Posts Tagged ‘Running

17
Feb
14

A day off …

A day off …

photo 1-2

A daily something, whether it’s work, going for a run, posting a blog piece or any of a myriad of things can bring a nice bit of order to the day–or act as a set of moments for oneself and oneself alone.

Even with that daily something, it is sometimes nice to have a day off!

Yesterday was just such a day for me–when somewhere late in the evening I realized I hadn’t blogged for the day. Yes, I could have rushed it, but the truth was–it was okay.

Sometimes that break is what we need to kick start something new.

Today, my actual day off from work (the President’s Day holiday), turned out to be a gift of another kind — one extra day at the gym.

I saw friends I rarely run into — and had another chance to box at a leisurely pace, this time going into the ring with boxing trainer, Darius Forde. With Lennox Blackmoore in my corner to coach me through it, I worked through all sorts of issues in the ring offensively and defensively — plus the different looks that Darius showed me.

The rounds on the heavy bag and upper cut bag afterwards were also something a little bit new as I worked through different boxing problems I experienced in the ring.

It got me to thinking that it’s what makes the best part of any day — working through a problem from a different angle. Rather like a piece of art — we get to enrich ourselves by creatively thinking through how best to make something work before moving along.

At any rate, as official day’s off go, it was pretty wonderful.

01
Feb
14

Back at it …

Back at it …

The heavy bags at Gleason's Gym

After a ten-day hiatus, I made it back into the gym today.

Talk about a shock! My conditioning as I entered the ring with my trainer Lennox Blackmoore was at about z-e-r-o!  But, that was to be expected after having fought off a lousy cold and its aftereffects.

Yes, I did manage to spar four rounds–but it was charity! Really. We were at half speed at best and I admit to feeling a bit light-heading as I shadow boxed. Giving into the reality of not being quite back to my usual level of fitness, after four rounds of sparring I took it slow and went three rounds on the upper cut bag and four on the speed bag before doing sit-ups.

Given the season, a lot of folks are in the throes of colds and flu and need to sort out just when to get back to the gym.

The following are some tips on how to go about it:

Klennex1. If you’ve been really sick with fever and an infection or if the virus that’s been plaguing you has left your muscles and joints achy and weak, you really should wait until your symptoms are pretty much done. You also don’t want to infect anyone else so if you’re still sneezing and coughing you should hold off until you are no longer contagious.

2. When you do head back, remember that your body has just been through an ordeal. And no–you are not going to perform to you usual ability, nor should you even if you think you can do it.  The body needs adequate time to recover. You will also need time to get your body back to its former conditioning–and depending upon the severity of your illness will require time, effort and patience.

Unknown3. Don’t think that you can immediately pound away at full speed. Whether it’s boxing, an hour of yoga, jogging in the park or working out on weight machines, cut your workout down to a reasonable time and cut yourself some slack when you find that your performance is off. No matter what shape you’re in a miserable cold is going to slow you down and your body needs time to get back to full strength. And, if you’ve had a couple of days of fever, your body has been hard at work fending of miserable germs–so it’ll take that much longer to get back to full strength.

4. Give yourself adequate recovery time, meaning if you run everyday, you don’t have to immediately get back to your normal schedule. Run on day one, rest a day, and then get back to it. In this way, you really are giving your body a chance to fully recover. Make certain that you are also keeping yourself adequately hydrated before, during and after workouts. The body can become slightly dehydrated even with a cold–which also takes time to recover from.

Most of all, remember to keep it slow and before you know it, you’ll be back at 100%!

 

27
Jan
14

Sometimes only a chocolate cupcake with mocha icing will do …

Sometimes only a chocolate cupcake with mocha icing will do …

Chocolate Cupcake with Mocha Icing

Or sometimes two, along with a really good cup of coffee and the sense that whatever ails will pass.

I’m recuperating from the sneezing, running nose, sore throat, coughing and general malaise that goes with the territory of a winter cold.

