Monday, February 25, 2013

another video attempt

I tried an exercise video this morning, instead of running. A fun coworker had offered to loan it to me.  The advantage, she pointed out, was that it was only 20 minutes long.  You could pack a lot of benefit into a short time.  She knew I wasn't fond of videos in the morning, but maybe this one would be good.  

Despite my spectacularly bad attitude about these things, I do try to be a good sport.  So I borrowed it for the weekend, and tried it out this morning.  Monday is a good day to have a shorter workout, since I ALWAYS seem to run late after having messed with my usual routines all weekend. 

The workout is the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. I did the Level 1 20 minute workout. 

I'd have to say, like Yoga for Real Guys, that it seems like it's probably a good video, for people who don't hate light and sound to the level that I do in the morning.  I haven't found a way to stop hating that - and this is something that just gets stronger, not more relaxed, in me as I get older.  I already knew I was probably not going to get over that, and I didn't.

Beyond that, I think the 30 day shred is for people who are more fit/smaller/younger than me. 

Mostly my problem with it is the knees.  The cardio sections of the workout are a lot of bouncing.  30 seconds at a time of jumping jacks.  30 seconds at a time of jump ropes.  30 seconds at a time of butt-kicks (that might not have been their real name, but I can't was 5:30 AM, ok?)  All of these are bouncing activities.  

As you know, I actually DID do jumping jacks last week.  But...the most I did at a time was 10.  I noticed pretty quickly today that those (and all the other bouncing things) are DARN hard on my knees, when done in large amounts.  I made it to maybe 25 the first time, and then after that I made it to maybe 5 each time.  So I marched very vigorously in place, while the ladies on the screen bounced, bounced, bounced.  

I'm very cautious about my knees.  Though the big wide world out there swears running is hard on your knees, I have NOT found it to be hard on my knees at all.  But I'll be damned if I'm gonna do some other exercise that might mess my knees up and make me not able to run.  

The video WAS very helpful in reminding me of some things I can do with my hand weights for my arms.  I'll take that information forward with me.

Probably the main difference between me and the video is in approach.  The video sets out to get huge results in 30 days.  This is the very opposite of my approach.  I am at the beginning of year 3 of this business of letting God teach me to love my body.  Everything I do, exercise wise, is gentle. i mean...I push myself HARD when I run...but I do it gently, if that makes sense.  Jillian is hollering, "No rest!" and explaining over and over that you need to work small muscles at the same time as big muscles, because you're squeezing the whole workout into 20 minutes.  As for me, I'd rather not squeeze.  I'm not in a hurry.  I'm not aiming for swimsuit season or under any illusion that I'm going to quickly change my body and then keep it that way forever.  I'm happy to just continue with the slow, slow, slow process of getting fitter, and if it takes me 5 or 6 years to get down to the weight my body should be for best health, I'm fine with that - after all, I'm at 26 months and still have maybe 75 pounds to go, I'm guessing.  I'm really done with the yo yo.  No hurry here. 

So, my friend, THANK YOU for loaning me the video and giving me a shot at economizing my workout.  Turns out I'm just not an economizing sort of girl.  I'll go back to my slow, quiet ways in the dark where I can pretend the entire planet is mine.  That's what's custom made for me and my strange ways!  :-) 

Friday, February 22, 2013

snow-induced change-up

I knew last night going to bed that snow was supposedly coming, so running would not likely be a good option.  This is because I use the same mesh shoes whether it is summer or stepping into anything wet when it is cold outside is just not a good idea.  So I fell asleep last night making a plan for what else I would do, in place of running.  I didn't want to do just yesterday's workout - it was great but is very small compared to the 40 minutes of running that are my usual MWF routine, you know?

My guy does the stairs, where he lives.  I know for sure stairs are a good workout.  With huge reluctance, I made the decision.  Stairs it would be.  

Oh golly.

I live on the 3rd floor.  So I went...

*up to 6th, from 3rd
*down to 1st
*up to 6th
*down to 3rd
*walked the hall (just needed to breathe)
*up to 6th, from 3rd
*down to 3rd
*walked the hall
*down to 1st, from 3rd
*up to 3rd
*walked the hall
*up to 4th, from 3rd
*down to 2nd
*up to 3rd

And then I was dying.  The problem wasn't the breathing hard.  I CAN DO breathing hard.  The problem was the shaking muscles in my legs and the general feeling of weakness.

So, it felt like I had done A LOT.  I came back to my apartment, thinking I probably did  pretty good chunk of time.  

It had only been something like 10 minutes.

OH HOLY COW.  I got OWNED by those stairs.

