Wednesday, May 25, 2011
An old Spark Friend just returned from a long hiatus and has been emailing me to reconnect. She asked me how I had been doing and, for some reason, I let my heart pour out to her. I'm including some of that message below.
Me? Not much. I got a promotion in February but things were pretty much the same for a while. Work has been both exciting and exhaustingly dull. I go from having a ton to do to having nothing to do with myself for 10 hours a day. I try to fill my time with fitness motivation, plans for my week, couponing, and workouts at my desk (when I can). I take walk on my lunch breaks or sit and read in the sun so I can pretend I'm not locked inside here 10 hours a day. I never realized how incredibly dull it would all be after the business of school + work + part-time job ended.
* It's true. For the past few days I've had nothing to do as I had finished my work and was waiting on responses to come back. My idle mind is not the best thing in the world. Somehow I work better when I'm busy and cannot think about all the things in the world that are bothering me. It's seriously immobilizing to be sitting here, staring at the walls and thinking, "So what shall I think about today?" because then the flood gates open and I allow myself every irritation I've been denying to surface. I must sound like a whiny brat lately from all the complaining I've done about general life, circumstances and every damn thing under the sun. Sorry for those who've had to suffer through that with me, btw.
I gave up my part-time position at the paper. It was getting to be too much - 15 hour days twice a month were starting to really take its toll. Plus, no matter how many full-time positions I put my name in for, they continually hired around me - turns out they don't really like to take on stringers full-time. It killed my self-esteem because even though I was getting kudos on my reporting and writing from my editor and other staff, I felt like I was expendable. So I expended myself. Sometimes I miss it, but mostly I feel glad to have my life back. I can't say whether it was the right decision professionally or not, but I never went to school to be a journalist - my love has and always will be novels, fiction, and publishing. Of course, where I live there are ZERO publishing jobs, and everything I've applied for in any state...well, let's just say I had ONE interview and I never heard back from them. I don't know if I'll ever get my dream job in publishing or travel writing. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to "make it on my own," so to speak, but right now I feel like I'm just treading water.
* I never realized how much this had left an impact on me. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I made the decision I made, and I do think it was the right one. But I'm stuck with feeling like I've abandoned all hope of ever doing what I have always wanted to do - publishing or writing. I know this is silly because a writer can write anywhere at any time (HP was written on the train, remember?), but my writer self struggles even more with feelings of inadequacy than the rest of me (which is saying something!). I don't feel like a good enough writer. I feel like I don't have enough of the tools I need, that I wouldn't even know where to start. And I know logically that this is rediculous because, even though schooling is not necessarily needed to become a writer, I have actually received a bachelor of arts degree IN Professional Writing. Someone, somewhere determined that I was good enough to receive this degree. Plus, I graduated #1 in my class in my department (English) which should indicate to me that I am more than equipped with all of the tools I need.
But when I sit down to write for real (not blogs), I feel like an imposter. "I'm not a writer!" I think. "No one will EVER read this, so why am I wasting my time."
I must get past these feelings of inadequacy, especially considering that I believe everyone in the world has at least 1 good story in them. Every single person has one thing for which they experience in a unique way and/or is the one story that only THEY can tell. Maybe I've set myself up with pressure to knock that ONE story out first, but don't most talented and best-selling writers release a lot of books before they ever find that ONE story? And don't most of them write even more that the world never even sees? One has to start somewhere, and I must find it within myself to simply start.
The boys are good. Hubs has been working out with me at the gym sometimes. It's great to have him by my side and hear him groan about DOMS (the soreness the day after) as much as I do. Misery loves company, right?! Just last night he came to the gym wearing a pair of jean shorts that he hasn't been able to wear since we got them from my step-father (who outgrew them as well). (And don't get me started on his inappropriate gym attire! *lol*) Logan is about to finish 5th grade and go onto middle school, which scares the crap out of me! *lol* He's getting to be more responsible and we're trying to give him the responsibilities he has earned. I see so much of both his father and I in him. Ethan, on the other hand, just turned nine, and while smart as a whip, he's just as emotional as his mother so some days you have to remind yourself that he's not still 5 years old. He's been taking gifted classes and will finish 3rd grade soon and move onto 4th, likely with 5th grade advanced math and reading classes. He loves to read and write like his mother and has even started by writing his first story that is longer than one paragraph. (I wrote my first story in 3rd grade too...I still remember it! :) )
* I also didn't realize that my kids growing up, while exciting me, also makes me a little sad. I still sometimes beg my little one to just sit with me a while. I take trips with just Logan sometimes and we talk to each other like friends, because I want him to know he can always tell me anything. But deep down I know that these times are fleeting - that, more than likely, they will both "hate" me at some point, think I am intruding into their lives, withdraw from me and push me out. And while I know it's all a part of growing up and a healthy part of learning to become your own person and grow into an adult - I'm so sad to think that one day, likely soon, I will begin to feel like I am not needed anymore.
