Saturday, May 16, 2015

Just: Healing

Quick post-fight healing-up-soft-tissue thought:

There is a funny transition when a bit of you goes from being "injured" - in this case, a bruised left thigh that I couldn't bend, etc. - to "functional-but-hurt", when you're trying to start using it again, etc.

You're almost more annoyed at/with it in the second category, even though it is obviously stronger in that category than it was in the first.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Day Before

I weighed 161 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 1,542  calories today; I know this even though it is before 1pm because it's the day before weigh-in, and the fast is on. I burned 0 calories doing exercise, having been explicitly and repeatedly told not to do anything much today by Coach. [update! happily, this is a lie! I also had a light dinner. But I did not count the calories, as by that point I was well at the stage where all that mattered was weight, the actual weight of the things going into, coming out of, my body.]

Leg: Y'know, it'll be glad for a break -- the contusion has kind of knotted into its own tight, weird thing. But I think it's better not to mess with it now, not to "massage it out" or anything. Ride it, fight with it, and then we'll put it back together. People've fought through way way worse.

Get scared of yourself.

I wrote this to a friend, today:
i actually know what you mean, about the "there's a fight at the end?" the training itself is such a thing, it starts to become like its own P90X. no, yup, there's a fight, which is scary: a dude your size and skill level hitting you hard as he can (you have pads on). but you're your size and skill-level too; that's the thing to remember. (oh. i may steal that, for the blog).  
Commence steal: It's a thing I think about. Sure: there's a guy I'll meet tomorrow, and we'll fight. And you know, for the level at which I do this, it'll be pretty real. We'll go at it. And I bet he's fit, and he's trained hard, and that there are things that he's better at than I am.

Also I'm fit. I've trained hard. There are things I'm better at.

So when I say "get scared of yourself" what I mean: imagine fighting someone taller. Or with longer arms. Or who's less tired in the 3rd round. Don't always imagine fighting someone... a better boxer, or tighter in the clinch. Imagine what might be imposing about you, own that and hold that and be that. And remember: tight. action. move. tight. action. move.

I'm totally loopsy right now. You can see the post about food and pooping, the journaling of this day, to get a real clear sense of that.

Here's a list of things that Coach and others said to me, last night and over the last few days. You'll notice that they contradict each other. I'm not including that like, "oh look, how stupid." I'm including it like, "this is what it is, and you have to reconcile for yourself what works and makes sense. It's a tough sport. Sort it out. Go fight hard."

NO you cannot F$*(ING do YOGA! don't DO ANYTHING! REST.
get a massage
don't get a massage
relax. stay calm.
kill him
you're there because you want to be
chop his legs off
listen to your corner, even if you think the advice might get you hurt, if he's saying throw right even if you can't throw that right
don't get a massage the day of the fight
get a massage
get mean. be mean. start being mean to people, now. be nice after. get mean

And everyone, always,  everyone asks how you're feeling.

I also wrote to a friend today that no, I would not get hurt, but instead the fight would be about "joy, fight, movement."

because this, apparently, is how TBI rolls
I hope all that's right. I think it will be. My first fight was just: very exhiliarating, really fun. I was disappointed to lose on decision, but I kept describing it to everyone as "one of the most fun things a person can do," and like that. My second fight was rough: outclassed and outweighed, I got battered about and got hurt. 

I think this one will be more like the first. With more action. Joy. Fight. Move.

There was another thing I wanted to say here. But... I forget. Let's face it, I'm pretty hungry, and I'm not 100% at my sharpest just right now. KnowwhatI'msaying.

Last thing. Then I'm going to move towards trying to sleep, hoping to poop, all of that. I have a tendency, and I think it isn't just me, to frame upcoming things like this in terms of destiny and innate qualities of myself. Good or bad. I will win because I'm the kind of person who... I might lose since I'm the kind of guy who... 

And I don't want to pretend, actually, that I think that is nonsense. Because there is an infinite final reckoning and knowledge; a sum of me and my choices and impacts that fully encompasses, and can therefore reasonably label, the "kind of guy who" I am. However, another way of saying what I just described is God--however you understand that word. In other words, it's not really how our own crazily limited understanding, nevermind in fact probably time itself, constantly branching between possibilities, works. What I mean is that, yes, there's a "kind of" person writing this, at this moment. There's a body, with strengths and with weaknesses. There are habits, tendencies -- there's whatever the material impact of all this training has been.

But there is also, there actually isa wide open field of unknown tomorrows. For 6 minutes, tomorrow evening. Me and this guy will throw ourselves at each other. We'll figure something out; something that emerges as true in those six minutes, for those six minutes.

I'm excited. I'm frightened. I'm excited. It isn't decided; it never is till it's done. We can't know what will be till that bell rings.

tight. action. move.

tight. action. move.

Friday, May 8, 2015

My Neighbors' Dog: Important Things

I'm writing and posting this now in the midst of all the "Cutting Weight, Healing Leg" hurly-burl because it'll just take a minute and, anyway, that's the point. I do "have" that minute.

First, for goodness' sakes please: yes straight-up (I think) this is a story in which in a small way I make a correct/human-good choice. Which I'm writing. On my blog. Think of that what you will. That's not my why, and if it bends you up you can- I dunno. Read Gawker. Whatever. (Not to rag on Gawker. They're fine.).

My neighbors C and M have a really lovely golden retriever, whose name I've always been a tiny bit iffy about: he calls her 'me, I think short for Wilme.

She's a sweet, very good-natured dog. She's a bag of bones. She's old. She's dying.

I saw him carrying her the other day, and asked brightly, "Things okay?" And he shook his head and half-smiled as I expressed sympathy, and he carried her inside.

I had lots of things telling me not to--my focus; my own anti-social nature; the fact that I'm not much of a conversant right now--but I knocked on their door on my way back from my miraculous dinner that I did not think I'd get to eat, today.

Monica's dad was over. Wilme was strewn on her dog-bed, all skin and bones, alert to attention but not really moving. They aren't sure she'll make the night, and if she does then tomorrow, etc. She's an old awesome dog, at the end of her line, and had I not knocked on that door tonight I might not have gotten to say goodbye to her, scratch her chin; might not have gotten to do my best to be warm to two neighbors who've always been very warm to me.

My point is, and man wow it is to myself, past present and future, most of all: it is good, really good, to have things that are a bit crazy that you embrace and devour you up. I like that, and will always try to have that, in various ways, in many parts of my life.

And it's good, in the midst of all that, to remember when it makes a huge difference to just take ten minutes. I'm so glad I did. For myself. Selfishly. And yes, for a good dog. She deserved that scratch. She deserves a bunch more.

