Monday, March 30, 2009

So Much for Momentum...

I haven't written since a few days after my last bout because I (unfortunately) don't have anything to report. At all. I haven't been to the boxing gym in almost two full weeks, I haven't even watched boxing in just as long, and I don't have working Internet at my apartment to be able to post random musings on here in the meanwhile. So to my few faithful readers, I apologize. My lack of activity has been frustrating to the point of heartbreak, especially after such a great bout to start the month.

This isn't to say that I don't even know a guy named Gym anymore (hardy har) - I've been cross-training my tail off and am in as good of shape in the weight room/on the track as I've been since high school, back when I was a full-time athlete, part-time delinquent, er, student. So I haven't lost all my momentum...but the following has certainly slowed me down:
  • Rest. Necessary for any athlete. I took a whopping 0 days off after my bout and after training hard for another week, I was hurting. I was sore and achy, with something clicking in a knuckle on my right hand, my back acting up and far too many consecutive days of those icky, "bad" workouts. You know, the ones where you go through the motions, your arms get heavy earlier than usual, you cut a corner or two for the sake of finishing the workout because you're just...spent. Before you even began. Sick of the trend, I rested. Like any athlete could/should/does after a bout when his body's "check engine sign" is flashing. But my few days of rest quickly turned to a few weeks because of...
  • Work. Yes, most everyone lucky enough to be employed right now has a demanding, full-time job these days, but I've learned the past 1.5 years that PR is far from the most conducive industry for competitive sport. Long work weeks are not only time-consuming (duh) but can devour a workout schedule and leave it in shambles starting on Monday. Sometimes the hours simply don't align - meaning I'm not going to start a workout at 9 p.m., be too amped to sleep until 1 a.m. and expect to wake up at 6:30 a.m. all warm and fuzzy inside to repeat 4 more times before the weekend. All work (and work OUTs) and no sleep make Jonathan cranky. And not function, in the office as well as the ring. So hats off to a superstar like Juan Diaz, balancing school and a world-class pro career. I don't know he does it. Maybe I should find out. Aside from his studies though, like me, I don't see what he'd be able to avoid...
  • Death and taxes. And laundry. And grocery shopping. And sweeping up the dust bunnies. You know, the things you have to do. They suck, but seem to reer their head once/week this month and forced me to skimp a workout for the sake of not living in squalor. Speaking of living...
  • Life. I like mine to be well-rounded. From March Madness to a long-time friend in town, my social life has hindered my training lately. No complaints here...aside from not training, that is. As such, in the struggle to carve out a few more hours a few more nights a week, this bullet is definitely going to be the first to go...
So I feel like I'm stating the obvious, but the past few weeks have been a crappy reminder of how difficult it is to find the time to commute out to the boxing gym and keep on keeping on. I feel like it's all backwards - I want to sweat, I want to bleed, I want to work myself to exhaustion, I want to put in my ring equity and do what I love. There's no lack of heart (insanity) or capable muscle mass here. It's just an issue of truly pulling out all the stops and making it "click," even during chaotic stretches like the past few weeks.

On the same note, it's good to be reminded what "this" is - my struggle to balance all these things with my love for the ring. There have been highs and lows the past eight years. Right now I've slipped from my climb to the top (whatever my peak may be) but I haven't fallen far. I'm still hungry, I'm still primed and as determined as ever. I just need to regain my footing and start my upward ascent all over again, with or without momentum.

First step's always the hardest. Luckily, this one's going to be up.

1 comment:

Steve Imparl said...

With a few minor variations in your details vs. mine, welcome to my world!

I feel your pain, Jonathan. (I use that statement sparingly because it can seem patronizing, and also because it's rather presumptuous. However, in this case, your statements resonated with me deeply. I am familiar with this angst.)

I have tried to balance my career outside the ring (i.e., my real job, my day job, or whatever you want to call it). It's not easy, as you have explained so well here.

I started my blog, in part, to share my view of how I try to juggle all this stuff. Sometimes I succeed at the juggling (or blogging about it); sometimes I don't. There's much to be said for showing up, training, and answering the bell for the next round in a competitive bout or even a tough sparring session.

Keeping everything going effectively is indeed a struggle, as you called it. Nevertheless, it seems like you're doing a good job of keeping it all in perspective; the mere fact that you are thinking and writing about the struggle tells me you're working at the balance.

It's hard to switch automatically from one mode--being a successful businessman--to the other mode--being a successful boxer. The two are not incompatible with one another, but I hope you'll remember that you're pursuing two major activities and each of them demands a lot of your time, dedication, and willingness to perform at your best possible level. Sometimes, in a variety of ways, those activities will make demands that overlap and I suspect that there are periods of time when you want and need time off from your PR career (I think those are called "vacations," if I remember right!), so it makes sense to give yourself some periodic breaks from the boxing career.

I used to get really down on myself when I dropped off training for a while, for whatever reason. I eventually remembered that I'm in boxing for the long haul; I want to be my best, given all the components that make up the man that I am, and in light of my need to do all the stuff of daily living--cooking, laundry, cleaning, spending time with family and friends, and just some private "chill" time and meditation. I'm still working at it, but I know I am moving in the right direction, so that keeps me going.

It certainly seems that you are moving in the direction that you have established for yourself, and I'm happy for you. There seems to be a kind of cyclical nature to boxing training and competition. I have learned that it serves me best to allow that cycle to be as it is and go along with it, rather than fighting it. It seems that you're doing the same thing now, so I hope you'll keep that positive attitude and continue working with the cycles rather than against them.

Thanks for the update, and I hope you will keep up the good work, and, to the extent you can, enjoy--no, really savor--this "down" time. Just as muscle repair, rebuilding, and growth happens between workouts, so it is with training at a macro level (and maybe even life in general). The break in the action will likely serve you well, allowing you to return to training with renewed enthusiasm and joy. That has been my experience and I hope it will be yours, too.