Of all the inadequacies I struggle with (or the feeling of them), I have never doubted my skills as a loving mother. That's not to say that I don't fail them - I do ALL THE TIME. But that is part of being a mother. There is no real handbook, each child is different, and parenting is about a series of mistakes made and lessons learned and adapting skills from one child to the next in order to deal with the heavy stuff and mold incredible little human beings. When my oldest child was born, even though I had gotten myself knocked up and my mother and I had cried together over my disappointing her months before, in the hospital room as I was holding my little baby and somehow just KNEW what he needed and knew I would fail him and yet promised to do my best not to, my mother (the woman I most admire in my life) looked up at me and said simply, "I think you were born to do this, Esther. You were born to be a mother." And I knew she was right. It didn't happen how I wanted it to, but it happened how it was supposed to - and it has made me a different, better person. I'm scared to lose that.
As far as my weight loss, as you can tell from my page, I'm fighting my way to the 100 pound lost mark (yet again...which will be 150 pounds lost overall from my highest). That being said, it's been hard. When you start out as big as I did and then lose 150 pounds, and then you realize you need to lose about 100 more, the task seems incredibly daunting. I've been fighting this entire year for every single pound -- it's not easy anymore. I find myself going back to old ways sometimes, but most times I cheat within my boundaries (or so I think). Working out has not stopped the whole time, so while I have let myself slide on some of my eating habits here and there, the weight has either SLOWLY dropped or maintained.
I don't know if it's the daunting thought of still needing to lose 100 pounds more, or if it's a variety of other things. I still feel incredibly big and fat, even though I also feel fit, so I'm fighting a lot with trying to find a way to identify myself. Am I fit and healthy? Am I still obese and fat and disgusting? I cannot figure out what I am or how I should view myself, and I have no clue how other people view me most days. I struggle with feeling as if it's unfair that they might look at me and see "that fat girl" and not know the amount of hours I spend in the gym and the amount of time I spend sore because of it. It doesn't feel right to know that people will judge me by appearance when it doesn't match how I feel on the inside.
* Wow! Okay, well that is the most clearly stated expression of what I've been feeling lately that I've ever heard from my head. My heart is hurting and I'm confused. It's no wonder that I've slipped back into my HS mindset - I'm back to not knowing who I really am, what kind of person I am, how to identify myself, where I belong. I'm struggling to reshape myself into a different person and, just like my previous analogy of how this journey is like growing up, I've reached those confusing HS years when you don't know what's ahead of you, you have all these dreams in your hands but somehow you've already reached the understanding that most of them will drift away without ever being fulfilled. You're struggling with your childlike mind of wonder and dreams and your newly developing adult mind of realization and sobering reality -- but you're still hoping for the best. It's a difficult time. I never thought at the age of 30 I would both know who I am (emotionally, spiritually, politically) and have these solid formed ideas, and yet still struggle with figuring out where I fit and who I am (physically, emotionally, and as how I will continue to live the rest of my life is concerned).
I also struggled this year with injury. Turns out I slipped a disc in my back sometime in December or January. Every time I tried to run, I got extreme pain in the back pelvic region. I would rest it, it would heal up, and then I'd go for it again and the pain would return. I finally broke down and went to the doctor, who sent me to a physical therapist who discovered that the problem wasn't in my hips or pelvis, but the pain from my back seemed to be manifesting itself there. After a few weeks with my PT and stretches at home, I was turning in bed one night and felt a big huge POP in my back (even Hubs heard it...he still talks about how loud it was). We're hoping (about 95% sure) that it was the disc going back in place. I'm still in recovery mode, so things hurt sometimes -- like Zumba and running, ironically my two favorite things to do. I think the injury and recovery time really killed my self-esteem for a while and that might also be the cause for the stall in my weight loss. I just got cleared last week to return to running and Zumba SLOWLY, but holding back has never been my strong suit, so I'm still struggling with that.
