The Stories We Tell

I rearranged my workout schedule with Tyler so I could do this Halloween kayaking thing on Thursday and since it was something active he was all for it. So, that means this week I meet with him on Monday and Wednesday. Last night was Monday! Here’s what went down…

I show up and we do the usual what hurts how do you feel routine and I told him about my headache, which was likely lack of caffeine related, and my numb-ish toe. His last client was still there and he’d introduced us to one another and she was super friendly and started asking me questions about the toe and none of us could figure out what the what and we all agreed that it was weird. She told me about her toe nails falling off after hiking and I was all ew over that.

Then? I did all of this:

DB front step squats 15×10 15×10 15×10
DB bicep curls (1) 15×10 15×10 15×10
DB shoulder press (1) 15×10 15×10 15×10
Rope slams 20s 20s 20s
Side lateral step ups (each leg) 10 10 10
Decline leg lifts 10 10 10
Decline sit ups 10 10 10
FM tricep extensions 20×10 20×10 20×10
DM lat pull down 40×10 40×10 40×10
TRX hold challenge 43s

The rope slams? The first time I ever did these I barely really moved the ropes. Last night? The entire length was moving. Not a lot, mind you. But it was moving all the way down to the end and I was very much full of yay! and said “Dude! The entire length of rope moved!” and he said “Yeah. You’re getting stronger!” and I was all “I am!”

While I was doing the side lateral step ups I noticed my balance was pretty good and that reminded me that my balance was pretty good while I was hiking on Saturday and just walking along on the tops of rocks and when I told him that? We both, literally, did this:

“YES! I rock!”

Because we both felt like we rock. It was funny. Maybe you had to be there. But you weren’t.

Also during the side steps my toe felt weird so I indicated that. The following conversation ensued:

T “I may need you to show me your toe.”
Me “Did you just say you may need to look at my toe?”
T “Yes.”
Me “I’m not going to show you my toe, dude. I charge people a fee online for that.”
T with a look on his face that indicates he might believe me “Do you?”
Me with a trying to be dubious face “Do I?”
T “I’m not sure…”

And then I admitted that I do not and then went on to tell him my history of having weirdos like my feet on Flickr and my freckles and things of that sort that I’m sure he wishes I’d just shut up about.

The tricep extensions sucked, the lat pull downs did not.

We then had five minutes to kill so he’s all “I have a challenge for you!” and he shows me that he wants me to do a pull up on the TRX row rope equipment thingermabob and then hold that position for as long as I can. My arms got really burny so I had to stop but I made it to 43 seconds which he seemed to be ok with.

He told me I did a good job and then sent me on my way.

Today is Tuesday and I’m still doing OK with not eating all of the things but right now I want nothing more than to hop in my car and go to the store to buy more ice cream so I can make a milkshake. Like, really bad. I want this. A lot. Bah!

Tomorrow is Wednesday. And now I’ve suddenly turned into Rebecca Black

But, since I was all “Fuck my extra fat!” and all body shaming myself last week I thought I should show you that I’m all “Yay! I have a butt!” and smiling about my body now.



And that’s all.


But we were on a break!

Thursday I get to the gym and my lower back hurts and my abs hurt and my legs are tired and fatigued feeling because of my period, right? So Tyler is all “How do you feel!?” and I try to explain all of that without saying “PERIOD!” And he’s all “OK!” and puts me on the whatever machine where you put the weight bar on your back and squat with it and I tell him it hurts my lower back and he’s all “Why?” and I give him the “Come on, man…” look and he goes “Oh.” but proceeds to have me do it anyway. And then he adds more weight to it! Lordy.

Then I have to push and pull the sled up and down with two 45lb weights on it. The pulling it hurt my back and my abs.

Then he had me do squats with the swiss ball between my lower back and the wall as I hold on to a kettlebell.

