Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Been a Long Time, Baby.

I remember when I used to sit down once or twice a week at my laptop to pour out my karate experiences, my life experiences. This used to be during breaks at work, where I had my massage office to myself. No children. No husband. Just me and the words. It became this really important thing for me, a place where I could share my martial arts thoughts with other martial artists who wouldn't look at me with this "okay, I don't know if she's crazy or not but I'm just going to smile and nod" kind of stare.

Then it all changed when I moved three years ago (has it really been that much time already??), selling a business I worked very hard at building, uprooting my family, starting over. I desperately tried to stay with my Koro Ken training, which involved going to my local Y with another woman who had moved up here and had trained in Koro Ken as well. We even got another woman to join us. Periodically one of the Sensei in that style would come up to kick our butts. I never had the time to make the two hour trip to the home dojo and lamented the fact that it probably would never happen. I even tried some other styles...but nothing felt like home.

A year after moving I became pregnant with our second son and martial arts training grinded to a halt. As did my exercising. Three months of constant nausea doesn't exactly get one pumped to go work out for an hour. Then baby was born, I recuperated for six weeks and decided to start running. Always in the back of my mind was karate. I had this nagging, empty feeling where karate used to be and it made me sad. I felt a little lost.

My last few posts talked about getting into policing, which is still an ongoing adventure. Never have I put so much time and energy into a career than I have with this one. Nothing has turned up for me yet, but I'm still going for it. Thing is, the hiring process takes FOREVER, but I'm willing to put into the time. It will eventually happen for me. For the time being I'm back to massaging and it feels pretty good. I'm not working for myself, but that's okay. With a career change looming the last thing I want to do is get a following of private clients.

But there's this problem. I still haven't filled the karate hole. My life has consumed every minute of my day, which will happen when you have two young children and a husband. I work mostly during the late afternoons, which doesn't leave much time for taking a class, and most dojo around here don't have any classes in the middle of the day. I also work on Saturdays, another class day. There's got to be some way I can get back into martial arts. It's becoming a little unbearable. I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but when you put eleven years into something and then have it suddenly gone from your life...well, if you train you know what I mean.

I've been filling that hole with some punching bag time and my three to four times a week workouts, which consist of running and doing some type of CrossFit-like exercise. It makes me feel great...but I need my martial arts fix. It doesn't have to be karate. I just need to find those two times a week when I can go to a class, start small and go from there. I'm thinking that will happen soon. I just finished going through a hiring process with a local PD and was not chosen (although I was in the top five). One position, forty seven applicants. A little competition. I told myself that if I didn't get hired I would go in search of a new martial art. Well, now it's time to do just that.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plowing through

At the risk of losing precious sleep (a teething baby does not allow for a restful night) I will update. I so miss writing on a regular basis. When I look back on my older entries I smile and remember what it was like to write at least once a week. Now I'm lucky if I get in a post once a month. So, these rusty fingers will give it a go!

The law enforcement class is rocking my world. I already feel like a police officer. That may sound a bit cheesy, but I do. I've already submitted my application to the Burlington Police Department. I REALLY want to work there. The application was the easy part....except for the question, "List all criminal activity since the age of 10". The age of 10?! I managed to remember my youthful stupidity and cringed as I wrote them down to be dissected by those who will grill me with uncomfortable questions for my oral boards.

What I'm most concerned with right now is the 1.5 mile run. The PT test consists of: a certain amount of push ups/sit ups in one minute, bench press a percentage of my weight, reach over my toes a certain length (sitting down) and running 1.5 miles in a certain amount of time. These numbers are age dependent (I'm in the 30-39 age group) and for the BPD you need to be in the 50 percentile. So, I need to be able to do 11 push ups (no problem), 27 full sit ups (a bit of a struggle, but I can do it. Ah, C-section stomach), 100 lbs bench press (no problem), don't remember the flexibility but go way beyond the number and run 1.5 miles in 15:17. Right now I'm at 17 minutes.

However.....ah the however....I've come down with a nasty case of pes anserine bursitis in my right knee. Yes, that's a mouthful. This happened to me six months after my first child, too. I'm hoping a solid round of physical therapy will make me all better and I can get back to running.

Yup, I'm not running, which isn't helping me lower my time. This means I may not be able to take the PT test until late May, early June. Which means that when (not if) I get hired I won't be able to go to the academy until February (the next class starts in August). This may not be a bad thing since my oldest starts Kindergarten in the fall. It would be so sad for me to miss that milestone in his life, even if he won't really remember it. I'll be gone all week when I start the academy, and I think it may be smart of me to wait until he has a few months of Kindergarten under his belt before I leave.

