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So, today I’m at the gym. I didn’t want to go, but I skipped out yesterday so I told myself that I’d go and put on my gym clothes and if I had to screw the pooch by strolling on the treadmill for 20 minutes, well at least I would have done something.

So, I’m there. My tshirt is a bit snug, and I’m not super okay with that, but whatev. I decide to lift some weights because my legs have finally recovered from Saturday’s workout and Sunday’s hike.

I do a super set of squats and chest press – no biggie. I could lift heavier on the squats but I’m using dumbbells and I can find two 25 pound weights, but I’m having a hard time finding the second 27.5 pound weight and the jump to 30 pounds is a bit much for my grip strength right now. I could probably lift heavier on the chest press (I’m doing a 35 pound bar) but I’ve got a bit of a wonky noise that my left shoulder makes when I lower the bar back to my chest.

Next on my workout list is step ups and bicep curls. Now, I should be clear: I hate step ups. In case you don’t know what a step up is, you step up onto a box with your right foot, bring your left foot up to the box, step down with your right foot, bring your left foot down, and repeat. Ideally you’re using a box that’s about the height of your knee (18-20″ or so).

My old gym had a built in 16″ box in the women’s section, covered in grippy carpet so you didn’t slip off. The coed section saw people using regular plank style steps with those risers that you add to at either end. They’re shockingly stable, as I saw one day when I was watching a guy jump repeatedly from the ground to a step that was about the height of my boobs. At the Y here in Ottawa, they have actual plyo boxes with adjustable heights and they’re BIG. Nice, wide platforms to jump onto. No risk of ever jumping off or over it.

At my new gym, they have the Reebok Step. I don’t really understand this step. There’s some configuration options with the base to make it higher, and when you stack them one on top of the other, they’re not that stable looking. They’re pretty stable when you’re actually on them, but they look unstable.

Anyway, I’m doing my step ups on my right foot. I’m supposed to do 15-20. Fifteen if I’m feeling cranky about them, 20 if I’m feeling tough. I’m at 12 step ups when the damned step broke. The support in the base that raised up the upper step sort of smooshed inwards and the whole top step slipped down to the left.

Logically, I can understand that the step was probably broken before I ever set foot on it. (Supported by the fact that I put it back together and it promptly came apart again.) Logically, I can say that the configuration I used was not stable. Logically, I can say that I miss the steps from my old gym, and boy do I wish the women’s section had a plyo box. (Note to self: check the co-ed section, which is sadly up a loooooong flight of stairs which seemed insurmountable considering I didn’t even want to workout today.) Logically I can tell you that really way heavier people than me can use a regular step without breaking it.

The emotional realm is not logical, however, so my inner fat kid died a total, humiliated death when that step broke. My “is that chair strong enough for me?” fears all came rushing back. My mad desire to eat anything and everything to make myself feel better came surging to the fore. My embarrassed “oh god, please don’t let me blush or break out into tears” furtive look around the gym was unstoppable.

I moved the step that I couldn’t put back together to the side, got another step, put it on top of my base step, and finished my set. Then I did my bicep curls. Then I did another set of step ups and another set of curls. And then I walked the fuck out of that gym with my head held high.

Sure, it was 4 different exercises and 10 sets before I was supposed to leave, but for a day when I didn’t want to work out and this happened, I will celebrate the fact that I accomplished this much.

Tomorrow, I’m asking a staff member about plyo boxes and how to set the steps up properly. This. This is never happening again.


Back on the wagon…

Back on track…

Blah, blah, blah. There’s a thousand ways to say it, and no easy way to do it.

I love Kelly from BMI. I do, I love her. She’s the most amazing combination of sweet and tough, and I needed that today. I emailed her yesterday to see if we could have a phone chat (as much as I love BMI, it’s totally nowhere near my office and not that close to my house). She called me today and I told her everything.

