More thankfulness today, y’all, this time of the health-and-fitness variety. Before I enumerate those blessings, I’m going to share a quick list of health-and-fitness issues, both real and (possibly, but probably not all that) potentially-only-very-slightly exaggerated.
~I was a baby-fat kind of kid. Following a growth spurt, I became a lanky, awkward teenager. I’ve never quite lost the former nor grown into the latter.
~The lanky-teenager stage brought with it an absolutely ridiculous metabolism. I could eat anything and everything, and I did, even after said metabolism changed. How I miss the ‘I can eat more pizza than you!’ gauntlet.
~The aforementioned adult metabolism change was due, in very large part, to the simultaneous decision to quit smoking/turning 30 years old. Screeching. Halt.
~Indiana Jones spoke the truth: It’s not the years, it’s the mileage. Youthful attempts to jog and trail run with bad shoes and bad form and bad attitude have left my knees unhappy. Jousting has gifted me with a wonky right shoulder and wrist. Half-marathon training/road running on uneven pavement means my right hip is seriously ouchy. I’ve got battle elbow (tennis elbow, but for stage combatants) thanks to overuse and lots of spear and quarterstaff work.
~Awkwardness is a constant: I stumble walking across a flat surface, dance like a drunken giraffe, and punch myself in the face while teaching kickboxing class. I have never been, nor will never be, a pretty graceful princess.
So. There’s all of that.
There’s also this: when I lost an activity I loved, I found another – to wit, cardio-kickboxing. I took my first class early in 2006. Within a year, I was an instructor. I’m still there, and still in love with the workout. It’s grown and changed, and as a client I’m never bored. As an instructor, I’m delightfully challenged. It’s working out that feels like play, with a healthy dose of badassery mixed in. What’s not to love?
For a while, I ran. Grudgingly. I was inspired by others who did so, and though I never found the joy they did, I realized I could implement discipline. I trained for a half-marathon: four runs a week, all outdoors, through a NY state winter. I never missed a one. Though my race time was less impressive than my training runs, I still finished. Got the job done, got my banana and my medal and the realization I could push myself through.
I ‘ran’ a Spartan Sprint. It wasn’t for time; it was to finish with the team. We helped each other over (and under, and through) obstacles. We gave a shoulder to teammates. Did burpees alongside them. Gave a shoulder – or a fireman’s carry – to those who needed it. I wept through my own final set of penalty burpees. But we finished together. Got the job done, got my beer and my medal and the realization that with my friends alongside me, I could scale walls and leap fire.
Right now, I’m engaged in an intensive HIIT course, which I posted about a few days ago. I’m so very thankful to my dear friend/workout partner for getting me involved, but good gracious – it’s making me realize how much further I have to go. Choose to go. Cards on the table: I’m 45. Many of my nutritional/portion choices are reasonable, but not all of them. I like wine. I like beer. One of my professional credentials is ‘Singing Pirate,’ for heavens’ sake. But I want to be fit and strong and capable. I want to be slim, even if I’ll never be ripped. I want to set a good example. I want to do my gym, my colleagues, and myself proud. I’m as stuck as anyone on the number on the scale, even though I know that’s a guideline at best. It’s so hard to let go of those numbers. Still…
It’s hopeful. I can clean-and-press more than I thought my battle elbow could handle. My hip, unhappy with running, can do burpees with split lunge switches. Bursitis in the right shoulder is cool with hanging knee tucks, and moderately fine with dive bombers. I’ve certainly got more range of motion than I did six months past.
I may never be a beast. I may never be a superhero*. I’d like to strengthen and define my arms. I’d love to shave some jiggle off my midsection. Decent legs? Yes, please. If I can work my way to moderately kickass mid-forties woman, then bless. I’ll be thankful for what this body can accomplish, mileage and all.
*though if I could, I’d totally want to be Batgirl. Or Zatanna. Please and thank you.