All in all I'm getting into wicked shape and have lost most of my pregnancy weight. It's so wonderful to work hard again...I can wear my jeans!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The trip of a lifetime.

It's been sad not having time to blog about my martial arts adventures lately. On the other side of that, I haven't really HAD any martial arts adventures for over a year now. "Life" got in the way for a while and I'm not really sure when I'll be able to get back into a dojo. Having two children to look after kind of puts the proverbial stick into the spoke of my wheels. It's certainly not a bad thing, just sad every once in a while. However, a new path has presented itself to me, and boy oh boy, what a ride it's going to be!

A little over a month ago I spotted a flier at my gym. There were many other fliers on the same board, but this one immediately caught my eye. On this piece of paper was information on a program called Step Up to Law Enforcement. The sentence, "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that. My life is too crazy"ran through my mind, but as I was thinking that my hand was reaching up to take the slip of paper on the bottom that had a phone number.

To make this story just a bit shorter, I ended up contacting Vermont Works for Women and was put in touch with the woman who runs this particular program. Turns out we knew each other. Talk about a small state....

Her aunt lives in my home town and I met her about 20 years ago (!) as we were both about to attend the University of Vermont. I hadn't seen her since that time (and we only saw each other a few times in college) and had no idea that she worked for VT Works for Women. She still knew who I was and I recognized her name immediately. So, I went in for an information session. I then came back for and interview with this woman and after that was asked to come back for a second interview. It had been a long time since I was put into that type of situation.

The second interview was with four women: two from VT Works for Women, one police officer and one corrections officer. Talk about being nervous! That had NEVER happened to me, ever. The questions were hard and had me thinking to the bottom of my brain. They do that on purpose since they only take women they feel are suited for law enforcement work. Apparently I am one of those women.

The class started last Thursday and so far I'm thinking this will be the best career path ever. Massage has been so amazing, and was the career that made me who I am today, but becoming a police officer will take me so much further. The class is 9 weeks and introduces us to what it will be like having a career in law enforcement. We will be applying for jobs in two weeks. Once we are hired that agency sponsors us to go to the police academy. That will be a difficult road because not only is it tough academically and physically, but I will be away from home all week for 16 weeks. All students must stay at the academy, but we get to go home on the weekends. That will be so hard to do, but what I'm working towards will make up for having to be away from my family.

Onward, ho!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm back!

Well, after six weeks of recoup I finally began my journey back into shape. While karate was out for me until the baby gets bigger and finds his sleeping pattern, I decided to put that same focus into turning my "running hate" into "running love".

One of my facebook friends became a fan of this page called "Warrior Dash". I checked it out and found this amazing foot race that happens all over the U.S. I decided that was going to be my drive to get myself back into some serious shape. See, I went a little crazy with pregnancy eating this time around. Perhaps it was this kooky notion in my brain that said, "since this is the last time you'll be pregnant you might as well take advantage of eating for two!" Pure bogus, but it sounded good at the time.

So, at exactly six weeks I put the newbie into the stroller and walked one mile. I did this two more times that week snd was incredibly sore. I've progressed from there to the treadmill at the local Y and now go two miles walking up a steep incline for five minutes and running for five minutes. I'm thinking that it's time to just run and stop being such a sissy about it already. I now have four other victims (one of which is my sister, who has been running and racing for many years now, but has never done anything quite so crazy as the WD) to join me in the Dash, so now I really have to stay focused and just run three miles already!

I've always detested running. When I played field hockey in junior high and high school we ran this crazy drills all afternoon long and usually finished with this particularly devilish routine lovingly called "Killers". It involved doing various sprints around the field, across the field, etc. It was horrendous. I also never prepared myself for the field hockey training I new was going to start in August by running throughout the summer. After graduating high school I rarely did any kind of exercise, except for walking around the college campus. Needless to say I gained the freshman 15. It wasn't pretty.

But those were younger days and now I'm a seasoned exerciser and lover of anything that makes me huff and puff and perhaps vomit. Yes, I said vomit. I've started doing these indoor sledgehammer exercises which will eventually progress to hitting tires. Such a good way to get out the mommy aggression! There is also the one hundred push ups training. These things I can do with children in the house since I'm now a full-time stay-at-home mommy. This mommy means business!!