One thing I did gain from that injury is a love for heavy lifting. I've got the best sculpted arms and shoulders that I've ever had in my life. Of course, this only adds to my insecurities and confusion because the top half of me doesn't really match the bottom half. I can walk in a Gap store and pick out a XL or XXL shirt off the rack and it fits and looks great on me. I can buy most XL stuff from Old Navy. But to buy shorts and pants, I'm still headed to the "fat" stores to pick out a size 24. Granted, coming from a 32 to a 24 is a great accomplishment, but I struggle with this horrible pear shape I'm confronting and the stomach that, while smaller, still brings most of the attention to my trouble area. Most days I try to ignore it and only look at myself in the top half of the mirror, but I fight with the feeling of wondering if this belly will EVER shrink away completely.
* I am completely proud of myself for recogizing that I struggled because of the injury - even top athletes go through this. AND I'm completely proud that I acknowledged what I had gained from this trying time. I fell in love with something else - with lifting - and that probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been limited in my running and Zumba. I hate to say that I needed this injury, but I guess that's partly true. And while my weight has stalled, my body fat % has decreased in the past few months regularly, and I'm gaining valuable fat-fighting muscle along the way. This road is not paved with gold. It is not paved with rocks either. It's more like cobblestones...somewhat organized, with a reasoning that is secure, but a little hard to walk on - just not impossible. You can run on cobblestones and while, if you aren't careful, you might slip in a crack and tweak an ankle, it's more secure than a rocky path that can send you tumbling. This is a balancing act -- as is recognizing the good and the bad parts of the entire journey.
So, yeah, that's me in a nutshell right now. I'm trying every day. I'm stronger, faster, and more fit than I have been my entire life. I can run (short distances right now...haven't yet hit the 1 mile mark), I can jump again, I love playing sports outside. I can't sit still from all the energy I have nowadays. But I'm struggling with both eating and my feelings that those around me who have lost 60-70- or even 100 pounds like me either look better or have reached goal weight already. I feel like I have to take this journey 3-4 times when they only need to go down the road once, and I have that whole 5 year old "IT'S NOT FAIR!" mentality sometimes. But I'm proud of what I've done and I hope that one day I'll be the greatest success story that *I* have ever known. I hope that one day I can look back and say, "I have done this amazing, incredible thing and I actually fit in with my peers" - something I haven't been able to say since the age of about 5. One day at a time, right?
* For all I've done, I still have that daunting task ahead of me, and it's sobering me to the harsh reality of just how long this will take. It's one reason I decided a while back not to say, "When I'm skinny" because I knew I would waste years not living in order to wait for that blessed day so many years down the road. Losing weight is hard for anyone. Losing 100 pounds is incredibly hard. Now imagine taking that journey several times, constantly losing, constantly fighting the demons inside, constantly trying to remind yourself that YEARS from now, not days, or months, or even a year, you will look back and say it was worth it. But for years it means being in pain or soreness, trying to find ways to push yourself and motivate yourself again and again. It's like trying to light a fire whose wood is already charred. You need new wood, new kindling, and that's what I work at every few months - trying to find something to reignite the fire within me.
I'm giving myself credit for continuing when it's hard and when results don't come like I think they should. I know the things I do wrong, but I also know that I can't live with a diet mentality for the next 2-3-5 years. I will break eventually. In order to keep going, I have to be okay with taking it slow. I have to be okay with having "bad" days now and again. I have to learn to live with every day without constantly denying myself everything I want or desire or crave. Sometimes we have to feed the immediate pleasures. It should be rare, as we should work toward diligence to feed the lifelong desires that dwell deep within us, but without a break from that due diligence now and again, each one of us is likely to crack.
It's also, likely, another reason why I always feel the need for a family 'get-away' once a year, and likely why my stress has been rising recently while facing the fact that I'm not getting that this year (unless things change in the next few days). I need to break from the hum-drum of every day life now and again to remember why the hum-drum is important. Life is a series of minutes, and the only way to get through the boring, dull, or even incredibly difficult ones, is to have the amazing, incredibly joyous ones to reflect upon in those trying times.
So, while life is stressful right now, I know a few things.
1) I can't go back. I've lost the way - and I'm happy about that! There is only forward.
2) The journey here was difficult, but I managed. And I can manage again.
3) Giving up = death. Giving up is not an option.
4) I must try to better balance the good and the bad. I must remember to mark every negative thought with a counter positive to combat the feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy that even my Sparky friends have been noting in my writing.