Then had me do some crunches. And it all hurt. It was all lower back and abs, man! And finally at 5:45 he’s all “Oh, wait…do you want to skip the crunches?!” and I was all “IT’S TOO LATE NOW!!!” and laughed and then said “Boys are funny.” and then he was a bit “ooops.”

There may have been more that I did but my spreadsheet wasn’t updated because his signal wasn’t working. But this is the gist.

Friday I went out dancing! I actually danced to, like, three songs? And that was fun. And I walked Gladys Thursday after gym and Friday before dancing.

Saturday morning I woke up with rum belly but I got that under control and got ready and went to my hike at Usery Mountain Pass.

This hike was with the same group I went hiking with in the Superstition Mountain area. When I signed up for this hike I left a comment asking the hike leader to tell me whether or not I should keep my butt at home. She responded and said she’d actually thought of me when she scheduled it and that I would do fine.

Well. I did mostly fine.

When I showed up she told me that she wanted me to stay in the middle of the pack. She wanted me to push myself to keep up and being in the middle would do that. I made jokes about being the problem child but the reality is that it’s kinda sorta nice that she had a plan for me while also kinda being annoying that she had a plan for me. If that makes sense.

This hike is a 7.5 mile loop with good elevation gain. We started out strong and I felt good about it. I was keeping up and I wasn’t nearly as winded as usual. Yes, I am breathing heavy the entire time but I didn’t feel like it was the heavy, deep, oh my god I cannot breathe type of heavy breathing. Just a constant heavy breathing.

This area was gorgeous. On the first part of the hike, however, you can hear the gunshots from the shooting range. That totally distracted me from the beauty of the hike and make it not as enjoyable. So, it does seem that part of my love of hiking is the silence and the feeling of being out in the desert away from life.

Parts of this trail were really very narrow and close to the edge and as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep last night I started to have visions of me falling off the trail. Which is weird but there it is.

Once we got through a few steep down hills that scared me a bit and a few narrow near the edge with parts of the trail eroded away bits the leader instructed me to “look up ahead more. Stop looking right at the path you are on. Take in the bigger picture so your brain is doing more work than your feet. You’ll be more confident and foot sure.” Bob was ahead of me telling me which direction I should go to feel more confident. All of this was helpful and nice and it did not surprise me once Barbara indicated she’d spent 4 years in the Army.

Barbara made it kinda seem like I may have a rough time going down the trail to the end, that it was going to be steep and scary. And at first it was. But then something happened. Somehow the group ahead of me got a wee bit ahead. And then the group behind me was quite a bit behind me. So, there was nobody telling me what to do. I adjusted my hat so I could see more of the trail ahead. I kept my shoulders back  and chest high to improve my breathing and engage my core. And I just walked.

I have no idea if the trail was easier than Barbara had made me feel or if I just was able to be more confident without all of those voices harping at me. But I just felt much better about all of it.

People that had hiked with me the last time told me how great I was doing.

But then…I got hot. And boy did everything change after that. I have to find a way to deal with that. Because I got hot and then I instantly wanted to stop. I wanted to stop and sit in the shade and wait. Then we had to hike a bit on the asphalt, which was WAY HOTTER and I cried for 10 seconds because it was also up a hill and I was done. I was hot and my legs were more fatigued than they have ever been.

I made it to Barbara’s car and that was it, I was done. I made another lady go get my car. I wish I’d pushed myself to my own car but I couldn’t do it. I was getting really dizzy and I was just done.

Once I explained to the ladies that I JUST got off of my couch in March and I JUST got super serious about hiking in August they were all very much like “OH! Well, hell, you really are doing GREAT!” and they meant it. So that was nice.

I was tired as all fuck the rest of the day and I went to bed at 8:17. I went ahead and set my alarm for 5am to give myself the opportunity to decide if I was going to hike this morning. My big toe is numb. Which is weird and I don’t know why. So I decided to skip it and went back to bed for another hour.

In other news, I have gotten back on the scale now that my hormones are nicely tucked away where they belong. I’m 158. And I’m hitting the store and getting back on track with my healthy eating!

