Saturday, December 31, 2011

Part 1: Transformations and Goodbyes, 2011

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 164:

I have a lot of ground to cover today, BlogLand. In usual fashion, I'll be touching base on today's WOD, but then - since it is the eve of a new year - I would like to reflect a bit on the watershed that was 2011. It's been a hell of a ride, and it seems only right to pay my respects to some of the things that have marked the year as a critical one in my life.\

But first, down to business. Shape-up, Day 164, was a CrossFit morning. You know you've really become a different person when you voluntarily set your alarm for 6am on a SATURDAY morning to get up and head to the gym. Now, granted, I'm still not a super pleasant person about it, but I *did it* and that's all that really matters. The CF people don't care if I'm mostly disheveled, cranky or brainless, just so long as I do work and get sweaty. So, up and at it this morning, I headed over to the gym.

Today's Warm Up was a fun one:
Partner Med Ball (10#) Tosses!

  • 10 squat throws (like a wall ball to your partner)
  • 10 side throws (10 each side)
  • 10 backward overhead throws
  • 10 (each side) seated  tosses (sitting in a V, legs off the floor, your partner tosses you the ball, you receive it and touch it to the far side and toss back to your partner)
The WOD today had a "Buy In" of 100 Double Unders... Which I can't quite do yet ( I can manage a few, spaced apart, if I really work at it), so it was about 300 jumps to get the equivalent.

Feeling pretty warmed up and ready to go, we moved onto the main event:
Today's WOD:
EMOTM (Every Minute On The Minute)

  • 5 Pull-Ups (jumping pull ups, for me)
  • Clean and Jerks (40#)
  • Complete as many rounds as necessary to total 85 Clean and Jerks
My time for completing this beast was 20:45, which was a pretty respectable one, as far as the class goes. What saved me was my ability to beast through the clean and jerks. I noticed many of the women in the class (fact, not comment on the gender!) took a lot of breaks, where I was able to keep pushing through lifting maneuver. I think, too, this particular weight (40#) was a bit light for me. WOO. I was unsure how much to really pile on there, as it seemed like this WOD would be an arduous one, all about endurance... so I wasn't really thinking that trying something heavier would be feasible. Next time, I'm thinking 50 or 60# might be more appropriate, as even at the end of 85 C&J's, I was still doing  okay. Incidentally, by my calculations, I would've done 100 jumping pull ups to complete 20 minutes worth of rounds.

THEN, just because CrossFit is AWESOME, there was an "After Party" of 100 sit-ups. That became a little bit of an evil mind-over-matter adventure. I was good for about the first 40. Then 41-60 wasn't horrible, with some brief breaks. Then we got to 60-100. Grueling, I tell you, BlogLand. I have never had "abs" in my life, and they are still on the learning curve. They were SCREAMING by #95. But I did it. I got through all 100, and I wasn't even the last one done (I know it's not a race, but it makes me feel better, as a bit of a gauge, that I'm not looking like a total idiot, finishing 10 minutes after everyone else.).

So, there you have it. Today's CrossFit times. I will say, as the evening creeps in, so does some really distinct soreness in my shoulder blades (yeaaaahhhhh pull ups!), and a pretty fatigued core section. Although, I suppose that is to be expected!

On a related note, last night, I ventured into Dick's Sporting Goods and purchases an over-the-door pull up bar. I decided I needed a little more bonding time with one, than just the CF WODs, in order to conquer my chronic t-rex arms. According to the GT, I'll be doing some negatives on that bad boy, daily, until I can do a real pull up. (Goal: Be able to do one, unassisted, pull-up on my birthday - July 6th - which is my 30th!!)

Alright, housekeeping blogging done, on to the Big Stuff.

2011 has been an year that I never could've foreseen, prepared for, or hoped for any other way. It has been filled with painful realizations, a lot of soul-searching, sweat, tears and  complete change. I wish I had a more eloquent way to put this, but 2011 was really my "Holy Shit" year. I had lost about 20# on my own, but wasn't really going anywhere fast with that process, I was turning 29, my knees hurt, I didn't feel pretty, I didn't feel healthy, I was existing in my skin, but not really living my life. Holy SHIT, I said to myself. This can't go on, something has to change. That had to be me.

I made some life altering decisions. Despite the fact I (unexpectedly) lost my job, when through some personal and financial crisis, and waded through a lot of stress, I wasn't going to let Life win, anymore. I wasn't going to sit on the couch and pizza-eat my way into temporarily feeling better. I wasn't going to wish I could do all the things that me on the inside has always wanted to be able to do... I was going to take some action. This was a terrifying concept for Old Me.

Where to begin? What to do? How to start?
The answer is ANYWHERE. Just take a step. Then another one. The early part of 2011 found me doing exercise-ball workouts, from the instruction packet that comes with it when you buy it, in the basement. I did a fun Zumba class several times a week, and began to plant both feet firmly in a new lifestyle. At my Zumba class, I found support in my tiny, dynamo of hip-hop/latin energy, Nicole, and her co-instructor Betsy. Not only have these two amazing ladies become close friends that I'll carry with me all my life, they were the beginnings of a crucial support system that every person making a major change needs. When I had to tone it down in Zumba, because my body couldn't handle the cardio, or when I arrived at the end of classes red faced and panting, I never received anything but positive energy and affirmations. It is easier to keep beating your demons into submission when someone tells you that you're doing a good job (and checks up on you when you don't show up to class!!!).

