Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready | Day 1 (Member)
Head Trainer
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Another Dawn 

  • Dec 14th, 2015 at 3:25AM

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Sorry, kids. This one is kinda long. I need to take it piece by piece to integrate some of the emotion that is swirling within.

Context:
-February 2015 - Sustained devastating knee injury while snowboarding in the wild's of New Hampshire.
-April 2015 - After extensive pre-hab, had surgery to repair a torn ACL.
-August 2015 - A no holds barred culinary blow out in Austin, TX. Word from on high that I would be rolling with Team Kenzai full-time.
-September 2015 - Resigned from counseling job/teaching gig after 15 years. But learn they won't let me out of my contract. Gotta try and pull double duty while jumping into training. Stepson Evan heads to college.

Crazy launching point for 90 Days of training. But if Kenzai has taught me anything, it's that it is almost always a good and bad time to train.

Here and Now:
-Sick. Anvil dropped on my head in the shape of a banging cold. It took hold Saturday afternoon just prior to taking a 3 mile run. Less than ideal timing with the big year end wrap-up and two ripping workouts staring me in the face.
-Stoked. Locked down the workouts any way. Just had to dial back the lil bit of explosiveness my knee-habbing ass had cooked up over these 90 Days.
-Proud. 90 drama free workouts.
-Emotional. Started tearing up yesterday while I was looking at this dude's artwork. Dude was like WTF. Me too, bro. Each day is both a rebirth and a death experience. The holiday season and the occasion of my 40th year has brought me face to face with many peers that have chosen a different path. A path I spent a lot of time on. People are not always kind when they look into your eyes and see a bright burning light. Further, training brings you face to face with the question - Who am I? Shit is real!
-Vulnerable. My knee feels pretty good. But I have a long way to go. The amount of muscle atrophy on the left side is still significant. And I am not yet completely pain free. Plus, not rocking the rope has left me battling the self-judgement monsters. I am reminded of this every time I look at my curvaceous hips or my KB1 visible results.
-Strong. I am so much stronger than I used to be. I didn't do one single pull-up during my KB1 training. Now I can max out at 9. Room for improvement, but pretty dope.
-Humbled. KB2 is a marvel. Patrick pulled together an incredible program. In fact, I recall reading the lesson on Biceps and being in awe. How can someone make biceps that interesting? After years of studying via Nursing at Uni. (try to identify a harder undergraduate major I dare you), earning Yoga Certification, and receiving certification and recertification in Personal Training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, I still read his ish and take away so much. Internet hugs to Chen. He is the man behind the curtain. You kept me well fed, which was just what I needed to get back into training mode. I'll be on you to cut those grams once I tackle KRun. For now, THANKS!
-Humored. The Kenzai Staff is amazing. To train with each of you have been a dream. Cap tip to the #raisethebar posse. Big ups to Cecilia for bring that cali sun drenched silliness. Cheers to Jordan for being a hopeless devotee to the beautiful game and a pop culture freak-a-zoid. Man after my own heart.
-Inspired. Internet High Fives to Janet, Penny, Patrick H., Scotty B, and Jane Niles (and other inaugural members of KB2) for showing the rest of us how it is done. Big ups to Sir Thomas Doyle who I look up to for his fire, creativity, and strength. Congrats to Team Portland - Kate, Steph, Wendy, and Liz for representing our city out on the blogs. One love to Belinda for being so @#$@#$ busy and still tearing this thing down to the ground. Kudos to Ian Smith, whose abs, commitment, and humor I admire. Dude has a grade-A sense of humor hiding behind those stoic weekly pics.
-Stached. Thanks to Sam Elliot (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B48D60wH8gA) and Uncle Rico (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmh5e-9bn8w) for setting the bar so high.

Next steps:
-Physical Therapy. Got three sessions to see where the train is headed.
-Kenzai Run in January. Looking to move a bit more chub in the New Year. Not yet back to my KB1 levels of fitness, but I will get there. So hoping to get the okay to get back on the rope and tackle some winter running.
-Celebrate. I feel like donkey piss. But you can trust that I will be out on the blogs whooping it up and in the barroom shortly thereafter to hoist a glass.

Song of the Day:
Fresh off his spot on Saturday Night Live last night, Chance the Rapper ft. Social Experiment. Love this joint - Sunday Candy. Dude proves that there is nothing that makes a MF harder, tougher, and more real than writing a love letter to his Grandma. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WRhJMUPHW8

 
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28 comments

Robert W.Robert W.Kenzai Iron | Day 51 (Member)
over 3 years ago

Congrats Ward. As you know I ruptured my ACL like you (skiing no snow boarding) and also had the reconstruction in April. KB2 was a great target to get into shape and i wish you the best of luck with the season ahead.