5) And I must not abandon my goals - be they losing weight, getting fit, running, getting healthy, or even writing and succeeding in life - just because they are difficult. I must retain hope that even if I die trying, I will know that I have tried. To have love and lost, and all that.
I can't go back again, but I can revisit what is important to me, and what has shaped me into the person I am. Maybe then I will have the focus to regain my strength and continue on.
BTW - I am not avoiding telling you that I was not perfect yesterday. I cut my elliptical time short because I was incredibly exhausted. I went home and we went to our favorite neighborhood pizza joint where I had some french fries, a couple slices of garlic cheese bread, and 1/2 of a meatball sub. I also did not do my PT stretches because my shoulders feel wooden and held together by those little stick pin claspy thingies, the little gold ones we used to put papers together with in school. I didn't even go to bed at 10, or 10:30pm like I had hoped. Instead I lamented the fact that sleeping only meant getting up and returning to work the next day and I waited until 1am to finally put myself down.
This morning was difficult, to say the least. There are DOMS like woah and a tired stupor settled over me. I have logged my food for the day and am hoping to follow through without too much trouble. Plus, I got some work in my mailbox yesterday evening so YAY! for something to do. No workout tonight. Going to either go to the park with the boys if it's nice, or simply stay home and do my home spa night - bath, pedicure, facial and manicure. And for lunch I'm walking to Subway to meet with a friend. Here's to hoping for a good day of recovery!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
"Good habits, once established, are just as hard to break as are bad habits."
- Robert Puller
First of all, good job! You challenged yourself yesterday and you discovered some things about yourself that you never knew.
1. You can now kill the stairmaster for 10 minutes (or more! ...who knows?!).
2. You can lift more weight than a lot of people you know.
3. You can tackle challenging situations like the lack of A/C in a hot, smelly, sweaty gym and the random influx of little boys (okay, teens) hogging every weight lifting equipment.
4. You can lift as much or more than many of those teen boys. *snort*
5. You CAN say "no" to your late night cravings.
Sure, many of those things you already knew, but had forgotten.
Many of those things surprised you.
So, now that you've built the solid base of one good day, what can you do to move on from here?
Again, you have options.
1) You can call it good and slack off today. You really busted your butt yesterday and were rewarded by the scale this morning. You ate in your ranges, you finished every bit of your workout (save 2-3 ST exercises you couldn't find a machine for *sigh*), you pushed through 10 whole minutes on the Stairmaster when you could previously only complete 3, you ignored late night cravings, you ran faster than you ever have, you got back out there and did the things that you know are right and it felt good. So, sure, rest and relax. You earned it!
2) You can use that one day of YOUR perfection as a solid foundation for the upcoming week, month, and year. You can use the confidence you built from doing exactly what you said you were going to do. You can remember that follow-through and all of the surprises you met and use today to see just how far you can take this thing. It's going to get hard...you know that. But, from your experience yesterday, you also know that you can make it through. Use the knowledge gained in yourself yesterday to build another wonderful day. Start a streak. Make it last. Show yourself that you are more than a one-hit wonder.
Is it any wonder what the right path is?
What reason would you have to give in and make this an easy day? You don't hurt, you aren't in any pain. You have minor soreness from pushing yourself yesterday - that's a good thing. It shows that you challenged your muscles. You aren't going to injure them by asking them to do more, you're going to stretch them out and make them stronger.
What do you even have planned for today?
Yoga at lunch? Great! You can stretch out those sore muscles and help them heal!
Day #2 of Rachel-Mac's 4 day lifting plan? Great! Working our chest and triceps will help us with our other lifting as well - and may help to conquer our challenge of losing just a tiny bit of the boobage that is spilling over.
Elliptical time? Great! It's been FOREVER since we've been able to do that one without pain.
Give up or move on?
One good day is great!
You pulled yourself out of a slump. You challenged yourself to more, and then stepped up to the challenge and blasted right past it.
But one day can never be enough to build a lifetime of good habits.
Habits take practice.
There is a U in both Failure and Success...but you can choose where you fit best.
If you want this...
...you have to work for it. You have to practice, to train your muscles to do more, stretch more. You have to prove to yourself over time and practice that you have the balance and core strength and flexibility...and the only way to build those things is through continual practice.
Besides...feeling like this last night...
...felt like victory. Don't you want to feel that again? Isn't time for another sweat bath - the best way to wipe away the feelings of negativity that have been rolling over you.
Really...this is a no brainer.
Just keep swimming.... (or sweating).
