Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cross-Country Detour

I always use metaphors (cliches?) comparing my boxing success to an obstacle-filled road - usually along the lines of "hitting the comeback trail," "the rise to the top," and "climbing the plateau to reach the peak." Well, last week the comparisons materialized, as I traveled to NYC to help my brother load a 14-foot U-Haul with all his belongings and drive across the country to move into his new apartment in Seattle.

While this cross-continent move was an absolutely awesome experience, it didn't bode well for my training. Sure, cross-training was squeezed into the week; I banged out sit-ups and push-ups at every pit stop (yes, seriously), ran on some scenic Washington trails and lifted at my brother's gym. I even got in two Juan Manuel Marquez-esque workouts loading and unloading the truck. (Remember him throwing rocks up and down the mountain before fighting Mayweather? Yeah, it was like that, just with furniture and boxes instead....and minus the whole pee drinking thing.)

But improvisation's not the name of this game. I don't need to move up a weight class or plateau or taper to stay fresh before a bout. I need to get my weight down, work in rounds upon rounds of sparring, and maintain an "aggressive consistency" to adequately prepare for a few high-profile sanctioned bouts next month that will kick off the "busy season."

Now this pace and progress had been happening. And while some may scoff and say missing 7 days of boxing is neglible, well, all I can say is that it's a lifetime for me given the stage I'm at...especially considering that the detour happened in the midst of some fairly substantial happenings, including:
  • Quality sparring, including multiple sessions with a former 112 lb. Puerto Rican national champ, as well as a perennial top-5 U.S. 140 lber
  • Extremely positive feedback from said sparring, ranging from my trainer nudging me that "you look great, you just need to tighten and sharpen that final bit over time," to overmatched gymmates weezing "you don't seem out of all" and "you throw more punches than anyone I've ever moved around with. Ever."
  • Legitimately feeling quicker, stronger and just better with every workout
Something had clicked while I was out this winter and into the first few months of training. Whether a mental block was cleared, or I finally was given the needed time and breath to better digest my in-ring knowledge, or it was nothing other than divine intervention from the Church of Marvelous Marvin Hagler, something just "clicked" and I'm a smoother, smarter, natural boxer. My guard's tighter, my base is lower, I kick my rights out sharper when I return my hand to my chin, I stay in the slot better without falling forward - I just have a new, long list of tangible proof and applications of my years and years of boxing experience.

While this newfound mojo has been making my transition back easier, it's also made it all the more heartbreaking that I still am struggling to balance and manage all of my outside-the-ring obligations.

In the end though, these are just challenges that - like all the others - shall pass and be overcome. I'm hungry, feel good and have far more aspects of my game hitting on all cylinders than I do items on my "to-do" list...which is primarily just my weight. (But seriously. I can't - for the life of me - get back to my fighting weight right now. Is it like a watched pot of boiling water?)

From one road to another, I'm on my way. The path might continue to have twists and turns and be bumpy along the way, but so long as I keep on keepin' on, I know there are big things ahead again.