inspiration

Super Strong Nana is Getting Stronger

Working out alone is getting easier, obviously the blogging is not. It’s not that I don’t have stuff to write, it’s just that I get lazy when it comes to writing. It’s really a lack of discipline. I’m finally getting more disciplined with my workouts but now I have to carry that over to my home and work life.

A lot has happened since my last blog. I have continued working with Brett Jones. We Facetime every couple of weeks and he sends me workouts based on my goals.

As I have mentioned before, my goals include completing the RKC Iron Maiden Challenge in the next year. That includes a pull up, press and pistol squat with a 24 kilo (53 pound) Kettlebell as well as a double body weight deadlift.

So far I have been doing weight ladders for Turkish Get Ups and pressing. It’s been 4-5 sets of 1 rep using different weights. I’ve also been doing single DL, Squats, pull ups and single leg DLs.

When I received my first workout, I was shocked to see a single get up with a 24 kilo bell. I was directed to just do it as far as I can. I was certain I couldn’t do it, so I chose a lighter weight the first time. The second time, I decided to use the 24k but just do the roll to press and see how that went. I felt pretty solid and I ended up doing a full TGU on both sides!

http://youtu.be/SzNZKej249c

One thing I had to learn about PRs (personal records) is that they are elusive. I just assumed that now I would always be able to do my Get Ups with a 24 kilo and my presses with a 20 kilo. Wrong!!

Some days I can’t even come close and once in a while I can do it with ease.

The next few weeks have me backing off on weight and focusing on reps. One important thing is that you should never train your max all the time. I used to do that and ended up getting hurt. I’m pretty confident that when I go back to the heavy singles, I will be much stronger and my PRs will become my normal.

Superstrong Nana says, Suck it 50

Just thought I would start a Facebook album with pictures of me defying my age. I hope this inspires you and shows you that age is just a number.

At 50 years young, I am in better shape and much stronger than I have ever been. I am making time for movement prep and proper warm ups so that I can workout for the long haul.

Super Strong Nana gets a Movement Screen

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. To all of my readers, (mom) I apologize.

I’ve committed to writing a weekly blog for the Tallahassee Democrat and have basically neglected this blog. No more! I’m back and I have so much to tell you.

First of all, after having been registered for almost a year, I finally got to attend the Summit of Strength in OK. It’s my favorite workshop and I’ve attended for the past 3 years.

One of the things I did when I got there was to meet with Master RKC and all around awesome guy, Brett Jones for a Functional Movement Screen. I wanted to be assessed by someone who really knows their stuff and Brett is the man. I was nervous and even considered “practicing” the screen so I would get a good score. Yes, it’s dumb but I wanted to make a good impression. Having movement issues when I consider myself in great shape is kind of embarrassing. I thought it would reflect on what kind of person I am.

I know we joke around about having movement issues does not make you a bad person, but I guess I thought it would. God forbid Brett thinks I’m a bad person.

Getting a movement screen was eye opening. I thought my scores would be much higher. I was a bit embarrassed and wanted to argue some of the scoring. But the beauty of the FMS is that it’s standardized and there is very specific criteria. When done by a certified FMS, there is no discussion. It is what it is AND it doesn’t make you a bad person!

So, many of you know I am freakishly flexible. Doing a deep overhead squat is easy for me. Shoulders move well and I can hit rock bottom. That is all great but what happens in a deep squat for me is that one of my feet turn out. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that tells me that something is going on with that side of my body. I want to fix it and do my squats without any compensations. Brett tested my ankle mobility which I thought would be off the charts…nada. Maybe that has something to do with my deep squat.

The rest of the screen was ok and we started on my corrective exercises. Brett explained that being hyper-mobile without stability was my problem. It’s important to have both to move well and help prevent injury.

My corrective exercises are pretty simple except for the half kneeling balance drill. That sucks! In a half kneeling position with front foot lined up with the down knee, I have to focus on keeping my pelvis level and centered. I can do just a few seconds before I tip over. When I was doing it my way, with my pelvis tilted, I could balance all day. But that is what we call a compensation and a lack of stability. The other corrective is the posterior rock with a stability ball. That one is great and I can feel my core firing but it’s one of those that looks pretty goofy. No way would I do that one in public or even in front of my workout partner.

I was feeling great and pretty excited until Brett told me not to workout (my regular workouts) for 2-4 weeks while I worked on my corrective exercises. I was deflated. I was just getting in a groove and getting strong and the thought of not working out was upsetting.

So during the Summit, I did my correctives and just a few “green light” exercises such as get ups, and super slow, light goblet squats. I missed out on quite a bit but still enjoyed and learned so much from the instructors.

A lot of the weekend was spent on movement, breathing and honing our skills. I know that the better I move, the stronger I will be. Going for max strength or even fitness with compensations is a set up for injury. Compensations are my enemy. I want to move well, be flexible and stable, strong and durable. I want to be able to workout for the rest of my life and I know if I don’t take the time to fix these issues, I won’t be able to.