Monday, May 23, 2011
Hey, you! Yes, YOU, Miss I'm Too Good for Rules and Plans and Action.
You think lazing around on your butt all day eating hot dogs and pretending like it's okay because you skipped lunch is going to help you out of this mess? Come on! You know better than that!
You think putting in the minimal amount of effort and hoping to see the maximum results is a miracle worth waiting for?
Well, I have something to tell you. Stop your whining and get it done!
I can't baby you through this one. I can't hold your hand and tell you that it's okay, because it's not.
Harder than you ever thought it was.
Even though you've been here before, you somehow forgot the challenge you face.
The first 80 pounds were easy and you fought pretty well for the 90-mark.
But the 100 mark and beyond?
It requires blood, sweat, and tears to get to that point.
Not because you don't deserve it, but because you haven't earned it yet.
You've taken the easy road whenever you could.
You've gotten by by the skin of your teeth.
You hovered in the "just barely there" category and, yes, it worked for a while.
But moving on from here you have 2 options ahead of you.
1. Quit. Give up and just be happy you made it this far yet again. Forget how much you wanted more and just be good with what you got. Decide that you aren't worth the time and effort and give up now. Abandon all hope. Throw in the towel. Call the game on account of rain.
2. Fight harder.
And from these two results you will get one of two things.
1. The feeling that you did something, but the constant wonder if you could have done more.
2. The realization of every dream you've ever had - built from hours in the gym, hips shaked at Zumba, miles walked, run, and almost crawled, steps taken on the elliptical, pounds lifted - minutes, hours, and days spent earning your sweat.
I know you haven't felt like it lately, but I want you to know that there is hope.
There is a chance of moving on from here.
You CAN do more - you've been fooling yourself by telling yourself you can't.
You have more to give.
...and if you want to realize your dreams, it's time to start giving without worrying about the reward. It's time to just buckle down and put in the effort.
You keep telling yourself, "But I can't be PERFECT!" because you've forgotten how good it feels to strive for YOUR version of perfection.
Yes, you're right, you cannot be someone else's ideal of perfection.
And, yes, you're also right that you cannot do whatever someone else does.
But WHY would you want to?
You are a valuable, unique individual.
You have rare and unique gifts and talents.
You share some talents with others, but it's your own special blend or brew of those talents together that make you who you are.
And there isn't another one out there exactly like you.
So, no, don't strive for society's version of "perfection." Society doesn't know you or even care enough - they're too worried about themselves to care.
Strive for YOUR perfection.
And realize that your perfection will change.
Today you may not be able to do this, that or the other.
But with training behind you - hard work and discipline - you can strive toward a higher level of perfection.
Today perfection might be 1/4 of a mile run at the fastest pace you've ever run in your life.
Tomorrow, it might be 1/2 a mile.
One day it could be a 5k, 10k, 20k, marathon. But that's not what's important.
What's important is today's perfection.
What can you do TODAY?
- Use your "lunch" break as a source of exercise.
You sit on your butt all day. You're fully able and allowed to eat at your desk at any point during the day, but those 45 minutes given to you are given freely, without restrictions on what you must do with that time. Make it YOUR time. Go for a run! Get out there and do SOMETHING! Or have a peaceful 45 minutes in your locked away corner doing yoga. Whatever you do, don't waste that precious time on things you can do throughout the rest of your 10 hour day. Don't you remember how much you HATE wasting time?! Well then STOP DOING IT!
- Eat like you know you should.
You've logged your meals and snacks for the day. It is more than enough food. Cravings are simply the little devil in your head trying to talk you out of your perfection. Don't deny your body's real hunger by giving into false cravings. Food should not be a comfort in your life, but a source of fuel to fuel those hours you get to spend with a smile on your face - hiking, running, walking in the sunshine, hitting new goals, achieving new heights to your perfection.
- Hydrate yourself.
Unlike some people you know, you LOVE water. It's like life's blood to you. You can easily finish off a half gallon or more a day without even thinking about it. What's more, it makes your body feel right. You just simply FEEL better when you allow yourself one of the only things in this country that remains free (if you know where to look). You know that replacing it with anything else is not a proper substitution, because it only makes your body crave MORE water. So drink, up sister! Throw a little umbrella in that ice cold drinkity-drink and slurp it down like it's happy hour at the beach. YUM!
- Follow the plan.
You've got a great gym plan set up. You know what works. You're trying new things too! Plus, you have your old stand-bys back now that your back is healed. Don't forget how humiliated you felt by your injury. Do NOT take these moments of ability for granted, because you know what it's like when you're left without. Savor it! Enjoy it! Love every single minute of it! Get your body into shape and the rest will follow naturally.
