So, my long-awaited (or long-dreaded) red belt test is tomorrow. In our taekwondo school, the red belt is the lowest of what are considered to be the "high" belts, and accordingly the test for this belt is the first of the longer and more difficult ones. Tests for the lower belts are fairly brief and held on weekday evenings, but the high belt tests take place on Saturdays and can be a 3+ hour proposition depending on how many people are testing for what color/degree of belt.
I wasn't happy at all about how my last belt test went. I was out of shape and I got my butt kicked in an embarrassing fashion. The week after that test, knowing that I was looking down the barrel of a cannon at the coming attractions, I started doing some extra cardio, using some weight machines, and watching my diet for empty carbs a little better. As I've mentioned in a few posts since then, there has definitely been progress: a loss of 20-25 lbs, increased strength and endurance, and a few smaller items of clothing as well. Very happy to report that my current belt is now way too big--I'll be going down a size with the red one!
That said, my body has been paying the price for the extra activity. I joke that I'm an "old lady"--at 41, I need to be careful about going too far overboard, because I still have to carpool and shop and do laundry and all that fun stuff even if I get hurt! I've been wearing a steel-hinged knee brace on my right knee religiously since coming back from the knee surgery two years ago, and that knee's holding up pretty well under the circumstances, but the rest of me is pretty well banged up from the last month or so of ramped-up prep. Bruised left hand, bruised left foot, wonky right shoulder, jammed right thumb. I'm a mess...sadly, I also have a SERIOUS case of nerves going on right now.
I've often commented in the past to my husband when he gripes about his marathon training or a race that these activities are things he *chooses* to do...it's not like he's in the Army and there are orders involved. I am now finding myself in the same boat...putting myself through a physical wringer for a purely voluntary activity--and one I actually PAY to participate in, yet. Who's the crazy one now??