On Tuesday, April 14th I was heading to my gym, Touch Em Up, like it was any normal day and expecting the normal workout. What I got was SO much more.
As I’m pulling up to the gym, my trainer, Jameson Bostic, calls wondering when I’d arrive. He never calls so I knew something was up. When I arrived, he asked me about getting in the ring with fellow trainee/general badass/model hot, Jesse. My first instinct was to laugh. Was he serious? “She’s just going to work defense so try to get her good. She won’t punch back.” He says. So wait. I have a chance to get in the ring with someone I totally admire and I can only punch her? Yes please!
So we all hop on treadmills to get our blood flowing. One by one he suits us up for the ring. Wow. I really had no idea. Not only are there special gloves for the ring, there’s special padding to wear. You wear something called a cup to protect your sides and organs. Also a helmet that is surprisingly uncomfortable. Oh and this protective gear that you wear only makes you sweat about 17 gallons.
While we are suiting up, the rules changed. Jesse’s coach didn’t see much point in her only working defense. So I actually agreed to take punches. We did agree to no faces however. I simply can’t go to school looking like a thug even for fitness reasons. Also, Jesse had a photo shoot (?!?) the next day. So before I knew it, here I am standing in the ring with a girl who actually does competition fights, whose ready to hit me.
PAUSE. I, Kimberly Galbreath, have never been in a fight. My sister and I just weren’t fighters. We just didn’t really get into physical fights. Through middle school and high school, other than using my mouth, I never got in a fight. Even as an adult, I’ve never had to physically hurt someone. The closest I’ve ever come was shoving a homeless guy trying to get into our building. I’ve never thrown a real punch with the intention of hurting the other person. In some ways, (although very few) I really am just a white Midwestern girl.
So we are all suited up for the ring. And I’m not even nervous. I can’t explain it but somehow I knew I’d be fine. I trust my coaches and know they only have my best interest at heart. This is absolutely key within a relationship with your trainer. Jameson explains the round time (2 minute fight with 30 second rest) and gives me a quick minute of advice and what to throw. And then the bell rings.
When the bell rings, you forget about everything else. This person is about to punch you and it’s your job to punch back and try not to get hit. Well, turns out I’m not very good at either of those things. While I felt confident that I could survive the rounds alive, I knew I wasn’t experienced enough to win. After 5 or 6 rounds, I survived. I was able to get some good throws in but I freeze. Whenever Jesse would get a good combo in, I would just stand and brace the punches instead of using my punches to get her away from me. My footwork is slow so she was able to outpace me for sure. But, even though I definitely lost, I got in the ring and fought several rounds with an amateur Colorado Golden Gloves competitor and it was awesome.
During the rounds, I took several good hits from her. I expected every punch to leave a mark and wake up the next day with bruises everywhere. I took one to the chest and right hip that hit HARD and even one accidental to the face. But, I only ended up with one injury. All the other hits went away within minutes. The injury I got, was because of my own defense and I know in the future I’ll be much better at defending!
I ended up with a cracked rib/bruised rub/tweaked ligament or something. The left side of my chest hurt immediately after getting hit and continued to bother me through the remainder of the rounds. My breathing was shallow and it hurt to take deep breaths. But it didn’t seem so bad. Later that night I even ran 4 miles. By the time I got back from my run, I knew it wasn’t good. My chest bothered me all through the run and when I got back I had to take ibruprofen and ice it. This continued for several days. I asked advice from my coaches and alerted them to what was hurting so they could help adjust my workouts for the rest of the week. They also told me it was best to work through it instead of taking time off.
Now, 5 days out, they were right. Now I know what I can do with an injury. My chest continues to get better even though I haven’t rested a single day since. I’ve even already gotten back in the ring to work offense. However, I’ve grounded myself from any more real sparring. Since my goal and focus right now is the marathon, I can’t risk doing activities at the gym that might risk my training. So, 5 weeks from now, you bet you’ll see me back in the ring!