So then I just put on my crazy pants and took the day off…

I will trump your regular 8 hour work day, your one hour workout and your dinner-kitchen exploits and raise you; storytime, blog writing, cookie baking, friend visiting, weed pulling, power cleaning, crafting, conglomerating, adventure finding, fundraising, bug hunting, kid coaching, bird training, carnival practicing, chicken wrangling bliss…but sometimes a girl just needs a little break.

That is to say that I absolutely am guilty of trying to follow through with every “good idea” that pops into my head and sometimes…well somebody has to pay the price of that.  Clearly, not that smart, I still haven’t figured out that “someone” is Matilda.

All summer I have had one day off a week… If by one day off, you mean clumping together parts of a couple different days. I’m lucky that my work days are things I already love doing and that I have creative jobs to begin with, but in true Matilda fashion, I hate having a schedule. It’s so much more fun to choose as I go. Buck wild and full throttle.

Last week, on Thursday I went to bed, running through the next day’s “To Do” list in my head:

  • deliver 7 year old and his bud to Summer Camp by 8:30
  • proceed to the gym-no detours…
  • drop off three year old for 2.5 hours in child-care,
  • Hit the weight-room
  • hit booty-camp with my bestie
  • hurry home for lunch
  • complete animal husbandry consisting of
    • taking care of my rescue flock…the parrots;
      • birdie play time-outside
      • birdie treat time-outside
      • food and water clean/change-in and outside
      • more playtime in the sun and maybe bird showers-outside
    • feed and water the dinosaurs  er, chickens
      • clean chicken hutch… it’s been a week…ew…
  • write and publish at least two blog articles for my favorite boss.
  • but I may have to pick up the big kid and his bud from Summer Camp somewhere in the middle of writing…
  • make dinner
  • clean house
  • fold pile of laundry instead of perpetually dressing from the clean pile…

This is a normal day off…even if the writing eats up seven hours of my day…and it can…

Here’s what really happened:

at 5:40am this malicious, sleep stealing, booger eating, bed hogging, sex terminating, bath intruding, non-ice cream sharing, banshee rivaling, germ sharing, cutest brat of all time rolls onto the scene and proceeds to lay out his demands…

I shoo him off and reset my alarm…

Ten minutes pass…

He’s back again. It’s 65 degrees, he’s cold. He wouldn’t be if he’d just get into bed with me, snuggle under the covers and shut up…go back to sleep like a normal person…

I am badgered into dressing him.

Never mind that he’s wearing ratty navy blue sweats with orange pinstripes and a spiffy, new turquoise and white pollo, He’s dressed, I’m not going to dwell on fashion.

I reset my alarm

 

Very shortly he’s board.

Yes. Whatever you want.

T.V.

My ipad.

Whatever you want kid, just go play.

I reset my alarm

Then, shoes,  he’s not asking…but incessantly droning on about it right beside my sleeping head.  Oh good, go outside, where I can’t hear all your shenanigans(…the voice in the back of my head is belittling me, warning me and comparing me to a delinquent, useless parent…oh well, let go voice…)sleep. Sleep is what I need…

I reset my alarm.

No time has passed at all before my head is pounding again and I am awakened by the whiniest, most pathetic child you’ve ever heard…he may have been there for a while judging by the desperation in his voice…something about food. Aparently he is hungry…

A brief negotiation ensues to determine what food stuffs we have on hand that will not require my departure from my soft, warm, lovely, fluffy bed.  Yellow cheese and apples…Okay.

Brat, “But I need it cut”

FortheLoveofGod…Just get the block of cheese and eat it and the apple whole!!!!

I mean, “can you bring it to me baby?” he’s off, pitter-pattering down the hall. After a brief pause he’s returned. So cute…he has an apple and my aged cheddar. Precious little…punk…

Now the debate…I shouldn’t.

I know it…I throw back my blankets but quickly change my mind. BBBRRRRrrrr!!! …checking the time…6:40.

I totally had my heart set on getting up at 8:00…a brief struggle with my conscience proceeds.

6:41: “can you be so brave and get mommy a knife?”

The impish smile, implies he can.

