Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Dublin Pub Box - Bah bloody humbug

Day 7

So, still haven't bought a skipping rope, nor have I found suitable steps to run up and down like a mad thing. I haven't had a chance to do any interval training this week, nor have I had the opportunity to go to those extra sessions in RAW gym. I have eaten my housemate's Bourbon Creams, I've had a couple of sneaky pints of Guinness after work and I have developed an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter.

"Frailty thy name is woman!"

As if that wasn't bad enough my lungs are on fire and I have a raspy, horrible smokers cough. My UPC remote has stopped working and I'm stuck watching bloody 'Toddlers & Tiaras'. Aaaaaaaagghhhhhh - face melting.

Rant over.

On the upside, I have my own gloves now, so my hands don't smell like hairy man ass after every training session and I washed my hand wraps so they are meadow-y fresh. Personal hygiene for the win! I trained with my gum shield on again last night and it didn't feel quite so humiliating, I don't know if I'm getting used to it or if I just have no dignity left.

Still trying to figure out a nickname....what about 'Gassius Clay'? People tell me I'm gas all the time....oh wait,   maybe they said gassy.....

Ok that's it until next time folks,
I'll try to be in a better/more productive mood,

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Dublin Pub Box - And the gloves are off

Day 6

The following is a true story and is intended for mature audiences only.  This writing
contains strong language, graphic scenes of violence and senseless torture.  Those who are faint of heart should refrain from reading further.  You have been warned. 

This post is mostly about three things;
- boxing gloves,
- mental acrobatics, and,
- running oneself ragged.

Thursday night's training session was pretty uneventful as training sessions go, were it not for the 'moist' gloves. Having finished our warm up we all ran to the cage to get our gloves. I saw that there were some paired up outside of the cage and took the easy way out snatching them up off the ground and jumping into the ring.

I hurriedly stuck my hands into the gloves, only to gawk in disgust as a film of someone else's body juice clung to both my skin and my hand wraps. *Shudders at the memory. Now; it is a testament to my repulsion that I am using the word 'moist' to describe the gloves, as I hate the word. It sounds creepy, cretinous and just icky in general; moissssssssst. Eugh! But needless to say, I have ordered my own gloves.

At the beginning of Thursday's session, I genuinely thought I was finally getting to grips with the punch combinations and footwork;

- "Forward step, double jab, right hand",
- "Backward step, double jab, right hand, hook",
- "Step to the left, 1,2,1,2",

Then body sparring happened and I was shown the error of my ways. In my defence, I was a little nonplussed by the aforementioned 'moist' gloves. *Shudder, shudder. It turns out, rather than getting to  grips, I need to get a grip. Practising punches on thin air, in line formation is not the same as trying to land a shot on a fully functional human, who would have thought, not me obviously. After that little humdinger, I now have even more respect for boxers, they have brains and brawn.

At first, I thought it was my fitness that was going to let me down in the ring but, alas, I fear it might actually be the 'ould noggin. I can't concentrate long enough to finish one measly box in Sudoku on a Sunday morning, how the hell am I supposed to out-wit a fighter in the ring!

Due to the panic that ensued following our last training session, I decided that I would throw myself into the interval training. I used to run quite a bit before so thought it would be a walk in the park. Yeah, again, mistaken. (Seriously, how many mistakes can one girl bloody make!!!). I sprinted for one minute, rested for one minute, then ran as fast as I could for two, then rested again for one and ran for three. I repeated that twice. Now by the time I got to 3 minutes, running as fast as I could wasn't very fast at all. Speed-wise it was more of a brisk walk but I was going through the running motions; on tip toes, elbows bent, face puce etc.

One thing that really annoyed me, was that people kept throwing me pitying looks and smug grins; I knew they were thinking, "Ah, bless, this is obviously her first time running, she doesn't know how to pace herself", "Some people are so unfit, unlike me of course". I felt like screaming "I'm bloody interval training, it's like your poncy running except waaaaay more hardcore", all while secretly wishing a big gust of wind would knock them off their high horses. I didn't actually say anything as I was too busy concentrating on the awful burning sensation emanating from both my lungs and calves.

