challenges, fitness and nutrition, health

A Million Little Pieces

I wrote recently about being part of a challenge where I’m cleaning out the clutter in my diet. In addition, there are many other little daily requirements in this challenge that aim to improve healthy habits. Every one had points associated with it. Here are some of the little things that I had to attend to throughout this month.

-Complete at least 4 workouts a week. This included a tester workout at the beginning and end of the challenge. I workout pretty much daily so this was not a big deal to achieve. I improved my score by quite a bit from beginning to end.

-Drink 80 ounces of water per day. Only 12 ounces can be unsweetened seltzer water.

This required more effort than the workouts. Filling up insulated cups daily, cutting fruits into the water to infuse them, it all helped. It’s paying attention and planning, just like the food part. I also set up a water reminder app but I don’t think that part encouraged me much. Just a buzz saying “it’s time to drink water” was too easy to ignore. I need to look into something with different sayings.

-Stretch / do yoga for 20 minutes per week

I embrace working out but stretching is something I do wayyyy too little of. And as a “woman of a certain age” I know stretching would help me in multiple ways. I usually broke this into 2 sessions after morning home workouts.

-Follow a sleep routine every night

There were many of these to choose from – drink herbal tea, meditate, turn off your screens an hour before bed, etc. You just had to pick one and do it daily. I chose reading before bed. I generally read something pretty mindless like a magazine. This was a switch from my usual scrolling of social media. I don’t have trouble falling asleep. Staying asleep doesn’t always happen.

-Limit or eliminate alcohol

As I discussed recently, this was already a part of my life. I will admit there were a few temptations with the stressful end of school chaos as well as more celebrations than usual with a lot of friends drinking. I still just refrained.

-Monitor and log progress

Logging points every week was a task to manage. With a bunch of little checkoffs, I wasn’t always diligent daily. But, I kept up. And I still weigh myself every day. The thing I still stumble over is photos. Why do I hate before and after shots so much? I always wish I took the time to do it but still don’t.

-Work on mindfulness

We had little exercises to think about our goals and our why. I knew cleaning up my act was a big motivator.

-Participate in other goofy activities along the way that keep the mood light and community connected

In the few challenges I’ve done before these are often things I ignore. But I did a couple this time just to stay in the game. One was to bite down on a wedge of lime while doing a farmer’s carry for two minutes to practice breathing through my nose. I’m not quite sure what this taught me but I know for sure that proper breathing is something I need to give more attention to.

Health isn’t just eating or just working out. It’s a whole collection of habits, practices, and choices. There were a million little pieces to this challenge. Many of them are things I know I should be doing but I just don’t. The water and stretching were probably what I needed to work on most aside from the nutrition piece.

So, how did it all turn out? Results to follow soon.

challenges

Delays

Today I went to my child’s sporting event despite the incoming storm. I saw the grey skies. I smelled the damp air. I looked at the weather app and just had that inkling that we wouldn’t make it through a complete game. 

I normally arrive early but today I pushed the time envelope. Hoping I’d get the cancelled call before wasting my time. That was a big fat NO. As I pulled into the parking lot the lights sparked in the sky. Lightning of course. The strike was within a few miles. The clock starts at 30 minutes for the delay.

Oddly enough the rain stopped. The thunder persisted. About 22 minutes into the delay another lightning bolt illuminated the sky. Big sigh. The clock resets for another 30 minutes. Idle time is not my strong suit. The girl’s room begins to call my name. I wait patiently. Ah, we made it through the 30 minutes.

The game starts. We play for about 17 minutes. The referees call for a time out. It’s an extended time out. The game is tied 3 to 3. The dark clouds are moving in like wild fire. Tick tock. The extended time out runs about 8-9 minutes. Why tonight? they say in the stands. The kids want to play.

Lightning strikes again. The 30 minute clock begins again. The third time is a charm right? Game cancelled is shouted over the loud speaker. No sorry my error. Please continue to wait in your car. No rain. The perfect time to play, but rules say 30 minutes to clear the area for lightning. 25 minutes into the delay the game is officially called off. The heavens opened up.

The storm continued through the night into the morning. Lots and lots of rain, thunder, lightning. Storm damage. 
The day began for me. More delays. A delay at gym. Just about 1 minute but a delay. Picking up at the dog groomer, a delay. This time 15 minutes. No biggie. Just wasted time again. The dog store. Delayed opening for covid hours. Just another 30 minutes. Hmm seems like the last 24 hours I’ve been in delay land. Not my usual 24 hours but I’ll say I enjoyed my delays.

My idle time. The empty unplanned time. I made good use of it. I read a little. I wrote a little. I thought a little. I even did a little of nothing. Just staring into space. 

A delay could be negative but I made it a positive. I found time to giggle. I spent some time with people. I was productive in a very different and unplanned way. That’s my perspective for today on delays. Maybe I will be more purposeful in making delays in the future. 

It’s a good way to slow down your time clock when life revolves around time. Your time.

fitness and nutrition

Streaks

I had a goal. It was a goal I didn’t even set for myself until I was well into working on it. Maybe 200 days into it, I guess, I realized I was within striking distance. A long streak. An unexpected one. And then I wondered, is it even possible? Thinkable? An entire year?

It kept coming closer. 65 days. 30 days. 2 more weeks. And finally, just last week, I reached it. A buzz on my watch on Friday afternoon. And a smile that only I knew the cause for.

To think, I started this in the throes of Corona. Way back when we had no idea what was going on or how long it would last. Gyms shut down. Stay at home orders. Working from home most days. What could I do?