She knew I’d hurt my back and that I’d had a run of bad, stupid, trivial but irritating illnesses. Today, I told her everything. I told her that I haven’t journalled in months. I go to the gym and then get sick and don’t go for another 7-10 days. I haven’t run since the end of January. I haven’t swum in over a month. I go to the gym and I walk on the treadmill or bike or do a half-ass attempt at weights. I joined a fancy new gym and my per-visit cost is currently at about $10 (I like it to be more like $4). I regularly check to see what the value of my house is and calculate how long I could live off the proceeds of sale if I got laid off from my job. I eat for no reason. I go to the grocery store (frankly, mostly for medications) and I buy crap to soothe myself because I feel sick and sluggish and tired and can’t physically relieve my stress because I’m sick but I’m gaining weight and I had to buy a new pair of dress pants. I didn’t get them hemmed yet, but everything’s tight and touching my belly and I hate it.

I hate it.

I hate my body.

I hate the way I perceive myself because I gained weight (again). I hate the way I stand there and look at crappy food choices and stay “tomorrow”, or “whatever, you’re already fat” and buy it anyway, even though I know the f’ing impact of eating that food on my body. I hate that I can’t just eat one. I hate that I have to take so many stupid anti-depressants in a day and I wish I could get off them but that way lies dark and twisty and terrible roads.

I don’t really like myself that much right now, which is probably why I’m feeding myself what I know is crap, and which I know causes cholesterol issues and liver issues and heart issues. I’m treating myself the way I feel about myself, which is to say that I really don’t matter.

That triathlon is the living embodiment of what I hate about myself right now. I had plans. I was going to do better this year than last time. I was going to train for that bike and run so that I could do them quicker. But I’m going into the triathlon probably 20 pounds heavier than last time (thank you, depression and lack of impulse control). I had two months of muscle issues or infections/viruses which have lowered my physical fitness level below what I’m comfortable with. I have no motivation to do anything. I paid for a lot of group training that I haven’t participated in, which has not helped with the 20 extra pounds.

Kelly told me that the question is not whether or not I can do the triathlon. I could do it. I could come in last but still finish with no training at all because even my current level of fitness is still pretty strong. But that’s not how I wanted to do it. I wanted to do better. And yes, there will be other triathlons, but where is there a guarantee of that? Where is there a sign saying that I’m going to lose that weight again and my infections will go away and I’ll be able and willing and enthusiastic about training?

I am a perfectionist, and this to me feels like failure. I’ve had to deal with failure a lot over the past few years. Failed relationships. Failed career plans. Failure to manage to get things to go my way. Failed fertility. Failed vacations. It gets harder to remember the things that aren’t failures when you keep chalking up the crap.

I know that this is a symptom of my mental health issues. I do. I can list off the cool shit I’ve done over the past four years: I went through the northwest passage on an icebreaker, I went to India (also a failure, since I hated it), I lived in NYC for a month, I went to Coachella, I’m going to Chicago on Thursday, a Jay-Z concert in July, and a giant music festival in August. I have wonderful friends and great colleagues and lovely employees (though I sincerely wish I never had to have another conversation with any of them ever about job cuts, cause I’m getting a little too good at it).

I need to find my motivation. I need to find a reason to care about me enough to treat my body with more respect. I’m not asking for your ideas because if you tell me to look at a picture of myself that I hate, I’m going to have to hurt you. And I like you too much for that.

I’m going into BMI on Tuesday to see Dr Freedhoff and Mark the Nutritionist and Kelly who told me today to not beat myself up, but to just go to the gym for 20 or 30 minutes every day. No need to get sweaty. Just go into the building and absorb the atmosphere. Sit in the sauna. Hang out in the hot tub. Lift if I want to, walk if that’s what works, but to go.

For Kelly, because she’s so awesome, I’ll go tomorrow. And I’ll walk a lot in Chicago. And hopefully I’ll find some motivation. Motivation that doesn’t revolve around my clothes not fitting, but gives me a reason to do something, to journal what I eat, to make better food choices. A reason.

Exercise in frustration… get it? Oh, I crack myself up.

But seriously. I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because I went swimming the other night and my back started to cramp. Sure, I made it 40 minutes in the pool before it cramped up, but still. Sure, I realize I only hurt myself a month ago, but still.

