Month: June 2016

I’m nearly home

My alarm kicked me up at 22:30 today.  (My shift starts at midnight) – I knew I was going to take a rest from the training but what I didn’t expect was to fall deep asleep again.

Like I blacked out.

Next thing I know Rich (my room mate) is knocking on the door. Luckily he needed to go to the gym so at least I could get my shit together and leave the room nice and tidy.  Just as well we were at the dockyard and not on shift, out at sea.

So yeah check my new room out (I got the top bunk):

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Getting down from there is a nightmare.  That ladder does absolute Jack.  What I really need is a fireman’s pole to slide down.  But then again I sleep completely naked and the thought of where a friction burn may occur is making my eyes water.

Why do I gotta move cabins?

I’ve had to move into another cabin and share because it’s pretty busy just now at the dockyard.  The vessel is maxed out with engineers trying to do their work.  I haven’t slept in a bunk for a while (maybe 3 years).  It gets warmer because there’s not as much circulation – you’re closer to the ceiling. I woke up and I was sweating (despite the temperature turned right down).  I couldn’t be sure though because I had a bad dream about Hiss, the snake from Jungle Book.  Sharing the cabin’s fine though because Rich works days and I work nights.  We’re never in the room at the same time.  Oh yeah and I banged my head at least 3 times during the night.

I’m tired…, erm again

I needed to take a day off from the training completely today and that whole sleeping-in thing just confirmed that.  Either that, or my sleep was so poor that my paltry 5-6 hours just wasn’t cutting it.  Plus I woke up and my elbow joint was just sore.  Plain sore.  Too much punching action.

Want to write more

I was thinking of my short story The Kid and even though it constituted the equivalent of a a few hundred words… that’s the first piece I’ve ever finished writing since I was 15.

And you know what?

…I really enjoyed just reading something complete.  I just hope I can translate that into something bigger.  I’ve wanted to publish something since I was 15 but back then my old man stopped me from pursuing that.  He got it into his head that going science and engineering was a safer bet.  Maybe he was right (because judging from the number of stories I’ve trashed maybe I’m not a natural storyteller) but it’d mean the world for me to be able to get a story out.  Something finished.

That boxing gear we ordered on welfare arrived!

Did I mention that some of the other crew took a bit of interest in my boxing?  So I think some of those guys  wanted to try it at some stage so I was allowed to buy a new heavy bag.  (The one I resurrected was pretty old and by week 2 I’d punched all the sand to the bottom). We also decided to buy some gloves and some focus pads and some other bits and pieces.  Hung the bag up just today – check it out…

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It’s 1.5m tall – that’s 5-feet.  It’s pretty solid.  Had to do some trickery with the chain to get it to hang higher.  It sits pretty nicely now.

Reunited with my Reeboks

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I left these on another boat almost 4 years ago.  The crewing manager promised me I’d return but I never did and they actually demobbed her a few weeks ago and I got some personals back.  These are just a pair of Reeboks I bought when I was in Galveston, Texas. First pair of Reeboks ever but they’re such a great running shoe.  They only cost me 45 bucks (compared to some of the crazy 200 dollar jobs you can find) but they’re the only running shoes I ever tried to buy thereafter.  I don’t think Reebok make the Realflex model like this anymore.  There’s something about this design I love so much.  It’s a shame they stopped.  The new one’s aren’t so nice.  I’ll treasure these until the day the grip dies.

Poppy is getting better

I mentioned my dog had a stroke while I was away but she’s getting better.  She’s walking stronger, getting back to her old self.  Stairs are still a bit of a problem for her but she’s improving all the time.  I’ve got 4 more days away from my wife and dog (and the cats) but I miss them so very much.

One more thing I need to mention…

When I started writing this blog I just wanted to keep a diary on my boxing… but I read and follow other people.  I didn’t expect that I’d take an interest like that but some people are keeping diaries on their illnesses, their problems and their worries and I found that I really care about those people.  I want them to get better and get over their hurdles.  I’d love for people like  peaceableme to not feel so forlorn or for boxingandballet to feel better at work.  It makes my problem of trying to make my left cross better seem so trivial and stupid.  I hope they’re all fine.