See! You have a plan. It's all right there in black and white. There's no denying it now.
But I have to remind you that it is not going to be as simple as writing it down.
It's going to take work.
You might hate it sometimes.
You might want to cry or kick or scream.
It doesn't matter.
Cry your way through it and onto the tears of joy.
Scream out of pain until the screeching is from pride.
Kick like a toddler until you grow into a strong woman who can kick @ss!
I can't baby you through this one, but I can tell you one thing.
It may not be easy - but it will be worth it.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I didn't take any pictures, but I've yanked a couple from my instructor, Ashley's photo album. We had 153 people register for the Zumbathon and raised $3,364.80 for the American Cancer Society as part of Relay for Life. Our Relay for Life event doesn't end until June 3rd, so the total amount will eventually be higher, especially with our silent auction items.
I arrived to the field about 15 minutes early and got through the registration line quickly because I had preregistered. I didn't win a door prize, but I did remember to bring my can of food for donation. I didn't bid on any of the silent auctions either because I'm really trying hard to save as much money as possible. Even though there were a few things I would like to have, none of it struck me as necessary.
BTW - I was wearing black stretch capris and a blue and white striped tank, was in the back right corner from the instructor's POV.
I was intimidated when I got there...it's been SO long. Before I got halfway to the group I noticed a couple girls that were with me at the Master's Class in Charleston. They waved and I waved and it was like no time had passed at all. I made a beeline for them - PEOPLE I KNOW!! *lol* Before I got there I heard my name. One of my neighbors (we rural people use this term loosely...she lives about 2 miles away, but we pass each others houses all the time) and former Avon lady called my name. I paid her the $2.50 I had for a vinyl decal in a dark pink that says, "Fight like a girl!" LOVES IT!
I was fine being in the back because I knew most of these people were old classmates from my former Zumba class. Plus, as much as I wanted to go through all 2 hours without a problem, I knew it had been a while and I might be rusty.
HA! What I didn't expect was soreness in my back after song 2 or 3. I didn't expect to feel totally beat and my calves already cramping up at the 30 minute mark. I didn't expect to have to feel like I was back in class 2, modifying the crap out of everything so as to not further tweak my back.
I didn't expect to feel like a newb like that. I felt all my old insecurities come back, worried that people would look at me and think, "She can't even do anything because she's so fat and out of shape!" And then I heard the voices of the Spark multitude telling me to shut my negative trap. Who cared what ANYONE thought? Who cared at all? Was it better to stay out of shape and fat and go home in order to hide from the fear of embarrassment, or chance it all and stay and workout and get better and have 2 hours of Zumba under my belt for my return?
There were 2 scheduled breaks. I took several more. I tried to stretch in between songs. During breaks I did my PT stretches (press-ups) and that seemed to really help for a song or two before the pain returned. I did the best I could.
When the calves cramped at the 30 minute mark, I grabbed a banana and ate half. I ate the other half some time later.
At our first break I turned to my Zumba friends and said, "This is more difficult than any 5k, 7k or 10k I have ever done!!" Then I retracted..."Okay, maybe not the 10k!" *lol* It may sound silly to some, but the two hours of Zumba I did last night felt like MY half-marathon. I had to keep telling myself to "Keep Going! Rest when you need to, but get right back in. Protect your injury, but don't quit. JUST FINISH."
That's Me! *lol*
I felt it EVERYWHERE. My back, my legs, my hips. Jumping was a problem now and again, but not as bad as the twisting of the hips. I could actually feel the pain targeted in my back this time, so I know where the disc problem is now, I think. I tried to keep my posture good. I tried not to twist to hard. I felt like I wasn't doing enough, but I knew if I just kept moving it would be better than I had done in more than a month.
A few of my other classmates, who we found on the other side of the field a bit into the Zumbathon. LOVE them! :)
I went through my entire 32 oz bottle of water AND a 20 oz water. Thank goodness the instructors thought to bring granola bars, bananas and water for all of us! LIFE SAVERS!!
