Meet Philipa Raschker. Age 67.
I've discovered that serious strength and conditioning coaches, when you tell them (proudly) that you finished your workout in less time than they thought, take that as a challenge. Then, they give you more. On the other hand, you can't whine either. You have to strike this balance between a grudging respectful struggle and a grunting stoicism. It's a guy thing. You wouldn't understand.
I have also learned that men are, at times, really frightened of having said the wrong thing to a woman. I find that interesting, I haven't decided what to do about it yet. But I will. I'm not cruel, but I can't ever pass up a chance to have some fun. Just a simple, "now, why would you say that?" causes a sharp intake of breath, furrowed brow, and confusion. It's fun. Try it.
Coach Juaquine, (pronounced "Wah KEEN" for the gringos out there) for instance, was trying every verbal means to correct my form one day until it finally dawned on me what he wanted me to do, and I said, "oh, stick my butt out more. Why didn't you say so?" There was an awkward pause, and then he wandered away.
|Garmin printout of my Santa Fe Mountains half marathon|
I can do a handstand now. I'm working on handstand pushups.
Last weekend, I did a little half marathon in the Santa Fe Mountains. It involved stopping a lot and taking pictures, so it was slow. I was going to make it an even sixteen miles, but the flash of lightening and nearly simultaneous crack of thunder changed my mind. Of course, toward the end, I was mutering about how this was never going to end. Ever.
The lesson I learned from that hike is that I need to learn to take better pictures of myself.
Then I was asked by another coworker why I like lifting weights, and it took me a while to articulate the reasons why. So here is why.
When I was around 30, one day I was out chasing my kids around and I hopped down off a retaining wall.
It wasn't a high wall, maybe about five feet or so, but when I landed, instead of what I recalled from younger days, something else happened. When I was younger, I felt spry. I felt nimble. I hopped and tumbled and did cartwheels and handsprings. but on this day, this particular day, a full forty pounds more than I had been when I graduated from high school (yet twenty less than I do now), when I jumped, I landed like a sack of wet cement. I think the sound I made was:
Around about the same time i got a full length mirror for the first time in several years, and I was surveying myself, naked, turning this way and that, and well....oh, my.
When did my ass fall all the way down there?
Both of these thongs, of course, I accepted with a certain amount of resignation, which is sad, when you think of it...a thirty-year-old woman saying quietly to herself, well, this is what getting older is, I guess.
Jane, aka DreadPirate, has for years been trying to get me to lift weights. She isn't nearly as persuasive as Sweet Baboo, though. He pays for a membership, ushers me into the car when I say, sure, I'll try it, and I chatter and watch out the window like a four-year-old while he carries me to our various adventures, including the weightlifting gym owned by Juaquine. Since I started working out with Coach Juaquine, I've been doing a shit-ton of weighted squats, weighted lunges, and leaping up and down holding weights. For an hour, twice per week, i do cleans, and snatches, and deadlifts. I work the big muscles. Gluteus, hamstrings, and quads.
The result is that I feel stronger. i feel nimble and spry. I can toss around grocery bags. I hop up onto curbs. I feel young. And, my ass is a bit higher than it used to be. For the past couple years I'd really started feeling my age. This seems to have cured that, for now.
The Oatmeal says he runs for food. So do I. But I lift weights for vanity.
I don't really feel like a forty-something. The other forty-somethings I see from time to time are from another world. Even Baboo said "they" seemed different. Even a lot of the thirty-somethings I see seem to have given up on doing, or being, interesting. I definitely don't feel fifty-something.
I suppose I should be happy approaching 50, looking at the AARP discount and buying a nice, fat, wallet for pictures of my grandchildren. I should be old, and wisened, and young people should come to me. I should be harassing my children about settling down and giving me grandchildren. No more of this silliness. Running and such. Time to just stop, and to Be.
I guess not.
This week I decided to start working on making up for lost time. Meanwhile, I though I'd posted this, but I forgot to push the button.
13. I have regretted not participating in athletics when I was in school. I was fast when I was young, but then I got older and I was too cool to run. "Too late," I'd say to myself, "you can't go back." But you can, actually. As Goethe said, it's never too late to be what you might have been.
12. Last week Sweet Baboo and I went to the first annual meet of the New Mexico track club, I saw women and men of various levels of fitness and ages sprinting, pole-vaulting, jumping hurdles, and long-jumping. I was inspired.