So, there’s the story as of now.

Learn from my mistakes

Never buy batteries for your scale when you already know that you are in a hormone induced shitstorm. Just don’t. More on that in a bit.

First, let’s catch up on the gym:

BM incline chest press 3 10 20×10 20×10 20×10
Cybex seated row close 3 10 50×10 50×10 50×10
Smith incline bench press 3 10 10×10 20×10 20×10
EZ bent over row rev. Grip 3 12 40×20 50×20 50×15
Smith seated shoulder press 3 15 15 15 15
EZ bar bicep curl 3 15 20×15 20×15 20×15
FM tricep extensions 3 10 15×10 20×10 20×10
Roman chair knee raises 3 10 10 10 10
Roman chair leg raises 3 10 10 10 10
Swiss ball crunch 3 15 25 5×15 5×15

My period decided to show up just as I was walking to the bathroom at the office to change to go to the gym. Thanks for that, body. So, yeah, I had major cramps kicking but I don’t wanna be all “Dude, I have cramps” to the poor guy. He deals with a lot from me. He shouldn’t have to also think about my dumb uterus.

But I did all of that up there and it was good. I’m stronger. Let’s focus on me saying that. I am stronger. I continue to get stronger. This is all true.

Ok, now. On to today.

Remember on October 1st when I said I was going to join a challenge with my friend Randi because my weight was up? Yeah…

At that point I was hovering right around 159. I hopped on the scale today after putting the batteries in and I’m at 165. My heaviest ever has been 161. So, I’m fat shaming myself right now. Because I have to. I cannot be nice to myself or else I am going to continue the habits I’ve gotten myself into the past two months. So, no more of that. Yes, I can recognize that I am stronger and able to hike and all of that. And that is all fanfuckingtastic. But I don’t have to also carry extra weight as I do it.

And this, folks, is nothing but extra weight:

I'm crying. I'll stop in a bit but this is just not a happy sight for me. Don't even try to talk me out of it.

I’m crying. I’ll stop in a bit but this is just not a happy sight for me. Don’t even try to talk me out of it.

Nothing I am saying right now reflects how I feel about anyone else or their body, OK? So don’t try it. This is about me and my body. The body that *I* have to live in.

People keep telling me to ignore the scale. But you know what happens when I do that? I lie to myself and I eat whatever the hell I want to. Like breakfast burritos every morning for two months! You cannot do that and expect to NOT gain weight. You cannot eat Oreos after having breakfast burritos every morning for two months. You cannot then have a homemade milkshake every evening after you’ve had dinner and an Oreo and a breakfast burrito for two months. These things do not make you lose weight. They make you add weight.

Yes. My body is stronger. That is a positive and I’m not at all taking away my accomplishments on that front. But dammit I’m carrying extra weight and you cannot tell me I’m not. I’m done arguing about it. I’m done debating it. THAT IS EXTRA FUCKING FAT ON MY FRAME. I’m not looking to be a stick. I’m not looking to be skinny. But carrying extra weight is NOT HEALTHY. And it makes me unhappy. I don’t feel good about myself. Carrying this extra weight is not good for me physically or emotionally. And it ends now.

Well, it ends after I go cry for a bit more. Then it will end.

Sunday Hike Day

I’m obviously running out of creative titles here.

Today was a really nice three mile hike. The hike itself took around an hour and a half and we stopped a few times to catch our breath and take photos. It took me 46 – 60 minutes each way just to get there. I might need to stop going on these short hikes unless they are in a new place, have more inclines, or are simply closer to home. Today had two good inclines so I may do it again. I’ll have to ponder the benefits. Other than “I like hiking.” Which is good enough. I just made all of those other words moot, maybe.


I found myself walking at the front again. And even though they said it was going to be a leisurely pace, um…our fastest was 16:41 minutes a mile. That’s right around what I walk here on sidewalks with Gladys! So, yeah. To me that is not leisurely.