“I mean it, no running, soft, slow, steps. Use two hands. Hold it like this. Can you do that?” A nod and his retreating pitter-patter.

He returns with the biggest Cutco Chef’s Knife I have… OMG.

Cut apple. Cut Cheese. Stow knife safely in bureau drawer.

Butcher knife's in dresser drawers is totally a normal thing...

Butcher knife’s in dresser drawers is totally a normal thing…

…Reset alarm…

I rolled out of bed 18 minutes before Camp Started, put on my bathing suit, and a t-shirt, and threw some essentials into my purse. Sunglasses, kid swimsuits, goggles and sunscreen are always loaded by the front door. Dropped the kids at camp, went straight to breakfast then the pool where I stayed for a good portion of my day.

Swimming with my three year old for an hour and 20 minutes, lazing in the sun watching him play for almost an hour, sipping large glasses of ice water and snacking on fruit. As I laid there, the pressures I had put on myself, expectations of the day and judgments about what is required began dissipating, slipping away. I felt the sun sinking into me, re-charging me. Three hours slipped by and it was just after 1:00 before I knew it.

Some ice-cream was in order, then with time flying we retrieved the big kids from camp and came home.

I'll see your crazy and raise you a flock of feathers...

I’ll see your crazy and raise you a flock of feathers…

I still had enough time to take care of my flock and write one article. Man I needed that day. I needed to not care for a few hours and do nothing, even if I did have to dress from the clean pile for one more day…

Whew! Can’t wait for another day to blow everything off!

 

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Run For It!!!

does this headband make me look fast?

does this headband make me look fast?

There’s another one! I just saw her on my way home from school drop-offs. I want to slam on the breaks, honk, get out and slap Each. And. Everyone. Of them. Don’t they know there are people like me on the road–trying to run them over!? Well not trying to run them over, at least not me…not on purpose anyway.

It’s hard to navigate my disgust, because on the flip side I want to cheer for her.

She’s out running. The roadsides and gyms are flooded with all the New Year’s resolutions. People determined to not let another year slip by without focussing on their fitness. Filled with all the people who got a brand new shiny FitBit or other fancy gadget to indicate they have fulfilled their 10,000 step goal. Also filled with the regular runners, bikers and other gym enthusiast that I see on a regular basis. I was her once. I want to cheer, you go girl! She is going to feel great later today, later this year (if she keeps it up). The difference is I don’t try to get run-over every time I go out on the road for a run.

You’ve seen it too right?

Runners who assume everyone drives like they do…or like they think they do…Runners, running with their backs to traffic, this girl with headphones in.  I don’t care how bright your fancy running pants are, if I am distracted I will still not see you. And the big silver, 3/4 ton, Dodge diesel I drive has no fancy navigation system, it will not distinguish between off roading fun and running over a person…

Flashy clothes alone can't save runners from rogue vehicles and distracted drivers.

Flashy clothes alone can’t save runners from rogue vehicles and distracted drivers.

If you have refocused previous efforts or are reinventing yourself entirely, especially by running or walking more, cheers to you! I won’t complain about the gym being too full, or the roads bustling with with more foot traffic. Really. I am happy for you. Stick with it. If you get distracted, pick it back up. You don’t have to wait for New Years. Just start again.

BOOM! Just like that you’re back.

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to help you stay alive while you are out there pounding pavement:

1.) Run into traffic. Well, not literally into it, that would defeat the purpose of getting healthy. However, you should be facing oncoming traffic. Shoulders down, relaxed, chest out and head up looking at each car. (Even looking down a little restricts oxygen, that will slow you down, but not as much as getting smashed by a car.)

2.) Did you know that wearing sunglasses can reduce your field of vision by 40%? Yeah, I wear them too. I’m just cool like that. All the more reason to keep your eyes on traffic.

3.) Go without headphones. I listen to music, not every run though. When I do have my tunes I only wear one headphone and I keep it down low enough to hear my own singing over the music–sometimes I throw out my arms and sing my heart out in the middle of a run, that’s when I realize I am not as tired as I thought I was…and that everyone now knows “I’m friends with the monster under my bed…”

Some interesting things I’ve noticed, running without iTunes.

