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)


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.


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.