The inclines weren’t super steep but they were about a 150ft average gain each time. And I kept up with the ones in front of me. Yes, my breathing got harder but I kept up and I recovered pretty well when we stopped. There is improvement. But lots of room for more.

Other than that all I have to say is that this was, as usual, a really nice group of people. I’m getting to see lots of familiar faces and chit chat with several of them. It was a really pretty hike with nice views.

My boots are still working out for me, too.

Overall? I have no complaints! Huzzah!

Saturday Hike Day

Today was a fantastic five mile hike that consisted of going to the summit of Brown Mountain. The weather was beautiful. The sunrise was amazing, as usual, and the group was small and friendly.

The stats. Before the story. It's anarchy!

The stats. Before the story. It’s anarchy!

Sabrina is starting to do longer, harder, and faster hikes on Saturdays and using Sundays for the shorter more leisurely hikes. Which is great. So, she did a really good, brisk pace today. Usually I’m way in the back taking photos, not really walking as fast as I can, etc. But today I decided I wanted to see if I could keep up and not just tell myself I’m a slow hiker.

Guess what? I’m not really a slow hiker. I just choose to hike slower because I really do enjoy my surroundings. But today I was more in the front/middle of the group. Even going up the inclines. I was keeping up and doing great.

We stopped at the scenic overview to catch our breath before starting up the summit. This is where I started to get a wee bit worried. Because of this:

Brown Mountain Summit-4

That’s only .2 miles? Holy steep balls!

So, yeah. But even that didn’t fully prepare me. It was steep. And it was narrow. And it had loose rocks.

Other people just walk right up it like it’s nothing. I’m honestly envious of those people. I don’t know how they do it. They just walk like nothing bad can happen to them. Just up they go. Me? I’m cussing, muttering, almost crying, being all slow, using my hands and my ass, and all of that nonsense. People are giving me their trekking poles and words of encouragement to get me up there.

And up there I got!

I MADE IT! With a look of complete horror on my face, of course. But made it!

I MADE IT! With a look of complete horror on my face, of course. But made it!

And getting up was the easy part. Holy shit.

But everyone was super nice and that is great. But it doesn’t make me feel less bad about making everyone stand around and wait on me while I act neurotic. I understand that the only way I’m going to get better is by doing things like this and I’m not going to go out and do them alone so I’m kinda in a tough spot here. Ugh.

And, again, there was one guy that has hiked the canyon and he saw me have the scareds and he did not ever at all try to convince me that I cannot do the canyon. He prepared me for parts of the descent, which is narrow. And he told me to go do more incline hikes during the week for my cardio. But never not once did he say “you need to rethink this.” Which is great. Because he seems to be the type of guy that would.

The rest of the hike was going back down and then down and then back up and then bam! We’re at the parking lot. It was a quick hike with a good pace and I was, actually, pretty pleased with things overall. Minus the summit bit. Even though I did it. I should stop.

After this I made my way back to my home area and picked up a coworker to go check out REI’s garage sale. Holy crap! It seems you need to get there early because by the time we got there the only things left were boots. And boy did they have boots. And? I literally saw a pair of mine that I’d returned. Not one like it. My actual pair. Literally my boots. For $35!! But I’d returned them for a reason and it would have looked way shady if I rebought them at that price. They were the really flexible ones that made my shins tired so they’re really of no use to me.

But, I did manage to find a pair of hiking pants in the clearance area. Not the garage sale, sadly. But hiking pants seem to be right around $80, which seems nuts to me. But I got a pair on clearance, used my $20 off coupon, and my Happy Anniversary at Work Visa Gift card and got them for the very low price of free! Can’t beat that. And now I have one pair of actual hiking pants that zip off to be shorts and roll up to be shorter pants. They are comfy and yay.

And that was Saturday in the world of hiking.

