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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♪ ♫ Everyday I’m Shoveling ♪ ♫

 

Hopefully you caught that reference… if not… it’s a song… here’s a screenshot from the music video:

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Yup, that’s a good creepy start to the blog!  🙂

Well what an awesome 2 weeks I’ve had at the gym and I thought what better of a send off to Vegas tomorrow than a kickass post today… especially because the gym’s closed for a snow day!  I had contemplated walking uphill both ways to get there but was pretty relieved to see the notice!

Things I’ve learned the past 2 weeks:

  1. Shovel hook – A hook to the body, 45 degree angle
  2. Upper cut – J shaped motion up the chin
  3. Fade – A defensive footwork move (I mainly feel like Michael Jackson when we practice)

Even more amazing thing that happened the past 2 weeks:

Steve came to watch me at class!!! 

Ok, one downside to him coming… it was my second class in Green which was at the end of the monthly lesson plan so he got to watch me be confused for an hour.  But I’ll take it!!!  He got to the gym just in time for the technical part of class (no need for him to watch the cardio at the beginning) and the awesome girl at the front desk showed him where the other “parents” sit to watch.  Hehehehe.  I always thought it was cute to see the parents in the watching area, now my hubby’s up in the pen!

He took some awesome pics though:

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Me paired with a girl partner (ahh I can’t remember her name!), Jin, and Coach Steve.

Steve was also able to get some videos taken!!  Again, reminder, everything in the video is me struggling to learn the last lesson plan for something brand new so I don’t look the best 😦

And then some heavy bag work, again trying to figure out the load and angle of the shovel hook:

Side note I have no idea how I was able to embed these videos but I just got pretty excited!!!

So the not so fun part of my schedule, combined with learning the shovel hook, is of course the fact that my body is not happy 😦  This is through pads.  But this is nothing compared to the amazing bruise on one of the coach’s sides!!  Shout out do Dan for his amazing bruise.

Day 1, Day 3, Day 5

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Needless to say Steve has had fun chasing me around the house tickling me… or forgetting that I’m in terrible pain and reaching over for snuggles.  😦  For once, I don’t like snuggles.  It’s ok, the trip to Vegas will give me some time to let the ribs heal.

On that note… a break to Vegas means a break to my super healthy eating and no booze!!  YAY!!!  Tomorrow marks my 50th day of no crap food, no dairy, no chocolate, and no booze.  I feel remarkable, of course 🙂  The only thing that’s not going to feel remarkable is the day after I have my first drink in Vegas!!

So a few decisions have been made from now until my next test, hopefully mid Feb:

  • I’ll have some liquor starting Vegas to New Years but go back off until test day
  • I’ll stick to zero cheese except feta (it keeps salads doable daily)
  • I’ll stick to no crap and no fried food
  • I’ll stick with my 5 days of boxing and 1-2 days of yoga

This morning.. I happily stepped onto the scale to find I’m down 10 pounds.

Woooo go me!!!

8 more pounds to go which I’m hoping to do by test day, thus why I’ll keep the strict rules in place after new years. Wish me luck 🙂

Coming up the next couple of weeks… practice, practice, practice on the shovel hook, upper cut, and fade.  I’m especially going to focus on footwork and using my legs.  I hate hearing over and over that I’m all arms!!!  I’ll take the feedback and focus on it.

Now c’mon Vegas… I’ve earned it 🙂

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The Four Corner Strategy

When I joined Griffins, a coach told me that the mental game is way more exhausting than the physical and I shrugged that off, mainly because I didn’t understand what it meant.  While I’m by no means training to the same level as a lot of the boxers at the gym, I’m starting to feel the weight of training, on top of my everyday life.

It’s funny how the people around me compare the 2 sides of my life, almost put them up against each other to try and see which I’d prefer or which is worst.

The other day at work, a group of my coworkers asked me “How do you find the time and energy to go to boxing at the end of your day?”,  I smiled and said “Lately, I have more trouble finding the energy to go to work!”.  I’m not sure my boss would like to hear that 😉 I also had a big presentation at work this past week and I was incredibly anxious, which is pretty rare for me 🙂  Steve said, “What’s worst, giving this presentation or getting punched in the face?”.

