I have to set goals for myself. I need something to work towards, something to accomplish. I set both large and small goals, short term and long term goals. Each week my small, short term goal is to go to Crossfit Simple to work out three times a week and do yoga twice a week.
Part of the whole exercise thing for me is that I need to be constantly accomplishing something. Even if that just means that I showed up and did the best I was able to do that day. While I want to lose weight, if I concentrate on weight loss being my goal, it is not going to work out well for me. Been there, done that.
I was very successful with Weight Watchers several years ago, lost around 40 pounds, but by the end of my time doing Weight Watchers, I seriously had some self-hatred, body hatred issues. I felt bad about how I looked, about the weight I still had, about the fact that it was so hard to get the weight off. It became this whole narcissistic endeavor in achieving thinness – and even when I was in high school, I did not have a body that did thinness. Too much hip and chest to be model thin. I’ve talked with others who have done Weight Watchers – including several friends I consider to be pretty skinny – and all of them eventually felt the same way about it. Towards the end you just end up feeling fat, even when you are succeeding.
So, while I want to lose weight, right now I want to lose weight because the more weight I lose, the more likely I will be successful in doing a strict pull-up. I think if I was pulling up less weight, it might not be this impossible, horrifying task. Really, that is what a lot of my weight loss is about right now. I am sure if I was moving less weight around, I would run faster, squat easier, push-ups would be easier, and my performance would be overall much better. I want to perform better and do much better at the things I am already doing at Crossfit. I want to consistently beat Will at timed WoD’s (although, he keeps getting better, stronger, faster, too, so that may just be something I am always working on).
To keep on track with getting better, I have to set goals. Will doesn’t like to plan tomorrow or next month, so me telling him that in a year and two months I want to do the Spartan Sprint in Indiana with the Crossfit Simple team is just too far off of a goal to think about much. But I need the long-term goal. Will and I both kind of thought that maybe I would do better if I mentally prepped for 2014, instead of next year, but the people at Crossfit seem to think that in another year I should be able to do it. Our trainer, Scott, said if I really wanted to do it that we could work towards that goal, but that he’d be giving me homework for over the weekends. I was cool with that, as I would really prefer to be active for some period of time every day of the week. I have five days of the week planned out, so homework for the weekend filled things out nicely.
Will balked at homework. Said he didn’t have time. (he lies)
The homework Scott gave me (since Will didn’t have time) for this weekend was great. He wanted me to go walking in a creek. Check out stones – how they fall, which way they tilt, that kind of deal. This sounded like a lot of fun. I figured that I would get wet and/or muddy, but that seemed like it would be fun, too.
Will made the time. I think he is worried that if I go out in nature by myself I will somehow manage to get irrevocably injured. Or have a really great time without him. He told me once I could not go hiking in Giant City alone because there were bears (for those of you unaware, Southern Illinois is NOT a home to bears – it was hilariously ridiculous). He then told me that in winter, I couldn’t go by myself because the animals were hungry and might eat me. I could not go in spring by myself, because that was mating season and too dangerous with animals in rut. I could not go by myself in summer because it was too hot and that made animals cranky and likely to attack. With fall, he said, the problem was right there in the title – too many things fall in the fall and I could be easily injured if out by myself.
I apparently cannot walk a creek alone, either.
Scott said to go slow and be careful, and we did. Well, I did. Will is pretty at home anywhere outside, so he could have gone 5 times the distance without me. We only managed to walk a mile in the creek, although that alone took around an hour and a half. Although, a good amount of that time was Will instructing me on how and where to walk, what types of rocks are slippery (most of them), what poison ivy was and wasn’t (I already knew this one, I mean, come on I’ve known poison ivy since I was a kid in the woods), how to cook and eat pokeweed (don’t if it is purple, double boil) and other things of that nature. We also saw a snake that was curled up in a fallen down tree. It looked like a copperhead, but Will discerned it to be just a water snake. Several skinks – I love lizards and skinks are super cool. The highlight of this was seeing a scarlet tanager – had no idea what this bird was when we saw it , just finished looking it up in my bird book - but it was beautiful. This bird is brilliant shade of red, with black wings. It looked almost like cardinal who was confused about its coloring. Very vibrant in color, and the red head had eyes that looked like the bird had applied black eyeliner for a very dramatic look. Simply stunning.
I waded in water up to my read end. After being hot most of the day, the wading in water was really nice. I almost wished that the creeks were fuller. It would have been nice to swim today and I am short enough that wading can turn to swimming pretty easily.
The thing about hiking in a creek full of slippery rocks is that it really does tire you out pretty quickly. Will could have gone on endlessly – the man has the footing of a goat. It is rare to see him lose his balance. I am getting better at balance with regular yoga and the various Crossfit exercises, but it still is not my strong spot. I only fell once and managed to catch myself on my hands instead of my knees, but I slipped around a lot. Wet rocks are very slippery. I know, the sun is hot, too. Captain Obvious over here.
Will and I decided that regardless of future homework assignments from Scott, we are going to hike that creek more. Further next time. We did not have a great deal of time today – Will and his dad were working on the front porch so time was an issue. However, I am going to make time to do it again for many reasons. First of all, it was super fun and super pretty. I love nature and I love animals. The more I am out and about the more I see. I am even chipping away at my irrational fear of spiders. There was a wolf spider today that I thought of as merely pretty instead of frightening. Knowing which ones are poisonous actually helps. Why be frightened of something that fundamentally cannot hurt you?
The second reason I am going to do it again is because it tired me out. The more often I hike with Will the better and stronger my footing will be and I will have more stamina with it. The third reason is that Will is just so happy when he is outside. He smiles all the time. He is chatty. He is just happy to be outside. It is miraculous how pleased he is when he is in nature. We were doing a good job of hiking a minimum of once a week before the tornado hit Giant City. We kind of lost our rhythm then, in part because the weather was surreal, but I think I am going to try to get back into the swing of it again.
My long term fitness goal at this point is the Spartan Sprint. This means that I will need to just deal with running in order to get proficient at it. This also means that I am motivated to deal with the running. My goal for the end of the year is to climb the rope at Crossfit. I figure that I should be able to tackle that easily by December. I am also hoping to run the Turkey Trot – a 5K – with my sister in November. I may only be able to run part of it, but I will consider it successful if I can run at least half of it while walking half.
If I focus on goals that celebrate what my body can do, instead of focusing on goals centered on what my body isn’t, I am happier overall. Part of why Crossfit has stuck where other things have not is that I am constantly improving, beating old times, lifting heavier weights. The improvement is proven and constant. Being at war with my body is what caused me to be out of shape in the first place. Celebrating and enjoying what my body can do, what I can do, is what has helped me enjoy getting into shape and what keeps me working at it even when I have a hard time.