Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Heating up

Earlier this week I went 6 great, aggressive rounds with another experienced boxer from my gym. We absolutely killed each other. It was fantastic.

The lengthy sparring session was the culmination of what has been a phenomenal couple of weeks of training for me. I've trained everyday the past 2 weeks, mixing a heavier load of weights and road work into my usual regimen. In addition to increased reps and miles, I've taken a much more aggressive approach to every workout, finishing strong and truly burning out on every final set, drill or straightaway to the finish line. It's certainly paid off - after 6 rounds I still felt strong and fast, finishing the last round with as much wind in my lungs and snap on my punches as I began it.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that I was outboxed for the first 3 rounds. My opponent moved back and angled away well, baiting me into chasing him a bit too much and picking me apart as a result. Luckily I had the brains and legs to adapt late and turn the session into the proverbial "tale of two fights" by angling better and wearing him down with combinations in close. Compliments and constructive pointers abound afterward. The only thing that made this not the "ideal" sparring session was the huge mouse that flared up above my left eye. It had a bit of blood seeping through, which makes me think it was just a jab/poke/sneeze away from blowing up and needing stitches. Whatever, war wound.

There is no bigger confidence boost than knowing that I have the physical tools and in-ring know-how to not only fight aggressively for 6+ rounds, but successfully adapt and adjust as I go. (Otherwise, this wouldn't have been a productive 6 rounds. And I'd need stitches.)

So while there's no bout on my schedule, I've achieved a victory of sorts by hitting this aggressive, productive, self-motivated stride. Now all I need to do is break a few bad habits - don't get wide with my straight right in the later rounds, be more like Clottey (or an armadillo) and less like Rocky with my guard (makes sense in my head) - and fine-tune my technique.

It's a breath of fresh air to be able to concentrate on repetitions and "nits" rather than my schedule or when the next time I'll be able to move around will be. Similarly, it's nice to have a day of rest because it's scheduled, rather than being forced by my schedule. (That would be today. And I still ran 4 interval miles this a.m. because I felt uppity.)

Is it because of the warmer weather? Naw, I get the whole seasonal blues thing, but it's still pretty grey and dank here in Boston.

Summer love? No, nobody and nothing's coming to mind.

I have no explanation for it. It's just a feeling, no, a focus, an energy that I haven't felt in the ring since college. Now if only I can get my body to keep following suit...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm Invigorated...How?

I had high expectations for my vacation and the Redneck Riviera didn't disappoint. I can't remember a week where I've laughed, drank, fished and danced as much I did in Florida. It was the most amazingly relaxed, low-key, boozy man-cation imaginable.

But the best part?

Coming back to Boston restored, renewed and ready to take on the world. Physically, mentally, in the office, in the ring - bring it.

And I couldn't be more surprised by this rejuvenation. Maybe it was just such an overdue vacation that I forgot what it was like to not work and just sit by the ocean for a week and re-charge my batteries? Maybe I had some deep-seeded psychological issues that needed...relaxed away? Or maybe I finally killed enough brain cells that I crossed the threshold and am no longer just "laid-back" but have become a completely undisturbed go-getter. Whatever the case, there's been a corresponding energy spike that everyone - friends, clients, co-worker, training partners, my alarm clock - has noticed.

The zeal, the drive - my goodness - I can't remember ever training harder and keeping my boxer's/lifter's/runner's high as the burn sets in.

And this isn't a gushy, cuddly, skip-don't-walk sort of state. This has sharpened my approach, focused my mindset and just completely supplemented every tool and ounce of determination I have to enable me to "make it happen."

I've worked out every day since I came back, twice a handful of times, and have been pushing my limits at a frenzied (but successful) rate. Sparring has been smooth and for the first time in recent memory I feel sharp, fast and strong... with a bottomless gas tank, to boot.

I'll recap my recent workouts soon - I've been tracking the new milestones I've been hitting and think they deserve their own post. For now, I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can, traveling as far as it will take me and hoping it never ends. Because based on how great training has gone the past 2 weeks, if I can maintain this pace, stay healthy and put everything together with bad intentions...look out.