Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hello Again.

So, I took some time off of the blog and from kickboxing for a variety of reasons. I went back last night, and let's just say they really stepped it up a notch in there!  After the stairs (some things don't change), John made us do this impossible yoga for 15 minutes. Our "rest" position was downward facing dog, meaning, we had no rest for 15 minutes. Maybe that's supposed to be a comfortable position, but as far as I'm concerned, downward dog can suck it. By the end my shoulders killed, and my hands kept slipping away from me on the mat. "Guys," John said, ever disappointed with his motley crew. "This is like the easiest class EVER."

Then we got partnered up. There's a lot more guys in the class now, and I got partnered with this Taekwondo god who kept kicking the focus mitts out of my hand no matter how hard I held onto them. I didn't think I was sore this morning, but apparently my left hand is still shaking. I realized this the hard way. As I went to sip my morning coffee, I couldn't grip the cup, and it slipped from my hands. Now I have coffee all over me.

But you know what? It's good to be back.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2/16/12: Uncle!

I'm not even a week into my new routine and I'm so close to crying "Uncle." Well, not really, I'm totally seeing this through, I just had no idea how tired I'd be. My body is still in shock after having done nothing for two weeks, and with all the stress, lack of sleep, and getting over my cold and bug, I'm shot.

Luckily, my body remembers how to run! Monday, I had one of my best runs in a while: the easiest 4.5 mile run I've done in my life, followed by some core exercises for a half-hour. The core workout was so intense, I couldn't laugh, sneeze, or really do anything Tuesday or yesterday other than lots and lots of running (the tough mudder isn't going to run itself, though, so it's a good deal). Tonight, another hour of running with some sprinting built in, and then if Jeff's game, another hour of full body resistance work.

It's going to be a long month.

Monday, February 13, 2012

2/13/12: Tough Mudder Training Has Begun

Due to a tragedy experienced by my nearest and dearest friend, I found myself back in Ireland at the end of January. The stress leading up to the trip, coupled with the flight back, added with the work waiting for me when I got back, caused a cold, followed right up with a stomach bug. Because of this, we pushed Jeff’s month of personal training back, and the long, hard road to Tough Mudder didn’t officially start until last Friday.

What a rude awakening for my poor pot belly. Fifteen minutes into our first workout at New York Sports Club, my stomach began rumbling violently as if to say, “You want me to do what?!?”

Oh, but it’s on. We’re doing two to three-hour workouts six days a week. Lots of cardio, coupled with strength training using our own body weight. Every muscle is sore. I feel awesome but awful simultaneously.

I haven’t been to kickboxing since before I left for Ireland. I miss it terribly and let John know not to expect me regularly this next month. I hope to catch a class or two, but have scaled back my expectations. I may hit the running hard every day instead, and follow Jeff’s program.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1/10/12: Meet Jeff!

As I alluded to in the end of my last post, February is the beginning of an all-new stage in my fitness evolution. My buddy Jeff, a die-hard fitness buff, has agreed to postpone his gym membership for one month in order to train me at our corporate gym EVERY DAY after work for two hours.

Will I be giving up kickboxing? Nope, that is not the plan. Which means that on some days, I will be working out for almost four consecutive hours. But it's what needs to be done. One, I'm loyal to John and learning MMA - that's not going to change and it's non-negotiable. However, Jeff is one bad mofo. I'd be a fool to pass on this type of one-on-one. He trains hard because he enjoys it. A runner of countless marathons and a few ultra-marathons, Jeff knows how to get the job done. Almost one full year ago, he was diagnosed with serious health issues that required immediate surgery and what should have been a long recovery stint in the hospital. The docs sent him home in record time however, after watching him slowly but determinedly make his way up and down the hospital hallways to regain his strength. Less than a month after being discharged, Jeff ran a half marathon. Later that same day? He joined our team at Grand Central Station to run a 24-hour treadmill race. Now? He's training to become an Iron Man.

Jeff is also one of my teammates for the upcoming Tough Mudder in May. He reminds me of this almost daily, making comments such as "I'm not carrying you the whole way, Kennedy," or "This is going to be the funniest day of my life," or simply, "This race is not for you." Part of his motivation for getting me ready I suspect is not wanting to clock in at over six hours in the Poconos. But it's no matter. I'm excited to move to this next step: I'm ready to learn, I'm ready to bring it, I'm ready to do whatever he says I need to do to get this job done.

