Fighting For Ellie: getting back on track

As I was driving over to Bothal Bank at 8am today in the kind of cold that’s reserved only for those clear, bright mornings that lure you into the false sense that it’s in fact summery-warm outside; only to quickly and violently remind your face and any other daringly-exposed patches of skin that you do indeed live in England and it is indeed still only March – I was looking forward to hill sprints just enough to make me think I might just have lost my mind.

Either that or I hadn’t actually gotten out of bed and was in the middle of a dream where I was embodying a way less lazy and more athletic version of myself.

With the Punch-Drunk run taking up my evenings last week, followed by a bank holiday that involved the gym being closed for Monday’s usual Fighting Fit and Pad-Smash sessions, I’ve been feeling the mounting pressure to get my head back down and get prepared for the fight that is now only 23 days away! I mean, I’m sure you’re thinking that I could have fit in workouts in the mornings during the Punch-Drunk run and done work outside of the gym over the bank holiday weekend. And you’d be right. And I did to an extent. There were some particularly gruelling hill sprints with Team Johbraker* on Sunday morning that I wont be forgetting in a hurry! (followed by a way more awesome 15 mile walk in the woods that you can see my snaps of HERE).

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There are worse things to be distracted from the gym by, but still…

Regardless though, I definitely feel like I let things slip last week and into the beginning of this one – not an acceptable state of affairs considering the ever-shortening window before it all goes down and the fact that I’ve officially been matched-up with my good friend Joeanne Collis; who I don’t mind admitting I’m a teeny-tiny bit scared of!

FFE Go Fund Me Cover - no sponsor me
Face-off!

 

Joeanne gumshield
All smiles before I proper knack her 😛

I was back on it as of last night though, with Fighting Fit circuits ending on team hill-sprints at the harbour, around the corner from the gym. Those are the easiest of the 3 locations that I’ve done hill-sprints so far, it’s just a little hill and not too steep – but are still enough to require some substantial recovering from.

So, rather counter-intuitively (as is every element of this journey towards stepping into the ring for a fight despite absolutely not being what anyone would describe as ‘a fighter’) hill-sprints are to be the first thing that I do every day from now until 23rd April. And I’m actually looking forward to making a habit of smashing them before breakfast!

In other news, updating on the promise last week to go to this week’s Wednesday sparring class. Well. I didn’t. But I have enlisted my boxing enthusiast flatmate for daily lessons, ahead of throwing myself into the shark-tank next  week for absolutely definite! I’ll have photographic evidence and everything, promise!

One more thing! We’re all collecting sponsorship for our fights as an extra boost to the money raised by the event. If you can spare a pound or two to help spur me on in potentially one of the stupidest things I’ve done in a lifelong string of pretty damn stupid things, I will be forever grateful (link below).

Sponsor me here —> https://www.gofundme.com/ffelaurendoug

Love yas!
L xx

*Team Johbraker is the name of our fight-team and I haven’t stopped laughing at it since it was announced a week ago. When we got our match-ups we were split into 2 opposing fight-teams and won’t train alongside our opponents now until the other side of the fights. Our team is coached by John Cairns & Liam Bowmaker and has been beautifully christened by them as ‘Team Johbraker.’ Nicely done, lads!

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Fighting For Ellie: It’s On!

Today’s a bit of a big day in the whole Fighting For Ellie process, with weigh-ins and the submission of match-up choices at the gym tonight as well as tickets going on sale!

The last Fighting For Ellie event – the 3rd of its’ kind overall and the first outing of the partnership between Princess Ellie’s Trust and Millennium Martial Arts (hence it being christened ‘Season 1’ – was at Newsham Side Club, which is the 350-capacity home to the Punch-Drunk Blyth events. Tickets were to go on sale at Millennium at 5:00pm on a Friday evening and by 4:50pm the queue was so long – and it being September, everyone was waiting in the cold – that they started selling early and were sold out by 4:55!

