Does running late count as exercise?

Well this is a shameful post, which is why I think I just kept delaying.

Make no mistake… I love sharing my story and it’s a mere coincidence that the last month has been easily the hardest month since starting… but I honestly couldn’t keep up with work, boxing, life and blogging so something had to give.  Sorry WordPress.

Where do I start?

How about with this…

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I had told myself that I would aggressively work my butt off to get to Blue and then would take a breather once I’m at blue to just get much better at technique and overall stamina.  The test though, yikes, that was fun.  The endurance part, not going to lie… killed it.  I was on point with my eating habits, downed a few Shock Blocks, my rounds on the heavy bag were just insanely strong.  The fun part to come was the technical.

Now I’d never tested with Coach Dan before but we did a private class beforehand so I could make sure I understood what was on the test, understand Dan’s style, etc. I jump in the ring to do the technical part of the test and half way through I completely blank.  So unlike me, I had been practicing for weeks, months even.  What threw me was after the defense portion of the test, Dan let me know I had used my 2 of my demerits (out of 3) and I still had 2 more modules of the test to go.  Sheer panic.  I think he could tell because I had gone from beet face to ghost 🙂  I got my head on straight, of course channeled my inner Manny, and made it through the technical.  One more portion of endurance left.  Lucky for me, Jack showed up.

Now Jack… this young steed:

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He’s likely the reason that I was able to keep my spirits up for the last 20 minutes of the test which included arm calisthenics, 6 rounds of abs, and plank.  Now let me rephrase, he legit did the 2 minute final plank with me to keep me going.  Who does that?  Friends you make at a boxing club do.  2 minute plank sound easy to you?  Try it after 43 minutes of testing.

End result?

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Happily a member of blue.

So that puts me at February 5th.  And if you remember I said I’ve had the hardest month in boxing yet… but it all sounds like sunshine and rainbows!  White, passed. Yellow, passed.  Green, passed.  Blue, passed.  How tough could my journey be?

You see the problem with my approach at boxing, and at life in general, is that when I achieve a status, I literally feel myself go to the bottom of the next step.  No matter how much I’ve learned, no matter how far I come, when I get into a new world (in this case blue), I literally become blue….kinda like…

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I only had about 10 days of classes before I took a vacation and then business trips which meant about 10 days of exercise before 3 weeks of travel.. which then meant 10 days of stamina before 6 weeks of depressing inability to even walk up a flight of stairs without gassing myself.

Do you know how hard it is to find meaning in 10 days when you start back at zero and then have to lose everything physically you’ve been working toward for 4 months?

My two boxing buds are the only reason I kept up in those 10 days… Kiersten making sure I smiled daily, and Jack making sure that we held each other accountable to going to the club. Now one extra thing to note is that when we go to the club, we’re not there for the 1 hour class.  An hour before, sometimes more, and 30-60 mins after as well.  We were often spending 2.5 hours a day, 5x a week.  It’s impossible to keep that up alone… thus why the boxing buddy system has been implemented 🙂

The week leading up to my vacation was full of excitement… Jack and I basically getting me ready for sparring which to me seemed like the impossible because it’s the closest thing to fighting I was going to get before actually having a fight.

The first thing needed before jumping into the sparring ring was new gear… so just call me the sexy viking:

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But hey, the new sparring gloves weren’t bad…..

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And yes mom… that’s a mouthguard to protect these pretty teeth.

Now the sparring.  My first time.  I pulled the trigger after Steve and I got back from Mexico.  And let me say taking a vacation has never felt so well earned.  Make no mistake it was tough to come back to reality but I had such a neat task in front of me.

The class I took the night I sparred was actually with the team.  They combined the classes that night, I think one of the coaches was out sick.  I remember looking at Jack, Jack looked at me as if… this class if going to be tougher than normal.  It was the hardest class, especially cardio-wise that I’ve taken to date. And after this, I was going to spar for the first time?  Ya, OK. I finished the class, nervously put on my sparring gear, literally shaking and forgetting how to do up a simple buckle on my head gear.

There were 3 women that would be with me, we would all interchange partners in different rounds.

Now… rules are a bit different… given that I probably looked like a scared deer stepping in… the girls on the team throw slowly, and straight punches only.  Me, just don’t shit my pants.  Sounds about even, right?

Now I slightly joke… but that’s the lay of the land for my first time.  And you know what?  After I was able to relax, I didn’t do too bad… I have a copy of the video but it’s super bad quality 😦  Sorry…  Check out this Video

I can tell I was overly tense because I was sore for the first time in months… aka when I was hit, my muscles were so tense they didn’t absorb it like normal so I was sore.  No biggie.  The more I practice, the more I’ll relax. I think doing another 30 minutes of class after sparring didn’t help 😉  We’ll call that adrenaline.

Again you’re asking… everything is coming up Shan, so what’s so tough?

After that session, keep in mind I had only at this point had 7 Blue classes, I sat and asked myself… what am I doing?

What is the point of pouring my time into this goal?

Do people at the club think I’m a joke for taking on this goal in a quick manner?  Like I’m not respecting the sport?

What is the point of wasting the club’s time?  The coaches’ time?  Think of all the other people that go to the club that could actually be long-term contributors to the club’s name and brand.

