Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Falling downstairs

Over the past 48 hours I've found myself weighing options at the top of every staircase I encounter. Option 1: take each step, one at a time, and give into the groans that refuse to be silenced. Option 2: Find an elevator or escalator, accepting a longer walk in exchange for the option of not groaning in public. Option 3: Scoot down on my butt. Or, Option 4: Fall.

True, option 4 has certain risks. And it really should involve at least a helmet. But on the other hand, if I can just land right the pain should be quick. Because taking each step one at a time causes my lactic acid soaked thighs to punish me, severely (oddly, going up is not nearly as painful). So, I have paused at that top step, and considered climbing over a banister or two. It's not THAT much of a drop, if I aim for the couch I'll probably be ok.

I remember when I first started bootcamp I was all peppy about that first week pain. It was novel. And I worked in a building downtown with an elevator. And I spent most of my day sitting in a desk chair. Now, working for myself and juggling a larger family I've got a lot more stairs to deal with and less time to coddle myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of myself for jumping back in. I'm amazed at how two days of bootcamp has already made me feel sexier and stronger even though, objectively speaking, my size 14 jeans are still just as tight.

I could take it one step at a time. But, at least for me, the slow steps are more painful. If my goal is to get to the bottom of the stairs, if my goal is to get fit and feel strong again, then I'm ready to take my licks, bounce a few times, and get to the bottom with scars I can be proud of. I used to think that getting fit was all about will power and "taking control" or "making the connection". There is some of that involved in getting to the top step. But once I'm there, it's all about putting myself in my trainers' hands, and then letting go.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Back to basics

5:30 a.m. I found myself pulling into the parking lot designated as the meeting point for the first ever Stone Mountain Park Operation Bootcamp meeting. Yesterday I'd been anxious about starting over . . . again . . . but it felt good as I tip toed around the house this morning getting ready to leave. I enjoyed being up before the sun because it brought back so many positive and reinforcing feelings from the 4 months or so when this was my daily routine. I had gotten fatigued walking through a park in the sunshine yesterday and felt daunted, but as I hopped out of my car this morning I felt energized and ready to play. It was a very good day to begin again.

This is the first Stone Mountain camp, so far just 3 recruits and two instructors although I understand we may be expecting 2 more tomorrow. Shaunya and Chester, the instructors, had great energy and helped us all feel very comfortable. Due to our parking spot (our FREE parking spot) being just outside the park itself, there is necessarily a bit of a run in at each end of the workout and I was feeling breathless early on. But if there is ONE valuable lesson I can say I learned more than any other in my first bootcamp, way back when, it's that the breathing will improve, and that I'm highly unlikely to drop dead. I didn't feel panicked at the breathlessness like I used too, I just felt annoyed by it. I'm looking forward to feeling it fall into place.

We did our PT test today. The one mile run felt a lot longer than one mile, it was an out and back course, relatively flat. By the time I saw Chester at the halfway mark I was certain they'd miscalculated. They probably didn't, I just started off a little bit gung ho and paid for it down the way. I was very pleased with my time, 13:39. A bit off the 8:26 I did at my last PT test over a year ago but reasonable for not having run for some time. The second half was tough, I definitely found myself digging into my old box of tricks (just to that stop sign, then you can decide if you'll take a break. Just to the top of that hill, just to that driveway . . . ).

On the other measures I did ok and reinforced that I definitely have retained some of the strength I earned last year, even if I have hidden the muscles away a bit. My other results were as follows:

Pushups in one minute: 20 regular and 15 modified (bent knees)
Situps in one minute: 28
Tricep Dips in one minute: 10 regular and 22 modified (bent knees)
1 Mile Run: 13:39

So there's my first goal, beat all those numbers next time around! The best part of the morning by far was the run back to the car. I was still feeling winded but I earned a little taste of that elusive "stride" that is so addictive and I'm excited for tomorrow!

Finally, one brief note since I mentioned it in earlier posts. After bootcamp today I went to court and had my divorce finalized. It was emotional. It was a relief. It represents, I hope, a new beginning in my relationship with my ex-husband. He's the father of my son and we share parenting time 50/50 so we're involved with each other regardless.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Days keep sliding by. 30 of them apparently just whooshed right by me. I felt them ruffle my hair. They smelled of rain.

I could hardly walk for a couple of days after the 2 miles. I've been falling back on karate and I'm ready to test for my orange belt. I enjoy learning and challenging myself with that and I'm actually enjoying hop front kicks now when a couple of weeks ago I thought they were physically impossible. On Tuesday last week we had a REALLY intense workout and I thought I was going pass out, it felt like bootcamp used to in the beginning and I just kept reminding myself of that as I gasped and gaped. However, it's not consistent. Thursday's class was much more low key. It's definitely worthwhile and helps me with grace and balance and just learning more general kick assedness, but if I'm going to get back in the shape I was last year (YEAR??? Ugh), I need 4-5 of those a week, not just occasionally.

OBC has a camp starting in Stone Mountain at 6 am on Monday the 27th. That is the first one in my new area that starts at a reasonable time (the Lawrenceville 5:15 class just seemed a wee bit on the unfeasible side). I'm thinking about it, looking at the money and the time commitment.

