I went to boxing class last night.
For years, The Hub and I have had a heavy bag hanging in our basement. I have wraps and training gloves and every now and again I’ll get the urge, head down the steps (Careful! Caaaaareful!) and smack on that bag. Working out on a heavy bag is one of the best exercises I’ve ever done. You wouldn’t think punching would be that exhausting, but it is. It is exhausting enough that usually after two or three minutes I decide to do something else a little less strenuous. Like the laundry.
But I do love it. I love the definition it gives my arms, I love the sweat that explodes out of the top of my head and soaks my hair. I love the way it can get my heart pounding in a mere punch or two and keep it pounding for as long as I choose to engage. I love the sound my fists make as they slam into the bag – a combination between a smack and a dull thud and I love the way my shoulders, chest, and legs burn immediately after a workout and continue to burn the next day. And the next.
It’s a great way to work out. For two or three minutes.
I guess I had forgotten that part. I guess I had forgotten when I work out in the basement on the heavy bag, I only do it for a handful of minutes at a time. The longest I’ve ever worked out with the bag is 20 minutes and I have to be honest and tell you that the majority of that time was spent bouncing around and taunting the bag. Shuffling. Dodging. Juking in and out. You ain’t so bad. You ain’t so bad, Bag!
So why in the hell I thought I could work out for 75 minutes straight doing some of the hardest physical exercise I’ve ever done I will never know.
The class is set up into “stations” – there is a station with 8 or so heavy bags, there’s a speed bag, a guy wearing mitts who calls out combinations for you to punch. There is a box upon which you climb or jump up and down doing combo punches the whole time. There is a jump rope station, a flight of stairs, a weighted dummy to hit and carry across the gym on your back. There are stationary bikes to pedal, a set of mats with medicine balls to throw up and down on your abs and a wall punch thingy. There are many, many forms of holy crapness just waiting for you. There is no set place you have to start or pattern you have to follow. You create your own workout. At the sound of a very loud bell that goes off every 3 minutes you move to a new station and a new set of terror. I can’t remember all the stations, and some I’m sure I’ve blocked entirely, but I do remember one station very very well.
It was the station with The Guy Who Fought Back.
Now, truthfully, I figured this station would be challenging, but since this guy also had a giant pad like a blocking pad and couldn’t hit, I figured I could handle it. Basically, all he can do is shove and push. And since I was allowed to hit, I figured I had that station licked. As I was destroying my self-confidence and muscle fibers at some other stations, I watched a few people take on The Guy With The Blocking Pad. I made some mental notes. I strategized a little bit. I got my mind all ready, got my adrenaline pumping, got myself all loosened up and at the next bell, I headed over.
Two years ago our friends Sam and Julie gave The Hub a helicopter for his birthday. The Hub is helicopter crazy. He LOVES those things. Whenever one flies over the house he runs outside to see it. He and my mom went to see the movie “The Guardian” a few years back. When I asked him later how it was he said, “It was sad, ….two helicopters died.” His father once told me that every painting or drawing he did growing up always had a helicopter in it. So getting him a remote controlled helicopter for his birthday was a good gift. A very good gift indeed.
After the box with contents sat on our mantel for a few days where it could be admired, he decided it was time for the helicopter to take to the sky. Excitedly, he put it together. Excitedly, he went outside with it. Excitedly, my mom and I followed and sat on the porch to watch the maiden flight of the helicopter. He sat it on the sidewalk. He gave it a pat on the rotors. He smiled up at us and gave the thumbs up. We cheered. He stepped back, hit the controls, and up up up the helicopter went! Mom and I scrambled off the porch. We yelled YAY!! as it soared upward. And while that yay was still hanging in the air, something happened. And as fast as that helicopter went up, it came down. We watched it happen. Our Yay turned to OH NO as that helicopter did a half nelson into our tiny Koi Pond in the front yard.
The Hub ran to the side of the pond, reached in and pulled out a sputtering, pitiful, sad little helicopter. And at that moment I thought I’d never see a sadder and quicker end to such an exciting and fun beginning. And I haven’t.
Until last night. And The Guy. With The Pad. Who Fights Back.
I went in strong. And that’s about where it all fell apart. I punched him – gave him the old ONE TWO and he kept coming. And kept coming. And kept coming. I was this close to pulling out my secret weapon when he backed off and went to the next person. That was good. I didn’t want to have to humiliate him by crying on him right there in front of everyone.
Of course, he came back. And he kept coming back. He taunted me. Saying really awful things like “Awesome! Come on!” and “Hit me harder! Empty the tank now!” and “That’s it! Yeah, Girl!”
He’s a jackass for sure.
Immediately after that 3 minute round The Hub ran up to me and found a sputtering, pitiful, sad little boxer. He tried to hand me a bottle of water. I refused. I wanted to concentrate instead on that difficult task of breathing. He tapped my gloves with his gloves and gave me a nod. He waited one more moment and then asked with concern, “You okay?” and I looked up at him, gasped two deep gasps and said,
“That was awesome!”
This being alive thing rocks.
I have to go now. Typing hurts my shoulders.