What is the point of wasting Kiersten’s time?  Of Jack’s? Of Steve’s?

How selfish could I be?

For the first time since I started, I sat on my couch and thought about quitting.  Even as I type this I actually have tears trying to break their way through and I still can’t tell if it’s because I went through a tough time or because I’m ashamed that I almost quit something for once in my life.

Now after all of my work and personal trips, I’m struggling to find the strength to get my endurance back up to a level that can make me breath through a single 2 minute round.  Being able to physically take on a fight seems years away.

This is what riddles me. 

I’m not sure I’m through this rough patch… especially after I did my second round of sparring this week which to be honest was simply awful.

I guess this is what they meant by boxing being a mental sport.  Kiersten sent me this article the other week and it couldn’t have meant more… take a read if you have a chance:  Boxing Article

For the next 2 weeks… I will literally just take it one day at a time. As cheesy as that sounds.

And don’t worry, I’ll be better about posting going forward… that way it’s not a daunting long post of my sadness 🙂

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My Arch-Nemesis

I know what you’re thinking, did Shannon lose her boxing bestie and they now stare each other down at the gym?  Hell no.  Look at these happy two:

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Super proud of Kiersten for passing her test to yellow last week which meant this photo commemorates our first class back as partners!!  Who thought our friendship would take us down the path of being hookers?  😉   If that isn’t friendship, I don’t know what is?

Also a quick shout out to Ali for getting to green this past week too!!  Now he’s back in the same level as his son so he can continue to embarrass the crap out of him in class. I can’t wait to be that mom!

So my arch-nemesis.  It’s the hook.  I can’t get this thing if my life depended on it.  There’s so much happening in my head:

  • Swing around, not too far out
  • Land with a straight arm, little bit of wrist curved down
  • Elbow level, not up, not down
  • Load and keep the elbow tight to the body before throwing
  • Rotate the hips to develop the power
  • Weight on the front foot to load
  • Weight off the front foot to throw
  • Turn the left foot enough for rotation but don’t over rotate

Gee, anything else?

Sometimes I find before class my best practice happens when I have my headphones in and I’m just finding my own rhythm and forgetting about the laundry list above.  But the second you put that target in front of me I panic.

My wise owl husband (“professional athlete”) had some good points. I don’t learn like most people so why am I frustrated that I’m not picking it up quickly.  And I need to break down the movements into little chunks and then piece together the chunks later.

I was swinging away at the heavy bag the other day and Coach Nick had the best comment.

He says how’s the hook going?

I say it could be better, it’s been a month and I’m still not getting it.

He snickers and replies, do you like instant coffee?

Me, ummm nope?

He says.. don’t be instant coffee.  Don’t put the powder in, water in, and stir with your finger.  Some things take time to be really good.  *me picturing my snobby french press in my kitchen*

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Pressure’s on though, and my green test is only 3 weeks away.  3 weeks!!  Where did the time go?  I’m 24 classes down, 12 more to go.  The hook is so important in the test and being able to not only throw it but defend it and then counter off of it.. it’s why I’m stressing.  This means lots of work at home to just focus, head down and make sure I’m getting ready.  I know 2 guys also testing at the end of the month so pressure is on to nail it.

The endurance section is going to be quite tough too:

  • 2 x 2 minute skipping sessions (multiple types of footwork)
  • 2 x 2 minute heavy bag sessions
  • 130 jabs and 130 crosses in 2 minutes
  • 2 x 1.5 minute plyometrics on the heavy bag
  • 7 x 1.5 minute arm calisthenics
  • Ab work
  • Pushups
  • Plank (I think 2.5 mins?)

Which leads me into my update on nutrition.  It’s now been 2 weeks since I tightened up on my eating and most importantly cut out alcohol.  And no, I haven’t cheated once!!!

I miss you…….

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Hehe kidding, I’m actually good. Want to know why?

  • I feel freaking amazing, so full of energy from wake up to bedtime (even that 3-4PM crash that usually happens)
  • I don’t feel hungry, I’m eating enough and feel fueled
  • I’m sleeping like a baby.  For me falling asleep is impossible and I wake up often in the middle night… so this is gold
  • Waking up refreshed… likely because of the killer sleep!
  • I don’t know if I’ve lost weight (since not stepping on a scale was part of the deal) but I feel slimmer, toned, and overall sexy

I know I know, it’s only 2 weeks down.  So we’ll talk more after I’m done a full month, that will be the true test I think.  But so far, I’ve made it through Halloween with zero candy.  Go me go!  Now… to make it through the Christmas season… yikes.  Let’s just say this is probably the best time of year to do this because as everyone is slugging back booze and baked goods, I’m swearing them off.

We’ll see who’s laughing in January 😉

Not to mention, how much more fit I’ll feel in Jan/Feb (knock on wood) making my way towards Blue.  Crap, did I jinx that?

And no, I haven’t tried to sneak on the unicorn dress to see if I’ve made progress.  Although Steve did throw down a challenge for me to wear it in Vegas in December instead of him taking me out for New Years.

We’ll see….  I feel like he’s just being lazy on making New Years plan 😉