I ran a fucking 5k, and I quit smoking. Bitches.

I should have posted about the fucking 5k sooner than now so that it would be a bigger deal than it feels like it is. I ran 5 kilometers, bitches! Without stopping! Or walking! And I finished in a respectable amount of time! BITCHES!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I also had a sweet, satisfying cigarette on the drive home. Pumped up on aderenaline and pride at my accomplishment, I dragged that delicious smoke into my just-worked lungs and felt the nicotine course through my body, cheering me like an old, congratulatory friend.

But that was November 1. A very good day. And yesterday, November 20, was a different kind of good day. The kind of very good day that’s a really fucking bad day.

It was the day I quit smoking. And right now, the pure pissivity that I feel feels like a much bigger deal than some stupid 5k race.

I picked November 20 because it was 4 weeks after I decided to pick a quit date, and the Internet said to pick a date 2-4 weeks in the future. It was also, coincidentally (as in I didn’t choose that date because of this), the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, or the day everybody is supposed to stop smoking allllllll together.

And leading up to that date, I felt pretty positive about it. It started getting cold outside, and I actually thought, sincerely, “I can’t wait until I don’t smoke anymore and I won’t have to go outside in the cold several times a day.” I thought that! With my thoughts! And a bunch of other positive thinky things, like “I won’t smell like stinky cigarettes anymore” and “I’ll be a positive role model to my children” and “People can’t judge me for smoking anymore, and I’ll have the bonus of feeling morally suprior to people who still smoke.”

And then when I woke up yesterday, I was pissed. Pissssssed. In part because I didn’t go to bed on time the night before, but also in part because I knew it was the day.

So it’s been 39 hours since my last cigarette. I feel like a Sim who wants to turn off the TV but can’t because something is blocking the way. I keep having the “go smoke a cigarette” action idea bubble pop up over my head, and then I realize I can’t do it, and I want to gesticulate angrily and curse in some made-up language. And my cigarette “want” meter is deep, deep in the red, which is dragging my general happiness meter way down with it.

Ugh. Shit, damn, and fuck.

So anyway. I ran a fucking 5k three weeks ago. It’s a 5k put on by the school where I went to kindergarten. I “ran” the same 5k with my dad in kindergarten. We were going to do the kids’ one-mile “Fun Run,” but once we got to that point, we said, “What the heck? Let’s do the whole thing!” Me with my short little five-year-old legs and lifelong aversion to intentional exercise, and my dad with his not-especially-running-friendly boots.

"Running" the "race" at age 5.

“Running” the “race” at age 5.

We took so long that the clock was stopped by the time we reached the finish line, and my mom was like, “where the fuck were you, and what took so goddam long?” (Not in those words. Probably.)

This time around, I finished the thing in 34 minutes and 37 seconds, and I placed 554th out of 1,272 officially registered participants.

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Feeling fucking accomplished.

Feeling fucking accomplished.

My Running Mates did a similarly kickass job of running the whole thing and placing respectably. Our Facebook posts were all about training for 10 weeks and feeling accomplished and proud.

wpid-img_858764836031682.jpegAs well we should. Running even 60 seconds, let alone 3.1 miles, was a struggle at the start of our Couch to 5k training, and the idea we’d soon become capable of running a 5k seemed dubious at best. And yet we did it. We fucking did it! We worked hard, we were consistent, we pushed ourselves, and the day of the race, we all ran longer than we ever had before. We are fucking rock stars.

We also haven’t stopped training. We are running another 5k tomorrow, and my Mates are running yet another next weekend. Can’t stop, won’t stop, bitches!

I pondered this accomplishment during one of our subsequent evening runs. I thought, you know what? I ran a fucking 5k. I did that shit. And you know what else? I went to the fucking gym. I can do anything. There is nothing I can’t do. I can do fucking anything.

And that means I can quit smoking. As much as it sucks ass and balls and all manner of other unpleasant things, I can do it. I can do that shit, and I fucking dare you to tell me I can’t.

I’ve accomplished things before in my life and experienced that feeling of, “Holy shit, I did that, and I didn’t think I could!” That’s an incredible feeling. If you go too long without feeling that, you forget what you’re capable of. Your baseline becomes “I can’t,” and you might not even realize it. You have to remind yourself that you can, so you can get to where you can say, “I did.”