This past month I’ve found to be so taxing on my mental game, which in turn impacted my health (2 rounds of the flu, I currently sound like Barry White as I type this). It’s hard you know, when times at work are challenging and you leave to go to boxing and you’re not excelling at that either, where else do you go to refuel?  To find the energy to pour back into your efforts?

All I can say is thank god for Steve and other supporters who make sure I go to class, or complete that project for work.

I guess it’s times like this when you really have to celebrate the wins.  Like passing my boxing test and joining the green crowd 🙂

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Now, despite me looking exhausted in that photo, I was completely at the top of my game.  I only told a handful of people I was taking the test Monday because my body and my mind have been wavering so much I didn’t want to set myself up to disappoint my supporters.  But my body completely fought through the flu that had been coming back and I barely broke a sweat in the first section of endurance.  I couldn’t be more proud.  I found myself flashing back to my test to get to yellow and remembering how I was drenched in sweat and out of breath, this for me was the biggest win of all.. an improvement on my strength and stamina.

Hardest part of the test?  The 90 seconds of tossing the heavy bag at a 45 degree angle, oh god my arms.

How did I do on technical?  Definitely not as clean as my private class I had taken the week earlier (likely the nerves) but only 1 demerit!!! Another big win 🙂  And coach Nick said my hook has improved soo much so I just need to keep practicing.

My favorite part of the test?  How hard Nick throws his hook when you have to block 🙂  Believe it or not, I love the feeling of someone hitting me hard.  It’s my favorite part of class but not a lot of the guys feel comfortable wailing on me (nor is that necessarily part of the class because we’re supposed to focus on technique).  This is the main reason I want to get to Blue.. or at least get some gear together so Kiersten and I can wail on each other in the privacy of our own gym 🙂

The sad part about getting my green… only taking one class since passing!!  Ugh, this flu has really taken me down. Hopefully I’ll be up to class starting Monday.

Things I’m changing up for the next couple of months:

  • Moving to 5 boxing classes a week (from 4).  I’ve taken out my one day a week at Club 16 to accommodate this.
  • Bumping up yoga to twice a week (from 1).  I’m so uptight and sore, I need a way to just let it alllll out.
  • I’m going to start a meditation pack on sports (Headspace, best meditation app every, even for skeptics like me!!) The pack is designed to help you reach peak performance and experience the benefits of mindfulness for focus, competition and recovery.  I think this will help me loosen up.
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about extending my 8 weeks of healthy eating/drinking to February (basically doubling my commitment).  I don’t know if I’ve lost weight since I haven’t jumped on the scale, but my clothes are looser, people have started commenting on me looking a little leaner, and other than me catching the flu twice this month, I feel overall better. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think about booze anymore?!  I’ve brought my family shame. 😦

 

Last thing for the day, I found this amazing article about boxing psychology with a great diagram:

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I just love this… and I feel like it really brings to light all of the things I’m trying to work on all at once which may make people realize how much is really going on in my head.

  1. Technical Ability:  This is all brand new, steep learning curve.
  2. Tactical Awareness:  Oh man I have barely made a dent in this but it’s a big part of green, introduction to ringmanship.
  3. Physical Strengths:  I feel like I’ve made huge strides in this corner but a long way to go, especially in stamina.  A 2 minute round can feel like an hour.  A lot of the work on my knee through physio has made any of this possible. If someone would have told me that I’d be sticking needles in my body weekly to make sure I can bend my knee, I would have told them I’d rather quit the sport.  Now I’m begging for more needles so I can go to class.
  4. Mental Strengths:  An area of focus.  I am the queen of motivation and discipline but confidence and self-belief are falling behind.  Hopefully my meditation efforts this month will help me channel my focus and stay calm.

Next post should be coming up within the next week or so with some of my new green skills.. shovel hooks and upper cuts 🙂

Wish me luck.

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