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The “Screw It” Moment of Training for a Fight

I quit boxing

If you had asked me last Friday “How’s training for your fight going? How are you feeling?”Β you might have heard me growl and scowl and say I didn’t give a damn anymore. I was wholly, mortally sick. Of. It.

Done. Screw it, I’m outta here.

So I made the reasonable choice and did a flaming, flying swan dive down into the dark, seedy mental nightclubs where I proceeded to party down while throwing the finger to everything boxing related. To mark the special moment, I stopped into Bojangles and devoured a 2-piece fat-enhanced meal with a side of dirty (that was especially satisfying) fries AND a motherfucking biscuit. With butter.

I thought about driving up to the Krispy Kreme, but I was feeling so warm and sated after the Bo-party all I wanted to do was head home and sleep it off. I decided I could finish out with a hefty double shot of 12 year old Macallan’s Highland single malt scotch, but by the time I got home I was too wasted on fried chicken and biscuits to find the liquor cabinet.

I slept like a sabertooth tiger with a belly full of giant sloth.

And I proceeded to very studiously NOT TRAIN for the next three days.

Which would have been especially sparkling and glittery, except that prior to the flaming flying swan dive, I had trained at my cheapie $10-a-month gym with a guy who put me through an hour-long upper and lower body workout that (I found out later) just happened to hammer the holy living Elvis out of my calves and triceps.

On Saturday I was surprised at the level of pain and misery cramping up my legs and arms, and I knew I was in for a rough Sunday, because I get hit hardest by 2nd day muscle soreness when I screw up like this. And sure enough, rolling out of bed and putting my feet on the floor Sunday morning was the sheerest kind of torture. It took me hours of patient work to get everything stretched out and functional, and Monday was only marginally better.

not a single fuck was givenStill, I was off the training wagon and didn’t care — upcoming fight be damned. If I could have summoned the cosmic unicorn wish fairy and been able to get in the ring and have my match Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday night I would have done it in a skinny minute just to get it off the event horizon of the sucking black hole that was my mental attitude.

I started to repent on Tuesday morning. Which was reasonably smart, considering that the church of boxing was scheduled to hold high holy services just 9 days hence.

I put on my sackcloth and ashes and headed to Second Round for my punishment. As you might guess, I wasn’t all smiles. I pretended I’d never even thought of, never even considered the ring name “Relentless.”

I got in without too many people noticing, and quietly set up the ring with a double slip line. My calves wept silently. I ignored them and thought about fried chicken instead.

And Cinnabon. I thought about Cinnabon a lot.

But not my fight. I resolutely didn’t think about my fight. And I noticed something interesting.

My quads were fairly happily taking me smoothly and easily under that slip rope, back and forth like a well-oiled machine. My heart rate stayed steady and my jabs weren’t catching on the line. Everything was working. For the first three rounds, and the next three, and the next three. By round 10 I was feeling normal again. Boom. I wanted to say, Hey all you doctors out there, quit prescribing Wellbutrin and Elavil and Zoloft! Tell your patients to shadowbox 10 rounds with a slip line! After eating dirty fries and biscuits!

My coach ambled up and I confessed (some of) my sins. He was nonchalant. Rest is good, he said.Β You got this.Β Then put me through a solid pad workout for another 6 rounds. I love my coach.

Powah was mine, badasses. I did a few victory dances around the ring while he pretended not to see. He probably didn’t roll his eyes.

So I finished out with speed bag and jump rope rounds, after which I strolled home like a convict whose prison sentence has been unexpectedly commuted. And here I had thought I had flushed all my training down the toilet. I have much to learn, clearly.

Did I mention the fact that I went to the bookstore on Saturday and read the first 5 chapters of Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body? I have some modifications I’m making to my training, more on that later. (My husband is all like, You’re such a control freak.)

Meanwhile, my lessons learned:

  1. Ten to twelve weeks is waaaaay too long for a training camp for attention-deficient me.Β Why did I start that early? Excited, I guess. Seven weeks is probably optimal for most people, assuming one is in reasonably decent shape. Five weeks would be tight but do-able.
  2. Factor in “screw it” days or weeks, especially if you’re doing a longer training camp.

Sometimes good enough is, amazingly, good enough. All is well in Whoville. “Relentless” rides again. After the fight, meet me at the Cinnabon.
Relentless Rides Again

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22 Responses to The “Screw It” Moment of Training for a Fight

  1. Catherine January 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    I am so freaking proud of you. Dirty fries may just be the perfect recipe for bad-ass-ness. You can do it, and of course you know that, but I hope you remember, through all the turmoil and self-flagellation, that you have a posse that BELIEVES in you – no pansy-ass folks here. Just folks who KNOW you can win, no matter how much fried chicken it takes.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 17, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      I’m pretty sure (belatedly) that dirty fries and buttermilk biscuits with butter are an essential component of badassery. It’s possible an update to the Badass Manifesto is in order, hmm? πŸ™‚

      Thanks so much for the long-distance love, Catherine. I really appreciate all your encouragement and support. Miss ya, chica.

