31 March 2010

Alex v. Gravity

Two weeks ago, I joined Korea Ultimate League ... my first time really playing ultimate (frisbee) since lifting at BodyTribe (actually, since July 2007, before I left for two years on my island in Caribbean Paradise), and I was pleasantly surprised at my enhanced abilities on the field.

In a former life as an NCAA Division-I distance swimmer and 200-butterflier, my relationship with Gravity was truly of the love/hate variety. In the pool, it helped break records, acquire and defend D-I National Championship titles, and train for Olympic Trials. Anywhere on dry land, however, that devil bore down on my entire existence. Going up a flight of stairs, especially after a 10K Monday afternoon practice, or a 6K V-o2 Max set, was the most difficult physical activity known to every aquatic athlete of this caliber (not just me). It was not uncommon for us to wait en masse for the world's slowest elevator to take us up one floor after practice. The crazy people, obviously with something to prove, would slowly, arduously, ascend the dreaded stairwell, and still lag behind the ones in the world's slowest elevator. Make us do stupidness like stadiums, or run, or jump on boxes, and we'd injure ourselves and be in the training room with weeks of physical therapy...that's physical therapy in addition to the 25+ hours and 45-60 miles in the pool/in the weight room/doing dry land training every week. Gravity has been my mortal enemy for at least eight years of my life. In general, up until about 11 days ago, I was never that fast or graceful or agile on land (that jerk Gravity gave me a pretty rough way to go outside my Life Aquatic). 11 days ago, I noticed something strange. Something foreign. Something so totally bitchin', I want to do burpees to celebrate: moving is just...easier. Stairs? Two at a time. Always. Elevator? Never heard of such a thing. Walking? Like I need to be somewhere fast, even when I probably don't (or maybe that's cause I live in a big, crowded city, and if I slow down, I'll be trampled under a stampede of stilletoed feet and other fancy leather shoes). Ultimate? Playin' like I was on a (beer-bracket) team in university!!!! Gravity, I accept your challenge, but you should probably know: you have already lost.

Case in point:
Last night, in place of lifting (after my first gym in Seoul closed down unexpectedly), I improvised with the following combo in the parking deck/on the street of my apartment building:

Warm up: Mosey, 150'. Then carry my 12.5 L (3.3 gal x 8 lbs/gal) water bottle down the 5 flights of stairs

(5 sets, no rest between sets) -- 10 x 24" box jumps in the parking deck
-- 10 x burpees (various: scissor, B-girl, squat, BodyTribe)
-- overhead farmer's carry with the water bottle, 200'. Increase by
~50' every round
Cool down: Carry the water bottle (still full, of course) back up the 5 flights of stairs

It was awesome. By the last round, there were spectators from afar. I'm certain the middle-aged Korean women oogling my 8 pm battle with Gravity were calling all their friends to tell them about the crazy foreign female giant doing the nonsense with her water bottle. I hope my victory was obvious.


John M said...

Did you know gravity is even weaker than the so-called Weak force? What a wuss! Gravity, I mean. Not you. You're tough.

alex said...

I duno, man. If Gravity were a cockroach, I would squeal like a little girl in grade school and cower safely behind the nearest barricaded door. I haven't a prayer in *that* face-off.