“Live baby live, now that the day is over.” My friend Elise is quoting me old lyrics from INXS encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone. You are young, you are beautiful, she says. You need to go out. You need to find somebody.
Ouch. Does everyone notice that I don’t? Probably. I can make up a million excuses why I stay in my comfort zone, but the truth is there is a weakness there that I am avoiding. A fear, if you will, of what is on the other side. Too much murkiness. What if I get hurt?
My physical therapist is pretty much telling me the same thing about my fitness routine. “What are you doing now at the gym?” She inquired, yesterday. Continue reading “Can’t or won’t, darling?”
Have you ever lost touch with a really good friend that you once spent numerous hours talking, laughing and exploring life and dreams together? A person that you knew so well that you could predict what they would say or do and it would make you smile even before they did it?
What if that person was you? Continue reading “Slippery Slopes”
It’s been another week of being stretched and prodded at physical therapy and then gingerly navigating my way through Junior’s Gym alone. Recovering from an injury has created a whole new routine in my life of calculating what I am able to do now that I have been physically forced to put my ego aside. Routines can be efficient and effective but this new one feels full of restraint and limitations. Continue reading “between darkness and light”
It’s been ten days since I injured myself gravely and I have been scanning my body daily for signs of improvement. I can see definitive advancement from the first eventful day when I implored Bertina that it was okay to leave me lying on my back on the garage floor and go home. I am not sure how long I ended up staying there, but I do remembering not knowing how I was going to get up. This was a dark day of pain and unknowing. Continue reading “The pleasure of living through the pain.”
I am staring up into the brightness of a single, exposed light bulb that hangs from the ceiling amongst beads of sunshine piercing through holes in the zinc roof like stars in a night sky. What does Miguel do when it rains?, I wonder. Continue reading “Oh, Miguel! What am I going to do? “Reposo, reposo, reposo … y ANIMO!””
Happiness matters to me. My health matters to me. I want to feel energized and strong. It’s not youth that I want. It’s more mature than that. My youthful emotions were mercurial. My adult emotions are goals and choices. I choose to feel amazing.
It’s what I want for myself, it’s what in the end, only I can give myself.
My fitness journey began with a physical goal of achieving strength and the figure that I felt better represented who I wanted to be. When I thought about all that I wanted out of my new body and what I supposed it would bring to my life, I didn’t factor in the emotional joy. Continue reading “The happiest days are these.”
Sir Roger Bannister, the first man recorded to have run a mile in less than four minutes passed away yesterday in England. Up until the year that he broke through the four minute barrier in 1954, the athletic and scientific world hotly debated whether a four minute mile could ever be broken. Most people concurred that it couldn’t be done.
But when Sir Roger succeeded in shaving less than a second off of the four minute mile in 1954, additional athletes immediately followed his example in achieving the same feat. Their training had not changed so much from earlier in the year, however their personal dream immediately became more tangible.
I am starting to think that we stare at our own four minute miles every day. Continue reading “Four minute miles all over my body and you asked for it: my training week in pictures.”
Am I going to stay up? Or, give up?
Today, I held a two minute plank in a full-flexed, push-up position. I didn’t hold two minutes because I set out to push my own limits of what I could do. I was tricked into staying up by my yogi, Ronn who is the official timekeeper of everything we do in class.
Of course, there were signs that things were not right. My arms were excessively shaking and I had to deliberately contract my abs to support my frame. I theorized that I had miscounted on the number of diverting Happy Birthday songs that I normally compose to people that motivate me, but everyone had all been sung to and we were still up in the hold.
I looked back over my shoulder at Ronn to see what was up and saw him focused on his breathing, totally concentrating in the effort. I was right at the edge of my ability. I felt that I could choose to collapse on a whim. There was nothing left in me to stay with him.
Oh my gosh, I thought, am I going to stay up or give up?
Continue reading “Remember When We Were Lions”
Today, I am full of trepidation. As much as I am aching to work out, I am still injured and have great doubts about what I should be doing. For sure my sciatic nerve is pinched and this gives me the kind of sharp, reprimanding pain that presents itself without warning as my body changes position. The irony is that I have discovered that I can do all kinds of challenging stretches to a degree, but then basic efforts like sitting in the car even for short distances is so painful that I want to put my left leg anywhere but on the floor.
So why I am going to a strength training session? Maybe optimism. Maybe because I am stubborn. And also, I suspect that the rest of my body doesn’t want to get left behind just because another part of it is lagging. Surely the answer can’t be to do nothing. Continue reading “Starting Month 6: “It’s time to pull off the training wheels.””
It’s 7:20 Sunday morning and Bertina and I are about to train as we always do on Sundays from the home office of my garage. During the week, we are twice at Junior’s Gym, where even if it’s not much of a gym, you can get a damn good workout if you are with people who know what they are doing.
Trust me, a good workout doesn’t require state of the art equipment, or even a clean floor. One of the attractions of the Sunday garage sessions is that it takes this minimalist approach to a new level. The workout materials basically consist of Bertina and me, my garage floor and sometimes a chair and some hand weights. No membership needed. Continue reading “The Garage Workout: B, me, and the floor you see.”
There has been a theme running through the last week of my life that keeps popping up with my training. Whatever the physical challenge that is presented, most of the effort of achieving it involves my mind more than my body.
Bertina reminded me yesterday when we started a bar squat routine that I could do double the amount of weight that was on the bar, but I have to believe it. The real resistance is fear and underestimation of ability; my mind’s need to set limitations is the real hurdle that has to be overcome. She’s right. As I watch the playback of my few warm up squats with no weights on the bar, I can see my shoulders are hunched with tension breaking the straightness in my back. The video clearly shows me hover and hesitate in the squat above the area where if I sink down another 4 inches I will actually get some real benefit from the motion.
But I know what I am thinking. It’s going to hurt and I am going to get stuck there. Continue reading “It’s never the weight. Bar squats at Junior’s Gym, Granada, Nicaragua.”