Happy trails, Wilme. 

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Day Before (Training Videos! - Study [2 of 2])

Note: a few of these are silent - that's because YouTube has scrubbed them of copyrighted songs (music plays during workouts at the gym). Don't turn your volume up, trying to hear them, or it'll blast you when a different (not copyrighted???) songs come on halfway through.

Okay, start this one with something a bit different. This drill: I can teep (push-kick) to keep my opponent away, evade (move), or clinch (pull them into that wrestling position). That's it. 

Their job is to come at me, swinging. 

Nick does his job great here, doing some conditioning (medium hard) shots on my body, but just making a point with the head-shots. This drill is exhausting, and requires a decent amount of concentration; it's technically specific and tiring. I like/hate it; I think it's very useful. Thoughts:
- left hand, james! left hand! you see how it flies up sometimes when I block? You see how it drifts away from my head? These are bad things, bad. I need to just think tight, lock it in, left hand. Tight, lock it in, left hand
- so, I need to do more head movement in boxing, yes. But I need to not do... I do this stupid little head swaggle that looks like I'm imitating how people in parts of South Asia say 'yes'. That's great as a communicative gesture, but it doesn't achieve much for me as a dodge or evasion in boxing, because my big long head is still up there on my big long neck. I'm writing about this so I don't get the idea in my head that I'm helping myself with that waggling -- it's maybe a tiny bit better than really being totally still, but actually ducking, actual movement, actually sinking my chin low and keeping it there, protected by my shoulders, is much more important.

Neck wrestling with Nick. Better/different than previous.
- I move around more, hang less, and am cinching Nick round his head, better
- I can't do that with gloves though, really! This is a challenge; trying to recreate your leverage with your hands, with gloves. But I can duplicate that spacing, balance, position. Or try to.
- Throwing more knees. That's good.
- Still not basing enough, not pulling him off balance enough.
- Man, what a burn at the end where Nick negs my fist bump.

And, last one. A defensive drill with Sal. In this drill, he is supposed to come after me boxing (volume, rather than force) and I'm not allowed to do anything but defend or evade (can't teep; not really supposed to clinch, although you'll see that I do). That's it. Get used to the onslaught.

I wish there were more Sal, in this series, but he wasn't around much during training for this fight because he has a business and a life and et cetera. He's a terrific fighter and a really generous guy. I always learn a lot from him. What I learn, watching this drill:
- my guard can still be tighter; both in my rest position and in my parries/dodges
- I take a lot of body shots. This isn't a good thing; they wear on you (and also, I think, you get points for them, although how all that works isn't totally clear to me and doesn't seem to be that rigorously defined). It'd be good if I got out of the way of those, or were better at hunkering in so my head and my body were protected from wide open shots
- I definitely rock it like a boy band here: one direction. I need to juke more, fake more, move my movement around
- several times, I overcommit on a parry and Sal punishes me for it with a light face punch. I need to watch that. Don't overcommit. it's the same thing really as the note above, about my guard, but it's worth saying twice. It's key, for me.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Day Before (Training Videos! - Study [1 of 2])

Stephen is taller than I am, which means his jab has good reach and can snap me.
- My left guard is too open/out to the side, and he catches me on it.
- I'm too front facing; I don't want to face sideways, like walking a rail, but I'm just too square-off to the front a lot of the time. It makes me a bigger target, obviously.
- The constant movement is good: be careful not to just jitter on your feet.
- I don't do well with the balance of countering/attacking here; I know that the point of these is to some extent that I'm not the aggressor, but I'm also sure there's a way to achieve that without being as flightily passive as I am here.

I'm sharing this on the blog for one moment: at ~1:50, you'll see me throw a left than an upper with the left, and then talk. What I'm saying basically is don't tell me, I know I know, meaning I know that that's a weak attack that leaves me open and I shouldn't do. Gotta get that in. Actually, I've gotten better with that at least. I used to throw that a lot; I think I did it because Coach does it, but he uses it differently, kind of as a badgering setup, and also is just a much better boxer than I am.

More neck wrestling with Nick. You don't need to watch more than 20 seconds of this. I barely needed to. We're pretty static. Two things I observe, about that:
- part of it is a weird thing that I think is a part of Nick's technique that he particularly deploys against me; basically grinding his skull against mine to put my skull/spine/balance out of alignment (and in pain, or my skull at least). So when we're clamped together for long times, that's happening.
- my note to myself, which is often my note in neck wrestling, is to be more active/dynamic with respect to throwing my opponent off his weight. I do it a few times here, but not much; I'm tired, in part, and happy to just clamp and try to snake my way into a better position against Nick. And I have one good, or at least reasonable, reason, which is that Nick's base is sturdier than mine, so--as happens once here--if I try to throw him off balance I may wind up getting thrown off myself. All the same, the point stands. More dynamic action in the clinch: more pulling and jerking, more knees.

Okay. My attention span is limited, and I'm hungry (although not much I can do about that!). I'm going to go... do something that day-wise rhythm-wise gives me the impression of breaking things up, eating. Then work some. Then come back to do one more set of these.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: What I Weigh RIGHT NOW - live update digest

Here it is, the day before and what I was doing, which was basically trying to work/do stuff while fasting and drawing down the weight. All together, entered as I felt it, unedited.

Weigh in is 5/9/15, at 11:00am

5/7/15, 8:30pm
161.6 lbs
actions taken: eat light dinner, actually (2 eggs, on the butts of a loaf of healthybread, mentioned previously); laxatives; research on calorie-DENSE foods, because starting now until 11am Saturday I want to actually get IN calories so I don't totes lose it but have minimal food in my guts

164.2 lbs
Freaky but ok. Have drunk lots of water. Ate that food. Go to bed.

5/8/15, 5am
161 lbs
Kind of perfect. Allow myself cup of liquid coffee. Desert, breakfast stuff. Maybe? Yes. Later today, I'll have to stop eating. Google "Sauna Brentwood". Am not impressed. Consider texting friend with his own sauna. Do. Eat 674 calorie breakfast, spread over 30-40 minutes, possibly too much sugar/carbs, but not bad. Going to stop eating ~3pm today. Drinking, too? Internet.

161.8 lbs
Breakfast (674 cals) + coffee - poo (medium) = this weight. Not so bad. Gonna stop doing this so often, though, cuz... all day every 90 minutes, will go nuts. Gonna work for a few hours, now.

