Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Working Out: Why I Started CrossFit at 49 and Lived to Tell the Tale

For most of my life, I didn't work out. That means from infancy through my mid-30's, I didn't do any kind of purposeful exercise, except the kind I had to do in school. And for the most part, it all worked pretty well for me. I was blessed to inherit some good genes from my parents, and myself and my siblings were always skinny. Skinny for me meant slender but not overly slender; I had what someone once described as "chicken legs". I could eat what I wanted without a care in the world. It also helped that my parents weren't flush with money, so we didn't eat out, didn't have much junk food, and I don't think I drank much pop at all until my mid to late teens. It helped that the proliferation of crap food we have today didn't really exist much when I was growing up. 

All that: genes, the era in which I grew up, and my parents lack of money for "fun stuff" all helped me stay thin. But I did, of course, also suffer from feeling fat; after all, my sisters were all smaller than I was--95 pounds to my gigantic 105. I look back now and shudder at how dumb I was ever thinking less of myself. 

In my mid-30's I started running, mostly because I was tired of walking and I wanted to move faster. That lead to running races, and winning a free year's membership to the local YMCA. That started me on the path of having a personal coach help me with the machines and getting some muscle. But I didn't get very much muscle, actually. I went to the YMCA for about 7 years, all the while running on the side. I wasn't a fast runner, but I did all sorts of races, and actually challenged myself to complete a marathon when I was 42. It took me 5 1/2 hours, but I did it. The last big race I ran was a half-marathon in Savannah, Georgia in 2011. I trained hard and ran my best race. I was pretty proud of myself. All that running helped me lose some weight, because by then my metabolism had slowed down, and I was gaining weight. The weight creep--every year, another 5 pounds or so, until I was about 30 heavier.  Eek! 

Flash forward to 2016. By now, I'm 49...turning 50 in November. It's the summer. I've got a new job, regular hours, and I'm finally able to do something I've wanted to do for a few years: try CrossFit. Why CrossFit? Mostly because my niece and nephew had joined a CrossFit box in their city and had amazing results, and said how much they loved it. I had quit the YMCA- I needed something that had someone there to push me, help me, and encourage me. I didn't find that in random classes at the YMCA, and I always felt a bit lonely and unhappy by myself at the gym. 

In May of 2016, I got up the courage to sign up for a 6 week FitKamp. I was about to get my ass handed to me on a plate...

I'll continue this story in a few days!  Stay tuned...

In the meantime, tell me what your fitness journey has been-or if you've never even had one! Everyone is different, and everyone finds what works for them. Walking, biking, running, weight lifting, yoga. What works for you?


Sunday, June 9, 2019

We Skipped Spring and Went Directly to Summer

I've lived in my little house for 18 years. I can't believe it. I bought it in May of 2001, thinking it would be the place I lived for the rest of my life. 

2019, I'm still here, but I know it won't be the place I spend the rest of my life. Bud and I will have our own place (or a few places) and we've been discussing our wish list for some time. It's a given I'll have a large kitchen, a big island with a sink, and plenty of spaces for folks to gather. Of course, we'll have a bar. Just goes to show you're never too old to dream about your perfect home. 

For now, my little home is still my favorite place to be. Years ago, I had a blank slate in my back yard. It just had a big tree next to the neighbor's fence, and nothing else. Over the years, I worked hard, putting in flower beds, lots of hostas, rocks...and it looked so beautiful for years. 

But times have changed; I'm busier and I just don't have the energy or drive to keep up big flower beds. We've taken out the largest bed and it will now revert to lawn. But that side bed...the one next to the fence--it needed an update. Bud built me a beautiful deck a few years ago, and it sits right next to that long, narrow bed. Sit on the deck, and see that fence and the hostas. Try and mow between the deck and the hostas and there's not much room. Last weekend we dug up a HUGE hosta (it started from one leaf all those years ago! One leaf!) and I rearranged the brick border, brought it in closer to the fence, so I can get my mower through. It's all Bud's idea...but once he talked about it, I saw the wisdom of a little makeover. It was also a chance to dig up the bricks and reset them. I found bricks in spots I had completely forgotten about. 

The makeover started like this:

Then, I had to shop for flowers:

Flowers are my weakness. Even having just a small space, they still managed to add up quickly! 