I am so impatient. I want to be an athlete. I want to be good at stuff. I want to be awake, alive, alert, enthusiastic. And yet.

Right now, I’m sluggish and tired and cranky and sore. I have more days without pain than with it, but yesterday I ached all day. My massage therapist thinks my SI joint is inflamed, which started to freak me out until I read what that meant (it’s the tissue around the joint, not the joint itself, an important distinction to someone who has osteoarthritis) and it can take months, weeks, or days for the inflammation to go away.

So, I stretch. I stretched my butt at a meeting yesterday. I stretched my hip flexors in my office. I stretched my hamstrings in the house. I did baby back rotations in my bed. There’s a lot of stretching, people.

And I’m getting back in the pool tomorrow. Because it’s important that I am at least able to swim, for the love of pete. And maybe bike. Even if I have to walk instead of run, if I can just swim and bike on May 18th, I’ll feel better about myself.

This is a purely mental game at this point. A waiting game. A game of not pushing too hard, but still pushing forward.

If only I was a patient person…

It’s been three weeks since I broke my ass playing squash. One week since I retired from the game. Five days since I wondered if I’d ever sit without it hurting. In particular, if I would ever lean forward again without it hurting.

You know what you kind of have to be able to do in a triathlon? Lean forward. On a bike. Some would think it sort of essential to, you know, the act of cycling. I signed up for the new gym on Monday, thinking I’d go Tuesday before work, but then we had a big snow storm overnight (my god, will winter EVER END?) and yeah, I never made it there. And I didn’t go Wednesday or Thursday cause I’ve been on course 20km in the opposite direction and in class from 8 to 5pm doing the most draining leadership development stuff.

But a really strange thing happened while I was on course. We were sitting in office chairs, but in a circle. Not at tables or desks. Totally awkward if you wanted to write anything down, or put down a diet coke (or coffee cup, if you’re so inclined), but definitely an interesting approach. Side note: Boy, was I happy I didn’t wear a skirt that first day. I’m so not good at keeping my knees together.

Weird thing about this seating arrangement. If I’m not given the opportunity to lean forward, I lean back. Which removed all pressure on my back for three work days, and which seems to have virtually eliminated my pain.

So tonight, I went to the new gym and spent 15 minutes dicking around with a spin bike, failing utterly to get my fricking shoes clipped into the pedals and 25 minutes actually cycling. I wanted to do the spin class on the onboard media system, but there was a problem with the bike. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

My back doesn’t hurt, but I’m going to stretch and anti-inflammatory it before going to bed. And I’ll try again on Sunday. I’ll add in the swimming next week, and try running again the week after. Cause that’s how i roll.

I’m frustrated that I’ve lost so much fitness base in such a short time, but I’ll get it back. Slowly, and without injury, with any luck. Injuries suck. Getting better is where it’s at.

I’ve had a gym membership pretty much consistently since I was 20. My sainted parents shelled out for gym memberships for me at home in the summers during university, and for one year when I lived off campus and had only two days where I actually went to the university (and its free, albeit totally crappy gym) each week.

When I moved to Ottawa I got a membership at the gym in the building where I worked. Oh man, it was a SWEET deal: $20 a month and I got to watch Question Period on the elliptical every day. I changed jobs and moved to the mothership of that office gym and it was more expensive ($30 a month) but so big! And a hot tub! And the sketchiest change room I’d see for several years! But the personal trainers were cheap and even though there was a signup for the cardio equipment if you went at 7pm every night (when Buffy was on) you could usually finagle going from one machine to the next for a full hour.

Then I changed jobs again, sold my car and had to find a gym more in the downtown area. I started working out near my office at a GoodLife gym in the basement of a mall. Oh, the ventilation was bad. The equipment was old. I struggle to forget the horror that was the ladies toilets (how can there be THAT MUCH HAIR???). But, they had the greatest group fitness instructor ever – a woman who was fit but not skinny and who was so awesome that she did an Ironman. A full one! Loved her.

