Saturday afternoon Mr. D brought Team Testosterone out for my 3-mile run--the final 3 miles on the journey to my black belt. Their cheers ringing in my ears (alongside Donna Summer's), I ran my best time ever--27:11. Team Testosterone ran with me for the final half mile. My pack keeping pace with me, I crossed the finish line while they enthusiastically hollered "Good job, Mom!" A total Kodak moment. If anyone got a picture of it, I sure hope they give me a copy.
Then it was back to the dojo for 3 hours of testing--combos, mitt work, forms, weapons, self-defense. Team Testosterone couldn't stay because we had people coming from Iowa, but my good friend Nicole and her family dropped in to watch a while which was encouraging. I had a terrible cold settled in my upper respiratory system, so my voice was hoarse and I kept sucking on cough drops to take the edge off. The Qualification Test wasn't as exhausting as Extreme Day, but I felt pretty wrung out by the end of it all.
I and listened to my instructor ask the candidates if we really believed in ourselves. It took much self control not to crack up during her "respect your body, don't use drugs or tobbacco" speech. (I listened to Nancy Reagan when I was a child so I knew to just say no.) I bit my cheeks when she had the parents join their kids on the floor and urge them through the final stretch of physical endurance (obviously I had no parents there, so a teenaged 2nd degree boy took over for me).
Kids were crying, a couple were screaming--emotions ran high for the under 18 crowd but I didn't feel pushed mentally or emotionally like the kids did. It was only physically challenging for me and I was prepared. I didn't puke out, cry, sob or quit. I aced the test (except for combination No. 9--I kept getting dizzy and did a sloppy job on the back round-tornado-spin kick-punch) because I trained for it and knew my stuff. I earned every fiber of the fabric in that black belt. And when I actually receive it on November 7th, I'll post a picture of it tied around my waist.
When I returned home at 5:45, Mr. D had a beer poured and waiting for me for me. The people from Iowa had stopped in Madison and bought me a 6-pack of Fat Squirrel Ale which was a darn fine thing. We had a lovely visit before they left for their motel in Green Bay (with their Packer tickets in hand!) and I was showered and in bed by 8:00, flush with success and cough syrup.