The Tardis - Dr. WhoA box of tissues, a package of cherry-flavored sugar-free cough drops, countless draining with the netty pot and several episodes of Dr. Who later (finished series six and halfway through seven), I’m beginning to bounce back, albeit having missed two of my three gym days for the week, and what with the snow, no running.

I know, I know, cup cakes are the LAST thing I need having not worked out since last Monday, however, the calls to the soul of a perfectly formed chocolate cupcake (or two–GERD be damned) sometimes just overrules all possible objections.

And tomorrow is another day.

One thing good that came out of my Dr. Who binge (not to mention having watched The Expendables 2, Red Dawn (the remake), and Olympus Has Fallen — yep serious B-movie trashy, action-packed, shoot-em-ups), was the realization that I’d truly over done it, which prompted me to actually write last night. Well not exactly write, but edit and think through material I’d written a year ago (dare I say on the way towards a novel?) — along with an insight or two that gave me a new sense of the work as well as a few added paragraphs.

Olivetti Underwood TypewriterI guess it’s all a long way of saying that while not exactly a new project, I may well have tapped into a fresh perspective, that will see me “bend-it-like-Beckham” into something with a bit of wow for myself because it screams out into new territory layered on top of stuff I’ve written about off and on for years.

Not too sound mysterious, but in the scheme of things, writers tend to revisit the questions over and over (at least this writer does), and to find a new angle for those questions opens up all sorts of possibilities.

The coming weeks will tell as I begin to settle into some sort of writing schedule for the work — and also tease out how to better plan out the blog with days for pure reportage and other days for the general stream of freely written thoughts.

I’d also like to thank everyone for hanging in with me! It seems I’ve hit 400,246 all time views–an extraordinary feat in my estimation with all of you to thank for it, because let me tell you, when I started back in October 2010, I never thought I’d see a 1,000 visits!

It really has been an incredible honor to write about women’s boxing from every angle I can think of–and then to have folks stop by to read what I’ve been up to just adds to how joyous this all makes me feel.

So kudos to all of you for sharing in my daily something — even when I can’t make the daily part of it all!

19
Jan
14

What to do next …

What to do next …

With my book, A History Of Women’s Boxing, in the beginning stages of production (copy editing, proofreading & typesetting) — there’s not much to do except wait. And yes, I have to starting on the marketing side (more to come in future posts), but aside from that, all the hard work is done.

The question is now what?

I’ve started back at boxing three days a week (check), and am even running in the early AM with the prodigal thereby getting more workout time plus extra mother-daughter bonding time (double check), and otherwise, I’m back to blogging daily (check), not to mention working really hard at my job, but what to do with the rest of the time?

Sit back? Hang? Catch-up on series 6 of Dr. Who? — I started that today.

So many decisions!

Write another book — a novel this time? A one-woman show? A book of poems? Start a women’s boxing film festival? Lose the ten pounds I gained writing the book this past year? Cook? — I made Potato-Leek Soup from Julia Childs tonight for dinner. Take up tap dancing? — I can still do the time step I learned at Charlie Lowe’s Dance School in 1966! Work on my ancestry.com family tree again? — Last time I was in between things I got back several generations.

Even my family is getting into the act figuring that I really need a project given that they’re already sick of me “meddling” in theirs!

And as I think of it I’ve had my extracurriculars for years what with lots and lots of schooling and all of the rest.

The other side of it is I feel out of time–and like a small child who doesn’t want to go to bed for fear of missing something, I don’t want to slow down for fear that it may be my last opportunity.

In that sense aging plain old sucks, but then, as my grandmother used to say of anything that was scary or painful , “first you cry, then you get up, wash your face and do.”

So … that ‘s the ticket. I need to “do” and in the absence of a plan, just do something so it’ll just have to be writing daily blog posts, jogging with the prodigal in the dark and facing each day with a smile of on my face! Oh … and lose the ten pounds!

14
Jan
14

Up and out at 6:00 AM …

Up and out at 6:00 AM

Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn, NY, Credit: Diacritical

There’s something about the morning in the dark.  It’s one thing when one has been out all night, but waking up and hitting the pavement with nary a hint of the old “rosy fingered dawn” is something else again.

