Posts Tagged ‘boxing-bootcamp’

Guess who didn’t drop a 60lb MMA grappling bag on her nose this morning?


Apparently, when you drop the 35lb version on your face, it makes an impression that, perhaps, you shouldn’t do that. So much so, that when you get to play with the 60lb bag on a similar session, you damn well make sure you DON’T DROP IT ON YOUR FACE! YAY ME!

This is how I am defining success now – in terms of how much shit I have not dropped on my face to begin the day. It makes you feel accomplished pretty easily.

Shoe? Nope. Still on feet.

Coffee mug? Got close, but nailed the landing into the mouth.

Car? Nope! Not on face! WINNING! I’m a WINNER!

Welcome to Monday. May you leave the treadmarks on the ground and not on your face this week.



This morning, in a rather hard to explain maneuver, I dropped a grappling dummy on my nose. Yes, on my nose. Not on my face, but smack dab on my nose. Not my finest or least embarrassing moment. Especially with the amount of time I spend at the boxing studio. You would think I would be past such things by this point. Even my trainer, who was present, had to ask me afterward how the hell did I do that?! (Okay, he probably said heck, but whatev…)

Um…when I raised my hips up, it shifted forward, and I ended up going over, and then the back end slipped, and I didn’t control it. The butt of it hit me in the nose…

Um…yeah. Even if I had it on tape, I’m still not sure I could explain it well.

Luckily for me, it was the 30-35lb version and not the 60 lb version. Had it been 60lbs, my nose surely would have broken. Instead, I trotted off to the restroom and had the bleeding stopped pretty quickly. I wiggled the bridge – nothing broken. Probably just bruised – glamorous as that will be at work tomorrow.

Also luckily, we were at the end of our practice. When I returned 2-3 minutes later, my trainer had called the session over. Not that it mattered. I’d already decided that the injury wasn’t serious, and when I came back on the floor, I expected to return to sweating. These things happen once in awhile.

I’ve had sore hamstrings, shin splints, ass tendinitis. I’ve cut open a toe throwing a crescent kick. Numerous rolled ankles – the last one occurring when I was out on a run by myself and had to limp half a mile back to my car. I’ve got two pinched nerves in my back that blow up at their whim. I’ve tripped over a dog while running and ended up with bandages wrapped around both hands that made me look like the stigmata happened.

Most of these injuries a bit embarrassing to explain at the office.

Seriously, just try and explain ASS TENDINITIS to your co-workers. I dare you!

And I’m sure there’s plenty more I’ve forgotten. I’ve fallen down and gone boom my fair share of times. As an athlete, sometimes I get hurt. As athletes, sometimes WE get hurt. It’s part of the risk we take on for the reward. We push our bodies, our limits, even the way we think. Sometimes we push a little far, get a little clumsy or distracted, or rely on equipment only to have it fail. An injury happens.

This past week at group, a girl fell down on the run. Embarrassing. A little traumatizing. A slower runner at the back of the pack – a position I am all too familiar with – the feeling of being slower and alone compounds when something like that happens. The trauma deeper. Even worse, it was her first run with the group. I can only imagine her feelings, but none of what I imagine is good. Coaches talked her through it, but mostly they worried that she wouldn’t come back. Wouldn’t try again.

And that’s really the athlete’s choice, isn’t it? Do we get up or do we stay down?

If you’re going to push your limits on a regular basis, you have to accept that once in awhile, you’re going to find them. At least, if you’re working hard, you will. And that goes for an experienced athlete as much as it does for a beginner. Out of the hundreds of thousands of steps we take running, occasionally one of them is bound to go wonky. When you choose to spend time in a boxing studio, odds are that, at some point, you’ll get a bad hit by accident. Either one you throw, or one you receive. Statistically, it’s inevitable. We fall down. We go boom. We find limits.Then what do we do? Respect them and keep a comfortable distance? Recover and work to strengthen ourselves, so we can push against them again? An individual choice for each of us. Do you want to box your experiences in or keep opening them up? When we decide whether to stay down or get back up, that’s the choice we make. Do we stay within safe boundaries or are we still willing to explore?