Google "coffee diuretic" find this:
unless additional evidence becomes available indicating cumulative total water deficits in individuals with habitual intakes of significant amounts of caffeine, caffeinated beverages appear to contribute to the daily total water intake similar to that contributed by noncaffeinated beverages.
Am sad. Savor last cup of coffee.

Eat yogurt (Siggi's 2% coconut); flax seeds.
Google "fiber makes you poop" (just checking)

162.6 lbs
couple medium poos + eaten about 1500 calories today = this weight
Coming up on 24-hour mark, wondering what to do. May feel better just cutting it all off there: simpler. Not hungry right now per se, anyway. But may regret, later, not eating now.
Remind self it's not magic. If I don't eat now and I go under weight, I am then free to eat later.
This extraordinary revelation is comforting.

There is no more food. There is no more water. Stopp debating, second-guessing it. Accept it. Go.
Like a fast.
People do this for focus. On purpose, just for itself. Embrace that. Go with that.

161.8 lbs
My brain has gone a bit dopey, ineffective.
CVS: buy laxatives?
Or go to spa, sweat some out so no worries... think think think.
Shave, imagining weight of the hairs as they fall from my face.

From here on out nothing happens -- I don't eat, don't drink, and watch my weight gradually fall to make weight. Or less gradually, if I decide I need/want to sauna or something.

Have not gone to CVs or to that sauna. But. fine. Will go to CVS soon.
Sunshowers start. Which is nice. You know what else is nice? Eating food.

But have peed a couple times. This is freaking me out, on principle.

161.2 lbs
I took my little walk to CVS and imagined that... oh, well.
For those of you who've never cut weight or whatever, all this is totally fine. I mean, it's a bizarre bizarre part of this sport -- the way you stay as big as you can and then get as small as you can. And it's also weird, this swap: how you're "dieting" in a normal way in the weeks leading up to the fight, to get your weight down in a normal way, but then it flips in these last couple of days, and anything with weight (liquids!) becomes an enemy. But what I mean is it's fine; there are people who fight who'd've spent this day in and out of saunas, doing crazy unhealthy shit. I'm just fasting. I feel loopy and weird, and DEFINITELY hope that that weigh-in is promptly at 11am tomorrow so I can get some food on, but I'm fine. People fast all the time. Seriously. And the weight will shed in its way, as it does.

It'd be rad if I just took a big, big poop. Ha-hey!

160.2 lbs
Me: coach you got a minute for some quick food/weight advice? everything's fine. 7:15 PM
Victor Acosta: whats up man 7:15 PM
Me: thanks. lemme send a few texts and i'll say "done" when they are! 7:16 PM
Me: just weighed myself: 160.2 7:16 PM
Me: been nil by mouth since about 10am 7:16 PM
Me: totally not like dying, but obviously hungry; don't want to overdo it or not sleep well, etc. 7:16 PM
Me: what's your advice: protein bar or something densely caloric okay, or keep nil by mouth? 7:17 PM
Me: i can manage either. whatever you think leaves me stronger at 5pm tomorrow. DONE. 7:17 PM
Victor Acosta: caloricly dense complex carbs and high protein to keep you satiated 7:17 PM
Me: this is stupid (i know what complex carbs are) but the night before fights, what was your go-to carb thing? 7:18 PM
Victor Acosta: drink water, you'll prob end up underweight come tomorrow morning, 7:18 PM
Victor Acosta: just make sure you 'vacate' 😏 7:18 PM
Victor Acosta: oh man by this point i was always cutting water weight so i would be in a fasted state for a long time 9:19 PM
Me: i have looked to 'vacation'. as it were. earlier. 7:19 PM
Victor Acosta: Kale, beans and some lean protein 7:19 PM
Me: cool coach. that's really helpful. thanks. 7:19 PM
Victor Acosta: 👍 7:24 PM

161.2 lbs
Cuz I went and HAD DINNER. The dinner I had, and by weight (I could give zero $h1ts at this point about calories; I hope  this was that 10k-calorie chicken breast they've been working on):
0.46 lb chicken breast
0.2 lb butternut squash with caramelized onion
0.11 lb "dark leafy green quinoa" (yes, Whole Foods)
And after weighing myself (which is weird, because it works well including this:
0.15 lb Superfood Carrot Muffin (Beaming)
Separately, now, I am sipping a cup of green tea. Because. And because dehydration is the enemy. The water in this tea (meaning: this tea, pretty much) weighs over 0.5 lbs: I know, I weighed it, pouring it out. But I can't freak out about that. So I'm going to bed around 162, is my guess (we'll see). That ought to be right for the morning. Again, we shall see. But I think it could be--touch wood-- that this has all been coordinated pretty well. If so, it's thanks in large part to that assist from Coach. I definitely would've just famished that out.
It's amazing. I feel better about the whole world.

~11pm (bedtime)
161.2 lbs
superfood carrot muffin + tea - poo = this weight

5/9/15 (fight day), 2:30(ish)am
159.6 lbs

158.8 lbs

158.8 or 158.6 lbs
The scale flickers, goes back and forth. I get a "net wt. 1 lb." bag of lentils to make sure it's okay; it seems to be, the lentils add exactly a pound to my weight (not so worried about the "net" part -- the plastic bag that they're in probably weighs barely anything)
So, have light breakfast:
0.452 lbs hydration (coffee, actually, ah) + 0.2 lbs protein bar
retire the pen I've had in my kitchen for 2 weeks, marking down calories of everything on bits of paper
I weigh the protein bar on the kitchen scale 3 times to make sure
I make the coffee so hot that it burns my tongue; I feel guilty about drinking it because of caffeine not being such a diuretic, and want to maximize its poo-facilitating hotness ability

6:41am (working)
159.4 lbs
wearing the very boxer briefs I'll wear for the weigh-in (and fight)

At this point I decide: we're good. I didn't think I'd get to eat at all, today. Then:

158.8 lbs
bonus poo!
have a few sips of water

158.2 lbs
after another bonus poo
and another protein bar
eat functional protein burrito, feeling guilty but also for real
do whole thing calibrating scale again, carrying 2 lb (on kitchen scale) jug of water: yes, it increases my weight by exactly 2 lbs. the scale seems to be fine.

158.2 lbs
it alarms me that the burrito, which weighs a third of a pound, is not showing up
try again stepping differently:
158.8 lbs
good. makes more sense
with the cup of water i'll sip on the way in my hand: 159.6. i'll sip it slowly.

stopped working around 9. packed up: didn't take long, was all set.

feed cats. put on clothes.

leave for weigh-in.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Day Before (Training Video Silly Megamix!)