Smells are more intense. Things like daffodils in spring, and eucalyptus trees come to mind right now, wet grass, and heady lilac too, heck even brewing coffee or bar-b-q (…then there are the few times I wish I hadn’t noticed: horse farm, garbage day and slurry pits…) The sky’s a little bluer, songbirds louder, frogs happier and laughing kids, sweeter. I don’t know, it’s just a nice change.

Here’s another nice thing about no music. There can sometimes be very serene and spiritual moments to a good run–in fact, there should be. When I decide that I am dedicating a run to someone, (and run with no music) a friend in need (my neighbor with cancer), a loved one, even someone who has passed away, I tend to run further and faster with less complaints from my head and body. Try it.

That and you will hear the cars coming toward you.

4.) Get out of the bike lane, if you see a biker coming. I know, usually the rule is “lower and slower” gets the right of way but not in this instance. Bikers have their backs to traffic–if they aren’t idiot bikers–and you’re feet are more maneuverable than some of those skinny road bike wheels, so scooch over. They might even thank you but don’t expect that, in fact they may not even acknowledge you but who cares. It’s the right thing.

5.) You know what else is the right thing? Keep it to yourself. Don’t litter. Don’t throw down your water bottles, or empty Gu packs (If you’re doing this-you are a tool and maybe you deserve to get run over). Really. Fact is that unless you are running for more than an hour, you’ll survive without both…you will also be tougher. Stick that gooey package back where you had it stashed, even if you had it in your sports bra, you’ll survive and you’re going to need a shower pill anyway.

6.) Reflect. Weather morning or night it’s easy to not notice how dark it might be to a driver if the sun is waxing or waning…I feel silly running with a reflective vest but I’m not so cool that I don’t when I choose runs late in the evening. Besides…I think it makes me faster, if only to hush the nay-sayers.

Besty who runs at night with me! Night runs are ah-maz-balls!!!! This pic is post 4.5 at about midnight, cuz we're rebels. Running at night makes you feel like a kid, cuz it's silly and nuts.

Besty who runs at night with me! Night runs are ah-maze-balls!!!! This pic is post 4.5 at about midnight, cuz we’re rebels. Running at night makes you feel like a kid, cuz it’s silly and nuts.

7.) I’ve discovered that running buddies also make me stronger, keep me safer, and are a good distraction around mile five or six…for some reason after forty or fifty minutes I start getting bored, that and on a really long run (10-12 miles, I sometimes end up out in BFE-alone-that creeps me out a little.)

Yesterday Aden when on a five miler with me. Not long but he's fast. Even though we were talking the whole time we still averaged nine minute and fourteen second miles. Easy for him, hard for me! Stud.

Yesterday Aden and I post five miler, (no make-up and he still looks good!). Not that long but he’s fast. Even though we were talking the whole time we still averaged nine minute and fourteen second miles. Easy for him, hard for me! Oh- and then he turned around and ran back home five miles averaging 7:40 or 50something each mile! Stud.

When I have a buddy it’s always better. I’m lucky, I have a teenage kiddo who makes a (mostly) reliable and good running partner and I’ve been collecting others!

Regardless, fast or slow, you’re doing it. That’s what counts in the end!

I am happy to see new faces out on my runs, just stay safe.

 

I Like Older Men

The word “older” in this instance meaning old. The criteria being skin that sags, titties that hang further than mine(…that’s not too hard but) just so you picture him in your mind’s eye.  Tan leather skin is a favorite of mine too, tells somethings about a guy, no rocking chair, he’s out there still. Unless you consider folks like my ginger-gene Grandpa, he far surpasses any other old guy I have yet met in coolness and badassery.

I work a day or three a week at an athletic club. I get all the fun parts and no responsibility, plus they call work a four to six hour shift…usually while playing games, rock climbing with kids or standing around with my hands in my pockets looking like I am somebody…the point is that I meet a lot of people. I go on my days off too so I wager that I run into three to five hundred different people a week, at least half of them of which are men.

