I have come to realize over the past few weeks that training while traveling is difficult. Especially when you don’t have control over where you live, the ability to run alone or when your day is so packed that oftentimes it is dark before it is over. Of all the parts of this semester, the inability to sweat as much as I would like has been the most difficult thing to deal with. Exercise just FEELS GOOD. And I feel so much better about myself when I do it.
I cannot wait to be home where I have access to my teammates, a safe place to run, a bike, a pool and just about anything else I could want. That’s not to say that I am not enjoying myself immensely, but I am starting to realize that if I were to lead a nomadic life, I would need to make some changes. Exercise is key to my happiness. It isn’t so much my body that physically demands it, but my mind is in a much better place when I exercise. My inability to exercise here isn’t entirely a structural problem. I certainly do take some of the blame. There were ways to do it, buses to take to parks, afternoons where I hose to explore. But it is difficult.
Ironically, the best place to run was in Langa, the township we stayed in while in Cape Town. I went running about 4 days per week with friends, followed by some good strength workouts. There was a beautiful new bike path that went over the highway and connected Langa with Athlone and led to a practice stadium used only during the World Cup. This bike path seemed only to be used by us; I saw about 5 bikes during my two weeks in Langa and apparently people don’t cross the bridge because Langa is black and Athlone is colored. But nonetheless, we were fine and it proved great to have a flat, non-cobblestones place to run for two weeks. And the kids seemed to enjoy it; every time we would pass a group, they would run alongside us until an adult told them to go home. And the adults often would shout words of encouragement to the four white kids running by.
Instead of wallowing in my inability to workout to my desired level and the effect being fed by host families has had, I decided to changer goals to something I can do. Inspired by Emily @sweatonceaday, I decided to start the 100 pushup challenge. It only takes about 7 minutes, but the results should be noticeable. It is a 6 week challenge prescribed to be 3 days per week with the goal to be able to do 100 push ups in a row.
I am crossing my fingers that I live near a suitable place to run in Vietnam, but even if I don’t, I will be the pushup master. And I resolve to find a gym if I cannot run. I cannot go through the self-pity that comes with a lack of cardio. This is an important life realization and something I need to remember to keep track of, particularly once I graduate.