Monthly Archives: February 2013

Day 53 – The Kindness of Strangers

Tonight I attended an early boxing session. I really like the early sessions for a few reasons. It is less busy – there is space to move around and everyone gets some one to one time with the trainer who is running the class because they can focus on each individual to help them out. My friends are there – I used to attend this time slot a lot before all the White Collar training started, so it was really nice to see some of my familiar faces at the gym again. I can get home in decent time to do work – usually I get home around 8:00 or 8:30 (or later if traffic is horrible) and then I eat dinner and usually fall asleep on the sofa by 9:30pm. So at least tonight, I have some time to get things accomplished which I very much need to do!

The session seemed to fly by tonight – probably because Rey was keeping us busy with exercises and circuits that we didn’t notice the time. Overall it was nice to switch it up a bit and work with different people than I have been lately. My arms are feeling a bit tired and my right side of my neck and shoulder need some TLC. Thankfully Maria, my sports massage therapist, had room in her schedule for me on Saturday. I am really looking forward to seeing her and working out the kinks in my body. No pain, no gain…  and with her there is sure to be pain!

Fundraising Update

Today things have really started to come together – especially in terms of donations for an upcoming raffle that we will be holding. I threw it out to my Facebook friends to see if anyone had any ideas of what to look for in terms of donation prizes and friends came back with offers of things to donate. I was so impressed by how generous people have been and I think because the items are so fantastic we will be able to raise a lot of money from this initiative. We have received things like: memberships to bootcamps, beautiful Georg Jensen wine and bar items, a 3 night stay in a villa in Phuket, signed Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao boxing gloves, free tickets to the White Collar boxing event and dining vouchers to name only a few. AMAZING!!!! I can’t wait to get the ball rolling on this part of the fundraising… I will keep you posted on how you can get your hands on some raffle tickets for these amazing prizes soon.

Not only was I so impressed with how my friends have come together to support me, I was also blown away by the generosity of people I actually have never met.

Firstly, I have gotten to know a wonderful woman named Bev from back in Canada. Bev and I have never met in person, but a few years ago she was passed along some information about me raising money to build houses in Cambodia. Despite not knowing me, nor ever writing, talking or seeing me at all – she donated to the cause. She has supported me in various initiatives throughout the past few years and she never ceases to amaze me how she always takes the time to give to others. We now correspond on Facebook every now and then, but I think it is time I actually meet Bev the next time I go home. I would like to say thank you to her in person.

 

Secondly, on Sunday, I sent out emails to Canadian businesses located here in Singapore. I got a reply from one of them yesterday. I was happy to just get a reply to be honest, but the message attached was even better. Unfortunately the bank that this individual worked for was not able to support my request for a donation because they already have fundraising initiatives that are set up through the company. However, the individual I specifically wrote to said that he wanted to make a donation himself. And he did. I am genuinely impressed with this stranger, because he could have just deleted my email or not bothered to even read it. Instead, he read it, responded and helped despite not knowing me at all.

And who says we can’t rely on the kindness of strangers?

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Day 52 – Boxing for ‘bodia!

Last night’s Personal Training session with Rey was very successful. I felt good doing everything we were practicing – from working on my defense, to footwork, to countering Rey’s punches. Things seemed to be going pretty good in the ring. My energy levels felt good and I was putting my practice into routines which will hopefully lead to me not having to even think about what I am doing and it will just come naturally. That will take awhile – like maybe another year before that happens, but  it is all starting to come together.

Tonight was another White Collar squad training and they split the group up with some practicing their sparring and some working hard on the heavy bags. I was in the heavy bag group. My right shoulder and neck are feeling quite sore. I think it is just muscle pain and probably a massage is in order for this weekend. I really should be trying to get to my sports massage wonder woman, Maria Hussain, because she manages to fix anything related to deep tissue therapy. I am usually half way between crying and laughing hysterically because the massage is quite painful and I can’t figure out whether to laugh or cry, but the benefits are amazing. Yep, going to text her in the morning to see if I can arrange a bit of abuse. 🙂

I tried “Dr.Rey’s Home Remedy” to see if that may help with my aching body but I made a slight modification. I tried to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ and put 2 egg yolks, condensed milk and my chocolate protein shake powder into one drink. The results were… interesting….. and very thick. I think I will stick to what the Dr. recommended next time.