I’d just finished my workout and had a realization; the most enjoyable group of people to be around is old guys. “Who you calling old?!” I can hear them saying it now. Mock offense but a little hurt too. Honestly though, they should wear it as a badge of honor.  These guys, whether you run across them at the coffee shop as regulars or sitting in the hot tub before or after a hundred laps in the pool, they always have time for a smile, a wave… a story. There’s sure to be one who’s all too ready to pull quarters out of my kids ears or nose, worse out of my nose!!! How’d that get up there anyway!?

Recently, having just finished a run followed by 20 laps in the pool, (if you saw my cardio, you’d tell me to do 20 more…) I decided I deserved 15 or 20 minutes in the hot tub before retrieving the monster my child from playland. I climb in as I am surveying the other occupants.

To my right are three old old guys, engrossed in a serious bitch-fest (the way old guys love to do) about the cost of stadium tickets in The Bay Area -vs- other cities.  I smile. They don’t care, they just like to rant about how lunatically high the cost of arbitrary things (that most of us can’t justify buying) have become. They aren’t on a crusade to change anything it’s the joy of showing off their useless knowledge that has them in it’s grip for the moment. Except they also have a keen grip on economics and politics and they’ve been around a twirl or three by now and have something the rest of us don’t…perspective, as it relates to facts that they have lived through. So maybe their “useless” knowledge actually ties into all of it in a way more meaningful and scary than the rest of us can fully grasp…

To my left are two 40 something year old men. Planning. Planning something big, like renting a machine to make their own wine and splitting the cost with their entire bike racing team. Then they are talking about how much money the team has, what else they will get money from and where to spend it…One guy is really into it…he must be the leader…the other guy looks pinched, a little stressed. I can’t decide if he is having a code-brown or he’s just tired of talking…if it were me, and I looked like that…time to get to the restroom…

Between the two groups of guys is a lone…I don’t know…I’m guessing 30-ish year old. He just looks tired. I make the (knee) jerk assumption that he’s young, has little kids and a wife that is unrelenting. He’s still finding balance to this whole, overrated, “grown-up” thing…consequently he has nothing to say to any of us.

As I take my place on the bench the Old guys and the 40 somethings make gestures while talking that are inclusive to anyone within earshot. The big difference is the three old guys want some fun banter and the two 40 somethings want some validation.

A very young and pretty lady (to me she still qualifies as a girl but she is certainly over 18) in a bikini comes to the steps, she looks us all over and the sour look says we are all too old and boring to talk to and she sulks as she finds a spot on the bench.

Another lady comes to the steps. She has on a teal one piece suit and red hair, shoulder length, in two ponytails below and behind her ears. I know her from around the club, she has big pretty green eyes to match her suit and a radiant smile. She is close to my age, just a few years older. She is beautiful in her own way, though I know she is self conscience, she is very very curvy. A thing I know very little about on a personal level… about four inches shorter than me and roughly forty pounds more than me, she has a timid smile and looks nervous like there may not be a comfortable amount of space for her to sit and be warmed by the hot water.

Though it’s not required nor expected, one of the older men raises an arm, hollers out, “come sit over here–we’ll make room.” She beams as they all shift closer to me. When she sits he hands out a few gracious compliments about getting to sit by such a pretty lady, how she makes them all three look like they must be somebody. Aw.

I enjoyed getting to banter and be in their conversation but an outgoing girl like me needs no compliment to bring out her smile. My old guy group continues to wag their jaw about anything they can come up with and get each of our opinions. The forty year old guys lean over and ask me how the pool is…it’s overcast and barely 65…the pool is perfect and they know it, they just can’t think of anything else to talk about…

Though an old guy’s not usually very fast on land he might be a speedster in the lap pool, you never know. I know a seventy year old guy who probably runs as fast as I do(…except that’s not fast…never mind…) Chances are, even if you can win a physical contest (and you might not) he will still beat you with his wits.

Sometimes I think those old leather skinned guys sitting around coffee shops, on park benches, sandwich shops, Denny’s, and jacuzzis are actually on a crusade to change the world. Even if it’s just to get us looking each other in the eyes, having friendly conversations about things that get you to think.

