I’m Alive….

I love that song by Sia, “I’m Alive”. I belt it out at the top of my lungs in the car. I used to belt it out during a killer spin class climb when it was on the set list. Powerful vocals plus adrenaline = euphoria on a whole other level. There are a few songs that do that for me.

I haven’t written much about fitness in the last 1.5-2 years, basically because I’ve been walking dogs and that is pretty much all I’ve been doing. Getting sober, getting through a low period, revamping my nutrition, physical therapy/shoulder rehab, nursing an ankle, an 11-month deployment and just getting through the days were the focus. Fitness was not. I didn’t give a rip about miles or squat form. Burn out seems a little harsh, but it was somewhere in the mix. I LOVED working at the gym. I loved working with clients one on one. I love teaching. It’s in my DNA. What I did not have at the time was balance. When I was at home, I was thinking about work, and vice versa. It wasn’t tenable at that level for me long term. My body was also telling me in not so subtle ways to go slower. I tend to the all or nothing – slug-sloth-fest on the couch or running marathons and working out 6 days a week. No in-between. (Some life lessons I seem to be determined to learn only after being clobbered with it more than once!)

It is not sustainable long term to go balls to the wall all the time.

I knew I would come back to it. I’ve been itchy for some good endorphins for a while now. I was good with my hiatus. I needed it. My body needed it.

But now I need to get me back.

Chatting with a friend we both expressed a need to get back to ourselves, to feeling amazing and strong and….alive. What I did in 2012 and since is awesome, and in large part why I started a blog in the first place. This fitness stuff is such a great ride – but it’s for the long term, not just for a reunion, a 6 week-program, a year, whatever. There is no expiration date.

It’s for life, for my life. 

Today started with a brief walk/run warm up with the dogs for a whopping 1.25 miles. I came home and had to get the space organized. Adios cardboard!

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My new space

It’s smaller than what I have had in the past – but is so doable. I also have access to a small gym within walking distance. YES! I also had to dig out the ankle brace because it was talking to me. (*See above “balls to the wall” comment above. Insert eye roll here.) Sure! Take a year and a half off and then go run a 5k. That won’t hurt at all!

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Make it work

After getting it all set up and running up and down 2 flights of stairs about a bazillion times, (so sorry ankle!) I was ready to rock. (Some of my gear was in the garage, some was on the 3rd floor.) Yay stairs!

I popped on the playlist and got to work:

Warm up: Bear crawl 30sec, 12 reps inverted hamstring each side, 10lb ball hip hinges, bodyweight lie down and get up 60sec, shoulder mobility work, cobra presses, bodyweight glute bridges and full body stretches.

Kettle Bell Swings: Sets – 5 30sec duration Rest 30 sec

Set 1:  3x, 60 sec rest

KB Goblet Lateral Lunges -10 reps, BW Push up- 5 reps, full body stretch – 5 reps

Set 2: 3x 30s rest

KB Goblet Squat to step forward lunge – 30sec, BW Power Push ups – 5 reps

Set 3: 3x, 30 sec rest

Plank stir the pot on stability ball – 30 sec, Stability ball dead bugs 30 sec.

Finisher: Banded Squat walks – 20 paces out and back x3

The cheerleading squad
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Sweaty and hot after my workout

It was hard. It was uncomfortable. I’m not as strong as I have been in the past, but I was able to do more than I anticipated. I was able to do pushups without shoulder pain which is a GINORMOUS win. I won’t be surprised if I have leg cramps later. The foam roller will be my best friend. I have a new start line. The nutrition piece is working. The house is basically unpacked. Time to get back at it, again.

I’m here.

I’m alive.

And it’s a great place to be.

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Fitness as a Vehicle

I love working out.

Okay, maybe that’s an over-statement. I love the way I feel after I workout. I love the way I can keep up with my kids, I like the strength, and the energy that being fit and pursuing fitness affords. I am clear-headed and more me when I run and workout consistently. It also provides creative inspiration for my work as a writer; a benefit I never saw coming!

Over the last 3 months, I broadened my workout group from 2 people to roughly 20-25 on a regular basis. We are an accountability group. I design and lead workouts, but they continue to show up. They keep coming back for more. Sure, the group is free, but they are willing to be my experiment as I study for my certifications.

During this short time, I have been shocked, floored, and humbled by the comments, kind words, and crazy hard work by these fit friends. I recently received a message that a person was hesitant to join us because she didn’t want to feel weird because she wouldn’t know anyone.

I wanted to reach through the computer and hug her.

Seriously. It was like a window to my thoughts 3 years ago. I was afraid. Of everything. Fear of looking foolish, being out of my comfort zone, fear of what other people would think of me, and fear of failure. It’s so prevalent. We are afraid to reach out to our neighbors. We hesitate to chat up the other mom at the playground. We sit in the same place at church every week because sitting in a spot other than “ours” would mean we may have to meet someone new. It’s scary. Rejection hurts. It’s so much easier to just stay in our own little world and not risk anything.