  2. Emily January 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Loved this! I think what you write can be true for anything that you’re pushing hard for, whether it be studying for a test or training for a fight…if you are going crazy from pushing yourself, sometimes all you need is to give yourself a break and you’ll come back even stronger and more mentally ready to approach whatever it is.

    I’m the one who wrote you a while ago about jumproping…I love it! The only thing is that a tendon in my right ankle has been sore, but I’ve been told that’s just my body getting used to 20-30 mins of straight jumproping. And like I said, I’ve discovered that so many people at my gym are into jumproping! Maybe it’s the new cross-fit craze…I’m not sure. Anyway, great to read your stuff again! Your emails always crack me up and make me happy. πŸ™‚

    Best, Emily

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

      Hi, Emily! Good to hear from you again.

      I think you’re right; as it is in boxing, so it is in life. That’s been one of the biggest lessons I’ve ever had in the ring. A good one, too, that I keep on learning from.

      Re: the tendonitis — several things come to mind.

      1. Make sure you jump rope on a soft surface (rubber mat, boxing ring canvas, carpeted floor, anything with give).
      2. Wear cushy shoes, not flat-footed boxing boots.
      3. Ice that sucker down, and take ibuprofen when you need it. And finally…
      4. Give it a break when it gets particularly bad.

      Yeah, you’re probably adapting to the exercise, but you might also overdo it once in a while. Four rounds of jump rope is a really good length of time (that’s about 15 minutes); add it to the end of your workout when you can.

      I’m particularly aware of this right now, since I’m getting some tendonitis in my knee from all the bicycle intervals I’ve been doing…

      Meanwhile, WAY TO ROCK THE ROPE! And thanks for the bloggy sugar smacks! πŸ™‚

      • Emily January 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

        Thanks so much for the advice! I really appreciate it. πŸ™‚

  3. Girlboxing January 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    GREAT AS ALWAYS LISA!!! Am posting to GB’s Facebook page!

  4. Igor V. January 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Hey Lisa, don’t sweat the small stuff. There’s nothing more baddass than saying ‘fuck you’ sometimes. It also takes a double pair to say ‘fuck you’ to your own discipline, and return ONLY when YOU say so, ‘fuck everyone, thanks’.
    I usually shake the ceiling tube lights, finish my lonely spartan psycho training, and tell the other guys at the gym, ‘hey guys, bye, I’m having a nice 4 cheese pizza and a cold beer, good night’ and laugh as hell.
    I support you, and every now and then, say it.
    Now go back there and punch the living hell out of it! πŸ™‚

  5. Cyndi January 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

    Dude, you got this! Good work on quitting, restarting, and general BAMF-ery.

  6. Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

    @ Igor — “my lonely spartan psycho training” — Dude, I can’t tell you how much I love this image. Also you saying “berserk mode” on Facebook recently. Fires me the fuck up.

    @ Cyndi — “BAMF-ery” gave me a much-needed belly laugh. I freakin owe you a Cinnabon.

    What IS it with you people? You’re awesome at this. Whiskey and Cinnabon and fried chicken PARRRR-TAY! All of you. My house. Mwah!

    • Igor V. January 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Hell yeah, bounces there and comes back here! πŸ˜€
      By the way, I saw one of your fights… Long arms, tall, baddass, quite a challenge… You sure give people a hard time evading those long range punches! If you use your hips to the full extent, you’ll turn your arms into battering rams! πŸ™‚

      • Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

        I’m guessing you saw my second fight (ACFN2):

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQsCiXIQJog

        Yep, I think I’m not bragging to say I’ve definitely improved. I don’t gas out in the third, I’ve worked on those ugly hooks, slip in addition to fade, etc.

        Probably the single biggest improvement in my boxing since that time has been my legs and feet. I stay on my toes, move, and get low and under shots. (Thank you, slip line.) That also means I’m no longer primarily an outside fighter, which is nice.

        Putting my hip and bodyweight behind shots has improved, but I know it still needs work, because my coach is always telling me that!

  7. Nat January 18, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    Such a good lesson to remember that there’s always tomorrow or the next day or the next day… I often catastrophize and imagine the demise of all things training and fitness in my life only to find that the next day I’m kicking the intervals’ or the bag’s ass and not the other way around. Priceless!!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 18, 2013 at 8:33 am #

      “I often catastrophize…”

      Aughhh! Nat, I do this. OMPonies, am I a drama queen? Dammit, I hate being a drama queen. Except I’m like, a SECRET drama queen — I’ve kept all that shit inside all these years so that most people never knew. And now, of course, I spew it on the internet, which feels incredibly cathartic but I’m also a bit wretched and embarrassed, like I’ve been seen barfing in public. Ick.

      And I KNOW there has to be a point where these kinds of… interludes… DO have an impact on training. I just don’t really know where the line is. Do you?

  8. Charlie Seelig January 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    Like the idea of fried chicken and biscuits as a “bender”. I’d probably go with donuts, but they would have to be very good, non-chain donuts.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 21, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      I’d be happy to go with non-chain donuts, but I don’t know of any around here. Of course, that could be a great reason for a local fast-carb scavenger hunt.