Next week's training regime is mostly made up of me watching the Rocky box set, purchasing a skipping rope and searching for some suitable steps I can run up and down a la Mr. Balboa. All while ignoring my housemate's packet of Bourbon creams in the right hand corner of the cupboard.

Wish me luck,
Until Tuesday my fellow bruisers,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Dublin Pub Box - In for a penny, in for 14 pounds

Day 5

So the whole weekend conditioning thing didn't really take off. And by 'didn't really take off' I mean I sat on my couch eating bourbon creams watching youtube videos (ie perving) on Michael Fassbender.

So this week I'm determined to sort out my diet and bring down my body fat percentage. I have quite good eating habits were it not for my love/hate relationship with chocolate. I love chocolate and hate myself once I've eaten it. So that's the first thing that needs to get sorted.

I have a really sweet tooth so I can't be fobbed off with raw carrot sticks dipped in cottage cheese as a replacement for my chocolate addiction. I'm trying rice cakes with some peanut butter on top and so far, so good. Also, eton mess without the meringue (or very little meringue is quite a good substitute, don't know how healthy it is but it feels pretty above board on the diet stakes).

So, last night's training session was interesting to say the least. It was my first time training with my mouth guard on. Tougher than it looks. I resembled a rabid dog by the end of it, foaming at the mouth with dribble down the front of my t-shirt; whoever says boxing is not an attractive sport, clearly don't know attractive when they see it. Due to the combination of the two-hour diet and wearing the mouth guard for the first time my main worry was that I would gag when I was wearing it and turn the National Stadium into chunder city (I am nothing if not classy). Alas, my fears were unfounded.

Therefore, guys and gals, I would recommend wearing it as soon as possible so that;
a) you get used to it before the big fight and
b) I don't look like such an ass at training.

Last night we practised our blocking skills which is handy but we did quite a lot of bag work as well. We had to do the minute of madness, where you belted the living daylights out of the bag solidly for 30 seconds, then 25, then 20 and so on and so on. Our trainer referred to these punches as 'haymakers'. At first this was great but halfway through I very nearly swallowed my gum shield whole! Totes awkies.

Then came the cool down at the end of training, normally we do some crouching tiger stuff (pilates-esque stretching) but we had the other coach. Turns out he isn't really into that slow-burn stretchy muscle thingy. He takes more of a little 'Grasshopper' approach to the last ten minutes. I was expecting to start calmly stretching, next thing, your man took off bouncing up and down like Busta Rhymes on speed, knees up to his earlobes no less. I made a valiant attempt at the beginning but towards the end I resembled a fatigued and confused reindeer just prancing tiredly on the spot, feet barely leaving the floor.

O.K. duty calls, I've got to go get ready for work,
Sayonara Daniel-sans,
Chat soon,

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Dublin Pub Box - It's a wrap.

Day 4

Hey guys,

Welcome (note the serenity in my voice). Today is a good day. Thursday's training session was a good training session. The universe's balance has been righted and my heart doesn't want to explode in my chest every time I think of fight night. This is mostly down to lovely John from the Grafton Lounge contingent and a little down to the fact that Thursday I put on my hand wraps correctly for the first time (note pun in post title).

Maybe my nickname should be Carlynn 'Pun Gun' McCarthy? I am partial to a good pun...

John, after spotting me aggressively tickle one of the punching bags took it upon himself to teach me the basics of boxing. Our trainers are fantastic, but there are quite a lot of us and I don't think they have realised how much of a disaster I really am. I have a third level education but for the life of me can't co-ordinate legs, arms and head swivels. Whenever we leave the ring I'm cross-eyed from concentrating on the moves.

