Friday, August 17, 2012
So my big news...I passed my black belt test!
Testing was as hard as I expected and yet in a way not as bad. The test itself lasted over 3 hours. Typically the testing would have been twice as long but typically there is more than just one person testing so it goes slower.
We started with pushups as the very first thing, then the sit-ups & lunges. If I failed any one of those I would not have proceeded to the actual testing. I was slightly nervous.
OK, I was actually scared out of my pants because of those damn push-ups. I had them down (50 in 2 minutes) until I found out at the pre-test on June 30 that we actually had to go practically all the way to the floor. Place your hand flat on the floor & place your other hand flat on top of it...that is how far down we had to go - chest touching the counter's hand..and in a sports bra I didn't have much of an advantage over a guy. I made it through 41 of them at the pre-test and struggled for the rest of the month to try to build up to 50. Prior to the day of the test I had only succeeded once and it took far longer than the 2 minutes allotted.
It is worth noting though that 2 of the other 3 possible candidates (both teenagers) couldn't do all 50 either and is part of the reason why they didn't test with me. The 3rd candidate was recovering from emergency gall bladder surgery.
So anyway, morning of the test, I had worked myself up into a state over those damn push-ups. For no reason it turns out. I pushed through the first 40 in about a minute, slowed a bit on the next 5, paused to take 3 deep breaths and pushed out the remaining 5 with 45 seconds to spare. Believe you me, I was MOTIVATED! No push ups = no black belt & I would be damned if I was going to let all my work from the previous 2 years be wasted (plus I had no intention of being embarrassed!).
Then the shaking started, I had so much adrenaline at that point I didn't know what to do with myself. But the hardest part was over. The next few hours were demonstrating all of the techniques, I got to throw my daughter to the ground a few times (she was my partner during part of the test) and then we left for the track to do the 2 mile run.
I have videos of the katas, I will post links once I figure out how to put them on YouTube or somewhere. They are too large to load here.
All this time they've told us we are required to run 2 miles in 18 minutes or less. Heading into the test I knew it was going to be close, I had let my conditioning slide and was pulling in 19.5 minute times...but I wasn't killing myself either so I knew I had some room to improve. Except the run is at the END of the several hour test, when one is physically whupped. But way back in the day, when Sensei B was just training with us and not the Sensei he had told me about his own test, that the run is more to prove you have the stamina to go the 2 miles after all the testing and as long as he finished in under 24 minutes he would pass that part of the test (apparently there is a handicap based on age!). So I wasn't nearly as worked up about the run as I was about the push-ups.
Good thing too, it took me 21 minutes. I was already beat starting the run and my right knee had been wonky & twingy all week; I had some intermittent mild pain throughout the run so I didn't push it. Didn't want to over stress the knee and wind up doing a face plant on the track.
And then I was done!
I received my black gi and belt at the next class on Tuesday and ordered my very own black sais (little trident short sword like weapons) as I had been borrowing the Sensei's.
I almost can't believe I did it. I trained from 2002-2006 and was ready to announce my intention to test in October when Master N closed the school in August 2006. Then I had some medical issues and surgeries, including replacing the ACL in my right knee, gained over 60 pounds and was completely sedentary. I had given up even thinking about finishing until Master N was able to re-open the school in March 2010...and then I broke my ankle 3 days before the 1st class. It took another 6 months before I could even try to start training again, and another 4 before I dared to think I could recover enough to actually earn my black belt.
That's when I joined SP. I was more than 60 pounds overweight, couldn't even walk a mile slowly without wishing I would die - and let's not discuss the joy of push-ups when you're over 200 pounds. Earning my black belt was a big part of my motivation to lose the fat and get healthy & fit.
No, it wasn't always easy. It was pretty damn hard some days. There were days I rebelled, where I refused to follow my program and deliberately did the opposite. There were days I blew off any physical fitness activities. There were even days when Old Me nearly succeeded in talking me out of everything - of earning my black belt, of becoming fit and healthy, of becoming New Me.
But, at the end of the day, I had my motivation, and that is part of what kept pushing me forward. All my Spark peeps are another big part of my motivation...both the giving and receiving of it. Your encouragement and faith in me has meant more than I can possibly even attempt to express.
And there are people - mostly in real life but here too - who have asked how I did it because they just can't seem to get motivated. How, they ask, did I stay motivated to lose 70 pounds, to earn my black belt, to run races, etc., because they want to be motivated too.
My advice to them is actually a question...How bad do you want it? Find your reason why and decide just how much you want it and it becomes easier (not necessarily easy, but easier). I completely & utterly loathed those damn push-ups from the bottommost depths of my soul but the end result meant quite a bit more to me than how much I dislike them...so I did them frequently in order to get what I wanted.
And now I believe I have been body snatched because I have found myself doing push-ups this week even though I don't have to anymore!
I think we can be inspired by other people but at the end of the day motivation has to come from within. We all have different wants and needs and differences in how much weight we place on each of those. My motivation was to accomplish something a stupid person once told me I couldn't do...to accomplish it for me, because I wanted it and because I could. I didn't have to prove anything to anyone...except to myself, because I chose to.