There’s a ton of shit I’ve done that I didn’t think I could. I gave birth without an epidural. I learned a bunch of shit about cars and earned a property damage license. I got a master’s degree. I sang in front of people. I changed religions. I left my husband. I changed a tire–lots of times. I started going to the fucking gym. I ran a fucking 5k.

And I quit smoking.

I can do this shit. I can do anything.

Weeks 20-24

  • Favorite part: finishing a fucking 5k.
  • Least favorite: riding the roller coaster of emotions in a car of pissivity. Somebody stop this ride; I’m ready to get off.

Week twenty

I went to the fucking gym today.

What? You thought my roughly three-month hiatus from posting meant I slacked off, didn’t you? You thought I fell off the wagon, threw my fingerless gloves into a drawer, and slunk off to a corner filled with Cheez-Its and shame. You thought I failed like so many pool noodle barbell pads and pantyshorts before me.

Didn’t you?

Well. You couldn’t be more wrong, bitches. This is week twenty or some shit. I went to the fucking gym today, and I worked the fuck out.

Week 20, bitches. And week... like, one. Or two. Early on.

Week 20, bitches. And week… like, one. Or two. Early on.

That on the left there is after RIPPED this morning. Sweaty mess. Asscrack of dawn.

OMG, speaking of ungodly hours when the sun isn’t out. Last night I went to Body Pump, and thanks to the shortening of the days, it was dark when I left the gym. Then this morning, I went to RIPPED, and it was STILL FUCKING DARK when I got to the gym. I can’t even. It’s like I never left. Someone with severe vision problems who could only see when the sun was out would have seen me go in before the sun set and seen me leave only after the sun rose again and thought I had been in there the whole time. Of course, such a person would have to be camped outside of my gym, stalker-like, and be suffering from this imaginary condition I just made up for the sake of my hyperbole. Just go with it, y’all.

I’m not just going to the gym anymore, either. Oh, no. Now? Now I’m running, too.

wpid-img_20140828_174455.jpgAround the time I wrote my last entry, a couple of my friends from work and I started the Couch to 5K program with the goal of running a 5K race on November 1. If you don’t know (we didn’t, necessarily), a 5K race is 3.1 miles. The Couch to 5K program is this system that, as the name implies, trains you to get your lazy ass off the couch and run well enough to complete a 5K in about 8 weeks. To this end, my Running Mates and I purchased some fancy-pants running shoes (the ultimate accessories), downloaded some apps, and started getting together after work to jog through the sketchy neighborhood near our office.

Make no mistake: I don’t love running, nor do my Mates. But we do it. We do it because we kick ass. And also because there are three of us, and nobody wants to puss out and disappoint the others.

The Couch to 5K thing starts out simply enough. Day one has the app prompting you to do a 5-minute warm-up walk, then run for 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds, back and forth for 20 minutes. You do that for a few days, and then the app increases the running time little by little. And that shit has not been easy. We all thought we were gonna die that first week. And then, when the app ramped up our jogs to 90 seconds, and two minutes, and three minutes? Each time, we were scared. Very, very scared. But then… we did it! Because we kick ass, that’s why.

At this point, we are running 20-25 minutes at a time. We ran today, in fact. Today I didn’t run the whole 20 minutes. I got a stitch in my side and briskly walked some chunks. But I have run a complete 20 minutes without stopping, a fact which is monumentally baffling to me. I cannot believe I can do that.

Also, I don’t know if you caught this, but I went to the fucking gym this morning, AND I went fucking running this afternoon. Yeah! How about them apples?

Our 5K is this Saturday. I had hoped to be a little more consistent in my running by now, and running for longer stretches, but I have no doubt the three of us will complete the race, and we’ll run at least the majority of it. I’m already really proud of us. Seriously, ladies; you inspire me and shit.

Now, our 5K is this Saturday, but after we started training and planned to do that 5K, we found out about a mud run that was scheduled for earlier this month, and we decided to do that, too.

We call these the Shin Scrapers/Crotch Crushers.

We call these the Shin Scrapers/Crotch Crushers.