I am posting this silly thing first, now. It is a silly thing (sillier than the awesome GIFs, which are a total GIFt (yeah!)): Google mixing some videos with jaunty underscoring.

It makes it seem like a trailer for a summercamp or something.

Anyway. Enjoy. Or whatever.

If you want, later today I will post a bunch of these videos and some others with my thoughts/notes as I go through them, in the entry "Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Day Before (Training Videos! - Study).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Freaking Back/Shoulder rrrgh

I weighed 160.6 pounds this morning. Ate food today. Did muay thai (after this).

Leg: not what I'm talking about here.

First off: I'm drunk. This is TWO days before: Thursday morning.
Second: Well, f&#k.

This is not a big crisis. But it's annoying; I'm annoyed. Last night in training, I got dumped (thrown to the ground) pretty hard, neck wrestling. I felt a shimmer go down my left side and shoulder, and indeed today my shoulder/back hurts and is pretty sore. The kind of sore where under normal circumstances you'd stay off of it, "give it a few days." I have many thoughts about this.

(1) It means I won't do yoga today, certainly. 
And I may not tomorrow. This is not that big a deal. Except that I really like doing yoga, and it's calming, and it does feel like calming things are very valuable, at this moment. So I find it sad/frustrating to miss it. Also ffs I bought an unlimited pass for this month.

(2) It better get better tootsweet tonight
Like, I better have some Wolverine-ass type of sleep and wake-up basically like "oh yeah, that. barely there." Better. I can muscle through it for the fight, it's not that bad, but I want to be healthy strong and hard, and it's my jab hand. I think it will. I don't think I'm just saying that. I think that it will.

(3) I am a mix of angry/annoyed and appreciative that it happened. 
Again, all in earnest. Annoyed at myself that I let myself get dumped. Perhaps a tiny bit annoyed at my partner, because perhaps that hard a dump wasn't necessary, two days before a fight. BUT more appreciative of him, REALLY, for this reason: he's a shorter, stronger guy than me. He went low, picked me up, dumped he hard as I tried to knee. I'm now very aware that a shorter, strong guy might do that. GUESS WHAT I REALLY MIGHT BE FIGHTING A SHORT STRONG GUY. So, again, maybe awesomer if this happens 5 days before a fight, 2 weeks before, rather than 2 days. But that reminder is actually very valuable, because in the week before fighting there is (rightly!) a sensitivity about hurting the fighter, and ruining everyone's work. And the real downside to this is if you go in the ring and are suddenly surprised at some dude trying to hit you fucking hard. So: good reminder. That dump hurt. This hurts, right now. If that short strong guy on Saturday tries this, I'll have it in mind and hopefully answer back.

And I really think that's part of why the dude who dumped me did, and operates as he does in training, so when I say that I'm grateful, and that it outweighs the displeasure, I mean it.

Also: ffs. 2 days. Can't a guy cut a break?

It'll be fine. No yoga. Heat packs. Rest.


Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part Don't Know Things

I weighed 159.4 lbs this morning. I ate approximately 2,785 calories today, and burned 424 calories doing exercise (muay thai).


This is the deep grouchy.

Three days before fight. Just: tired, and hungry; through the thick of the training and tapering so not amping every second on that, but also not in the "coast into the fight"/"go crazy" phase, just... training, hungry, tired.

I took a bang (got dumped to the ground in the clinch) tonight, and it still smarts, and I think that's got me mad, too. That stuff makes me... grouchy. And mad.

Y'know, I promised I wouldn't go on if I didn't have much to say. Elsewhere, I'll have things to say. Peace out.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Making Weight

I'm sitting here hungry and I weigh 159.4 pounds so I thought I'd write a quick something that's just about the diet, weight, cutting.

I'm now at the right weight. I don't want to lose or to gain. That's annoying and hard, in itself, because we all lose and gain. I'd rather not have to not drink water, or sweat out a yoga class, day of the fight. So I monitor that.

I'm listening to Kindred, the new Passion Pit album, as I write this. It's good.

Here are some pictures to help tell this story.

What is this? You know what this is. Ignore the cat food on the right, things aren't that crazy around here. It's a bunch of protein bars of various kinds, because these are a really good tool to know exactly how many calories you're getting, get some sugar in, and also get a good dose of protein, which --as I've written previously--is really key for me to not kind of get into a really dire place.

without all that hair!
What is this? An object lesson in how crazy you can kind of get during this. I did not get my hair cut because of the fight, or rather because of weight cutting. I'd been meaning to, and wanted to. did ask them to sweep it up and let me take it home and weigh it because I was curious how much weight I was "buying" myself by getting my haircut. You can't see the decimal but you can intuit it from that front-zero; the answer is 0.11 lbs. In other words like nothing. Really disappointing: I had pretty long hair! Imagine if you could drop like a half-pound just cutting your hair! Oh well.
But I

I include this not as humor or as oh ho-ho, look how extreme. My experience with the MyFitnessPal app is that it is very useful as a database and therefore for tracking calories, but that its models for how many calories you should be eating are way too low and should be viewed with caution or ignored totally. So if it is telling you this... man. I am not at all worried about hurting my long-term health at the level and the amount I do this; I don't cut that much weight, for that long, and pete's sake I've done this a handful of times over the last couple years in an amateur way, just for fun. But it does make me feel, in the pit of my stomach, a sympathy for men and women who really fight competitively at professional or near-professional levels. Honestly, the weight and eating stuff must totally screw up some people's lives, and I hope it doesn't impact their health too negatively.

On a happier note, some food recs:
-- I have mentioned these burritos. I mention them again, because the sponsorship is taking a minute to come through or something. You, reader: you should eat these. I mean just in general. They are good.
-- I now mention this bread. It it also so good, and yeah yeah, lower calorie than most breads which is nice but I SWEAR it is also just good. I am going to continue eating it after this whole thing is done.

Here's another thing you really learn when you're counting calories and working out pretty hard: chew your food. I forget to do this all the time, in general; not like literally, but I find I've eaten half of my whatever in bolted bites, big boluses (plural? sp?) going down my throat without any savoring or enjoyment. When you're aching for every calorie, you really chew, really savor. Actually, possibly to a weird degree. Probably, it's pretty weird to watch me eat right now.

