Lisa Creech Bledsoe of Garner was stressed out in her family life, career and health, when in 2008 she found herself intrigued by the heavy bag in her garage, meant for her sons’ use.
“They weren’t all that interested, but I was fascinated,” she said. Using a pair of paper-thin leather mitts that came with the bag, she started swinging.
“I didn’t know I needed boxing gloves for a serious punching workout. As a result, my hands were covered with minor abrasions and my wrists, elbows and shoulders were sore,” she said. “I was pretty sure there was a lot I didn’t know about boxing, which is how I found myself wandering around in a boxing gym looking for someone who could teach me.”
Many of us would think it a stretch for a professional writer/marketer, wife of 20-plus years and mom to three sons to take up an extreme sport. But Bledsoe was “desperate for extreme change” and willing to take action to achieve it.
“Boxing for fitness was the comparatively easy hurdle, even though it was an incredibly difficult workout; 1,000 calories an hour is no joke!” she said. “But the real challenge came when I decided I was ready to get in the ring. I was terrified. But during that very first round I realized my life was about to change.
“I’d had no idea I could hit someone, hard, much less take a shot, shake it off and keep going. Learning to throw and take a punch is an unbelievable confidence builder.”
Physically and mentally demanding, the effort produces jolts of energy and satisfaction for Bledsoe that flow into other aspects of her life. She encourages others to step out and try new things, even the improbable.
“I’ve learned the hard way that staying in your comfort zone doesn’t serve you in the long run,” she said. “Growing means learning to take risks and navigate new challenges. Trying new things builds courage, opens the path to discipline, nourishes your soul, and introduces you to new skills, mentors and communities.
“For me, there were physical, mental and emotional boundaries I needed to cross, and boxing came along at just the right time. And even though it was incredibly challenging, the biggest surprise of all was discovering the great joy unleashed by doing it.”
She had her first fight, and win, at age 45; now 47, Bledsoe’s official record as a competitive boxer is 2-1, that close loss being to the undefeated national champion.
A master boxer licensed through North Carolina’s local boxing committee, part of the USA Boxing organization, Bledsoe’s home team is Second Round Boxing in downtown Raleigh.
With fights for women hard to come by in the Master’s category 35 and over, Bledsoe has set her goal as having one officially sanctioned match each year. Her next one, the fourth, will take place on Jan. 24 in Atlanta, in a black-tie VIP event in which she’ll help raise money for charity; for more information, visit corporatefightnight.com.
Bledsoe also writes a boxing and life blog, at theglowingedge.com.
“Learning to box taught me to how to name, fight for and win the life I had always longed for,” Bledsoe said. “I plan to box for as long as I can!”
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