It made me sad to think that the girl won’t come back to group. The coaches seemed pretty convinced she wouldn’t. I hope she surprises them and gives it a shot again. But that’s her choice, not mine. I already know what my choice would be, because I’ve been there, done that. More often than not, things go well. Once in awhile, you end up punching yourself in the face with a grappling dummy to start off a Monday morning. How it affects the rest of the week… well – for me – it won’t. Not really. I’ve learned something about my limits, even if it bruised the bridge of my nose. But more importantly for me, I learned something about exploring a new move with the grappling dummy and now I know what to do next time when I go too far over, and the weight shifts, and I don’t have control over it…

Namely, protect my nose.

Intention. Expectation.

Since last week’s post, I’ve been mulling some more about how I’ve been treating this whole running thing I do. What goes on in my thought process. How I feel about it and how I need to feel about it. Intention and expectation, running laps around the track in my head.

Another good run with the group last night – 3.5 miles in 87-degree heat and lots of sun, again on a less-than-favorite route. Conditions under which I would normally tank. Dislike of the route would put me into a negative frame of mind before I even got there, and then the heat would do me in. I would talk to myself about how hard the run was and that I just couldn’t handle it any longer because of heat and fatigue and sun and global warming because we should blame everything on global warming. It’s okay to crash because running is hard! Making excuses for myself, I’d end up walking as much as running and using the extra time it took to finish to alternately beat myself up and then coddle my sad outer inner almost-last-place-finisher. In fact, this is part of how I started intervalling 3:1’s in the first place – to enforce some modicum of discipline over how much negative thought I would entertain and how long I would walk. Oh, and to recover from an injury, there was that too. But the thing is, I don’t think I really knew that my self-talk BEFORE the run was having the HUGE impact that it seems to have. Armed with a boat-load of mantras, I thought my inner running monologue was REALLY GOOD. Intervalling was going very well, though I still wasn’t getting results I wanted. I could finish a run with my dignity intact – that was a plus – but for a long time, something has still felt ‘off’ about my thinking and I didn’t know what it was.

If my running monologue is REALLY THAT GOOD, why am I still crashing on runs? Shouldn’t all those peppy mantras be able to get me to keep running come-what-may? Often times, my will would crash before my body did. Yes, I’d be out of breath – but my legs would feel fine and yet, for some reason, I just couldn’t keep going.

I didn’t realize that while I’d armed myself with mantras, I’d also armed myself with excuses to fail. It’s hot. It’s hard. I don’t like the route. My favorite running peeps didn’t show up. I haven’t worked out in a day or so. I’m not fueled well today. I’m just not feeling it. I’m not built for this. Some reasonable (like the fueling thing), but for the most part just a lot of wussing out before my feet even hit pavement.  All runners know running is more a mental game than physical. Once my brain quit the run, my body followed in short order. I’d think these thoughts before I got started, give them more power as I went into a crash, and then cite them as the reason for failure at the end.

Then I started thinking about intention-setting. I’d had a ‘make a plan, stick the plan’ approach and mantra for running, but that didn’t really work for bootcamp/boxing since I didn’t know what we were going to be doing each morning. I couldn’t make a plan. I had to walk in open to trying anything and sweating for everything. Hitting a breaking point one day, I asked myself ‘WTF did you come here for? If you aren’t going to work hard, you might as well have stayed in bed!‘.

What did I come here for? To be better. stronger. faster. This is, literally, the ridiculous but dead serious answer I gave myself. Apparently I went there to become Lee Majors. I WILL REBUILD ME!