So, we'll see how this all goes. I'm foresee burpees in my future. And hill sprints. And wall climbing ( to go along with the hair pulling I've started as my 5 YO exercises his independence and defiance). Oh, and perhaps a pull up bar for the house....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

He has arrived

Two weeks ago, on September 23, Bishop decided to make his way into the world. My water broke with this one (that didn't happen with the first son), and I actually think Bishop punched the hole. That's what it felt like....what a proud mama! My budding karateka. Luckily it happened at 4:30 am and not in the middle of the night.

Bishop was born at 8:40 am via C-section. I had a very difficult time with the first child when labor finally came around (I was two weeks late and then had on/off labor for three days before true labor...and then only dilated to 8cm. At that point I was so exhausted I decided to have a C-section), so decided not to do natural this time around. It was a very difficult decision and I waffled for a long time. What it came down to was that I wanted this baby out as safely as possible and just wasn't willing to take the risks of a VBAC.

He was 7lbs, 12oz and 19 inches long. My peanut. So, here he is!

So now it's the lovely time of the newborn, with sleepless nights and a baby who sleeps all day, with me taking advantage of naps. I'm already planning my next karate adventure, but will have to wait until some time this winter to join a new dojo. I have to get back to work first so that I can fund my new path! There are two places I'm considering: this one, and perhaps here. We'll see.....I'm just looking forward to getting back into shape, and sleeping.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When the breath becomes important.

So, here I am updating. Yup, still alive, and yup, still pregnant. Although that came into question this past Friday evening....

My life has been a bit crazy over the past three weeks: preparing to move again (but just across the street, so not too bad) and get ready for a visit from my husband's brother and his family. The latter producing extreme stress in my MIL, which she so lovingly regurgitated in my direction one too many times prompting me to tell my husband to muzzle his mother already. We have a great relationship, my MIL and I, but get the picture.

So, last Friday after much stress and too much hamster-wheel-in-the-brain I began to have contractions, which really freaked me out (I'm was 31 weeks pregnant. Too soon!). My husband and I went to the hospital where they drew blood, tested urine, and *ahem* swabbed. Three hours later it was determined that I was not in labor. However, I was placed on moderate bedrest for the next three days. And in those three days we had to move. Luckily I had started packing three weeks ago.

I was placed upon the couch, where I directed traffic. That wasn't so bad. Then the moving was done, and it went very smoothly. Our friends were amazing! It was the aftermath of the move that started eating at me. I couldn't do ANYTHING: no unpacking, no organizing, no picture hanging. Have I ever mentioned how I HATE to be uprooted? Well, it's very difficult for me. I like an organized space, a place where my "things" are, my books tucked lovingly into their shelves. Now all of that was in boxes in the middle of my dining room.

This was the point where I had to either breathe or breakdown and cry. So, I did a little bit of both. I called upon my almost-forgotten hara breathing, and calmed myself down. Of course, when you're pregnant, where is your hara? Still in the same place? Just below your bellybutton? Well, my bellybutton has moved...but, I know where my hara is. And it's still strong.

Now I'm off bedrest with conditions: be careful, listen to your body and do a little unpacking at a time. My bulldog of a husband, of course, forbids me to do anything but go to the beach. Not a bad idea, but I'm still going to unpack. Just a little.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Wow, it's been a while since I last wrote here. Part of it is due to me not having a moment to write when I'm awake (ah, kids. Four year old kids.) The other part is I have done absolutely no karate for over three months. Ugh. That hurts.

I miss is it. Miss the kicking, the punching, the throwing to the ground. I miss the sweating and the intensity. I miss working out until I fall over.

Alas, pregnancy has put a bit of a damper on my martial arts, but that doesn't mean I can't go out into the yard and bust out some kata, right? That has yet to happen. Did I ever mention how terrible I am at following through on private training? Well, I suck at it! But that's no excuse. There have been moments when I perk up and become determined to do just a few kata, maybe just work on one and refine, refine, refine. Yeah, I talk a good talk....

I do adore kata, and we have some beautiful ones, but for some reason it just doesn't feel the same when I do them alone. I know, I know, moving meditation, improvement of the internal. For some reason I just stop myself from doing it. There is absolutely no reason why a pregant lady can't perform kata....I keep telling myself that anyway.

It's not all a lost cause, however. The weather is nicer and the grass is very soft. There's hope for this mommy karateka yet!