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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

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Fitness

2015 – a Doing Year. Oh and Crossfit.

This has been a really interesting year. It’s been full of learning for just about all of us in my house. Aiden finally tackled two-wheel bike riding and swimming. Avery rode ocean waves after being fearful for two days, and she got the hang of ice skating. Alexander did a colossal job developing a 32-unit condo building. And among other things, I discovered my inner child and started drawing with a new blog about menus. In this era when it’s so easy to be a passive consumer (we are that too), it’s fun to look back and see the DOING and the CREATING.

This year was also big for me physically. For the first time ever, I stuck with an exercise program diligently, and I did it without an end in mind. Of course I had goals, but in the past my goal (running a marathon or a ten-miler or a half-marathon) has also been an “end.” I would sign up, train, do the race and then stop running for weeks, sometimes months on end. Totally unsatisfying; not sustainable.

I started going to my gym – yes, Crossfit – July 2014 and I told myself I would just try it for six months. Six months came and went and I kept going. I wanted to be there, to do the work, to see results and push to keep getting better. This really was about the Means not the End. It’s a place where people know me first as Kylie, not as Mommy; not as Avery’s mom or Alex’s wife; not where our reason for knowing each other is work-related. The relationships start with you as an individual and branch out from there, rather than the reverse which I find is so common at this time of our lives. It’s a place where you have personal victories and it’s really exciting to see your friends and coaches hit their goals. There are moments of defeat as well. One day this year I just had to leave – mid-workout. Nobody does that. You never really feel compelled to stop but on this day I did. And then the best thing happened, people thoughtfully reached out, just to see if everything was ok. Nobody pushed, they just wanted to be sure everything was ok. (This is a good place to mention that the coaches – James, Maillard, Reggie, Mario, Lauren – are great. Like any business, the culture of a gym is a reflection of the values of leadership. Every day they care.)

I don’t know about you but I find this age trying at times in terms of friendships. People are scattered and busy. Often interactions don’t get past saying hello at morning school drop off. Whatever it is – a regular dinner club, a book group, a gym – finding a place where you get a bit beyond just “hello” is really really nice. I didn’t know how much I needed that.

It’s not all warm and fuzzy…exercising is also about numbers. I dig metrics and Crossfit is pretty trackable. I track my weight lifted each workout (weight * reps * sets). Here are my numbers for the year.

2015 Weight Lifted (lbs) YTD Average Average lbs per Day
January 26,265 26,265 876
February 22,030 24,148 816
March 14,620 20,972 487
April 23,495 21,603 810
May 31,010 23,484 1,034
June 45,140 27,093 1,557
July 26,885 27,064 896
August 31,525 27,621 1,051
September 28,065 27,671 968
October 40,355 28,939 1,345
November 34,408 29,436 1,186
December 39,962 30,313 1,332
TOTAL   363,760        

 

I’m pretty pleased with those figures. Three Hundred Sixty Three Thousand pounds. I have never felt better or more physically capable. I can get almost 100 pounds over my head. Each month I am able to do more and more. The work I am doing now will benefit me for years to come. I also did about 1200 burpees…they are just awful…which means I should do more of them in 2016. Always good to be able to get up from the floor.

Last thing to mention on this – a constant motivator on this has been my mother (not sure she knows this). My mom never worked out when we were kids now regularly goes to a trainer. She is in great shape and can take care of herself at age 73. She is always eager to listen when I call her with some Crossfit feat. What a nice thing – finding a new way to bond with your mom even at the ripe young age of 43 🙂

What’s New?

What’s new? Well it’s hot and muggy and August – none of that is new but it is current. New? My three year old resists bedtime now every night. Guess that’s not new either. Most three year olds resist bedtime. A friend of mine told me her three year has been acting like a “punk bitch” lately. That is new. And funny.

Robin Williams’ death is new and so sad. He must have felt so alone. To take your own life ever…but to take your life when so much of it is behind you and less in front of you and you’ve been through and accomplished and lived so much. We need a different lens on depression.