That’s me on the left, balancing on some crazy-ass posts that are submerged in water and mud.

So a mud run is a 5K (this one was, anyway) that has a shitton of insane obstacles all throughout. Really, really messy obstacles. Stuff like, “here, get into this pool of mud and crawl across, under these logs” or “check out these ropes suspended across a muddy lake! Now, walk across one and hold onto the other!” or “now climb over these half a dozen hills made of literal, clay-like mud, and in between each, splash into puddles where the mud goes to your knees!”

That last one, I was for serious worried I was going to lose my shoes.

Anyway, we did that shit. I did that shit! Even the obstacles that were scary. I’m scared of heights; sue me. One surefire way to die is to fall from a high enough height. I’m willing to bet some of the obstacles that involved climbing and scaling shit got to heights sufficient to break a neck. And yet, I conquered my fear and scaled that shit like a BOSS.

So, yes, the mud run was a 5K, but in my mind, it’s not quite the same as the 5K we’ll run this weekend, because the running itself was broken up by so many obstacles. The 5K this weekend won’t take nearly as long and won’t have the full-body challenges of the mud run, but it will be the traditional endurance-tasking challenge of just running and running and RUNNING, not to save yourself from something pursuing you, but instead just to do it.

Still, because we have completed the mud run and have the T-shirts to prove it, I feel we have joined a tribe. The tribe of People Who Run. And the members of the tribe have a uniform that is made of every T-shirt every race ever gave out. That’s right; races come with automatic accessories! Excellent!

To be fair, since I’ve been running, I haven’t gone to the gym quite as often as I was before. I feel my commitment to the Mates to run after work trumps my workouts at the gym, and though I usually would technically have time to go to the gym after a run, I sure as shit don’t feel like it. So that’s the deal I made with myself: if I run, I don’t have to go to the gym. But I can and should go to the gym in the morning when I don’t have my kids. And I’ve been doing that fairly consistently.

And I’ll do it tomorrow, bitches. Because this is week twenty or some shit. And I’ve lost about 10 pounds, and people can tell. And one time I asked if I counted as a “regular pumper” in Body Pump, if my three months (at that time) vetted me as a regular, and one of the other gals in the class said I was definitely a regular, and it wasn’t just any gal but the gal whose shapely ass I noticed the very first time I went to Body Pump. And I’m feeling very body positive, even though I’m not exactly where I want to be, because I feel good about where I am and proud of how I got here.

Weeks 9 – 20

  • Favorite part: running though mud and not getting a brain-eating amoeba (it was touch-and-go there for a minute).
  • Least favorite: being reminded by my exploding lungs that I really need to quit smoking.

Accessories, objectification, and plumbing

If there’s one thing I love about new hobbies, it’s new accessories.

When I was into knitting, I had stitch counters and markers, tote bags and needle cases, hooks, books, baskets, and all manner of other paraphernalia. So far with exercise, I’ve invested in some workout outfits and a pair of shoes (plus my membership at the fucking gym). And this weekend, I bought a yoga mat, which I used this morning at early morning Body Pump.

Updated trade tools, including a yoga mat of my very, very own.

Updated trade tools, including a yoga mat of my very, very own. And more weight. MOAR WEIGHT.

I also wanted to buy a bar pad for when I’m holding the bar on “the meaty part of [my] back,” as the instructions go for lungy, squatty things. But I couldn’t find one of those at Target or Wal-Mart, so I made me a bo-bo substitute out of a pool noodle.

I fashioned this shizz on my way out the door this morning.

I fashioned this shizz on my way out the door this morning.

I told you I’m not opposed to enginuity. I’ll probably get the real thing eventually, but for this morning, and for a buck fitty (and, actually, for nothing since I already owned the pool noodle), this purple piece of foam padded the bar and rescued my back meat from too much pressure.

Pre-pump. Enjoying my 44-ounce Coke Zero with a shot of vanilla. Let's just call that my "energy drink."

Pre-pump. Thumbhole jacket, but no thumbs in the holes. That’s how you know I own; I can leave my thumbs out of the holes. You can’t tell me what to do. Also, enjoying my 44-ounce Coke Zero with a shot of vanilla. Let’s just call that my “energy drink.”