This morning, all dressed up in sweats, a light shell jacket, and with my daughter similarly attired, she and I set out to run the track at Cadman Plaza Park in downtown Brooklyn–our first such excursion together.

As mother-daughter events go, it was pretty cool. While not particularly experienced, she has a long lopping gait that saw her fly out in front of me as I trudged along with my steady-as-she-goes tiny steps. Had I the stamina or the knees for that matter it would have been wonderful to run out like that, but having neither, I only looked on in wonder.

Waiting for me at the head of street, she took off again as we neared the park. Once inside, we got started on the rubberized track running along Cadman Plaza East before it looped down and around to near the Brooklyn Bridge exit onto Cadman Plaza West and then up again past the Korean War monument to the Tillary Street entrance.

True to her form, she ran ahead, but as I caught up she was definitely getting tired–and was stopping more to take a break than to wait for Mom!  Still she did a wind sprint that made me breathless just to watch, never mind EVER attempt to do myself.

After our one loop around the park, we figured we’d done enough–it was our first day at it and there was no sense “killing” ourselves or tying our muscles up in knots to the point where we couldn’t try it again for a while.

Smiling, she said, “thanks, Mom,” and as we made our way home, still in the dark, there was something both sweet and triumphant about knowing we’d already accomplished a lot well before the sun came up.

We’ll see about tomorrow.

If you are thinking about taking up running … here are a few videos that be of interest.

Basics for beginning runners …

This one has good tips if you’re going to run for longer distances …

“Roadwork” training for boxers

 

04
Jun
13

Speaking to power …

Speaking to power …

Superwoman!

Having gotten back into my boxing groove starting at the end of December when my surgeon gave me the all clear to whale away, my body has begun to find its power again. It’s not all the time or even some of the time, but an occasional thing when I’ll come upon something that I can lift with ease even though I know it’s really heavy, or when I’m about to finish up my light run from my house to the gym and realize that I could keep going for quite a ways.

That sense of comfort with my body or the sense that it has power is not something I’ve had very often in my life. Growing up in NYC in the 1960s meant very little by way of sports–as in punch ball, stoop ball and King, a kind of hand ball where each person had one concrete square in the sidewalk as their “box.”

At summer camp I swam and otherwise did what I could *not* to have to play softball in the heat of the afternoon in a field swarming with no-see-ums. As for basketball, I was hopeless when it came to anything but drippling the ball. The only running I ever did in those days were “chase” games and aside from tap dancing lessons at the age of 12 (for three months at Charlie Lowe’s School where I learned to use my “personality”), I didn’t do much of anything until my mid-thirties when I began to run.

Jogging in the 1970sThe jogging craze that began in the 1970s seemed to pass me by. Sure I tried it, but huffing and puffing for a block or two along the East River of Manhattan on the Upper East Side near where I used to live (and admittedly sucking back a cigarette or two), even along side a boyfriend, just wasn’t for me. Aerobics in cute white Reeboks was also “not my thing,” and if I exercised at all it was disco dancing at places like The Salty Dog, where I could happily gyrate for hours at a time.

Flashing forward to the late 1980s, my body still woefully unexercised, I decided to take up running in a bid to quit smoking. My first runs, attempts to run around Central Park were pathetic. I barely made it down two blocks, never mind to the park, while my chest heaved in pain and spasmed from coughing fits. Knowing that I needed to rid my lungs of years of inhaling junk into them, however, gave me the motivation to persevere. The remarkable thing was that by the end of the first week of daily runs, I was able to run ten blocks and by the end of a month I began to eschew distance for time having ran for thirty full minutes. By the second month my runs were taking me the full circuit around Central Park including the famed 110th Street Hill–a run that took me an hour door-to-door to cover the seven miles. Throughout that Spring I pounded my way through the Park, testing myself with brief sprints, and feeling for the first time in my life, the power of the body.  The experience was humbling, if a little frightening, because I had spent so many years in denial of my physical sphere. But there I was, running as long as an hour and a half, my legs and arms toned, and feeling for very brief moments as if I was invincible.