And then I changed jobs again, and my corporate membership expired and oh man I was so stressed but couldn’t work 12 hours a day AND go to a gym  downtown so I bought a car. Yeah, I bought a car. Also known as a $15,000 gym membership. I bought a car and re-joined the GoodLife as my dad’s family member (discount, holla!) and started to play squash. Because it was a good way to meet people and hit things legally.

I’ve been back at the GoodLife for four years, mostly on a corporate membership for around the equivalent of $35 a month. My branch is a little weird. The people are intense. The gymgoers, not the staff. They line up waiting for the gym to open on the weekends. They line up because it doesn’t f’in open until 8am. And it very inconveniently closes at 6pm, which sucks when I actually generally kinda want to work out either before 8am or after 6pm. Also, insanely busy. So busy that getting a parking spot is a real challenge. They have an agreement with a business next door so you can use their lot after 5pm. Totally doesn’t help – that lot is ALWAYS also full. And they have the usual maintenance issues – broken equipment, broken tiles held on with duct tape, no towels, etc. But that corporate membership is pretty sweet – it’s $25/month cheaper than the regular price, and my dad gets that price, too.

Since it looks like I’m going to have to break up with squash (sob!), I’m second guessing that gym membership. Especially since my new office (same job, new building) is less than 1km from an enormous facility that I toured on Monday that is, hands down, the sexiest gym I’ve ever been in.

You know those American movies when they show people on spin bikes but they’re really nice bikes and they have fancy equipment and shit? That’s this gym. They have spin bikes in the regular cardio area with tvs that will play you your own personal spin class. Fuck me. No having to be there when there’s a spin class. No having to judge myself and fake turning the knob “one big turn”. Nope. Just … c’mon. It’s so sexy I could weep. Every single piece of cardio equipment has its own TV. No more watching an infomercial at 8am on a sunday morning because that’s the channel that’s available.

They have not one, but two pools. As long as there’s no class happening, you can lane swim. They have enclosed individual shower cubicles with doors instead of those nasty curtains you pray you don’t have to touch. They have a warm up and stretching ROOM in between the weights and the cardio equipment, not just one paltry mat that is never enough space for the core and stretching work that needs to be done. And wait for it… they have four squat racks. Not Smith machines. Full, actual squat racks.

Sigh. It’s $30 every two weeks. And I think I’m going to join. I could get up at the same time as I do today, go to the gym instead of the office, workout, shower, and still be at work for 8:30am. That’s one less hour of me being frustrated in my office (cause you know you leave at the same time, no matter what time you start). That’s one less hour of staring at my computer. That’s one more fixed hour of getting healthy.

Even though my corporate GoodLife membership doesn’t expire til mid-July, I think I’m going to get this one started next week. I think it might very well be worth the money. And it might spoil me for all gyms to come.

Blah blah blah no activity blah blah blah tough on the mental health blah blah blah good lord those range of motion movement exercises suck blah blah blah 10 days later my back feels better and I swam tonight.

Oh, it was an ugly swim. I only used the pull buoy. I tried to breathe every other stroke. I was chopping that water. I was swimming a bit like a polar bear, actually. It was ugly ugly ugly.

But, I swam. I moved. I got in the pool. I swam, then I frolicked, then I stretched, and now my back feels okay. Not amazing, but okay. I’m hoping it feels okay tomorrow, and I’m getting back in the pool on Thursday.

Back at it, slowly. Making it happen, one day at a time.

I did not have a great day today.

  • I woke up all off kilter.
  • I was distracted making my breakfast and forgot to take my meds.
  • I shovelled the front drive because there wasn’t enough snow for my snowplow company to come.
  • I drove to work cause we were only getting another centimetre of snow.
  • I couldn’t park my tiny car in the parking lot because there were so many trucks that I was paralyzed because I kept thinking I was going to hit one (side note: This should have been when I realized I hadn’t taken my meds).
  • My morning French teacher discouraged me. I get the feeling that he doesn’t think I’m going to pass the test next week, but I’m frankly too scared to ask him.
  • I had the first brain zap at 9:15, which is when I realized that I didn’t take my meds. My fiscally conservative core refused to cancel the rest of my day’s classes to go home, take the drugs and sleep off the effects. You, taxpayer, were just saved $200.
  • I overcomplicated the crap out of my afternoon class, which I mercifully asked to start early so I could at least go home early.
  • I fucked up every possible variation of a verb tense whose name I do not even know in English, but which I’m guessing is the past conditional.
  • I made the same mistake about 15 times in one day. And I wrote it down each damned time.
  • I went to get a prescription refilled which I left to the penultimate dose, only to be told that they have to order it. Hopefully it’ll be in tomorrow, or there will be no sleep tomorrow night.
  • I had a moderately disturbing conversation on the phone with someone when I probably should just have not spoken to any other humans today.

