Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Air Force Challenge

Last night I decided to try something I had been wondering for a while. Snake is currently going through some brutal physical work in Georgia. One of the qualifications he faces is doing two miles in under sixteen minutes. We run occasionally in my Muay Thai classes and my last mile was clocked at 6.27. Last night I decided to try the Air Force sixteen minute challenge.

I warmed up for about a half mile on the treadmill and then bumped up the speed to an eight minute mile and ran the two miles with plenty to spare in my tank. It really wasn't too difficult. Sure, I was sweating, but definitely could tell that I wasn't redlining by any stretch. Then again, Snake has to do it in that brutal 100+ degree heat in Georgia, something I couldn't replicate. It was a perfect 75 in my basement on the treadmill. I still think I could have made it in the heat, but would have definitely lost several pounds.

Speaking of which, I am now down to 184. At my last physical the doctor was amazed at my physical condition but told me that I have to stop losing weight at 180. Fair enough. At that point I will have to start building more muscle mass and tone.

Muay Thai has helped me immensely in this. After the workouts you can literally wring out my shirt. As a matter of fact, that seems to be my benchmark in working out lately. If the shirt won't wring, I need to work more.

I think the instructor is trying to weed out some people from the classes. It seems that the workouts are ramping up. Maybe it is because the instructor forbids air conditioning in the gym. It toughens us, as he likes to say.

Last Wednesday a woman almost passed out. I had never seen that before (I have seen a couple of guys blow chunks in class). She was newer, and she had to drop out of some of the conditioning that we do after our Muay Thai drills. She was OK after stopping for a bit and I offered encouragement to her afterward. I am not sure if she will stay with it or not.

I am glad to say that the latest crop of women seem to have "stuck" with it. They can't complete all of the drills and don't have too many skills yet but at least they are trying, unlike the last bunch of women that we had, all of whom dropped out. The women still tend to gravitate to each other when it is time to partner up and practice drills, but I suppose that is natural. As of late the instructor has been asking us to rotate partners between rounds and that is good for the women. More than likely a male would be the one to attack them in a real life situation and it is good for them to feel the difference in strength. They are not wimps - I have hit them with all I have (on the pads they hold, of course) and they aren't backing down, nor asking the men to ease up on them. I unintentionally nailed one in the chest area with a very good teep (if I don't say so myself) once and apologized profusely and received from her the same thing I say to the upper level guys when I get hit. "That's just the way it goes, and that is how you learn." I hope this new batch of women stick with it as they seem dedicated, try their hardest and are friendly.

The instructor asked me last Monday how long I had been in the classes. I replied "since May 1". He did a little head math and then said - "you are definitely on your way". This is code for telling me that I will be testing for my Thai Shorts very soon. I can't wait. I have been working my butt off and will pass that test with flying colors.

I don't know what it is about earning the rankings in Muay Thai. I think I appreciate it because no matter how much money you have, no matter your social ranking, no matter all the bullshit you can talk, you have to earn the rankings. In the lineup before class, the green sashes stand in front, followed by the yellow sashes, followed by the thai short guys, then everyone else. I won't be "everyone else" for long.

And finally after I earn the shorts I will start training with elbows and knees, something that isn't taught in the beginning level at my gym. That's OK with me, I have enough on my plate as it is.

1 comment:

Snakeye said...

yeah... just add heat and a few hours of standing outside in the same spot doing nothing, and you've pretty much got Airborne minus a few small hours of actually training (learning to jump, etc)...