Perusing the exercise sections of Target and Wal-Mart, I was impressed with the accessorizing possibilities. Gloves and pedometers and special types of bags for specific types of things and fancypants water bottles, plus a wide array of stuff made out of stretchy rubber. Lots of material to consider adding to my collection in the future. And in the future, maybe I can actually branch out to one of those athletic box stores that have never held any interest for me at all. I bet they’re fucking full of accessories. Accessories galore!

This weekend, I did not go to the fucking gym. This weekend was about getting my hair cut (goodbye, trademark pigtails!), getting a soothing mani/pedi, going shopping, and cleaning the shit out of my apartment. Yes, I finally cleaned. I’m not going to say I’ve been living in total squalor since I started at the gym, but I will say that my tolerance for child-related filth has increased just a tad in the last three weeks. Or is that just the level of tolerance I’ve always had? I don’t know. Shut up. You don’t know me.

I fretted that my body might have reversed all of its endurance and strength gains in the three days I took off. I needn’t have worried. I pumped that shit like a boss. A BOSS.

Then I got stuck once again in the handicapped shower. I think I may pack a wrench into my gym bag. I can’t make anything much worse if I try to tighten down some hoses and linkages and whatever shower head shit. And if I end up breaking the fucker right off the wall and flooding the locker room (completely by accident, of course), at least someone will be forced to fix it.

In related news, RBF gave me a very pleasant goodbye as I departed today. I want to back down from my flippant labeling of her as Resting Bitch Face. I don’t know her. Seeing bitchiness in her limited interactions with me is probably more a reflection on me than it is on her. For now, at least, I don’t have enough empirical evidence to prove otherwise. Besides, this blog isn’t about tearing people down. So RBF will now stand for Really Bitchin’ Fysique. Duh, physique doesn’t start with an F. But hers is truly bitchin’.

And, okay, yes, I realize the new acronym is objectifying. Look. I’m doing the best I can here. I’m going to the fucking gym, not getting a teaching certification for some new-age feel-goodery.

Speaking of objectification, I’m feeling pretty good about my butt today.

Because I do wear stuff that's not made of Duo Dry Protective Core Max Thunder. Like dresses and cardigans and makeup and jewelry.

Because I do wear stuff that’s not made of Duo Dry Protective Core Max Thunder Clap Tornado Wicking Moisture-No-More fabric. Like dresses and cardigans and makeup and jewelry.

Gym Week Four, Day One

  • Favorite Part: realizing this is week FOUR! Four weeks is a month! If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.
  • Least Favorite Part: spending my shower wondering how many tools I’ll need to fix the plumbing, and not sure I have the butt crack for the job.

Sometimes bitch face just comes easy

It was raining at the buttcrack of (non)dawn (because does it really count as dawn when the sun isn’t out?) Wednesday as I drove to the gym for Body Pump. I guessed it was probably a good thing I didn’t decide to get into running.

I upped my weights that day, and I definitely felt it in my arms, legs, and ass. Hurts so good!

I didn’t get stuck with the handicapped shower, but the shower I did get had its own problems. Someone had jerry rigged the shower head with what looked like the mouth of a garden hose and perhaps a twist tie. Everything was fine for the first few seconds after I turned on the water, but then something shifted, and suddenly water was shooting out the side of the pipe. I reacted audibly (but no swears), I’m sure to the amusement of whomever was in the neighboring shower. I tried to correct whatever the fuck had gone awry, but it was useless, so I proceeded with my shower.

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I took this picture after I got dressed, and whomever had showered while I was getting dressed had somehow jerry rigged the jerry rig, so the effect isn’t as dramatic here as it was for me. Also, I keep saying “jerry rig,” and I have the vague sense that’s somehow an offensive expression. I hope not. Cursory Googling does not reveal why it would be. Forgive if I’m wrong! Anyway, imagine it just like this, but instead of a trickle pouring out the side, a geyser is shooting horizontally out the side.

After I was dressed, I went to advise someone on the staff of the shower problem. I’d talked the previous day about the handicapped stall with the woman at the front desk. She’s very fit and always quite made up, and she has a very strong resting bitch face. When I told her about the handicapped stall on Tuesday, she gave me a bitchy yet concerned look and thanked me for letting her know.