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Over the past few days I have been thinking about Cambodia and why I love it so much. It is probably my favorite place to visit for a number of reasons (too many to list in one post). So… I will share with you over the next few weeks, why I am boxing for ‘bodia. So, in no particular order, here are the reasons why.

Why I Love Cambodia: It is BEAUTIFUL

Beautiful sunsets, beautiful buildings, beautiful people. Honestly, what more could one want? A picture is worth a thousand words.. and this time I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

 

Day 51 – Photo fun with Richard Ticehurst Photography

A couple of weeks ago I had a photo shoot at Vanda with Richard Ticehurst, a photographer here in Singapore. He was helping me to get some images to share with Canadian based magazines and newspapers when I am asking for articles to be written or donations to be made. My focus when I contact Canadian groups: “Canucks doing some good in the world”. When I contact the Singapore based ones, I will be using images of the full squad that Vanda has provided.

Richard is very talented and has made even me look like a pro. Trick photography I think 🙂

Don’t forget to make YOUR donation today! Donate here

Day 50 – How lucky we are…

Yesterday was VERY busy. I got a lot accomplished in terms of sending out information to Canadian businesses here in Singapore. It proved to be extremely time consuming as I needed to adapt each letter and personalize it to the company that I was I was writing to as well as locate a contact email. Many companies websites now have generic online forms by which customers can contact them, rather than an email address. I wanted to email people personally so it took some serious digging to get contact information but I did manage to get them eventually thanks to my internet sleuthing skills.

I started in on writing to magazines as well, but didn’t get very far yet on this aspect yet. I hopefully will get this completed by the end of the week and sent to as many as I can both in Canada and in Singapore. I think that it would create a great personal interest article for a number of reasons: health & fitness, Canadians living abroad, charity work and awareness etc. so hopefully at least a few will want to assist me in getting our squad’s story published.

During all of this, I have also been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to come from Canada where health care is free. My mother was admitted to the hospital last week. She went straight to the Emergency room at our local hospital with her symptoms and they processed and admitted her right away – for free. She stayed there for a few days and was released only when she was feeling better and the doctor’s were certain that she was well on her way to recovery. In Cambodia, people are not so lucky. The average person in Cambodia makes around $1 per day. If they don’t have money, they can’t pay for healthcare. If they save up enough money to go to the hospital, they may not have enough to see the full treatment through or they may be turned away because they can’t afford the treatment that they require.

That is why the Children’s Surgical Centre is such an important and life changing place. They provide FREE rehabilitation surgery to those who are in need. It is not an Emergency ward hospital, but it is a place for those who have been suffering to finally get help.

In order to help them, they need us to financially support the amazing work that they do.

Be the change in someone’s life today!

DONATE here

🙂

 

 

Day 49 – No rest for the wicked

Today I am willing myself to take the day off from training… so of course my body clock woke me up at 6:45. Thanks so much. Despite not training today, I do plan to do a lot of work in terms of the fundraising side of the upcoming fight. We are now less than 2 months away from the big day and so much needs to be raised before we step into the ring. I have a lot of big plans and ideas to get the message out there in different ways this time.

Last night I went out to dinner with some friends. First, my favorite restaurant with my good friend Jodie for Belgian mussels. Delicious! We were discussing the fundraising and she has given me a brilliant idea for raising money – a Book Fair to be held at school. It would work very similarly to the Clothes Swap event that we will be holding on April 7th where people will donate books to the cause and we will invite people to come and purchase books for a small cost with all proceeds of the Fair going straight to the CSC. I would also like to have a change drive along with the Book Fair. To do these two things, I will need to speak to our Community Outreach Coordinator at school to make sure that we can do this through the school. Fingers crossed I get good news about permission to run this event.