Here’s a view of Rissa in Norway where we are just now.  This is about as dark as it ever gets this time of year and there was more light than this because the exposure on my camera phone wasn’t so great. (I was stood underneath the helideck)

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Hey tomorrow I’ll tell you the story of how I took this forklift truck for a joyride, how does that sound? – Still sounds crap maybe? Oh well, I’ll try and make a fair stab of making it seem interesting.

World of Ringcraft

So I’ve got these two things on my list that I’m working towards and really it’s things that I can’t do alone and that’s the ability to spar with anyone (excluding pro level amateurs).

That requires honing my ringcraft and I can only do that with a coach and partners.

I wanted to write about this because one day I want to look back on this and remember how I felt versus how it actually went… if I make it that far.

The Kid

In my mind’s eye I’m alone out there.  Some small-time amateur night in an unspectacular, small-time hall with a few tables, chairs, the judges and the referee.  A venue that’s more “spit and sawdust” than bright lights and dry ice.

I’m alone.  Utterly alone out there on the canvas.  Gary (my trainer) is a professionally licensed boxing coach and therefore he isn’t allowed to be in my “corner” for an amateur fight.  It doesn’t matter that he has two professional boxers under his wing.  This isn’t a professional fight.  No, he’s sat out in the bleachers with his camera phone – probably hoping I remember the advice he’s given me.

I can’t picture in my head who would be there in my corner and maybe I don’t want anyone I know seeing what’s about to happen.  Not yet, anyway.

The guy I’m fighting is only twenty-two years old.  I don’t know him but he’s over 15 years younger than me.  All piss, fire and vinegar.  The second that bell sounds he’ll come right at me with the explosive force of youth that can only come from being that young.  The same explosive energy that turns from an ocean into a tiny well, once you’re older, like me.  The type of energy that isn’t my domain to conjure at will any longer.

I’m nervous.  The referee looks at my face.  There’s some mild, perfectly feigned recognition in his eyes.  Yeah sure it’s me.  There’s no other Chinese-looking boxer in this building I’m pretty sure of it.

I’m almost distracted for a second when someone anonymous helps me with my face guard.  I feel the velcro fasten tight at the back.  Anonymous  pats me on the shoulder. “You’re good pal.”

I beat the forehead of my face guard three times to make sure it’s secure. I look at Anonymous and nod my thanks.  I glance up at the bleachers looking for my trainer, Gary.  Hmmm where, where, where?

There he is.

…3rd row up,

…a few seats to the right.

I clench my jaw and wink at him.  He probably didn’t see that but it’s something I would only do if I’m nervous.

I look back round and feel the referee’s fingers touch my chin.  He wants to see my gum shield.  I open my mouth and bar my teeth at him.  It’s legal. No red colour.

I stretch my neck to my shoulders, left and then right.  A ritual I only do when I’m being serious.  The ref waves us both over.  I walk over trying to keep my shoulders loose.  The referee starts to talk but I only make out a few words as the kid I’m fighting’s trying to stare me down and I just stare back through him.  In the end all I catch is “fight clean and touch gloves” and we do.  A quick tap.

I walk to my corner, grab the ropes, squat once and cross myself.  Not because I want help from God but because somehow I’ve found my way to the canvas of this hall.

I barely hear the bell but I come forward wanting to claim some space early.  No roar of the mob behind us, just a few loud whistles to break the silence of a nondescript hall.

The kid comes right at me.  Fuck! I was just kidding earlier.  I came wanting to box but the kid really wants to brawl and trade.

I’m old but I’m not stupid kid.

I pivot hard right and my old feet obey, if only, for the time being.

A pity I could never move that well on a five-aside pitch. Probably would have tripped over myself. I shoot out a combination to his chin that would have sent the kid’s gum shield flying onto the first judge’s crotch. – That might have actually happened if I was entering an amateur fight and the kid mistook this as a pie eating contest but Kid adjusts his feet, fast and his head slips perfectly.  My jabs glance harmlessly away.  I curse through my gum shield.  I wanted to knock him down in under thirty seconds but if I was that slick I’d be fighting in the MGM Grand.  Instead I’m fighting in a hall where the men’s toilets look like they were oft Christened by a nightly blowjob, a line of coke and a diarrhetic mule.

I’m horrified temporarily.  The kid’s younger, faster and that’s all that’s barely registering through my head as he begins to throw down again.  Kid lands a couple of blows that were worthy of three points apiece on a basketball court.  All I can do is keep moving.    Protect myself where I can and fire back where I’m able.  The three rounds feel like twelve but when the bell sounds I don’t feel anything but relief.  I offer Kid an outstretched glove which he punches.  He pats me on the back with his other glove and as he nods I see he’s as tired as I am.

