Saturday, October 21, 2006

Howard, the Strangest Thing Has Happened Lately

I boxed this morning.


As some of you know, Jeff and I signed ourselves up for an "Introduction to Boxing" class some time ago, just as a random thing to do. So, we got together early, and promptly ordered ourselves the breakfast of champions at a small place in Del Ray-- a bacon, egg and cheese for Teso and a sausage, egg and cheese for me. This nutritious start... it would surely bode well for an afternoon at the gym, right?

An afternoon, by the way, which was and is so beautiful that the concept of spending it in a dingy gym... was less than appealing. Jeff let me know this on the way there. I felt bad for having the idea to take a boxing course in the first place.

When we got downtown, we found a church, and no signs of any boxing ring, gym, or any such thing. Which is to say, we were confused, save for the other two people we ran into who were having the same reaction. One, mind, who was the coordinator for the event.

A woman came out of an alleyway (there's a nice sign, right?) and led us down, down, down (not really, but it's how I choose to remember it), under the church and into the bowels of Keely's Gym, in beautiful Columbia Heights. We'd only spend an hour-and-a-half in there, or thereabouts, but the scars... they'd be with us for the rest of our lives.


I keed, I keed.


Once things got started, it became clear that no one cared whether this was an introductory course or not, despite that being the main selling point of the whole shebang. Instead, several of the instructors (one of whom, a woman, bore a serious resemblance to Professor Griff, by the way) led us through a fairly intensive session of calisthenics.

Never mind that some in the class were more fit than others, that there was a certain age range at play... the instructors didn't care. "50 of this," "200 of that"... it was painful. No water breaks, no respites between sets, just... uh, pain and sweat, as Debbie Allen used to say.


Anyway, we were divided into two groups after awhile, with Jeff and I already giving one another the "this is not what we really signed up for" look.

Thankfully, though, group one got in the ring, and learned how to throw punches and combinations.

Unfortunately, Jeff and I were in group two. And what we got was a whole bunch of jump ropes and medicine balls.


After ten minutes or so of that nonsense (10 squats with medicine ball, followed by jump rope, followed by 10 squats with medicine ball, repeat), we finally got to put the (unbelievably rancid) gloves on. Whether we were really ever told how to throw a punch is... well, we may have been told, but said instructions were hard to decipher, if you know what I mean.

Be that as it may, everyone took turns throwing punches at our instructor... just basic combinations, for a minute or so apiece.

Ever thrown more than a few punches at once?

I hadn't. And as I discovered, it's more exhausting than I'd have guessed.

Which was tremendous, in and of itself. But then things took a turn, when after my second go-round or so, my long-lost friend, Mr. Hernia, decided to say hello to me.

At that point, with apologies to the parents, my first thought was something along the lines of: "fuck."


As it turns out, I was in a lot of pain... but the pain would soon go away. It wasn't like I'd torn myself a new what-have-you, or anything. But when I've had these recurrences in the past... I've always erred on the side of caution, just to be safe.

Which may explain why I resemble the Pillsbury Doughboy these days, but that's besides the point.

This, when combined with the exhaustion of the workout to that point, was more than enough for me to hang 'em up. I told Jeff what went down, and headed outside with no shame. From the look on Teso's face, I was guessing that he probably wouldn't be too far behind me... this despite the fact that I didn't want him to leave early on my account. But I'd absolutely had enough (I'm not doing the fatigue justice at this point), either way, and so again, I felt no shame in leaving, especially so that I might salvage the day.

Teso came out about 10 minutes later, struggling to breathe. Seems that, whether by virtue of my leaving early or not, the instructor gave Teso about four minutes straight, demanding crosses and uppercuts, again and again and again. Teso could barely lift his arms at the end.

Still, it was impressive, to hear Jeff tell it. While Jeff found his legit second wind, and got some kudos from the guy (who knew he was asking Teso to take it to the next level)... he promptly lost his second wind upon getting into my car.

Basically, we couldn't take no more. Jeff and I both needed a good number of minutes to even remember how to breathe properly. The drive home was, at least at first, not much fun at all.

But once we broke for the day, and after several Gatorades, a shower, and some more Gatorade, I was feeling better. That said, my body is screaming at me, right now.

I'm guessing that tomorrow will be even worse.


To treat myself, following the super-spectacular workout I'd had, I walked down the street to the party that was Clarendon Day. And while it was a good bit what I expected it to be, it was still a lot of fun (even though I was by myself). Lots of booths, lots of shopping, lots of food and drink (though I had none)... it was gorgeous out, so everyone was having a really good time.

Lots of stuff for the kids-- climbing walls, trampolines, a little pool full of boats-- almost too cute for words, at times.

Apart from all the arts and crafts, and wacky Colbert Report-themed t-shirt stands, I saw this on a wall, and it struck me as interesting, I guess:

I got myself a necklace, for no good reason, and then hit a few stores on the way home for good measure, just to treat myself to things I didn't need.

One of them was the Bose SoundDock for my iPod.


Like I said before... I'm going to be feeling it in the morning.

1 comment:

MyExBestFriend said...

No, you totally need the Bose SoundDock - it's awesome! The pain of the purchase will go away quickly, trust me.