Reasons to not fret about fitness this week:
- It is my birthday week. There will be celebrations!
- Meatball Day at work. MEAT BALL DAY. Seriously.
- My calendar is extremely busy this week with many late nights. (Example: last night I was up late making my special Lebanese Meatballs.) Little sleep = a very grumpy and unhappy LongviewHill. Getting up early to exercise? Not going to happen.
- See #1
I should say – not all my busyness has to do with celebrations of me …or meatballs, there are also Board meetings and finalizing the last of my summer freelance work. The point is this week is packed; and not packed with fitness.
So be it.
In fact, pretty much all of September has felt that way. I’ve felt a little unfocused all month. I’ve exercised, but not as much as I would like. My running has been a bit off and my strength training has been good – but I skipped it a couple times due to my inability to haul my butt out of bed in the morning. I’m doing okay on eating, but portions have gotten a little out of size lately. Nothing bad, nothing to get worked up about, but not where I want to be either.
So, I am writing this week off… mostly. I’m keeping up with what I have been doing. I’ve got my gear in my trunk to go for a run tonight, and I hope to get a couple more in this weekend. I’m going to try and eat well, but I am also not going to stress about it. Hopefully this weekend I can catch up on a little sleep – but not counting on it.
Next week should allow me to refocus a little, but my annual garage sale is next weekend. Every year my best gal friends and I throw a gigantic sale. There is a lot of drinking, laughing and selling of junk. It is awesome …however, it is not great for the waistline or getting a full night’s sleep. Again, it is what it is.
However, despite the fact that the first weekend in October might find me drinking mimosas at 8:00AM while selling off my possessions, I am going to really try to get back on track next month. I’d like to be as active as possible and maybe try something new. It’s a great time for it – after all, it won’t be long before the snow starts flying. I need to get out as much as I can!
Photo credit: La Piazza Pizzeria on flickr
I do now. I think it is like the “blue Buick” syndrome. You never notice blue Buicks… until you buy one. Then everywhere you look: in every parking lot, passing you on the highway, in your neighbor’s driveway – a blue Buick. Running has been like that for me. Now that I have been doing it for a little while, I notice how many other runners there are. I see them everywhere – even now that the weather has turned cool and dark, folks are still getting out there pounding the pavement.
Once and awhile I see someone who motivates me. It might be the way they are running or how they look – something catches my eye and I think “Oh, I hope I can do that someday.” I promise, I try not to be a creeper about it. I keep my staring discrete. Recently I was walking Hermes and saw a man running towards me. His running looked effortless, even though he was moving at quite a clip, and he still had the lung capacity to wish me a pleasant morning. He did not look like I do when I run – sweaty, red-faced, clumsy, face scrunched up in painful concentration. He looked happy, free and comfortable. After he passed, I thought, “If I keep at it, there will come a time when I’ll look like that when I run.”
It backfires though. I was running at the park the other day and I saw this gal coming towards me, running with her arms high on her chest. She looked more like she was boxing than running – with each step her fists were level with her cheekbones. As she ran by I thought, “Well, that just looks uncomfortable.”
Then I started worrying. Do I do that? I remembered that my Run Clinic instructor told us to run with our arms at a 90 degree angle. I know I run higher than that, I didn’t think I was as high as boxer lady, but maybe I was… I started concentrating on my arms, forcing myself to hold them at what I thought was a 90 degree angle. I would do okay and then slowly… slowly… the arms would creep back up. (Incidentally, I think women instinctively run with their arms higher than men. Maybe not all gals, but a lot of us. I suspect it has to do with protecting the bosom.) Anyway… you know what happened right?
(Long time runners are probably laughing at me right now!)
I got through the run okay, but the next morning, and for several days after that, my shoulders and arms were killing me! Lesson learned – allow your body to find its own natural rhythm. That includes breathing, arm placement and anything else. Sure, there are adjustments that can be made with the help of a pro, but doing weird things ad hoc in the middle of a run? Not smart! In other words, “Eyes on your own paper!”
I just read a fun post on Stumptuous.com. Check out these thoughts from someone else with their 40th birthday in September:
“When I turned 40, I realized I no longer had to give a shit. About ANYTHING.”
Well, it’s September 2013. I’ve clung with my fingernails to this sticky ball we call Earth for 40 vertigo-inducing trips around the sun.
Now, I shall pass my wisdom on to you.
- Like what you like. Fuck the haters.
- Don’t like what you don’t like. Fuck the shoulds.
- But stay open to liking what you thought you didn’t like. Hey, maybe you need to cook it better. Or put a hat on it. Or try it 5 times. Or experience it with someone who can talk you through it. Or maybe — it’s what you really need. Cough cough posterior chain work shoulder mobility.
- Say no when you mean no.
- Say yes when you mean yes.
- In general, cut the bullshit. Think of bullshit as the smog of social interaction: omnipresent, neither wanted nor needed, and ultimately polluting.
- Learn to Say Difficult Things. Better to feel guilty yet relieved than resentful and blocked.