I return to my corner and spit out my gum shield, tear off my glove and grab the water relieved I can drink greedily instead of sparingly.  I catch Kid’s eye and nod at him one last time.  For just a few seconds I forget we’re on the score cards and we look at each other.  This is us, Kid.  All us.

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“The Kid” is the first piece of short fiction I’ve written in a long time.  It started out as a favourite daydream of mine.

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Milestones, musha-shugyō and dad’s idea of parenthood

So I had another look at (ExpertBoxing) Johnny’s minimum requirement list for becoming an amateur boxer the other day and stared at the “Hit the heavybag for 15 minutes continuous” and I thought to myself.  That’s surely something I can do now.  So I updated a couple of pages on the blogsite with the intention of heading down to the gym to confirm it.  My training’s becoming a little monotonous after 3 continuous weeks – always drills in rounds of 3 minutes so a 15 minute non-stop exercise could be just the ticket to freshen it up.

I went on 3.5 mile run (5.5 km) to warm up first on the tredmill. My left knee didn’t feel 100% but I pushed through taking the usual 30 minutes.  Had a panic attack at 20 minutes when it felt like the run was more strained than usual.  Have I put on weight? Have I lost some stamina? That kind of stuff goes through my head but I knew it was my knee.  I should have cut the run short but I can’t reconcile in my head that doing something like stopping isn’t giving up.  Something to do with my own stubborness and compulsive thinking as well.

That little business out of the way I warmed up my arms and shoulders forthe main event…

Now when you look at it on paper, 15 minutes continuous doesn’t seem like a long time  and maybe it isn’t but from the time you actually begin… it seems like forever.  The biggest problem wasn’t my arm or shoulder endurance – it was all the mucus and sweat building up.  Stuff that, normally, I would just towel, snot up, spit away into a bucket after 3 minutes I had to keep inside me and it was seriously putting me off in the final 5 minutes.

When I heard my buzzer go off I ran straight to my bucket and blew out all the crap from my nose feeling happy.  I still can’t understand people who prefer to go to the gym in pairs or multiples.  It’s not exactly the best projection of yourself caked in sweat, blowing bodily fluids out of your upper orifices.

Now Johnny never mentions what kind of continuous hitting the 15 minutes consists of but I did a mixture of hard and light shots and I was moving around the bag.  I don’t think I ever stopped throwing for more than 2 or 3 seconds and I could still keep my hands up to guard my face which I think was the general idea.

There are 2 things left on my list:

  • Be able to spar with any other amateur (excluding pro level amateurs with over 100 fights).
  • Be able to spar double the length of an amateur bout (equates to 6 rounds of 3 minutes each).

Those two are massive steps.  I don’t mind laughing at myself or making a fool of myself now and again, that’s part of life and good for the soul but I want to give a good account of myself.

I have this romantic daydream that one day I visit some other boxing schools around the east and west coast of Scotland and just spar a few rounds with some of the locals.  The Japanese have a word for that: musha shugyō… when you travel outside your home to train. Then, you return one day and you bring back that experience with you so that it enriches your own school.

When I was around 11 years old I was eavesdropping on one of my dad’s conversations to a neighbour.  I was young but old enough to remember the conversation.  He mentioned that he felt being a parent and having children was his way of giving something back to community and society.  The gist of it was that basically the aim was for the child to surpass the parent.  None of the parent’s fears and prejudices but all and more of their strengths and in that way, society grows and improves.  That was the important bit I caught from his conversation.  Part of that was for the child to go farther, learn a little deeper, experience a little more and come back more complete.

Growing up, my dad was a bit of a mystery.  He and my mum would work a lot and they’d leave, me, an 11-year old boy to look after his 7-year old sister in the house, alone.    So my sister and I had to grow up pretty fast on our own and look after ourselves.  But anyway, every so often I’d get glimpses into my dad’s way of thinking and this conversation I overheard was one of them.  Despite voting Conservative my dad’s quite socialist.  His outlook appears to be always on improving yourself as far as you can but with the aim of helping those around you and that effect rippling out to help a community, wider.  Dad may have started out by just wanting children for himself but I honestly think that later on he saw parenthood as more of a sociological responsibility and obligation.