This time around for Season 2, FFE is moving to Blyth Sports Centre which recently played host to the spectacular UK Comics Boxing: Fight For Kian and which can host a colossal 800 people. So this time the tickets might last half an hour or so!

Seriously though, I’ll be at the gym and can’t wait to see how fast 800 of these things go!

The Sports Centre venue is amazing if ever-so-slightly daunting! Fancy having your first ever fight in the middle of this set-up…

FFK set-up panoramic

So it’s a very exciting day in the FFE: Season 2 build-up calendar – but I do wish it wasn’t coming at the end of a week in said calendar that’s looking decidedly blank…

Training Diary for WordPress NEW

The forever-good-intentions of getting into the gym during the Punch-Drunk run faded, as usual, into nothingness and coupling that with less than desirable eating habits over the last week and I’m hoping I’m not going to be weighing substantially heavier than I will be in 4 weeks’ time after engaging full beast-mode tonight.

I promise that the next time you see that calendar, there will be a lot more colour happening because not only am I getting steadily more terrified as the hours go by – but comparing how I feel today to how I felt last Friday is easily motivation enough to get right back into it.

So I’m off to make some eggs and try to resist sticking bacon on too, I’ll check back in on how tonight went down, or might see you down there!

I’ll warn you now, this will be the first of many, many of these… Eeeeeeeeek!

L xx

Tickets for Fighting For Ellie go on sale TONIGHT!
(25th March)
5.30pm
Millennium Martial Arts

Standard tickets are £25 each.

Ring side at table with waitress are £35 each or £400 for a table of 12.

UNFORTUNATELY TICKETS CAN NOT BE RESERVED

Fighting For Ellie takes place on 23rd April @Blyth Sports Centre – check the event page here for further details

 

 

Fighting For Ellie: holding pads and hill sprints

So my first training update – as many of them are likely to be – is all about first time experiences.

This week so far I’ve done my first Pad-Smash session at Millennium (Monday night) and my first Hill Sprints up the very beautiful but utterly sadistic Bothal Bank (Tuesday morning).

Like seriously, my little Phoebe Fiat 500 doesn’t like dragging her arse up that thing and my little legs have substantially less horsepower than she does!

It was also very nearly my first instance of throwing up as a result of working out – something that it would appear is some sort of uber-grim rite of passage for any serious boxing trainee. So I’ll keep you posted on if and when I achieve that accolade. I might even take a picture for ya 😉

As it happened today I narrowly avoided a spewing incident – but it was a close run thing.

The thing about Hill Sprints (Yes I’m giving ‘Hill Sprints’ capital letters. You would too. If you don’t respect them, they’ll kill you) is that your head will keep telling you that you don’t need to stop long after your body has quietly come to the opposite conclusion. This is because just as the uphill sprint gets too much and everything’s screaming at you to stop, you do, returning to the bottom of the hill in what in comparison to the uphill part feels like (undoubtedly doesn’t look like but definitely feels like) a proverbial jog in the park.

So guess what. By the time the short window of time has passed that gets you back to the bottom, the uphill bit now somehow seems like a good idea again. Well not exactly a good one but certainly a not-terrible one. Do 7 of these though and if you’re anything like me your body will eventually ‘put it’s foot down’ and use the threat of impending vomiting to convince you that the uphill bit is very much not a good idea any more. Yes only 7. But we’re talking firsts, here!

On the plus side, the photo below shows Bothal, of Bothal Bank fame. So it’s not the worst of places to visit first thing in the morning, even if it is a bit rainy…

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BOTHAL CASTLE, AT THE BOTTOM OF BOTHAL BANK

Yep, Northumberland’s quite nice.

