Encouraging steps

Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want mostAugusta F. Kantra

It’s a given that anything you want out of life requires discipline… along with persistence (aka stubbornness), drive and an absolute belief in yourself and what you know you can do.

Oh, I forgot to mention that patience is a must. If you don’t have that, you don’t have anything worth keeping.

When it comes to staying healthy and getting physically stronger, discipline, persistence and all that stuff comes into play. It doesn’t apply only to creative endeavours. I haven’t yapped about anything related to health or fitness in awhile and I think it’s time to yap about it now.

It’s been over five years since I started CrossFit and I haven’t thought about leaving it yet. The fact that I’ve stuck with it this long is a bit of surprise. Yeah, there’s no way I would go back to a traditional gym. It’s not the way for me.

I’ve come a long way from when I first started. I’m not RX’ing a ton of stuff but that’s not my personal goal. It’s not my endgame when it comes to my health and fitness goals. I simply want to be the fittest — mentally and physically — I can be. 

And I can honesty say that I don’t think that I have ever been at my physically strongest as I am now. As I said before, I’m not RX’ing a lot of stuff and I think that’s because of my hypermobility. Yeah, I’m more flexible than the average bear. And that creates a unique set of issues. I think it’s more common for folks to be strong but not flexible than vice versa. I’m vice versa. 

That means I have to approach movements a little more carefully. I’ve lost count on the number injuries and visits to physiotherapists over the years. Unfortunately, I’m used to it. I don’t care for it but I’m used to it. 

It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword, I think, when it comes to pushing yourself and trying not to cross the line of injuring yourself. Most of the time, you don’t realize what you’ve done until a few hours after the incident. Then your body starts rioting with barbwire-covered bats and pitchforks. Fun times.

The main reason I’ve been thinking about my fitness level and goals is that it’s been a year since I started adding physique work with my CrossFit workouts. Now, when I say physique work, I’m talking about working and strengthening the smaller muscle groups so they can better support the larger muscle groups inside and outside of the box/gym. I also believe strengthening the smaller muscle groups will help protect and support my occasionally loosie-goosie joints.

I think when most people hear the word ‘physique’, they think bodybuilding. You’re not wrong to think that. But that’s not why I’m combining it with my WODs. Any physical transformation that takes place is secondary to me getting stronger and encountering fewer injuries. That’s my endgame.

I will admit my arms never looked as toned as they do now. They will only be more defined as I slowly continue to increase the weight. To be honest, I really like the combination of WODs and physique work. The combination is helping me reach personal bests or PRs (personal records) more often. Whenever I’m not injured, that is. Yeah, that’s something I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid completely.

When I get injured, the important thing is how I manage the injury and the rehab that I need do in order to get back to where I left off. And that usually takes awhile. More specifically, anywhere from six months to a year if we’re talking about my shoulder. Fuck, I hate shoulder injuries.

Despite the injuries, I’m still stronger now than I’ve been at any point in my life. That says a lot. Some of the movements that were a tricky for me have gotten better. Sometimes to the point that maybe I can progress to the next level. That progress is because of the physique work I’ve been doing. Without it, my progress would still be moving at a snail’s pace. I’m okay with moving at a turtle’s pace quite frankly. Turtle speed is good. Better than snail.

As a result of recent progress with some CrossFit movements and the reinforcing of others, I may have a new technique goal I didn’t think I would be pursuing. Was it a surprise? In a way, yes. But I shouldn’t be surprised because of the work I’ve been putting into physique in the past year.

Recently, I had a short chat with one of the coaches at the box. She wanted to know if I was noticing results from adding physique work to the WODs since it had been a year. My answer was ‘yes.’ But I think I’ll always err on the side of caution when it comes to increasing weight for lifts. I simply want to stay away from injury for as long as possible. Who doesn’t? 

Our short chat resulted in a couple of slight alterations to my physique work. I’ve already started to notice that my mindset has changed from the adjustments. It should be interesting to see how it will go. 

Baby steps but definitely encouraging steps. 

Flowers not needed

Yeah, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Whoop-dee-fucking-do.

The day for overpriced roses, wine and dinner. And if you play your cards right, you just might get a little nookie for your efforts. But I think today would be far cheaper for flowers and dinner for the same effort and results.

Can’t be bothered with that nonsense. I’m not saying that because I’m lacking in the romantic partner department. If I was in a romantic relationship, I’d make the poor bastard eschew the commercial trappings of Valentine’s Day because he knows the way to my heart has nothing to do with giving me flowers and all that sappy shit.

I must admit yesterday wasn’t spent cursing that fact it was Valentine’s Day. Refreshing considering the past few years were spent wondering why the hell everyone in the first world needed a special day to show their significant other that he/she is loved.

I spent the morning and part of the afternoon hanging with my CrossFit peeps at an in-house Valentine’s Day couples CrossFit competition. I wasn’t competing, I was cheering. A couple of my friends asked me why I hadn’t entered.

Well, because I wanted to see what it was all about.

More like I wasn’t sure if I could find someone who would do the competition with me. I was assured someone would have stepped up to the plate and joined in the fun. You won’t place in the top three with me as your partner. But I would guarantee camaraderie and shits and giggles of the highest order.