I think about that from time to time.  But how does that even affect my learning to box? – I think ultimately whatever I tried my hand at, my parents wanted me to try as hard as I could.

There was never the lesson of “It’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part and having fun”.  I never, ever remember that lesson from dad coming in any way, shape or form.  His lesson was more: Take part, if you enjoy it, try and understand and study it more and practice.  Practice a lot.

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Musha shugyō (武者修行 ?) is a samurai warrior’s quest or pilgrimage. The concept is similar to the Chinese Youxia, or Knight Errantry in feudal Europe. A warrior, called a shugyōsha, would wander the land practicing and honing his skills without the protection of his family or school.

 

Is Floyd Mayweather a d*ck to his padman?

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I’m not really a follower of Floyd Mayweather but I do watch him train from time to time and I take saved videos of him (and other boxers) with me offshore so I can watch them train.  Floyd’s pad man is his brother Roger Mayweather.  This 19-minute video someone uploaded onto YouTube of a padwork session Mayweather was doing, well, I saved this permanantly onto one of my drives so I could always watch it.

It looks like they’re playing patty-cake. 🙂

I have to be honest, I love the look of this kind of padwork.  Are we ever going to do anything like this Gary, lol?

I kind of wish I could be this super-ace pad man and do the Patty-cake thing.  It looks like Roger Mayweather (the pad man) is getting more of a workout than Floyd.

I’m looking online just now to find out more about this style of padwork. With this set of exercises I’m guessing Floyd is practicing rhythm and muscle memory.  You can see Floyd turning his wrists and moving his arms ever so slightly like he’s going through the motions of making a punch.

It looks very choreographed.  Whether it’s more “flash and panache” than actually practical I couldn’t say.  One thing though, if you did something 10000 times over a short course of time, you would definitely improve or change in some way.  I mean, isn’t that how the Chinese table tennis team practice?

I’d love to be able to have a go or even learn that style of pad work.

I didn’t know Floyd’s pad man is actually his brother but man he seems to be a bit of a d*ck to him!  Watch the video.  It’s hard to like a guy like Floyd when he comes across as so arrogant.  Mind you he probably doesn’t care and maybe if I was as good a pad man as Roger, maybe I wouldn’t care either.

Below is a link to an article I read on Mayweather’s style of padwork by another boxing blogger:

Is Mayweather’s Mittwork all show? (Shootafairone)

 

Home, Piano vanilla sauce and school cross country

After spending 3 weeks out in the Norwegian Sea that flight home’s so close I can almost hear the jet engines.  When you’re training twice a day it’s hard for things not to become routine.  The morning’s really become a struggle.  I wake up at 21:30 and I call Emma while I’m still lying in bed.  Normally I’m still completely drowsy, half asleep and on some kind of autopilot but I like hearing her voice.  Then I’ll drag myself up and put on my gear.

Those morning sessions last only an hour now:

  • Interval training.  16 minutes of 30 seconds on; 30 seconds rest.  It’s 4 rounds but this feels horrendous when your body is still half asleep.
  • Next I set my boxing timer app for 35 minutes with 3 minute rounds with 30 seconds of rest in between.  I jump rope, shadow box and do 3 rounds on a heavy bag.  The first 2 rounds are to warm up my hands but the 3rd round I go into this “tabata” drill where I’ll punch the bag as fast as I can, as many times as I can.  I hate this drill but it helps your arm endurance.  Finally I do 3 rounds on a double-end bag trying to be loose like Gary’s told me numerous times.  I made a video of myself so I could check my form.  I’ll upload when I get home.  (I’m on a boat – limited bandwidth and all that)

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So yeah that’s just shy of an hour but it’s an hour of quality.  It’s not like I’m staring at the floor daydreaming.

After a 12 hour shift of  sitting in front of 12 LCD monitors like Homer Simpson I’ll head straight back to my cabin and get changed for the afternoon session.

I use the same boxing timer app for the afternoon. For the first 35 minutes I’ll repeat what I did in the morning session (minus the interval training).  Then I’ll go another 35 minutes doing a mix of drills on the heavy bag.

Most people associate the heavy bag with hitting hard but I rarely throw such forceful punches at it.  I punch high (like 45 degrees up) so my shoulders get some endurance, try and concentrate on moving around the bag and then Gary’s words are always in my head about staying loose and punching from my hip.