After all my running around yesterday, I was sweaty, tired, crabby, and swatting gnats. But I got a start:

It's a small change, and most of the side garden has stayed the same. Bud suggested annuals in the one clear space I have, so I planted purple petunias. I added the fun flowers on the fence after my plan to hang potted flowers literally fell through. I hung all five little pots, turned around, and they all fell off the fence. 

I've still got a lot to do to a few other spots: the front yard and my little side garden next to the house. I've run out of energy, however. The late start to flower planting has left me less than enthused. Stay tuned as I watch my little garden flourish! 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

I'M BAAAAACK: It Took Four Years, But Here I Am

Life decisions can turn on a dime. Or in my case, laundry. 

Today is a beautiful day: sunshine, slight breeze, and birds are chirping. It's perfect. A day to hang laundry outside. As a kid, I absolutely despised hanging up laundry, and most of all, taking it down. But we all know that as adults sometimes we realize stuff we disliked as kids turns out to be alright. Hanging laundry outside is one of them. It also helps that I'm only hanging up laundry for one person; as a kid, well, there were so many of us! It truly was a chore. 

I sent a photo to Bud of my laundry hanging outside, mostly to thank him for stringing up new clothes lines so I could actually hang laundry outside. There's something very satisfying about laundry blowing in the breeze; somehow it anchors me to my house and my yard in a very good way.

This all leads me to a moment very soon after pegging my last sock on the line, when I was thinking about this blog, and how long it had been since I'd posted or even though about it. I realized the simple act of hanging laundry gave me the answer to begin again with my blog. 

I have no idea what I'll post; mostly musings and odd little happenings. Successful recipes and cocktails. Mostly life as a fifty-something. So I hope you'll join me in my journey. And if you get a chance, invest in some clothesline for your backyard, and hang some sheets and towels out to dry. It may inspire you, too. 


Photo courtesy of: Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Catching Up Since Christmas....

So, this happened in May:

Two years of hard work, very little sleep, and not seeing much of Bud!  I'm still trying to relax a bit, and just "work" full-time.  Life has been very hectic so far this summer.  My plan to de-clutter my house hasn't happened just yet, but I guess there's still July and August, right?  And my itch for school is done for awhile....unless I decide I need another MA or even perhaps a PhD?! 

I'm going to try and keep posting to this blog, now that I have some time.  Once again, stories of life, food, flowers, and stuff I want to share. In the meantime, Hello everyone!  Glad to be back.  I'm still working on healing my left foot and the plantar fasciitis that has plagued me for two years.  Now I'm visiting a chiropractor and so far one week in and a few adjustments have meant that I've been able to have days where my foot doesn't hurt at all.  Downright amazing.  There's hope for me getting back into some running, even though I'll never probably be super serious about it.  I do miss running early in the mornings in the summer.  The best time time to run, in my opinion. 

Stay tuned, and I'll be bringing you more stuff from the great Midwest!  

Happy Summer everyone :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hello! I'm Back! 2014 in Review

I have missed writing this blog so much in the past year.  My book blog, The Bookalicious Babe has taken off and I'm so happy about that!  So many good things happened in 2014 because of that blog that I can't imagine what 2015 has in store for me. 

Another year is coming to a close, and what a whirlwind it has been for me.  It is certainly true that the older you get, the faster time flies.  It seems like I just started school yesterday, and now I'm entering my last semester.  I am counting down the days until May, when I will graduate with my MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science).  I have learned so much--most importantly, that I don't know so much and there's always room for more knowledge in my life.  

School and work have taken up so much of my time that I tried and failed at CrossFit this past summer.  My plantar fasciitis is still very painful and has pretty much hobbled me this year.  Weeks of physical therapy didn't help much at all.  It is frustrating.  I am hopeful I will be able to start running this Spring again.  It was such a stress reliever (and sometimes gave me stress) and I desperately need it back in my life.  Bike riding and running for fun are two top priorities for me in 2015.  Maybe, just maybe, I will have time this summer to try CrossFit again.  Fingers crossed.

My honorary Auntie status has awarded me with a wonderful little picture that I am going to hang up in my study room at home.  It will remind me that there is a pot of gold at the end of this long haul, and that this year will be full of new beginnings, sunshine, and rainbows.  I feel like I am finally coming out of a dark tunnel and my soul is finding some peace.  But first, I have to finish those last 6 miles of this marathon I'm on, so I will be attending to this blog more often to chronicle my triumphs and crash-n-burns this year.  I hope you join me!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Summer of No School and CrossFit Beginnings

It seems like I just finished my last final for school and now it's almost July.  June has flown by; I think trying to catch up with everything I neglected over the school year kept me from relaxing and enjoying 40 hour work weeks instead of the 60 hours I was managing with work and school.   

