I am now at the midway point of my boxing bootcamp, and things are progressing nicely. Timing, strength, and overall conditioning is improving. I’ve lost some weight, to the point where I don’t have to hold the ends of the towel together when I drape it across my post-shower nether regions. They meet comfortably and I can once more roam the locker room with both hands free. I have even shaved my head, both to look tougher and increase aerodynamics.
But it isn’t helping. I still can’t run. Lacking an adrenaline surge from mortal danger, I just can’t pump my legs for any length of time. without panting and slowing to a walk. Its a good thing bears are so few and far between in San Francisco, or I would surely have been eaten by now. I know part if it is psychological. I don’t think I should have to run, for I am large and strong.
I know that boxers, indeed fighters of all disciplines, need the conditioning. I’m not arguing that Road Work isn’t a vital key to success in the ring. I’m just bitching about it because I am so bad it. I try to control my breathing and just focus on moving forward, and that has helped me make improvements. Today, I ran most of the way without retreating to my customary hands-on-hips walking breath-catch. Sure, I was panting. But I did it. Then, we ran some sprints and did some calisthenics. Okay. Then we ran some more, this time in the topographically ridiculous Potrero Hill neighborhood (photo by Toby Silver).
It’ has the word “Hill” in the title, fer crying out loud. I was doomed. I was reared in the wilds of Florida, a state perfectly sensible in its level uniformity. That is how God intended for us to move about the earth, on a flat plane. None of this ridiculous incline business. I got to the bottom of the first hill, and with all that sideways sidewalk staring back at me, I knew I was doomed. I tried to start running. I really did.
It was like when I was a kid. I remember watching The Empire Strikes Back about a million times. Specifically, the scene where Luke Skywalker is hanging upside down in the snow-beast’s cave. His lightsaber was just out of reach, and the creature was fast approaching. Using his Jedi mind powers, he was able to telekinetically summon it to his outstretched hand. You know the scene. After watching it, I just sort of naturally assumed I could do the same thing if I could juts concentrate hard enough. I used to spend hours (and I mean long hours) staring at objects and trying to move them with my mind. I would stare, squint and hold my breath, but unsurprisingly, the objects wouldn’t move no matter how red my face got.
That’s how I felt trying to run those hills this morning. I wanted to move my legs as bad as I wanted to levitate my childhood matchbox cars, but I was just as unsuccessful. There was no juice. At least not enough to run up the hills. I walked. Again. I guess the force (of running) is just not strong with this one.