I had an unhealthy amount of anger at myself, at the world, at the motherfucking weather (WHEN IS WINTER GOING TO END?), at the fact that I shovelled needlessly (10 cm of snow today guarantees that the plow is coming tonight), at the fact that I have such a huge vocabulary and eloquent verbal style in English and that I sound like a moderately effective monkey in French, and at the fact that life is complicated.

I went to the gym. I warmed up on the treadmill. I did my minute running, 2 minutes walking. I counted each rotation down from 7 to 1. I cooled down. I stretched.

I feel marginally better, but I think I should have stayed longer. Maybe not on the treadmill, but on the bike, or the rower. But my headphones weren’t working properly and that was just making me angry again.

The point, though, is not that I was angry or that I went to the gym. It’s that I went to the gym BECAUSE I was angry.

I’m not recommending that people experience rage or even vast emotional or adrenaline swings (or brain zaps). But if you’re looking for motivation to go to the gym, it’s a good way to find out.

We all feel angry. Instead of eating it out, letting it take over your life, picking up a sharp object, or whatever you do, how about going for a walk? Or a run? Or a gambol in the woods (if you live where it’s not wintery right now).

No, it’s not a panacea (what’s the word for that in French, anyway? Anyone want to guess that it’s panacea?). But it’s a start.

How do you manage your anger? What are your strategies for motivating yourself to get active?

I swear, running is my nemesis. I envy those people who are natural athletes. I have to work really hard for every gain, every skill that I have. For instance, I practiced my wicked awesome squash serve for at least 400 minutes before it got to be as awesome as it is today, and even now it’s not that consistent.

I have tried to be a runner at least five separate times. The first time was when i was training for the Grand Canyon hike I did in 2002. It seemed like it should be easy. After all, I was on the elliptical for an hour at a time, lifting weights, at my lowest weight as an adult. And yet, it wasn’t. I was a foot slapper, and instead of having gentle, soft foot falls I had giant, concrete smacking wallops. I swear, it sounded like I was wearing clown shoes.

Needless to say, i sucked at that so badly that I gave up that time. But, I’m a stubborn bastard, so I signed up for a clinic the next spring, to get to my goal of being a runner. The Running Room is an amazing resource here in Ottawa, which is a city with more runners per capita than any other I’ve ever been in. I went, I bought shoes, I started the clinic, and I made it to 4 minutes of running (which apparently is what I could do if I didn’t do the other two runs a week, outside the clinic, because I seemingly couldn’t make that happen), and I quit. My foot hurt a lot.

Fast forward two years to my getting a joint in my foot replaced. Yeah. That’s probably why my foot hurt.

Fast forward another three years until I would walk without a limp. That’s when I hiked a lot.

Fast forward to 2011, when I decided to do a triathlon. There was no running. I started on the treadmill, but that whole running thing kept getting in the way of my squash game, which was actually fun. So, yeah. I walked the run part of that triathlon. But I felt some shame, so that summer I tried another learn to run clinic, this time at BMI.

It didn’t work out so well. I kept getting dead foot, which is apparently because my calf muscles are too big for the tissue that surrounds them. (Note: there’s actually a surgery to cure this. Cause what I really want is a surgery. To be a runner. I think not.) I quit after week three.

