The Day After

As I sit here with my ice packs AGAIN, I have some time to reflect on the last 24 hours.  First off, I won my match in a split decision.right before the fight Lindsay fought like a warrior, which came as a complete shock because 30 minutes prior to entering the ring we hugged in the hall and with tears in her eyes she asked me not to hurt her. Wow did I fall for that one!  Well played Lindsay, well played. Truth is we were both nervous so I’m sure that was a genuine request and then BAM! – literally BAM right to my ribs 10 seconds in. But before I get to that, let me give you a picture of the lead up.  This is going to be a long one so grab a coffee (or a beer).

I thankfully had a good sleep and woke up excited – bouncing off the walls, in fact.  Instead of fighting it, I cranked the tunes and did things that required a very short attention span.  I packed up my suitcase full of gear, snacks, warm-up clothes and wine (oh yes I did) and took in all the well wishes streaming in over email, facebook, twitter and good old fashion phone. It was amazing to see the love and encouragement from around the world, from people I hadn’t heard from in a while, and from my iDE ladies who were just as excited.

IMG-20131128-00041Finally around 3:15 we headed to the hotel to start the evening. There were two hotel suites booked as our locker rooms – one for Red boxers, one for Blue, each outfitted with gift bags, snacks, thank-you cards and of course, our robes.   Although the idea was to give space between opponents, in actual fact we bounced between rooms, had our hair braided, cranked up tunes (including “Eye of the Tiger”) and waited.

waitingAs Coach Patrick says, there is a lot of hurry up and wait on fight day.  We lined up to get weighed and then lined up again to get our medicals.

Finally around 6:30, the first boxers were called to warm-up. At that point things got very real.  I suited up, wrapped up, took some photos and started going through my game plan.

prepI knew with only one minute rounds that we would fight hard, no pacing really. I was planning double jab with a right as my opening, perhaps a little slide and counter next. Haha…in actual fact it just turned into a slugfest.  Sweet Lindsay came flying at me and landed that hard right hand they warned me about straight into my rib cage.  Survival instincts kicked in because I haven’t really developed boxing instincts. But again I’m ahead of myself.

ballroom

We headed to the warm-up rooms to skip and hit the pads.  It felt good to release some of the energy. I felt ready. I wasn’t nervous to be in front of the crowd although I was a bit concerned about the distractions – yelling, noise makers, big screen TV’s, equally large firemen.  It was all a bit overwhelming. I got the sweetest pep talk from Coach Mark that almost made me cry before I went out. He told me he was proud of how much I had improved. I was still under the impression he thought I was a gong show. Awesome timing on the nice guy routine Mark.

Blue Corner always heads out second so the crowd was already revved up on Lindsay’s entrance.  Then it was my turn:

Yes the entrance song is in fact “Why Can’t We Be Friends”.  Thanks to Kristina for suggesting the song, a tribute to Homer Simpson’s night in the ring. (video by Peter, announcing by the always fabulous Sheila Molloy)

I was calm and ready.  Bell goes and BAM! Lindsay was on me. Game plan totally out the window. All I could remember was to use my reach.  Too bad that message didn’t transfer to my feet because I felt firmly planted to the mat taking blows and trying to hit back to get her off of me. It never occurred to me to get out of the way.  That first hard blow freaked me out. It was the hardest I have ever been hit and I did not like it. All of the noise and the distraction fell away. Every once in a while I could hear “hands up” – mainly because Mark was always yelling that to me in practice.  Finally the bell rang. I headed back to the corner, sat down and said ‘&#% that hurt’.  To which Mark replied, stop talking and breathe.  As I sat there in shock all I absorbed was him telling me to throw multiple punches – 4, 5, 6. Back her up.  So when you watch round 2, that’s when “Mayhem” enters the ring. I knew I didn’t want her at my ribs again so I threw with everything I had.  At one point I landed a hard right to her face. I saw with perfect clarity her head go back and she looked at me in shock.   It registered that I hurt her and I knew this is when I was supposed to go in for more.  I tried. I threw a few more as she backed up and I looked into her now watering eyes (the body’s response to being hit in the nose) and said a silent apology.  You can see at the end of the round we are way apart from each other wanting nothing to do with getting hit again.  I didn’t know it then but Lindsay’s nose had started to bleed. Finally the bell rang. At that point I was very grateful we only had 1 minute rounds. I wasn’t physically tired but I was tired of being hit.

Back in the Blue corner I am now completely stunned. The first hit to the ribs was really starting to hurt and the only advice that continues to register is to throw multiple hits. Straight jabs followed by a right, repeat. I know this is it. Last round. Time to win it. Again the slugfest starts but about halfway through we were both done. I didn’t want to get close enough to hit or be hit.  And Lindsay looked like she wished she could be anywhere else but there. We were hurting. That’s one thing about us bigger girls – we have some weight behind those gloves.

So here it is, “Rockin’ the Ring” with Mayhem McRae and The Knock Out Lecker:

Video credits to Derick Young (http://aroundthistown.ca/):

The funny thing when I watch the video – I don’t remember the noise, the screens or even the firemen. I didn’t see any of that. I heard Mark (and possibly Gil who you hear on the clip) and I saw Lindsay. That was it.  It was 3 minutes of the most focussed, physically demanding sport I have ever engaged in.

People ask if I would do it again.  It is perhaps too soon to tell mainly because I can’t hiccup without wanting to pass out my ribs hurt so much.  I loved the physical challenge.  There’s a lot going on and it is hard work. I would have to get a better grip on the mental part. I have a very well developed fight/survival response (much different than a boxing response) but it is difficult to inflict pain like that. Maybe that gets better with experience. Maybe.

Our group accomplished a lot. We did what we promised to do – learned to box, raised money, showed up in the ring.  We had fantastic coaching, we made new friends and we helped raise over $100,000 for sanitation projects in Africa and SE Asia. I am grateful for the experience and glad I pushed myself to do this.

A big thanks to everyone who followed along.  Being able to share this allows me to sit back and digest the experience.  And the support kept me going to the final round. I may have one more post coming with professional pictures from the evening.

Now get out there and try something that scares you! You will be surprised what you can accomplish!  XO

winner

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