Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Friends and Asses

It’s been nearly two weeks since the treadmill threw me into a ditch, figuratively speaking. Most of you know by now that I don’t actually use a treadmill except on those rare occasions when I seek out the one downstairs. For those occasions I plead temporary insanity.

When I found myself at the bottom of the ditch I was momentarily stunned, but jumped into action making plans and going forth to do what had to be done. At one point I looked up and there spread along the rim of the ditch stood an army of friends and family with outstretched hands. Thanks to them I clawed my way out and once again stand on high ground. What those special people did for me cannot be quantified. The pulled me up, dusted me off, and stood by me until I could stand again on my own. In essence, they put me back on the figurative treadmill.

Now it’s up to me to get back to my regular routines, including the pit which is of course a kind of ditch all its own. After a week of Stress (yes, with a capital s), travel, erratic eating, and no pit, I feel like I’m back at the beginning. Intellectually I know it’s not true. I’ve come a long way from where I began, but a few minutes into my usual routine (The Whoop Ass one) I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I backed off. My Lazy Ass, that’s the one I’ve been trying to get rid of, urged me to stop all together and go home. My Stubborn Ass argued that the only way to get back to where I’d been was to put the classic Caddie in reverse and backtrack a ways.

Stubborn Ass went on to say that perhaps I could get out the map and try a different road to get back to where I had been. Lazy Ass screamed in my ear that I really didn’t want to do this anyway (she had a point) so why not park the Caddie under a shade tree for a while. I stood there a few minutes trying to decide which ass to listen to (an all too frequent dilemma). That’s when Smart Ass spoke up. She set me straight. First she told Lazy Ass to take a hike (she needed one anyway), then she told Stubborn Ass that going backwards never got anyone anywhere they wanted to be and there wasn’t anything wrong with the road I was on.

Smart Ass went on to tell me that a few days of reduced activity at the pit was better than no activity at all and in a few days the Caddie would be running smooth again on all cylinders. She was right of course. It’s been a few days since the Asses argued. I’ve gone back to my routine, backing off a little here and there but sticking to the same basic regime. It worked before so I have no reason to think it won’t work again. Each day has been a little easier than the one before and I’m confident I’ll be opening another can of Whoop Ass soon.

Thanks to all the friends and family whose hands I greedily clutched over the last few weeks. I bent a few ears and wet a few shoulders too and never heard a complaint. Thanks for pulling me out of the ditch and getting me back on the treadmill. My heart is full and with the help of Smart Ass I hope it will continue to beat strong and true for many years to come.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fat Lady on a Treadmill - Some Cans Should Remain Unopened

Have you ever opened a can of Whoop Ass? On yourself?

I have to confess. For the last few weeks I’ve been coasting. Yeah, I’ve been going to the pit everyday minus the road trip days, and those have been way too many of late. By coasting, I mean I haven’t pushed myself to do more. I’ve been content with the status quo. Same number of reps here, same program there. Maybe a little dew falling, but not too much. Shave a few reps off to save time (as if I have something better to do), skip that machine because I don’t want to wait for the guy in jeans to finish doing his thing. Coasting. I’d put the Classic Caddie in neutral and hadn’t even noticed.

After another extended road trip complete with a no holds barred food fest I knew I had to change things. I’d become too complacent and laziness beckoned. I could see it, hovering there, calling my name. I’d become bored with my workout. I had mastered the art of just getting by. Sure, my state of laziness now is light years away from my pre-pit days. I patted myself on the back. Yep, at least I put my transmission in gear, all be it a low gear. Today I decided it was time to shift gears.

Instead of the fat burner program on the ¾ rack, and in honor of last weekend’s road trip to the summit of Mt. Washington, I selected the hills program and in so doing opened a big ‘ole can of Whoop Ass. I made it up the first hill, congratulated myself on the accomplishment and started up the second one with more confidence than was warranted. My lungs struggled to suck oxygen out of the thinned air atop the imaginary mountain. My legs protested the climb. I hung onto the walking sticks with white knuckles. Why…? My brain screamed at me. Because you have too much junk in the trunk, I answered myself.

I longed to pull over and empty the trunk, but I knew the only way to lighten the load was to keep pushing it up the hills. One by one I climbed them; each one a bigger challenge than the one before. Jerry Lee Lewis sang about great thighs of fire. I knew exactly what he was talking about. At the bottom of each hill I coasted, sucking in as much oxygen rich air as I could, preparing for the next mini-mountain. They came. They went. I trudged onward, determined to reach the summit and plant my victory flag.

Minutes crept by. As I approached each hill I argued with my body.

You can do it.

No I can’t.

Yes you can.

Half an hour later I reached the summit and planted my dew soaked flag. I’d opened the can of Whoop Ass and survived.

A year ago I purchased a can of seasoned turnip greens. They’ve been on the pantry shelf ever since. I’ve picked up that can countless times, given it a once over and set it aside. As a Southern woman I’ve eaten my share of fresh turnip greens and never found them particularly appetizing. What made me think a tin can would improve them I can’t say, but there it sits, waiting to be opened.

I took a chance today opening the can of Whoop Ass. I’m glad I did. I’m glad I pushed myself toward a higher goal. It feels good to once again be working for something and I’m looking forward to heading back to the pit tomorrow and giving those hills another try. Maybe I’ll even add a few reps to the resistance weights. The can of turnip greens will remain on the shelf, a reminder that some cans should remain unopened. I think I’ll pick up a fresh can of Whoop Ass though, just in case boredom rears its ugly head again. Next time I won’t be afraid to open it.