There is a scene in the movie 17 Again where the main character wakes up in Zac Efron’s body and realizes he no longer has any aches and pains. That is the most realistic part of the whole damn thing. Waking up old is painful! Boy, I wish the young one could be me. I’m still extremely active, but after an afternoon doing strength training, I sure hurt. Johann, my horse, is in his prime. He is a true athlete. I hope that he feels more like Zac Efron than Matthew Perry after a solid workout. Me? Not so much.
Dear Shaun T,
I can’t say if I’m getting ripped. I look the same to me. (Body dysmorphia, much? Nah, I just can’t tell close up.) First I did your Insanity workout and I truly thought it was IN-sane. Now I’m in the Beta phase of T-25, and all I can say is that it kicks my ass to insanity and beyond. I thought 25 minute workouts would be a cakewalk after Insanity. Hell, most of the time those workouts near the end were a full hour. What I didn’t realize was that all those breaks in Insanity are a Godsend and the lack of breaks in T-25 is cruel and unusual punishment. My forearms are quivering as I write this and sweat is dripping down my ribs. My headband is soaked. I feel like I’ve been beat up a little.
I hope to hell I’m getting fit, that’s all I can say. Not because I want some ripped body everyone will envy, but because I want to be strong to live long for my daughters. Arghhh!
Ambivalence is not always a useful thing.
That’s an aside. Here’s the real story:
My oldest daughter is in Arizona visiting her dad. This can make running difficult because I also have a 4 year old. Usually I leave the 4 year old home with her sister while I run. But sister isn’t here, so if the 4 year old is not interested in going running with me in the jogging stroller, I don’t get to run. Yesterday, my 4 year old did not want to run with Mama, so I decided to do some of my strength training exercises instead. I went through the routine, then felt really pumped up and wanted to do more, so what did I choose? Squats. I used to do a lot of squats every other day. Then my dog died and the whole routine went out the window (and running too, for a bit there). Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that yesterday I decided to do squats.
Did I mention that when I do strength training I use a Tabata timer so I can do more? What’s a Tabata timer you say? It’s this handy device that measures time increments. 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for a total of 8 intervals. The idea is that you work out really hard and fast during the 20 second interval, then rest 10 seconds, then another 20 second workout, then another rest, and on and on until the 8 are done. Doing this increases the overall total of really hard and fast exercise. It works great. I can knock out 100 situps in 4 minutes, as opposed to about 70 in that same amount of time without rests.
So…back to yesterday. I got the genius idea to add squats back in using the Tabata timer. I was pumped up. I was ready to go. It’s only been 3 months since I did some. What could a few squats hurt? I did at least 120 of them. I was doing 15 a set and felt great. A little wobbly at the end, but great.
I forgot something when I did this. I forgot that I was going to jump a horse over a fence today. When I got up this morning and felt my thighs give a little shriek, I wondered how this would go because riding horses over fences requires a bit of thigh work. Let’s just say I did not plan well in this. I should have thought things through and not been so caught up in the gungho minute. I should have realized the impact my actions would have on my overall body. I should have considered the feelings of my thighs. I did not do this, and here we are now, 8 hours later, and my thighs are quite upset with me. They are not allowing me to make simple movements, like sitting. They are telling me that I am a mean person and that what I did was cruel. I agree with them. I will never do this to them again. I promise.
I am going to take some Ibuprofen now. In the various classes of NSAIDs, Ibuprofen works best for me. For some it’s Aspirin, for others Naproxen. For me, Ibuprofen. I will be taking it and hopefully tomorrow my thighs will have forgiven me. I can certainly hope.
So Yahoo says I can get a summer body in 4 weeks. Wow! A summer body. Just what I always wanted! I’m going to have to get me one of those. I’m not sure if I have to order it from Yahoo or if I can search around for a better deal on the internet. I’m hoping if I shop around, it won’t be terribly expensive, especially with gas prices what they are. I’m hoping the summer body I find is tall. I like tall bodies. And not terribly muscular, but toned. Yes, toned would be good. Of course, that would mean the body would probably have to be somewhat young so the muscles haven’t atrophied or anything. I don’t particularly care what color skin it has, as long as it’s not scraping off or something like that. I really would like my summer body to actually have skin. And tan would be good, but not fake orange tan, real tan, if it’s still fresh and not peeling. I would prefer my summer body has not been mutilated or otherwise defaced. Bodies like that are probably cheaper, but yuck, you know? I wonder what they do to the bodies to keep them from smelling bad. Summer deodorant? And I’ve heard finger and toenails keep growing. I wouldn’t want my summer body to have icky nails. It might be kind of cool if my summer body has hair that has grown longer. I could braid it or maybe even turn it into dreads.
Overall, I’m pretty excited about getting a new summer body. The winter/spring one is starting to decompose and I was considering moving it into the compost pile. This will be a great way to start the season!
