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…

IMG_20170104_204111

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:

IMG_20170223_181341

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?

IMG_20170205_095701

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…

Image result for inside out blue

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:

IMG_20170222_194805_835

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

IMG_20170223_180425

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 🙂

IMG_20170222_210833

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I PASSED!!!!

I did it!!!!!

Firstly, sorry for not posting in the past week.. I have been exhausted from practicing for today’s test and I’m so happy to say the extra work paid off.

Oh man, where do I even start?

Firstly, a shout out to Steve for being my punching bag for the past 3-4 nights as I’ve been practicing my combos.  Boxing has definitely been on the brain, I’ve even snuck in a few jabs at work along the hallway.  I’m positive some coworkers won’t mess with me now.. who’s that crazy girl punching the air?  Oh ya, that girl from loyalty.. don’t mess with her =/

Who wants to mess with the girl who didn’t have her gloves so she settled for oven mitts because her hubby didn’t want to get tenderized in the belly?

This girl:

img_20160913_204317

But anyways back to the test.

All day, super stressed.. I just kept repeating, if you can get past the first 2 minutes of freestyle skipping you’re good.  It was honestly the only thing keeping me up at night.  My boxing bud Kiersten kept reminding me about the power of muscle memory and that’s what a lot of our classes are built on.  Build the technique slow, then add on power and speed.

I got to the gym, awesome girl at the front greeted me with a “TEST DAY!!!” which of course made my stomach rumble.  The gym was packed and the first thing I thought was I have to get my lucky skipping rope before other classes take it… rushed over, found it, hid it in my cubby just in case 🙂  Can you imagine the panic if I couldn’t find it? Yikes.

Coach Nick then walked me through how the test was going to go.  Of course starting with the skipping *stomach rumble*, but then endurance was split into two with the technical testing in the middle.  Funny, I thought to myself “Hey that’s a great breather… ha, ha, ha funny Shannon…. a breather in a boxing class? Cute.”

Now, skipping.  The dreaded skipping.  So I was like OK, I’ve got my favorite rope (what am I, 12?) and I’m just going to focus on a point on the floor and just get through this.  He says start.  I start jumping.  20 seconds in he asks me to spell my last name… are you kidding?  Now I’m cursing Steve for having the world’s longest last name.  OK done that, back to focusing on the spot on the floor.  Owner walks over and decides this would be a good time to chat with me about how my day’s going.  Seriously?  I mumbled something like “I’m in the zone!!!” which he of course then took a moment to just keep repeating my name loudly.  Sigh.  Timer buzzes.  YES!!!!  Now…………. 48 minutes to go.

Series of strength requirements like pushups, some strength work with the heavy bag, shadow boxing with the heavy bag, etc.  Then it’s time for technical.  Keep in mind I’m already drenched.

The technical is done on a demerit system where I can’t make more than 6 mistakes.  That’s not too much room for error, especially when we’re running through over 30 technical items, 2-3 times each to ensure understanding and then static vs. dynamic movement.

Let’s just say….

Image result for nailed it

I had 2 mistakes, I knew going in it wasn’t my strongest move and it was 2 mistakes on the same move type.  It’s a body punch with a deep lunge (ugh, I hate that word).  He walked me through it afterward about why he thinks I’m having difficulty with it and how to work on it going forward.  I have a hard time understanding a move that’s only half of an actual move.  For example, when he told me that the step-in body punch is actually used to finish with a hook (which I haven’t learned yet), my mind would be able to comprehend the need to step in because I can’t sink a hook (pun intended) without being close to my opponent.

A couple wins from my test feedback:

  1. He couldn’t believe I started 6 weeks ago.  6 weeks.  I can’t believe it’s only been 6 weeks.
  2. He said I have a ridiculously fast stationary jab-hook combo.  Fast hands are key.  I think it’s because I have T-Rex arms so it’s not like they have far to go.
  3. He said my strength and body condition is outstanding.  I’ve always dealt with body issues and all that so it’s just so nice to hear from a professional athlete (No Steve, you don’t count) that I’m in great shape.

What’s coming up:

  1. I updated my Excel spreadsheet to map out when I’ll be eligible to take my next test if I keep as focused as I have been for the past 6 weeks.  Yes, I have an Excel spreadsheet.  Last week of November is my target test week.  I have soooooo much to learn.  The test will be harder, the strength portion will be longer and there will be less room for technical errors.
  2. I’m going to firm up my schedule so I don’t do 5 classes in a row a few times like I did the past few weeks.  I’m so tired.  A more rigid schedule will help prevent this.

 

I think that’s a wrap (what? another pun?) for tonight.