Life interceded and I quit running after a while, but when I found my way to boxing a decade later, the sense of myself as a physical being began to kick back in. Even now, as I begin to live out the last of my 50s, I find the body’s capacity to renew itself to be truly remarkable.

Sometimes speaking to power has to do with embracing those parts of oneself that extend out in a giant roar of confidence and well-being. My younger self would never have believed that I was capable of saying that–which tells me that whether it’s through the pounding of feet along a path in the park or the extension of a jab in a boxing ring, the magic of finding an alignment of all the parts of one’s being is always within the realm of the possible. All one has to do is take the first step to try.

 

03
Dec
12

Up and at ’em …

Up and at ’em …

Women's Service Corps, ca 1945, Credit: Washington State Magazine

 

Whether its early morning calisthenics, a five-mile run to get the “juices flowing”, or cracking the books one more time for an exam, the old “up and at ’em” attitude is a great way to push oneself to whatever task is at hand.

Monday mornings also have a way of setting the tone for the week ahead whether its starting a new diet (or getting back on an old one), ticking off chores on the “to-do” list or getting back to the gym after a long hiatus. A Monday that is also the first one of the month has the added feature of jumping off into a fresh start with 30 or so days of opportunity to meet one’s goal.

Woman running 1920s, Credit: Baltimore FishbowlIt’s not exactly training for a prize-fight — but setting off down a path towards something to accomplish can certainly feel that way. That can mean losing five pounds, writing a paper (or a couple of chapters!), running five days a week, perfecting a new kind of glaze or learning five new chords on the guitar.

Whatever the goal putting in the work to do it means a lot of well deserved self-congratulations for persevering and at the end of it that fabulous “I’ve done it” fist-pump in the air.

Whatever the goal — one is also never really alone in it either.

We are all here doing the same thing and for every quiet cheer we might let out for ourselves we are also championing our friends who are along the path of their own achievements … at least that how I like to think of it!

So, if you’re out there today embarking on something for the month of December, know that a whole lot of us are riding along side you eating salads with low-fat dressing, waking up early to do doing crunches at 6:00 AM, perfecting sun salutations and memorizing the periodic table of elements.

 

19
May
11

More rain in BKLYN, but not until the afternoon …

More rain in BKLYN, but not until the afternoon …

That means plenty of time to run baby run around the block, the park or the gym.  Yep, road work!

In my case, knees being what they are today — kind of stiff and ornery if morning yoga is any indication —  it’ll mean some brisk walks on my short “hops” to work and back, and maybe even a lunch time walk if I can unchain myself (okay that’s figuratively) from my desk.

Mind you, there was a time when I loved nothing better than to run for an hour or so around Central Park.  In those days, my knees where slim and cooperative and full of a lovely bounce, especially up the 110th Street hill!

Oh well.

Still, I miss it sometimes and thought it would be fun to add some links to videos about road work from around the web.

Here’s a YouTube video from Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero:

Road work  in Central Park (in the snow) with Coach Nelson:

Coach Rick from Philly with “La Chica Mala”:

07
Apr
11

Roadwork

Roadwork!

My notion of roadwork came from watching the movie Rocky.  There was Sly Stallone huffing and puffing his way through Philly, until finally, the meat hanging in the processing plant conquered, he was able to run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in triumph.  From his old-school converse sneakers to his gray sweats, Rocky was an everyman (everywoman) kind of hero that sought to over come adversity to get back into the ring.

The image of Rocky running up the steps remains iconic and in many ways continues to inform boxing’s notion of roadwork: rising well before dawn to don sweats, boxers the world-over will run 5 – 6 miles through the streets before hitting the gym. A lot of boxing gyms also have running machines and boxers will do their roadwork in the gym adding a component of interval training by alternatively running fast and slow along with changing inclines.  In a gym environment, the running will often occur after regular training is completed, though this varies widely, as do the beliefs on the relative benefits of running in the wee hours of the morning on through evening runs.