So I came back in my apartment and did pushups with the ball (3 rounds of 10) and crunches with the ball (2 rounds of 10) and some other different kinds of crunches (3 rounds of 10) and those horrible things where you sit on an edge and then slide off, holding yourself up with your arms (uggggg 3 times of 15 seconds), and planks (3 rounds of 10 seconds) and side leg lift thingies (2 rounds on each side of 10 each).  

And all of that took only something like 10 minutes too.

Geeze Louise.  See, this is why I prefer running or biking.  Really. Maybe it wasn't too bad a workout, I am an hour later, and the muscles in my legs are STILL shaking.  And the soreness that is...well...EVERYWHERE is a good report that things are changing.

But anyway, today is a success, though it's only 7:04, because even though I did it awkwardly, I did not let the snow keep me from working out. 

Who knows, one of these days maybe I'll be fit enough to do burpees.  (The very thought makes me nauseous.) 

Bring it.  


Thursday, February 21, 2013

this is gonna hurt! YAY!!

Well, I think I finally found a way to workout on non-run mornings that doesn't irritate me.  I gave the YRG (Yoga for Real Guys) a good try, and it's a good workout, for a video workout.  But I think we've established that Karen can barely tolerate a video workout before sunrise.  So, Doug, I'll be bringing that back to you with a big THANK YOU for letting me try it out!

Meanwhile, Stacy found this simple little thing on Pinterest and sent to me.  I can do it in the quiet, in the dark, with no evidence of other human beings daring to exist on my planet...and I don't have to THINK at all - which makes it, like running alone, the perfect pre-dawn workout.  It goes like this:

10 jumping jacks
10 push ups
10 squats
10 crunches
10 jump ropes

9 jumping jacks
9 push ups
9 squats
9 crunches
9 jump ropes

8 jumping jacks
8 push ups
8 squats
8 crunches
8 jump ropes

...And so on, down and down, until you're at 1 of each.   Very basic stuff.  

This is a nice place for me to start.  I'm rusty on these sorts of exercises, and this little 15 minute wonder will be just the thing to get me back in the swing (and made me sweat as much as 15 minutes of running would).

It was an awkward beginning.  I haven't done a jumping jack in a long time.  When I was way up over 250 pounds, I completely stopped jumping.  The thing was, my body was telling me ALL THE TIME that we were running over capacity, and one of the indicators was knee pain.  I didn't even have to jump - just any extra impact at all on the knees set off danger alarms.  So even though I'm now a lot lighter than that, I have tended to continue to be exceedingly cautious about anything that might be impact on my knees.

My first 10 jumping jacks had basically no bounce in them.  They were slow motion, with actual STOPPING between each motion.  It was partly being out of the habit, and partly fear, and partly awkwardness.  

But I'm pretty blown away by how fast I recovered from that - by the time I came around to 9 jumping jacks, I did them in a bouncing, continuous motion.  Still awkward, but it ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE jumping jacks!  That got me so excited that I was able to press in a little harder.  

For now, I'm using my exercise ball for the push ups and crunches.  I've never been any good at either, and the ball seems to make them easier and for sure more fun.  I'm not ready, at this point, to condemn myself for not being able to do correct military push ups and crunches. I can give up the ball later, when I get tough enough.  For now, I'll work from where I am, with what I got, and trust that my form and strength will improve as I remain faithful to the process.   That's been working for...what...2 years now?   

Also, at this point I don't own a jump rope.  Who cares?  I know how to swing an imaginary jump rope, and I was surprised to be able to do the hopping for that so easily,'s another item on the list of things I didn't do for so long.  

I don't have to worry about getting bored.  Recently over at the Shut up and Run blog (which is endlessly entertaining to me - thanks, Laurie, for the tip - despite the fact that I feel I will never be even CLOSE to in that lady's league!) I learned about some workouts called "Quick and Dirty" - had to go to the page for that.  I'm not ready for them YET but I think the above workout will get me there, along with my running. 

I'm gonna feel this thing, later.  I could tell that while I did it.  It really, really worked my knees and also the fronts of my thighs (would be a PERFECT workout if my butt and arms hurt as much as those do right now).  I predict it's going to be a day of having a lot of trouble getting up and down from the potty.  Been stretching and stretching since the workout, but my muscles are still loudly reporting to me that we are changing.  


Bring it on. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

b,b,b,b,b, bad..bad to the bone...

Special motivational tools:  one of my favorites, in the winter, is just using the silly, vain, childish part of me that absolutely loves being a badass.

