Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Week Two: To Hit or be hit ....

Have you ever hit anyone in the face?

I mean really hit someone and meant it?  Intentionally?  I can't imagine anyone that I know would answer yes to that question.  Not even the men.

During training on Sunday morning we ran through the warm up.  Then I put my boxing gloves on for the first time and we did some punching practice.  L told me to try to hit him in the face.  It felt like the most unnatural thing in the world for me to even contemplate.  Every part of my being said 'NO.  I can't!'.  He and I both knew THIS was the point of this whole thing! I couldn't bring myself to try.  We laughed at the absurdity.  At that moment in time I couldn't hurt him even if I landed the punch! 

In 8 1/2 weeks time I am going to be standing in a ring with a women who wants to beat me to a pulp.  I need to get past this fast.  Crap.  I have to hit someone?  I HAVE to hit someone.  The severity of this challenge has hit home.  Again.

Fact is, without doubt, I am the last person on this earth that could hit anyone and yet I am going to have to.  Repeatedly.  And mean it.  That or stand there and get beaten.

Weigh in and health checks tomorrow afternoon.

WTEck am I doing this for?  

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Week 1: The Unexpected Things About Boxing

I will post more about the experience so far.  About the private lesson I had Sunday in a converted garage near my flat, the official meeting with the organiser yesterday where reality became a little more real .....

In the meantime I just wanted to update you and tell you the main surprises that are already making things tough for me and it's only the very start of this 10 week process!

Scabby fingers and broken nails 

I have a strict rule never (never ever) to have chipped nail varnish but currently I'm having to wear clear strengthening nail varnish which is disturbing me.  Then after just the short demo with pads Sunday I have sore knuckles on my index finger.  My skin breaks easily and heals very slowly.  I forgot about that.  Without nail varnish and scabby knuckles I have developed a phobia of people seeing my hands.  I hide them on the train when I am reading my Kindle and presenting at work.  Having to point to computer screen on Monday with said scabby finger is causing me such shame.  I feel like a tramp.

Core Strength Exercises...

...are essential for boxing and most definitely my weakest point.  Core exercises are the only real type of exercise I just won't do.  I call my Thursday Legs Bums and Tums class, LB and no T, because when the instructor says the dreaded words 'get your mats' I head for the door.  Not going to be able to do that anymore.  Umph.

Spinning ... good for training.  Tried it in the past.  Don't get on with it.  A bike going nowhere.  Pointless. 


With all this training I am going to have to eat a lot more.  Well, I already have to eat every hour all day every day and god forbid if I am caught out without a snack so this alone is going to be interesting!!!

Aaaaaaaaanyway.  Things are going to have to change around here.     

Thursday, 20 March 2014

On Reflection...

Predictably I started thinking about what it is that I have actually signed up for yesterday after a few people started mentioning training.  I mean, I know it's obvious I will have to train but, I hadn't really thought about it.  I train at the gym every week.  I hadn't thought about what it is that I am now going to have to be training for.  There is a big difference between my training and training for something.

Subconsciously I was thinking of running up stairs.  Skipping.  Hitting a punch bag just like my boxercise classes.  In short I was thinking I could just continue with my three days a week at the gym and then turn up on June 12th ready.  Like it was some fitness day.  Then it suddenly dawned on me, I need to train.  For real.  I am actually going to have to train to fight.  A person.  Crap.  In fact I am going to have to learn to fight!!  A person. Crap.

My mind got out of control with thinking last night.  I have a lot of questions.  Do I have to give up alcohol as part of my training??  How often do I have to train?  I need boxing gloves?!  Boxing gloves come in different weights?  Why? Who knew? I didn't I until I jumped out of bed in the dead of night and went online.  Who will answer all these questions?

So next step, I think I need to actually look what I will be up against.  Dare I say 'who' I will be up against (not going to go there yet).  A work colleague watched a clip on YouTube yesterday and helpfully emailed to say 'Woah!  It's actual proper fighting!'  Yeah great.  Thanks for that.  I'm going to have to watch it myself.  Not yet.

Crap.  I'm scared.  Check out what it is all about .... I daren't click on this link yet! The Real Fight Club


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Things I do!

What do I do?  Sign myself up for things then think after, that's what.  I never learn.  Yesterday I signed up to take part in a white collar boxing match for charity.  A boxing match.  Why?  It's something I have fancied doing for a long time.  Why?  I have no idea.

Having never ever boxed in my life,  on June 12th I will go three rounds with some other nutter.  The other thing I do, the moment I sign up for these things, is tell everyone.  It's a knee jerk reaction, telling everyone.  Kind of like a death wish you could say.

The initial reactions made me panic even more than I already was.  'You?  Boxing?'  like it was the most unlikely thing to ever happen.  The next reactions were of horror.  'Boxing?  You?' Like it was the most barbaric sport to even associate myself with. 

