I’m not waking up in the morning hobbling like I was the week after I pulled it.

But when I go to the gym, I need to do some cardio. At the very least, I need to lift my legs to keep the muscles working and challenged. Unfortunately, these two activities right now are making my foot worse.

I know I should probably just rest it. Just let it go for a week and take it easy. But I don’t “take it easy” well. I want it to be better and I want it to be better now and I don’t understand how I can’t just talk my mind out of the problem.

But I’m gonna try and respect the pain. I’m gonna spend the week lifting other things. Maybe every time I get angry about not being able to run, I’ll do ab work. Try and get my weakness to be my strength. That’d be making a positive out of the situation, right?

I can’t even get on the elliptical, you guys. The elliptical- the dumbest cardio ever created- hurts my stupid food. I feel likek such a weakling…

Interval Challenge

For the past several months, I’ve been running long distances. I like long distances. I understand them. I’m good at pacing myself and seeing the big picture for the run.

But when I made the switch to concentrate on lifting, I also made the switch to only do cardio as interval sessions either either as sprints on a track, stairs, or on a stationary bike. My goal is to have three cardio sessions per week- two sprints and one bike. But- as is always the case in life- sometimes I get too busy and the cardio is the first thing I skip over to make sure I get all the weight sessions in.

And despite the fact that I love to run, I’m comfortable running, I consider myself a runner and even a sprinter- I’ve found that the cardio sessions are by far the most challenging for me on many levels.

First of all, I’m highly competitive. I can’t help it. It’s in my bones. I try to turn it off, but it’s like squashing a big part of myself. I don’t always have to be the first, but I need to be impressive. And when I’m sitting on a stationary bike in the low interval portion- the part of the interval session where you have to let your body rest and recover and need to go slowly to do so, I feel like a sell out. I feel like the other people around me who have more resistance and are pedaling harder are laughing at my little pansy bike levels and think I’m a wuss. Truthfully, I bet they’re not even paying attention to me in the slightest, but in my mind they’re judging.

It’s the same way on the track where I run sprints. My sprint interval is set at 10 seconds all out and 50 second recovery. During the recovery, I should just stop or walk slowly to let my body have a break. Instead, I don’t want any of the other pansies to think I’m a wuss like them, so I keep jogging between sets. Even though it utterly exhausts me by the end of my routine and makes it harder to push during the sprints- which need to be pushed during in order to do their job! But my pride doesn’t let me rest easily! AH!

It’s also more difficult to do intervals because my mind can play new tricks on me.

When you’re running distance, you can easily talk yourself into going a little bit farther. And sometimes, you can physically get yourself so far from your starting point, that you force yourself to go back and trick yourself into a longer run that way. While you’re running, too, you can just zone out and think of other worldly problems or issues or listen to podcasts and imagine and whatnot. You can forget about the fact that you’re running and just check in with your body once in a while.

When you’re doing intervals, you don’t get the luxury of checking out. You have to stay very “on” so that you can be ready to go when it’s time to push for the next interval. Which means my mind is constantly checking in on my body, which is constantly asking to stop. I have to learn new tricks to make it keep going. It’s hard when you’ve already done 20 minutes of sprints to tell your body you absolutely need to do those last 5…because you really don’t. Except for the fact that you set a goal for yourself and need to prove to yourself that you can reach it. That’s a hard sell when you’re panting and in pain. Somehow I’ve been successful at it so far- but I’m never sure how.

And if I learned anything from yesterday’s sprint session, it’s that when I do start distance running again, it is going to take a while to get back in the shape I was a month ago. My body is…well, adjusted to lifting and angry with cardio.

So whoopdeedoo.

p.s. I use a great app called IntervalTimer for my intervals. You can set different day workouts and goals and it plays sounds for you to let you know when you’ve stopped and started your intervals. Plus! It automatically plays music while you’re going and just overlays the interval sounds with the music. It’s a really great app that is likely the only reason I can meet my sprinting goals because I don’t have to think at all- it does all the work.

Happy sprinting.