Going back to the other first of the week – Pad-Smash at Millennium on Monday night came directly after I had (if I do say so myself) kicked a Fighting Fit circuit class in the dick. It was super-encouraging to go in there and kick its arse because the last twice that I’d been in, Fighting Fit (a high-intensity circuit class) had unquestionably kicked my arse. The only difference really being that this time I was very aware that I had only 6 weeks until Fighting For Ellie and needed to start training in earnest. So I decided I was going to smash Fighting Fit – and I did.

Now the significance of this lies in the fact that I’m relying very much for the success of this whole process on the belief that by the very virtue of deciding that I’m going to achieve something, I can achieve it. So naturally this small confirmation of the fact that deciding I’m going to do something is the key to accomplishing it, was very welcome indeed.

Directly following the 45-minute circuit class and with my “let’s do this” head firmly on, after a brief water-break as the class members changed over, we started to warm up for an hour’s class on pad-work. as I warmed up I thanked the sadistic workout Gods that it was ‘just’ pad-work and not sparring, because I was sodding knackered already.

Now you’ll notice that I put the “just” in inverted commas. This is because since having that thought on Monday night I’ve realised the error of my ways and won’t refer to the pad-work session as ‘just’ anything, ever again.

Now there are pros and cons to doing pad-work with Gav Humphries as your partner. The pros include that he’s bloody good at holding pads (which it turns out is actually harder than throwing good punches, or at least more confusing) and a good pad-holder makes for a good training session.

The cons are simple – when Gav repeatedly punches pads that you’re holding  with the tiny hands on the end of your chicken-wrists for half of an hour-long session. It eventually gets to fucking hurt.

About 50 minutes in (so 95 minutes into my gym session all together) I asked Gav if we ever got to leave the gym again or if this was it. I mean I knew there was a second wind in there somewhere and that I’d finish the class but we did get to leave at some point, right? I needed to know there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thankfully it turned out we were allowed to leave. After a “burnout.” This turned out to consist of what felt like endless consecutive sets of straight punches, right & left hooks and upper cuts followed by burpees and press-ups. My self-consciousness about making a racket whilst throwing everything into a punch was very quickly wiped out. There was no way in hell I was finishing that without a peep! I managed it though and even managed to keep my face almost grimace-free while Gav took his turn at what felt like 7,000,000 punches. Then did star-jumps until everyone finished their own burnouts.

Let’s just say I left more than a little bit exhausted and after talking to a friend in the carpark for 20 minutes – very cold – as the once-warm sweat went cold on the back of my t-shirt.

I have to admit that I decided against a third first tonight by dipping out of the sparring class that I’d been considering. I’ve heard the sparring class at Millennium (where you make your way around the class practising sparring with as many different partners as possible) described as a shark-tank. And after watching one or two of them I can confirm that description to be terrifyingly accurate. But I’ve got to fight – that kind of being the point of this whole thing – so after a few more pad-work sessions and some practice at home over the next couple of weeks, I’ll have an undoubtedly hilarious account of my first sparring session for you.

This feels like leaving it a little bit late to get into those classes to be honest but with the Punch-Drunk gigs running Monday-Wednesday next week, Monday and Wednesday’s classes will be a no-go 😦

Guess I’ll just have to make up for lost time!

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BEAST-MODE: ENGAGED

 

Thanks for reading!
L xx

Fighting For Ellie: f**k the comfort zone

Nobody who spends any marginally significant portion of their time on social media will have recently gone a day escaping the steady stream of inspirational memes peppering their various newsfeeds. And there’s one particular subject that’s no stranger to an inspirational meme or two that can be well summarised with a pretty handy umbrella-phrase. A phrase that I like so much it’s written on my fridge in industrial-strength sharpie.

Fuck The Comfort Zone

This sentiment takes many forms. So many that you probably come across it most days in one configurement or another:

“Do one thing every day that scares you”
“In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take”
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done”
“If it does not challenge you, then it does not change you”
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing”
“He who dares, wins”
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
“Your largest fear carries your greatest growth”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”

It’s struck me more than a few times that we all use these sayings on a regular basis but few of us really employ them. In fact it seems like it’s the norm not to employ them – at least not on a tangible, practical, consistent basis. As a way of life.