However ridiculous, that response got me moving again in the moment. I started making it a habit to ask myself that as I was getting started before every bootcamp. And it was making a difference. Through the workout, I could revisit that intention statement – check in with myself – am I meeting that intention?  Though not nearly perfect, doing that was making a positive difference in how I felt about my workouts at the very least. I felt better at the end of the session. So a few weeks ago, I started transferring that same intention-setting frame to running. Taking a quiet moment (when I remembered) to ask myself – what’s your point with this? what are you here to do? – before I got out of my car.

Except with running, that statement of intent wasn’t working nearly as well. Why?

Having had that epiphany about my thought process on expectations last week has brought some of the failings of my intention-setting approach to running into a more crystalline view. With boxing, not knowing what the workout was to be in advance, I really couldn’t set much of an expectation for myself. Just state an intent and then do my best to meet it. This lack of expectation is what I think made the difference. With running, even if I didn’t know the exact route planned, I knew where to meet and so could make an educated guess about it. I had plenty of time to think about weather and fuel and how do I feel? Boxing is at 5:30 in the morning – I always feel tired and it is always dark out. And frankly, I’m just not awake long enough to give excuses much thought before we get moving. With running, I have a pace history and a race history, and a mental roadmap of hills I have excelled on and routes that have whomped on me. I have a good expectation as to how a run would go in both a best and worst case scenario before I start running.

With running, I have the ability to overlay expectation onto intention. Hmmm. Now to suck that out of my brain like a rabid zombie…(can zombies get rabies since they’re already dead?)

I went into yesterday’s run with a focus on retaining the FEELING of the past two weeks – to not spend too much time on considering obstacles – yes, there is a hill, I will run the hill –  and instead prepare for success. I made sure I was fueled well for the heat, had time to stretch, and then said once again to not put an expectation on the run. Do the route. Adjust the pace as needed. Don’t worry about the history on that particular route (not good). Keep the intention to respect what my body is saying – but call myself out on the bullshit of expectation/excuses. Don’t give in to it. Get it done.

I am not sure if they were running slower with the heat (probably), or if my restated focus just let up enough pressure to speed me up a bit, but I ended up pacing with a group a little faster than my usual pack. A little faster. I toughed-out some hard parts I’ve failed on previously. Somewhere in there, “soak up the goodness” made it into my run mantras along with my standard 90-counts, 3-counts, thatpinkgirl cheering HARD! and NUTRIA! into my brain and steena telling me to HTFU!!. (No, I don’t know why I adopted the Nutria! mantra, except that it makes me giggle.) In the heat, I reminded myself that this running thing is supposed to feel hard – that means I’m pushing myself. And I pushed myself straight through that whole route, noticing the bitching and moaning of other runners a little more than usual, as well as standing as an observer outside of my own bitching and moaning for a moment.

It’s hot! BULLSHIT – you knew that and you dressed for it. It’s hard! BULLSHIT! If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it! It’s SUPPOSED TO BE HARD! This sun is beating down on me! Oh Good Grief! Just shut-up about it and think about snowcones.

(Sidebar: I’m sorry, but in 87-degree heat, if all you’re doing on a run is complaining about how hot it is, you’re an asshole. We all know it’s hot. Making me think even more about how hot it is is just not nice. I started shouting out ‘cold’ words randomly into the crowd – SNOWFLAKES! GELLATO! LEMON CHILL! MEAT LOCKER! OOOOOOOOOHHH – MEEEAT LOCKKKER!! I’m just saying – when you’re running in the heat, a meat locker is a good mental image to hold onto. Yes, I’m weird. Like you didn’t know. I digress…)

I called myself out on the bullshit that would normally make me drop to a walk and then I pushed myself to run past it. I kept my water stop speedy and ran away from it. I made myself get up the hills. I ran all the way through the stoplights and crosswalks because ‘you don’t walk to the finish line’. And most essentially, I kept my ass moving in a way that I could be proud of.


I could probably spend more than a few nights analyzing why I didn’t expect that ending from myself to begin with, but for now – I think I’ll just let this process sink in and enjoy the outcome. With a beer.