Fast forward to 2013. Dammit, I will be a runner. It’s not going to happen on anyone else’s schedule. It’s clearly only going to happen on mine. Yeah, I have a triathlon in May and it’s possible I’ll be able to run that piddly 2km without stopping, even though I’ll already have swum and bike. But what’s more likely is that I’ll run for a few minutes, walk for a few minutes, run for a few, and repeat until I’m done.

Yesterday, I finally completed what is considered to be “week 1” of the running room program. What’s that? One minute of running, 2 minutes of walking, repeated 7 times. It took me five weeks to be able to do this. Sometimes I’d mix it up and do just one walk minute, others 90 seconds. But yesterday, I actually did the full program, as instructed. Yeah, it sucked. Yeah, my foot hurts today. Yeah, I had some calf issues. But on the whole, it was do-able. Sweaty, but do-able.

It’s the small victories, people. It’s my body. It’s my schedule. It’s my willpower that’s going to get me from the transition zone through the run and back. It’s gotta be done my way.

Are sometimes hard to follow through on.

As predicted, it was a bit chaotic at work this week. I’m out of the office for the next three weeks, and an amazing amount of STUFF happened at the office while I was away and … yeah. Work makes me tired.

So, I went to the gym Monday and Tuesday (squash, ho!), took Wednesday off, went to the pool on Thursday, we had a snow event here yesterday and I was too scared to drive so I consider the battling of the snow piles and the shoveling to be yesterday’s activity and this morning I did not play squash, but instead dug out the end of my driveway from the last remnants (only about 18″ worth) of the snow plow, and cleared my front path.

The food this week didn’t suck. It wasn’t everything I’d hoped for. I made my prepared lunch four days, which is awesome. The fifth day, someone was going to Wendy’s, and even though it was FREEZING, her car was inside and we weren’t even going to have to put on our boots. Hello? Exactly. I think my friend was happier about my fries than I was – she had quite the shiver when she smelled them. I also ate the homemade pizza and salads all week, too. (Still not a fan of salad.)

I’d like some hero points for going to the pool when it was -25C outside, with the wind. First, getting in chilly water when it’s that cold is just shy of inhumane. Second, walking a block to the car after, with damp hair and cracking skin? Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.

Couple of things went really well this week. First, people loaded me up with protein bars and suggestions for protein bars. This is good, because the more I work out, the hungrier I am, and a protein bar is a pretty decent ward against that. I’m constantly on the lookout for <200 calorie, >12g protein bars that don’t taste like chalk. This week, I got five just dropped off on my desk or hand delivered by friends. Awesome.

Also, I found a regular swim partner. I’m not the best at working out solo, particularly when I’m tired and cranky, but I’m really good at picking people up and going to an activity together. So, now I know I’ll be swimming on Thursday nights. I also really liked the pool at the Y, and am thus thinking about seeing about getting a base level membership.

And, I signed up for the BMI group triathlon training, at least for the bike and swim. Tuesday nights I’ll be swimming after squash, and Sunday mornings I’ll be biking. I think it starts in three weeks, so hopefully I’ll be fit and raring to go for our May 18th triathlon.

For the next three weeks I’ll be studying french, getting ready for my second attempt at the verbal french test. It’s downtown, so I’ll be able to meet friends for lunch. It’s kind of like a vacation where someone looks at you like they have no idea what you’ve just said every few minutes, six hours a day. All is well.

Next week, I will:

  1. Have lasagna for lunches, with veggies and dip
  2. Eat boiled eggs and cheese and crackers for snacks
  3. Have fajitas for dinners.
  4. Run/walk Monday, play squash and/or go to spin class Tuesday, take Wednesday off, swim Thursday, run/walk Friday, play squash Saturday, spin Sunday.

It’s all do-able.



So, in my ongoing quest to try physical activities I’ve never done before, I’m signed up for a dragon boat team. BMI provides the opportunity to participate in a bunch of different things, like triathlon training, nordic walking, running, and yes, dragon boating.

BMI has two teams, one co-ed, and one women only. Did you click on the link for BMI? I think we can safely say that these are two of the heaviest teams in the competition. Possibly two of the strongest, mind, since every single person on these teams works out regularly, and mostly with weights. (Working out is a core component of the BMI program).