Jodie also suggested contacting companies in Singapore that originate from Canada to see if they will donate to the cause. I think that is a great idea too and a different route that I have gone before. It would be great to have as much Canadian support in Singapore – it’s always great to have Canucks come together for a cause! So, today I will be doing some research into this as well.

Following dinner, I met up with some friends for birthday drinks at Lau Pa Sat (lime juice and water for me!) I had lots of great suggestions from friends there too about selling raffle tickets for items that people would want to purchase. Some ideas popped into my head and my friends are so supportive as well that they have offered up some things as well. Did I mention I have amazing friends!?! Another thing on my “to do” list for today.

Along with the Clothing Swap, the squad is also planning a Cocktails for Cambodia event. We are working to finalize a date at the moment for this, but I will let everyone know once we select our date. Basically the event runs like this: The boxers donate food and alcohol to be served at the event (and take in other donations from friends as well), we make a little schedule for serving drinks and the boxers come around and fill everyone’s glasses throughout the evening with themed drinks (i.e. Phnom Penh Punch). The money from the tickets sold to the event are donated directly to the CSC and we accept donations throughout the night. I have run this event with my colleagues in relation to the fundraising we do for the Cambodia Housebuilding project each year and it is always a success. Looking forward to another successful run with the boxing squad!

So, potential Book Fair, Raffle draw, contacting Canadian businesses in Singapore, Clothing Swap and Cocktails for Cambodia… plus one more thing.

Along with these events, I would like to also raise awareness about the CSC and CASC which hopefully will also lead to donations to these very worthy organizations. So, my plan is to contact magazines, newspapers, and radio stations (I have a few friends in this business) to start spreading the word. This is today’s other task and probably my most daunting one. I have already had an article written in the Canadian Association‘s publication, “The Maple Leaf Times”, thanks to President Janey Schueller who has supported me in getting my message out there. It has worked as well as I had parents come up to me in the last month or so at school mentioning that they saw my article while they were at the High Commission or that they received it in the mail. Great news and I am very thankful for their support. So – why not contact more publications and see what can happen out of that? It can’t hurt to try.

The Canadian Association of Singapore showing their support. Thank you!

The Canadian Association of Singapore showing their support. Thank you!

So, my day off seems even busier than a training day but hopefully the results of all the hard work will show on our donation page.

What are you doing today?

DONATE TODAY and be the change!

Days 47 & 48 – Hey Baby, what’s shakin’?

Friday

Tonight I had my Personal Training Session with Rey. I had to run an errand after school so I arrived to the gym quite early and decided that I would stop in to Athlete’s Circle around the corner to see what I could find by the way of nutrition supplements. I need to keep my weight where it is but would like to gain some more muscle definition and energy. I picked up a few things and headed back to the gym to get ready.

Rey said that he had some things planned for me for my legs and my arms. I did my regular skipping warm up followed by stretching and then came the “fun” part. Sprints. Rey had me working on what I would call “suicides” (I used to do these during basketball practice in High School so I knew exactly what he wanted me to do when I saw the cones set up). But this time he started my sprints with “Rat-a-tats” (or at least that is the name I found for this exercise on the internet – I personally also call them “Butt Jigglers” because they also seem to have that effect on me when I do them. ugh). Basically, it is running on the spot with a wider stance on the balls of your feet for about 30 seconds. It reminds me of American football players warm up drills. Then when he shouted “go” I was off sprinting to one cone and back to the start and repeating until I had hit every cone. And then back to end it with a last 30 second Rat-a-tat. But after doing the small tiny runs your legs feel really strange and sore because you are focusing in on specific muscles and also having to bend down to touch each of the cones as you run the sprints.

After I was done my sets I was shaking my legs out and Rey very kindly offered to help me. This was my worst nightmare. He grabbed my leg and shook it back and forth really fast to help the muscle relax. We usually do this with my arms when they get tired, but it was a mortifying experience with my legs because, quite frankly, that’s where all the bad foods I have been eating go straight to and it happens to be a very “soft” area of my body. I felt like someone on one of those vibrating belt exercise machines from the 1950s. It wasn’t pretty.Hip Trimmer

We then worked on strengthening my arms with a few exercises, some spar play and pad work. It was a very good session and I felt great afterwards. I felt energized! I felt like my old self again! It was about time.