I couldn’t do much, but I could MOVE. And move I did.

Some running, some walking, some hiking, some biking, some farming, some CrossFit, too many burpees and not enough yoga. Every day different. But it was at least 710 calories worth of movement for 365 straight days. No misses. No changing the calories, either. There were a handful of days (maybe 30) when I didn’t complete an official workout, but most days I did. Even still, accumulating calories means moving throughout the day. Hard to do when your work is mostly on zoom.

Were there days I didn’t want to? Sure. Days when I was doing burpees at 9:30 pm to get over that finish line? Yes, there were a few of those too. Some days were easier than others. Every day is another day to move and be successful.

I also know I’ve had a fair amount of luck. I haven’t been sick or injured this year, which means fewer excuses and obstacles. I’ve been able to choose myself, and choose I have, every day.

Consistency is key, as many people I admire and emulate say. I have been consistent. It has shored up my mental well being as much as my physical health. Most days I’ve taken a whack at the stress monster before the sun even dreams of coming up. On the many days this past year when I felt like life was out of control, I could at least control this.

A thankful post. The streak keeps going. Who knows for how long? Every day is an opportunity. To breathe, to move, to live.

perspective

Mystery Map

Well for some time my car tells me where I’m going based on my habits. That in itself is creepy!

In the morning it knows my route is the gym. On Fridays it knows my relaxation spot. It knows where home is. It’s smarter than me some days, I think.

Today I sat at the gas station and wondered what the map would tell me. The mystery map. My old home was one direction and my new home was the other direction. Where would my car direct me?

It started out to the old house then as I approached a red light it must have realized my driving path was irregular. It quickly shifted to the new address. Weirdness alert. I don’t think it was labeled as home but it noted a frequent location.

In addition to my mapping by my car let’s talk about my insurance app. The one that also tracks my drives to see if I’m a a safe driver. Does somebody really look at my driving? With so much technology I am beginning to feel like my next move will be calculated.

Good thing I wrote down my strategic plans vs. speaking them. If I spoke them I think my phone would give away all my secrets. What’s next on the tracking radar of life? Who knows!

For now I’ll enjoy anytime I can drop off the grid to know I’m not being tracked!

fitness and nutrition

The Burn

21.1 of the CrossFit Open. Year 5 for me. The unknown workout hits as a news flash Thursday evening. Gyms across the world scramble to prepare their boxes.

I was busy and didn’t really watch the announcement this year. Very different than past years. I watched a glimpse of a Youtube video as I headed to the gym in the dark of the morning. I was tired before arriving. Wasn’t prepared as I should have been.

The setup at my box was new this year as well due to new ownership. Some regulars were not in class that day. Many distractions. The 5 am class noted the difficulty of being upside down under fatigue over and over again.

I was in heat two. Face down on the floor to measure my tape-to-wall distance. Time to start. 15 minutes on the clock. Off I go. Somehow I knocked one wall walk rep out quickly.  At this point I exceeded my expectation. Off to do sloppy double unders. Two at a time. They were not pretty. Knocked those out. 2 minutes into the 15 minutes and I’m back on the wall.

My next rep was wobbly. I took my time and paused. The next rep I was stalled at the wall. I wasted so much energy. I dropped, defeated. Determined I went on the wall about three more times and stalled at the same place. A hair shy of line I need to touch with my left hand. It was awful. To be so close yet so far.

Every muscle from my toe to shoulder seemed engaged to hold my thick self upside down in the nearest straight line I could imagine. This was mentally and physically taxing on my already tired self.

I walked away from the stupid wall. I broke and did some extra double unders just to shift my mind. They didn’t count but I did them anyway to give myself a feeling of accomplishment. Back to the wall. I got another rep. Yes!

Take a little break and try again before the time is up. Failure. Fatigue. Frustration. Try again. Stalled on the wall. The story of the morning. Stalled on the wall. I was close but didn’t get the last one wall rep to move along to the next round. I was frustrated to a point but still happy I beat the wall a couple of times.

I felt good the rest of the day. I figured I would try again before Monday. Until Saturday, when woke to sore shoulders. Tightness in places I haven’t felt ache before. I used my theragun and my shoulders said nope this is beyond normal soreness. Rest day it is for this girl. I did other things but I took a day off from the gym. Not normal for me but I do listen to my body when it needs to recover.

Now the big decision is repeat on Monday or hold firm on my low score? I have more in the tank but do I want to repeat such a grueling shoulder wod? Time will tell.

It seems CrossFitters are a bit crazy so anything is possible. The decision for me is can I prove to myself that I can get better? Whether I choose to make another attempt or not is growth for me. I evaluate the pros and cons. I comb over my initial performance and I see where I have opportunities to grow. 

The wall in the wod can be such a reflection of life. The many times you climb knowing you may fall. The rising again to persevere. You don’t win every time but you sure do try. That’s life. To me CrossFit mirrors life in many ways. That’s why many never try CrossFit. It’s hard. Some avoid doing hard things in life. For now I feel that burn. The burn of my shoulders and all the fibers from head to toe that we’re engaged for 21.1.

With the burn comes a feeling of pride. I am physically able to do the same work as younger and fitter athletes. My body endures the same movements despite my body being weathered. Rep count may be different but the body mechanics are the same. I work hard to be able to endure the physically taxing workouts. My burn is filled with pride.

I challenge you to climb that wall in your life knowing you may fall. You will learn from the experience. Just make the climb.