Also, my shoulder injury is almost healed. No point in putting myself in a situation where I could inadvertently re-injure the shoulder. That would also be the reason I won’t be participating in this year’s CrossFit Games Open. Kinda bummed about that. I really wanted to do it again after last year’s experience. I’ll still checkout the WODs and maybe give them a go with some modifications during one of my workouts. Next year, I’ll do the Open. I’ve got the year to get stronger and make some gains.

Anyway, it was fun to watch the teams compete and get a look-see at how a couples competition works. If they do a Valentine’s couples competition next year, I just might go searching for a partner. I know the folks at the gym/box would be more than willing to ‘match’ me up with someone.

After the competition had ended, I went home, watched some Netflix and finished watching the Star Wars prequel trilogy for the first time ever. Now, I know why Jar Jar Binks was so reviled.

I’m also re-acquainting myself with the original trilogy. I’ve watched Star Wars: A New Hope already. Interesting watching it again after 30-plus years. I had planned to watch The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi but they were put on hold for Secretary starring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The movie is my one nod to Valentine’s Day. No point in acknowledging Valentine’s by watching some sappy rom-com.

Something a little more subversive (according to what Hollywood standards could bear in 2002) was in order. Secretary just happened to fit the bill although I wouldn’t have minded watching more subversive material because I have that kind of sensibility. Sure, the movie had what one would consider a happy ending but the journey getting there was interesting. The two main characters were damaged enough to make it engaging for me to watch. Let’s be honest, you can’t possibly go wrong watching Spader’s and Gyllenhaal’s performances. They’re such great actors.

Enough of Valentine’s crap. This week promises to be busy and I have the emails to prove it. Also, some of my characters for the next novel seem to be vying for my attention so I’ll need to set aside some time to play with them. Naturally, they want my undivided attention just as other parts of my life are gearing up to monopolize a fair chunk of my time.

Never fails. Been this way since I started writing. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. And I’m not. Thankfully, this is the first time it doesn’t annoy the hell out of me that I have projects pulling me in different directions. I think it’s due to where I am in the creative process and my approach to it. It’s been easier to roll with it despite what life may throw at me. I’m pleased with this personal development.

There are other reasons for the change but I won’t get into it. A little too esoteric, I think. A handful of people know what the change is and they’re excited for me. Last Saturday, I told one friend that I felt like a 5-year-old on a perpetual sugar high. He laughed. He laughed even harder when he asked me after I did my morning workout, what else was on the docket for the rest of Saturday and I replied that I would be reading porn. Nothing fazes the man. He has learned not to be surprised by whatever comes out of my mouth. He figured I was doing research for a future writing project.

Well.. yes and no.

Anyway, I got a busy week ahead. Let the good times roll.

Get ready and go

You will enrich your life immeasurably if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge to try new things — Nate Berkus

This evening I will start Running Room’s Learn to Run program.

Given that I sucked at track and field when I was in high school and generally balk at anything involving running, this ought to be interesting. I balk at skiing, too. Doesn’t matter if it’s downhill or cross-country. My body doesn’t take to these activities like a fish to water.

Maybe I would have done better in high school sports if biomechanics was part of the physical education curriculum. At least I would have understood why I consistently underperformed in anything dealing with speed and agility.

I used to ride around on a bicycle when I was younger. I didn’t mind it. But I didn’t love it either. Right now, the only thing with two wheels I’m willing to ride around on is a motorcycle.

I wouldn’t mind going back to horseback riding but switching from a competitive mindset to just enjoying time with a four-legged beast has been something I haven’t reconciled myself to. Besides, I have a mortgage to pay and all those fun adult responsibilities that demand my attention. Unless I win the lottery, horses will not be a part of my foreseeable future.

Yoga and CrossFit have been my constants. But to be a little more athletically rounded, I’ve been thinking about cross training. CrossFit addresses a lot of things I need to work on and develop. Aside from yoga, running would seem to be a good thing to throw into the mix.

To be honest, I do have a curiosity about running. I know people who love running. They love running outdoors. The thought of running on a treadmill over the winter probably gives them hives. Personally, I’ve never minded the treadmill so I don’t quite understand the preference for and desire to run outdoors. It has to be more than the fresh air and constantly changing scenery.

Hopefully, I’ll figure it out by the end of the final class.

I am looking forward to seeing how my body handles running. I’m hoping there will be more positives than negatives with regards to running. My biggest concern is becoming light-headed when I finish a run. Quite frankly, that scares me. But as long as I’m well-hydrated before a run and my last meal wasn’t consume eight hours ago, I think I should be fine.

If everything goes well, I just might do the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure this October. I know… bit of a leap for a person who has balked at running for most of her life. I have a friend (a life-long runner) who is convinced that doing a 5km run is well within my wheelhouse once I finish the program. He’s putting a lot of faith in me. We’ll see.

Probably when I’m half way through the program, I’ll know whether or not participating the Run for the Cure will be a good idea. I guess there is the 1km walk if I tank on the running.

Throw out the negative thoughts, keep an open mind and hope for the best. My running shoes are ready to be put to work. Sunglasses and a baseball cap to go with my running capri pants and shirt.

Take a deep breath and go.