p90x

Decisions and Dilemmas

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.”
-Sydney J. Harris 
(Ain’t that the truth!!!)

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Ladies and Gentleman,

I have a dilemma!  I couple months ago I was in a training slum.  I was getting bored with Insanity and P90X (GASP!), and was really looking to try something new.

About the same time, I FINALLY managed to pay off the last my student loans.  To celebrate this momentous occasion and as a gift to myself for doing it over a decade ahead of schedule, I signed up with a personal trainer.  With my loans paid off, I had the extra income to afford it.  Plus, I figured that if I was ever going to try it, this would be the time- before I got used to the added cash each month.  I spoke to the owner of my gym, and he suggested I try the TRX workouts with one of his newer staff.

I can’t say that it was love (or even like) at first sight.  My trainer looked like he was about twelve, and had the maturity level of someone even younger.  After I went home and read his bio I discovered he was pretty much just out of diapers college.  He had me do a relatively simple workout, but the addition of the straps made it significantly harder.  It was a rude awakening to just how deconditioned I was, but within a few weeks I made HUGE strides and my trainer and I were just about getting along.

Almost immediately, however, there were some issues with professionalism.  He would drunk text me late at night, talk smack about his other clients, ask to reschedule last minute, and play on his phone during our sessions.  I had pointed out to him on numerous occasions that I didn’t find these behaviors very professional, and specifically that the smack talking and drunk texts made me uncomfortable.  This seemed to curb the behavior some, but didn’t entirely eliminate it.

Overall, I was (for the most part) happy.  I was trying something different and getting back in shape.   The TRX workouts were super challenging and I enjoyed them.  I thought working out with a trainer would give me an opportunity to maximize the efficacy of my workouts and help me avoid over-doing it and getting injured.  That’s the part I got wrong.  For starters, the TRX workouts are great, but we don’t do them every session… or even every week. The rest of the workouts are sort of hit or miss.  The days when my trainer is on and feels like being there, they are super tough and I enjoy them.  The days when he doesn’t feel like being there (or is annoyed that I ran beforehand) they are less than challenging- which is just a little disappointing at $40 per session.

However, the thing that really has been bugging me (haha I know, but honestly the other stuff I can deal with) is dilemmathat I have TWICE now gotten injured-  Not once, TWICE!  The first time I strained my quad doing squats and one legged lunges with a weight that was too heavy for 30 reps (I pointed this out, but clearly should have just refused outright).  I spent a couple weeks having to modify my workouts before we came upon injury #2.

After running the Fairfield Half, I really should have taken some time off to rest;  I guess I didn’t realize how badly I had beaten up my body.  I went to workout with the trainer 2 days later after having run a brisk 5 miles on the treadmill. (I almost always run before my session to make sure my body is warm and I can get a good stretch…it also puts me a good mood which I think is a perk for the trainer)  I was feeling good during the run, but almost as soon as I started doing the upper body workout with the TRX, my shoulder was giving me trouble.  I mentioned this to the trainer, and he accused me of just complaining.  As the workout went on, my shoulder became more and more painful.  My trainer watched me struggle, but instead of listening to me criticized the form on my push-ups.  He never modified the workout to make it easier, and continued to have me do push-ups in the straps with bad form.

I am normally I pretty bubbly person when I’m working out.  Even when I’m miserable, I’m smiling because I’m happy to be there.  I will admit that I get frustrated when I am not at my optimal performance AND that I tend to be tough on myself.  However, I AM NOT a WHINER or COMPLAINER.  I am the type of person who if you tell me to do something, I will do it to the best of my ability.  I don’t cheat, miss reps, or try to negotiate for an easier workout.  If I am paying $40 for a workout, I want to get my ass kicked and get every pennies worth.

