Monthly Archives: October 2013

Muay Thai #1

A couple weeks back, before I left Thailand to relocate permanently back to the US, I finally did something that I have been promising myself I would do for at least a year: took a Muay Thai class.

This was actually my second muay thai session while I was in Thailand.  A few months ago I went to a little local muay thai training facility after work and did an hour session.  The facility was run by a former professional kickboxer, a Frenchman of African descent.  His gym was very local, meaning that it was open air, the walls were mostly cinder blocks and chain link fence.  There was one boxing ring (muay thai ring, I guess), a handful of heavy bags of various manufacture and design including one upper-cut bag and at least one long bag.  There were few fans, jump ropes, hand wraps, gloves, kick and punch target pads and that’s about it.
I got there about five forty-five (I had been told the session started at six).  There were a couple of Thai’s there and an equal number of farangs.  Two Australians and a Frenchman, I believe.  Plus me.  There appeared to be a mixture of long time students and new folks, dilettantes who were there for the fitness aspect and others who were seriously training for actual fights, which they run in Pattaya a couple times a week.
The term session is perhaps gives what happened a greater sense of structure than it deserves.  There seemed to be trainers there – the owner and two Thai instructors – but no one gave any instructions or guidance.  No one told me specifically what to do and all the other guys just kind of did their own thing.  So I jumped rope for a while and at some point the owner told me in broken French-English to start hitting the bag.  So I grabbed a set of wraps off a rafter where they were hanging and drying, wrapped up and started warming up by shadow boxing and hitting the heavy bag.  After a while the Thai instructor who had been working with one of the experienced farang fighters with pads in the ring dismissed him and indicated to me that I should get in the ring.  I wasn’t sure he knew I was a newbie but I got in and we went about five rounds with him using the pads to lead me through some punches, elbows, kicks and knee strikes.  He did a fairly decent job of instructing considering he knew only a few fighting specific English words, but in that context brief demonstrations and lots of repetition work pretty much as well as language.
He was pretty impressed with my limited Thai skills, another sad testament to how little effort any of the foreigners in Thailand put into learning the language.  Anyway, after we went our rounds in the ring he sent me out and brought another guy in.  I was again left without any guidance so I went and practiced some of the tips I had gotten in the ring on a long bag and when I got bored and irritated at the lack of organization and instruction I packed up and went home.
Next post I’ll talk about my second and more satisfying muay thai session . . .

2012 Activity Summary

This is a summary of my Garmin Connect data from 2012.  It would have been nice to do a roll-up like this at the end of 2012 and then create a coherent set of goals or plans for 2013 . . . but that’s not really how I do it.
As you can see from the above tables, the first half of 2012 (H1) was pretty slow for fitness activities while the second half (H2) was pretty awesome.  I’d have to go back and look through my blog posts to be sure but I’m willing to bet that the change happened around the time that I stopped “asking myself if I was going to workout that day” and just started “telling myself that I’m working out everyday” and then figuring out how to make it happen.
That success continued (with a few slumps and lags) into the first half of 2013:
You can see the effect of both the  carry-over momentum from a strong H2 2012 and also of those “slumps and lags”.  H1 2013 was significantly better than H1 2012, but not as good as H2 2012.
I actually sat down and pulled all this data back at the end of June and was going to use it to create a number of workouts/time/distance goal for the second half of 2013.  The intention was to get H2 2013 back up to the frequency and intensity of H2 2012.  But I’ve taken so long to get around to writing this (with some legitimate justification and with even more sheer laziness) that I’m now deep into H2 2013.
And frankly, without looking at the data, it hasn’t been good.  Plus my computer is still in transit from Thailand and I’m not smart enough to figure out how to upload my Garmin data from my watch to my Connect account on my girlfriend’s computer without uploading it to her account.  So all my workout info is trapped on my watch for now.  Therefore, my plan is as follows.
I am going to wait until the end of September.  By then I should have my computer here and be able to upload my data.  I’ll collect my Q3 information for 2013 and see how badly I’ve fallen off the pace compared to the same time last year.  Then I’ll make a plan and some goals (frequency/distance/etc.) for Q4.
Another thing to consider is that I have a March 2014 . . . event . . . on my horizon and if I start training for that event it will constrain my previously freewheeling workout “program” since I’ll have to prepare for a particular event which will require specific things and prohibit others (due to time constraints, recovery requirements, injury concerns, etc.).  So we’ll have to see how that works out.
In the meantime my goal is to quit making excuses (see previous gym rant) and get my butt back into gear to workout consistently.  I have to keep reminding myself of the fundamental truths (two of several anyway): something – anything! – is better than nothing and sweating every day is essential to continued good mental health.

Over a year (and avoiding it)

I was editing my Training Record spreadsheet again (I do that a lot), and I noticed that it has been a year (more now) since I did my very humbling diagnostic CPFT/APFT.  Obviously my laser-like focus and monk-like commitment to achieving the 375 CPFT is nothing to brag about at this point.  Neither is the now week-old commitment I made to doing another diagnostic to gauge my current condition.  I was going to do the Sunday before last  . . . but didn’t . . . and still haven’t.

I have – of course – iron clad “reasons” that I haven’t done it yet.  These include things like “life” and “I’m getting into a good workout routine and don’t want to disrupt it”, etc.  But the real reason is that full effort CPFT’s are uncomfortable and I’m avoiding that discomfort.  But I really do want to buckle down and knock it out.  And while I know that I’m nowhere near a 375 scoring level, I can guarantee an improvement over last year’s diagnostic.
In that pathetic performance I eked out forty-five push-ups; now I do fifty push-ups every morning before breakfast just to grease the groove.  I only ran a 16:28.  That’s an 8:14 pace for two miles.  I cringe at the shame of it.  A week or two back I ran a 5K (that’s 3.1 miles for you Imperial folks) at a 7:47 pace.  Not sure where I would come out on sit-ups, but at a minimum I don’t think it would be worse than I did last year.
So it’s not fear of doing poorly (well, TOO poorly) that is keeping me from doing it.  It’s just laziness and dislike of max effort discomfort.  And the fact that I’m getting into a good running/lifting rhythm and don’t want to mess it up.  But I WILL.  Here’s the plan: I’ll lift again today and Friday, run on Thursday and take Saturd . . . crap.  Just realized this weekend is not a good time for this because I’m going up to Dallas to link up with my brother and watch an Army football game.
New plan: regular workouts this week, including a run on Saturday morning.  Enjoy the football game on Saturday, relax on Sunday, recover and rest up on Monday, diagnostic CPFT on Tuesday and back to our regularly scheduled programming on Wednesday.
Boom.  Done.  Next Tuesday be on the lookout for a new CPFT score update.  And maybe some embarrassing videos as a bonus.