This morning, I was checking out a listing of local runs/races to see if anything piqued my interest for the weekend more than my usually scheduled training runs, when I ran across the Heart Chase. In the description was the sentence fragment:

“No one gets healthy by accident…”

And I thought to myself, Damn. How true is that?

My life and lifestyle have changed DRAMATICALLY since I started making concious and educated choices about the work I’m asking of my body every day and the fuel I’m putting in it. I walk into every single day with a plan for how much activity I need and/or want, and how I’m fitting that into my schedule. Also, I do not consume food carelessly. I wouldn’t call myself obsessed by any means, but I am trying to lose weight, and that means that I really do need to think through everything I put in my mouth. The phrase “You can’t outrun your fork” is what I use to beat back temptation when there’s lasagna on the lunch buffet. Not that I don’t chuck it all and spend a day eating pizza in my jammies here and there, but that’s an exception now rather than the rule it had been. Carefully considered consumption. Be a person of motion. Those are the new rules for me. So reading that phrase – that “no one gets healthy by accident’- struck a powerful chord with me.

I like it. A lot.

And then the mind wandered to thinking about some of the recent conversations I’ve had surrounding health. Someone told me the other day that I was lucky to have my health. This is partly true. I’ve gotten some lucky DNA – strong bones, good teeth, rockin’ immune system. But for the overall result, luck has less to do with it than choosing to get up at 5:30am to go workout 3 days-a-week, with running in-between, and hitting up the salad bar instead of the grill every day for lunch. Good DNA only gets you so far. You have to earn the rest. I still have a ways to go with losing some weight, being the runner I want to be, trimming off some body fat, but I’m getting there. I’m earning it. Without shortcuts, because taking the long way around will pay off better in the long run.

My health is not an accident. Nor does it have anything to do with luck. My health is about sweat, and cussing at my trainer 20lb kettlebells, and talking myself through runs up ginormous hills, and spinach instead of iceburg, and ‘yuck, I can feel the salt on my face’ or ‘crap, I just got sweat in my eyes’. It’s about owning more running capris than I do regular pants, tripping over 3 pairs of running shoes in different states of wear, and smelling really bad on a regular basis. It’s about not wearing makeup to the gym because there’s no point when I’m planning to sweat so hard it will melt off. It’s about working so hard that I forget I don’t have makeup on and that my hair is drenched in sweat when I’m talking to my workout/running companions. It’s about doing a lot of laundry that brings out my ‘stinkface’. It’s about walking to my car in the early morning dark with my gym bag before there’s another light on in any of my neighbors houses. It’s about being grateful that my husband is willing to get up 10 minutes early to let the dog out so that I don’t have to worry about rushing home the second my workout is over, and that neither my carpool or my boss care if I’m 10 minutes late to work since my workout puts me in a better mood for the day.

None of that is accidental. Or lucky. It’s hard work and hard choices. And totally worth it.

Before 5AM

Posted: 05/18/2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

4:41 AM: Alarm #1

4:41:02 AM: The sound of me smacking Alarm #1.

4:45 AM: Alarm #2 (Yes, it’s a different alarm clock).

4:45:02 AM: The sound of me furiously tapping the touch screen on Alarm#2 to MAKE. IT. STOP!

4:51 AM: Alarm #1 again.

4:55 AM: Alarm #2 again.

Me: Got to get up. Clothes are laid out. Gotta go to bootcamp.

The Resistance: But you’re going to run at lunch. You can sleep in.

Me: But what if I don’t run at lunch. I won’t get to work out tonight. And I’ve got that run tomorrow. That run will feel like crap tomorrow if I don’t get a workout in today.

The Resistance: Oh well, if you’re running tomorrow, then you don’t even need to run at lunch today. Just go for a walk. You could use a rest sweety. You’re tired. Go back to sleep.

Me: (to myself) C’mon. You know you need to get this bootcamp in or Monday’s bootcamp is just going to feel twice as hard. You know you’re getting up, now put your feet on the floor. You’re just making it so you’re going to have to rush and you know how you hate to rush. With all this thinking, you’re already up, you might as well sweat. You’ll feel better sweaty.