      However, I know exactly where to find a fat, hot, dripping-with-icing cinnamon roll, and I’m headed for it post-fight. If you were here I would not share, but you could get your own and that we could both be intensely happy! And we could specifically not work out after!

      Cinnabon Yummy

      And I’m curious, Charlie — what’s your favorite non-chain donut?

  9. Bonnie January 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I’ve had those moments, for sure, and it’s like you said, it usually comes from over-training. I usually have a few fights in the coarse of a month or two, so I stay pretty strict in the training leading up to the fight and the next 6-8 weeks while I fight, it’s tough. It usually leads me to, not just a “screw-it” moment, but a whole period of time (the last one was almost 4 weeks, REGRET!).

    I’m learning some balance. Keeping weight down during consecutive fights without stressing – if I want a small slice of cake or a cookie or three! on weekends, have it, enjoy it, no guilt. I just stay away from the alcohol since it stays in your system so long.

    By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, finally am commenting. I love reading about fellow female fighters and how similar their struggles are to mine!

  10. Amanda Wang January 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Lisa, I’m literally right there with you as I train for the NY Golden Gloves. Somehow being a year older has significantly slowed down my metabolism and dieting has never been more frustrating. Just last week I said the proverbial f*ck it to my training (and my scale!) and started eating peanut butter and jelly on a cinamon raisin bagel every day for a week (It is my cinabon, among other things). I even told my coach I was thinking of not competing, just because the amount of blood, sweat and tears (and lack of food) just did not seem worth it.

    Thanks to your post, as well as a good week off from overtraining and being too hard on myself, I’m slowly easing back into the idea that competing is good for my soul. There’s a reason why I fell in love with this way of life in the first place and I think I just have to rekindle that. I just hope it’s not too late to lose the weight!

    Anyway, this is my long first comment saying thanks for bringing insight into the game β€” that we’re not alone in the journey of competition, of wanting to be your best self. Wishing you luck (even though i know your hard work will pay off) today for your fight. Bring it!

  11. Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    @ Bonnie — I just clicked over to read your blog and I’m stunned: HOW do you manage to get so many fights? Is boxing organized differently in Toronto? I have a gajillion questions. And I enjoyed reading a bit about your journey, and will stay tuned for more.

    Thanks so much for being a long-time reader, and for leaving a comment and saying “howdy”! I’m so glad you’re here.

    @ Amanda — I’m intrigued by your site, and will look forward to reading more about the intersection of boxing and the lessons of recovery from mental illness.

    I looked it up and it sounds like you have just two more months before the Golden Gloves. How is training going right now? And how much weight will you have to lose?

    Btw, I read your post about losing your contact during sparring. This happens to me ALL the TIME. Annoying. Even more annoying was that it (finally — I’d been expecting this) happened during my fight last week, about 5 seconds into the first round! Aaargh.

    I’m heading into the guts to add you both to my blogroll. Fistbumps to you both, badasses.

  12. Bonnie January 28, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Lisa,

    It’s been work, I can’t lie. My coach is incredible, he gives 100%, we travel quite a bit for fights (my first fight was a dreaded 5-hour drive to north Ontario). When there is large tournaments, it tends to bring all of the fighters out of the woodwork, we note any fighters in my weight class or the one below me and organize to meet up on club shows at other dates. At this point in the game, we know of almost all the fellow female boxers around my weight in Ontario or Quebec and know if any of them fight and we contact them right away and try to set a date for a bout.

    It helps that my coach is also my live-in boyfriend. I just let him know the name and coach of the fighter, he makes the arrangements, I make the travel arrangements, we’ve got a great system. It’s a lot of effort and expense, but it’s totally worth it, we both agree. Any questions you have, I would love to answer.

    Keep your head up about the loss. I completely understand, it’s difficult when all the circumstances are against you, it makes an already-tough fight that much tougher. There’s so many little things that go into a fight, you don’t even notice them until they all go wrong. Get a good recharge, learning the tough way is part of what you love about boxing!

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe January 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Holy spreadsheets, you DO put a lot into it, Bonnie.. That’s a great tactic, too. Good for you! It makes me wish there were more big boxing events near me. Most of the larger events are in Washington DC (5 hours away) or New York City (9 hours away). Of course there’s Ringside and other tourneys like that, but again, they often require a plane ticket and several days of hotels. Still, I’m finding little ways here and there, and I keep making inroads!

      So good to be connected with you; looking forward to more of the journey.

  13. Tulisa April 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    This is the first good blog I found in regards to boxing and it has opened so many doors and given me so much information. I have just checked out Bonnie’s blog too I’m really getting into boxing now, but I am so shattered after training sometimes because I am new to it. My body aches for ages, I am 33 so that might be why it is, does it get better with time?

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe April 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

      Hi, Tulisa — Welcome aboard the crazy boxing train! Don’t forget to click through to all the boxing blogs listed in the right-hand sidebar. There are some cool women who have interesting things to say about the journey out there. Not tons of us, but there are a few.

      And yes, the soreness does get better as you get more fit. Although any time you challenge yourself with something new, you’re likely to feel the effects for a few days. Hang in there! And have fun.

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