Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

The Stikeforce fight never happened due to my opponent not making weight. She came in at almost 4 pounds over and was unwilling to cut one pound to be able to fight. So, no Showtime this time. It was frustrating, but I'm confident that I'll get another opportunity to be on Strikeforce.

This past weekend, I decided to push myself and take a jog down into Hogsback (a canyon that is a good, challenging hike). It was Memorial Day, and I invited one of my training partners, Derek Ellis, to go with me and my 2 labs. We stopped several times so everyone could stay hydrated. We made it down to the creek, and my female lab, Raven, collapsed. I figured she was overheated, so I had Derek help me get her into the water to cool down. It didn't help. She wasn't moving. I pulled her out of the water and thought about what I could do.

I seriously doubted my ability to pack her up out of that canyon (a mile straight up with some rock climbing- and my Raven weighing around 90 pounds). We tried to make a sling to carry her out, but that didn't work. We figured we could take turns and take lots of breaks. One nice teenage guy helped us get her up to the trail. From there, I started to feel desperate. She was like a dead weight.

That's when my heros came up behind us and offered to help us carry her out. Mikey Cramer, Steven Hayward and Jesse Hayward- THANK YOU! These guys took turns with us either carrying her or pushing me while I carried her. We were all spent by the time we made it to the top. A few times, I felt like my back was going to break under her weight. Amazingly, we got her out of there in record time, and they got us to our car which was parked down the road.

From that point, I called my husband who met me down town to see what we should do. I lucked out and ran into a friend, Scott Williams, who works for Fish and Game. He gave me some sage advice on how to get her cooled down and hydrated quickly. Thanks, Scott. Without his advice, she wouldn't have made it through the night.

First thing the next morning, we got her into Mill Creek Vet, where Mark Whinning came out to my car like a knight in shinning armor and scooped up my sweet Raven like she was light as a feather and immeadiately started the process of healing her. It was touch and go all week. I don't think I've cried that much in my life- so many emotions.. worry for her, guilt for taking her down there, fear of losing her.... It was a bad week to say the least.

Dr. Whinning found out that she had a heart condition and had damaged her liver through the ordeal. He kindly tried to relieve me of my guilt by letting me know that it was a pre-exisiting heart condition. That helped a little. He said he'd let us know by Friday what our options were. We were expecting the worst.

I got a call from my husband on Friday letting me know that Raven was being released and that she was probably going to be ok. I can't describe how much joy filled my heart right then. She made it, thanks to all the hard work of Dr. Whinning and his staff. I asked my husband to bring her by my work, so I could see her before he took her home. He pulls up, opens the door, and there's my precious Raven. I give her a hug and a kiss, and I'm able to go back to work with a weight lifted off my heart.

I had to write this as a warning to other dog owners. My dogs were both in pretty good shape- they were my running partners. I had taken them down into the canyon before, no problem. It wasn't that hot on Memorial Day, but it was hot enough. Don't take your dogs out for exercise unless it's early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. Don't take them hinking somewhere unless you can carry them out (not only are there heat issues to consider, we have tons of rattlesnakes around here). Always pack plenty of water for them. And, this goes without saying- but I've seen some cases of poor judegemnt in town, NEVER leave your dog in your car when you run errands. They will DIE.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Wyoming Fight

I had a "title" fight in Casper Wyoming last weekend. It was not a sanctioned title fight, but it was still for a nice, shiny belt. I had to cut 10 pounds (it's so easy to pack it on when you're not careful!) It was a pretty easy cut with some strict dieting a few days before the weigh in. I made it to 125 without having to get in a sauna.

The cutting was nothing compared to the actual trip- dang promoters (the people who put the fight on) had us fly into Denver, rented us a car and had us drive to Casper. An easy drive, they assured us. We found out that it would take several hours and that we'd have to drive through snow storm conditions. We'll never do that again! Fly us into Casper next time, or forget it!

The fight itself was quite a battle. I was prepared for war going in (both with my opponent and myself- it was a high altitude fight- and we had to fight 5 minute rounds- since it was for a title.) I was worried that my lungs would burst. I got some good running in, though, prior to the fight and felt pretty confident about my ability to last all 3 rounds if I needed to.

I had to contend with a blond, model in this fight, and fortunately, I'd just seen her fight in Oroville the prior month. You're probably thinking, oh- a model- easy win. Well, you'd be wrong. She was a tough opponent- definitely no push over.

The bell rang, we tapped gloves, and I immediately went to work. It felt like I was channeling Chuck Liddel (a straight shot, knock out brawler). I left my game plan in the locker room and just started slamming her with straight shots. I was so focused on hitting her, I didn't defend when she took me down. From the ground, I struggled for an arm bar. She dropped an elbow down on my face, and my eye nearly swelled shut. I reversed the position on her, and she caught me in an arm bar. I rained down some hammer fists and posted my knee on her head to get her off my arm. Then I dove on top of her and continued to rain down punches.

Now, here's where it gets sticky. She's yelling at the ref that I kneed her in the head (an illegal move on the ground) and that she can't see. He does nothing, so I continue to rain down punches on her. She clinches me to her- the ref stands us up for lack of action. She doesn't get up. She reiterates that I kneed her in the head and that she can't see. The fight doctor comes in, looks at her, leaves the ring. Her corner/manager comes in, and appears to be trying to talk her into continuing the fight. She refuses.

The ref announces at this point that I won with a TKO (technical knock out), and the ring girls wrap the belt around my waist. I'm happy, but spent. She gets helped out of the ring mumbling that I'm a dirty fighter. Whatever. I've got the belt and the win. My husband and my manager (and fellow fighters Ken and Cutter) were totally happy for me.

Next up, a tough fight in Fresno for Strikeforce on May 15th. It's at a nice low elevation and only 3 minute rounds. I can't wait. That will make 4 fights this year. If I get a fight every month, maybe I'll lose those pre-fight nerves. Wish me luck!