The Resistance: See, you’re running late now. Why do you want to rush? Go ahead and sleep in today.

Me: (to myself, as I am doing my best to ignore The Resistance) That’s a good girl. Put your feet on the floor. There you go, and up out of bed.

5:02 AM: I am downstairs throwing on a sportsbra & my Nikes. 

Yaaaaa’ll – it was a hard morning to get out of bed for that early wake-up. But I did it and I’m glad I did it, though I still feel pretty tired. I’m still stubborn-ing through runner’s block. I fought through Tuesday’s run. Did Wednesday’s bootcamp. Took a rest day on Thursday as I thought a visit to the chiropractor might help me shake off the fatigue, and then Bootcamp this morning.

I’m planning to go to running group tomorrow morning for a short 3 mile preview of a 5k the group is doing next weekend, and then I have a fun run – a 4k Tap ‘n Run I’m registered for tomorrow night. So 2 runs tomorrow (though I’ll probably walk a good part of the second one) on a body that is just so. damn. tired.

And I don’t think it’s even the workouts that are killing me – they’re hard, but not any more extreme than usual. They just feel a lot harder than usual. I think I’m going through what I call a “teardown” cycle. Just like we cycle through fits of enthusiasm and doldrums in our workout routines, the body has it’s own cycle of plateaus and progress. Mine usually cycles through a plateau, then a “teardown”, then a really short plateau, and then a huge spurt of progress.

The first plateau can be indefinite – from 2-3 weeks to 2-3 months. The scale doesn’t move a whole lot and I feel better with the workouts, but nothing hugely noticeable. Then a teardown cycle usually lasts about 3 weeks – that’s where everything hurts and workouts feel way harder than they normally do. And because it feels so hard, and you’re so bitchy tired, the motivation just isn’t there. Also, I want to eat like crap, so I have to wage that war at the same time. MUST. EAT. LOTS OF YUMMY CARBS!!! THE GREEN THINGS. The Resistance is a pro at taking advantage of the the teardown cycle – tempting me to skip workouts, sleep late, and eat way too much of all the wrong stuff. It’s like watching the Energizer Bunny crap it’s batteries, flip you the bird, and go crash out for a long nap in front of the TV – but only after he tells you to turn the volume down on the show you’re watching ’cause it’s not like he can just GO IN THE BEDROOM and take that stupid nap.

That is one crabby-ass bunny sometimes.

Teardown is a prick too. And if I’m not careful – and stubborn – I can undo a lot of good work I’ve done in the previous weeks. Got to fight the good fight.

But I’ll get through it. And I’ll fight to keep as many of the good things on track as I can. And eventually it won’t feel so hard – I’m almost through week 1 already. And then I’ll move through to the next part of the cycle where things feel alright again. The fatigue starts to lift. Everything isn’t irrationally exhausting. I begin to enjoy the running and the workout routines again. Optimism strikes. After that, it’s like someone throws some nitrous into my muscles and that huge burst of progress hits. THAT, my friend, is worth working it out for. In the progress cycle, I’m ten feet tall and bulletproof (though still irrationally afraid of bugs and heights – some things don’t change). I can leap tall buildings, or at least press the ‘up’ key several times really fast, and I’m almost faster than a rickshaw stuck in traffic. In the progress cycle, I OUT-AWESOME MYSELF. And since I’m already awesome, that’s even awesomer. The scale starts to move down, I feel GREAT and alll of the parts that have been ‘torn down’ are built back up and stronger than they were before. Did I mention that I feel GREAT? and FAST? and STRONG?

Thinking about that happy feeling – grasping at that straw of hope – is what gets me through the 3 weeks of teardown. Knowing that at the end, if I just keep working through it, I’ll end up stronger because of it. Before the cycle starts again.