I feel better than when I first got on the boat though. It’d be worrying if I didn’t after all this effort.

I’m still eating a fair bit but not as much as the first week.  When the boat goes alongside I can get a more accurate weight measurement but it’ll be easier when I’m home and I can cook only what I need to eat.  Out here, food is everywhere and there’s so much of it!  I’m guessing I weigh 75kg right now but once I leave this floating food palace I know I can get down to 70 – 72kg.  I weighed myself a few times out here but with the boat pitching and rolling I was weighing anything from 73kg to 76kg.

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I’m absolutely addicted to this Norwegian vanilla custard that comes in a tetrapak style carton.  I have it with muffins, pancakes, waffles, apple crumble everything sweet.  It has no nutrition info on the carton but I’m guessing it’s absolutely filthy.

My state of mind’s good though.  I just wish I could get a bit more sleep in between. I need to finish watching Season 4 of Banshee though! 😉

I miss doing pad work though with another person and I’m eager to do more work inside a ring when I get home.  The big test will be that first session back with Gary and whether I’ve improved in his eyes and how much.

There’s still a lot to do.  There are days when some kind of melancholy hits me and I feel down for a few minutes.  I wonder where I’m going with this and then other things get into my head and I start thinking about my life and all the things I’ve done wrong and whether I’ll be able to make it right in the end.

Emma (my wife) used to be a teacher and she said something to me once about how teachers come and go from a school and ultimately the school kids don’t remember you but I don’t think that’s true.  When I was 11 or 12 we went on this cross country run and I hated it.  I kind of lagged at the back with the Phys Ed teacher Mr. Nelson. Must have been shy of 4 or 5km but I was crap at long distance but I remember back at the changing room afterwards when Mr Nelson pointed at me and said “This kid will never be a great runner but at least he doesn’t give up.”

The other time I was in the pub at 16 and (illegally I guess) having a drink with a few of the teachers who just happened by after school (it was the last day of school before summer)… Mr Richardson was leaving to go to another school.  He actually never taught me in any of his classes but I remember him finishing his pint and saying to me “Do the right thing Shingy”.  Then he got up and left. It was such a strange thing to say.  There wasn’t even a conversation before that sentence.

I think about those two moments a lot when I am out at sea.  Most of the time when I train.  Often my sweaty towel is hiding my head and I start crying uncontrollably into it.  Maybe because I’ve come so close to giving up  and maybe because sometimes I’m not doing the right thing or I don’t know what the right thing is but I keep trying.  Those two teachers would be in their late 50s by now but I haven’t sought them out yet.  I wanted to tell them how much those words meant.  It wouldn’t matter if they didn’t remember me.

I’m not sure what the point of this last bit is… maybe something like this:

Whatever you’re doing, sometimes you need to look back and understand where you began so that you can keep going forward.

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My favourite training music

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I thought maybe it would be interesting to list the kind of music I listen to whenever I wake up and I’m trying to motivate myself to train.  Most of these you can find on Spotify.  If anyone else has got some great tracks unconventional or otherwise maybe you can comment them below.

The list below is in order of preference.  There are other things I listen to, of course but these are the tracks I keep coming back to.

Happy training.

😉

For some adrenalin to wake me up while I’m putting on my gear and lacing my hi-tops:

  • Flyentology (Cassettes Won’t Listen Remix), EL-P, Trent Reznor
  • Rocker (Mickey Factz)
  • Vixen (Close Up)
  • Jump Around (House of Pain)
  • 20th Century Boy (T. Rex)
  • Thunderstruck (AC/DC)
  • Hypnotize (The Notorius B.I.G)

 

These songs below won’t give you any adrenalin but they’re great for me to go running to and they always have the effect of taking my mind off things.  I love these tracks – any of these could be top of the list on any given day:

  • Finally (Time and Space Machine)
  • Birch Tree (Foals)
  • London Thunder (Foals)
  • Turn Your Light on Me (The Night VI)
  • Thinking of You (The Night VI)
  • Dancin – Krono Remix (Aaron Smith, Luvli)
  • Craving (Starling)

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Compulsion and training… I’m tired!

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I’ve been training from anything up to 2.5 to 3 hours a day for the last 2 weeks, straight up.  I realized something had to give when I’ve been lying in bed at the end of the day and my shoulder will involuntarily twitch like it wants to throw a punch.  Seriously!