I imagine that these are the same men I hear about who are torturing other men in the locker-room and sauna with their naked displays of gravity…I forgive them. 😉

Drafting 101

He’s behind me singing “You give love a bad name.” Not winded, not even trying, just biking and belting out a butt-rocker tune with his great singing voice. Shoulda been the first clue how this ride would go…

He’s tricky, lulling me into complacency. Like the fool that I am, I buy it every time. For now I find myself out in front. Not much changes for the first three miles of a twenty–five-ish–mile bike ride with my husband (and kids).

I can’t tell if it’s him or me but all things seem to become a competition of sorts at some point, and I’m currently enjoying my lead. 🙂 I’m respectful though, don’t ditch him, just thirty or forty yards out in front, space to coast.

He’s got the come-a-long attached to his bike and our six year old in-tow. Slave. (We tried the six year old behind me at the start– I wanted the slave legs–but my bike frame has too small of a diameter and it won’t work, so my husband lucks out with the extra set of legs.) I ended up with our three year old perched on the back of my bike in a seat, not unlike a chariot-throne (I made that up not sure there is such a thing…hoping it helps you imagine my predicament.) At first this isn’t an issue–because I’m bad at math…

Periodically my husband and six year old start riding out in front after a few miles, eventually getting further and further ahead. When they reach a few hundred yards out front they ride circles in wide driveways or turnabouts letting me and my prince catch up. I try not to care teasing occasionally that they are “cheating” and just trying to wrack up more mileage on the “map my ride” app. On the inside I’m annoyed that it’s not harder for them, that they are having so much more fun and if I’m honest, I’m annoyed that I’m not better at this…

It’s now that I start to piece together the issues within our endeavors to “play” together. It’s not me who’s so competitive, though I do like to win–I usually go for bust–not afraid to fail [trying to win]. If I tell the truth a lot of things are easy for me, remember this for later. I like playing in “big games” because I like to know that when I win, I am picking on somebody “bigger than me”, (I’d rather be the underdog then have a win handed to me.) It’s him, my hubs, who’s worried more about proving himself. To himself or to me I’m not sure.

As a side note, we pass other riders occasionally, astonishingly they are chatting and riding and smiling–together. Smiling, strange, we should try that–riding together–I make a mental note.

Now about 10 miles into our ride, I’m tired. At least my legs are fatigued, it takes everything in me to keep my back tire under that baby’s butt, I think he’s gotten fatter since we left home! My math skills seem to be slowly improving…

Coming into Healdsburg–someplace around 10.5 miles from our home–I almost get sideswiped by a lady in her SUV who misunderstands the sign we are passing; “share the road”. Just to prevent our headings from colliding, I have to put out my arm and push off of her shiny black SUV as she speeds past. Of course she tells me I’m #1 with the universal signal…using her middle finger…ahem. I guess she doesn’t like bikers…or maybe she doesn’t like babies, no matter, I’ve already forgiven her, bikes suck. I get it. They are bad enough when they get in your way while driving on beautiful scenic by-ways, it’s even worse when you actually get stuck riding on one…

My husband, finding himself a football field out in front of us missed the encounter. He’s already planning lunch at The Wurst. While it could be said he does not like me adventuring out on my own, (he worries nonstop,) he’s close enough in proximity that this isn’t the same thing to him. He is with me (in his mind,) so he worries little about if I’m doing okay holding up the rear of our little caravan.

I, on the other hand, have gotten exponentially better at math and have figured out that ‘his majesty’–perched in his thrown–sitting slightly higher than my bike seat, weighs just over a third of my body weight, without any fancy math. It’s no wonder every little bump or change in grade makes my back-tire slip sideways, threaten to slide out from under me. It’s good though it gives me something to concentrate on instead of being tired and wishing I could keep up with my people. (Read: instead of feeling sorry for myself and getting mad at the hubs.)

We grab a light lunch [what an oxymoron, it’s a fancy wurst and burger joint, the only ‘light’ thing they have is beer…] at The Wurst where my big kid is working and after I hug him enough times that I’m endanger of getting major eye roll, we put our helmets back on and head home a difference and more painful way then we came into town. Except lunch has done me a world of good and the endorphins are kicking in from the first half of riding.