Later that evening, I went out to enjoy a lovely dinner with some of my lovely lady friends. It was long overdue and it had been awhile since I had taken the time to do so with everyone – much needed after a long week of work as well.

Saturday

I had a hard time sleeping all the way until the alarm clock sounded this morning so I was tired arriving to the gym for our early morning session. I think I was feeling anxiety about having to spar today. I am not really sure why I felt this way because I didn’t feel that way the week before at all. Maybe I knew it was going to be an off-day before it even started. We arrived and Libby and I were up against each other again, but this time we were going for 3 full rounds (exactly what we will be doing on fight night). After the night before’s big session with Rey, I was feeling tired overall which isn’t a good way to start any boxing bout. Alexis noticed right away that I was really slow and commented on it after the first round. I must have been really bad because he told the squad at the end of the session that he also thought I had an especially terrible boxing session. *sigh* He did also say that most of us (except Libby who did great) didn’t have a great sparring session either – so I guess we were all in it together and it was just one of those days for the squad.

Alexis filmed my match and I took a minute after the session to watch it from his phone. I could see how slow I was going and the difference between what I boxed last week compared to today’s session. I think my body is telling me to take a break now after 7 days of straight training. So tomorrow is a rest day. I know I will feel anxious not working out, but in the end it will be for the best. Unfortunately, I was really looking forward to a bootcamp tomorrow but since we are sparring on Monday or Wednesday and also again on Saturday next week, I think I will have to wait to start that next Sunday instead.

We also briefly talked about our fundraising at the end of the session and I hope that what we have planned will help to get some cash brought in to the CSC (more to come after all the details have been ironed out). I also encouraged all the boxers to start sharing the link to the donation page – and I will keep doing the same myself. If we all come together as a team we can do phenomenal work to bring donations to the hospital.

Come on squad! Let’s show everyone that the charity is the REAL reason we are stepping into the ring!

Donation Page Link – DONATE TODAY!

Day 46 – Mary? I thought your name was Keriann?

Today flew by in a flash. Things were crazy getting ready for tomorrow’s big event of the Uniting Nations Parade of Nations. This is a parade where all the students and teachers at the school dress in their national clothing and march proudly behind each flag of the countries that make up our school. Today we rehearsed – tomorrow we celebrate. 🙂

Rey and KO training together

Rey and KO training together

After school, I rushed out to buy some things for the performance and then was off to the 5:15 boxing class with my cousin Katelyn and friend Aynsley. We got there in time to do our wraps and for me to realize that I had to go to the washroom which is always a better realization BEFORE you put the wraps on. 😦 The session was good and it felt good to get back into one of Rey’s classes with lots of fitness exercises. I think that I need to keep more up to date with the fitness element of the boxing so I will be trying to up that a bit more. I was working with the American guy again today (I worked with him last Thursday too, but I forget his name). He is very quick and has good footwork so it was great practice to work with him again. I worked on some weaves and wanted to focus on correcting my jab a bit too as it has gone a bit wonky. I wish that I could work alongside Aynsley and Katelyn and see what they were up to, but I also knew I was there to train hard so I focused on the work I was doing with my own partner.

I do love however, that Rey has started to give Katelyn a bit of a nickname. Rey is pretty notorious for giving out nicknames to people at the gym. Katelyn’s new nickname is “Cousin”. I quite enjoy it, but I think that I should maybe let him in on the nickname we call her – “Kitty” * you’re welcome* Though I do like the name, “Cousin” too. I say keep it.