It also gave me a chance to look at myself closely, which is not something I care to do much at all.  The stress of school, work, and life the past two years has added more weight to my body and has stopped me from running.  I look and feel horrible.  Grief=weight gain for me.  I stuff my face and just want to sit and read books all the time.  My grief has eased, and now it's time to challenge myself and learn to be stronger and healthier.  

CrossFit was my answer.  My niece and nephew both do CrossFit where they live, and absolutely love it.  I've seen for myself how much weight both have lost and how much strength they've attained.  They are healthier and happier and full of energy.  It shows in their faces and attitudes.  

So I joined CrossFit a few weeks ago.  Went to the three classes that show how to properly do the basic moves.  Talked about what to eat--basically lean meats, veggies, and no "white stuff".  Some fruits (mainly berries) and lots of water.  You can go super hard and do Paleo, but I find that too restrictive and a recipe for disaster for me.  I've chosen to try the Primal way, but I just can't find it in me to be hard core about it.  I've been avoiding bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes; eating more meat, eggs, and greek yogurt, and eating lots of berries. Eating a lot of spinach, olives, and other veggies.  The Primal even lets you have red wine.  I haven't been super strict, but I think about what I'm eating.  I have noticed I don't crave the sweet stuff like I did, and if I do eat any "white stuff" I don't feel good and it doesn't sit well.  The tough part is finding something to eat for lunch every day.  I have to take lunch to work; having a cafe in my bookstore just leads to bad eating choices when I don't have a lunch ready and waiting for me in the fridge.  

Bud has been very patient and willing to eat whatever I make for supper.  Mostly we've stuck to grilled meats and grilled veggies.  No desserts.  

And Crossfit?  I've set a goal to go 3 times a week.  This is my second week; I can honestly say I am the weak kitten in the 5:30 AM class.  I am astounded at just how out of shape I am.  But everyone there is encouraging and the coaches say "do what you can" and take as many breaks as I need to.  A few short term goals I've set for myself:  do a proper push-up!  And get my tush down low when I do squats.  My mobility is terrible, but I've already seen a bit of an improvement just after a few weeks.  Starting at the bottom means I can only improve and that's what I'm looking forward to in the next months.  By the time school starts in August, I hope I've improved my endurance and strength. I'll need them to keep myself together and moving forward over the next semester.  

What are you doing to stay fit?  Have you tried CrossFit?  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Year of Grad School Behind Me, Summer in Front of Me

It's been awhile since I've posted.  My life has been a never ending swirl of books, homework, and work.  But I'm happy to say I took my last final of the year last night and now I'm free for a few months.  This will take some time to understand; I've already woken up this morning thinking I have homework to do.  Nope!  The summer months stretch out before me….with lots of work.

I've neglected my little house something terrible these past 9 months.  A major de-trashing is required.  Planting flowers, making limoncello, sorting through clothes, getting outside and running again….all those are to-do's for me.  No rest for the weary.  I wrote a paper on urban beekeeping this year, and now I'm all big on bees.  My flower planting will be big!  I want those bees in my yard.  

My other blog, Bookalicious Babe has kept me extremely busy.  And I was so grateful to be interviewed for Publisher's Weekly last week.  School kept my reading for pleasure (and to keep me sane) at an all-time low, so I'm gearing up to do a major reading marathon in the next few months.  

And I can't wait to cook on a regular basis again!  Too much eating on the run has left me….not able to run.  Ick.  Bike rides and runs are on the menu, too.  

So what has this past year taught me?  That I am strong.  That I can keep getting up every day and keep going.  That I can't do it all, and something has to give.  That I miss my Bud terribly when I can only see him once a week.  I've learned that I love being in school.  It never gets old.  I've learned that I'll never stop going to school.  Retirement will include attending classes.  I think I've got another Master's degree in me somewhere.  

I've learned that having people around you that encourage you is priceless.  I've learned that there are younger people out there who are serious, study hard, and want to make a difference.  

College isn't the be all and end all for everyone.  But for me, it is.  I can't imagine missing out on it, and how different I would be without that education. I think my world would be a little smaller, somehow.  It gives me a sense of being part of a global community; part of humanity with all the good and bad.  

I'll try to relax this summer.  How about you?

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