Both, of course, are excellent programs for troops, but I can't help recommend long-distance running. (I just heard Boss Mongo bang his keyboard in exasperation). After all, who can forget the legend of Pheidippides after the Battle of Marathon?
Okay, the legend of Pheidippides was probably made up. Nevertheless, I haven't found a whole lot of huge Crossfit or martial arts gatherings, whereas you can almost always find an interesting fun run nearly any weekend of the year. Throw in some good music, some fun costumes, great scenery, and lots of interesting people to talk to, and you've got quite an event. Hey, in my opinion, the best workout program is one you enjoy doing.
With my affinity for races, I jumped at the opportunity to take part in the 5th annual Shamrock Run in Syracuse this past weekend. Kicking off in the predominantly Irish Tipperary Hill section of Syracuse--a place where one can actually find street lights with the green lights placed above the red lights. It was advertised as a four-mile run, which is hardly a long run at all. I signed up with little hesitation.
Come race day, however, I was a little curious when I spied the back of one man's t-shirt. It was printed with a line chart which depicted large peaks and valleys running the length of the graph. Underneath it was one word: Syracuse.
Wait, so is this race supposed to have a lot of hills or something? File this under foreshadowing.
As I took off, I was surprised that, yes, contrary to popular belief, Syracuse has about fifteen hills, all in rapid succession. In fact, the city hosts an annual "mountain goat" run, during which competitors must overcome a number of hills over the course of ten miles. Who would have thought?
For a city which is perpetually covered in snow, Syracuse nevertheless boasts an impressive running community, with over 3,000 people showing up on race day. It also helps that around late February or early March, the snow begins to melt, resulting in all sorts of bizarre traditions. Chief among these traditions is the annual parade of the green beer truck which precedes St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, this particular parade occurred during one of the weekends I was stuck inside writing my essay for CENSA's upcoming Hybrid War compilation. Just in case anyone doubts my dedication...
Anyway, I play a little mental game during races, trying to pass as many people as I can throughout the duration of the course. During that particular race, I found myself either passing or being passed by some chick in a black running suit. Around the three mile mark, I recalled her passing me, eventually drifting ahead of me some thirty yards. As I neared the end of the race, though, I began sprinting, eventually passing her and a few other people. Hey, I finish strong...
That was until I felt a jolt from the left, as the aforementioned chick decides to literally push me aside so she could finish ahead of me. No kidding, I will pay $10 for the finishing photo to prove that this story is true.
So yes, running has all the sportsmanlike aspects of martial arts, to include getting beaten up by a girl.