The bottom-line is that running is used as an important training component to build stamina and conditioning — and knees aside, the idea is to increase muscle efficiency and aerobic fitness to improve performance during the short burst intervals of the ring.

On the Saturday boxing side of training – a brief jog/run can also be a helpful way of loosening up before stretching and commencing training.

Given the state of my knees, hard-on running is kind of beyond me, but having run for distance earlier in my life, I can attest to the physical conditioning that comes with a regular program of running — as well as its merits as a training tool.  Still, old school running for boxing is not without controversy as some trainers have switched from straight-on roadwork to other forms of interval training or using the controlled environment of the gym for running in place, running sprints, jump-rope intervals and other forms of conditioning.

For an excellent article on the science of running for boxing on Rossboxing.com click here.

 

08
Dec
10

Housebound

Housebound

My daughter has been sick off-and-on with a low-grade fever and headaches over the past few days. This has meant that my husband has been at home taking care of her — and has himself caught whatever bug she’s had.

On those sorts of days when bed, TV and iPad games are your best friends it’s hard to get motivated enough to reset your bed covers, never mind do anything remotely physical. As the fog of misery begins to roll back, however, one sure way of pushing through the rest of the way is to sweat it out with some robust exercise finished by a nice steam.

By robust, of course, I don’t necessarily mean running a marathon, but first off, dragging your bones out of bed and into a hot shower to help you reset yourself.  And sure, if you feel as if you’re about to faint at that point, bed is surely your only option, but if you get out of the shower feeling refreshed and human again, the next step is to get your body moving.  Think Army calisthenics and get into yours sweats and start either with a quick stretch followed by run around the block — or a brisk walk to your gym to make war on the machines or a heaving bag.  What you want is a nice healthy sweat to get all of those toxins out — and as for the steam, if you don’t have access to one, get back in the shower with the water on hot and feel that junk rolling off you and down the drain.

Of course if you can’t run out the door, there’s nothing like shadow boxing to “I Will Survive”!

PS – As this is UMG, it may bounce you back to You Tube.

25
Nov
10

The gym is closed?!?

The gym is closed?!?

What?!? I’m off from work and the gym is closed?!?

How often have you asked yourself *that* question on a holiday when you’re itching to get out of the house and you’re overcome by the sudden onset of your exercise “mojo”?

Funny how that always seems to happen at 8:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning or better yet, at sometime around 2:00 PM on Christmas day.  And oh the shock and surprise when you remember that the gym is closed!  You’d think that there had been a murder with all the carrying-on that happens.  The “oh man, it’s closed? But I *really* want to work out *now*!”

It reminds me of speaking with Rabbi Richard Chapin formerly of New York’s Temple Emanuel about the meaning of faith.  He talked about the religious experience as more than what one often feels are mandated appearances on High Holy days.  Rather, it is the sum total of all of those Friday night services and the attendant repetition of ritual that can give one the chance to glean meaning.  And so with boxing or running or yoga or aikido or any of the host of activities one does at a gym or dojo or on a running track.  It is not the ritual “appearance” on a holiday that give meaning to work and sweat, it’s the every day.  The daily something.  The things we repeat over and over as a mantra to the places we want to go and the person we want to become.

As an advocate for boxing, I’ll always talk about the ring as a place to take care of those sorts of longings, but really it doesn’t matter.  The point is to find those things have meaning to you and to give it a whirl in a way that makes sense and is achievable.  And no, you don’t have to go 15 rounds your first day or promise to run 12 miles or do 200 sit-ups or 10 sets each on every apparatus in the gym.  Nor do you have to suddenly remember that you haven’t been to the gym in a while (shall we say weeks or months?) and figure the best day to start is at 7:30 AM on New Year’s Day.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving Day — and if you really feed the need to move around, I’d suggest dancing the Superbad Slide (and because it’s James Brown it’ll link you back to You Tube).




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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