Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello Dear Readers,

Those who are on my Facebook Fan Page (thank you, btw–it was a writing class assignment, but I’ve met a lot of nice people there) already know that yesterday was a tough day for me.

KWest instructor Grant Rutherford wrote me a letter in response to my “Use the Force” blog post. It was super nice of him, especially since he’s a new dad and works full-time in addition to all his KWest responsibilities. Along with the support and encouragement was a lot of great advice.

This was how he suggested I approach every class. He said I could share with all of you, and I’m doing so because I think it’s a great way to approach any tough challenge.

After every drill ask yourself honestly, was that it, was that all I could have given, or was I saving more to finish harder at the end of class to make sure I can get through it?  If you are (and most do) then you are just kidding yourself about improving, and being able to pass the green prajioud test.  Challenge yourself every round.  Yeah, your fifth round today may look like crap because you left it all out there in the first three rounds.  But two months from now your fifth round will look just like your second.  And people will notice; trust me!  And they will start using you as their inspiration to get to the next level.  Work for this.  Be someone else’s inspiration!

I knew yesterday’s Level 2 class would be tough, because Joscelyn was teaching. Joscelyn favors a drill sergeant-type of instruction. He really tries to break you down so you can be built up again. However, this week my kru Kelly Westerlund has invited the Level 1s to try out the Level 2 class, so I comforted myself with the thought that Joscelyn would probably take it easier on us. And the first class was just a Level 1, so how hard could it be?

Brutal is not the word. Can you say 100 knees to the stomach, people? But that isn’t when I started to feel sick. The nausea really hit me during Joscelyn’s running drills, which went on forever. Apparently, “taking it easy” is not in his vocabulary, and since I followed Grant’s advice and went for broke in Level 1, I really started to feel sick after about fifteen minutes of lunges, jumping knees, sprints, jogging, jump squats, burpees, push-ups, and so on. It just went on and on and on, with no end in sight. One of the things that kept me going (besides reminding myself that I was channeling Grant, and Grant would never quit or throw up) was that my kru was doing all the exercises right beside me. He’s just gotten over a string of pretty serious illnesses, including pneumonia and food poisoning, and it sounded like he was having a really hard time. But he never quit. So I didn’t, either.

When the cardio drills were finally over, we paired with a partner to practice our front kicks–two “range-finding” ones with our left leg, and then–BANG–a powerful one with our right. So, basically I went from extreme nausea to getting kicked in the stomach repeatedly. Fun times! As grueling as it was, the front kick is one thing that’s vastly improved for me since I started training at KWest. Even at Sik Tai, my front kick was weak. I don’t think anyone would say that anymore.

Once the front kick drills were finished, we did some sit-up drills with our partner. Those weren’t so bad, although my partner and I were both cooked by the last exercise. I can honestly say that I didn’t hold anything back. There were times I felt sorry that I didn’t have more energy for Vanessa, my Level 2 partner, but I have faith in Grant’s advice. I can only get better.

I apologize for the lack of writing-related posts lately. This is my first week of hardcore training, and I am struggling to find balance. But I really hope (and plan) to get back to the book next week.

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Kim

    That’s tough, but Grant’s right though. You want to get better then you have to be OK with not finishing strong. Sounds like those workouts are a whole lot of anerobic hell. You might just need a good dose of electrolye in your water for that level of intensity. Electrolyte imbalances can cause nausea, as can lactic acid build up which is the by product of anerobic effort. Or you could have just eaten something that day that didn’t agree with workout effort. That is a trial and error thing for most people to find out those things that you really shoulddn’t eat before or during workouts.

    I had a bad headache on Monday and chowed down a Kellogg’s Special K protein bar walking to Yoga class and felt nauseated the whole class. (And Yoga can hardly be called intense).

    Hang in there…. when you work yourself to the point of nausea it isn’t fun but it will pay off.

  2. Story Teller

    Thanks, Kim. When I increase my water level dramatically, which I’m always told to do when I start these programs, I feel sick to the stomach. Have you heard about anything like that? And how do I add electrolytes to water?

  3. Kim

    Just use Gatoraide powder or E-load or something of the like. There are several brands. Power-aide is another. You can buy it a the grocery store or since you work downtown you can go to MEC. You can get little electrolyte chewies too. I haven’t heard of anyone being nauseated from too much water but I would listen to your body. You might be hydrated enough. I”m sure it wouldn’t be low sodium. You like chips too much.

  4. Story Teller

    Oh, I’ve cut those out. Thanks, Kim. I’ll look into that stuff.

  5. kungfusinger

    If you are worried about the amount of sugar in gatorade powder, what you can do is stir it just until all of the colour crystals disolve, leave the sugars to settle in the bottom for a minute, then decant the liquid into your drink bottle. That way, you still get the electrolytes, but leave a lot of the sugar out.

  6. Mystic_Mom

    You are an inspiration Holli and I’m thankful for your sharing with us…! Keep it up you don’t know who is reading your words, cheering you on from this side of a computer screen and finding courage in your own courage!

  7. Story Teller

    Thanks for the tip, kungfusinger! I’ve missed seeing you on Friday. Where have you been? 🙂

    And thanks, MM. That means a lot to me. If someone can find inspiration in my struggle, it almost makes it worth it.

  8. Lisa

    Uh…yeah…I’d be curled in a corner somewhere, rocking…


    You go!

  9. kungfusinger

    I went out and got a real job that doesn’t let me access internet at work, and my weekends seem to short to spend a lot of time blogging.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.