The Bear who boxed

 

So it’s been a couple of months since my fight night and the end of the fundraising for Aware Defeat Depression. I finally got round to getting the DVD from the night’s proceeding s and have managed to get my fight up on YouTube for your enjoyment.

Once again, many thanks to all of you who helped me raise over £1500 for this great charity. It scared me, challenged me, pushed me further than I thought possible. What an experience!

If you want to get involved, there is still a last minute chance to join The Fight II which commences on Tuesday 6th September. Check out www.facebook.com/thefightbelfast for full details. It’s a life changer, beware!

The Fight – Round 2 – Everyone has a story

Gumshield

Ready for a little more contact this week...

As you may know, I am participating in The Fight – a white collar boxing event in June. The first week of training is over, and a million jabs later and with aching arms and calf muscles, I am starting week 2. The gym itself is exactly as you would imagine, hot, sweaty, a ring in the middle of a tight room and 8 bags around the outside. The participants are good craic and the banter is great but it’s evident that people are sizing each other up and not wanting to get too friendly, safe in the knowledge that it will be 1 on 1 come the 23rd of June and they will be coming to hit you, humiliate you and hopefully beat you. You can rest assured that everyone is having these thoughts. Including me.

This week sees a lot more sparring and the introduction of more bag and pad work. I can’t wait. I have cut my early morning runs from 3 to 2 to allow for the intensity of the Tuesday and Thursday evening training. It’s hard work, very intense and increasingly physical.

I know a lot of you have already given very generously to support my sponsorship cause – Aware Defeat Depression – but I am going to be pushing those of you who haven’t to try and get involved. Depression is a killer, have no doubt about it. It touches people’s lives all the time. Talking to people in the last few weeks, it’s evident just how many people have a story. From family members, post-natal depression, colleagues off ill, suicide attempts and sadly deaths. It has been pretty moving. The main thing that has come across is that people don’t talk about it, don’t seek help and don’t know where to turn.

This is where the work of an organisation such as Aware Defeat Depression comes in. In approximately 75% of all suicides, depression is cited as a factor. There were 260 deaths by suicide in 2009, which averages as 5 per week. Between January and September 2010 in NI there were 234 deaths by suicide, averaging 6.5 per week. The suicide rate in NI for males is 3.5 times higher than for females. These statistics make for shocking reading. By supporting Aware Defeat Depression, you can help lower the number of deaths.

By supporting this cause, you can help make a difference. Change a life today.

Click on http://www.justgiving.com/nicoboxing and do what you can.

Motivation: Be Great

Motivation is a difficult thing. I have struggled a little this week to get out the door and keep to my training. I have however got over the threshold and out running both times when I felt like I couldn’t be bothered. As Austin said after my run on Wednesday morning, “Just getting out is the main thing”. He’s right (as ever!).

One of the things that has motivated me in the past is the fear of failure. But now what I want to do is show people what I can do. Not be afraid of what I can’t. This is what motivates me. This is what gets me out of bed at 6.20am 4 mornings a week to go and train. I am building towards The Fight and raising money as I go. If you can spare a few quid for Aware Defeat Depression, please visit my donation page.

It was great to meet some of the other fighters on Tuesday evening and get into the boxing gym and see the place. It’s going to be a great bunch of people to spend 8 weeks with but standing around, you couldn’t help sizing everyone up, wondering if they were going to be the opposition on the 23rd June. The one who would be coming for you. The one you would have to beat. I can’t wait to get stuck into the training. It will be a fantastic experience.

I came across this video and I liked the quotes about motivation. You can read the full transcript below.

Be Great, Be Powerful Beyond Measure

“Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep movin’ forward. That’s how winnin’ is done.” – Rocky

Here is the full transcript of the video:

You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you youre no good, and when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know, the world aint all sunshine and rainbows, its a very mean and nasty place and I dont care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.

You, me, or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life; but it aint about how hard you hit, its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward.
Thats how winning is done.

Cause if youre willin to go through all the battling you gotta go through to get to where you wanna get, whos got the right to stop you.
I mean maybe some of you guys got something you never finished, something you really want to do, something you never said to somebody, something.

And youre told no even after you pay your dues, whos got the right to tell you that, who? Nobody.
Its your right to listen to your gut, it aint nobodys right to say no, after you earn the right to be where you want to be and do what you want to do.

Now if you know what youre worth, then go out and get what youre worth. But youve gotta be willing to take the hits.  And not pointing fingers saying you aint where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that aint you! Youre better than that!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

All you chumps are gonna bow when I whoop him, all of you, I know you got him, I know youve got him picked, but the mans in trouble, Ima show you how great I am.

Enjoy!


Getting punched for a good cause

Me and Ricky Hatton

Hoping that standing beside this guy last summer will have somehow rubbed off some of his skills!