It was 7 degrees out this morning for my run.  That's layers and layers of clothes and even a hat on, over my headband.  When I stepped out the door, I instantly felt cold pressing, squeezing in, searching for any tiny crack in my wall of warm clothes...any place of access.  The air I sucked in through my face warmer was still painfully cold.  

Happily for me, I am a major heat producer when I move at all.  By the half-mile mark, my body was pushing so much heat OUT that cold couldn't even begin to approach me.  So much that I had to whip my hat off, to bring the temperature under my face warmer down to something like reasonable.  

It was not an easy run.  I missed Friday's and Monday's runs, due to company being here and me just busy enjoying them.  That means it's been A WEEK since I ran.  My body told me about that, from start to finish.  I came home drowned in sweat, out of breath, and my legs feeling like lead.

Know what?  I finished.  

Which makes me a badass.  LOL

If you don't agree, that's okay with me.  I wasn't asking.  LOL 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

pain and change are connected

"If it hurts, that means it's changing."  I was smiling when I wrote that on a text this morning to my guy, who was telling me about his sore biceps as he works out like an adorable madman.  

Our muscles TELL us when they are changing.  If we're sitting around on the couch all day eating junk food, they complain in one way, telling us they are degenerating day by day.  If we're working them like we should be, they they complain another way, telling us they are changing for the better.  Once you're not in your 20s anymore, I think you pretty much don't get the "my muscles absolutely never hurt" option.  You're getting worse, or you're getting better.  Our muscles are pretty faithful reporters of that.  The secret is to choose "getting better" pain so that our old age won't be a huge penance to pay for choosing "getting worse" pain.  

It's the same in our spiritual lives, I think.  We want to run from pain.  But pain generally means we are changing.

If we press into God, that change is going to be for the better.

If we press into selfishness or run away crying, that change is going to be for the worse.

Which do you choose today?

Monday, February 4, 2013

a pavement pounding monday morn

Oh running, sweet running.  How I love you...

It was a balmy 27 degrees out this morning.  Plenty warm enough to run outside, especially since the ice has been cleared away.  I was WAY BEYOND EXCITED to get back out there.

I've been patching through with Yoga for Real Guys (YRG) combined with mornings I have to sleep to make up for sitting up too late, writing, or staying up too late, taking care of stuff I needed to have been doing while I was writing.  The YRG is fine, for an indoor workout.

It's just...this girl does NOT love indoor workouts.  

It was so nice and dark out there this morning.  It was so beautifully quiet.  Just me and the sound of my feet on the pavement and the occasional quietly passing car.  That's what morning exercise should look like, in Karen's world.  

My feet were heavy at first...I always run in "heffalump" mode when I've been away from it for a bit.  I didn't care.  I knew that would get better if I just kept going.  

I love that feeling of pushing myself to my limit.  Of my heart pounding just about out of my chest, my breath coming out in little explosions.  Sweat, sweat, and more sweat  - I was WAY overdressed and was peeling things off the whole time I ran (you can do that when everything is in 2 and 3 layers) and still came home with my hair literally dripping.  

Running the downhill part of the bridge, I felt the muscles in my legs working.  DUDE.  My legs are AMAZING.  No lie.  I mean, I looked in the mirror when I got home and they still LOOK pretty terrible - my cellulite is sticking to me like Jesus..."closer than a brother"...with no signs of ever leaving or forsaking me, darn it.  Nonetheless:  MY LEGS ARE AMAZING.  I feel what they do when I run, the whole run, but especially downhill and a little less so uphill, and it rocks my world pretty much every time.  I'm so sorry for all the years the only thing I noticed about my legs was that darn cellulite.  They deserved a lot better noticing than that.  Today, I noticed.  Today, I celebrated.  Today, like most every day that I run, I will walk with more confidence all day long, remembering that rush of joy in feeling my muscles do that thang they do.  

I'm so grateful for the C25K (Couch to 5K - google it, if you're new and don't know what that is) program, and for the stamina it took, day by day, to move from being a person who had a personal policy of never a lady who just about breaks into party mode from running.  

Bring on more difference like that. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

on telling damnable lies

"I don't receive that for you!"  His tone was sharp and his brow was locked into "stern" setting. 

Oh, brother.

I sighed aloud, glaring at him, trying to hold my own.  Didn't I have the right to talk however I wanted to talk?  Why must he constantly correct my speech?  I wanted to tell him where to get off. 

But he wasn't backing down either.  Exasperation came off of him in waves.  "Why do you insist on saying those terrible things about yourself?  Is that what you WANT?" 

