Saturday, May 12, 2012

Don't Fence Me In

I ran 5 miles this morning, and my legs felt like they were made of lead.  The mystery bump was in full-on mystery bump mode and as the sun beat down on me I couldn't help but think "this is a stupid hobby and no one should ever do it."

At least this time I think I know why my legs were so tired:  Fencing.  

For the last three weeks, Chris and I have been taking a fencing class at the YMCA on Friday nights.  While our actual swordplay has been limited to a few simple lunges and parries so far, there is lots of shuffling forward and backward in in a crouching position that allows one, in theory, to advance or retreat equally easily and without the opponent being able to know what you're going to do.  I say "in theory", because the stance requires feet at a 90-degree angle to each other my front (left) foot pointed forward and my back foot pointed sideways, and my footwork is not very good so far.

The crouching position seems to put a lot of strain on the quads and hammies, which I hope will make me stronger but for now is making the Saturday morning "long" runs (I'm stuck in kind of a 5-mile rut lately) something of a chore.  Workload permitting, I may try to go back to doing my long runs on Thursday or Friday morning.

Fencing is interesting.  I'm not sure I'd call it fun yet, though the class is well-taught by a former ranked fencer who has recently returned to the sport, and he has a good sense of humor and teaching style and I am enjoying it.  It reminds of when I tried to learn golf from my grandfather, and there so were many things to concentrate on during each swing (keep your head down, arms straight, follow-through, keep your feet down) that I just couldn't handle it.  The footwork just doesn't feel natural yet, and since I don't have the best hand-eye coordination (to put it mildly), I'm not sure my bladework is going to be very good, either.  But, I wasn't very good at soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, or running, either, so I'm not terribly surprised.

I enjoy that fencing requires a lot of concentration, because it pushes everything else out of my brain (except when Chris stepped on my foot during one of drills and we got the giggles), and I think it will be a lot of fun once start bouting.  It requires a lot of discipline, and anyone hoping for a Game of Thrones-style duel is going to be disappointed.  

(That's "Mr. Kingslayer" to you.)

Speaking of disappointed, check back tomorrow or Monday for a race report of tomorrow morning's HACC Dash 5K. 


  1. LOL! I didn't realize you could see me in the window behind you. Two for one photo!

  2. In my experience other sports keep me desiring to run as well as the actual increased fitness of running itself making me stronger in any other sport.

    Also, if I can develop the stamina to run a hard 10k, then the physical effort of the sport (tennis, basketball, ultimate frisbee, etc) becomes less intense thereby allowing me to concentrate on the finer points of the game/sport.

    Good stuff.

    PS i'll stay away from the implied comment about lack of technique in running, it is so tempting though. ;)

    1. I'm going there in a post later this week. I've been more mindful lately of stride and physical running technique, and noticed some improvements and some challenges. I've not been very good in the preparation or training, though. The 5K is by far the most common distance around here and it's probably my best distance, but I haven't really been doing anything in my training specifically designed to make me better at them.