As the process got in motion a bit more, I added some basic weight training to my routines. You know, the run of the mill stuff that everyone knows how to do... some bicep curls, some presses, things like that. Nothing fancy. I struggled with 8# dumb bells.

Gradually, I started to see some results, and I had been following Spartan Race on Facebook, after recommending it to friend. It seemed extreme and crazy, but the Spartan aspect seemed fun, and I thought someone should check into it... but certainly not me. I couldn't do that, could I?

Starting to feel a bit stronger and more confident, I recognized the need for something more. The next thing. However, resources were limited, I couldn't afford a gym membership and I had no idea what to do next. You can read up all you want on the internet, but sometimes you just don't know what you don't know, and you need help. Taking one of the biggest leaps in my life, to date, I reached out and ASKED for help (not something I've ever been very good at).

Enter my incomparable Guru Trainer. A close friend of mine, educated in the field and athlete in his own right, answered when I tenetively asked for a few workout suggestions. Then I had a few questions about those mini-assignments, here and there. And more questions... to which he could always provide me a factually based, reasonable answer ("But WHY should I start incorporating Bulgarian Split Squats into my routines???? WHYY???").
Then, during the summer, I had a crazy thought. *I* wanted to do a Spartan Race. I wanted, when I turned 30, to be a person that physically COULD complete a Spartan race. (Which was a fire that was fueled by volunteering at the VT Beast this year!) After expressing this to the GT, we got down to business. I needed a more structured, efficient plan (especially since I didn't have access to a gym any longer). I needed to start running (say, WHAT?). In 4-week increments, GT and I worked through evolving goals and plans - hence the birth of this Spartan Shape-Up Blog. I tracked all the data on spreadsheets... but so much of my transformation was mental, that it seemed only appropriate to chronicle this lifestyle overhaul in more detail, as well.

In short, that's how you find me here, BlogLand. So, as this is New Year's Eve, I would like to recognize a few things that I will be leaving behind in 2011, and a few particularly memorable moments.
I am leaving behind Old Me. I will NOT be trapped by my physical limits, or mental misconceptions about what I can and can not do. I CAN do anything, and I will.
I am leaving behind eating habits that do not help fuel my ambitions. Yes. I will still eat cupcakes occasionally, but in moderation, infrequently, and only if they're really tastey - no more eating mediocre things, for the sake of eating.
I am donating an several entire wardrobes to the local GoodWill. By hanging onto all the clothes that do not fit me, not even a little bit, I feel like it affords me the 'option' of creeping back into those sizes. That is never going to happen again. Someone else, that actually needs it, should be putting these clothes to use. Not the Old Me lurking in the back of my subconscious, saving them as a safety net.
I am (constantly working on) shedding the giant mental roadblocks that still want me to think of myself as the "Fat Chick" that couldn't possibly do that, be that, or go there. I am leaving a significant amount of those broken walls in 2011 (Thank you to for the Sledgehammers that you have provided to aid in this process..).
I am leaving behind (or finding new roles for) people that can not accept the things that I need to do for me. I need to be healthier. This is what I'm choosing to do. Accept that and support me - Better Yet, Spartan Up with me!! - or step aside. I am leaving behind your eye rolling, snide comments and negativity.

In 2011, I began a formidable list of accomplishments and triumphs, not the least of which are:
That I took the first steps: off my couch, towards the person I want to be.
I found the Spartan Race community (A special Aroo! to my Chicks, who provide daily support, inspiration and motivation!! without you ladies, where would I be??), which has been an AMAZING supportive group of people (most of whom I've not met in person, yet!). I have never felt like I had so much "family" behind me, following my progress, keeping me lacing up those sneakers in the early mornings, or getting sweaty and sore right along side me.
I ran my first (and subsequent several!) 5K race. YEP. I RAN a race. I learned to run this year.
I conquered my fear of the "super-athletes" I thought must reside there, and have now joined a CrossFit gym, which I love dearly. I'm not the Fat Kid, they've never treated me as such, and the things I find I am able to do each WOD are incredible.
I lost 75#, to date. I have gone from a size 24, to a size 14/16, and still counting. For the first time, in a long time, I am almost happy when I look in the mirror.

There is much work to be done, as I look to the year ahead, but as I sit here and reflect on 2011, I am satisfied. I only wish I had begun this journey sooner in my life... but then again, things happen when you are ready for them. I'm not sure the Me of 5 years ago would've been ready to do these things. However, I'm ready now, and I'm living my life with passion, these days. I have a drive and a fire to chase down my goals that 2011 released in me, and there is no stopping now.

As 2011 continues to dwindle, I can only be thankful. It's happening, and I'm making it happen. Aroo!

Tomorrow, with the dawn of 2012, a year I expect to be one of the best in my life, I'll tackle Part 2 of this post. Today, as much as I looked back on where I have come from and bid a not-so-tearful goodbye to Old Me, I'd like to take the fresh start tomorrow to look into the future.

Tonight, as you usher out 2011 with good riddance, or find comfort in it's end at the bottom of a glass of bubbly, I challenge you, BlogLand: What are you leaving behind, for the better, in 2011? What have your triumphs been in the last 12 months? Let tonight be your metamorphosis - truthfully acknowledge who you were in 2011, and DECIDE who you will be in 2012.

Cheers to New Beginnings!

(Stay tuned... Tomorrow, Part 2...)

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