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!
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…
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…
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!
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
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…
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 😦
So I’ve recently returned from a positively lovely weekend in Hertford visiting friends from Uni.
I traveled on the overnight National Express bus on Thursday, arriving almost without a hitch in Stevenage bus station at 7am on Friday. I was met there by Tamara – one of my housemates from first and second year – who had brought me the world’s most appreciated flask of hot, milky, sugary tea, ready for our connecting train to the beautiful Hertford. If there’s one thing you learn about each other whilst living together for two years at Uni, it’s how people like their tea! You drink a lot of that shit and you can’t be seen to be dodging putting-the-kettle-on duties. That is of course unless you’re me, as my cuppas are in many ways like snowflakes, fingerprints or a tiger’s stripes, i.e. no two cups of tea that I have ever made have been the same (in taste, colour, temperature, consistency). So I was practically begged not to make them.
In fact the first (and one of the last) times I offered to make a ’round’ of teas was in my first year of Uni and it really was a sight to behold. Although most people asked for them exactly the same we were able to spend 10 minutes once they were made arranging them in order of colour, from deepest brown to murky grey.
It’s just occurring to me now actually that it’s fairly fitting that I should meet Tamara at a bus stop after not seeing her for a few months. After all I actually met her for the first time, along with the rest of my 1st year adoptive flatmates, in the same place (a bus stop I mean, not specifically a bus stop in Stevenage – the original one was in Sunderland). It was the morning after my utterly disastrous first night out in our campus bar, where I made what you wouldn’t so much call friends, as mildly uncomfortable acquaintances whom for quite a while I harboured the desire to poke enthusiastically in the eyes. The 4 girls I went out with decided at around 1am that they didn’t want to wait any longer for a 6-seater taxi and got into a regular one, leaving me stood on my own without a clue of where I was. Anyway the next day, carrying on the theme from that gloriously Inbetweeners-esque episode, I was being the way cool guy that I always have been and heading to Uni to register on my lonesome, definitely contemplating in some dark recess of my mind calling Mammy and making her come get me; when I bumped into Becca, Fee, Sophie and Tamara, at the bus stop outside my halls. After a day that consisted of us registering then wandering aimlessly around town together struggling to understand each other’s accents, followed by the succession of rather messy nights out that comprised our Fresher’s Week, I promptly more or less moved into their flat, proceeding to use the room in my flat across the car park as a glorified (and expensive) wardrobe for the next 8 months. The rest, as they say, is history.
Anyway back to my journey, I say it went almost without a hitch because there was a bit of a dodgy 30 minutes there when we were stuck in traffic outside Milton Keynes (at 5:30am, these Southerners need to learn to go to sleep) and I was perilously close to missing my second bus from Milton Keynes to Stevenage. Thankfully I didn’t and was spared the joys of waiting in a cold and not entirely safe bus station for 4 hours, for another bus!
I’m happy to report, though, that my falling-asleep-in-public skills did come in very handy on this outgoing journey and I slept for a good few hours of it.
The return journey on Monday was a lot shorter and marginally more comfortable, which was much appreciated after a weekend during which the ratio of hours spent asleep and hours spent consuming alcohol was a very enjoyable one, but not without it’s negative consequences. I got the train from Hertford-Stevenage then Stevenage-Newcastle, followed by the Metro to Four Lane Ends and a lift home from there.
The first thing I learned from the weekend’s is that I desperately need to pass my driving test and invest in a car.
The second issue that was thrown into the limelight of my irritatingly over-active consciousness during all of this time spent on public transport, was my chronic Resting Bitch Face (RBF if you will).
Now I have been aware for a long while that I possess this affliction, so it’s not like I experienced some kind of awful epiphany whilst travelling over the weekend, about the fact that at any time when I am not actively talking to someone, smiling at something, or laughing, I tend to have – to use what I think is the most accurate and simplest description – a face-like-a-smacked-arse.
I already knew this.
The clues have always been there in the frankly unnecessary amount of times I am told by friends to smile, or – slightly but not much less often – asked if I’m OK.
I don’t know what causes this phenomenon and I know I’m not by any means the only one to experience it. I guess my face just likes to screw me over.
This is a classic example from many, many moons ago and an absolute favourite snap of mine, don’t I just look thrilled to be alive…
Anyway, what I do know is that when you spend hours on end on your own on board public transport where there are strangers in the form of other passengers, this issue can be greatly highlighted.
I also have quite a tendency, owing to the aforementioned over-active brain and the amount of thinking that it insists on doing at all times, to stare off into the distance (or what I believe at the time is the distance) for often undetermined periods of time. Now the problem arises on occasions – and there have been many – when my eye line towards said distance happens to be inconveniently occupied by another human, or as in the following example, another passenger.