Sounds like 2015 was a year of many changes for you. Good luck in 2016. My recommendation - try and get some sun (in a non-carcinogenic way), as you look rather pale... :-)

PS - I am also thinking of Kenzai Run in January. Are we mad???


    Ward WillisWard WillisKenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready | Day 1 (Member)
    Head Trainerover 3 years ago

    Cheers, man. Best wishes on your kneehab, bro. And sadly Robert, I am a pale lover. The son of a fair skinned fighting Irishman and a Scottish maiden. I ain't got too much control over that part of the equation. But I appreciate the support! And of course we are mad!


      Janet L.Janet L.Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready | Day 9 (Member)
      over 3 years ago

      Ward, it has been great to see you and the other trainers go through KB2, because you can really appreciate what a great program it is by experiencing it, having skillfully guided the inaugural bunch of us through over the summer. The energy from you guys on the blogs was fantastic! Great progress on rehabilitating your knee....may the journey continue! Have a great holiday in Portland! (and btw, PALE is in....70 spf all the way!)


        Jonathan H.Jonathan H.Kenzai Member
        over 3 years ago

        Dude what a journey! Big thanks to you for quitting your teaching gig and joining Kenzai. You've been a great coach and, to be honest, I didn't think this remote coaching would work. But as with everything on Kenzai. It did. Huge thanks again to you man. Congrats on nailing KB2 and enjoy the holidays.


          Scott BurnsScott BurnsKenzai Iron | Day 23 (Member)
          Trainerover 3 years ago

          Hey Ward, what a great post man. Congrats on nailing KB2 and I look forward to seeing you on KRun in Jan. Have a very Happy Christmas.


            Liz B.Liz B.Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready | Day 8 (Member)
            over 3 years ago

            Wardie, you are an inspiration in real life and in the World Wide Web-o-sphere. Although you may not see the body that you had after kb1, biking with you is like watching a Jedi knight practicing for battle- your athleticism, gracefulness and strength are incredible so don't ever lost sight of that my kenzai master! Loved being on this training cycle with you. Hope to see you soon for that celebratory drink.


              Cecilia A.Cecilia A.Kenzai Member
              Trainerover 3 years ago

              I dig this long-winded Ward, no need to apologize. Lots of golden nuggets ("your grandma ain't my grandma" like your pain ain't my pain, but we all got pain) and l give mad r-e-s-p-e-c-t to the honesty and vulnerability of laying bare all your curves and edges. It was 100% pure fun and positivity training with you Wardo. Have full faith that you'll keep smashing through to new fitness heights and when all else fails, rely on your lats and mustache- they're mighty strong!


                Elissa ImranElissa ImranKenzai Mind | Day 16 (Member)
                Trainerover 3 years ago

                I always enjoy reading your poetry Ward. And your honesty and openness about what goes on behind that mustachioed facade.
                I know all too well how hard it is to recover from a knee injury. You have stayed strong mentally in order to get strong physically, and that is no small feat.
                Thanks for your support and mentoring these last 90 days. Looking forward to spending more time in the virtual togetherness ahead!


                  Malia HirschmannMalia HirschmannKenzai Member
                  Trainerover 3 years ago

                  Word to Bird Bird, Ward. You've nailed it again not only in terms of the execution of the program, but for being able to clearly and colorfully describe your experience through it all. I love reading your posts as does your loyal following in the Kenzai community. It's an honor to work with you my friend!


                    Woody R.Woody R.Kenzai Member
                    over 3 years ago

                    You are an inspiration brother!


                      Ward WillisWard WillisKenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready | Day 1 (Member)
                      Head Trainerover 3 years ago

                      Gosh darn it, I love this place. @All - One love!


                        Angela WorthingtonAngela WorthingtonKenzai Member
                        Assistant Trainerover 3 years ago

                        What a great blog Ward, you have gone through so much.........respect! Well done on completing the programme, you are an inspiration to others, absolutely.


                          Patrick H.Patrick H.Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready | Day 2 (Member)
                          over 3 years ago

                          Awesome post boss! I look forward to following your progress with K-Run.


                            Sean K.Sean K.Kenzai Member
                            over 3 years ago

                            Ward, you have a way with the blog. This post really moved me. Congratulations on your tenacity these 90 days of KB2. And thanks again for your huge support throughout my KB1 run. You Da Man!