“If you can’t handle me when I’m bulking, you don’t deserve me when I’m swole.” -Marilyn Monbro*

*I read that on Reddit and could not stop laughing because it is absurd and I sent it to my friend Randi because I knew she would hate it. I share because I love. Now, on to the real show…

This will be my update of this week’s gymming. I went on my regularly scheduled Tuesday and Thursday.

This is what happened on Tuesday:

Leg press 3 15 90×15 90×15 90×15
Hamstring stretch X X X
Modified gymnast lat pull down 2 10(4) 60×10(4) 40×10(4)
BM incline press mach 3 3 20×10 20×10 20x
Shoulder stabilization work 3 X X X X
Cross crunch 3 10 10 10 10
DB toe touches 3 10 5×20 5×10 5×10

At the beginning of each session we kinda chit chat and he takes mental notes about the things I am saying and he will adjust the workout based on that stuff. And here I thought I just really cared what I did that weekend. ha! So, after I did the leg presses, he made me do hamstring stretches because I hiked and ballet gymmed and my legs were tight. Yowza.

I had funny stories to tell. Dammit! I knew I should have told them immediately. Now I’m sitting here typing and they are gone, gone, gone. Oh, well.

The shoulder stabilization work was weird. OH! Here’s the funny stuff. Doing that I had to be on all fours then kinda in a plank position while using dumbbells as handles. This type of stuff always makes my wrists hurt. And I said “Man! I really need to exercise my wrists!” and then I immediately started laughing and I wouldn’t tell him because I totally thought about hand jobs and the shake weight bit from SNL. Then while I’m already giggling about this nonsense he tells me to get down on all fours. Which, really, I haven’t been told in far too long.

That took a turn.

Then? While I’m in the floor surrounded by sweaty people working out, myself included? Somebody gases the area! I have no idea who and I didn’t want to proclaim it but good lord it was rancid. Oy.

And that was Tuesday.

Then we have Thursday.

Thursday was the first time in a long, long time that I really just wanted to cancel for no other reason that “Good lord, I am exhausted and want to lie down.” PMS. And lots of work. And all of the things and getting up early all of the time always and no vitamins or vegetables have caught up to me.

So, I explained all of that to him and he listened. So, we did a whole lot of balance work.

Step up balance with DB curl & press 8×10 10×10 12×10
Bosu ball balance work X X X
Bosu ball hand balance knee tuck X X X
Boau ball v sit 30s 30s 30s
Bosu ball alt knee to elbow 20 20 20

And? To prove he listens he pointed out that all of this stuff will help me when I have to cross streams and I am windmilling my arms forever and ever so I don’t fall into the water. So I had to do a lot of balancing stuff on the bosu ball. Which was cool. And made me tense and he was all “you need to unclinch!” and so I did. Some. And it was all fine and good and I was, overall, pleased with the improvement in my balance. Especially since my ears were clogged which always gives me vertigo like dizziness! I HAVE ALL OF THE FUN!

He also kinda sorta told me that it’s ok to take time off and that I should, maybe, take a weekend to not hike. We’ll see. I just really enjoy the hikes but I understand what he means. I did just kinda throw myself into it, didn’t I?

So, there’s the update!

All of the Things!

So, I went to the gym on Thursday. I was still feeling dizzy/lightheaded with an upset stomach but here I am doing the gym like a boss. Do people still say like a boss? Do I care? No. Either way, I was there and I did my warm ups.

Then Tyler and I discussed my dizzy and after going through all of the right questions it finally dawned on me that I replaced my daily vitamin with the Target version. That was the only change in my diet and/or routine. So, I stopped taking it. So far, no dizzy. Flintstones is where it’s at, folks. Now we know that.

Then we proceeded to work out!