That is why it irritates me so tremendously that by the time I got home I couldn’t even turn my neck.  My neck and shoulder were in full on spasm again, and I ended up missing almost a full day of work because of it. I also had to take the rest of the week off from training.  I told my trainer right away that I would be unable to make the rest of our scheduled sessions for the week, and he tried to pressure me into doing legs and core instead!  After inquiring how he expected me to do core with a messed up shoulder, I told him I wasn’t coming; and  that I definitely wasn’t risking injuring anything else when my body was clearly fatigued.  Instead of feeling badly about it, he tried to make me feel guilty that he had just bought a truck and needed clients.

tryharderAdam, understandably, thinks I should talk to the gym owner about switching trainers.  While I am aware that my current trainer is unprofessional, doesn’t listen to his clients… and possibly doesn’t even know what he’s even doing... I am still extremely conflicted about firing him.  For one thing, despite his short comings as a trainer, I still like him as a person.  I also genuinely feel sorry for him because he has no idea why his clients are leaving him or why people don’t like him (granted that is really not a good reason to train with someone!).  I also feel like on some level that I am a grown up, and I know my body.  While I realize he should have listened to me when I first brought my injuries up, I also should have gotten more vocal when he didn’t.  Not to mention, that I shouldn’t have showed up to work out with him when I had already beaten up my body 2 days prior…  I guess I am not really sure of how much I am supposed to expect of a trainer, however I think professionalism and not getting clients injured  should be on the list…

My other issue is he is the only trainer at the gym who does the TRX workouts, so if I go with a different trainer it will be a completely different program… this could be good or bad.  I suppose I know enough of the TRX to do those workouts on my own at this point anyway.  Which brings me to my last thought, which is whether it is worth paying a trainer at all… $40 a session is A LOT of money, and right now I don’t feel like I am getting my money’s worth- especially now that I am on my second injury!  I got into great shape on my own training for the Ultra Beast, and did much better at avoiding hurting myself.

My plan is to talk to the gym owner on Monday, but I don’t think it will be an easy decision regardless of which route I choose.  Right now, I’m just trying to figure out what is best for me.

 

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Give ’em Hell

“When life pushes you over, push back harder”

Since I started training for the Ultra Beast, it’s safe to say there have been a lot of set backs.  First my shoulder, then my sister’s miscarriage, then my dad in the hospital, and now frequent extra hours at work… PLUS to top it off- I think I tweaked my back.   (I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I can avoid the chiropracter on this one) The way things have been going, I’ve been getting stressed at times that I’m not where I should be or pushing as hard as I could be.

However, it seems like the more I push my body, the more it pushes back!  Maybe I’m not designed to work out at maximum intensity for hours a day after all!  I have been doing P90X and recently started hiking with a daypack filled with sand (probably 40lbs in total… may have overdone it the last time = back pain), but nothing I do ever seems like enough.  I’m so terrified of failing that I’m almost not enjoying the workouts.  Instead I look at what everyone else is doing and think “I should be doing more” or pushing harder.  I feel like I have to make up for only having 4 days a week to train; and I find myself feeling guilty when I take any time out to have “fun” instead of workout.

The truth is, I’m being ridiculous because there’s no reason I can’t prepare even if it is only 4 days of intense training a week.  After all, I worked the same schedule when I trained for the marathon, and I survived that.  Sure, I can’t do a pull up (yet) or climb a rope (yet!), but I do have experience with covering long distances. Not that long along, I walked for hours on end and covered a full marathon at the Relay for Life.   Maybe obstacles aren’t a strength of mine, and maybe there are a number of “elite” athletes competing in this event, but that doesn’t mean I’m not qualified.

A while ago, someone posted in the Ultra Beast group on Facebook that the Spartan HQ was intentionally letting in a bunch of under-qualified racers to increase the dropout rate and make the race look harder.  I found the comment a little offensive as I’m sure I fall into that category in this self proclaimed elite (more like elitist) athlete’s eyes.  However, I would venture to guess that anyone who would feel the need to make a comment like that is grossly underestimating the capabilities of many of the registrants.  Sure, I may not have a big name is the obstacle racing world (or anywhere else in the fitness realm for that matter!) and I may not even have been able to train as much as I have wanted. However, I do have one strength that will work in my favor- I can push though physical pain and exhaustion, and even more importantly: mental pain and exhaustion.

I spent over 5 years in an abusive relationship and have experienced betrayal by people I considered family.  I have lived through pain I thought would kill me and have come out on the other end smarter and stronger.  NO PHYSICAL PAIN COULD EVER COMPARE to the pain I endured then.  Strong people don’t just happen.  Strong people are CONDITIONED.  They live through pain no one should have to suffer, pain you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.  If I could come out of a situation like that still standing (and running my mouth… haha) then no marathon length obstacle course is going to take me out, even if I have to crawl!