The quality of my training has gone down and I noticed it today as I kept dropping my guard in and around the heavy bag.  This morning, I think I was fighting more against my own exhaustion.

I mean that kind of fighting-through-fatigue may be useful to a soldier but I think at this early stage I need to work on improving my technique so after 2 weeks of living a boot-camp existence, I’ve decided to take a day off tomorrow.

I managed to prop up my phone up against the wall yesterday to record myself shadowboxing and working the bags and I didn’t like what I saw.  I think I looked a little sloppy and unathletic (I was starting to think I looked fat too) and as I type this I’m starting to feel angry with myself.

Why am I angry?

I don’t know.  It’s expectation.  I thought I’d be sharper.  More fluid.  I didn’t see that.  I saw a guy lumbering around throwing his arms around.  Is this a self-revulsion stage I’m going through?

I tried to mentally ground myself just now.  People take years to become good at something.  I can’t be expecting myself to achieve that after just 6 months.

I have to look through those videos again. Maybe I’m just being harsh on myself but the only thing I was truly happy with was my form on the double end bag.

On a happier note, I discovered some Tetley massala chai tea that someone’s left here in the instrument room. I have to say that it makes a really refreshing cup of tea.  I only have a few bags left though and I don’t think there’s any more of it on the boat.  Does anyone know other relaxing teas I can try?  I love Redbush and there’s Mint tea as well.

So after admitting to myself I’m tired, today I’m going to watch the England vs Wales football game.  I’m going to rest tomorrow do some yoga-type stretches to loosen up my body and that will be the absolute maximum I’ll do so that my body can rest.

Hopefully the day after, I won’t feel so tired or so repulsed.

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Training and fighting angry, perhaps not

I believe true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.

That’s a line from one of the X-Men movies.  It’s a great line and it makes you think.  I’ve never liked training angry and I can’t imagine I’d like to fight angry either. 😉

I can’t deny that it’s useful – you can build a lot of adrenalin and that can give you more stamina but ultimately I think you can end up exhausting yourself quicker for that extra bit of power behind what you’re doing.

But I also believe that the very opposite is also true and that you can get the same focus if you tap the emotion between sorrow and serentiy.

Have you ever ran on a treadmill and thought about something that made you feel sad and then, (while still running) you reached a kind of peace… and then you felt like you could run forever without actually tiring?

I like listening to music while I run and train but music is always such a personal thing.  Most of the songs I listen to while I train draw on that particular emotional range.  I prefer something that’s going to make me sad but then has a refrain that builds up a feeling of hope.  (Try Heaven by Emili Sande and you can maybe listen to what I mean)

My dog, Poppy, had some kind of stroke while Emma was walking her a couple of days ago.  I feel really worried just now because her spine and her hind legs are in a bad way.  I love that dog. She’s only 3 years-old.  Much too young to not be able to run.  I’m stuck out here in the middle of the Norwegian Sea with 3 weeks to go before I can go home.  Poppy’s stuck in a vet college for observation.  Emma visited her and sat with her for a full 4 hours (way past visitation hours) and I’m so glad she was there.

I felt empty in between punching the heavy bag and pausing for rest.  Normally I’ll train in order to distract myself.  Fight one kind of pain by bringing on another – that kind of thing.

You know what I was thinking about as I was doing these circuits? I thought about Poppy and in my mind I said. “I’m not going to give up but you can’t either Poppy.”  I feel more than helpless.  At least if it’s a person you can phone them and tell them something to lift them but you can’t phone a dog.  Poppy sees Emma coming to visit her and I’m so thankful for that but I’m nowhere to be seen and I just feel nothing but sorrow about that.

I just have to keep hoping Poppy will be okay and pull through.  It doesn’t even bare thinking about any other kind of alternative.

Right now my body is tired and a little sore, especially my arms. I’d never use my sadness or feeling of hopelessness as an excuse to stop and give up.  You can train angry or sad but I honestly think that the truest focus comes from managing and mastering those range of emotions.

I love you Poppy x

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Our dog, Poppy

 

 

 

Training before work vs training after

Not many of us are lucky enough to be practicing our sport professionally and full time. Maybe that’s a good thing as you can end up hating the thing you fell in love with and there is a phrase that some hobbies should simply stay as a hobby.

