8 weeks sounds like a big commitment, well not quiet marriage style large but big! Especially when you are putting your body, and to a greater extent your pride on the line.
That however is what myself and 33 other very brave and slightly crazy souls signed up for. Over the last 2 months we have trained hard, sparred against all sizes and abilities, challenged ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally, all in the name of a very worthy cause. Last Sunday night saw the culmination of all of our hard work, and boy was it a night!! 17 fights saw 17 winners announced but all 34 of us left champions, having put it all on the line for an amazing cause, with huge reason to celebrate.
I was amazed by the progress so many of my fellow competitors made, and blown away by the vigor with which they battled it out. Some of the fights were tough to watch, and I am a boxing fan! But the commitment to see the challenge through to the very best of ones ability drove everyone on in a big way. It was a credit to the coaches from Black Dragon Kickboxing, the very dedicated organizer David and all who worked behind the scenes. The money raised for Blood Bike West was over 10,000 euro and a massive success!!!
And yet I finish this with a little disappointment. A big part of that is that I now have to find something to fill 3 or 4 hours each week ( I have a few things in mind ) and that I won't get to see this motivated and incredibly fun group of people each week. But having come down from the rush of the evening I have to ask myself if I did my best?
The truth with any challenge is that even when you are pitted toe to toe with the toughest of competition ( check out the awesome Roisin from whom I still have a sore stomach!) the only real competitor you face is yourself. This is the same in every challenge, in every aspect of life and the only thing that matters after all the dust settles. I think you should always walk away from a class, workout, exam or interview believing you did your best, and I am just not sure. I won in the ring but feel I didn't give it my all, and that doesn't match up with all the amazing effort I saw on the day. Blood, sweat and tears literally! YOU ALL ROCK!!!!!!!
So as I move on to the next challenge it is with a little more intensity than usual, which for those who know me could mean trouble! I certainly won't dwell on the tiny negative that I have totally created in my own head, I will pat myself on the back for getting through a 8 tough weeks and be grateful for every moment of the experience.
What I do know is that not just for myself but for so many of us on the day, whether it was win, lose or draw in the ring, the emotional release was unexpected. It is a raw and almost animal thing to step into that ring and actually try to hit another person, and takes alot more out of you than I had expected. The adrenaline carries you only so far and when you hit the ground it is with a real bang. I know all of us will bounce back ( some had by 1 am with a little help from the barman, our mutual hero) dust off and probably a few will even fight again, but for now I will hang up my gumsheild and stick to hitting the bags!
Jessica Keniston is a mother of 4, former dancer and lover of fitness who has turned her passion into a career. Read favourite tips, recipes and workout advice here, and sympathise with the daily motherhood struggles!