Monday the 27th is also when I'm supposed to be getting divorced. Our final hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. I'd definitely feel good walking in there with a PT test under my belt. I say supposed to be because my ex has informed the court that he can't be there and I'm waiting to see if they're going to reschedule it. I'm trying hard not to obsess over it and to just stay zen. If it isn't that Monday it will be another day. I just desperately want it to be that Monday. My therapist thinks I'm stuck until it's final. In my business, in my personal life, even in my health. I think he's right.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Starting over

I'm writing this from a leather recliner in my mother's living room in North Carolina. My body from the waist down is a mosaic of aches and creaks. I went for a run today. For the first time in a VERY long time. Other than running a few feet here and there in play with my son I really don't think I've run any significant distance since my attempt at the ING Half a YEAR ago. I haven't used my Garmin Forerunner since then, when I turned it on this morning it popped up with the stats from my last run, 13.1 miles in 3 hours and 42 minutes (see my old blog for a play by play of my 15K + 4 mile death march).

I'm disgusted with myself lately. I know that's not positive self talk. Whatever, it is where I am. I look in the mirror and I'm having that old familiar disconnect. I can't believe the fat I see and the pain I feel is really part of me. So I cover up with some clothes and go sit in front of the tv and eat a muffin to stop thinking about it. The old back pain is chronic again, not the pain from the injury last year, just the old ache in the small of my back that comes from lugging my overly top and front heavy form around. I'm back to that reality check I had 18 months ago. If pain is a foregone conclusion, why avoid exercising?

I broke down and bought a pair of jeans yesterday. I've been resisting for months. I grew out of my size 12's in December. I had one size 14 that I hadn't thrown out last year so I've been wearing them exclusively since then. I couldn't bring myself to buy any more size 14's, the 12's sit on the shelf in my closet and glare at me balefully. They do, honest.

But when you wear and wash and wear and wash the same pair of jeans over and over for 3 months, they start to fall apart, literally. There are holes on the insides of both of my thighs. I kinda wanted to try rock climbing with Chase when we were at the Huntsville Space museum on his cub scout trip a few weeks ago but I couldn't because I'd have been flashing peeks at my inner thighs to all the cub scout dads who were watching. Ugh. So, I bought a cheap pair of size 14's yesterday.

It is the first day of Spring. The weather is gorgeous here in NC, sunny but fresh and breezy at the same time. So I strapped on the Garmin. Reset it to remove the stats from a year ago, and headed down my mom's driveway. I set a goal of 2 miles in 4/1 intervals (run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute). It hurt. I had a hard time breathing. I felt like every footfall had about 8000 lbs behind it. I felt my gut and my chest and my big juicy ass rising and falling like they were sandbags strapped to my "true" body with every step. I was NOT graceful, or quick, or pretty. But I did it for 31 minutes. 2 full miles. I miscalculated and was approaching my mom's driveway on the return at only 1.78 miles. I almost went on in, figuring that was a respectable point from which I could round up and say I'd done 2. But it bugged me. And if I start this Spring short changing myself then I won't be out of these size 14 jeans (with the tummy slimming panel!) by the first day of Summer. So I looped up and down the road in front of my mom's house until that magic 2.00 came up on the Garmin.

In many ways I feel like I'm starting over. But unlike the first day of bootcamp 18 months ago, I know the way now. I remember how worth it those scenic vistas will be as I ascend this hill that I somehow have stumbled down over the last year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This blog is a continuation of I explain there why I've moved here.

Here we are, a new space, a new year (well, newish anyway). I'm in a new home, with a new family. Let's see if I can boil it down . . . . relationship with my sweetie has continued to grow and blossom and mature. I got laid off from my job in November. Decided to cut my losses and moved a week later (thanks to a very understanding landlord, I broke my lease amicably and he was able to re-rent it in December). Moved to the 'burbs and let my boyfriend take me and my son in. It was a difficult decision, it is a move we had discussed making sometime in mid 2009, after my lease was done, after pesky details like the finalization of my divorce, after my son had more time to adjust to the whole concept. But with 2 weeks notice on my job and a very tight budget I leaped. There has been a lot of leaping over the past year.

Had some interviews but nobody's hiring, it's slow all around. Started my own firm, began reinventing myself AGAIN professionally. I'm excited about the vision I have for my business, about the niche I'm carving for myself. But I'm now at the point where that initial creative energy has burned down a bit and the lack of income is painful. There is potential all around me just simmering but not quite taking off yet. So I'm not self-sufficient at the moment which is very hard to swallow. And my divorce still isn't final which is also hard to swallow. We've filed settlement documents and we have a final hearing scheduled for April 27. I'm marking down the days. The process has continued to be more painful than I could have imagined (I know, right? But I thought we were different, and I still don't understand why he feels the way he says he does, but then there's the root of the problem, right?)

So 2008 was a year of leaps I would have thought were impossible a year or two before. Becoming fit. Running. Separating. Changing practice areas. Falling in love. Falling in love with life again. Shacking up. Starting a business. Regaining my weight and the pain that goes with it. Each leap has been exhilarating, energizing, eye-opening. But each landing has jarred me a bit. Sometimes more than a bit. With each landing I've become a little more scattered, I've felt some pieces flying off of me, just out of reach. I feel like a nebula, walking around with my edges indistinct, bits of cosmic dust dislodged and spinning aimlessly around my core.

I'm ready to gather now. To pull all of me back into me. Focus. Not so much focusing my energy, just pulling my being into focus. So my edges become clear again. So I can SEE where I begin and where I end. So I know what I look like and who I am. So I can become solid and shine bright. A new star in this new constellation.

Physically I know what I need to do. I also know, that if I can get the physical pieces in place, the mental will follow. When my body feels good my soul will want to spend more time in the moment with it.

Stay tuned . . .