Instead some of us post them regularly on social media and some of us scoff at others for regularly posting them on social media.

But they’re persistent, aren’t they? The words take different forms but the idea never gets old.

I could go all the way down the ‘conspiracy’ route (what I think of the connotations placed upon that word over the centuries will probably have to spill into another post) and suggest that someone, somewhere (in a broad sense of course, I’m not referring to one guy sat on his couch) maybe doesn’t want us to look all the way down the line on these ‘inspirational’ sayings and really understand and employ the meaning behind them. After all, we’d sure as hell be harder to cram into manageable categories like those based on our political persuasions, social classes or career choices, if we en-masse were living by those sentiments.

Of course I’m not saying that I’ve cracked the code for fully downloading the ‘fuck the comfort zone’ mentality and living life on the edge with a complete conviction that I’m capable of anything.

I’m not trying to pretend that I’m way cooler than I am.

But I do make sure to factor the knowledge that the comfort zone is nothing but a self-prohibiting illusion, into every major decision that I make.

I refer to it as an illusion because I don’t think people are too often happy when they confine themselves to what they think of as their ‘comfort zone’ and I’m not sure how a person can be comfortable in a place that they’re not happy. Put simply, I don’t buy that the ‘comfort zone’ is a comfortable place to be.

Anyway! What got me onto all of this is the latest major decision that I’ve made – which was to take my less-than-warrior-like body and complete lack of natural fighting prowess through some intensive training and into a ring in front of 800 people to fight on Fighting For Ellie: Season 2.

Fighting For Ellie is a renowned charity event in the one and only Blyth, Northumberland which has through it’s first 3 outings, played a huge part in Princess Ellie’s Trust’s incredible achievement of raising a phenomenal £100,000 for The Meningitis Research Foundation and the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, over a period of just 5 years.

This fourth event – the second edition to be produced in partnership with Blyth’s Millennium Martial Arts who have recently become an official partner of major martial arts equipment brand Sandee Thailand – is taking things up a notch or 3. This time the previously 350-capacity event will seat around 800 people in it’s new home at the town’s Sports Centre. Meaning that it’s set to comprehensively obliterate the already incredible £13,565.28 raised by the last event in 2015.

I’m all over it this time around for a few reasons:

Firstly and probably most importantly it’s an incredible cause that radiates positivity and pro-action in the face of disaster. Rachel and Dan Long lost their 2-year old daughter Ellie to septicaemia caused by Meningitis in 2010 and they have reacted to this tragedy by creating a legacy for their Princess that has inspired more good in and around their hometown of Blyth, than any other single organisation. Through their carrying of the bright torch that is Ellie’s sparkling personality, they’ve lit an enduring fire under our struggling community – and the sense that they’ve only just gotten started is definite. I’ll be collecting sponsorship for my fight from my community and hope to make a significant contribution to the fundraising achieved through this event.

Secondly – as Punch-Drunk has seen me start spending a lot of time at Millennium Martial Arts, helping out on their Home Show as well as Fighting For Ellie and producing our own fight-event in the shape of the UK Comics Boxing: Fight For Kian, which I’ll be talking a lot more about on this blog over the next few weeks – I’ve been hearing A LOT about the transcendent experience of getting into the ring, what there is to be learned from it and how much fun it can be. Not least of all from the rest of Team Punch-Drunk and particularly Gav Humphries. So I can’t let another opportunity to have a go, pass me by!

And thirdly – my belief in the importance of fucking off the comfort zone as regularly as possible. Not just refusing to let it’s pull affect your decisions but actively letting opportunities to remove yourself from it, decide your actions. I’ll be posting updates about everything that I inevitably learn from the process right here, if you’re interested at all 😉

Thanks for reading!
L xx