One of the best reasons in the world not to stop exercising once you have started is that you will have to start again. It’s hell on the body and seems to get worse as one gets older. I have always been active, had to be for sanity’s sake. I just have one of those high functioning, high energy metabolisms and brains that suffer from lethargy. Luckily, growing up, I had no derth of exercising options. My parents’ driveway is literally a mile long and I had to walk it to the school bus stop rain or shine, sleet or snow. My sister and I were like the post office: through rain or sleet or dark of morning (not night, we weren’t vampires) we always had to deliver. We walked or ran that driveway twice a day every day the entire time we went to school. Nearly daily we would beg our sweet bus driver Annie to drive us up our driveway. Her answer was always no. One year for Christmas she gave me a chocolate N and Melanie a chocolate O. At least her answer was consistent. One time a bird pooped in my sister’s hair on the way down. She was pissed off. I laughed. For some reason, we weren’t always cordial during those years. Gee, I wonder why… ? I used to run the driveway on the way home. It was mostly uphill and I liked getting home quickly. I got to where I could run up in under five minutes. Maybe that’s why I was so good in the 1500 m in high school track.
Our parents NEVER let us stay home from school. I mean never. I had chicken pox in 8th grade. My parents sent me off to school even though I felt like shit and was itching like crazy and the school sent me home. I dislocated my shoulder after having a horse land on me when it crashed through a fence rather than jumping over it. Again, I went to school the next day even though I was in my own personal hell.
Needless to say, I got lots of exercise without even trying. Plus I rode horses and ran on track and was even on the dance team a couple of years (that was a hysterical laugh, I can assure you). Then when I moved away I kept riding and took up running and basically kept moving for the next decade, again, without really trying. In college I started swimming. My lifestyle kept me on the go.
Then I got pregnant and felt like a lumbering beast. It hurt to move after a few months. Walking was torture. Everything I read said that if you’re fit going into pregnancy then pregnancy would be a breeze. I was fit going into pregnancy and if that was a breeze, being unfit while pregnant must be sadistic torture. My hips hurt. My back hurt. And I was as big as a house. I’d always been stick skinny and suddenly I couldn’t fit into bathroom stalls. After pregnancy I had to work a bit to get into shape. It wasn’t as fun. But I had the baby and bought a jogger stroller and got back into the swing of things. I started riding again when she was 5 months old and that made all the difference in the world. You know, all those people who use thigh masters and butt exercisers should just start riding sport horses. It’s athletic as hell and gives you great abs, tight thighs, and a butt without much effort. I’m not talking fat western saddles waddling into the mountains riding, I mean sport horses, jumping big fences and dressage on the flat. It’s good for the body, I can assure you. I started using a gym at one point to get strength training because I had always done aerobic exercise. On all the equipment, I was pretty pathetic, using one or two of the little weight bricks. But on the inner thigh weight lift, I could lift the entire stack! Those inner thighs become little killers when you ride sport horses a lot.
Anyway, as is often the case, I digress. In March 2005, I was jogging and sprained the shit out of my right ankle. Seriously reamed the damn thing. This killed my running career for the time being. I was able to continue riding, but I wanted more. So I took up biking. I have kept it up. I love it. I put a rack on the back and drug Milla around with me until she learned to ride her own bike. There’s nothing like climbing hills on a bike with a 30 pound lump on the back of your bike for getting strong, I can assure you.
But for some reason this fall, I just kind of stopped exercising as much. Last year I had the excuse of stress and cancer and all that shit. I had to sell my horse a year ago to pay the mortgage so I wasn’t riding. But in the spring after radiation and everything, I started back easy and it wasn’t too terrible, but it wasn’t much fun either. And I didn’t exercise as much last summer as I had always before. It probably had something to do with our miserable ass weather. It rained most of August. What the hell is that? We got sun for June and July and that was it. We got screwed. It started raining in August and has basically not given us much of a breather since. During September I ran, doing interval training where you run like hell for a quarter mile or so then slow down then run like hell again. But once it really started raining again, that was that.
So what brought on this little soliloquy? Today I went riding again and it KICKED MY ASS. I’m tired as hell and although I don’t feel those muscles yet, I can tell from the weakness in my hips, back, and abs that I’m going to be so sorry tomorrow and the next day. Lucky me. And a few weeks ago I went cross country skiing. Again, kicked my ass. And last summer, when I actually had been doing some bike riding, I rode in the Providence Bridge Pedal. I did the middle distance. I think it was 12 or 14 miles. Not much compared to what I have done almost daily in the past. Kicked my ass. All these times, the ass kickings have manifested as my being tired as hell afterwards and sometimes lasting a few days. It’s like my stamina is cracking or something. I wonder if it has to do with the stress of last year, which was enormous, of if I’m just getting old. Maybe it’s both. I don’t know. What I do know is that tomorrow my ass is going to seriously hurt and I am just not looking forward to that.