Because we always have two or three screens going at once, on my other screen I just sent a text saying that I don’t go to church much (ever) because I cry every time. That’s not new either.

I don’t know.

Today was an important day at work so I wore eye shadow. New.

There is one other thing that’s new. I joined a cult and that has been kind of nice. Good people. Very welcoming. Super supportive. Push me to do things I think are crazy. I pay them. At times I feel trapped.

Crossfit! Ha! Yes. I don’t care if it sounds like a cult – it’s new to me and I love it. Yes indeed.

I am a runner. I can just run and run and run. Not fast. But for quite a while. But see, what’s new is all of a sudden I stopped finding that satisfying. And it wasn’t doing anything for my double chins (yes) and I’m just weak as can be. So in a twist of fate, I broke my toe in May, had to skip the Brooklyn Half Marathon, totally stopped running, hobbled by a Crossfit and said “Yep. I am going to try that once this foot heals.”

Don’t ask me about it if you don’t want to hear about it. I freaking love it. It’s really hard, very daunting and really fun. And I hate group things – HATE. I am a loner (runner) and an introvert (hate people) and even I love groupy Crossfit.

It is hard.   I am definitely not The Little Engine in there saying “I think I can!” I’m more The Little Engine that sees the workout on the board and says “No freaking way.” Others who go have told me they “can’t wait” to get to the gym (BOX – whatever) and do the workout. This is not my reaction. Mine is more like this “holy fuck I can’t do any of that, what a joke.” But I still go.

People ask me what it’s all about. It’s about squats. A lot of squats. Lift a bar with weight over your head! Squat. Throw a 20 lb. ball against a wall! Squat. Rack a 35 lb. kettle bell at your chest and guess what…squat. It’s a LOT of squatting. There’s also a surprising amount of jumping around. Crossfitters hop on and over things. I generally do not. Picture me hopping around – it’s ridiculous. I am more of a stepper at this point. When’s the last time you jumped rope? I couldn’t remember either but they teach you and then say “Great you can jump with a rope…now repeat 899 times.” We did a warmup the other day (totally exhausting) called Junkyard Dog (PGCounty!) where you jump over a partner. Please. No wonder Crossfit is criticized for being dangerous. I jumped kind of near and above her. I am not planning to add to the injury rep.

The cool thing is that even scaled down, every workout makes you feel like a badass. Yeah, it’s a little about ego.

Take pull-ups for instance. I can’t even begin to do a real pull-up. So I use resistance bands to scale them. I use so many bands that I look like an art project. One false move and someone (me) is getting an ugly slap in the face by those bands. But they help me get the movement and one day – ONE DAY – I will start removing those bands.

So every day I do it I start my day with a “no way” and then a tired hour later I end with a “holy crap I did it.” Every time.

So that’s new. Starting a day with a seemingly impossible challenge and then a win. That’s new. And I will take it.

The Manolo Challenge

Let's face it.  For some of us, working out does not come naturally.  It can be a chore, a "have to."  I have tried hard to shift my mindset about this (kumbaya, embrace the working out) but if I am honest, I would almost always rather watch a movie.

But it has to be done.  So if you are in my camp, you might agree, extreme measures are needed to make sure it happens.  Extreme can include public embarrassment, harassment from friends, food deprivation, loss of money…the list goes on.  What is a lazy worker-outer to do?

One day a few years ago, a friend and I had a run with In and Out Burger and Krispy Kreme Donuts.  The run in included eating all of the above, in one afternoon.  We almost died.  I am still wringing out my arteries.  I mean, an occasional stop for a donut is one thing, but it's a totally different thing to have a huge burger (double double animal style – AWWW YEAH!), a pile of fries, a soda (not diet…the horror…all those chemicals…if I am going to be bad, I at least want real sugar) only to be followed by not one but two fresh out of the oven donuts.  Mmmm…good times.