Handicapped shower is handicapped.

Handicapped shower is handicapped.

She was at the desk Wednesday as well, as was Warren (of Lean Muscle with Warren fame) and some dude I didn’t recognize. I said, “Hey, just wanted to let you know the middle shower stall has a problem, too.”

The man I didn’t recognize said, “Leaking?”

As I started to open my mouth to reply, Resting Bitch Face said, “It doesn’t have a problem. I just used it.”

Um? My hair was still wet. Hers was coiffed and stiff with product. However it may have been working when she “just” used it, it wasn’t working that way anymore.

But whatever. Resting Bitch Face led the other guy away and told him she’d show him what she was talking about, and I muttered “okay” to Warren and remembered that judgey gym bitches are one of the reasons I didn’t want to join the gym.

The good news is that most of the ladies at my gym aren’t bitches. At least, not the ladies I interact with. Sweet Candy is sweet; Alyssa is awesome; the regular attendees seem friendly yet focused. I’ve never seen Resting Bitch Face do anything but stand behind the counter, so it’s likely there will be few reasons to interact with her.

And who knows. Maybe RBF is a perfectly sweet young lady. A resting bitch face is not always telling of a person’s true bitchiness.

I’m amused by the little things like jacked-up shower heads that reveal a certain… thriftiness in the management of the gym. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a nice gym. They want you to know it, so there’s a window fountain you see as soon as you walk in the door, and a smoothie bar to the side. The locker rooms have saunas. The back area with the treadmills and ellipticals has signage labeling it “cardio cinema.” Each of those machines has a little TV you can watch, and you can listen if you have headphones.

Behold the luxury! I had to yell at my kids to quit sticking their hands in this.

Behold the luxury! I had to yell at my kids to quit sticking their hands in this.

But then you have shower heads held together with twist ties or hair elastics, which likely won’t be replaced any time soon. And, really, I support mechanical ingenuity. It just seems out of line with the facade that Resting Bitch Face herself represents standing at the front desk.

So that was Wednesday. Thursday, parental duties prevented me from making it to 6 am RIPPED, and I wound up squandering some of the time I had to work out in the circuit room by chit chatting with a friend. I got in two circuits, then had to shower–in the good stall, yay!–even though I didn’t get all that sweaty, because I didn’t shower before I got there. Am I supposed to say that? I’m a morning showerer, but I’m sure not showering BEFORE I go to the fucking gym. That would be pointless.

Even though Thursday was a pretty light workout, I decided to allow myself to take Friday off. It’s not like the first week when I needed a day off because I was hurting so much. It’s more that I was trying to decide when to go and what to try to do, and it started to feel like too much pressure. So I said, fuck that. I went to the fucking gym Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday, and even if that ends up being all I do this week, that is FOUR DAYS. Four days is really fucking good, if you ask me. Ain’t nobody got time for guilt.

I’ll probably go some time this weekend. We’ll see. I have other important things to do. Like get my hair cut and get my nails did.

Gym Week Three, Days Three and Four

  • Favorite part: pumping up my body, til I become sexy. Sing it with me now!
  • Least favorite part: RBF

Cracking Dawn

Today I woke up late. I usually set two alarms: one on my phone that tells me to get up, and one on a clock radio on the other side of the room (where I can’t reach the snooze bar) that goes off half an hour later, when I really, REALLY have to get up. But I screwed up and failed to set the phone one for the buttcrack of dawn so I could get to the gym for 6 a.m. RIPPED. So the clock radio roused me at 5:30, about the time I should have been leaving.

I could have rolled over and said, “Oh well. Didn’t make it today.” But I did not do that. It didn’t really even occur to me to do that. I just had to hustle to get out the door, and I didn’t have time to get my daily morning Mega Chiller of Coke Zero at the Tom Thumb on my way to the gym. (Shut up. I don’t drink coffee.)

Thumb holes. Sour puss. Obligatory pre-workout cigarette. Shut up. I know.

Thumb holes. Sour puss. Obligatory pre-workout cigarette. Shut up. I know.

That’s dedication, bitches.