I’m on the co-ed team. We had a first, disastrous practice where we were suctioned to each other and almost tipped the boat every single time someone breathed. So, in the interest of safety first, our drummer (and BMI’s fitness director, whose 8 year old son kicked my ASS in the triathlon last year) petitioned to let us use one of the old, wooden, and most importantly, wide and deep dragon boats. Dear Dragon Boat Festival: Thank you. I love you.

So, we’ve had a couple of practices in the new boat. I have the following observations about dragon boating as a result:

  • Um, totally different from canoeing. The whole motion is, well, totally different from canoeing. It’s like a sit-up while tilted to one side and with your arms up or out straight and over to the side. Think about that for a minute. You practice the motion while sitting on the side of your sofa and holding a broomstick. You lean forward and sit back up.
  • Everyone follows the lead of the front two people in the boat. Those two people must stay in sync, or the boat lurches from one side to the other.
  • Our front people are white guys who aren’t very rhythmic. This causes a lot of paddle clashing. And a lot of splashing.
  • Our drummer (who’s sposed to call the strokes) is also not very rhythmic. Her calling often conflicts with the paddling that’s actually happening.
  • The pace that you’re aiming for is 58-60 strokes a MINUTE. Can you do 60 situps a minute? With the resistance of water against your paddle?
  • You’re in the race for about 6 minutes and paddle about 500 metres in the race, and probably another 500-700 before and after, to get to the start line. Let’s have a moment here, shall we? I’m not like the world’s greatest arithmetician (that was for my friend John, who’s an actual mathematician), but I’m pretty sure that’s about 360 situps during the race, and another 350-500 or so on the way to and from the race.
  • And you do it twice on Saturday with several hours in between races.
  • The top 75 co-ed teams and 25 women’s only teams make it to Sunday. Dudes. We’re not making it to Sunday. 
  • I know we’re not making it to Sunday because even though we are entertaining, we’re 22 people whose average weight is well over 200 pounds (including our 90 pound drummer) and whose boat is at least twice, if not three times as heavy as the fiberglas competition boat.
  • But that’s okay, because I find it fun. 

My best friend and I were discussing one of her kid’s lack of ability at a team sport the other day. Some people are not designed for team sports, and that’s okay. I’m not really designed for any sports, but that also really doesn’t matter.

I think the main point of physical activity is that you’re going to do it more often if you do something that you enjoy. You’re also going to do it when other people are there waiting for you to show up. You’re going to participate when people holler your name when you arrive and who do a wave when you do something better than normal.

So yeah. I’m in a tournament. A tournament where if we don’t come in dead last in two races I will frankly be considering a total win. And I will take my advil between races (cause I really am not good at situps and cheat by using my shoulders and back and damn, that’s hard). And I will hydrate and cheer people on and enjoy myself.

I spent about $100 on this activity, and I consider it to have been totally worth every penny. Any time you try something new and you like it, you open yourself up to doing it again. And that’s pretty cool. I’ve heard more than one person at the start of their BMI journey telling Kelly that they just don’t like [insert activity name here]. Or that they can’t [insert movement here]. I get that. I do. But I wonder how much of that is fear?

Someone in my life asked me if I knew anyone who was selling a treadmill. He wanted to lose some weight, but didn’t want to join a gym because that would just end up in lifting weights and getting hurt, and didn’t want to run outside because he didn’t want anyone to see him run. I think this is why BMI activities are so awesome. It’s a bunch of people who have been on your journey, who have the same struggles as you do, and who’s fighting it. We are living our best lives.

And for those of you on this journey who aren’t comfortable enough to work out in public, I encourage you to read this blog post. I hate the title, but I totally appreciate the sentiment. There are women at my gym (loaded with athletes and tight, toned women) who I high five when I see them there, because they are gutting it out, red faced and sweaty like mad, every time I’m there. 

I am not skinny, but I am strong and I am fit. My belly jiggles when I run. My knees ache after squash and my feet are always stiff. And you know what? I am proud of myself because I am moving.

Be proud. Be active. Live your best life. Explore. Find your dragon boat activity.



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