So since January I have been back training again properly and slowly building up my fitness to where it was last summer before my injury. Whilst the training has gone well, I have been looking for an event to train for. Suddenly out of the blue came something I have been wanting to do for a couple of years but previously had been unable to take part in – White Collar Boxing.

Yes, it means I will probably get hit a few times but it’s going to be worth it. I decided it would be a great idea for a bit of fundraising and so after a few enquiries here and there, I decided to try and raise some money for Aware Defeat Depression. I have friends and relatives who have suffered from depression over the years and I have seen how it can affect people. Depression affects around 25% of the Northern Ireland population, (this could be indirectly – carers, family etc.). Aware Defeat Depression support carers and family as well as people experiencing depression. They’ve got 20 support groups across NI that are free to attend but cost around £400 a month to maintain. My target of raising at least £600 will at least go a little way to easing this burden.

In approximately 75% of all suicides, depression is cited as a factor. There were 260 deaths by suicide in 2009, which averages as 5 per week. Between January and September 2010 there were 234 deaths by suicide, averaging 6.5 per week. The suicide rate in NI for males is 3.5 times higher than for females. These statistics make for shocking reading. By supporting Aware Defeat Depression, you can help lower the number of deaths.

Training starts in earnest on the 26th April and will continue twice a week until I climb into the ring on the 23rd June at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. I am excited but also nervous, it will be a test of physical and mental ability as well as my discipline and nerve. I would love to have your support, knowing that I have a bunch of people behind me, raising money for this excellent charity would make a huge difference. I won’t let you down.

If you can afford to donate, please do by clicking here, if you can’t, then thanks for reading and please tell a few people and encourage them to support this cause.

This too shall pass

This too shall pass. On inside of my left arm courtesy of the talented Shane at Alternative Ink

Some of you may recall that last summer I was training towards the Lisburn Triathlon when I sustained an injury to my right knee, ligament damage (courtesy of those lovely people in Ikea). Running was extremely painful and I ended up having some private physio to try and get me through it but in the end I had to pull out. Advice was to rest and see my GP. A subsequent x-ray and other examinations (1 of which had me doing a “duck walk” in just my boxers – still not sure this was wholly necessary) later and I was referred for NHS Physio. Finally my appointment came around last week and the news was positive. In preparation I had been out running to test my knee – my first run since last July. I wanted to be able to provide a decent assessment of how things were progressing.

Seemingly rather well was the answer. Damage appears to have healed well and despite some yelping and laughing as I was poked and prodded, the session was most worthwhile. Bio-mechanics are fascinating.

So what next? Well, having lost just about all my fitness in the space of 6 months, I had to do something. During my rest period I had been depressed at not being able to compete in the race, frustrated that I couldn’t train, made a lot of excuses for not training because I was worried about my knee. Through not training I also became less focused on diet and was putting off my return until after Christmas. Fear of my injury, lack of motivation and putting on weight had me very frustrated. My main problem as time went on was that I was making excuses. I was putting off a return. I needed to get back.

So last Monday, I set about that task, building up my running again using the C25K iPhone App, starting at week 2 as I simply couldn’t bring myself to be right back to zero. The week went well – one evening run and two freezing 6.45am runs, I had my physio appointment, I did 2 upper body gym sessions and got stuck into week 3 last night. A gym session this morning before work and things look like they have turned the corner. I’m back.

Fitness is about motivation. Most of the time it’s not to do with motivation during the activity, more just getting over the threshold and starting. It’s too easy to make excuses. If you are reading this and thinking “I’ll start next week” or “It’s too cold”. Stop it. Excuses are easy. Make a plan and start ASAP. And in case you need a little extra motivation, check out the video below.

Triathlon

So, somewhat accidentally yesterday, I got involved in a discussion on Twitter that led me to a decision to enter a Triathlon.

I have been training at the gym over the last year and since January 2009 I have lost about 4 stone. Whilst this has been great and has led to a whole host of benefits and changes, I have been flagging in the last month and felt the December pressure as time became short and eating/drinkiing/nights out increase. So I figured I needed a challenge to focus on.

Whilst chatting with a few guys over on Twitter yesterday, we got talking about the Lisburn Triathlon – an event comprised of a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run. It seemed like great timing and gave me a good nudge in the right direction to say I was keen.

So, that was that, I am pretty much committed to it now and had a crack at some running and cycling back to back last night. Managed 3km run in 18mins immediately followed by a 10km cycle in 21mins. Felt reasonably OK so with training for an event that is 7 months away (1st August 2010) I am confident I can put in a decent time and finish in less than 90 mins.

Will be a good challenge and having a few others involved makes me more accountable. Hope to also try and make a leg of the Belfast Marathon relay this year but will talk more about that later.