After making the decision to train to compete in Muay Thai, I had one major goal in advance of my serious training. My goal was to improve my conditioning to a point where I would feel like conditioning was a strength. I have always been a very good athlete but I have felt as if my physical conditioning was always a bit of an Achilles heel for me. I used to blame it on any number of things from my having mild asthma to the fact that my body itches whenever I run for an extended period of time but at the end of the day, my conditioning was poor because I don’t like to run and I simply had to get over that.
I have always hated running. I used to find it boring and hard, a deadly combination. I’d find any excuse in the world not to do it. When training for a sport which requires extremely high levels of conditioning and endurance, running becomes a way of life and it was something that I would have to accept. Prior to this summer, I had never run more that one mile so I began by attempting to run 1.5 miles a couple of days a week. Runners always talk about how you hit a wall and once you break through it, you can simply keep going. I used to laugh at that but one day it happened and out of nowhere, I was consistently running 5 miles without a problem. Now after two months of consistent running, I’m finding that not only is it tolerable but I’m actually liking it a lot. It doesn’t hurt that I run in Central Park which is my favorite place in the city.
Before I leave you, I’ll share a pretty funny running experience I had recently. I was running the loop in central park one day, this was the first time I had attempted the entire loop (6 miles). About 3 miles into it, just after finishing the trecherous Harlem Hill, an older gentleman passes me. While it’s not uncommon for someone to pass me, once this person had advanced about 3 yards ahead of me he slowed down and maintained the same pace as I was at. Immediately the competetive juices started flowing as i couldn’t deal with someone in front of me at my pace. I was tired but motivated so i pulled ahead of him and created some distance between us. After about a half of a mile, he passed me and we exchange a glance which basically said “it’s on”. We spent the next mile and a half passing eachother. With a mile to go, he pulled ahead and took a significant lead. At this point I was pretty much resigned to losing this unofficial race as I just didn’t think I had much left in the gas tank. This held up for about the next 3/4 of a mile and then the thought passed in my head, “when I’m competing, I can’t simply resign myself to losing. If I quit during a fight, I can get seriously hurt. I’ll have to muster up whatever energy I have to finish fights and I’m going to do the same here.” So, with 1/4 of a mile left I turned it on and sprinted to the end. I passed him with about 10 yards of so to go and could hear him yell something at me as I passed. I had won my first unofficial central park race.
Next week I will talk a little about how training is going so far at the Wat.