Friday, June 3, 2011

Working Out

I'm pushing myself once again.  It's a struggle not unlike those I watch on Biggest Loser or listen to from the mouths of my friends and my mother.  It hurts.  It's not fun.  I want to do that but my body does this.  And I'm not making any progress at all.

Or so it seems.  Those who see me infrequently are amazed at my speed and my posture and my attitude, but day to day it's often hard to focus on the little gains which are really quite remarkable I know but.... 

There's always a but, isn't there.  But I'm not balanced.  But I'm teetering from side to side. But it hurts.  But what if I fall? And, perhaps the worst one of all, but what difference will it make if I take today off?

A roadrunner just zipped across the front yard and has settled into the shade under the mesquite tree across the street.  My camera is right here.  The weather is fine.  It's a picture ready to be taken and yet I sit here, stuck by the notion that by the time I got there, lumbering with my cane and the camera swinging wildly as I try to stay focused on looking up and not down, well, the bird will have moved on to other pursuits and I'll be standing there having accomplished nothing but aggravating myself.

Really and truly, Baskin Robbins sounds better to me right now than lifting weights ever has.  

That's what happens when I focus on what I can't instead of what I can.  Those buts stand up and push their way into the forefront of my consciousness and all of a sudden I'm wallowing instead of working.  Lying still for 12 weeks trained me well to look for the positives when I'm immobile.  I watched the sun march across the sky in a northward arc as the months went by and I healed at that pace; slow and steady won that race.

I need a new frame of reference right now.  My old routine involved dripping sweat on the treadmill or the elliptical with the moving arms and lifting weights with precision and good form.  Pilates mat classes and all kinds of yoga (except Bikram because really what's the point when you live in a place where the temperatures outdoors regularly hit 104 anyway?  I don't need to go inside and exercise to feel the heat.) were in the mix, too.  

I started back simply using the recumbent bike for 10 minutes and doing the exercises Marcus the Master Manipulator created to stretch and strengthen me back into shape.  People were glad to see me in the gym, but I didn't like being on the Nautilis side of things.  I'm a free weight girl.  Always have been.  Always will be.  But the fear of dropping one or being unable to get up and the absence of Amster as a spotter and buddy was just the excuse I needed to keep me from trying.
Then, I moved on to yoga.  Getting down onto the mat was really really hard, but my yogi tailored the class to what I could do and no one seemed to notice.  That's one of the wonderful things about yoga; it is your practice.  I couldn't do all that I could before, couldn't even sit with my legs akimbo let alone all the way into half lotus, my usual posture.
BUT, I was still the plank queen and that felt pretty good.  The second week was easier than the first, and I was less fearful.  There's a high probability that those two are related, don't you think?  
My biggest but is that I'll hurt myself.  Doctors and therapists and nurses have all assured me that as long as I don't jump I'll be fine.  Fine is an interesting word, and worthy of a post all its own (note to self) but I'm not going there right now.  I have chosen to be skeptical because it was in service of my ego, it gave me permission to slack.
No longer.  Not any more.  After an hour of massage and manipulation, Marcus has managed to get my legs almost entirely into butterfly or cobbler's pose.  I know it is possible.  I was there, after all.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it's not as easy as it was before my injuries.  

But, I'm not letting that stop me any more.  I want my life back and the only way to get it is to earn it.  I have to remember that I love going to the gym.  I have to remember the rush, the pump, the deep deep breaths that fed more than just my oxygen depleted muscles.  It centered me, focused me, healed me from over-exertion and strain.  I need it for just a little bit more right now, but that's okay.

It didn't need italics there.  It's not getting in my way any more.  I'm just going to do it and breathe.


  1. Yesterday I went to my yoga class (planning to sneak in as a guest) in order to find out the summer schedule... only to find out it was cancelled for this quarter! Darn! And just when I decided to go back after my teaching stint, too.

    I may try my routine on my own, but it's not as much fun. Plus I love the people in my class.

    I understand the desire for ice cream over working out completely. Good for you,lady. You are doing what you need to do to become as good as you can get physically and otherwise. I love all the Nautilus stuff and am terrified of the free weights and all the grunting that goes on over there.

  2. You can PLANK!?!? After all of this? Do you know how remarkable you are? Hang in with the gym. This is the summer I must start in on weights again. It would be so much easier if I could like doing it. No luck with that, yet.

  3. I can relate. I hesitate to even compare my situation with yours, but I can relate. My battle is with arthritis and heel pain. I'm not a gym person, but over the last five years I've had planty of physical therapy and have developed a set of exercises for balance, core strengthing, my back, hips and knees. I'm adding weights now for my upper body, because I have lost 33 pounds since January 23rd, when I started an on line calorie counting program. I am 66 years old and now have very saggy arms. Ugh!
    It's hard to make myself do those exercises every day, but if I want to keep moving, I have to keep moving. Carrying around less weight helps too, and it was the one more thing I could do for myself, so I have finally taken charge of that too. Yes, I want that ice cream too. Yes, I would like to stay in my recliner. And I just remembered I haven't done my weights yet today, so I'd better get to it.
    I have follwed your blog off and on through your recovery. You are inspiring. Wishing you well as you continue the struggle to get back to YOU.
    Linda Reeder

  4. My thoughts exactly on Bikram, although it did feel so good when I practiced in Boston. Sometimes it seemed like the only way to get warm all the way to my bones.

    And I love that you and your teacher are working together to modify a practice that works for you. I believe everyone can do yoga, no matter the age or physical limitation, and I also believe it will help a great deal in your healing--both physically and emotionally. I practiced yoga throughout both of my pregnancies, and even days before my deliveries...toward the end especially I felt like a bit of a freak show!

  5. Thank you! I'm off to get back on the stationary bike again, if just for a bit. Not because I want to, but because I want my life back too, and it starts there. Long story.

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