On December 8 I’ll be 40. FORTY. I’m kinda stoked to be honest. My 20s were a nightmare, my 30s really really hard. The 40s better deliver is all I’m saying.
In the countdown I’ve decided to do a little series of things I am grateful for, things I love, things that make me laugh or things I’m passionate about. Yeah, that’s right, totally making it up as I go along.
But today, first cab off the rank is a recent life addition. A revelation if you will. Something I did not see coming but am so so glad it did.
I’m six months in and a month into working with Pete the Trainer and can NOT emphasise how life changing it has been. I LOVE these guys – Pete, Meredith, Aeron, Christian and Wal. They work with peak athletes to sweaty masses like myself and do so with care, thought and genuine concern for your whole well being. There is not a grain of arrogance or ego or judgement, the whole culture of the place is “let’s make you the best you can be and help each other do the same in the process”.
In that 6 months I’ve lost about 5kgs, 8cm off my bust, 8cm off my waist and 4cm off my hips. It doesn’t sound like much but curiously I’m OK with it because it is the belief in myself that matters now. The weight will come off, mark my words, but to do that while healing my mind? GOLD.
So you beautiful outrageously fit and physically inspiring crew? I thank you. Do NOT ever under estimate the impact you’re having on people every single day.
Pete has me back on my feet and sweating up a storm. But get this, there is not a treadmill in sight. No running (yet), no grapevines, and no rooms filled with mirrors and dance music. Instead I’m lifting weights, like, on a barbell. Like a weightlifter. Like WOW.
I’m talking in short sentences because I’m just kind of blown away. My energy levels and mood are probably the most stable they’ve been my entire adult life. And I’ve only been doing this for three weeks.
The focus here is on slow and steady strength and mobility training so that my body doesn’t break down from fatigue and injury. I work with Pete for an hour every Wednesday and then head back into the gym twice during the week on my own to follow a program Pete has created for me. We’re covering diet (NOTE TO SELF: STOP SMUG EATING), sleep, stress and how my body’s coping/feeling after the sessions.
He’s all over me like a rash our Pete so it’s pretty darn lucky he’s easy on the eye.
On Saturday I woke in a panic as per usual. I must stay, feeling jittery and on edge all the time is really really boring AND exhausting. But it was bootcamp day so off I went, shaky and all. I saw the WOD (workout of the day – I KNOW) and just felt beaten. There was no way. We started and Trainer Pete caught my eye and was all YEAH! as he likes to be, so naturally I burst into tears on him. Klassy.
I had a big sob and then went on to do the whole thing. Yeah, I know.
I’m a week in on Starvation September (I started on 30 August because I am THAT keen) and my GOD is my body cranky at me for taking away the lovely refined carbs.
It’s showing its anger by taking out my back on Sunday night. Now some would say that timing is a bit dubious, what with it being father’s day and all but out it went.
Monday was spent working on the floor on a yoga mat. Yesterday was spent on the floor with heat packs and doing the gentle exercises I’m meant to do. There was a trip to the GP where I procured more Celebrex – yes, totally getting in touch with my inner geriatric.
Then, at around 6:30 last night, it set. Like concrete.
Back pain and tooth-ache are in the same family as far as I’m concerned – excruciating and debilitating. The only way back trumps tooth is that it physically incapacitates you as well. Life with four kids and not being able to bend, sit, pick things up, move is god awful.
At 3am this morning I woke from the pain. Poor Chef, if his wife isn’t going batshit crazy she’s whinging about her back. Off to the hospital we went where a jab in the arse with a strong anti-inflammatory, some panadeine forte (sweet sweet codeine) and endone (sweet sweet morphine derivative) meant I could move with pain sitting at around 6 rather than eleventy gagillion out of 10.
We got home just in time to get Oscar up for school and then all the rest of them.
I refuse to accept this could put me out of the running of completing Tough Mudder. Refuse.
Hilariously, my team-mate Bronwyn has just been told she is so anaemic she’s beyond a shot of iron or supplement but will probably need an infusion and has to see a haematologist.
Today I did my first pull-up. Not a proper one mind you, it was more an L-plater pull-up where you stand on a box, hold onto the bar (which is above your head) and push off to then lift yourself above the bar.
This shows you the burpee and the pull-up:
And this shows you how to be energy efficient when you all start practising this at home:
When we started the sun had barely started to rise. It was sitting just on the horizon casting the most stunning crimson hue as we, at the tale end of the pack, conquered the steps of death and came to a flat rock facing straight east out the Heads. That this bushland setting with incredible views is in the middle of our city never wears thin, even when your heart is bursting through your chest and your legs are mounting an impressive campaign of mutiny.
I did not know there were such steep sections. Or torturous sections of graduated steps heading ever upward. People say it’s such a pretty walk. It’s a hellacious run.
1 hour 18 minutes.
Hats off to R who ran it in 56 minutes. I’m not even sure that’s allowed. Most of the crew did it in just over an hour which is, you know, alarmingly impressive.
The hardest part were the two steep rises after the massive one at North Harbour headland. For me a telling psychological impass for the sole reason that my brain was mighty cranky that we’d mastered those god-forsaked steep irregular sandstone steps and now you’re telling me to do it again? Even if it is for a quarter of the distance of the first round?
The 20 or so stairs up to Spit Bridge from the harbour below almost killed me.
Our trainer (now in the States for the CrossFit Games – GO CHRISTIAN AND TEAM!) stuck with me the entire time – WALKING as he was heading to the US the following day. I would have been offended were I not so exhausted. We had a fantastic chat as I ran and he walked along behind me (what a farewell vision for him) about my dodgy thyroid and chronic stress blah blah blah.
The upshot of it all was this flogging myself uber-aerobic is probably the worst sort of exercise I could be doing – putting my already stressed and highly toxic body under even more stress. The ironic flipside of this is just how good it makes me feel in a comprehensive manner. There’s no way I’m stopping but it has opened my mind to the reality exercise can take many forms and that’s something I’ll explore once Tough Mudder is done.
So fast forward to this week. Three eight minute circuits. I got through the burpees, ring rows, wall balls session (I think there were 45 burpees all up? MAYBE 55? RIDICULOUS whatever the total.) but came totally undone on the kettle bells, 400m runs circuit. During warm up with the kettle bells I commented my back was a bit niggly and then, first session with them I knew I was in trouble. My first 400m run had my lower back feeling like it was slow setting cement. It was difficult to get my feet off the ground (Cliff Young shuffle anyone?) and I could feel the panic and hot tears of ‘oh no’ welling.
Coach of Awesome Pete (he took us for the soft sand running session weeks ago and I just like how he does it) got me through some really deep stretches and I actually pushed out another run (a bit disappointed because I think I would have got at least 4 maybe 5 runs in that workout) and then did the final session of rows, walking lunges and bear crawls.
Of course I’m now paying the price. My back is busted, I’m popping anti-inflammatories at stomach-ulcer inducing levels and am, once again, intimate with heat packs. I need one of those stretch bands to get into the deep stretches Pete showed me but have a kids birthday party to get through today. I prepped most of the food last night and am about to get my parental tones on to get the boys cleaning and stacking lego away.