Stay tuned! February is going to be a crazy month!

Monday, January 9, 2012

1/9/12: "Pretend Like You Don't See Me..."

Today, I came real close to not going to class. I'm still a little under the weather from my throat/ear thing, but I sucked it up and went.

Stairs went by fast enough, and then the run/sprint/push the freeweight bag, etc., etc. circuit.

During my 20 situps, 20 pushups, 20 burpees, John came over to say his version of a hello.

"What kind of burpee is that, Kennedy?" he asked.

"Oh..." I said nonchalantly, waiving my hand as if to dismiss him. "Just pretend like I'm not here today. I'm still a little sick." (My burpees aren't improving but my backtalk certainly is.)

He nodded in acceptance. And then smiled!

The rest of the circuit flew by. The burpees are always the hardest part. After the pushups, my arms are just spent--John's version of a burpee is to go all the way down to the floor before exploding back up again. That's a lot of energy, coupled with a lot of strength. If we're being honest, sometimes I cheat and only do 10 if he's not watching. Yep, you heard that right. I cheat. And yes, I know: I'm only cheating myself. Blah, blah, blah. You try to get through this class without throwing up.

Rest of the class was great. We put on our gloves and did combos on the heavy bag which just felt... therapeutic; then I partnered with my favorite gal Tia for some drills. We took turns doing 1, 2's (1: Jab, Tia answers with her own jab while I move right, and then I cross over with my right; 2: Power, Tia answers with her right while I move left, and then I cross over with my left). Not the hardest combo in the world, but I had been having trouble with it a few classes ago. I was tickled pink when I realized I was breaking the combo down to Tia. John came over to observe. He replaced Tia.

"1," he said.

I quickly gave him my jab, stepped in right, and as I was crossing over with my right, thinking to myself "my form is on tonight" I felt his glove lightly touching my left cheek.

"Hands up, always keep those hands up," he said.


Power punch. John pointed to my feet.

"Really pivot. I want more power in that punch," he said. I punched as hard as I could, and stepped left. As I was getting ready to cross right, I realized his glove wasn't there. I stopped.

"What?" I asked.

"Get up on your toes more; you've got the movement now, get on the balls of your feet so you can move quicker!"

These pointers made me happy. For once, it wasn't breaking down the step, it was working on my form and perfecting the move.

Tia and I embraced at the end of class (she's been under the weather, too). "We did it!" she said.

It's on. Gotta get crackin. February is going to be a whole new level of working out. Will address what's in store for me in February tomorrow: looks like I'm going to have a personal trainer five days a week in addition to kickboxing classes. From a soon-to-be IRON MAN.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

1/4/12: Exhausted

Work kicked my ass today. Class kicked my ass today.

I think New Year's kicked my ass. I woke up New Year's Day with a sore throat and a mild ear infection. Have been phoning it in since.

Despite a general feeling of un-well-being, I decided to suck it up and head to the mats this evening after hearing a quote my friend Jeff told me: "Cry on the mats; laugh on the battlefield!" I really liked the sound of it at the time.

On the bright side, I almost have the first part of his quote down after this evening. There were almost tears. Or puke. Or puke and tears. I was too delirious to know what I was doing.

At the end of class, Tia put her head between her legs. I didn't see her face again for quite some time. I sat next to her. I realized I was too exhausted to flirt with John. Some guy next to us just picked up his stuff and booked as soon John bowed at us. Even Star Pupil needed a breather.

It's 2012. Time to step our game up!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

12/31/11: Happy New Year's Eve!

The BFF and I are heading into Manhattan later tonight to take in Alvin Ailey. We caught their performance last New Year's Eve, and the show totally knocked me on my ass [Cool, considering I had a paid-for seat].

Here's one of my favorite pieces from last year, called The Hunt:

I don't know if I've ever seen a company of dancers who were so athletic, flexible, graceful, and passionate doing physically impossible things while simultaneously putting on such entertaining productions.

1/3/12 Update: If possible, the 2012 show may have trumped 2011's. And I am in love: