Tuesday, January 21, 2014
You ever get that feeling like you're invincible? Or, that slight, gym-related amnesia that forgets how long it's been since you've really done this? Or that thing where you decide that you need to make up for lost time by, you know, just sort of doing it?
But, yay. I mean, yay? Wait, what?
So, I'm dripping sweat and I feel this gnashing cramp in my left side and my right shoulder is fighting me and halfway through a straight leg dead lift with the kettle bells my thighs go all quivering jello and I suddenly think to myself "self, perhaps you should have taken it a little easier on yourself. I mean, self, honestly"
But the snow is still piling up (a cool 11 inches according to the purple ruler I jammed into the snow on my deck around noon) and I am unlikely to make the gym tomorrow morning before my big morning meeting (which is also unlikely to happen as planned) so I figure why not crank up the workout mix and go at it.
And, if by go at it you imagined a buff, sexy, workout machine with rippling muscles wearing only sport briefs and glistening with sweat, well, you'd have the outfit and sweat part right.
But I wouldn't call it glistening. And it certainly wasn't pretty (so, no, no photos this time. I mean, it was dastardly).
And I have a nasty bruise on my shoulder where I let the kettle bell swing a little too much over the shoulder (although, an upside down and backwards 20 would make a good workout gang tattoo) and I have trouble moving up and down the stairs and I am still having that feeling that the cramp in my side is ready to return at any minute, but guess what. I did it.
So take that limited self. I beat you. Or me. I beat me. or.
(let's just take this as a sign that I'm on my way to "back on track")
((p.s. a special thanks to a special someone who sparkmailed me to bring both inspiration and friendship. you know who you are, and thanks.))
Monday, January 20, 2014
The gym is packed.
"Damn resolutioners" I say, because that is what I say, but you know, I haven't been here in a while, at least not consistently.
And I wait patiently for a treadmill and an elliptical and at the bench and at the dumbbells (because that is what I am, a dumbbell -- the kind that says "three hours at the gym today seems reasonable).
And I still drink a couple beers that night at dinner, but I'm making slightly better choices and I'm starting to lose the weight that I put back on that I had just pulled off. You know, that yo-yo thing, just call me yo. Rather, don't,
And I'm signing up for another spartan, because I can. And I am going to be in the best bathing suit weather I could possibly be in when I take my family vacation in August, and I intend to rock my way to my *gasp* 20 year high school reunion in November, and despite the myriad of other challenges in life, I'm embracing a few things about myself that I often struggle to embrace.
I was told by my therapist (oh, dear reader, had I failed to mention that aspect of my weekly routine, one I did not quit when I fell off the wagon) that I can either spend copious amounts of time trying to change myself to suit others or try to accept who I am and be that person as best I can. That means acknowledging a lot of faults pretty head on, and also having some very very difficult conversations. Life. Eh. But I need to accept who I am.
oh, hey there, you sexy beast.
I mean, really, it's more than that -- sure, accepting me will allow me to regain my mojo, but it will also mean being fully present and understanding what that means. And I need to decide if things I do are truly me or not. And it's a lot of processing for a highly intelligent, experience laden writer-type who wants to indulge in every aspect of life like I was dying tomorrow and who gives a flying squirrel about it all. So I process.
And it's a lot of work, lots of resolutions, but realistic ones, lots of struggles and attempts and not getting too down on oneself and trying to recover a little bit of who I am and why I am and how I am through it all.
So yeah. Granola bar and apple sauce this morning, in pain from the gym (dumbbell, why did you even consider 3 hours realistic?) and sort of... meh.
I mean, it's a positive story in the end, right... it's a journey, and I'm journeying.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Suffice to say, I'm off the wagon and desperately trying to get back on.
But you want more than that, I know. My apologies. Its just... sometimes once you fall down you forget how hard it is to get up. Funny, when I look at my kids learning to walk, I always thought it would be so much easier to just get up, to just walk. But, in reality, from down there, it's hard. It's daunting and scary.
So, wait. Hold on. Let's go back. About eight pounds ago (in the right direction) I was flying high, having completed an adventure race and driving myself from one place to another on the top of my game. But, in the midst, there have been problems at home (largely self-driven, I know. That's the hard part). I know that there are things I should change, but also that I am who I am, and that this sort of change takes a level of effort and sacrifice I'm not yet quite convinced of. Not on a practical way, but more a philosophical way. It's too big for this blog, so I'll leave it at that.
But then, add to it a variety of other things. Family problems beyond. My niece with the kidney problem not doing well and hospitalized again, large family gatherings where gossip acts as a poison among those who should be thicker than water, work pressures building up in a way I was not anticipating nor able to navigate effectively, and a general deterioration of my mental state associated with a new bout of insomnia (which I have suffered in fits and starts for years), a smattering of sick kids, little time for myself to decompress and the fact that in the last ten months I haven't yet found time to find/haven't made enough of an effort to find a good therapist.
I'm hoping some time off over the holidays will bring me back to the gym and allow me some time to just sit and relax again. I need, likely, more than just a day or two of getting away, but that is hard when you're the breadwinner and you're the one everyone relies on to be strong and powerful. I guess the pressure is getting to me.
And I am emotionally eating my way through it. I know I should make better choices, and I do, but not often enough, and it's resulted in weight gain. I'm losing all that great progress I made. Even so, I know I can be there, and I'm really looking forward to the next chance I get to move on, to be optimistic and jump into the fray of it all again. I just can't seem to stay awake/get to sleep or find enough motivation to make my way through it.
I log in most days. Watching my mood on the mood scale and the hours of sleep on the sleep scale is frankly very disheartening. Perhaps some things aren't as good tracked. Even so, it is what it is.
Life is full of sparks, and I feel like I've lost one or two. It's a shame. I'm better than that. But, also, I'm not. Usually I celebrate my failures and my faults, but sometimes it's a rock and a hard place. Who am I if I choose not to be me to be a "better" person.
Truth is, I don't know. Now, when the rubber of life meets the road, I am in a position where I wonder, truly wonder how far I will go to fake it through life.
They say honesty is the best policy, but perhaps those people are angels who fit right in. Pardon me, I'm gonna go and have a cookie and contemplate it a little more.
Monday, September 30, 2013
I know, the ideal me would look like I was in the film 300. At least, part of me wishes that. Heaven forbid, however, I get that big and people start to think that they should use me to guard some mountain pass with my life. We all know how that ended in 371. Just don't attack my right with that many men.
Nevertheless, I signed up. I trained. I ate like a madman on Friday (because, well, 'Merica).
So Saturday, I pull into the parking lot and put sign the form which prominently highlights, bolds and underlines the words "YOU MAY DIE" and smiled.
I mean, thanks for that, right?
And then I put on my chip and wristband, put on my headband/race bib number and took a picture. Because, well, Sparta.
Then I entered the stadium and peered around. Thousands of people, massed in clumps. Some, sporting medals already, drenched in sweat and smiling while taking photos. Others were anxiously stretching. Still others were in groups checking their chest mounted cameras and other gear.
I was there alone. This was my first foray into adventure racing, and I was understandably a little nervous. Afterall, earlier in the year, I weighed a full thirty pounds more than I was at that moment. I still say I'm fat half the time because I don't know better. And I still get fearful when I'm playing a sport, because I never was that guy. I'm a little bit short, a little bit fat, and a little bit slow. And all those things aren't always easily balanced by my positive attitude, inability to quit something once I've set my mind on it, and pure dumb male bravado.
When they called my heat, I lined up, shaking back and forth from one leg to another. One neat feature to the spartan races (if you want to call it a "neat feature") is the complete lack of understanding of the course. That is, there is no map. You follow the directions realtime. The arrows point this way, you run this way. If there is an obstacle, you take it.
They release the waves in groups of fifteen people, every minute. The countdown was intense. I ran out of the gate with a smile.
I was sweating within 100 yards.
Over and under the ropes, over and under the ropes up to the upper deck. Then stadiums -- stairs and aisles and aisles and stairs. Around a bend and then medicine ball slams -- 30 of them. Run on. Jump over walls, crawl below them, jump through them. Four footers, six footers, eight footers. Row 500 meters in under 2 minutes or 30 burpees (WAHOO, says the machine when I beat it, no burpees for me there) then on to the next thing. Pull a giant weight up a pulley (How heavy is this sonova? I yell. Bout One Fifteen the man says. Felt like a bloody ton). Run more. Stadiums.
Put the elastic around your legs and hop up the platform. Run down the stairs. Jump over more walls. Crawl under more ropes. Race outside. Throw a spear into the hay bales (a miss, 30 burpees), Climb a 20 foot rope to ring a bell (a miss, 30 more burpees). Pick up the 50 pound hunk of concrete and carry it across the street, do five burpees, bring the brick back.
I was gassed, but kept on.
Carry a sandbag through the stadium. Carry two ten gallon water bottles through the stadium. Run. Hands-up Pushups, twenty in the dugout. Making the final run. Making the final push. Sweating hard and panting.
Then out onto the warning track. 20 box jumps. My thighs and calves burning. Military hurdles -- walls that were four foot high, five of them in a row. Then to climb across a giant wall covered in small two by four pieces. then a cargo net.
Finally, two spartans, holding giant q-tips, beat you as you cross the finish line.
And they put a medal around your neck. And you smile. Because you did it.
Not bad for an old, fat italian. Fastest time was around 40 minutes. But I wasn't the slowest. And for that, I can be happy. I did it.
I poured water over my head and panted and smiled and looked back at it all and said "I am a Spartan!" and wore the tee shirt and am as sore as I expected to be (okay, maybe a little less-- apparently the training helped) and I already started thinking about the big dog, my dream event. The Tough Mudder.
So, if you want to do the crazy with me -- it's going to be cold-- Poconos Tough Mudder is April 19/20. 10-12 miles, 20-22 obstacles. Average temps in the mid fifties. Brutal. Harsh. But I will take all people who want to do it with me. Let's be a team. Let's be crazy. Let's have fun. Let's enjoy the pain and prove we can.
Six months to train, no problem. I am a Spartan now. I'm hooked.
(besides. What's life without an event touting death as a side effect?)
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