What I have discovered, in part, over the course of the last 3-4 years is that being brave and stepping out is not only worth it, but it breeds just a tiny bit of confidence to do it again. And again. And again. Until it becomes who you are. What if I had never reached out to my neighbor across the street? What if I had declined invitations to parties and get togethers? What if my then aquaintence chose not to pursue a deeper friendship with me? What if she had never invited me to to join a crazy bootcamp workout class she’d heard about? What if another friend didn’t have the courage to ask if she could join us as we were sweating in my driveway? What if I had been too afraid to ask our community center if we could use the gym through the winter? What if?

The last 3 years would have been entirely different.

When people ask me, “I can’t seem to find the time/motivation to workout. What motivates you to keep working out?” I simply say that exercise and fitness has been the vehicle to so much more than I ever imagined. So much more than just physical. More than just being fit.

It has been the vehicle to cherished friendships, bravery, courage, risk, deep joy, true confidence, the desire to learn and grow, and more. It has changed me for the better. The ability to be in a position to share that gift with someone on their own path is something that overwhelms me.

It is a gift for which I will be forever grateful.

The Real Test

We all have days (weeks, months) that we just aren’t that motivated. Often I am motivated to work out and do what needs to be done ONLY because of the feeling after the fact. I know I’ll feel great once I work out. I know I’ll feel better if I just get off my butt and get the kitchen cleaned (laundry, dishes, oil changed, whatever is on the to do list). It’s the completion reward. As the saying goes:

Perhaps the real test isn’t doing a thing like losing weight or running a marathon while fully supported and surrounded by others doing the same thing.

Perhaps the real test is when you have to use what you know to once again climb out of the hole without support, or with a different support system. When I work out in my garage, no one knows if I’m phoning it in or not. No one ever will.

But I do.

Perhaps the only accountability any of us needs is ourselves. Being honest, kicking our own butt. Every day.

This to me is strength defined.

Warrior Dash

WOW. I had been looking forward to this event ever since everyone was signing up for it back in Hawaii. I would have done it there, but you know, the navy moved us and didn’t check with my racing schedule beforehand! Ha!

I did this race with my sister (with whom I have been working out with since moving back) and I have to say, it was AWESOME!! It was hot, muddy, filthy dirty fun and I can’t wait to do it again next year! Official race pictures aren’t up yet, but here are the few I took:

 This was on the bus ride from the parking area to the festival area….notice how squeaky clean we are!? Bwahhahahaha! That changed fast!
I found it funny that my “warrior cry” came out more like a Pirate’s “Arrrgh Matey!” I think I may be watching too much of Jake and the Neverland Pirates with my son!
And here are me, my sister, and my brother in law’s thumb! This was post shower! It was insane. The “shower”, if you could call it that, was a guy with a fire hose spraying us muddy warriors off in a cattle pen. It was ridiculous. And not effective as evidenced by the slop still hanging on my arm. I have to say, it was SO much fun, but my shower may never be the same!

Katie enjoying her turkey leg!! Luckily she shared with us! It was SO tasty!!! There is just something about gnawing on meat while wearing a viking helmet – it’s carnal and way fun!

And Sarah playing peek with the camera! 
The girls were both such troopers! It was a HOT day and lots of waiting and lines. SO much fun and I can’t wait until next year.
Oh, that reminds me. I won’t have to wait until next year. I signed up for a Tough Mudder in September. 
Oh. My. Check out their INSANE website! The video gives you an idea of what I’m in for….
I think this mud stuff just might be addicting. 

See You Laters and Welcome Back!

Now that we have our internet up and the house is starting to look like a home as the cardboard sea subsides…..I had to take a moment to share our See You Laters and our Welcome Backs!
Jayde was my neighbor in Hawaii – STRONG CHICKS!! So much fun to workout one last time where it started for us!

 

 And the two of us with the BEST trainer in the world!!!  Just ask her – she’ll tell you! LOL!
Annnnnd full on ugly cry!!!

 

 How do you thank someone for changing your life????!! You pay it forward! (And that’s what I plan to do…stay tuned!!)
The sweetest Aussie I know – Kai!! (Okay, she is the ONLY Aussie I know!) Always keeping me on my toes – I love you girl!!

 

 :,)
And hanging out with our good friends that last night before the flight….

 

 Sweet Hailey giving hugs!!
 Battle Buddies for life baby!!!

 

 

….leavin’ on a jet plane….don’t know when I’ll be back again….
Breakin’ out the Uggs for the COLD Washington weather!

 

And the drive from Sea-Tac produced this in our backseat:
Most likely because the view was this:

 

But my mom was a rockstar and when we walked in to the new house she had a few surprises for us! Toys for the kiddos, food in the fridge and pantry and this:

 

Getting settled a bit and really enjoying the gas fire place!!

 

And a new addition: (insert angel chorus here)

 

Unpacking proved to be a bit rough on Hannah:

 

 It’s starting to come together and each day as we make more of a dent, the urge to tear my hair out lessens!
 And we got some new Washington gear! Hats and gloves all around!
So stinkin’ cute it kills me!
All in all it was a very smooth transition and the kids have been troopers!
Welcome back to Washington Baby!!