Off to Vegas this weekend to celebrate. I think we’ll make this a ritual for every test I pass.

imag0902

 

 

Booking it and getting booked

Exciting post today!

 

First things first, I booked my test.  Ahhhhhh!

booking

I never did that well at tests as a kid in school so I’m anxious but I booked with my fave coach so I think it’ll give me some confidence.  I did a private testing 2 days before we head to Vegas in hopes that I could celebrate *knock on wood* and also not worry about having a few drinks and killing my stamina the week before the test.

What I’m nervous about:

  • Still skipping… my footwork has improved a ton but sometimes I just can’t find the rhythm!  I’ve moved on to alternate footing and some rope tricks but some days are much better than others.
  • Getting through the arm exercises… I tried it for the first time this week and my shoulders oddly feel bruised.  Still need to practice.
  • Not screwing up the lingo of what the coach calls to test
  • Not having the 24 classes in before test time.  Going to be suuuuuper tight given my business trip next week.  But the last thing I want is to do 6 classes in a row before test day, I’ll be exhausted.

The testing is private but I’d definitely share my time slot with someone if they want to go earlier.  Speaking of… quick selfie with my boxing friend (also known from coach as the Boxing Sisters).

2016-09-03_12.57.19

Nothing like a sweaty selfie after filming some combos so we can both get our practice on.

And the best part of today’s post is a video (thanks Kiersten for helping me out!!) so you guys can check out my progress.  The first portion is focusing on simple jab/cross combos with a bit of forward/backward footwork and then the second portion is defense.

Part 1:  A lot of focus on front and back movements with 3 types of jabs (standard, step-jab, double-jab)

Part 2: Parry-parry, parry-slip, sweep-slip, parry-step back  (now you’ll be able to see what I mean when I say that!)

My blog is free but it doesn’t allow for videos to be embedded so I’ve posted it on YouTube.

Check it out: https://youtu.be/zoKh6zMVI7k

 

12 days until the test.

7 classes until I qualify to take the test.

 

Can I make it?

2016-09-03_13.41.14

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohhhh-oh we’re half way there…

24 classes needed to get to test day.

12 classes down.

12 to go.

Test day has been set:  September 29th!!! 34 days away.

I’m getting anxious, this will be the first of 4 tests until the fight, but more importantly the first of 3 tests until I actually get into the ring to spar.  Make no mistake, I’ve been punched in the face and ribs more times than I can count in the past 2 weeks.  Don’t worry, I’ve returned some of those punches 🙂  They mainly remind you that you clearly haven’t ducked fast enough or that you failed to defend a step-jab to the body.  I’ll learn eventually, I just need to practice.

So let’s take a second to reset everyone’s expectations (including my own) of my journey before describing what my test will entail.

what

I’m prettying sure I fielded several calls during the Olympics from a certain someone… (mom)… so thanks Olympic slow motion shots showing blood flying from every punch to the face.

Back to what’s in the test and a little fact/fiction game. The test is broken into 2 pieces:

  1. Strength and Endurance

Skipping is a crucial part of boxing warm-up… FACT!  2 minutes of skipping non-stop (sound easy?  I dare you to pick up a skipping rope)

100 bag punches in a minute

100 crunches in a minute

1 minute plank (easy peasy)

Lunging while holding a heavy bag over your head and steering it from left to right for a minute (not fun)

Roadwork is a crucial part of boxing training…. FICTION!  No running on this test.

7 1-minute arm endurance sets (criss-cross, up-down, flying motion, etc.)

2. Technical

Jab-cross combinations – What does this look like?  This isn’t me standing there and punching a heavy bag, I’m in a ring advancing, stepping back, left, right and hitting targets with the coach.

Body punching – Can’t hit the coaches body? You won’t pass.  They’re swift little movers.

Boxing is all about offense…… FICTION!  Defense isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about getting yourself in a ready position to strike.

Jab defense combinations – 4 of them: Parry, sweep, slip, step-back.  My back hurts so much from slipping I have actually shed tears.

Cross defense combinations – 3 of them:  Parry, slip, step-back.

Boxing counter punches can take out an opponent……. FACT!  Defense-counter punches set you up to swiftly divert in the opposite direction that you throw a punch so that you spring back with force.  It’s an amazing tool turning my back into a solid layer of muscle. Your whole body throws the punch, not just your arm.

Jab and cross defense and strike combinations – 6 of them… I won’t even both describing but I’ll definitely get Steve to shoot a video one day of me doing them.  Needless to say this is where I get punched the most.

 

Well that’s the test, all in 25 minutes.

 

Easy, right?