Saturday, February 24, 2018

"Discipline is just choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST."

Dear Blogland,

Today, I rowed 5,796 meters.

Not only that, but it was Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of a very comfy bed (even dragged the Man with me), and hit the gym. Today, I'm proud of myself for that.

Sadly, after my ankle-roll a couple weeks ago, I've been taking it easy on the ankle to make sure that thing heals the way it needs to. However, that doesn't mean we can let the rest of my fitness go down the drain, so I've been in "alternative workout hell".  I say "hell," because Trainer Geoff seems to take some amusement out of programming particularly unpleasant workouts around rowers or ellipticals, that pretty much always make me feel like I'm dying.  (I am 100% convinced that ellipticals are the death machine.)

THAT said, today's workout - in place of my usual "long run" Saturday - was a steady pace on the rower for two 15 min sets (with a small break in between), where I was supposed to "just cruise." Geoff has clearly never seen me on the rower. :-)  I am not sure "cruisin'" is the adjective anyone would use to describe the faces I was making!

But, it was on the schedule and needed to get done, so get done, it did. I won't lie, I was doing that amazing gym math, that makes things more bearable. For example, 15 minutes of rowing is really just 5 minutes, 3 times.... and 5 minutes, is really just 22 strokes, 5 times! SURELY I could take this 22 rower strokes at a time, right? It definitely would've been better with some good music to listen to, but the gym was playing some sort of soft rock stuff, at a volume that only bats could hear (and definitely not over the rower fan), and my very expensive headphones have decided, for some reason, to bite the dust and not charge. Thus, I found myself rowing with my thoughts. Thankfully, on a Saturday morning, before coffee, there aren't many thoughts.

My first 15 minutes went by pretty smoothly. I paid attention to my rowing form, like my awesome CrossFit coaches of days past had taught me. None of that letting your core collapse when you got tired! Good posture, Leg Drive, Hip open, arm pull. Leg-hip-arm, leg-hip-arm, over and over... and over... and over. I was thinking about how glad I was to have had such a varied active-life, and had the opportunity to have so many knowledgeable professionals cross my path. As I was rowing along and trying to settle into "cruise" mode, I was recalling a rowing workshop I'd taken at Crossfit Waterbury, where I got some great pointers on pacing. It's not all about pulling as fast as you can, if you're just going to gas yourself in 5 minutes. I learned about pacing the pull out, and then similarly pacing the recoil to allow a couple seconds of recovery and set up for that next pull. While thinking about this and checking in on my from, suddenly I found myself cruising to the end of my 15 minute segment, with a spot "moderate" heart rate, controlled breathing and generally doing okay!

A quick 3 minute break later (mostly spent standing up to stretch out my legs!), and I was back at it for my final 15 minutes. This time, I got in the Zone a lot easier and my time went by a little faster. This was not anywhere near as miserable as I'd imagined. For me, Rowing is definitely better than that Elliptical death machine. LOL.  I'm not sure my rear delts (?) would agree with that tomorrow, but we shall see.

All in all, a good day! 30 sweaty minutes, staying on track with the Goals!

Friday, February 23, 2018

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~ Mary Pickford

Dear Blogland, 

It's been almost two years since my last appearance in the Blog-o-sphere... a rough 2 years at that... but I'm here now! On the motivation from a class I'm taking at my gym (more on that later), I've chosen my extra project to be "setting stakes," by telling the world what I'm doing and what my goals are. So, YOU, dear readers, are officially now my accountability-buddies! Let's do this.

Status Check:
- I am currently carrying around a lot of extra weight that I picked up over the last few year's stresses, so I'm working hard at getting rid of it, because it's making some of my goals infinitely more difficult. (I'll say it. I ain't scared. 299 pounds is a lot of weight to run with!)
- I am actively working to maintain a good/healthy work/life balance, and have figured out how to reduce a lot of the general life stresses, which were preventing me from making better choices. 
- I have chosen some specific goals to work towards, and have enlisted expert help in getting me there
- In short, I'm on the right track, I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. YAY!

What am I doing?

Thankfully, a lot of great resources and coaches have been made available to me in the last 6 months or so. 

For 12 week sessions, since Mid-July 2017, I've been taking an awesome class at The Rehab Gym. The "Use it to Lose it" (UITLI) class is designed as a small group (like 5-7 people) circuit class, with additional education and accountability around nutrition and wellness. So, we weigh in once a week, actively all work at eating on "plan," and then crush some circuit workouts 2x/week. In addition to that, we either back squat or dead lift, and generally have a great time getting sweaty together. I've been lucky that not only do we have an awesome, form-focused trainer (Hey Hendrik!), but in recent sessions the class has been mostly filled with my favorite people - My Man is taking it with me, Holly's on board, my running buddy Stacey and her husband are at it - so it makes for a great support group, all pushing each other to be a little better. 
I'm proud to say that since July 2017, I've lost 25 pounds, to date (and a crap-ton of inches. YAY!). 

In addition, I've decided on my next BIG GOAL. Big goals help keep me on track and motivated, and this one particularly so. ..... *drumroll*
I've decided I'm running the Ragnar Trail Relay in Vermont, on August 3-4.
(Countdown: 5 months, 10 days...). 

So, first this started out as wishful thinking - gee, I've always wanted to do one of the Ragnar Trails... Wow, they're bringing one to Vermont....  And then I thought.... WHY NOT?  When I decided on this, I had something like 8 months to train... surely anything can be accomplished in 8 months? I was starting from like, below ground zero... but ..... it could be done, right? 

Enter Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching. Heather and Geoff  have begun an awesome venture, training all manner of clients - even Virtually! - to hit their goals. I tentatively reached out to Heather about my situation and was brutally honest about my current condition (Slow. Fat. Round?) and asked if my aspirations for a Ragnar Trail in August were nuts. I was met with an enthusiastic "totally doable" and we were off and running.... quite literally.  Once a week, Heather and Geoff send me the running training plan for the week, which currently involves 3x/week of some sort of running adventure. I'm up to about 10-11 miles per week and really starting to see improvements. (Annoyingly, I rolled my ankle about a two weeks ago, so I'm on "alternate exercise" for a little bit).
Heather and Geoff have not only been fun to work with (Does YOUR trainer assign you workouts entitled "Rowing Ladder of Suckiness"?), but really positive, despite my feels of this-is-impossible, sometimes. 

And here I am! I feel a lot more like my "old self" now. I'm running (... well... "wogging"...) 3x a week, I'm in the gym lifting and doing strength training a couple times a week, and I'm feeling much more healthy, relaxed and in control of my goals. 

So, Blog, here's the plan. I'll be checking in - at least - once a week to update you on the goings on and progress toward my goal. In turn, I'll know you're out their reading this, and it's going to be mighty embarrassing if I just go back to eating cupcakes and sitting on my butt. Right?