Sitting on the train on the way home I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Fear rising.  Fear that everyone might think I am a thug, that I might get beaten up, that I might just faint when I get in the ring.  Then a text from my sister asking 'Is it an April Fool??' then when I replied that it was for real....nothing.  Finally a text from a supportive friend,  'Awesome' and another 'It's a cool thing to do!' and I felt like maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Now time to sit back and think about what I have signed myself up for!  First training session next Wednesday.  A little excited........

Friday, 7 March 2014

Me. The Great Catastrophiser?

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."  William Shakespeare.  I have to disagree.

Catastrophizing.  Something I am excellent at.  Turning what some might call one incident of bad luck into the beginning of the end of the world.  Or is it just that I have more bad luck than your average person?
Take Monday as an example.  I was headed up the road, listening to my upbeat music and really quite positive for a Monday morning, when I realised I didn’t have my season ticket in my pocket.  Not the end of the world.  I get to the station 30 minutes before the train leaves anyway, so I had plenty of time to go back, get my ticket and make that same train.  I turned on my heels and walked back towards my flat.

When I got back and checked the usual places that I put my ticket, my weekend handbag, the chest of drawers, on the chair, I couldn't locate it.  Feeling a little annoyed at that point because I was definitely not going to make the 7.27, my usual train but, still thinking good … I get a train far earlier into work than I need to just in case something like that happens so could get on the 7.57 instead.
After 10 minutes of searching, the ticket was nowhere to be seen and I couldn’t waste any more time.  I needed to report my lost ticket and buy a one day return ticket before making the next train so ..I continued to think good, keep calm and made an executive decision to head back to the station immediately. 

When I informed Wendy at the ticket office that I had lost my season ticket she looked at me like a criminal instructing me to fill out a form.  She said they would call me and interview me and then make a decision as to whether she can reissue my ticket.  WTEck?!  I paid 3 grand for that damned ticket and they are going to decide whether they will reissue my ticket?!  (Not such good thinking at this point) I am a little close to tears (pathetic but still, it’s where I am at now because, having being so prepared and organised this was crap, I mean, isn’t forward planning like that good positive thinking? What more could I have done?). 
She informs me that I can purchase a weekly ticket for the time being (how kind) and then claim back the money once the decision is made IF it is made in my favour.  I’m effectively out on bail and allowed to travel on the train for a week until my case is heard.  I agree to buy a weekly ticket.  Positive.  I can still make that 7.57 train and arrive at the office on time. 

‘Do you have a photo?’ I look over my shoulder for a photo booth.  I don’t carry passport photos surprisingly.
‘Urm no. I don’t’

‘Then you can’t have a weekly ticket.' So matter of fact.  'You will have to pay full fare today’ She actually sounded quite pleased with herself.  Punishment.
I grumble a little and pay for the ticket.  I get on the train and spend the next 48 minutes unable to listen to my music because I am too mad.  I try to repeat in my head how I am going to be on time for work.  It's only a ticket.  It will be replaced.  All I can hear is 'it was my expensive wallet gone forever, oh and the newly topped up Oyster card … urgh nothing ever goes right for me….what will be next....?' I got my negativity in check just as we pulled into Liverpool Street.  It was just one silly little mistake that everyone makes.  URGH the card holder was Smythson!  My Oyster card ….. not to mention the thief that must have found my wallet .... why would they not hand it in?  Thieves!

I got to the office.  Later than normal but, on time.  I got into my routine ignoring the annoying voice in my head reminding me I had lost my ticket.  Checked my calendar and there it was.  I’d missed an 8.45 a.m. meeting.  I never have anything scheduled that early on Monday's but wouldn’t you know it that day it was right there.  Now colleagues would think I am flaky.  My record for never ever being late to a meeting tarnished.  And all the planning in the world still made me later than usual and late for that meeting.  No big deal.  Again I did get the bad thinking in check and actually brush it off.  No one died.  Go to make my porridge.  Drop the porridge on my new suede shoes.   Ggggrrrrrrrrrrrr
I continued through the rest of my day.  Finally when my work day was over I was out of that door and on that train. Thinking, home cooked dinner, hot shower, glass of wine, early night and a new day tomorrow.  Nothing but good old positive thinking right? 

Then, as the train pulled out of the station, the ticket inspectors appeared through the door at the end of the carriage.  In rush hour when there isn't even any standing room.  When does that happen? Let me tell you exactly when that happens.  Never.  Until yesterday that is.  Surprise I now couldn't find my ticket! After 5 mins of searching and getting to the point of tears, is this day ever going to end?! the man next to me points to the floor and there are my outward and return tickets.  Somehow they had fallen out of my pocket.  How?  Well I didn’t ‘think’ them there!!!  Bad luck.  Nothing but bad luck.  
Finally got through my front door.  Put dinner in the oven, then just had to do one more search for my ticket.  No luck.  Relax.  Reach for my favourite wine glass.  It fell from the cupboard and smashed into a million pieces along with my good thinking.  Good thinking had got me NOWHERE all day. Bad thinking is more satisfying sometimes.