I've learned two things: have a schedule and an idea of it, but also eat when you're hungry. This is in a sense contradictory, of course, and definitely goes into that category of thought when people are like "don't push yourself" but what they really mean is "don't push yourself, so long as basically all the time you are really pushing yourself." But it's pretty commonplace to hear diet-advice-givers dismiss the idea of skipping meals as harmful, and this goes with that. If I let myself get really hungry, I'm (a) miserable for that length of time, which sucks, and (b) more likely to just not gauge right when I do eat. Versus eating when I'm hungry, and by "eating" I mean a reasonably solid meal (300 - 500 calories), not a little snack. I also basically just eat mostly before training, as I've told you guys, because a "benefit" of training until you're very tired is that you're not very hungry after that, usually. Whereas before my body is pretty acutely aware of its calorie thresholds, and it's very happy for the food I give it.

And, last thing! I'll also observe--and just observe and be done here, because why belabor this kind of thing, but hey--what you want to know during this whole process is what you weigh. You and whatver the parts of your food your body has turned into you; i.e., you're not interested in water weight or stuff that's just passing (really: because why overestimate? that's eating that you could be doing!). So, within reason--and I mean that, like I've done it once in this whole process I've been through with you guys: laxatives.

And with that: out.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 9

I weighed 162 (wtf?? I know wtf. I ate a lot of veggies yesterday and did not poop) pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,575 calories today, and burned approximately 861 calories doing exercise (muay thai: big day).

Leg: yes. Still knotted, and won't be perfect, and I'm not hitting with my right knee still. But: yes.


So, here we are on one of these weird euphoric highs from a day of intense training, training that does not happen at night (this makes a big difference for me, in all respects), and a beautiful California day in which everything is right.

I felt flickers today, boxing--still just boxing, boxing boxing boxing; I think Coach has done a smart thing with the leg situation, which is this boxing routine that I'll describe more in the post with those videos--of fun. Flickers where I wasn't thinking tactics or aggression or defense, but just I was having fun, moving around. I think that's partially a function of it being a somehow less brutal day than others, maybe. And certainly a function of yesterday having been an off day, just yoga. But also it's working the sport, and getting in my own dumb way better at it. I like this thing that Coach is hammering me about--move move move, action action action--and I hope I get better at it, hope I execute, hope hope hope push push push go.

Fun. It is great when it is, and kind of wonderful that it can be, in the midst of pretty intense training. But it is. It is is is.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 8

I weighed 160.8 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,203 calories today, and burned approximately 240 calories doing exercise (yoga).

Leg: I did child's pose today in yoga class, almost, for the first time in 3 weeks. It's healing. Touch wood. Keep healing, leg. Don't get hit again.

Well, look at this chipper guy.

The deal with him right now is he just took a terrific yoga class, which means he's feeling post-yoga groovy; rested after a no-muay-thai day; and hunger-suppressed from exercise.

What will happen to him later is that his plans to work this evening will collapse in a mish-mash of
"I don't have coffee but I'm too tired to get coffee,"
"should I eat probably I shouldn't eat,"
and then the interruption-but-in-fact-really-nice rescuing by his nice neighbors, who will catch him as he skulks out for what would have doubtless been a pointless work session at Starbucks around 830pm.

So he'll sit with them (not drinking their port, but happily chilling) for 45 minutes. Then he'll buy some groceries (a useful activity) and then he'll write this (also useful: different way).

I don't actually get why I'm so hungry today, as I ate reasonably well, but people sometimes say that it's on rest days that it hits and it's hit me today. I'm tired. I'm goin' to bed.

Talk to y'all tomorrow. Home stretch, coming up. "Home stretch." huh. Brace yourself, slimbuttons.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 7 (Training Videos!)

More training videos; more talking it through, on the reasoning that that's both a useful tool for me to drill in my observations, and presumably of some passing interest if you're reading this (I imagine you, reader, as kind of skipping around these entries, a bite here a snatch there -- and that's perfect).

Above, is pad work with Coach Drew. Coach Drew is different from "Coach" (Vik), as you'll notice, as they are different human beings. They are different human beings; they carry a very different energy within them, and it's a really cool thing to have both of them around.

In this round, Coach Drew is trying to get me, mainly, to hit with power. This is a great idea for a round: focus on power, make every hit count. Unfortunately, at the end of a training week, I am tired, and as you can probably see my power is not-so-much power. A few hits are okay, but there's a crispness and force lacking, here. I'm not trying to be mean; I'm trying to be diagnostic, and also just straightforward -- I won't be exhausted, at the end of a session, at the end of a particularly grueling week, when the bell goes off for Round 1 of my fight.

Some specific observations:
- several times, you'll see him do something where I check (block) a left kick, then answer by throwing my own left kick. This is a useful thing. I do it poorly. I do it poorly here because there is too much of a disconnect between the check and the kick; the idea is that they come one on the other, pumPUM. When I'm less tired I'm actually a bit better at this, but it's good to see myself do it tired.
- sometimes, when I'm throwing my right cross, you can see that I stuff myself; I get in too close, can't extend my arm, and it's a weak and strange-looking punch. I actually hurt my wrist a bit, doing this, this session, so it's something to watch out for both because it's not a good punch and because it throws off your alignment, and you can hurt yourself (I'm actually always amazed [TOUCH WOOD HOLY COW] that my wrists don't give me more trouble in this sport. I have thin, small wrists).
- my right knees are not in fact as non-existent as they look here. I'm marking them, because that's the bad leg, and knees in particular flare up the inner thigh contusion.
- here's a big one. All these roundhouse kicks we do: that's the main kick. You can see a BIG DIFFERENCE when I turn the hip and pivot and when I do not; if you fail to do these things, you are flicking your leg, and it doesn't matter how strong you are it will actually be hard to deliver a really, really devastating kick unless you just hit someone wide open or luckily. Conversely, if you pivot on the basing foot and turn the hip and use your core, you can deliver kicks that are punishing even when blocked/through pads; believe me, I've received such kicks. They jangle all of you.
- sub-point: you don't see this here, but this last week Coach has been having us do a thing at the end of the night where we do 100 kicks with each leg. It is grueling (duh). But it's good because you revert to technique; your leg gets too tired, your quads get too tired, and you have to use your abdomen, pivot. I think that is one of the reasons Coach has us do those. The other is that he is obviously a sick person who thrives on our pain.
- back to the video: look at how I switch to having my right leg front, either for some punches or (most of all) to left kick. Look at how dancy it is. That's no good. It's actually okay in a way, not in itself but diagnostically, because to me I see that and I also see that I feel comfortable and on-balance with that movement. But that dancy, up-down big ol' switch: no good. No good.

Okay, this video. Boxing with Nick. "Boxing with Nick" is, for me in my muay thai life, a way to say "reminding myself how bad at boxing I am." Nick just is much better than I am. Which is good! That's why I always video our rounds, when I can.