Lousy Aftertaste

Posted: 05/14/2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

To get the thing out of the way, I’m just going to say it – I think that almost-7 mile run for the Pig beat me up a little worse than I thought it did. It shouldn’t have. I’ve run further, and harder, in worse weather. But it did – it beat me up a bit. I have had ZERO inclination to run since – and I’m not so sure that it’s even about how that run went that’s made me feel that way – but more about the aftermath. I honestly think I had a wicked-bad case of heat exhaustion afterward and it left a nasty aftertaste in my running shoes.

When we got home from the Pig running and the cheering, I was STARVING and GROSS. Gross to the point that the husband kept all the windows down on the ride home. Gross. Food & shower. Need to get ’em. No biggie there. 30,000 other people had those same priorities. Got that done. Guzzled some water & Gatorade. But then as soon as I sat down, I just felt like ass. In fact, after more water, more Gatorade, a 4-hour nap, Advil, more water, iced coffee, more water, dinner, more Advil and a Coke later- I still barely felt human – exhausted and groggy. Let me tell you – I don’t usually nap after a half-marathon. Too much adrenaline & endorphins going on for too long afterward to nap. I rest, but have never been able to sleep. And I RARELY RARELY RARELY drink pop. So the fact that I slept a LOT (I get about 5-6 hours a night, so a 4-hour nap is a LOT.) AND had a pop. I didn’t feel so hot and I couldn’t find the winning lottery combination to fix me. And this wasn’t even a 13.1 – this was barely over a 10k!!

Yet my groggy head still laid out my clothes for bootcamp the next morning. I wanted to make sure I gave myself the option and I set the alarm. Can always hit the snooze and roll over if I need to. And at the 4:45 alarm, I felt good enough to go – with a promise to myself that I would tap into my water bottle every time I stopped moving. Still felt a little low on the H20. Probably not the smartest decision, but something in my brain told me I needed to get to the gym for some redemption.

Nothing shakes off a bad run like a good workout.

I was totally glad I went. I had a fabulous workout despite an unhappy hamstring and my trainer set up an obstacle course at the end, which is one of my favorite things. Every time we do one of those, I start thinking about finding a beginning “parcour” running group. Then I watch Quantum of Solace and get some sense back in my head. I bruise easy. Parcour looks bruisey. Anyway, we did have to do a SHORT – like 30 feet short – run as part of the obstacle course and I kid you not, as soon as the man said ‘run’ my brain groaned. Like I heard it. Inside my head. And it was loud and kind of like the Wizard of Oz before the curtain gets pulled back. All it said was “RUUUUNN.” It sounded like it was coming from someone else – but nope. It was inside my head. And there was some sort of half-growling groan that accompanied it. Pre-curtain Wizard of Oz in my brain is kind of scary – and it really didn’t want to run. But then I said ‘Suck it WOZ’ and I ran the 30 feet a few times. Got it done.

Tuesday- a running day- my unhappy hamstring said ‘Rest day or else!’. I listened. He was serious. (Yes, I called my hamstring a ‘he’ even though I’m a girl – what of it?)

Wednesday – back to bootcamp. Thursday should’ve been a run day. Friday should’ve been the run day that I skipped on Thursday. Like I said, ZERO interest in running and my stomach in knots all week. Still just didn’t feel like me.

By Saturday, I hadn’t run all week. The running group for the Hyde Park Blast was starting Saturday morning. That being a run that has had my short-distance focus all Spring. I want to run that well and PR it, and prior to the Pig I was pretty excited about that group getting started. Until I rolled over and turned off the alarm clock on Saturday morning. My running shoes gasped in horror. My friend, my friend – you can not PR a run that you will not get out of bed for. And sadly, the first run is the easiest. The Blast is a 4-mile race (moderately challenging route). 4 miles. Four. FOOOOO-UR. So our assignment for the first run was only 2 miles. Easy-peasy.

Or it would have been easy-peasy had I not opted to sleep through it.

ZERO interest. Zip. Zilch. Nada.