My weekend in Halifax was truly one busy, action packed weekend. Not only did I run, I also became a certified kettlebell instructor. Crazy I know, perhaps a bit odd. But totally true.
Since my summer at the Y began I’ve been flooded with an abundance of fitness information outside my running and yoga bubble. Everything from instructional courses, orientations, muscle focused isometric movements, to simple basic workouts that’ll kick your butt. The new fall schedule is now in full swing and I’m pumped to learn how to swim, train to become a better runner, and up the anti with my cycle fit classes. I want to pump these classes with a lot more energy and perhaps some dance moves. But we’ll see about that one. With all this new information coming my way I decided it was time to do something with it and the timing could not have been better. Amanda (one of my bosses at the Y, hi Amanda!) sent myself and the staff an invitation to a kettlebell certification course in Halifax. According to Amanda the price was comparable to other courses (a little steep in my opinion but this is considering I pretty much spent all my pennies abroad) Regardless I was into the idea but only considered it in passing.
But I kept thinking about it. And kept thinking about it. Honestly, I didn’t really look into it beyond the dates and location. Knowing the course fell on the weekend I was planing to be in Halifax already kept me thinking about it from afar. Because what did I know about kettlebells anyway? Nothing really. That’s what.
When the course was only weeks away I had begun my race weekend planning. One last look at Amanda’s email – and my trip to Toronto for Erin’s birthday – convinced me to do it. But I had one small problem on my hands, the possibility of “running” (excuse the pun) late Saturday morning. I’d have to run my 10k, jump in the car and drive from Eastern Passage to Bayer’s Lake (not the longest of drives, but in crunch time it’d feel extremely long) all before 10am. This was not going to happen. When I emailed my concern to the organizers I received a very nice response from Master Tim Bell who kindly assured me it wouldn’t be a problem. Hooray! I was in.
Saturday morning rolled around and everything went smoothly. I ran my 10k under an hour – all part of the plan – found my papa, got in the car and drove to the training venue. I arrived 20 minutes after 10. The group had just started warming up, I was golden. I even got props from Jason and John for running that morning. Even better!
John and Jason came all the way from California to offer the Orange Kettlebell Certification for the first time in Canada. And in Halifax of all places. I was fortunate to be a part of these fine Canadian instructors including the great bunch of ladies I met from the YMCA of Cape Breton (hi, gals!).
The 16 hour certification was broken down into two 8 hour days which covered the importance and fundamentals of the sport lifting. Given the size of the group we had lots of instructional one-on-one time and time practice and perfect our own technique. Right off the bat I was lost. I was surrounded by of group of non-beginners who’ve clearly taken to the sport of kettlebell beyond my years of any sport I have ever done. Yes, I felt that lost. But John and Jason were kind enough to discard this fact because I didn’t feel inferior to anyone for my lack of training and knowledge instead, as the great coaches they were, I absorbed the corrections they gave me and ate up every positive remark they provided. By the end of Day 1 I could swing, jerk, and clean like a pro, almost. Apparently I should have been lifting heavier weights. Maybe that’s how I perfected things so quickly? Or maybe that was my plan all along.
Day 2 would be the moment of truth to my ill-preparation. Day 2 was test day. “There’s a test! Shit.” Not just a written test but a physical test. “Great. I’m going to die. Or worse I’m going to fail.” But the CB ladies had my back. If I did fail I’d have a year to train and re-test via video proof I completed the physical exam. Thank goodness for a back up plan I was seriously convinced I wouldn’t pass the physical part of the course.
In the morning we covered snatches – according to John is going to be my event – this was the highlight of my morning thinking I’m actually good at something I just learned. Then we covered the style of long-cycle. Afterward was test time.
The written test was a 25 multiple choice exam which we were allowed to use the aid of our notebooks, if we had notes to look off of. Great. I did zero reading or note taking. If I was a good student I wouldn’t have had to use my lunch break to prepare, but that’s over with now. And yes I passed! Our physical exam however required skill, a strong will and tremendous support. Each student had 10 minutes to complete a determined set of repetitions of their chosen task. I did the long-cycle as most ladies did, but the minimum weight for ladies to lift was 12lbs and based on my weight I had to complete 60 reps. Oh god, I was practicing all weekend with 8 and 10s and god only knows how many reps I could do in a row! I was doomed.
Somehow I did it. I lifted and listen to John as he coached me and I listened to Lance (a fellow student from Ottawa) who was a natural and calming coach (thanks Lance I needed that!). Looking back at the course I was surprised at how much of the material was focused on the sport of lifting other than the instructional components of design a class or taking students through a kettlebell class. Although my expectations were far from what I got out of the actual course, what I got was much more than I could have ever asked for.
My weekend wasn’t over there. With time ticking away I needed to get back to Digby to teach a yoga class at VP Fitness in Digby (my new teaching gig for the fall). But I couldn’t leave the club. I needed to stay and cheer everyone on, just as they did for me. Like I said the physical test took courage and determination and I’m so proud of the fact that everyone there (me and the CB ladies included) did it. It was one of those things you can’t really explain or prepare yourself for until you actually experience it. And I’m so glad I did.
And I did make it back to Digby in time in case you were wondering. What a weekend.