At the beginning, you'll see Nick throw a kick at me. That is because he has shown up drunk, and forgotten that we are only boxing. Silly Nick.

Then you'll see him cudgel me for about 3 minutes. Some notes:
- look at my blocking when it's tight: when my gloves stay by my cheekbones, my chin stays down. Looks pretty good.
- look at when it gets wild, much too often; my hands flail, my face is exposed, all of it. This not only looks dumb. It leaves me open for shots, which is bad. If I can remember two things Saturday, they are: stay tight. throw action. Stay Tight. Move. Throw Action. (added a third)
- "throw action" means "fucking do something": I do have a tendency to wait for a "good" shot, or an "opening". This all sounds like a good idea, but it's kind of not. Throw action. Hit the guy. Move. Or else he'll hit you. Guaranteed.
- My left hand, in default mode, too often drifts out, away from my face. Not protecting. Must think about that, tonight.
- Coach at one point yells at me about "don't be the aggressor." This is a hard balance to strike, and one I'm still working on. Here's the idea: I'm not a great boxer, so I shouldn't just plow in after the guy and scrap (I also kind of like scrapping, another reason this happens). I should keep distance, counter, use push-kicks and kicks and all that. BUUUUUT you saw "throw action" above: you can't be a dancing, passive punching bag. Or rather, than you are a dancing, passive punching bag and that is NO FUN (this was a little bit what my fight in October was like. Those were 6 very challenging minutes, and in a way I'm proud I got through them. But I'm also not pleased that I left a fight go so wrong. So. Etc.)

Coach, in the back there, with Tracy, with the green Styrofoam noodles. That's a drill that Coach does, where he bops you with green noodles to make you cover up.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 7

I weighed 161.4 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,204 calories today, and burned approximately 768 calories doing exercise (open-water swim, muay thai).
Leg: thigh gnarly; better.

So I have this grouchiness born of happiness.

In that video you definitely see the grouchiness. It's pretty straightforward. I'm grouchy because we did an exercise tonight that made me grouchy: if you've been watching the training videos (no problemo if not) you'll have noticed that a lot of what we're working is movement and evasion; stick 'n move stick 'n move. And we worked that some tonight, with me going a few rounds against Nick, and there's just such a clear "skill discrepancy" (Coach's term) there that it can get frustrating. In descending amount of frustration generated:
- it's frustrating to make the same mistake over and over again (flap your hands as a second hit lands; rear back your chin instead of hunker and roll) especially when each time you realize a LITTLE bit sooner that you've made the mistake, but not soon enough
- it's frustrating to be on the losing end of a sparring game, over and over;
- the fact that each "frustrating" thing equates with getting hit, in a way that does sometimes hurt, adds to the frustration for sure.

So I punched a wall at one point (gloved hand; not that hard; I'm not some aggro moron); I yelled; I got mad. It was a frustrating night.

BUT, and maybe you also see this in the video I don't know, I don't really mean the smile, the smile is just me seeing myself and how silly/grim I look... anyway buuut there's also a happiness in this, that I'm feeling now. Because I'm so spent, and trained very hard (I was tired going into tonight; [insert complaints about calorie deficit for hundredth time here]), and didn't get more hurt--there's a knot in my thigh but 'yknow. 

It's a good feeling, to be deep in a thing that you chose to be in, that has a definite end, and that's exciting. Even when part of that good feeling is being SO MAD and SO FRUSTRATED.

That's it I think. Eyes tired. Bed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 6 (Training Video!)

Okay, I like this video - it's a bit different. Coach is using an altered pad technique, and it's all about throwing a quick punch/low-kick combo and then getting out of the way. Strike-strike-move; strike-strike-move. For the last basically whole minute you can see Coach driving this point home by swinging for me after each kick, and you can see that some of the time I'm moving back quickly enough and some of the time... not as much.

Some other things that I see:
- I've noted in previous videos some of the balletic-ness of my stance, and my tendency not to be based enough. You can see that here, for sure. My foot movement is sometimes okay, but I often (particularly circling to my left) cross my feet. The reason this is bad is that a fast opponent who notices it could use it cross me up: could come at me fast in some way that'd stumble me and leave me open to attack, or just knock me down. I shouldn't do it, although I know why I do, which is that I'm trying to be fast and that's still how my body does those movements. Something to work on. Maybe won't solve it by Saturday.
- My arms are up a bit more, a bit better. So that's good.
- Nonetheless, you can see around 1m8s and a couple other spots where Coach just has a wide open lane down the middle, and pads me in the face down that lane. Yikes. That is a bad thing for me to let happen. That is an invitation to get punched hard.

I like this drill; particularly in a stretch of lots of days of doing 4 and 5 rounds of straight Muay Thai pad-work, it was a nice change.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 6

I weighed 162 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,299 calories today, and burned approximately 530 calories doing exercise (Muay Thai).

Leg: Right directions. Still a lump. Still sore, and a strange kind of tension and soreness throughout the quad. But certainly healing. Certainly. Just has to stay healthy. Stay healthy stay healthy.

Humby Dum Dum.

Don't worry, if I don't have a prevailing/overarching idea I won't witter away more than I just did, there. Here are a few things on my mind today regarding this:

I am hungry. It is no fun to be hungry like this. It is particularly weird because you eat these good meals -- these good little meals, but they're good -- so sometimes your stomach is kind of full but still you are hungry, because you are in this calorie deficit, because: losing weight. Duh. Blah blah complain complain I have to cut a little weight.

I think "apices" is the plural of "apex", so let's go with that: apices. What I'm talking about here is heights, and fear. The 'height' is this: you're not hurt. You're body is healthy (mostly. leg.) and getting stronger; you can feel yourself getting stronger and better, however not great and flawed you are, you are improving. That's an amazing feeling.

It comes with a fear: that something will happen to snap it: that health, vitality, and growth. I'm not usually prone to this kind of feeling, but when I'm training for a fight I am, because--this is a huge part of the whole thing, for me--at a certain point other people have invested time and energy, and you want to reward that by at a minimum being strong and ready on the day and fighting hard.

So stay healthy, knock wood: nothinggowrong nothinggowrong nothinggowrong.

Here's the next one: coherence. So a deep-if-you-are-a-teenager thought I've been having, because I've been having all these semi-delirious thoughts, is my dawning real comprehension of the word coherence. Coherence: making sense. Cohere: clinging together. You get it? The way that having a fight puts a purpose behind many practices in my life ties them all together; makes them cohere; gives those parts of my life great "coherence." And coherence is, basically, satisfying and good.