My point is that I tried damned hard to think Monday good and it just didn’t work.  I don’t believe my thinking could have caused me to lose my season ticket, not have a spare photo on me for a weekly ticket, nor could good thinking have stopped my tickets from falling out of my pocket just before the ticket inspectors got on the train during rush hour.  I don't believe my thinking could have caused my wine glass to throw itself out of the cupboard.  These things are not controlled by thinking but rather, plain old bad luck!  The world is against me on some days.  It is terrible and awful and unfair and I want to cry.  The only thing that could possibly help these things to not happen on those days is for me to go to bed and stay there until the day is over and the bad luck passes.

Monday, 3 March 2014


My Office
I had a friend from Portugal visiting this weekend so I took the chance to be London tour guide.  It's too easy to live and work in any city and never see anything, so this year it's all about getting the most out of London.  I'm rekindling my love of all things creative.  It's what makes me happy but too often I get bogged down with earning a living and forgetting to live.

First stop was Liverpool Street and then a walk to The Gherkin.  I have worked in the building for a year but realised on Saturday it was the first time I had actually looked at it!  I'm usually rushing into or out of the office and there are too many people around in the week to step back and just see it.  I find tourists annoying.  Always under your feet and making places crowded.  Bah Humbug.  

Leadenhall Market
From there we walked down through Leadenhall market and then got the DLR from Bank to Greenwich. 

The view from Greenwich Observatory

I have been to Greenwich at least a dozen times and never made it to the Observatory.  That statement seems absurd I know.  The view is amazing and I will never visit again without taking in that view.  Go see it.  Looking across at the city felt strangely as though I was seeing it for the first time. 

After lunch (and obligatory weekend wine) at the Spanish Galleon pub we headed back into the city and to The Shard for our 4 p.m. viewing.  I can be a little bit of a stickler for time.  My friend said bossy.  I say 'just optimising our time to give him the most out of his day'.  But yeah, I can be a little bit sergeant Majorish :-/  
Another must.  Although I have to say I was a little disappointed that we couldn't go higher than the 72nd floor.  There were stairs up to other floors.. I could see them .... but they were cordoned off and I felt cheated! Even Romeo the fox managed to get himself up to the top floor and he didn't have to pay £25.  I also noted there were an awful lot of people protesting at the height and sticking with their back to the internal walls.  Not sure what part of visiting 'The View' from the Shard, the largest glass building in London, didn't suggest some height would be involved?    

The Shard

More floors.  No access :(

To finish the day we stopped for another glass of wine at the Booking Office, St Pancras Grand hotel bar.  I have a weakness for hotel bars, and this one, it's the perfect mix of two of my favourite things, railway station and hotel.  The wine glass was beautiful.  I had an itch to steal it.  I didn't of course.  Cheers to another weekend of discovery.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Anyone for Coffee?

As with most things in life, it appears that I am the last to know about 'Splash Sticks'.  Where has this little invention been hiding?  I recently discovered these during a business trip to Hong Kong.  The barista handed me my takeaway coffee with one of these little fellows in the lid!

A long time ago I started asking that my take away coffee not be filled to the top, it drives me nuts when it spills out onto my hand/coat/skirt when I walk to the office.  It's not only that they fill it too much which causes it to spill out of the lid (complaining about getting too much?  I know!) but also, if the lid is put onto the paper cup with the drinking hole in line with the fold where the paper cup joins down the side, this causes double spillage!!  Yes yes..I am a little coffee drinking OCD.

So anyway,  I was so impressed with this invention that I wasn't sure whether I was going to Starbucks for a coffee or just for an excuse to collect more Splash Sticks to bring home to use in my Nero coffee (sorry Starbucks.  Nero's beat you on coffee hands down)!  Why are these not available in all coffee shops across the world?  As impressed as I am with the invention I am not so sure that the name is equally impressive.  Maybe that is the reason they didn't take off?  Splash Stick? brings to mind something that you would 'pee' on .... like those alkaline testers ... and pregnancy tests... that might just be me and my mind...

When I revealed this find to friends it brought to mind another time that this particular branch of Starbucks saved my day.

On a trip a few years back I got caught in a monsoon walking the short distance from my hotel to the office.  The rain was so relentless that even my umbrella couldn't protect me.  When I made it to the entrance to my office my linen suit had shrunk about an inch revealing the lining on the sleeves of my jacket and the hem of my skirt!!  The humidity and rain had given my hair 'added volume' and that's when I realised I didn't have a brush.  What did I do?  I could hardly turn up to work with a suit too small, squelching shoes AND bad hair, so I had a brain wave and ducked into Starbucks across the road, ordered a coffee (which didn't have splash sticks at the time but again I was ordering coffee for reasons other than needing a caffeine fix!) and pinched a green plastic fork to 'comb' my hair in the toilets!!!!!  It served it's purpose.

I like to think my resourcefulness makes up for what I lack in chic-ness.  Thank you Starbucks.  You might not do the best coffee but you do a good line in useful plastics.