11. Tuesday, I went to a workout of the New Mexico Track Club. In terms of self-flagellation, nothing quite beats hanging out and doing intervals workouts with tiny, hyperactive people who weigh 75% of what I weigh. (Which means I weigh 33% more than they do. Do the math.) The workout was to run 400, jog 400, repeat, run 200 jog 200, run 600, 600 jog. Then repeat the whole thing, and by "run" I mean to run at your mile pace, which for me is theoretically around 9 minutes a mile. Eventually I was jogging and then shuffling, and occasionally I was walking and breathing real hard. I'm getting over what appears to be shin splints, and so I'm off road running for a while. All of the workout was in fairly thick grass on a defunct track.
10. As parts the track workout involved running back and forth I would ran past people who were far ahead of me and receive the Supported Pity Applause, given generously to the last, slow runner. I am not stranger to its iterations.
Hey, Misty! Good job!
Way. To. Hang!
Allright! You're really staying the distance!
Good job, Misty!
You're really hanging with it!
Way to go the distance, girl!
9. at the track workout, Coach Dave took me aside and made many suggestions and comments designed, I suspect, to motivate. One of them was to do box jumps, starting low like, maybe, on a piece of paper, I think. Then work my way up.
Another comment he made was about how it was all genetic anyway, so no matter how hard you try and train, you can't overcome them if you don't have them. But anyway:, he continued, do lots of plyometrics.
In any case along with the running it should be fun. The track club is talking about putting together some "throwing" workouts. And, we moved our Olympic weigh-lifting but in a different gym in a rather interesting part of town.
8. I'm trying to have fun again. Treating working out more like play time instead of "now I gotta do it" time. This morning I ran in the foothills--i'm off roads for the time being until my shins heal--near our house is a long trail down, down, down into an indentation in the side of the mountains that we call "the dish"
7. I can think of no better way to celebrate independence day than by running the trails. So that's what I did. Then DreadPirate, Sweet Baboo and I went for a bike ride. Yes, on a bike. I am still on the fence about doing another Ironman but leaning towards doing one in 2014.
6. I decided that I am kind of interested in crossfit, but I'm not interested in the herd mentality, the diet, or the crazy high price. (Sweet Baboo and I belong to one of the best gyms in the city and it costs about half what crossfit does, I shit you not. So I'm looking at ideas for doing this shit at home. Sweet Baboo is going to lift Mondays, tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays but I only want to lift twice a week so on another day while he's lifting I'll play with this crossfit thing.
5. for box jumps, one suggestion was a sprinkler valve box. But I don't know...Sure, it looks sturdy, but is it zeftig Athena Diaries sturdy? Will it stand up to my unsteady jumps after I've gotten tired? Will it get tippy when I do? Plus, I need to start low and work my way up. Then I went out and walked around my back yard et voila:
A place to do jumps!
4. I have a treadmill and live close to a place where I can run trails or do hill repeats. We already have one kettle bell, and a few dumb bells. I do not have any rings, nor at this point do I want any. I figure this is a good start.
3. I cannot do the following: pushups or any of their permutations; or pull-ups of any kind. So, I'll have to work my way up, I guess. My first goal is to eventually be able to do one of these. Or maybe more than one.
2. I have noticed some I portant changes since I started weight-training. First, I've had a bad shoulder problem since 2012. It's going away, slowly, but there's a huge difference already. Second, I have had a middle back pain since around 9th grade. When I tried to sit without back support, it was an awful, burning pain. It's almost completely gone. Third, I have spindly old lady wrists. They hurt like hell when I try to open jars, do pushups, or ride my bike. They're getting stronger.
1. But ooh, hauling 170 lbs around the trails is tough. I've gotten several comments about "ignoring the scale" but I think I've made two things clear: first, I do pay attention to how my clothes fit. And right now, they are tight. That's not muscle cutting me in half. Second, the scale reflects how much weight I'm carrying around, given that my size indicates that most of that weight is NOT working tissue, yeah, it kinda matters. But thanks for the comments, just the same. My goal, if I must weigh 170 lbs, is to 25% bodyfat or lower. Right now, it's above thirty. Except on Sundays, when Tanita magically insists that it's 23.
Even though I was in awful shape in 2016 I was still stubborn and foohardy...so I spent a year running down whatever fitness base I had left...