Unfortunately I learned that my instructor has begun adding a slew of new songs to the class playlist. She only brought 2 that I knew and none of my favorites. *pouts* Me and my girls kept chanting, "Shots and Gangsta!" ...our 2 favorites. (We found out later that Shots was actually on the playlist, but somehow didn't transfer over to Ashley's phone when she was transferring everything the night before. I told her that it better be on the playlist for when I come back to class!! *lol*)
I did my best and am proud to say that I stayed the entire 2 hours. I felt sore and achy and in a lot of pain afterward, but the girls next to me noted that they were feeling it as well so I didn't feel too bad. In our small Zumba classroom, we don't have a lot of room to move around, so when they were taking us across the field and back 10 yards or more at a time, we could totally feel it in our legs, especially our calves!!
My girls both asked if I was alright. I explained why I hadn't been to class in a while and explained that I had JUST been cleared for Zumba again. They understood and kept an eye on me and never once thought I was a slacker for stopping now and again. I totally love this Zumba group!! At one point, Ashley was standing in front of me and saw the wincing and concern on my face during some difficult moves. She mouthed, "Are you okay?" and I told her I would be fine. It's nice to feel the love and concern. I know she understands because she's been in and out of surgery for her feet and has had to come back with modified moves until she could go back full-force again. I didn't feel pressured to overperform and injure myself again.
As the sun set, the bugs came out. Stupid mosquitoes! I swatted and sweated and kept moving and by the time it was over I felt more than ready for some water, a granola bar, and a LOT of ice on my back. (My Zumba girls agreed with the icing thing and said they were going home to "lick their wounds" as well! *lol*)
I celebrated with a couple slices of pizza and then got restless and we went to the store late to walk around. *lol* I kept thinking, "Why do I want to walk around WalMart after 2 hours of Zumba?! Why do I keep going?" But I can't help it. I'm restless nowadays. I need activity and motion, even if the motion is slow-going, which I was at Walmart! *lol* I fell asleep on the couch when we came back, and then finally transferred to the bedroom at some point.
This morning? I'm sore, but not in any real pain. I'm not sure if I'll be running today, but I certainly think a walk is in order to stretch out these muscles. Maybe even a game of volleyball since the sun is out and it's beautiful (that's IF the Hubs feels up to it...he's not been feeling well). I'll get restless soon, I know, and then I'll be out enjoying the sun. We've talked about maybe going to see the new Pirates movie tonight, or going to Parkersburg to get Logan some sandals for $1 at Old Navy. We've talked about running and playing at the park. We've talked about shopping for our vegetable plants today so I can get those plants in the ground and eagerly await fresh tomatoes and zucchini and eggplant (maybe) and peppers. Whatever happens, I probably won't be home very much today. I hear the sun calling me and I plan on answering eventually. :)
If last night's Zumbathon taught me anything, it taught me:
1) I am stronger than I give myself credit for.
2) People aren't constantly thinking bad about me because they likely have other things on their mind.
3) People care about me - especially my Spark Friends and my Zumba Family.
4) I'm ready to go back, but I have to take it easy!
5) I'm a force of nature and someone to be reckoned with. I fully intend to FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!
One final note. In all these pictures except one (in which I look pregnant as I was standing with my stomach forward, trying to stretch my back *lol*) I don't mind how I look. I'm actually a little proud of how I look now. :)
Friday, May 20, 2011
Zumba. You've heard the talk and I know you're thinking that this is just the next Tae Bo, or let's go back even more - the next Sweatin' to the Oldies (yes, I did that). But let's just lay down the doubt and see what Zumba really is, and what it has to offer.
"Zumba is an aerobic fitness program created by Miami-based dancer and choreographer Beto Perez and two entrepreneurs, Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. It originated in Colombia in the 1990s and is taught by some 20,000 instructors in 35 countries."
Source: wikipedia, of course ;)
But..what IS Zumba??
"zumba - combines Latin and international music in dance routines featuring aerobic and fitness interval training done to a combination of fast and slow rhythms."
So, Zumba is dancing?
Alright, I hear your excuses...let's get those out of the way right now.
I can't dance! I have two left feet.
Oh, come on. You know it isn't about dance skill. This is a fitness class before anything else. The dancing is just the fun part to it. There are more than a few people in my class that I would be embarrassed to take to a nightclub with me. People of every age group and ability have crossed my Zumba path. Sure, some steps are difficult, but if you don't get them - who cares? There is no dance recital. You are not on stage to perform. You are not being judged or critiqued for your ability, or lack thereof. And, added bonus? Zumba can actually help make you a better dancer if you're only just adequate to start with. Yes, I have popped out with Zumba moves out on the dance floor of clubs, one in Vegas while on vacation...and there is plenty of booty shaking in the car!
Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Besides, there are no strikes in Zumba. :)
But I don't like Latin music.
