Make me a better runner: Boxing (Part 6)

THE POWER OF THE MIND

Growing up in Manchester, I got in a few scrapes as a teenager and have been smacked in the face a few times (in fact some days I’m sure my colleagues at RW Towers would like to add a few more to that record), but that rather potted pugilistic history was no preparation at all for getting bashed in the boxing ring.

When you first have a go at sparring you don’t even see the punches coming. Then you progress to seeing them coming but not being able to get out of the way. It’s like everything is happening in slow motion, Matrix-style. Except I’m not Neo and I couldn’t halt the opponent’s glove millimetres from my face and say, calmly: ‘No.’

But by the time I finished my eight week Boxing For Runners course with former world number 3 bantamweight Cathy Brown I found myself reflecting on how I now welcomed the odd (ok more than odd) punch on the schnozzle and how little I cared that it was happening. Gone were the flinches, the whimpers, and the desperate backtracking, to be replaced with, at the halfway point, a mental shrug of acceptance and in the latter days, a grin of acknowledgement that I’d been caught and a resolution that the other guy was going to get some back to make up for it.

In short; I’d toughened up mentally. Ask anyone: ‘would you like to be hit in the face repeatedly?’ and, unless they have a loyalty card for their local S&M dungeon, the answer’s probably: ‘not bloody likely thanks.’ But you know, once the worst has happened it takes a weight off your shoulders, you relax and that’s when you start to reap the benefit.

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