I have forgotten at which point in my life that sports and working out took over and my social life ends. Truth to be told, I actually enjoyed this routine of work, train and sleep if it weren't for my family and friends making noise. I come home every day feeling physically knackered but mentally satisfied and 10 minutes after settling down at home I feel really sleepy. It wasn't until yesterday night when my boyfriend (whom I have not seen for weeks due to me being tired) dragged me out to dinner and my friends were all waiting for me that I realized how far out I have been with my workout. It felt like a suprise birthday party or a welcome back shindig. Welcome back from a coma more like it.
There is absolutely no balance in my life which is ironic considering the fact that balance is such a pivotal aspect in all the sports I play. Everyday during yoga class we spend a good 10 minutes achieving this perfect balance of mind and body integration. And it is not easy to do - the poses. Everytime each of us fumbles and staggers out of our still poses the yoga teacher says, "Aaah, I told you the search of being balanced is lifelong and humbling." Religion also promotes the concept of balance - wasatiah it's called in Islam if I'm not mistaken. Balance is such a crucial point in swimming - you need it for a good bodyroll and streamline. In running balance provides you that stability which maximises running efficiency and definitely lessens injuries caused from tripping, etc. And, you can't cycle at all if you can't balance your bike. Hence, balance is such a useful and important thing to master. And I suck at it, in real life.
I have long ago given up on explaining to others around me why I do the things I do. It's the kind of thing that only a few understand - fellow runners, swimmers, exercise enthusiasts. We blog about this from time to time - how nobody understands us and how people think we're crazy for putting our bodies to such torture. Why? Why do we push ourselves to run until our lungs felt hot, until our legs feel sore, why are we okay to endure waking up with sore muscles? Only you and I know why, and sometimes we can't even explain it.
Nevertheless, all these hard work is useless if I can't pick up one thing I learned from the sports and apply it in real life. What good would practicing balance in each of these sports be if I can't even find time to see my friends and family? Sports have a lot of benefits which I try to reap and I do not want them to have a negative effect to my life.
Two days back in an intense karate session we had to do a series of suicides drills. Suicides is a term borrowed from basketball - where you have to sprint to the middle point of the court, back again, then sprint to the other end of the court, and back again. Basically it's like a sprint interval which leaves you feeling like you are committing suicide. We do these after a session of lunges and karate squats that burned the thighs but prepped our legs enough to feel lighter during the suicides. I wrote about the importance of speed plays earlier and I can't recommend this enough. I believe doing sprints are good for our leg power and also heart. It introduces muscle memory for both parts - at least that's what I think it does for me. You get better after a while, faster, stronger.
Also, I want to share with your this tip given from my karate teacher. During our warm-up run, he insists on us closing one nostril and breathing through only one. This increases lung power and your anaerobic efficiency. Whether it's true or not, I didn't find out. But what I know is that it was harder to breathe and I felt insanely tortured upon doing it the first few times, but I also recover faster and run better when I breathe through two nostrils. Anyways, it's always a good challenge to use on the days you felt your warm up or LSD run is getting too easy for you.