                              Jess SwarbreckJess SwarbreckKenzai Blast: Beach Ready | Day 9 (Member)
                              Trainerover 3 years ago

                              Dude, you are just the best. It is so much fun training with someone who's so positive and full of encouragement for everyone. It's really good to read such a heartfelt blog-as I've heard you say to your trainees, Injuries are a pain in the ass but they are also great teachers. So it seems you're in the midst of one of those pain in the ass lessons but handling it like a champ. You may not be able to burn the fat as fast as you'd like on that knee but you're looking awesome either way...Which way to the beach?


                                Nate Belle IsleNate Belle IsleKenzai Kettlebell 2 | Day 29 (Member)
                                Trainerover 3 years ago

                                Great job Brother! Congrats and I hope the knee keeps on getting better!


                                  Thomas DoyleThomas DoyleKenzai Member
                                  Head Trainerover 3 years ago

                                  Locked down as always! Bringing the love, intensity and honesty. Game on for Jan Run, I kind of can't believe I'm saying that, but why not?


                                    Stephanie D.Stephanie D.Kenzai Member
                                    over 3 years ago

                                    Love you buddy.....


                                      Stew F.Stew F.Kenzai Member
                                      over 3 years ago

                                      Hey Ward my old sensei.... .
                                      I understand ur feelings about the knee man, it seems I got a slightly luckier break than you did last year, but I gotta admit I get the same pains occasionally as well, our season starts REAL soon and im a bit nervous truth be told , im apprehensive about going hard on it regardless how much rehad ive done, one thing for sure tho without this proggy id be in NO SHAPE whatsoever to even contemplate it again. As much work you do on it , u still have to take that first step again.
                                      so
                                      lets doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ittttttttttttttttttttttt!


                                        Shaun W.Shaun W.Alumni
                                        .over 3 years ago

                                        "is almost always a good and bad time to train." So true man, and so honest, ACL sucks.. been there not fun. Great post, sorry I was not a better team mate this program.. going to do Run next year so maybe you will be on that by then? Thanks for keeping it real!


                                          Sharmali ArumugathasanSharmali ArumugathasanKenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready | Day 2 (Member)
                                          Trainerover 3 years ago

                                          Our in house funny man/wise counsellor/ perceptive people carer. You don many cool hats , so to steal the words of our favourite Kenzai mentor, "cap tip" to you Ward, for overcoming your physical limitations and powering through KB2 like the top man that you are. Big love.


                                            Kim MurchKim MurchKenzai Reach | Day 44 (Member)
                                            Trainerover 3 years ago

                                            Nothing like injury or illness to make you realize the value of good health. What a year! I hope that you are pain free and healed up in the near future so you can once again rock the rope. It's been so much fun working with you, I really appreciate your candor and support. Congratulations on a fantastic finish and enjoy your IPA!


                                              Amy G.Amy G.Alumni
                                              over 3 years ago

                                              Such an inspiration, Ward! I'm not quite back to KB1 level either, but this program certainly helped me feel like I could, and will!, get there. Best of luck to you! Maybe I'll see you in another program early in the year, now that my knee is feeling a bit stronger, too!


                                                Brett KuhnertBrett KuhnertKenzai Member
                                                Trainerover 3 years ago

                                                Congrats, man--and thanks, as always, for sharing the crazy wisdom and strong vulnerability. You are looking fit, and ready to rule the 'Run in 2016!


                                                  Matt BerlinMatt BerlinKenzai Blast: Beach Ready | Day 8 (Member)
                                                  Trainerover 3 years ago

                                                  Great blog (as always). Great work moving through all the obstacles you had this year and looking positive and strong going forward. And special thanks for your week 9 photo...that classic had me roaring for days...and stills does...such awesome humor!


                                                    Jessica B.Jessica B.Alumni
                                                    over 3 years ago

                                                    We love you maaan!


                                                      Kim BensonKim BensonKenzai Blast: Beach Ready | Day 8 (Member)
                                                      Trainerover 3 years ago

                                                      Kinda crazy to see it all laid out in text. What a year for you! Congratulations busting out an awesome KB2


                                                        John M.John M.Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready | Day 9 (Member)
                                                        over 3 years ago

                                                        Great post. Considering all you went through this year, you rocked KB2 despite the limitations imposed by recovery from the ACL surgery. K Run in January, huh? I want to hear all about it. I'll watch your blogs for advice. I am doing K Run starting in March. Onward and upward, Ward.


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