So since I failed to set the phone alarm for 5:00, that means I never unset it from its usual 6:00. Which means it went off in my locker while I was in class. Sorry, whoever was in the locker room then!

My attitude was much improved this morning compared to the last early-morning RIPPED. Maybe it was the thumb holes. Maybe it was the leftover glow from Body Pump the night before. Maybe it was that I slept really damn well last night, without my usual cinemascape of weird, detailed dreams. (I have a very active dream life.) At any rate, I tried a lot harder on the punchy, kicky things, and I was much more successful given that I, you know, fucking tried.

Workout was thumb(hole)s up. Shower was thumbs down. I got stuck with the handicap stall, and the shower head is the kind you can remove from the wall. But this shower head is broken, so it won’t stay ON the wall, and it sprays everywhere from the junction between the hose and the head. (Ha.) Plus, I forgot my flip-flops, and not wanting to get some kind of fungus, I showered in my socks. Pretty much the grossest feeling ever.

So!

Benefits of going to the fucking gym at the crack of dawn:

  1. I don’t have to go after work, leaving me plenty of time to… clean my apartment?
  2. I am totally, fully, 100% awake by the time I get to work.
  3. There’s no traffic to have to fight through.
  4. Lots of people at the gym, but not too many people in the class.
  5. If I can’t get my Mega Chiller before the gym, I have time to get it after!
  6. I am much more likely to be on time to work afterwards.
  7. I don’t have to go home sweaty and sticky because I showered before work, and heaven knows I’m not hitting those gym showers if I don’t have someplace to be after.

Bah humbug. That’s enough cheeriness for today.

Gym Week Three, Day Two

  • Favorite part: RIPPing it, bitches. Yeah, I said it.
  • Least favorite: the literally handicapped shower head.

I can do anything, bitches!

I feel fucking great right now, bitches. I pumped the FUCK out of my body tonight. Ho-ho-holy shit. Check out my sweat on the floor.

Sweat til ya bleed.

Sweat til ya bleed.

Awww, yeah.

My gym adventure came full circle tonight. I did Body Pump with Sweet Candy, same as I did my first night at the fucking gym. Only this time, Candy wasn’t a vicious taskmaster; she was my leader in battle. And this time, I said “fuck” only once. Maybe twice. For emphasis.

This time when my muscles were trembling, instead of despairing, I inwardly shouted to them, “fuckin’ right, bitches! Push through that shit! GET IT!” I totally got a thrill out of it.

Candy said, “You may be feeling your muscles quivering right now. That’s ok.” And how, Candy!

Best of all, when it was done, I felt fucking amazing. Seriously, what a rush! I felt this good after RIPPED the first time. I don’t expect I’ll feel this way every time, but it’s certainly a nice reward to look forward to. I feel like a fierce fucking monster. I feel like I can do anything.

I also think it’s time for me to add more weight. I’ve been hovering down on the low end, taking it easy. But at the end of one portion of class tonight, Candy said that was supposed to be the cardio set, and we should feel our hearts a-pumping. My heart rate was not particularly elevated. Candy read my mind and said if you’re not feeling it, you should consider adding more weight next time.

Will do, Sweet Candy. Will do.

Tonight’s a good night. Much better than the bad-attitude-pants day earlier. I expect I’ll go to RIPPED at the crack of fucking dawn tomorrow, and I’m hoping to hang onto this better outlook.

Of course, I could be feeling the burn by then, which may make me less inclined to put on a happy face. We’ll see.

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade. Three-pound hand weights, and five-pound plates. I will be upping the ante soon, bitches!

 

My relationship with exercise has always been one of avoidance. I got in trouble in 5th grade PE because I figured out I could skip a lap or two of our daily run if I ran slowly enough to let the insane, competitive boys get around the field and come up behind me. Then I could come in at the finish at around the same time as they did, and it would appear I’d done the same number of laps they had. This actually worked once or twice, but then I shared my secret with my friends, and a big herd of us lazing in at a leisurely pace was pretty obvious, I guess. Had to run extra laps as punishment.

That one blew up in my face.