There’s not much I can’t stand more than quitting.  I would rather risk seriously injuring myself than quit.  I would rather suffer and be miserable than quit.  As much as I would like to have done more physical training, at can at least take solace in the fact that I have had top notch mental conditioning.  If spending five days in a hospital with little to no sleep at a time of crisis in my family didn’t break me, and spending five years with a person who constantly tried to beat me down and make me feel like I wasn’t good enough didn’t break me then this race isn’t going to break me (at least not mentally…)

When life knocks me down, I come back stronger.  All these “curveballs”  are just going to have to serve as fuel to keep pushing because ,at this point, I don’t have time to stress about them.  Anyone who thinks I’m under-qualified or just plain crazy (probably the more likely of the two) will just have to eat their words when I work  that much harder and finish.  I WILL NOT BE DISCOURAGED.  I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED.  As long as there is breath in my lungs, I will continue to drive forward from one goal to the next.  I am a fighter.  I don’t stop when I’m tired (or discouraged!).  I stop when I’m done.  

My New Anthem.

I Am a Warrior!

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse”

-Carlos Casteneda

sThis past weekend I did the Warrior Dash with some friends from boot camp (including my best buds Kelly and Meghan- love them!!!!).  I didn’t train (or taper) ahead of time because I really just signed up for fun, not any kind of PR.  I was definitely looking forward to some quality times with my girls, and that fact that we would be beasting through mud and obstacles only made it that much better.

I was initially a little skeptical about how much I would enjoy a 5K now that I’m so used to running 10K or more.  I’m one of those people who tends to run close to the same pace no matter how many miles you put in front of me, and that pace is not particularly fast!  As such, I figured I was going to be slow as heck. That is not exactly what happened…

Instead, I channeled all the aggravation and hurt I’ve been feeling into propulsion.  In short, I  hauled ass… at least I felt like I was. lol  I definitely took off like a shot… only to get slowed considerably by some incredibly sticky mud that kept pulling off my shoes (and everyone else’s). I had a lot of fun with the obstacles because they were easy enough to do without the help of a team.  They even had a little climbing wall!

Because our start time was so late in the day, and it was a long (2 hr) drive, I had not eaten beforehand.  I was STARVING!!!!! However, given that I was not in a position to do anything about it, I kept pushing anyway.  I just wanted to get through as quickly as I could- bonking or not.  Whenever I felt tired, I reminded myself of what I felt like the last 5 K of every other race I’ve done, and how what I was feeling in that moment didn’t even compare.  I knew I could hustle through it, even if my body was rebelling.

In the end, I was surprised to find I had finished ahead of the other girls in the group.  I even came close to finishing ahead of Mike (our trainer)- mostly owing to the fact that he had walked part of it (YES MIKE! You knew it was coming!)  Overall I came in 352nd out of 6877 and 13th out of 1168 in my age group.  Considering I have always been a middle of the pack runner at best, I was both shocked and thrilled.  It made me want to go do one every weekend- especially when I knew I could have run faster!!! I even joked on my Facebook page that I might have even made the top ten in my age group if I hadn’t done 90 min of P90X yoga in the morning and actually ate beforehand. lol

The real rock star of the day, though, was Meghan- who completely destroyed her first obstacle race.  She also managed to look completely fabulous while doing it and got hit on so many times, we all lost track.  In fact, she even got a marriage proposal and hit on by a chick. GO MEGHAN AND YOUR HOT, BAD ASS SELF. I can’t blame them; the girl has it going on!

Once the race was over, we ended up tail gating in the parking lot with some people who were parked close by.  Meghan, of course, immediately started up conversation with them and within minutes was taking part in their photo sessions.  We shared our beer, they gave us doughnuts, it was all good. They were definitely a fun group, and we ended up staying until it was late and getting dark.  On their way out of the park, the youngest of their team asked “which one of you ladies is going to give me your number?” and we all laughed.  He clearly looked like he was right out of high school. It turned out he was only 19. After establishing that we would be more appropriate as babysitters than dates for him, they were again on their way, and we headed home.

It was definitely a great day and a great time!  I was so happy for Meghan and grateful to spend time with both her and Kelly.  Sometimes I think we need a babysitter (or chaperone) when we all get together. 😉  It’s definitely always an adventure!!!!

With great friends and family, really what else do you need in life? (other than exercise…. we all know I could never survive without exercise 😉 )