2014: My Year of Muscle

Since completing my marathon, one of the most popular things people ask me is what I plan to do now. Several people asked me if I’m going to keep running more marathons or get crazy and try for an Ironman. I think every single person that asks me that is beyond sweet but obviously smoking crack. Because I’m not ready for either of those. Marathon training was time consuming. I’m ready to have some extra time back in my schedule for other things.

I am however ready for a new goal. Because goals have been good for me. Goals have helped me chart and stay the course. In 2012, my course was focused on dropping pounds. I kept losing in 2013 but in my mind, it’s the mileage I’ll remember most about that year. Continuously upping it to challenge myself.

For 2014, I decided it would be my year of muscle. Specifically, building some. Specifically, my arms are wet noodles and my Jelly Belly makes a sad little frowny face at me.  I think the frowny face has jowls, too. 
My new goal is to do 1 good push up. I’ve been getting made fun of at work with people assuring me that’s nothing compared with a marathon. I assure them, they are unfamiliar with my wet noodles. Besides, it’s okay to set smaller goals. Who says I’ll stop with 1? But I definitely won’t get to doing 10 without doing 1 first. So for now, it’s one.  One not on my knees and not a quivering mess free falling to get to the ground and then lifting my stomach back off the ground to try to push up. I’m in the market for hands below my shoulders going down slowly and in control touching my nose to the ground and nothing else and then coming right back up.  I'll know it when I do it.  Because my brain will be imploding from disbelief.
I’ve done some stuff with weights at home but it isn’t very exciting. I find it sort of lonely and easy to lose interest in.  It probably doesn’t help that progress with weights can be slower and harder to see. I like results. When I took up running, I could see results as it helped me to drop weight. The number on the scale went down and so did my pants size.  So I knew I needed to try something new but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Personal trainers are expensive and I’m not willing to shell out for it. Joining a gym was an option but it’s not the equipment I need so much as something to make me do it day in and day out.

So I decided to try CrossFit. Yikes! Yikes! And more yikes! I’m super intimidated just typing it!

But I remember being super intimidated by running, too. I remember thinking that way about Couch to 5K. And then half marathons. And then marathons. But I was wrong about those being too much for me.

And then I read one too many times on Pinterest about how growth happens at the end of your comfort zone and then I ran across a Groupon for a place and then I pulled out my credit card before I could change my mind.  Now that my marathon is done it’s time to use it.

My husband suggested I try it for a month to see if I like it. I laughed and told him I like lying in bed watching crappy reality television and that odds are it will feel less pleasant than that regardless of how long I do it. When it comes to exercise, I have to push past what I like. Plus it’ll take me way longer than a month to stop hating anything new that produces sweat. So I’m mentally committing to 6 months. That’ll see me through to my 40th birthday and it gives me time to get the hang of things. Some people catch on in a few days. But some people are not slow, lazy and have the memory of a sieve like me. I plan to camp out in introductory classes week after week after week after week until I’m less of a fumbling nightmare.

Probably the thing I find most intimidating about CrossFit is that my husband does it. The Italian Stallion is insane. He doesn’t stop when it hurts. He stops when he’s done. He regularly tells me about how high he gets his heart rate and I regularly tell him how old he is and how high he’s not supposed to get his heart rate. He’s made of steel and leaps difficult tasks in a single bound. He finished a half marathon hobbled by an ankle injury.  He finished his 2nd marathon hobbled by a knee injury.  This delicate flower right here isn’t on his level. This delicate flower right here isn’t prepared to have a heart attack. I’ve got two kids and a mortgage. Falling out isn’t in my big life plan in the sky. I’ll do the best I can and push myself. But that’s all I've got. 
Warming the molten steel up with some rocking out in the car.  The old school sweatband is not only functional but lends an air of authenticity to his commitment to pain.

Except when I look up CrossFit on the internet or read about it, boy does my insane husband seem to be the norm. Which puts me outside the norm. Which is the equivalent of shock and awe. As an example, there’s an actual term in CrossFit for when you work out so hard you throw up from the exertion (Pukie the Clown). Um. Yeah. Shoot me in the head if that ever happens to me. Because that will mean there has been a Zombie attack and they got me and you need to shoot me to save yourself from becoming a Zombie, too. So do it. I promise there won’t be any hard feelings.

In honor of The Year of Muscle, I took before photos and measured myself. When I first started my health kick, I took measurements but I’ve never really been into them along the way because I suck at taking them. I can never decide where exactly the measuring tape is supposed to go on my flabby Jelly Belly or how snug I'm supposed to pull it. The snugger I pull it, the more inches I think I’ve lost. But the snugger I pull it, the more convinced I am that I’m pulling it more snuggly than last time I measured and that the extra inches lost are just an illusion.  But I’m planning to build some muscles and I know that’s going to weigh more than flab so I figure the scale won’t be a great yardstick to measure my progress with. Measurements and photos it is and here’s hoping for some gun show photos down the road. 
Me poured into my size 6 jeans.  Finally located them in the closet.  Snug as heck but wearable.  Vicious muffin top.  I'd gladly trade any chance at a gun show for muffin eradication. 

I'm going in expecting to be sore.  Regularly.  I'm expecting to be the most clueless person in the room.  Regularly.  I'm expecting to feel weak and pathetic.  Regularly.  But I'm also expecting to learn a lot and continue to progress.  

I’m super nervous. But doing it.  Besides, can’t let a perfectly good Groupon go to waste!


Anonymous said...

you're going to love strength training!!! it's an amazing feeling to be stronger. i've never done crossfit though. i'm curious to see what you think! good luck!

AmyJ said...

Sounds like a great plan! And what is it with push ups? When I was 9, I could do 5 boy push ups- but I was in gymnastics and did back bends and handstands on my free time.

Cara Zimmer said...

Strength training is amazing. Seriously, you will not belive how much your body will change! Great goals to have girl!

Savvy WorkingGal said...

I am taking a TRX class this year. I also take a free spinning/yoga combo class. This comes after years of just doing just cardio. I had foot surgery last fall and still can't have a lot of impact on my foo. I was getting so bored with spinning I decided to jazz it up a bit. I was terrified of the strength training classes. I had tendinitis in my elbow last year and was convinced I would hurt myself again. So far so good. Finally after about eight weeks I feel like I am seeing improvements and have even done a plank or two. The classes are smaller now that everyone has given up on their New Years resolutions, so I can't really just lay on my mat anymore.

Good luck to you.

Curleedst said...

Definitely don't let the Groupon go to WASTE and perhaps get a trainer or join a boot camp to keep you going and pushing harder than you may ordinarily push yourself. You can do it.

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