He had interrupted me mid-sentence.  I was embarrassed that the urgency in his tone was attracting the attention of others around us.  Why did he have to make such a big deal about this?  Couldn't we just ONCE have a conversation that didn't go like this?  Couldn't he just let me be me?  But his giant hand enveloped mine, and there was no hostility there.  Despite the strident tone, his motive wasn't control.  

On some level, I understood that he was trying to save me from myself. 

The thing was, I had been talking that way about myself for long enough that I wasn't sure when it had started. 

"Why did I do that?  I'm so stupid..."

"Dropped it again!  I'm so clumsy..."

"I always lose everything..."

"I'm horrible with money.  I'm going to die in debt..."

"I'll never be able to learn that..."

"I hate it, but it's just the way I am..."

"Take it from this fat lady..."

I was daily, often hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute barraging myself with negative self-talk.  Telling the world and myself and God over and over about my low opinion of myself.  If you'd have asked me if I hated myself, I'd have told you (fully believing that I was telling the truth) that no, of course I didn't hate myself!  Why would you ask such a question?  What kind of loser did you think I was?

And ten minutes later I'd have probably been mentioning to you that, I'm such a loser because of some other failure to be perfect.   And I'd not have seen the way I was telling on myself, about something I hadn't yet admitted to myself at all:  I really did hate myself.

He worked in deliverance ministry, which can look a lot of ways.  His particular way was one of those "woo woo out there" sorts - a regular Friday night service for him included seeing manifestations of demons, people falling out, people vomiting into the buckets that were always standing ready.  He saw ugly things, all the time.  

Which meant he didn't mess around, when he saw me agreeing aloud with every condemning voice in my head.  So pretty much every phone call, every date, every internet chat...every time we were in contact, we were playing out this scene.  Me trash talking myself, and him admonishing me, begging me, reasoning with me, ordering me not to do that. mostly thinking, "What the f*^k is your problem, dude?"  (A fine thing to be thinking, when one is dating someone who's in ministry, eh?) 

I heard, "I don't receive that for you!" so many times that it just made me want to kick him, or to slink away, every time it came out of his mouth.   

Why do we hold on so tightly to the things that hurt us?  What's so great about our right to talk crap about ourselves?  Why do we get so offended when someone suggests we maybe could be healed of something that we've already decided is unchangeable?  

Despite what we thought at the time, neither of us was in any way ready to do a real long-term relationship, and soon we moved on.  I've never heard from him since.  But in the ten-ish years since we last spoke, I've been grateful to him about a million times over.  I have just a small idea why he needed me to cross his path, but I'm absolutely sure why I need him to cross mine:  he was step one in starting me to fight against the pile of lies.  

Even after he was gone, I heard his angry rebuke, every time I cavalierly called myself something terrible or casually spoke a message of hopelessness about my situation.  I don't receive that for you!  I didn't always stop and repent, but sometimes I did.  Over time, more and more often I paused, mid-bash, to change my words.  

To say something more like, "I have room to learn in this area," instead of, "I am so stupid."  

To say something more like, "God can teach me about this," instead of, "I'll never learn."

To say something more like, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me," instead of, "I'll never change."  

It's hard work, changing negative self-talk.  You have to chip away at it day by day, moment by moment, thought by thought.  You have to keep stopping mid-sentence.  You have continually go back, saying, "I'm sorry, that's not what I meant," and re-framing to a truth that GOD would say, not the crap that the enemy of us all would say.  You have to insist on telling good stuff about God, when you want to say mean stuff about yourself, your situation, or the guy next to you.  You have to keep reminding yourself that if others agree with the negative talk about you...well...what they think of you is none of your business.  You have to run to God, and trust that He's GLAD you came running, and isn't rolling his eyes and sighing with disgust that you STILL didn't get it right.  

How fast is the work?  This guy was chewing on me about it about a decade ago.  When I arrived here at the naked blog in February of 2009, I was still regularly saying very unkind things to and about myself.  Heck, in January 2011, as God was leading me off into this "letting Him teach me to love my body" adventure, I was still losing the battle a whole heckuva a lot.

In other words:  learning to speak blessings, to be kind and loving, to can be excruciatingly slow work.  

Here's the thing, though: it is the way of freedom.

If you're still beating the crap out of yourself daily with your words...if you're still telling yourself, others, and God how hopeless your situation is...if you're getting irritable when someone suggests you let go of your "right" to talk however you want to about yourself...let me just stop here, glare at you lovingly, and say it:  I DON'T RECEIVE THAT FOR YOU.  IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?  STOP IT!

You'll never get to freedom if you don't start taking that step of speaking God's truth about yourself, instead of the enemy's lies. 

Take the step.  It's a long journey.  But DANG it's beautiful, here a piece further down the road...