Basically what I’m saying is that when you’re sitting on a bus across from the same guy for 7 hours+ and you haven’t said hello or otherwise acknowledged him – because it’s an overnight bus and nobody wants to make small talk that will only serve to prevent themselves and others from being asleep – it comes as an unpleasant surprise when you find that said fellow passenger is looking at you uncomfortably out of the corner of their eye – and realise that you’ve been staring straight at them, most likely looking vaguely angry, for who knows how long.
Happily this happened not long before I was able to escape from that bus and get on a different one, so I didn’t have to feel like a big weirdo for too long.
It’s no wonder really that even though I don’t think I’m too much of a social catastrophe most of the time – although I definitely do have my spectacularly embarrassing moments, much to the enjoyment of my closest friends – I can give off a not-so-agreeable first impression.
It’s not just the once that I’ve been told by a friend that when they first met me they thought I was anti-social, or not-so-diplomatically, “a bit ignorant.”
A few years ago when I worked at McDonald’s, some of my work mates broke the news that when I first started, they couldn’t believe that I was the daughter of Aileen, one of their favourite semi-regular customers, because Aileen was really nice!
I think the problem is that I’m shy and nervy when I first meet people but I don’t think that comes across, as I’m also really quite chatty and loud, pretty much at all times. And especially when I’m nervous, call it a defence mechanism. So mix that together with an accidentally constant Resting Bitch Face and you can see why I may not always an immediate hit!
And let’s face it, the high sarcasm levels don’t always help.
Basically, if I was a friends character I’d be Chandler, every time!
So I’m living back in my family home since finishing Uni last Summer.
At 24 and a half, I’m definitely feeling the pressure – though from nobody but myself (and possibly a teeny bit from my little sister who wants my bedroom) – to progress my life in at least some fashion since achieving the ‘walked off the edge of a cliff’ experience of graduating over 6 months ago now; but for the moment I really do love living here.
Of course there are the obvious perks like once again being able to give Mam a ring on the way home from work on a cold, grey winter night and get her to stick the bath on. Not to mention the distinct and very well appreciated lack of rent payments to be made (though of course I do pay my way) and the fact that there is no utterly incompetent and/or criminally negligent landlord in the equation to get my blood boiling to unhealthy temperatures.
But the best thing about living at home is definitely that I get to see my nieces and nephews loads, and properly watch them grow up. Of course I have to admit that this is me in a good mood talking – this house is a rather chaotic, manic and at times shouty one and that’s not always fun. But it’s always been that way and for the vast majotity of the time I love it!
So today I got up – like most Saturdays – when I decided that I couldn’t roll over, sandwich my head between two pillows and ignore the racket from downstairs any longer. It sounded like my completely amazing if sometimes a tad (quite a lot) shouty Mam was having a whale of a time with the 8, 3 and 2 year olds and it was after 10am (which meant I’d had a 4-hour lie in compared to most week days) so I wasn’t too much like a bear with a sore head as I went downstairs.
The two older cherubs (little brother and his big sister) were sitting in the armchair in the corner having a rare moment of peacefully playing a game together (this is a pretty big deal) on big sister’s iPad. After a few minutes of chatting to Mam while they played and I made us both a cuppa, I was mercilessly ganged up on in what has to have been the funniest verbal attack that’s ever occurred without a quick-witted comedian and an ill-fated heckler being involved. I’m not even sure how or why it started but here in ascending order for your comedic enjoyment, are the best of the insults that were hurled at me over the 5 minutes that followed:
“Stupid face, you smell like poo” – some pretty standard 3 year old material
“Aunty Lauren you’ve got a bum-head on your face” – erm… unique
“Yeah, you’ve got a bum on your face… you’ve got cheeks…so bum cheeks” – ahh, outwitted by 8 year old logic!
“That’s cos you’re old… in fact I think you already know that…” – insightful…
“You’re so spotty… you’re like Mr Tumble’s spotty bag…” – that’s right, this one’s my personal favourite, I’m a spotty bag. Spotty. Bag.
Needless to say I would have been left reeling from this creative tyrade – if I wasn’t completely used to it. And if it wasn’t so hilarious. And if it wasnt followed very closely by this from 3 year old Ethan – “Aunty Lauren, I just love you!”
So yeah, that was the first 15 minutes of my Saturday. You’re jealous right? I would be!
P.s. this one wasn’t aimed at me but there’s no way I could leave it out. A few minutes later Nicole the 8 year old piped up with this absolute gem! She informs me that she heard it in a Taylor Swift song but coming out of the mouth of an 8 year old to describe her younger brother and cousin, I think it’s found its perfect place in the world – “Aren’t Ethan and Kenzie a nightmare wrapped up in a daydream?”