Reality sets in when you hit week seven. The number is an uncomfortable reminder of how rapidly the days meld into one another. By this point, you liken yourself to a feckless deer at the edge of a clearing—minding your business, looking for cover. But if you are a deer then time is a huntsman.
And it is in hot pursuit.
All sorts of obsessive thoughts will begin to hound you around this time. Below is a cross-section of the things that cross your mind when you realize there’s a month and half to go before you rendezvous with a stranger in the ring.
What the fuck.
No, really. What the fuck.
Keep down that smoothie. Breathe through your nose. Don’t you dare puke.
Remember the way your headgear compressed your skull, like a crown of thorns, when you wore it for the first time? That sucked! This isn’t nearly as painful.
Must eat. Always hungry.
Hey, where did that bruise come from?
Wait, are those your biceps? Sugar, you are jacked.
Everything is going to be fine. You lasted three rounds with Coach, remember? It’s possible you will mess someone up.
Yes, fangs are savage but you can’t breathe with that stupid thing crowding your mouth. Get a new one. Now.
Thirsty! Hate the concrete block! Vertigo! Why is Coach being such a jerk? If he says one more thing about your use of the word “can’t” you’re going to punch him in the middle of his face.
You are not ready. You are not ready. You are not ready.
Shhhhhhh. Relax. It’s still October so there is time to prepare…
…except that it’s the end of October, which means December is right around the corner.
Breathe. Have a glass of wine
or two. Actually, stick to one because you can’t handle your liquor these days.
For the record, you can change your mind about sparring any time you want.
Except, no, you can’t. You are in it and, besides, bowing out isn’t your style.
Pass the Tiger Balm, please. Body. Hurts. All over.
You might break your nose. You might break your nose. You might break your nose.
Oh, shut up already and find a bathroom—hurl those nerves out of your system.
Pull yourself together, Girl. There’s less than seven weeks to go.