My trainer, as I mentioned a few times in To Be A Runner, is a sadist named Terry Sedgewick. His gym is officially called Train-X, but I call it the House of Pain. You never know which muscle group Terry will exploit and hammer when you walk through that front door, but the end result is always a great deal of sweat, full immersion full-body work, and a couple of days of good old fashioned sore muscles. Terry is the only person in the world who calls me fat (to my face, at least) -- and I gladly endure the abuse. We all need someone to lean on.
Every session at Terry's ends with the mandate to stretch. A yoga mat is rolled out on the floor, with the expectation that I will be good to my muscles while they're hot and increase my range of motion. For years, I have treated this time as a chance to do a cursory hamstring grab, lie flat on my back exhausted, then reach for my car keys and drive away. So Imagine Terry's surprise when, inspired by the writing of Dr. Kelly Starrett, I spent ten quality minutes working on my flexibility today.
Ten minutes isn't much. It's about all I can handle when it comes to stretching and meditation. But I am in the mood lately to adopt a few new disciplines. Meditation will help with my anxiety (or so I am told) and mobilization will get my soft tissue and joints flowing again. I am not a believer in the midlife crisis, but I do believe in the constant need to analyze and reinvent. The next step is to take this from experiment to habit. It's all leading somewhere good. Sometimes I wonder if the perfectionist in me is striving too hard. But deep inside I know it's not that. I just hate the idea of settling for good enough. Or, as Patton Oswalt noted in this morning's LA Times, I'm not ready for that moment when an inner voice says, "Sit down. Do the crossword. Let's start you dying." I tell my teams to follow the mandate of Keep Pushing.... Always. Something as simple as increasing ankle flexion for ten painful minutes is a small step toward me doing the same.
Adventure Run followed by strides. We've been pretty intense in practice this last week. It's time for a little fun. Sixty minutes on a run of their choosing, followed by 8x150 at faster than mile pace to keep it real. Core. Stretch. Go home.