Grey skies, a bitter wind, and the usual depressing stuff in the news is affecting my mood. Technically it stopped raining at some point this afternoon, but it feels like it’s pissed down for about a week, putting paid to much outdoor activity. I don’t know about you, but I work in an overheated office for four days a week, so I like to get outside as much as I can the rest of the time, even in winter. Good things happen when you go outside; there is the possibility of adventure, or at the very least, rosy cheeks and a happy sort of breathlessness.
On top of that, I am tired from a bad sleep and my arms fecking hurt from fifty bodyweight deadlifts yesterday, which was only part of the class. I say bodyweight, in fact the 70kg recommended lift was slightly less than my actual weight but what’s a couple of kilos between friends? So much so, that while I got up early and did my plank this morning as usual, I left Kevin alone and slipped into the shower without so much as a single swing. Bah, humbug and harrumph. As a wise woman (Jillian) has said: you can be sore tomorrow, or you can be sorry tomorrow. You choose. So today, I am sore; tomorrow, perhaps I will be sorry.
After the class, I met up with some of the Spartan team for a planning meeting. Most of them already know each other because they go to lots of classes each week, but I was meeting most of them for the first time. Of course they are all lovely and fun but I can’t help feeling that, despite the plan to stick together and do the race as a team, the majority of them will end up being a blurry, fast moving dot on the horizon, as I pech, pant and blub my way to the finish. But that’s okay. I would rather do it at my own pace and finish it in one piece than feel I was slowing everyone else down. Hearing about some of the obstacles, that I am pretty sure I won’t be able to do, freaked me out a bit – monkey bars anyone? We shall see. There is still plenty of time to go and I’m not beaten yet.
It was only reading one of the daily emails from Jillian Michaels earlier (about exercise excuses dagnabbit), that I realised I need a bit of her back in my life. Coach asked me last week why I like her so much. From an entirely shallow POV, here’s the first reason:
I am not a lesbian, but there is something about that woman that might tempt me, if she was ever in the mood for a pale, middle-aged Scottish chick. I am guessing I am not her type, but she might be impressed by my deadlift. She is a black belt in various martial arts and boxing and could kick many men’s butts. And who wouldn’t want those abs? I know I will never have them, but still, a girl can dream. Even if I did, it is unlikely that I would cut about in pube grazing trousers with a knowing look in my eye and Beyonce-style, hair swooshing technology following me wherever I go, so she is not a sartorial role model. However, she did help me to get my arse off the sofa and do some proper, sweat-inducing exercise for the first time in my life.
So, that is the other reason: she genuinely inspired me. The 30 Day Shred hurts. I cannot deny it; if you do it, you will feel pain and want to stop halfway through a workout that is only twenty minutes long. Top tip, NEVER watch it all the way through before starting or you won’t start. It also follows that you should never watch the next level before moving up or you will never do level two, because it’s horrible. The good thing is that there are two people doing it with her – the first, Anita is cheating a bit, and you can copy her until you feel ready to move onto Natalie, who is seriously fit. Neither of them are skinny freaks: Natalie has legs that could fell a small tree with one hard kick. That is a good thing in my view. Not so much the tree thing, but the fact that they don’t look like models who have just been hired to look good in the background.
Plus there’s the motivational chat. It’s fair to say that after you’ve completed the same level a few times, before dawn, when you are tired and grumpy, it gets wearing. I have on occasion screamed ‘shut the fuck up bitch!’ at the telly. When you get to that stage, just turn it down and put some tunes on. But when I first heard it, I loved it. Especially the stuff about when you get strong and conquer the physical stuff, you feel like you can do anything else. It’s absolutely true. How we feel about our bodies, especially as women, is linked to our minds and our feelings. For me, that doesn’t mean the pursuit of some insane, unachievable, tiny ideal (although good luck to you if you are naturally small and slim). It means feeling fit, healthy and strong. Knowing that it’s hard but that you’ve done it anyway, gives you a spring in your step. Jillian knows this. She was a chubber once too and she empathises; she knows it’s tough…
Doing Jillian (oo-er) isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it was the right start because it was short and I could do it at home. I am still in that situation, so tomorrow morning I am giving Kevin another rest day and I’m getting up early for some Jillian love. If anyone can help me become a Spartan Queen, she can. I need that reminder that I can do it. It’s just that I’ve got to fight for it.
Until next time.