Yes, Zumba has its roots in Latin music, and you will get a few salsa lessons during class without even realizing it. But many of the instructors I have come across use popular songs and make up appropriate routines to them. I can't even tell you how fun it is to dance to Thriller every October, or to hear many of the songs you hear in class on the radio later (hence the booty shaking in the car). There is a wide mix of different music being played, a lot of different dance styles. Ironically, my favorite are the "Bollywood" type routines. No clue why, but that music just makes me want to shake my hips and pound it like no other.
...fat is often used here, but other excuses pop up too. Old? Uncoordinated? What's the excuse you're sticking to today? In my small classroom we have people of every shape and size, male and female, ages from 10 to 70. There is no target audience beyond people who want to get active, stay fit, and/or lose weight...and have fun doing it.
I have bad knees/back/hips, etc.
Okay, first I have to say - talk to your doctor. I would never tell you to go against doctor's orders (and with my recent sidelining from Zumba because of a back problem, I certainly understand)...but you have to ask yourself - are you making those excuses or is there really something physically that keeps you from doing it? My instructor has broken her foot and had multiple surgeries on it, and she's still there as soon as she gets an all clear to go back. When I started, my knees were crap and I tried to do everything they did and I popped out my knee in my first half hour. But there is one word you need to know, learn, and love -- MODIFY. You can modify any part of a Zumba routine. When I went back after my first session, in order to protect my knee I did not jump, turn, twist my knees in any way that might exacerbate my problem. No one looked at me funny, and I learned that I wasn't the only one modifying. In fact, it's encouraged. The point is not to get hurt, the point is to have fun and stay fit. Rule #3 from my first instructor -- "When all else fails, just shake it." "Shake WHAT?" I asked her. "ANYTHING!" Keep moving in whatever way you can.
I need to mention something else. A couple months ago I got to see a woman in action whose lower body keeps her from Zumbaing to the extent you see most people. She is actually an instructor, and a famous one at that. How can she teach Zumba? She does it from a wheeled chair, moving about the room, putting 110% effort into every upper body move she can do without injuring herself further. (Google Diane Felkenes from Ohio)
It's too expensive!
With the outflow of new Zumba instructors popping up everywhere, prices vary for classes. The one in my town is 3 measly bucks per class. Look around and find the right priced class for you. OR....there are Zumba DVDs and Zumba games now (try the one on Kinect...I want to!!) that you can do from the comfort of your home. Still aren't sure? Try a YouTube video.
It won't work for me. or... It isn't enough of a workout.
My Zumba instructor and I talk about this ALL the time. Zumba gives what you put into it. I'm not stupid enough to think it will work for everyone, but I know anyone can try it. The skinniest person in our class (seriously, she's tiny) competed with me in an "inches lost" competition last year. We all joked that we'd do hers by inches gained (hopefully from muscle) because we couldn't see her getting ANY smaller. The woman (one of the oldest in our class, btw) actually LOST an inch in the two month contest. We were surprised, but not completely shocked. If you need more of a workout, there are modifications you can do to make each move MORE difficult. Sit deeper in squats, turn, twist more, shake your hips harder. It's all about how much energy you expend moving your body.
So, I know the big question is -- why am I writing this? Yes, I love Zumba. It has helped me lose the almost 100 pounds I've lost since April. More than that, it's like a family.
Tonight I will be doing the Zumbathon to benefit the American Cancer Society. Groups of Zumba instructors will be on hand so we can all get a taste of the different styles around. A local popular morning show radio DJ is going to be DJing our event. It's going to be 2 blissful hours of laughter, dance, fun and shakin' our thangs! Too often I hear people's fears about joining in on things like Zumba, and it makes me sad...because it could be just another weapon in your arsenal of "get fit" activities...if you just give it a try. For people in WV - come to Ripley HS tonight before 7pm and pay the 25$ donation fee and see what it's all about. If you don't like it, you can leave early and not feel bad because your donation will still go to a great cause. (Oh, and bring a canned good! -- I MUST remember to do this!)
Tonight will be my triumphant return to Zumba after weeks away. I'm nervous I've lost all of my ability...but I know how to make adjustments. I get to see my very own Zumba instructor up there, as well as my former Zumba instructor too!
I was nervous I wouldn't get the go ahead from my PT to do this tonight. But now that I'm clear to go? I cannot wait!! For the love of Zumba, I'M BACK!!! :)
Source: our Zumbathon instructors! :)
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