26
Jun
11

Call me Boxer!

Call me Boxer!

As with the practice of any sport — one has good days, bad days and those merely tolerable days.  Then there are the months (or years) off to contend with before hauling you heiny back to the gym, the running track or the yoga studio to begin again.

My sojourn back into the boxing world began last October with a few forays before starting my weekly workouts at the beginning of the year.  Those Saturday’s with Lennox Blackmore have now stretched into one to two more gym days on my own each week, plus my occasional shadow boxing turns around the living room, and those silly flurries I throw walking down the street or in the elevator when I think no one’s watching me (wrong of course because they *all* have cameras!).

It’s gotten to the point where my daughter won’t walk down the street with me if I so much as twitch my left arm towards a surreptitious hook, not to mention the silly skip shuffle (you know the one — the side-to-side shuffle before dipping down to the right to throw an uppercut).

Okay, I guess you get the point.  I’ve got boxing on the mind, the body — and it seems the soul these days.

Meanwhile, back at the scratchy mirror at Gleason’s, I must admit (with some difficulty) that the body facing back at me as I throw my left-left-right-left combo take a shuffle and throw a right upper cut-right-left combo, well, doesn’t exactly fit my image of a boxer.  I mean, geez, I’m what you call a geriatric boxer, okay a geriatric boxer who sweats a lot, and works her butt off into a frenzy of red-faced, sweat-pouring action, but still, I can’t quite see the cuts in those muscles that I *know* are there. (Kind of like my stealth six-pack.) Nor does my body quite move with the economy and swiftness of the young one’s who box alongside me throwing three punches for every one of mine.  I mean really — do they have to be *that* fast.

I guess I’m on this tear because I’ve gone to get my breathing and coughing problem sorted out.  (More later.) As I described my problem to the Pulmonary specialist, it was that little, “you do what?” moment that kind of got to me. “YES, I box,” I said, perhaps a bit forcefully when he opined that I didn’t exactly *look* like a boxer.

Well, yeah, okay… I’m a geriatric superwelterweight with middleweight tendencies of late, I thought to say … so what. I know in my heart of hearts I’m a boxer.  Got it!

Suffice to say, I was less than happy when he seemed to impune my boxing creds or the fact that I have a normal 16-round workout these days that leaves me still standing, albeit in a pool of water.

He did, however, redeem himself, when after the pulmonary function test — as I sat coughing my lungs out — he said, “wow, you really do have a problem. Does this happen every time you box?” And to my affirmative answer he said, (as my heart began to flutter), “This is terrible. I know how much boxing means to you, we have got to get you sorted out.”

Well.  Here I am to say, yep, I *am* a boxer (my very nice Pulmonologist agrees too) even if my silhouette these days is not exactly as svelte as I once was, or “cut” in the ordinary way of a boxer’s body.

As for the breathing/coughing problem — the great news is it’s not exercise induced asthma.  The surprising news is that it may be related to a reflux problem in the esophagus (who knew) or due to a weird malformation in the vocal chords.  I’ll be going to a cough specialist to get some more tests (this is New York, after all) and otherwise am learning to work through the problem as I box so that I can keep going.


9 Responses to “Call me Boxer!”


  1. June 26, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I’ve made peace with the fact that my six-pack will always be operating in stealth mode. At least I feel the strength in my core, which supports my back, and that’s all I care about.

    When I saw your doctor’s initial comment, I immediately went into “put-up-your-dukes-I’ll-take-you-with-one-arm-tied-behind-my-back” mode. I hope he slept on it and realized what an oaf he is. I’m glad he redeemed himself by realizing how much it means to you. (For the record, I had to have a suspicious dot removed from my thigh years ago and was sent to a plastic surgeon. I swear he took one look at my thigh and decided he didn’t need to do his best stitching. Bastard. 😉 )

    I hope you find the answer to your respiratory issues. If you did the same kind of workout in your home, would you experience the same thing? I’m just wondering if there’s something growing at the gym that you’re sensitive to. (mold?)

    • June 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Thanks, Margaret, I know who I want on *my* team!!! And you say you don’t box! 😉

      As for the Gleason’s, what *doesn’t* grow there!!! And it may well be that it’s part of the picture as this started to coincide with the heat. The notion of esophageal coughing, however, did resonate with me as I do sometimes cough after eating. We’ll see!

      Meanwhile, it’s back to the gym!

  2. June 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

    You ARE a boxer, and you know that so much of it is heart. I can’t wait to cheer you on in a fight one day!

  3. June 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Exercise-induced asthma is a big fat pain in the butt, but typically an inhaler takes care of it (mine does, anyhow). It sounds like your situation may be a bit more complex, but once you know a bit more about what’s causing the issues, you will probably be able to control some of them. You were smart to seek help on this one.

    Also:

    YOU. ARE. A. BOXER!

    *Anyone* who has ever donned gloves and gone 16 rounds in the gym like you do on a regular basis knows this. Sadly, there are still people out there who haven’t learned.

    • June 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks for that, Lisa! I’m with you, I AM A BOXER! 🙂

      As for the coughing breathing – I’m glad your EIA is under control, it really is freaky the first time you lose your breath! The nice thing is the “cough” specialist I’m going to see is the tops in his field, so I feel confident that I’ll get some answers on how best to manage the problem!

      Thanks again!

  4. 7 Amy
    June 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Vocal chord dysfunction? They tell me I have that. I trust they’ve taught you the relaxation exercises. But for me, there’s no coughing–more like slow asphixiation. Fortunately I haven’t felt it for awhile. You’ve mentioned allergies in the past, too, and that can’t be helping your breathing. But I wonder if the doctor would confirm what I’m thinking–that the boxing helps train your lungs/etc into getting better. Or would he think it exacerbates the issue?

    • June 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks for all of that. I haven’t gotten to the point yet of knowing exactly what’s going on as we are still fishing for a diagnosis. I’m having a bunch of tests in a couple of weeks — to rule out the vocal thing.

      Boxing is actually great for the lung power — and what I’m doing now is working out in a way that never gets me into the coughing my lungs out stage! (Least ways I’m trying!)

      By the way, I’m loving your blog. The writing is beautiful. Will be adding it as a link.

      • 9 Amy
        June 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm

        You’re a nice person. 🙂 If I were smart enough to figure out how to add you as a link on mine, I’d do it.


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