- 95% of your stress is about other people. Shoulds, expectations, “rules”, worries about what So-and-so might think, trying to live up to imaginary standards… Write down all the stuff you are stressed about, and for each one, ask yourself: Does this represent a genuine threat to my life, actual safety, and/or health? Or is this a threat to my ego, my sense of perceived security and “rightness”, and/or social order? If the latter, congratulations! You’ve found something NOT to be stressed about! When I turned 40, I vowed to no longer give a shit about most things. Guess what — nothing happened, except I felt about a million times more awesome.
- Think less, feel more. Put down the spreadsheet and rulebook, and sense in.
- Be IN your body rather than a floating head. What are your feet doing right now? What about deep in your belly? What is stuck in your throat? How are you breathing? What’s going on with your entire physical situation? Don’t let your mind answer this one. Wait for your body to tell you. […]
Now click over and read the 70 other awesome thoughts in the full article on stumptuous.com. (Note: my favorites were #55 and #73)
On Friday, I turn 40.
I know those milestone birthdays freak a lot of people out, but I have to admit, I am feeling pretty good about mine. I’ve got some plans for celebrating with friends and family and even a special present for myself – more on that in another post.
Birthdays have never really had a big effect on me, but this year, I have something else going for me: I know I can do anything. I have proof! Check it out:
Six Things I Would Have Said Were Impossible One Year Ago Today
- That I could run miles without stopping
- That I would be actively weight lifting
- That I would kayak, solo, around the lake at my cabin
- That I would be seriously considering trying any of the following: rock climbing, boxing, joining a gym, running a race, trail running, taking a class in hooping, biking, and getting a swim pass at the local pool. (All items I have looked into or started working towards.)
- That at 39 I would get in the best shape I have ever been
- That I would be wearing size 4 jeans
These are just off the top of my head, I’m sure there are more. It’s been a momentous year for me, but the important thing is that I am just getting started! Because that is the deal with birthdays, right? The scary thing is saying to ourselves, “I always thought I would do X by age 25.” It’s the realization that we haven’t done X and we’re not getting any younger. People start putting things aside because they are “too old”: I always planned to write my first novel by 25, I can’t possibly be an athlete over 30, now that I am 40 I’ll never be pretty again, I can’t go back to school and learn a new career now that I am 50… and so on. You know what? That’s bull.
Okay, there are a few select careers that if you wanted to do them, you should have started in your youth – opera singer, ballerina, basketball pro… but just because you may not be performing at the Met doesn’t mean that you can’t take singing lessons, right? The thing is, I have put off a lot of things in my life because I thought they weren’t available to me, either because of my age or my weight. The truth wasn’t that I couldn’t do them, the truth was, I was too scared to try.
Losing weight has not changed what I can do, but spending the last nine months taking risks, setting goals, and achieving them has completely changed how I look at the world. Maybe I am in the middle of my life, but from what I can see from here – the rest is going to be awesome!
I mentioned that I am trying to learn to do a perfect squat. I’ve got a long way to go – literally, there are a whole lot of inches before I can get my tush where it needs to be. I’m not naturally flexible, so this is a process. And can I just say that I hate instructions that say things like, “sit like you are going to sit in a chair and then just go all the way down.” Oh, really?!? No mention of “…and if your legs simply won’t bend that way because you haven’t taken a yoga class in 10 years and you are stiff as a board, try this instead…” Nope. Just go all the way down. Sigh….
But, I am determined. So, along with doing squats while working out, I am trying to find every day ways to practice my squat.
Fortunately, I have a dog.
Times to practice getting knees to bend and my butt towards the floor:
- Picking up and replacing food and water bowls
- Hooking on, and removing, the outdoor tie out
- Hooking on, and removing, the leash for walks and trips outside
- The cleaning up of dog poo on said walks and trips outside
- While toweling down and drying Hermes from walks in the rain
- While mopping up the floor when he shakes in the kitchen before I can towel him down from the walk in the rain
- While performing manditory “I love you!” scratches and pets
- The daily chore of picking up throw pillows and blankets that Hermes has decided do not belong on the couch and would look better on the floor
Really, he does it all for me. He’s my little furry workout buddy.
I’ve been dealing with a case of the blues. There’s a lot going on right now, and hopefully, I’ll get a chance to write about all of it, but for now, the one thing I am shortest on is time. What I would love to do is spend a couple of hours with my journal and a cup of tea, but I am not sure when, or if, that is going to happen.
So, I’m taking it day by day. I’m getting done what I can and trying to forgive myself for what isn’t going to get done. It’s hard; that’s not really my style. I like to make lists, cross things off, and get things done. Right now I feel like I am in triage mode and just working through the emergencies. I know that these cycles happen. I run into them fairly frequently. In this case, I have four weeks of busyness ahead, leaving no time for dealing with the blues. Priorities have to be set. Sadly, even exercise is getting the short shaft right now, but what can you do?
The main thing is just to find joy where I can and not let a momentary blip completely derail me. It’s too easy to let things like that happen – but I refuse to go down that road. I’ve already come so far.
Photo credit: macinate on flickr