- "One, Two"
- "Left, Right"
- "Slip, Slip, Roll"
- "Check your stance"

Mother of god, I have tied myself in knots trying to do these, my pasty limbs flailing all over the place. So John gave me a kind of boxing for dummies class. I really needed that. Thanks John.

So while I feel better about the whole co-ordinated movement thing, I did realise one major draw-back for anyone contemplating even a temporary venture into boxing; I'm afraid of hitting my training partner in case I hurt them.

Not very conducive to the sport's aims. So unless I plan on killing my opponent with kindness I need to get over this stumbling block pretty quickly.

This weekend I am going to work on my conditioning ie watch videos of other people doing terrible things to their bodies in the name of fitness.

Yippee Kai-yay mother lovers,
Until Tuesday,

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Dublin Pub Box - Reality hits home

Day 3

Hey guys, what's the craic? Good, I hope, because I am seriously starting to worry about this boxing malarkey. Day 3 of training was very eventful.

I received my first blow (unexpected tap) to the face on Tuesday. Admittedly, it was by myself but I'd like to share the blame with my training partner, it makes me feel like less of an idiot.

Here's how it went down; we were in the ring and were practising our punches on actual human beings. One person kept their arms stretched out and tensed (this is the part I forgot) while the other person 1,2'd them for 60 seconds. I didn't really grasp the whole thing very well (still having issues with the 'ould left, right) but pranced around my partner for a minute while throwing the occasional punch. Then it was my turn to let him practise, it was all going grand until I stopped tensing my arms, my partner jabbed, my hand flew back and hit me right in the eye. True story.

What followed was nothing short of a revelation. That slight jab in the face brought home to me the fact that I actually have to fight someone. I know that sounds a bit strange considering I signed up for a charity boxing match, but up until that point it was just a bit of fun, a way to raise money for charity, get fit and a good excuse for a night out. It turns out self-delusion is not as powerful as a good old-fashioned belt in the face. Reality has most definitely been checked.

So now I have to train like a crazy person in the vain hope I won't have a panic attack the day I enter the ring for real. I have awful images of me running around in circles crying, "not the face, for the love of god, not the face". If this does happen, I am openly pleading with my future opponent to K.O me immediately.

Also, normally when I do any form of exercise, I suffer from stiffness or muscle pain the following day. With this training however, it's immediate. Five minutes after training ends I can feel my muscles tensing up on the walk home and the next day I'm fine. Is this normal?

Not the most convenient considering in order to reach my apartment you have to climb two sets of stairs, last Tuesday, I stood at the end of the staircase for exactly 7 minutes before I could work up the courage to take them very, very slowly. It wasn't a pretty sight to behold. The twitching curtains on the lower floors of the building have reinforced my impression that my neighbours now fear the weird girl from Apartment 5 who looks at the stairs as if she is about to burst into tears and then makes noises like a strangled cat as she ascends them. This gig is not good for my reputation.

So, as things stand, I'm more John Wayne than Wayne McCullough at the moment, but hey, it's progress, last week I was comparing myself to Quasimodo and R2-D2. Have training again tonight, here's hoping I don't score another own goal and the curtain twitchers are all otherwise engaged.

Chat soon,

P.S. No cats were strangled in the making of this post.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Dublin Pub Box - Round Two

Day 2

"It's for charity." I chant to myself as I force one stiff leg in front of the other on my way to work. "It's for charity." I whimper every time I try to get up from a seated position or walk down steps. "It's for charity." I growl as I hear the angry rattle of other competitors punch bags as they pound them to a pulp, (at my best, I have managed to get what can only be described as a surprised cough sound out of my bag).

Thursday's training session went better than I thought it would. It was tough but I managed fine with most of it. A substantial feat considering all my ligaments have been suffering from some kind of gag reflex since our previous session. This gag reflex started out friendly enough, a slight twinge here, a dull pain there, however it got so bad that I was convinced I could hear my muscles actually creak. I felt like a rusty R2-D2; all jerky movement and squeaky sound. The situation got consistently worse throughout the day, so much so, that by the end of it I was more like Quasimodo than the lovable Star Wars cyborg.