This is a good segway into an explanation of my own nickname that Rey has given me – “Mary”. When I first joined Vanda a couple of years back I was quite nervous. I had never been to a real boxing gym before and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing so I was pretty quiet (hard to imagine for those who know me, I know) So when I introduced myself, Rey thought I said “Mary Ann”. I think I corrected him and he nodded in agreement. The next class, “Mary” was born. However, I didn’t want to correct him in front of the other people in the class because I didn’t want to seem rude, so I just let it go again. This happened a few more lessons, until about the fourth one, when I approached him after class and mentioned the mix up. He stood there, looked at me and said “nah, you are a Mary”. Well, I guess I can’t argue with that? It then became our little joke, and then it became my name.

My two names have confused many. I have people calling me “Mary Ann”, “Mary” and often asking me “I thought your name was Keriann?” Which I do find quite funny. As a kid, I always had a girl named “Mary Ann” in my classes and we used to get confused for each other all the time so I think it is only appropriate that it has followed me here to Singapore. I answer to it like it is my own name these days.

I wish I was better at making nicknames so I could give Rey one too.

“Dr. Rey” will have to do for now thanks to his muscle and energy boosting concoctions. 🙂

Listen, your name is now "Mary", ok?

Listen, your name is now “Mary”, ok?

Day 45 – To judge or not to judge…

Today was a day where I needed to demonstrate a bit of self judgement in a few different ways – some of them proved to be more  successful than others. 🙂

1. Uniting Nations Food Festival

Each year our school celebrates the different cultures that make up our school community. One of the most favorite events of the week is the Food Festival. Parents go above and beyond to bake, cook and create the most amazing fair of the different foods from each of their countries. This is no small feat because our school has just under 3000 students, but the parents did a phenomenal job of making some of the most delicious samples to share with the whole school. This was the first of my self judgements for the day and undisputedly my worst. I did go in to the festival with a very small plastic container in hopes it would keep me on track. I wasn’t able to do that – at all. I picked mango sticky rice from Thailand, deep friend bananas from the Philippines, a chocolate and toffee tart from Ireland, cheese biscuits from Brazil and a few other treats. I did get a bit of protein as the parents from the Chinese booth really wanted to share their quail eggs with me and being the risk taker I am (see yesterday’s post) I obliged. Again… not so bad!

Oh well, a few little treats at this time was kind of fun and who can resist the Food Festival? It can’t be done.

2. Self Critiquing

Last night our sparring videos from Saturday’s session were sent out to the squad. I was really interested to see what it looked like and what I looked like in the ring. I wish I could share it with you but I’m not allowed to so you will have to wait for another one. (With baited breath I am sure) 🙂 So I watched the video once… twice…. three…four….five times (and probably more). I got up old videos and compared it to this new one. I was really happy to see that I have progressed quite a bit in that time frame. However, I judged myself to death trying to analyze every small problem I saw with what I was doing. I should burn the evidence and move on. But now, I think I have it out of my system and I hope to try to apply some of the corrections to this Saturday’s sparring session.

3. Body Blahs!

I have been noticing for the past week or so that some toning up of my body would do me good. I need to maintain my weight, but also need to get rid of the areas that are a little more… errmmm… “soft”. After all, I am not doing all of this hard work to look the same as what I did going into all this training right? I think that it is a bit more difficult to keep the weight and look the way that I would like to. Toning up by losing weight would be much easier I think. More sit ups, push ups and a good old fashioned internet search of what to do to achieve this, is my plan to get on with this part. I also think that a bit better judgement in situations like I found myself in at the Food Festival will also help out greatly with this issue.

All in all, sometimes a little self reflection does one good at the end of the day.

Onwards and upwards!

 

Day 44 – Recipe for Disaster

I’ll skip over my work day and head straight to the boxing part. You know… the good stuff. 🙂

Tonight was my personal training session with Rey. I was really looking forward to getting back into the training with him tonight because after all these other sessions I knew exactly what we would be working on. Rey started out with doing some exercises with me for my legs. Last year, my legs often tired out quickly which would lead to the rest of me getting tired too quickly. This isn’t something that I find that I am feeling about my body at this point, but it is always better to be safe than sorry and make sure my legs are strong enough to sustain the exertion of the fight. Squats, lunges and jumping footwork was on the menu for this evening. It was really good practice for the footwork that boxers need to have to move quickly around the ring and hopefully their opponents. I struggled with the last of the exercises the most. I was holding weights in my hands in my guard stance and I had to two foot jump sideways over small training hurdles. Sounds easy enough… right? WRONG! The two sets of back and forth down the line of hurdles were ok, but the ones after that were really hard! My legs were jelly by the last hurdle I had to jump and I am always afraid that my feet will catch on one and then I will face plant into the floor in front of everyone. I was glad when they were over!