Remember when I said a lot of things are easy for me? Its true. Many times I accomplish physical things on my first try, water-skiing, wake boarding, kneeboarding, down hill and x-country snow skiing, even riding dirt bikes and rock climbing, skydiving, and a bunch more that would put you to sleep, all things I did well from my first attempt. I see how these things set the stage for my expectations, my desires and my disappointments. I also recognize that if something is hard for me, [line-dancing, ugh!!!] I have to fight the urge to just give Up. (One of my friends calls it “skull-fucking-yourself”. I’m used to being able to “get it” so when I don’t I fail in my head before I’ve even put out 110% effort.) No matter your typical advantage or typical disadvantage be mindful and aware of stealing from yourself…

Suddenly it has occurred to me that most of us have rides like this when the load isn’t fair and the people you are with can’t relate, don’t care or just can’t see past their own agendas…twice my chain slipped off the gears to slide wildly and force me to jump off my bike, then fiddle with it mid-hill with the baby asleep in his throne. Both times the rest of my team had no idea I almost dropped my baby on his head trying to catch myself…there’s nothing I could do in those moments except try my hardest (good thing baby had on his helmet, he’d have been MAD, but not too damaged)–like most of life–no one else was going to save me but me. I learned something else too, I’m not going to be able to grab first place every time, but when I can’t pass…I can draft. Drafting off my son and husband got me home with sore legs and a smile on my face.

Honestly I couldn’t draft off of them the whole way because they had four working legs…but when I did catch them, and I did, towards the end when the six year old was getting useless, I took full advantage and the last three hundred yards I did manage to pass those turkeys and get to the driveway first! Who-Hoo…I didn’t even feel the least bit bad when my six year old was pitching a big stink because he wanted to “win.”

When the going gets tough, draft. If you can’t do that just keep going, you’ll be glad you did it, stronger too, not just in your body…

~M

RAGNARgly…

That is the name of the team I said yes too when I got surprise asked to run a leg of the Ragnar Relay race in two weeks.

“Hey, can you fill a spot on our Ragnar Relay Team? It’s in September…I think it’s only thirteen or fourteen miles.” She asked.

With a big, stupid smile, “Can I? Sure!” I said.

Now I’m looking at the course online (which, by the way says right in the tagline “an overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport.” my poor team.)  that goes from San Francisco, crosses the Golden Gate Bridge then travels North through a myriad of Bay Area towns and ends in Napa Valley in Calistoga…a total of 205 miles.

The best part? I committed my husband to being a team member too. Such a lucky guy. If my posts end after Sept 19th and 20th have a moment of silence in remembrance of me.

It’s not as though I can’t muscle through six to eight miles of running at a time…I just don’t know if I can do it three times in a day and a half…I also don’t know anyone but the person who asked me to run…so if my team has hopes of a trophy…they may leave me roadside under a pile of rocks…UM, or my husband left me roadside under a pile of rocks…I’d deserve it I guess.

 

Yeah for running. 😉

They call it BootCamp

I’ve always been a skeptic, rather a critic of those classes gym’s offer. You know the ones, they are jazzercise with fancy names, Ripped, Pumped, BootCamp… Yeah, fancy names for jazzercise. Mind you, if you love jazzercise, rock it. That’s great, I just could never get into it. I think it’s the leotard and leggings that ruined it for me. I digress but admit it, you just pictured your mom or your friend’s mom in the living room doing jazzercise with leggings and leotards huh?

It turns out my apprehensions were warranted. For the sake of science, I decided, and for making an informed decision, I elected to go take one of these silly classes.

My gym offers two variations of the “bootcamp” style class. One is primarily cardio/endurance the other generally focuses on strength training. I have noticed that a third to half of the ripped (strength training) class is generally men, the other class, called bootcamp usually has one to three men out of about 20-25 people….I took the stereotypical interpretation that ripped must be harder.

This becomes my ‘scientific’ criteria for how I decide which class to take first. Jazzercise for men, okay, sign me up. The following is a recounting of parts of that experience.