And then reality set in.  Within minutes of said consumption we practically ran off the road fighting off sugar coma.  And immediately – I am not kidding – my pants practically burst.  And we were in Malibu where fat people are not allowed.  It was a bad day.

Extreme measures were needed to fend off this kind of behavior and get back to our healthy selves.  What did we do?  We invented a plan.  A brutal plan involving humiliation, some deprivation and potential money spending…but there was a reward.  We invented…wait for it…

THE MANOLO CHALLENGE (picture a beautiful pair of hand-crafted shoes coming down through the clouds…the light is behind them…angels are singing…)

The Manolo Challenge was an eating and exercise plan that lives on today and is followed, with modifications, by others.  Here are the basic requirements:

  • Cardio at least 4x a week for min of 1 hour each time;

  • 100 sit ups 3x a week;

  • Strength training at least 2x a week.

  • On eating and drinking, we limited our drinks to no more than 7 a week (rationale: 1 glass of wine per day works for the french, so why not us) and no donuts, stuff like that.

We set up a system (ahh, spreadsheets!) whereby we reported to each other on a weekly basis how we did, and if you did something like eat fries, your Manolo Challenge buddy could assign you a "make-it-up" workout like an extra hour on the bike.   If after 2 months you had complied with everything on average 90%, you "won". 

Here is the kicker: if you won and the other lost, the loser had to buy the winner a pair of Manolos (and not on sale – real, current season, cannot pay your rent, Manolo Blahniks). If you both win, you were allowed to buy yourself a pair of Manolos. If you both lose, you have to donate $500 to a charity…so in any event, you were out $500 but the goal was to not have to buy the other person a pair of shoes!

Let me tell you, rarely have I been so motivated.  We might need to institute MCII. 

TIR – Sept 6, 2008

Another Morning Run

Mileage: 4.0 miles

Time: about 45 minutes (I am giving myself a bit of a break here)

Pace: more than 11 minute miles, on average.  Still very SAD!  For the record, there was a time not too long ago when I ran 13.1 miles – IN A ROW – at a pace of 9:47.  I was quite happy about that. Since then I have aged 18 months, gained 25 pounds, given birth and recuperated.  Oh yeah, I had MAJOR surgery with the birth of said baby.  And yes, I have lost the pounds but with all of that, muscle seems to have disappeared too. Not to mention endurance, flexibility, stamina, a general sense of youth…

Again, nevermind all that.  I keep going…

TIR (Truth in Running)

Morning Run

Mileage: 2.438 miles

Time: 27 minutes

Pace: about 11 minute miles, on average.  SAD!  I used to average less than 10 minutes per mile…a 10% drop off is alarming!  Getting old.  And really slow…not that I was ever that fast, but 11 minute miles…ugh…

Nevermind all that.  It's not like I have been running regularly.  So, just keep on truckin'.  Keep on truckin'.

Truth in Running, cont.

So, another 25 minutes this morning at yet again, a very slow pace. 

Why am I reporting this on a blog?  Public pressure, my friends, public pressure.  I have found that when it comes to working out, I am motivated by public pressure to do so.  You see, I ran a marathon many moons ago, and several half marathons including one about 16 months ago.  I have been a supporter of the New York Road Runners Club since 1995.  I have always needed to have a goal in order to keep going.  Don't know if that is good or bad, it just is.  I have also found that to keep going, I need to say it out loud, so my friends will hold me to it.  So I am going to provide snippets of progress on this blog.  Working out is one thing I have had trouble figuring out how to fit into this new life of career, travel, baby, friends, baby, rest, baby, career, sleep, family, friends…wait…anyway, you get my drift.  So why not inject a little public pressure to the mix, to push me out of bed at sunrise (not my best time of day) and get out there to work up a sweat.

If you have words of encouragement, feel free to send me a note.

By the way, total non sequitur…do you ever ask yourself, how are you a force for change?

Truth in Running

Ran: 25 minutes (very slow pace, not tracking mileage yet; have sore back but went anyway)

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