In 7th grade, I found another way to game the system. At my school, if you were in band, you had to go to PE only every other day instead of every day, with band on the alternating days. So halfway into the school year, I took up the clarinet and joined beginning band with the 6th graders. The problem there was that I wasn’t really all that interested in playing the clarinet, so I didn’t practice. Some time in 8th grade, my band instructor, frustrated, said I needed to improve my playing so I could move up to intermediate band. I didn’t feel like doing that, either, so I switched to flute, making myself a beginner anew.

Double lazy points: still got to skip PE every other day, and didn’t have the pressure to be good at my instrument.

High school was a wonderland free of physical education. In my district at the time, you needed only three semesters of PE for all of high school. I knocked out the first two “semesters” during summer school before I started 9th grade. Summer school PE is like day camp. It was six weeks of sitting in class for a little while and “learning” about health and fitness, then spending several hours hanging out in the bleachers in the gymnasium or lounging on blankets out in the schoolyard. We went on field trips, too, most memorably to go bowling. Then we’d pick up McDonald’s or Taco Bell on our way back to school.

The one significant encounter with physical fitness I had in high school, and pretty much in all of my life, was the next summer. I switched schools, and the PE teachers at my new school were young and fit and actually gave a shit, unlike the babysitter coach at the previous school. So my last semester of PE was incredibly intense. It lasted only two weeks, but it was all day long, relentless exercise. There were only five or six girls, too, so our coach gave each of us plenty of individual attention. We ran the mile once or twice a day. We lifted weights. We played tennis. We learned other team sports. We went on nature walks. We did NOT eat fast food.

It was exhausting, and I hated it, but I had to admit at the end that I was starting to see some results. I was a skinny-ass teenager, so it wasn’t weight-loss results, but muscle toning and strength- and endurance-building. But the second it was all over, I said, “fuck this shit,” and I spent the rest of high school basking in the glory of never having to take physical education ever again, ever.

That was probably the most physically fit I have ever been in my life, which is pretty sad since I was only 15 years old and it lasted for only two weeks.

This time around, two weeks in, I do feel fitter. I still don’t really look any different, which is fine, because I definitely feel different. Better. And, dare I say it, less inclined to say “fuck this shit.”

Left: roughly two weeks ago. Right: tonight. Pay no attention to the dorky arm flex. It's not meant to be meaningful. It's just for fun.

Left: roughly two weeks ago, on Zumba night. Right: tonight. Pay no attention to the dorky arm flex. It’s not meant to be meaningful. It’s just for fun. And fuck you for saying it’s dorky.

The biggest difference in these two photos seems to be that I’m wearing a more restrictive bra today than I wore two weeks ago. Whatever, bitches. These are my progress photos. When you go to the fucking gym, you get to post progress photos. I’ve earned these motherfuckers.

After class–which, by the way, was crowded as fuck tonight–Candy reminded everyone that Zumba was next. “Stick around,” she said.

BAHAHAHAHAHA!

No.

Gym Week Three, Day One

  • Favorite part: feeling a-fucking-mazing after the pumping of my body.
  • Least favorite part: having to miss Zumba. Ha ha, just playin’.

Lean and Fabulous

I wise man once told me that when you’re going through a divorce, you should get off Facebook and hit the gym.

Clearly, I’m hitting the fucking gym. Facebook is another story. After all, most of my readership here is my own Facebook friends! However, much to my own amusement, I’ve gained several followers to my blog who are legit into fitness. I’m like, “Wha–huh? Don’t you people know who I am??”

I’m for reals grateful for the interest and support, though. Praise and attention are some of my biggest motivators. Don’t lie, bitches. You know the same is true for you.

Today was a new class for me: Lean Muscle with Warren. This class was a little old-fashioned compared to the other classes I’ve been doing. Body Pump and RIPPED are, to me, pretty modern and seem to be designed after, like, fitness research and shit. Plus they use contemporary music. Warren’s class is more like what I imagine my mom’s Jane Fonda VHS tapes were probably like. Not that I ever saw her use them; I think she was about as much into exercise as I am. (She’s dead now, so no judgement.) And Warren’s songs were a little old school. They included a remix of “So Happy Together” by the Turtles. Which, come on, was pretty badass.