At first it was just the participants filing into the room, vying for good positions, a few wanted the front row with our instructor but most of us wanted the back row. Everyone who worried about such things showed up early, me included. I secretly hope I rock it, I’m pretty confident it won’t be harder than I expect.

Our instructor has left a mat on the floor and the tools she plans on torturing us with…I didn’t know it then but that was her plan all along. Everyone files in and out of the equipment room grabbing those jazzercise benches, stretchy jump ropes, weights and these things called gliders (though they look cute and kinda like mini frisbees, don’t be fooled, these are true torture devices) Last there is a body bar or really long heavy metal bar with rubber tipped ends. Mine weighs 8 pounds…everybody has a heavier bar than me and heavier hand weights. Mine are 6 pounds but most of the women have 8 pound weights all of the men have ten or better. Can’t be too safe though, don’t want to get too confident. Saying that though, you should know that no one looks especially intimidating to me, not scary, healthy and fit but not scary.

I look around the room. The man in front of me has on a pair of khaki shorts (how hard can this class be if this guy has on non-athletic apparel?) There are about 9 men and 12 to 15 women in the room when our instructor Ann walks in. I thought about changing her name but you deserve to know who she is. She is pleasant and engaging and while she starts telling us what to expect for this particular class session, she loads her “jazzercise music” into the sound system and gets her headset. Do not be deceived, I was.

The music begins, good butt kicking music too, and we all follow her instructions, first marching then stepping up on our benches. No one is struggling too much, I got this.

“Is this the first time for any of you?” she says, looking right at me in the mirror.

I smile and wave.

I don’t remember what she said, probably ‘welcome’ or something sweet like that, but I do remember the look on her face was the same as the look on a lionesses face right before she leaps out of the grass and puts her mouth around her victims jugular. Exactly like that.

After that moment the entire class is kind of a blur. I wish I could tell you more. I remember her telling us that it was important to keep going, fatigue our muscles, not stop. I remember doing planks, slider planks, spiderman planks, squats, lunges, push-ups, this ridiculous version on burpees and squats that involve jumping into the air. I remember her calling me out when I stopped or laid flat on the floor, my face scarlet and purple,(I’d eventually just leave my 6 pound weights on the floor and pretend I had some in hand.)I remember every muscle barking at me in outrage. I remember looking at the back of the guy in front of me and seeing his redneck T-shirt soaked, heavy and wet and his khaki shorts just as wet everywhere but his buttcheeks. Finally I remember several times wondering why people come back for more of this torture.

I’m still not clear on this last thought (science can’t even convince me there is a reason) except that I would probably never push myself that hard, alone for an hour or more. It’s been four weeks and I keep going back. This week I went twice in two days. There are two instructors, Ann and Amy. Both brutal.  Both guaranteed to make you question everything in life you hold dear…like breathing. Both convincingly nice until that music turns on. If I said they’d be happy if we all left a puddle of sweat and blood on the floor, I would not be exaggerating.

I did a couple of weeks of crossfit last spring and these ladies are every bit as tough (feel the burn). One of them actually teaches crossfit.

Anyway on my fifth week what can I tell you? I am going to start going three times a week. I can tell the difference in my endurance. I have a rounded, not flat, butt for the first time since my teens (I run all the time and swim and do weight room workouts, nothing has given me a butt. Come on, you never hear anyone stereotyping the scottish/irish folk for having amazing asses) Best of all, I love feeling strong, I am addicted to the endorphins I have the next 24 hours. That and I could never push myself that hard all on my own, that’s what coaches are for.

Feeling tired and good. Have a great night.

 

The Thick and The Thin

This will be a bit ugly. Probably more for me than you. As you know, I have been on a big one for sometime now. Sure I just turned…middle aged…but that’s less to the point than the fact that I have been raising children my whole adult life and still have one who’s not even three yet.

True, he’s advanced for his age. Still, I don’t think he will be supporting himself and living on his own in the next ten years. What that means to me is that the time has come to get on with whatever I had planned on doing once my kids grew up…because they might not grow up before I get old and die. And lets be honest, since they are all boys they may never grow up. Fact.

