Training #21 – Oh how happy

Monday morning, training with J. Always a lot of fun, and today we revisited my favorite mini bands. I have no clear idea why I like them so much, but I do. Partly I think I get what they are supposed to do, and they are deceptively simple. But dang – that stretchy little loop sure packs a punch.

It was mini band-palooza today. The new list (probably I’ll update this post when J formally updates my list later this week, but this reminds me of the basic outline):

  • Kick backs
  • Lateral kick outs
  • Knee raise (quads)
  • Knee bends (hamstrings)
  • Lateral walk to goblet squat
  • Forward walk
  • Backward walk
  • Glute bridge
  • Glute bridge, frog style (soles of feet together)
  • Dead bug legs
  • Glute bridge with ball between knees

I hate glute bridges. Hate them. And now I have new variations to add to that list. Which tells me I need to spend some intensive immersion time with them, because usually stuff I dislike so intensely and will tend to avoid means I feel somehow weak about the exercise, making it mentally and/or physically more painful to master than other things. The only solution in these cases is doing higher rep sets perfecting form and get to where I feel what they are trying to do for me. They, and the dreaded core exercises, move to the top of the list of things to do that I would really rather not think about or perform, but I have to and I have to focus intensely on form and technique until I get it right.

The potential for a long week with lower body exercises looms large. But oh well. It truly is all good.

Of course, changing my mindset toward them would probably help enormously with this effort. I have been aware of my hostile brain toward core stuff, because it’s difficult and it’s uncomfortable and I would so much rather do something more comfortable where I feel competent. But since no exercise has ever been easy for me, I recognize that I need to do what I have done with other vexing problems – spend more time focused on improving with them. Nothing we have done on any of my past or present Lists has ever been started out as easy to do right out of the box, and the fact that I am doing okay to A LOT better with some things does not mean the next thing we add to the rotation will be magical or simple for me. But if I want to change and improve my ability with the glute bridges and core exercises, I really do have to change my outlook along with it.

So there was that. Today was mental training along with learning new stuff, revisiting old stuff. These additions today are wonderful new layers for my beloved mini bands.

And today, my crazy brain had another minor surge. While we were working J was commenting about my post-diabetes thinking that I cannot stop pursuing my practices and improving my eating habits and how since we cannot stop we continue to layer and to add to it. All good, right?

Except sometime between walking out of the gym to starting this recap post my crazy mind had turned that around  into a fret-able indicator that we stop, that I somehow drop off J’s schedule when my sessions are complete and he ceases working with me after this tour ends. No, no, no; I am totally NOT being fired as a client and I will be able to purchase my next grouping of sessions. Ugh. Having just recently had similar nightmares, this training insecurity is all on me. Nothing J or anyone else has said gives any indicator that my training expiration date is fast approaching.

I am now starting to think that the timing to tapering back to every other week with TM was a mistake. In a quick email exchange with him this weekend, I became more cognizant of how much damage and just how far I had backslid since that unfortunate encounter on Friday. But on the positive side, for as far a I backslid back into my old place of fear and anxiety, I am equally determined to pick up and claw, scrape, and climb back into the driver’s seat with my own life, health, and fitness journey. We have stuff to talk about tomorrow, but we always have stuff to talk about. One ignorant person catching me completely off guard is not going to sideline or derail me from continuing forward in my progress. If I want to stay off diabetes medications – and there are no guarantees – I have to stay moving regularly, consistently, and in some sort of orderly manner. I also have to eat a balanced diet, emphasize the lean proteins from a variety of sources. The rest of this stuff – my self esteem, my anxiety, my fear – will be sorted out and what needs to be strengthened will be improved, what needs to be calmed and quieted will be soothed. Patience, grasshopper, patience.

With all the other good and great stuff happening and going on last week, I have started to feel as if I am skating and not working hard enough. And maybe I have been getting a little too comfortable with my Lists and my practices. Maybe. Maybe not. But it is a seed planted in my head now, and I am examining it with a critical eye. Is it time for a day off? Am I bored? Has success gone and inflated my head to some insufferable size that is suffocating everyone else in the room?