I was reading about a guy who loved his music and his big dream was to open his own record store.  He did that but as his business suffered and pressure mounted it effectively killed his love of music. The tennis player Andre Agassi was “encouraged” by his father from a young age and early on in his autobiography there’s no doubt that for a long time, he absolutely hated tennis.

Actually those two examples above, both men eventually regained their love of their hobby and their profession but I’m going off on a tangent.

For the rest of us that aren’t professional sportspeople, we have to fit in our training where we can.  That usually means before or after work.

When I’m offshore I work a 12-hour shift.  But the other 12 hours of the day is completely my own where I have to fit in sleep and time to do my laundry.  I’m also lucky that my meals are cooked for me and I can pick what I want to eat – one less thing to worry about!  The offshore environment is a pretty good place if you want to get fit.  From a company perspective, your employer just wants you to work and look after yourself and everything on board the vessel is geared toward that.

I train roughly 3 hours a dayevery day.  I’ll do up to 1-and-a-half hours immediately after I wake up and then another 1-and-a-half hours after my shift ends.  Sleep-wise I will sleep 6 to 7 hours a day.

Training before work

Training when you first wake up is never easy!

You have no adrenaline when you wake up so you need to shock your body in the best possible way!  Below is how I normally attack the morning:

  • When you first open your eyes.  Think of something positive. You don’t want to start your day negatively.  That won’t help.
  • Once you open your eyes try and sit up straight away and get two feet on the ground.  Don’t cosy into your covers even more.
  • Put on a good music track to put on your clothes and brush your teeth to.  That’s also going to help.  You want to create some kind of positive vibe where you’ll be able to motivate your body.

I know some people are not “morning people”.  I’m not exactly sure how that state comes about but you should try and analyze what goes through your mind when you wake up and try and create some postive vibes for yourself. 🙂

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Training after work

This is a lot easier.  You’ve had the benefit of being awake for serveral hours and should have enough stimulation.  Your main task mentally is to stay committed to what you’re doing.

I get tired during the day too but I really look forward to my training.  For me it’s a way to take my mind off things and blow off some steam.  It’s useful for me working offshore because having a routine makes time go faster.  The only problems I find are that I don’t have enough hours in the day to do what I want. Getting rest is equally important – without rest the quality of your training goes down.

Prioritize what you have to do. Make sure you get enough rest.  Stay motivated.  Stay positive and always believe in yourself. 🙂

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Offshore training – week 1

Occasionally I get confused with this blogging malarky.  I mean, I’m learning to box and I’m charting that but how much detail should I be putting in?  Like every exercise? Should I be writing about that?  But then who wants to read that stuff?  I’m not even sure my trainer would be interested!

I mean, I don’t want to be too narcistic over this but I’d like to attempt to write something that other people would enjoy reading as well.  But then I read some sagely advice somewhere that basically said “Everyone else be damned and write something you enjoy rather than writing what you think other people would enjoy“.

And on that bombshell…

That’s me just about to hit the end of my first week away from home.  We were down for weather, here in the Norwegian Sea which has meant a gentle start to work.  Translation: maximum training every day with good rest.

I’ve been training twice a day, every day, so far.  A mix of bag work, jumping rope, high-intensity interval training and the odd run thrown in there.  No weights.  I read somewhere that it wasn’t a good idea to gain in size.  I don’t want my arms to look like Popeye so that everyone else can see when I’m about to swing a hook at them.

I’d say I’m currently spending 3 hours a day of my time training, coupled with around 6 – 7 hours of sleep.

I feel like I’m getting better.  My shoulder endurance is a little better and I think my movement may be better too but without a camera and someone to record, I can’t know for certain. I’ve got this GoPro camera I left at home.  I won it as a Health and Safety prize and I’m going to buy a tripod for it so I can record myself at home and check my movement when I train.

Training when you’re working offshore is a lot easier as well.  You don’t need to cook or worry about having to shop for groceries.  That stuff is taken care of. In a way, it’s the ideal environment because all you’re expected to do is work and look after yourself.  Short of paying a lot of money to go on a private health farm, I’d say that, if you’re an offshore worker and you want to get fit, you’ve got no excuses.

The food is a problem though.  man those guys can cook.  It’s hard not to help yourself to those dishes.  It’s a miracle I’ve kept under 75 kg but I need to make more of a concious effort if I’m to get down to 69kg.

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