This is grade-school stuff, but it's a useful personal revelation for me. Because it underscores something I sort of knew, but am glad to know-know: it really adds so much for me to have a drive, reason, for my physical life -- I love living it, and doing things, but I'm not motivated by appearance or social pressures or any of that stuff; I'm slightly motivated by long-term health, but that doesn't cover all the kinds of stuff that I enjoy doing. So having a reason, a thing that is like "this is why I'm doing this" just... it's a satisfying thing to have in your life.

Which is funny, cuz it's just a recreational fight, right? It's funny.

Anyway. Out. G'night.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 5 (Training Videos!)

So, some training videos. These are not scintillating videos of combat derring-do; even by (my) amateur standards, they're about working specific things when you are tired -- that last bit being a big implicit part of the whole point of Muay Thai training in general and fight training for sure, namely functioning at a high level when tired. 

No one but me--or maybe Tracy, my generous and cheerful sparring partner-- will want or need to watch all of these. But I'll break them down a little, as a useful exercise for myself and for anyone interested.

First: boxing with Tracy.

The instructions from Coach here are for Tracy to be putting constant pressure on me, and me to be focusing on movement and distance, throwing "straight punches" (jabs and crosses, no or few hooks, no upper-cuts, no body shots) and moving in and out of distance. This is because of Coach's (correct) diagnosis that I am basically a bad boxer, but that I'm reasonably tall and have good stamina, so a good strategy for me is to move, use my length for long punches and kicks, and not get caught up getting swiped by hooks and overhand punches close range.

In the video, both Tracy and I do medium-okay-not-so-great. He does better than me; he just keeps coming forward, he gets me in corners. I
- always go in one direction; I need to change directions and juke more
- expose my chin often, particularly when I pivot out on my left foot (you can see him catch me a couple times when I do this)
- don't do a terrible job, by my standards, of keeping a tight guard, but
- still don't do a good enough job. I just can't think about it enough: keep a tight guard. Keep a tight guard. Flick strike hard move; tight guard.

Next: neck wrestling. This is a weird foible of Muay Thai; there's no grappling like throwing each other to the ground, and no arm-bars/leg-locks all that, but there is the "clinch" which is this stand-up wrestling thing you see me and Tracy doing here. This is not at all how this would go down in a fight; in a fight you come together and someone does something (for example, as in my fight in October, "someone" might throw a knee or two and break your ribs) and then the ref will break it up or one of you will break out of it. So this is a drill to work those moments, where you do it for a sustained period,

We have no gloves or wraps on, which I find frustrating because these techniques are very different with gloves on, but if you work this for rounds-and-rounds with gear on people's faces, ears, and eyes get scratched-up, etc., which can range from annoying to really screwing things up. So.

What I notice in this video is
- if there were elbows allowed in my fight (there are not), I'd be unconscious in a clinch toot sweet, cuz I'm wide open to that;
- I need to base more. You can see it in my feet. It's all the ballet training stuff, still, in my body: my feet are just too much on one line. On a positive side, you can see that it is effective when I do base; even though Tracy is much larger and stronger than I am, I'm sometimes then able to pull him off his balance, which is good because in a really successful case you can trip, but more likely you can throw a knee or something.

Last video. Called: "Tracy is Tired."

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Training GIFs

I don't know to say the word of this exciting new image technology--I'm aware of the options, but get confused about how the creator does/does not say what everyone else does-- but ANYWAY: I do know that one of my favorite things Google does is make GIFs of your pics when its robot-brain thinks it should. These ones worked out particularly well. Thanks to TSL for taking the shots.

The techniques are knees (you'll have guessed that) and push-kicks, the latter often in Muay Thai getting called "teeps".

Knees are a savage, close-range thing; it was knees that messed me up hard my last fight.

Teeps are for distance, for keeping and making it; they can be punishing in themselves if you time them right (as your opponent comes in), but they are mostly about positioning, spacing, setup.

At the end of training, when you're training hard although honestly often when you're training kind of normally, too, you'll often do something like what I'm doing here: 100 knees, 200 teeps.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Fight Flyer

These are exciting and scary and make it real; it's wild that I get to be part of this thing. What a gift.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 5

I weighed 160.2 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,583  calories today, and burned approximately 694 calories doing exercise (yoga, muay thai).

Leg: .

Making weight making weight. Close.

Hope you enjoyed the something-different in the videos. Super big thanks to CCK for her awesome help. You can check out her and her ruggedness here.

I have several scattered thoughts to share with all the beautiful people today. Here they are.

The first is a story about my gym. It's pretty simple. I told one of the guys at the gym about the campaign to raise money for Nepal, and he listened and kind of crossed his arm and hmm hmmed as I did. And then he paused, and I could tell he didn't like it. He then pronounced it, in rapid succession, several things:
Then, some waffling, then:
Followed quickly post more-waffling by:
Until finally, and with acknowledgement that this was the word he was looking for all along, the word that encompassed all the others:
I thought this whole thing was amazing, and feel privileged to have been a passive participant in the whole conversation.

Here's my really obvious next thought: it gets really easy not to waste calories when you're counting them. Like, it's not hard not to drink a f***ing beer or glass of wine; it's not hard not to eat that brownie. Do you realize how much you will not get to eat if you eat that brownie? That brownie is, like, the enemy. F**k that brownie, in the reals.

A subtler version of this is eating after training. My appetite is generally pretty suppressed for awhile after training hard, but later I get hungry. But... I'm not doing anything else that day. I'm not training. I'm not working (this is a complication: making sure my brain is fed while cutting). I'm going home and doing probably some dumb stuff maybe and going to sleep. So that's a good time to be hungry. Eating then: "wasted" calories.

This is a weird game, and I suppose it's good that I'm horsing around with it, but it'll be good when I don't have to play it anymore. I'm getting a haircut soon, and literally I'm calculating how much that'll take off my weight (my guess is about 0.3 lbs).

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 4

I weighed 163 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,153 calories today, and burned approximately 676 calories doing exercise (yoga, muay thai).

Leg: So now I have these weird bruises on both knees. But honestly I'm just talking about them because there's a "leg" space. They're the sort of thing you'd usually ice and forget about; not like the contusion in my thigh that's the point of concern. Anyway: bruised knees. Not sure how the right one got bruised, as I've not been kneeing it because of the thigh. Left: very clearly know how.

Eat Protein.

This is my advice to you. To myself.

I know it is trendy and paleo to go on about protein. And I know that a macronutrient balance is essential to health and happiness; I sometimes even, in fact, wind up being the carrier of this very message to people who need it (I am thinking in particular of a few young women I've tutored, and "cleanses").

