Friday, May 31, 2013

Mediterranean Irish?

The sweetest 90-year-old man called me at work yesterday for some help with a University of Tennessee item. Just before he hung up, he said, “You’re Mediterranean Irish, aren’t you? I can tell from your name.”

Um, not exactly.

When I told him I was of Nigerian lineage, the phone went quiet for a few seconds. He then apologized profusely and said HE was Mediterranean Irish. I guess he thought he'd stumbled upon a kinswoman. We had a good laugh about it and then we hung up.

It gets better. The guy, John, called back this morning to follow up on his request. Turns out he's a music composer from New Jersey and asked for my address to send me one of his recordings. Once I listen to it, he wants me to call him back with feedback. I think I just made a friend.

I love these kinds of random life experiences.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Black belt conference

Knoxville crew at the Taekwondo America Black Belt Conference
I just returned from a glorious weekend of learning how to better kick butt.
A crew of six from our martial arts school, James Rich's Taekwondo, spent Thursday through Sunday at the Taekwondo America Black Belt Conference at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The conference was a chance to sharpen our skills through a variety of clinics and workouts ranging from sparring strategy to kicking and punching target drills. Saturday was the longest day with six back to back, hour-long workouts. (I was grateful for a long lunch break. I snuck in a nap.) When we weren't in clinics, we could be found at the hotel's pool or on the beach.

It was pretty cool to deepen my friendships with the folks from my school while also getting to know some of the other martial artists from sister schools around the country.

The conference was great preparation for me especially as I get ready for my upcoming test for second degree black belt.

View from the pool on Friday night

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CrossFit Diaries -- Class #16: Dead last

Bringing up the rear in a competition is not always a bad thing. (So says the sore loser who was me yesterday.) Not only did I finish dead last during a timed exercise at CrossFit, I also walked out of the gym with screaming, aching (read: happy) muscles.

This week we're setting personal records to see how far we've progressed. So yesterday, after I set a max bench press PR of 95 pounds, we did the "Louder than 10." It consisted of 11 rounds of:

5 ball slams (20-pound ball for guys, 15-pound ball for the ladies)
10 standard push ups
15 kettle bell swings (25 pounds for me)

And we had to complete all 11 rounds as fast as possible. :-/

The first six rounds weren't so bad. Round seven came and I hit a wall. The conversation in my head went something like this: "This is stupid!" "This sucks." "$&%#!!!!" Friends, I don't think I'm a quitter but yesterday I really, really, really wanted to weeny out. Really.

I huffed and puffed my way through the remaining rounds as I watched other folks finish and put away their equipment. Then the cool part came: they cheered me on through my last couple of rounds. Whew.

After all that craziness, we rounded out our workout with a few sets of sumo dead lift high pulls with the kettle bell and then we were free to go.

Yesterday was pure torture. But do you know what I did this morning? I went back for more.