Recently, as I started my fitness routines to get me in my best shape for the big grapple event in June, I started wrestling with a girl called Aluna. I met her at Michelle Falsetta's Mixed Wrestling Event in late January. She was already a friend of a friend but was totally new to wrestling. She is a total natural athlete. She surfs often, has played soccer at a collegiate level and has an intense competitive streak. We wrestled about a 10 minute round at the party which I won due to skill level. But the match was SUPER tiring. She really brings it 100% from start to finish. We chatted after the match and decided we wanted to wrestle again on our own. Aluna particularly liked matches that could make her tired.
We met up for another match about a week later and wrestled for 4 more 10 minute rounds, which was different than I usually do. Usually I'll wrestle till one of us scores a submission, both of us take a breather and when we feel like it we do another round. With Aluna, if there is a submission we get right back up and immediately go at it again. Nothing can save you from the exhaustion until the timer sounds. We were both into it. We talked about it more and decided we wanted to challenge eachother to keep slowly increasing the round times until we worked up to a full one hour long non-stop grapple. We made a google spreadsheet (dorky as that sounds, lol!) with many matches in a series laid out with one round slowly increasing in time until it gets up to a full 60 minutes. So that's our goal! We are keeping a tally as we go along all building up to that final 60 minute challenge.
We just had Match #3 in the series last week and Aluna beat me for the first time. Despite the fact that I am in better shape than our last two matches she was alot stronger too from a full week of non-stop surfing on a vacation and she started a yoga routine that she says has helped. We start standing up so there is alot of foot work and takedown attempts and blocks. We did one 10 minute round and two 15 minute rounds. By the third round we had done so much standing grappling that my calves were totally worn out and cramping. This was despite that I had drank alot of water and had a good dose of potassium to avoid muscle cramps the days leading up to the match. It was definitely more grappling from a standing position than I was accustomed to! And against a girl who has a killer set of legs on par with any soccer player girl you have ever seen. It happened at critical times too in positions where I almost had her only to have her escape because of the intense pain in each calf.
This match motivated me to up my intensity in the gym and try to push myself harder. I have been to the gym 3 out of 4 days since that night. I'm really starting to notice improvement in my cardio and fitness. This week I put alot more effort into increasing my strength and endurance (because Aluna was stronger than me in this last match!). We are doing these matches on a frequency of every two weeks so I still have another week to put the effort in to get ready for match #4. I'm still leading in matches, rounds and submissions won (all of which we are keeping a total of throughout the series) but we are close in all three. At this rate our epic one hour showdown will likely take place some time in August. But this is a really fun and motivating way to really push yourself to the limit with someone. We will both be so much stronger at the end than we were when we started and I'm looking forward to sharing more as this goes along. :)