Warm up and conditioning were pretty much the same as before, lot's of planking (*shakes fist angrily at the evil genius who created this affliction to fitness fanatics the world over), sit-ups and press ups. We learnt two new punches, the hook and uppercut. I like them; the hook makes me feel powerful and I think the uppercut just looks the absolute business. For the hook, you move your entire torso and put all your strength behind the punch. It's quick, effective and if used correctly can completely disorientate your opponent. The uppercut is a good follow-up to the hook, if you're quick off the mark and aim correctly. Unfortunately for me I am neither quick nor have good aim. I almost K.O'd myself with my own hook and was lucky I didn't need to get dentures after trying to move left and uppercut at the same time. Multi-tasking, it turns out, is not my forte.

But onwards and upwards. I currently sting like a butterfly and fly like a drunken bee with a dodgy wing but, hey, have I mentioned it's for charity?!?

I am going to try and overcome my planking phobia by watching G.I. Jane.

Chat soon,

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Hi guys,

I know it's been a while since I posted here, (I say as I blow the cobwebs out of the corners of my old blogging haunt) but I have returned for a noble cause. In the hazy blur that was the Yuletide season, a time for giving and for sharing, I heard about Dublin Pub Box, a charity boxing event where various pubs around Dublin, sponsor willing 'victims', ehem, I mean, willing bar staff to go toe to toe with one another in the name of goodwill. This year we will be trying to raise some essential funds for Pieta House and St. Vincent de Paul. 28 members of the hospitality industry have to become not quite mediocre boxers in 2 months which equals 17 hours training. Me, ever the adventuress, thought it was a splendid idea. I am going to blog my experience in a post training diary, a blow by blow account if you will (unfortunately that pun was intentional) plus you guys have to read it, I'm doing this for charity, so if you don't it makes you a bad person. 

Day 1

Prior to entering the gym today I was  mainly worried about what my entrance song (Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy) and nickname (TBC) for the match were going to be, following today's little training session I am now more worried about the fact that my muscles are cramping so much there is a real chance that all of my limbs may regress into my own backside overnight. I was swimming in a sea of my own sweat 5 minutes into the so-called 'warm-up'. Don't be fooled by the gentle nature of the word 'warm-up', in boxing it's merely code for lets just run around until someone's lungs cave in on themselves. Unfortunately, we were all reasonably fit and that didn't happen, so we had to 'warm-up' for a really, really long time.

We learnt about technique; your stance, how to jab, how to punch etc. that was actually a bit of a hoot. However, I am not the most co-ordinated individual and truthfully at the ripe old age of twenty-five I still question which way is left and which way is right, so while it was my favourite bit, it's not my strongest part of the training. 

Then we moved on to what our trainer/fuehrer referred to as conditioning, during 'conditioning' I became privy to some information I had never known up until that moment. The entire quarter of a century that I have roamed this earth I have always thought there were only two forms of the medieval torture that is known as 'the plank'; front plank and side plank. How horribly misguided of me, it turns out, the plank has its own evil alternate realm FULL of different planking styles, a particular favourite of mine was the front plank that converted into a forearm plank, genuinely thought I had simultaneously suffered from an aneurysm and a hernia during that little gem. 

Other than that, everything was good, the other people taking part seem really nice, even though they are going to try and knock the head off me numerous times over the coming weeks AND Darren O'Neill was at the gym while we were there, yep, you heard right, we were training in the line of vision of a member of the Irish Olympic boxing team #likebosses. Now back to the more pressing issue of a nickname, do you guys have any suggestions? Nothing with any reference to genitals please, my mom might be reading this, let's try and maintain some semblance of decorum.

Until Thursday,