Practicing putting a bit of spring in my step

Practicing putting a bit of spring in my step

Then came some defense practice, sparring and pad work. By the end of it all I was a lifeless mess. My arms were toast, but Rey was happy with what I was doing. I was explaining to him my concern about feeling tired and lacking the energy that I used to have awhile back. Because I still have my cough, Rey thinks that it might have something to do with it. He offered some advice about how to get myself back in tip top shape. “Dr. Rey Caitom, home remedy guru”, offered me up some suggestions of things I could eat/drink to help me out. This is what he suggested.

Mix 2 egg yolks, a small can of condensed milk and Fanta (orange soda pop).

He swore by it, but I wasn’t feeling it. It sounded revolting. I thought he was kidding, but he told me it tasted good. I was very, very skeptical, but I decided that I needed to get myself back into my usual state bad enough that I was willing to try anything. So, after I got home Kelso and I walked to the grocery store to get the ingredients. I added in an extra ingredient of a Vitamin C supplement called C-Max in there for good measure too since it already had some strange ingredients and I needed to take my dose for today anyways.

Three things you think should never go together

Three things you think should never go together

I mixed it up and prepared for the worst and thought of my father’s infamous saying when I was a kid taking medicine… “Over teeth, over gums, look out stomach, here it comes!”

My first sip

My first sip

Surprisingly, it was actually pretty good. I thought it was going to make me gag, but it actually kind of tasted like a creamsicle (frozen orange popsicle). I think I could actually get used to it. So Rey, my apologies for doubting you and this drink. I think I’ll have another if you think it will work!

Now, I wonder what is next on Rey’s home remedy menu?  I’m up for anything.

Bottoms Up! 🙂

Day 43 – Making an entrance…

Ah…. Monday…. *le sigh*

It really hits you like a ton of bricks sometimes, doesn’t it? Even though you know what to expect, it’s never quite the same as living an unpleasant work Monday. All I can say is that I hope Tuesday is a little easier on me. See ya never Monday!

Our boxing session tonight did help to ease the work day’s stresses though. It was nice to see the squad and have a bit of banter before we got started. We got straight into shadow boxing and spar play after a short skipping warm up. The spar play was especially helpful today because we mixed up our partners which gave me a different experience of working with Cecilia today. We were working on our movements and quick response punches when receiving one. I was working on my movement and even got in a few weaves under her punches (which I am sometimes hesitant to try). I also learned that I NEVER want to be a recipient of one of her straight punches from her very strong right hand. wow. She wasn’t even trying to punch hard and I could easily see that they would cause some serious damage to one’s face. Note to self – get out of the way of those as every opportunity possible. After that part of the session, I was quiet tired. My arms were just dead and my body couldn’t keep up. I’ll do better tomorrow during my PT session with Rey – I hope!

After the session, the General Manager of the gym spoke to the squad about selecting our boxing names (check) and our entrance music (I think I have something in the works). As a Drama teacher, this is my most favourite part. Alter egos and 1 minute 30 seconds of fame? – that is right up my alley!

So when I came home, I googled best fighting entrances just to see what was out there. I had googled this search last year but instead of using the word “fight” I only googled “boxing” and it showed mostly the standard entrances you see on TV. Now, with tonight’s search I came across something amazing. You thought my entrance was over-the-top last year? This guy takes it to an entirely different level. I LOVE IT!!! He is known for being a good MMA fighter but I think his real talent in creating ridiculous, cheesy and insane fight entrances.

Readers – let me introduce Japan’s own Genki Sudo!!!!

hilarious