Warren is a 50-something dude with the voice of Richard Simmons. He gave his instructions in time with the beat of the music. I can’t even accurately express it in writing. “Two–and–bring your legs together! Eight–seven–six–five–legs are off the ground!–four–three–abs are still tight!”

I swear, this man has not a single ounce of fat on his entire body. Even his face is chiseled. I mean, we didn’t work any face muscles today or anything, but he must surely have secrets for unpacking those cheek pockets, because I’m telling you, his face is so sharp it could cut you. Every single one of his muscles, on his whole body, is clearly defined. Holy shit. He obviously knows what he’s doing.

Warren was very much like a drill sergeant, but fabulous. “Alright, ladies! When you hear my voice go up like that, there’s about to be a hissy fit! ABS TIGHT!”

He made us count down sometimes out loud, and extra loud, and he would say he was making us do extra sets because we weren’t loud enough. I think also his favorite number is four. I was able to ascertain this because when he himself counted down our reps, he would go, “six, five, four, four, four, four, four, three…” Fucking asshole. “Is anyone feeling that in their quadriceps? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

No, actually, he made me giggle. And he also called me out and made me count out loud, on my own. I guess because I’m new. Not because I was slacking, because as God as my witness, I put my all into that fucking class. I swear. Maybe I dropped to my heels a couple times when I was supposed to be on my toes, but that was only because I was fucking out of juice. Totally fucking out.

He had some intense offerings for the abs at the end, but I modified on account of my diastasis recti. I also told him I was going to, so he wouldn’t think I was lazy and try to make me. “No hissy fits!” I said. He was cool with that.

I feel a little impatient about my abs. I read one site, somewhere, that said when you do the diastasis recti test, if you can fit one or two fingers in your gap, that’s “normal.” But that contradicts other shit I’m pretty sure I read another time. I think. I wish I had made my midwife palpate my abs when I went for my annual womanly last month, but that was before I gave a shit about my abs or working out, so it didn’t occur to me. Anyway, I’ve tried to figure out how many finger widths fit in my ab gap. It’s two… but maybe it’s three? It’s definitely not four.

Point being, I want to work my abs the way I work my arms and legs. My midsection is the place I want the most to see some results. At this point, I know enough about diastasis recti to make me not want to work my abs too much for fear I’ll make it worse, but I also feel pretty certain my pansy-ass mummy tummy exercises aren’t doing much except not make the diastasis recti worse.

Warren’s class also did a number on my booty. I’ll give him that: Body Pump and RIPPED make my arms and legs feel the burn, but my ass hasn’t yet been on fire the way it was in Lean Muscle.

In addition, I felt good about my form for most of Warren’s class. He was good at correcting us, and he reminded us to look in the mirror to make sure we were aligned properly. I was pleased, for the most part, with my performance. I liked the way my legs looked in the air. Shut up, pervs. That’s not what I meant.

So, Saturday was Gym Week 2, Day 5. I took Friday off, and I’ll take Sunday off. Don’t question the way I number my days, bitches. It makes sense in my mind.

Anyway, for the first two weeks, I went to the gym five days per week. That is a LOT. That is more than I expected or intended when I started this game. I’m not sure I can commit to that level of participation long-term. And you know what? I’m not committing to it. I’m not committing to anything. I’m the Plenty of Fish of the gym: wants to date, but nothing serious.

I also took advantage of the gym nursery today, in spite of reports from friends that the nursery sucks and is unclean. Oh, well. If I’m gonna do this shit, my kids are going to have to fucking have to hang in the dirty nursery from time to time. It was only for an hour. I’d be willing to bet my kids were on the dirtier side of the kids in there. (Seriously, I asked my daughter twice if they’d had baths at their dad’s, and she said yes, but the same glitter is on her scalp that was there when I dropped her off, so…) Whatever, bitches. It’s summer. Kids are supposed to be dirty in the summer.

I didn’t take any pictures today, so I’ll leave you with this image of bark lice I took on a tree in the courtyard at my office. That courtyard is tiny but has all kinds of bizarre wildlife going on in there. What does this have to do with the fucking gym? Not a damn thing. It’s just weird. So enjoy it.

ImageBark lice. What the fuck?

Gym Week Two, Day Five

  • Favorite part: booty burn, bitches!
  • Least favorite part: remedial level abs.