Perhaps. What I know is that when I start feeling complacent, things begin going wrong, my mind starts getting bored, and I begin making mistakes, lots of mistakes. Because I am not paying enough attention and that breeds a sort of cavalier attitude that will boomerang back with unpleasant and/or uncomfortable consequences. Maybe a rest day is in order, or maybe just focusing on 1 or 2 small adjustments in my practices will right whatever is making me feel as if I am falling off the wagon.

I am also mindful of the impact of venturing into the rest of the gym with the cable machines. For anyone else it is probably not much of a thing, but for me it’s proven to be a Very Big Deal. Once there I seem to be fine, able to do my Lists without a lot of drama, but it does seem to require a not-so-gentle shove to my nervous system to get me out there and started. And I genuinely hate that. I hate the attack of the shoulds, as in I should be able to go forth and pursue my interests without negative girl sensing weakness and going for my throat. It is not out of the realm of possibility that I am self-sabotaging and in search of reasons and excuses to bail.

It also does not help that I ate heavy, carby food last night, either. I woke up this morning with a lower blood sugar reading at 69, and it surprised me because after eating a slice of pizza with a salad last night I expected the opposite to happen. But that kind of rich and decadent food it is akin to major food hangover this morning, and it was not even a special occasion. After a couple of weeks of severely limiting carbs from breads and cereals to a single packet of oatmeal daily, that pizza with it’s glorious bread crust, luscious cheese, and vegetables-like toppings (olive, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, probably some garlic) tasted amazing. I expected my readings to be higher, much higher, and cannot explain the drop and will not try. Instead, I added raw oats to my pre-gym protein shake and managed to stave off the need for juice after our session today.

Once again it feels like I am having to learn new ways to feed myself for each day’s activities and returning to my evolving eat more protein and plant-based carb ways. It just feels better right now. Does not mean that I am banning pizza forever and ever, Amen, only that I think it will be a very sparing treat for a day or night when I am not meeting J for training at 6 a.m. It’s one thing to bonk myself all by myself and quite another to potentially bonk after training with J.

In terms of food, I don’t think I plan to actually ban anything from my diet completely. There are cake occasions in my future, and I plan to have some. But right now, while I am still navigating and figuring out what works, what doesn’t work well in my overall day-to-day diet, I will limit my experiments in heavier, carby foods.

With all this zoom-zoom-zoom going on inside my head, I think I need a back-to-basics approach for the next couple of weeks. Setting a schedule, establishing a routine, and sticking with it works best for me. I love, Love, LOVE how much freedom and choice I have with regard to my lists, but I am getting a bit too loosey-goosey with deciding what I am doing when and allowing myself to be distracted and taken off-track too readily. I am all in favor of staying flexible, but my anxiety set-back makes me feel as if my practice leash is a little too long and is going to strangle me if I let it. Time to make a plan for the week and stick with it, rather than deciding daily. Small thing, small change, but probably more critical for me than most. In these new and fragile habits, I require structure to maintain consistency. As much as I hate admitting it, that encounter on Friday completely amps up my anxiety and cost me some ground in my gym gains.

I hate this feeling of failure, and I am fighting it as much and as best I can. It is almost impossible trying to describe how debilitating my brand of functional gym crazy is, and i honestly had not realized how far I had come in overcoming it until this weekend and again having to force myself to go and to hang out and struggle so mightily to find some measure of focus. While I still wonder about other people and their habit, why I struggle when many do not, I recognize that in itself is unhealthy. My struggles are real and are my one; comparing them to anyone else is not hoping me overcome it and only empowers negative girl’s voice about how not normal I am in comparison to everyone else. But I don’t know everyone else. I know me, I know my issues, and I was still there Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I do not feel I did my very best, but I tried and I succeeded.