BUT, when you are counting your calories, and are still using your body, for me, every meal that I don't optimize protein is one that I kick myself for.

It's partially of course about indulgence, but also just calculation. A chocolate croissant does not have that many calories. If you are working out hard, even if you are cutting weight, it is not a big deal to eat a chocolate croissant. But it is, because you are using up your 290-or-whatever calories on something with practically no protein, and if you're me you will be hungry weak sad and tired because of that.

As opposed to, say, these. No I am not a paid rep for these people. Yes I would work as a paid rep for these people. Sweet Earth, hit me up. Their "functional" breakfast burrito is amazing, because it makes you not hungry for a long time.

What I'm saying is, to avoid the kind of cavernous dire hunger that I'm feeling right now, eat protein. Don't eat the chocolate g.d. croissant. Eat. Protein.

Last food thing: kind of interesting. While it's hard, not-eating to cut weight while training is really different than not-eating in general. I thankfully have very little experience not-eating in general, but in my experience it involves lots of will-power and this and that. Cutting weight for a fight involves will-power, too, but I guess you're so in it that it feels as much like an acquiescence to what is. Do you want to make weight for this fight? I.e., do you want to do this fight, that you are busting your ass for, and that other people are investing time and effort in your doing? Okay. Then you are not eating more, right now/today, or whatever. It's just fact.

It also helps that you train so hard that you're not hungry after, usually, although if you screw up your timing on eating & training gosh that makes training harder and way way less fun and effective.

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 4 (Training Videos!)

So, this is round... I don't know, I think 3 of 5, of pad work with Coach Vik from tonight.

I'm going to approach these training videos as an explanation for those who don't know the sport, on the assumption that if you're reading this, you know me, probably, and therefore probably you don't know the sport. If you're still watching and reading and those conditions somehow don't attain: thanks for watching and reading.

In training for Muay Thai, you do lots of stuff, but an anchor activity is "pad work." Pad work is the coach (or whoever) holding pads, calling hits or combos for you to do. That's kind of the long and the short of it. Obviously what you do, how advanced the techniques are, how many are sequenced together, whether or how much you're asked to defend yourself -- all that is largely up to the pad-holder.

Coach is a very good pad holder. I've trained at not that many gyms, but not that few: 6 or 7, on different cities and continents, and by "gyms" I don't mean fitness muay thai classes but gyms that make fighters (although of course not everyone at even such a gym is there to be that). My point is that I have a non-zero comparison group, and Coach's specificity of technique and demanding pace, in particular, are admirable and daunting. There is no doubt that in fight prep the pad work is what's most grueling; you ramp up from the usual 3 3-minutes rounds, to 4, to 5, and it just leaves you empty.

You can see me kind of empty, here; slow both in how I sequence attacks and in the execution of each attack, and slow on my feet, and struggling. To some extent that's on me, but to some extent that's what happens: the goal of this work is to drive you to that point, so that you're trained mentally and physically to still operate there, to still do something, throw something (jab jab kick, go go go) even when it's all empty.

Anyway, enjoy me being tired and a bit rubbish. Thanks, Coach.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Cutting Weight, Healing Leg: Part 3

I weighed 163 pounds this morning. I ate approximately 2,560 calories today, and burned approximately 210 calories doing exercise (yoga).

Leg: y'know. Right direction. Glad it came out of yesterday fine, there was one sec I was worried, but fine.

"What part of your past are you trying to atone for?"

I don't remember if those were S the novelist's exact words, but that was her sentiment. Everyone around the table, in a sun-dapped backyard in Venice (Los Angeles, not the other one) went ooooohhh; like "burn", I guess.

She'd asked this, S -- who was (still is! I am sure!) winsome and red-headed and gracefully accepting/deflecting another member of our party's probing personal questions about her, which was partially why the big ooooohhh: role reversal, the questioned now asking tough questions.

I had been sitting there, kind of spaced out, and everyone knew it was cuz I was hungry because I was cutting for the fight. Etc.

I'm actually not going to rattle on with this anecdote; that's the nub. The nub really being a return to the question that is animating this series, at least here at its start. "Why do this?" I don't think, as S cheekily posited, that I'm exorcising (exercising. har.) some angry / scared / compensatory inner thing. WELL. Maybe the last one; it could be that there is something in some people that when your life is so good, so rich, you feel that you have to test something. But even writing that frankly it feels like obvious bullshit, and even sort of wasteful (if things are so good, shouldn't you build on them to make more? And that's more what this feels like). So, that's not it, either.

I do think there's a sometimes hard-to-bridge gap between people who derive deep pleasure/satisfaction from challenging, pushing, and yes-sometimes-hurting their bodies and those who do not. I'm not saying S is a "does not". I don't know her. I'm saying that part of it is just really simple: net-net, I like it. It's hard sometimes, but I like it.

But I also take her point, and I'm asking myself the same question in less pointed terms. What are the particularities of this: the little rushes of fear, and excitement, that overtake you every day; the fact that I am at this point always mentally and emotionally (nevermind physically. obviously physically) affected by hunger, mild to not-so-mild; the fact that you could get hurt (probably not. but you could.); the fact that you could hurt someone else (ditto)? What are the things in me that makes me want to do this?

It's actually a rich and complete feeling, facing these questions in myself.

I have no idea how to answer htem.

It's also a good lesson, and maybe that's what I'll close this on, so I can offer something a little thought-ish instead of just questions. I have, for a long time, had an itch to fight. Not in my life, never that, but as sport. I've done 2 so far; this will be the 3rd. I know that there is an end to my road with this sport, somewhere not impossible to imagine; I'm 35, I want to be active for years, and if you're as bad as I am at fighting you should not be fighting much past my age if you want to stay healthy for other activities at a good level. I know all that. Et cetera et cetera.

But right now what it is is that I'm doing the thing that I was itching to do but was hard. And scratching that itch.

It would be a terrible bummer if my leg got re-screwed-up and I had to drop this fight; that's looking okay touch wood. It would be a terrible bummer to get hammered and injured again in the ring, as I did in my fight last October. It would be a disappointment, but a noble one, to have a good fight but lose. It would be a glory to have a good fight and win. But whatever happens I am doing it. I'm doing it.

The things that we want and always wonder if about, do not have to stay if. We can do them and, in so doing, relax the threads that pull some of us (it can't just be me) many ways. Satisfy desires; answer some of the questions. They lead to others, unavoidably--thanks, S--but still: we can forward ourselves through more than just time.