So onward ho. That’s not to say that I’m a hoe, more to the point, it’s time to get on with things.

I grew up in a non-sporty family. Oh, I was in sports, it’s not that my family is not capable of athletic endeavors, put simply, sports are not in my family’s culture, not to join sports, or play them, or for that matter, join anything. So it was not until I was in highschool that I learned all the cool things other adults did that involved some form of athleticism. Understand that I have always been a physical person, strong and active. While I thought the notion of a marathon or even a (in those days) “fun run” (read 5K) or better a triathlon or iron man sounded like a fun thing, I was not especially compelled to part-take.

In my twenties I was close friends with my, then, boss when she embarked on training and competing in a series of duathlons and triathlons and various running or swimming competitions. Still, I never felt compelled to do more than cheer for her, I had my own ambitions and challenges and was enjoying non-competitive sports year round.

I was privileged to live in Bend Oregon and have a ski pass to Mt Bachelor with plenty of willing ski partners in the winter. In the spring and fall found myself climbing anywhere there were rocks, but namely Smith Rock just outside of Terrebonne Oregon. I was spoiled by white water rafting and kayaking adventures in the summer and a myriad of camping and hiking trips even mountain biking day trails. It never crossed my mind that I would one day wish to partake in anything other than all out play.

Fast forward a decade…or so…and I find myself engulfed in all things kids and child rearing, I realize that at one point I was nursing, pregnant then nursing a baby again and that I had let that become an excuse to not have a life outside of my home.  I had gone soft.  In my defense I modestly claim that my “soft” was still tougher than that of the average housewife. Ask around, if you want. Anyway, I suddenly realized that I had kinda set “me” aside.

I live someplace where being fit is prized but the readily available was not always accessible to a mother of four. I embarked anyway. Slow at first. Yoga, walking and meditation. Then harder walks, hikes and eventually running. I got really ambitious after the initial few months as I became more certain of my goal and more clear on my intent. When I sat down and said, out loud, to myself, “You cannot do this passively, it’s going to be full intent and conscience effort in every breath. This cannot be passive…make it hurt.” So I did and then after a few HARD weeks I got to this. photo 1 (2)

and this was good for me. This made me feel like I was getting somewhere. So more work and bigger goals and lots and lots of planks, and running, and wts and even more careful food selections, eventually weeks later…they didn’t feel short in the middle of it all but looking back it wasn’t so long…I eventually got to where I sit today. A bit stuck…here is the picture.

photo 2

It might not even be a noticable difference to someone who hasn’t been there before, put in the work, but to me and in person…it’s noticeable. The pros: rock hard tummy, flat…unless I eat a whole plate of pasta…I feel strong, I love my bikini again, I see how far I have come, actually I feel it. I can do things that I couldn’t before all because of that core strength.

What’s the problem you’re wondering.  Here it is. As I was licking peanut butter off the spoon late at night recently, this man, who happens to be my husband looks over to me, (he knows things about my drive and what compels me more than most…and he understands as well as anyone but save maybe my sisters what drives me, less why, just that I am and there is no rationalizing with me on some things) so he looks over to me and says,
“I can get you there if you let me.”

“Where,” I say. (so naive)

“To your goals, that last ten lbs, the six pack, get your mile times down to seven and a half minute miles…all of it.” That was his answer

.

NO!

NO, I said, you know why? Because, one, you are going to make me give up peanut butter. Two, I need to be able to hate my coach a little, sometimes a lot. Why would you want that?? I need to be able to have you in my court when I need a scoop of love…I mean peanut butter. Actually I substitute in peanut butter for all the bad stuff…instead of ice-cream, 600 calories of peanut butter, instead of chocolate it’s 500 calories of peanut butter, instead of any of those other tricky foods…you got it, peanut butter…

That’s my answer. I am pretty sure it didn’t come out so articulate but on the other hand I was pretty clear. He’s a brave man I tell you.

Here I thought I was doing so well too… I currently don’t have a coach…now I can’t help but think I need one, but they’d have to be okay with me hating them a little…