J said something this morning about the work I do with TM, if I keep a journal or write down my affirmations. Nope, not really … I let it all hang out here. If I had to write the affirmations down my left hand would be so cramped from holding onto a pen or pencil I would not be able to exercise because it would unlikely be able to hold onto a dumbbell or a stretchy band strap handle.

It is ridiculously humiliating to admit how terrified I am of other people and all things gym-related. I was upstairs in the cardio area this morning, doing a little pre-warm-up warm-up on the arc trainers that live there. While my endocrinologist would likely not count my little 10 minute warm-up as cardio, I think every minute should count for something. Even in the almost deserted cardio area at 5:30 in the morning I felt a little apprehensive at first. Because I haven’t been up there in weeks and it feels unfamiliar all over again. And insecure all over again.

I am apparently easily intimidated. And just a little (or a lot … depends on the day) crazy.

It is only humiliating if I place that level of high-value shame upon it. It is only intimidating if I give in, back down, and let it stop my forward progress. I remind myself that bad men threatened me not very long ago, and I survived and continue to thrive in the rest of my life. I can overcome this setback. I will overcome this setback.

So yeah, I am determined to recover and improve and regain the upper hand with my anxiety and my fear. I am determined to get back to where I walk through the gym doors feeling relaxed and as if I belong there, not like some imposter sneaking in on someone else’s membership card. I’m going to convince my crazy brain that all is well, that getting up at 4 a.m. and going to the damn gym is just what we do now, part of life as we know it.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy feeling my glutes and legs ache. And tell myself I am not dreading multiple rounds of glute bridges, that we can make friends and play nicely together into the future. I will not allow myself to falter with these again, no matter how much I presently despise them.

Uh huh. I have done it before with other things, and I can learn and adapt to these as well. Make it a priority, practice with focus and intent. It will happen, glute bridges. Maybe not this week, but definitely this year.

M has lately been on a tear about an old running buddy of his and their divergent paths on training, running, racing. Old friend, R for this post, speaks of “deserving” things, which drives M stark, raving bonkers. The sense of entitlement R has is one that comes with age, that rather than working and earning a place with M and his core group of dinosaur ultramarathoners who still train as if they are still racing, R feels he deserves to be part of that group because he was once an ultrarunner as well. Forget that he does not have appropriate gear for the unpredictable weather in the mountains. Forget that he’s not in the type of shape to keep up with them in a 24 mile trail run through the mountains. From R’s point of view, he deserves to be included because he is still running 30 years later, albeit 5 to 10 miles on the weekends only, versus M who is presently running 12 to 15 miles 7 days a week to get and stay in shape to train with friends who will soon be descending for trail running training season.

M earns this camaraderie with old friends by doing the mileage to keep up and stay with the group; there will be no need to wait on him ever mile or so to ensure he’s still on the right route as it would be with R and his lack of adequate gear and training. There were a lot of years when he was not running, not training, and not in very close touch with these old friends. But the last several years M has come roaring back and run daily continuously for several years. Days off for M consist of a 2 or 3 mile “token” run through the neighborhood, or on one memorable occasion, a 2 mile walk when he was sick. He earns his good and better health every single day of the year, even at the risk of irritating his wife by going outside for a 2 mile walk with a bad cold to maintain his streak.

“Deserve” is such a loaded term. I am not better or worse than anyone else, and if I deserve the good things going my way with better health it is because I earned it. I earned my freedom from diabetes drugs, and I earn every single step forward in the exercise and healthier eating to date. Nothing should be able to take it away from me, especially some random idiot. Wish my brain would read the memo to let it go.

I started this post earlier in the day and was to this point, preparing to wrap up and post this evening when I went out to get more Zyrtec and then retrieve some documents from a client. It was at this point that I ran into the guy from Friday referenced in my prior post. My perspective changed after that. 

They say the universe gives you exactly what you need, and today I kind of believe it. Today I think the mysterious “they” provided opportunity to be the me I wish to be.

I got this gym stuff … right? I am reassuring myself, because I know you have my back and believe me capable. And I am listening. And I appreciate all of you – for reading, for commenting, and for the good thoughts and encouragement.

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