Learning to Hoop!

Hula Hooping Girl by Steven Depolo

Bikes and Hoops!

My birthday last weekend was a celebration of fitness goals. Boxing! Biking! and… HOOPS!

I’ve said before that one of my goals is to learn to hoop. Why? During a garage sale about a year ago or so, Julian brought over two giant hoops that belonged to his kids. The weather was beautiful and practically everyone jumped in on the fun. These were BIG hoops (one is over 5′) and the bigger the hoop, the easier it is. My friends, people shopping our garage sale, tons of folks grabbed a hoop and gave it a whirl.

I didn’t, however. I didn’t know how, and honestly, I was scared of making a fool out of myself. A lot of it had to do with my size. I felt uncomfortable doing something like that in front of people at my weight.

"only the fools end up being cool" by we wander & wonder

“only the fools end up being cool” by we wander & wonder

Julian also happens to have a friend who teaches hooping classes and workshops. We’ve seen her perform several times and each time there is a little girl inside of me squealing, “I want to try that!!” But I never thought I would have the guts. Then I started losing weight, and as I have written about before, getting involved in fitness has helped me get over my fear of looking like a fool. When we were kids learning something new, we didn’t care about being perfect, but somehow, when we get older we develop this weird belief that we should be perfect at anything we try. The fear that we won’t be perfect, that we will look foolish, is what holds us back.

I am feeling better about taking risks, so I decided to find out more about hooping. I had been meaning to ask Julian’s friend if she would maybe do a private lesson, when what should pop up on my Facebook feed? An announcement that she was teaching a Hooping Workshop the day after my birthday! It seemed like kismet. I signed up.

It was fantastic. And you know what? I’m not very good. I doubt anyone after just one workshop is great, but I don’t have a very good sense of my body. I don’t have much rhythm and I am not very flexible. These things that help with learning how to hoop. But who cares? I got a great workout, had fun and learned something new. The class was awesome, the instructor kind, and every one of us dropped, flung and tripped on our hoops. I am covered with tiny, tiny bruises from hip to ankle from when the hoop fell. I’ll probably never perform my hooping in front of people, but would I go to another class? You bet!

Photo credit: Hula Hooping Girl by Steven Depolo

I Want to Ride My Bicycle… Bicycle… Bicycle

Safety first!

Safety first!

One of my birthday presents this year was a (new to me) bicycle. I don’t think the person who gave it to me meant it as a present, it was just an old Cruiser her folks had laying around, but that’s how I see it! I’ve been wanting a bike all summer, but with Hermes’ medical bills and some unexpected home repairs, I really depleted my funds. With some sadness I had decided to wait on a bike until spring. Then, I was gifted a bike!

I took it over to the local bike repair shop. I had debated on which one to go to, but in the end I am happy I picked the one I did. Bicycling is quite the thing now, and the fancy shops with their super intense Bike People intimidate me a little. This place was great. It was started in 1978, and most of the guys there looked like they had started working there about then. These were the kind of men who wore shop aprons and work shirts, and I didn’t see a speck of neon on any of them.

When it comes to fitness trainers, I’ve heard it said to always go for crusty old guy. (He’s the one who probably knows the most.) Applying that theory to bicycle repair, I had found a whole shop of knowledge! The bike needed new tubes… and I needed a helmet. The gentleman who helped me was awesome. I think it took him awhile to understand exactly how green I really was. He kept asking me questions that I didn’t know how to answer… like you know, what kind of bike I had. I helpfully pointed it out in the repair shop and said, “Ummm… a black one?” (He’s the one who told me it was a Cruiser.)

He walked me through what I’ll to need for my bike – not a sales pitch, more “as you get more experience, here are things to think about,” which was really helpful. He also helped me pick out a helmet and get it fitted to my noggin. Once I had what I needed, both for the bike and my skull, I was set to go riding!

My first ride was awesome! Being on a bike is almost as fun as being on a kayak (and I dream about being back on the kayak.) I rode at a park where I normally run and I went so fast I felt like I was flying! It probably wasn’t that fast really, but when you are used to plodding along, it felt like the wind!

We’ll just have to see how much riding I can get in before it gets too cold. I planning on doing as much as I can. It’s so much fun!

At the park after a great first ride. She may not be fancy, but she's all mine.

At the park after a great first ride. She may not be fancy, but she’s all mine. Note the bell – the guys at the shop put it on as a 40th birthday present for me. How great is that?!?

Birthday Boxing

Guess what I got for my birthday?Thanks by Maxim Pierre

A Heavy Bag!!

My awesome best gal Cee got it for me! How cool is that?

I haven’t got it mounted, and I am going to need to get gloves and some training, but I am so excited! Julian already owns a speed bag, so I envision the basement of my house becoming a mini gym soon. (Although I have the weight lifting equipment in the middle of the living room. Yes, I’ve become that gal.)

It’s more than an awesome gift though, I says something about how my friends see me. It also shows that they support the woman I have become over the past 9 months. It’s been a big change. When Cee got me that bag, it wasn’t just about me wanting to learn to box, it also said, “I love you and I support what you are doing.”

I tell you, I have fantastic friends!

Birthday cake by Paul Downey

Photo credit: Thanks by Maxim Pierre
Photo credit: Birthday Cake by Paul Downey

I’ve Decided to Let This Week Go.

Meatball Parmesan by La Piazza Pizzeria

Meatball Day, a brilliant idea. These are not my meatballs, these are much prettier… and less Lebanese.

Reasons to not fret about fitness this week:

  1. It is my birthday week. There will be celebrations!
  2. Meatball Day at work. MEAT BALL DAY. Seriously.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

It’s Coming! It’s Coming! 40!!!

But not for very much longer...

But not for very much longer…

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!