And now I realize that I have earned more than my black belt. I have earned the self-confidence and self-respect that goes along with it, and is part and parcel of living a healthy and active lifestyle. I did not reach the end of my journey, just a way station along it. I have found the last few weeks that I still want to get out and run, do the hated push-ups, eat good healthy foods...even though I don't "have to" anymore.
That's what motivation gets you...your goals achieved...and the more important lifestyle changes that become 2nd nature nature and define the New You.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
Thousands of hours of training
Hundreds of classes
Years of sweat
Countless bumps and bruises
One Black Belt
Saturday, August 04, 2012
Today is my black belt testing. I have been preparing for this for almost exactly 2 years.
I feel sick. I want to curl up into a fetal ball and cry for my mommy while being physically ill. I want to just give up and run away, telling myself this isn't really that important in the scheme of things, I don't really need to do this
BUT...I will not do any of those things.
I am FANGFACEKITTY, Warrior Babe.
I am an elemental force of nature against which nothing can stand.
I own this.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
For the Saturday race I came in 196 out of 966 women in my age group, 1033 overall (women only). I was 3331 in the co-ed overall out of I don't know how many thousands since I didn't have the patience to scroll all the way to the bottom. Finish time of 48:40, which means the obstacles took me about 15 minutes total.
If you are interested here is the link to the pictures, I am in pink and pink/black stripes, although after the mud pit it looks more like brown. I haven't yet decided which ones I'm going to get.
Monday, July 30, 2012
The Warrior Dash on Saturday was, if anything, even more awesome than last year. The course was a slightly different route and some of the obstacles were new. They got rid of the on where you had to go hand over hands down a rope from the 20-30 foot platform, which was good. That was the obstacle I was seriously thinking of skipping and I really didn't want to have to skip any. I did it last year so I knew I could do it again...but if I slipped or landed just the wrong way it would have been very easy to snap my ankle. Which is probably why they got rid of the obstacle - last year a lot of people broke their ankles on this obstacle, mainly by letting go of the rope halfway down and landing poorly.
The final mud pit was longer and, I think deeper, than last year's. They also had barbed wire in front of the mud pit so you would have to get almost on your knees to get under it. Another good improvement....last year one of the participants ended up paralyzed from a broken neck because he dove into the pit, which was only 3 feet deep, in disregard of all the warnings and the detailed waiver.
This year the water obstacle was a lot tougher. You had to wade/swim/paddle to a bunch of floating boxes lashed together, tread water while waiting your turn to haul yourself up on them, get into the water on the other side, swim to the next set, repeat and swim to the bank. I think that was to hardest obstacle. A guy behind me was nice enough to give me a boost on the first set (probably to get me out of his way lol!) so I returned the favor by letting him use my arm to help pull himself up.
There was also a rope bridge instead of the rope spiderweb which was pretty cool. I almost lost my shoe in the mud bog. And - again! - I wound up behind some wussy girl who started to freak at the top of the climbing rope net and got in my way, wasting time.
I finished in about 48 minutes I think. My goal was 45 but I also took my time on the obstacles to make as sure as I could that I wouldn't get hurt. The fastest times, from the first group of people to go, were about 24 minutes. I'm hoping they bring Warrior Dash to Europe next year, or one of the similar races like Run for Your Lives. If I could get a team I'd love to do the Tough Mudder sometime but that will probably have to wait awhile.
After the race I came home to confront the jungle that has overtaken my yard. Apparently there was rain during the two weeks I was in France...and no one mowed the lawn since a week before I left. So three weeks of unrestrained growth = jungle. The grass had to have been at least 5 inches in some places. It took twice as long as normal to mow it since I had to go over each section twice. So I split it over two days.
I started cleaning out the garage again, putting things in piles to sell or donate or Freecycle. I'm still waiting for the Freecycle posts to get approved and sent, and I listed a few things on Craigslist. I haven't sold anything there in years so I don't know how effective it is anymore, but I hope the items sell, they are too big to list/ship on eBay.
This morning I'm meeting with a moving company to get an estimate on shipping my furniture and stuff and my Dad will arrive at noon to start working on the doors and trim. I met with my ex on Saturday to get a notarized "permission slip" for our daughter to live with me in France - right after the Dash since it was held only a few miles from where he now lives so I was filthy and smelly, made quite an impression on the local library staff where we went to print out the letter! I personally didn't care, but it was worth it to see his expression - he's very uptight about "what people think" and was beyond humiliated to be seen with me! Yes, I am evil LOL!
I'm still waiting for the property management guy to call me back about renting out my house while I am gone. I called him late Friday afternoon, so I can almost understand not hearing from him over the weekend. Almost because I know real estate agents do work on the weekends a lot. So I'll give him until today for the call back and then call someone else. I have neither the time nor the inclination to chase someone down in order to give them business.
It is going to be a busy week!
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