FM chest press 3 10 25×10 35×10 35×10
FM alt lat pull down 3 10 50×10 60×10 60×10
FM ab crunch 3 10 30×10 30×10 30×10
Swiss ball hand plank hold 3 10s 15s 15s
Seated rope front waves 15s 15s 15s
Rope lateral holds 15s 15s 15s
Roman chair knee raises 10 10 10
DB curl & press & tricep extension 8×10 8×10 8×10

After I did the first set of the FM chest presses he asked “How was that?” And I said, “Well, it was really easy.” So he moved it up to 45 and I could barely budge it and that made me proclaim, “Why did you go from nothing to 45?!?” and he was all “Umm…you started on 25!” I thought I was doing them with no weight. That’s how easy it was with the 25lbs! WOO!

I cannot tell you how impressed I am that I was able to do the swiss ball hand planks!!

I totally did this!!

When I started doing the Roman chair knee raises he said “Good height!”

You guys. I’m getting stronger and I can tell! I can tell at the gym and I can tell on the trails. I, of course, have some weak areas but right now I don’t care too much about that. I’m too busy being happy with my progress. I just started doing all of this in March. I went from doing the couch and TV all of the times to being able to hike NINE MILES! in one day and do planks while holding a rolly ball still and bench press and all of that. I’m proud of me. Still. So there.

Yesterday I went on a nice, leisurely, meandering hike in a canyon around a river.

Yes, Arizona has water.

Yes, Arizona has water.

It wasn’t strenuous or anything like that. We hiked 2 miles in 2 hours. There were a lot of stops for photo taking. We had the river and butterflies and petroglyphs! So nice. And it was the first time I tried out my new boots and they did great.

Third time's the charm?

Third time’s the charm?

The only area I needed help was down the steep, wet grass covered bank to get down to cross the water. But we all needed a hand there, so, yeah.

This morning’s hike was a more traditional hike around Granite Mountain. Four miles in two hours.

Tonto National Forest really is one of the loveliest places around.

Tonto National Forest really is one of the loveliest places around.

There was a guy on the hike that is a med student in town for a few weeks to intern for the Mayo Clinic for a bit. He’s only been here a week or so and has been on ten hikes. He’s going out and doing all of the awesome things while he’s here, taking full advantage of the situation and I so totally admire and respect him for that. Too many people travel for work and don’t do that. But not him. I liked that.

And I liked that he told me that I look like I’m in good shape. Boom! And he gave me some really good tips in regards to interval training for cardio strength. He agreed that my muscle strength has far advanced my cardiovascular strength and told me it won’t take me long to fix that if I simply do the interval training 15 – 20 minutes every day! So that’s the next item on my old to do list.

Then I got to talk to a woman that lived in Boston during the 1950s. She was a patient of Dr. Rock‘s, one of the people involved in the development of the pill! She told me it was illegal to even prescribe women any form of birth control at that time but she proudly carried her diaphragm out of his office in a brown paper bag. She said she was proud to have been part of that and it was just really neat to talk to someone who was, in a way, part of history! I love that. She’s in her 80s and hikes, does water aerobics, swims laps, plays cards with friends, and is just so vibrant. She is now a third lady in my list of inspirations to be in shape to maintain my independence.

While I was talking to the med student about my progress thus far and all of that one of the first time hikers turned around and said “How dare you steal my life story!” And we got to talking a bit and other than her being a dentist? Yeah. We’re kinda twins.

We also had our first run in with Africanized bees! One of the ladies was stung and I had several get on me that had to be force-ably removed! I ran. I won’t lie. That caused me to run. I wanted out of their area so I ran. No shame in that.

What I noticed on today’s hike is that I was not the slowest. I had a good speed. I felt good. The four miles passed very quickly and I felt good after wards.

Also worth noting? I’m fairly certain my boots are keepers. Four miles, no blisters. No tired feet and shins.



I also went to the ballet gym today and did the Stretch and Tone class! I will not lie…after hiking for four miles doing the tone portion with my legs made me want to cry. Holy crap. And? Sweating on top of previous sweat made me smell like a monkey. But dammit, I toned and stretched and it was good.

I do not hate my body. Me doing all of this work is just a way to take care of it. To honor all of the things it can do for me and ensure it will be able to continue to do these things for far more years. It’s not me hating it. It’s me loving it.