Corrective exercises are not fun, not sexy (well, maybe the Posterior Rocking would turn someone on) and certainly not exciting. You won’t see me bragging about my ankle drills on Facebook and you won’t see me tweeting about my Thoracic rotations. But I know if I put in the time now, it won’t be long before I’m back online bragging about big gains in my fitness and strength.

If you are local and would like more information on getting a movement screen and corrective exercises, please leave a comment. I am certified in Functional Movement Screening as well as Z-Health.

Super Strong Nana is Sticking to a Plan

Yes, it’s worthy of a headline. If you read my last post, you have learned that I have exercise ADD. I spend a lot of time on the internet and I spend a lot of time reading about other people’s workouts and accomplishments. I get distracted and off track. I then end up starting a whole new workout program which may or may not be in synch with MY goals. Part of my problem is that I like to see if I can do something that someone else has done. There are a lot of strong women out there and I aspire to be one of them. My problem is that in the past, I just tried to incorporate random stuff into my workouts and have found that I haven’t improved on my own goals.

That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I made a decision to stick to a plan to help me reach my goals.

I’m entering my 2nd week of sticking to a workout plan. I have to admit, the hardest part is not getting distracted and not adding to it. I can already see improvements in my strength. My max one time Deadlift was 175. I did that once last month. Most of the workout days call for 2 sets of 5 reps so I’ve been using 135 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like much but for me, it’s pretty tough. I have found that by the middle of the 2nd week, my 135 pound effort does not take as much effort. It’s getting easier. Pressing is still hard for me as well as the pull ups. I did notice strength I did not have before. I have been trying to climb our 12 foot wall with the rope but without using the foot holds. I’ve never been able to do this with just the rope. While doing a demo of wall climbing for our last Adventure Race Camp, I climbed up the wall..without the foot holds! My intent was just to show those who could, how to do it with just the rope and before I knew it, I was at the top of the wall, much to my surprise. So even though, I didn’t think I was making much progress in my pull ups, I was making some serious progress.

Although I am getting bored of doing the same thing, I love that the workouts are quick. The best part is that since I am not maxing out every time, I have energy left over to work on practicing some of the skills I need for strongman competitions.

If you find that your workouts and goals are all over the place, you owe it to yourself to check out Easy Strength.

Since I have energy after all of my workouts, I get to end with some fun skill work.

Superstrongnana Turns the Big 5-0

My AARP card arrived in the mail today. I guess it’s official, I am now a senior citizen.

A lot has happened in the past few weeks, including my first ever trip abroad. In case you are wondering, I reached my goal of flipping the tire 50 times. I did it twice, once with my 17 year old son. It’s hard to conceive that in February, I was not sure I could do it. I remember the first few weeks of training and the whole time I had that little voice inside of my head telling me that it can’t be done. I remember days feeling utterly defeated by that tire. I remember the massive bruising and swelling.

I’ve learned that with proper training and progression, I can do way more than I thought possible. I’ve also learned how incredible the human body is at adapting. The last few weeks of my tire flipping training, I never bruised. Not only did my muscles and bones and cardiovascular system adapt to the stress, but so did my tissue.

I’ve been back from vacation for just over a week now and I am slowly getting back into the workout groove and adjusting to our soul sucking heat.

Having reached a goal that I worked so hard for has left me feeling a bit empty and lost. For months I had something to work for and focus on and now that I’ve checked it off my list I’m trying to figure out what’s next for me.

I have so much that I want to do. Accomplishing such an incredible goal is empowering and now I want to set MY bar higher. I find my biggest problem is workout ADD. I want to do it all. I want to train for and be good at everything.

So this week I sat down and sorted through my goals. My goal for this year is to train for and compete in a strongman competition. I’ve been researching and there just aren’t that many women competing. The events change depending on the competition so I know that I have to train for different strength events. The other thing I have my sites set on is passing the new standards to recertify for my RKC level 2.

The new requirements involve doing Windmills, Turkish Get Ups, double presses, push presses and jerks with a Kettlebell that is 1/3 higher than snatch weight. At my current weight, my snatch size bell is the 16 kilo (35 pounds). So that means training to be able to pass all the requirements with a 20-22 kilo bell (45-50 pounds).

Here’s the catch; now that I am 50 years old, I can perform all the required skills with lighter weights, but I don’t want to. How can I inspire my clients and my followers by using my age as a barrier? I started this blog to inspire grandparents and older people everywhere to break through the barriers, stereotypes and limits they or society puts on them due to age.

With two majors goals for the year, I have to get focused. As Dan John says, “I have to make the goal, the goal”. For the next 40 days I will be doing Dan John’s Easy Strength program. It’s simple but not easy. I pick several skills that I want to improve and that is what I do…for 40 days. For the people like me with workout ADD, the hardest part is sticking to the program. The lifts I picked are Deadlift, Presses and Pull ups. To this I add Snatches or some other conditioning work. The workouts are designed to always leave some “gas in the tank”. The sets and reps change but the exercises stay the same…for 40 days.

I love going to my gym and having a plan and I love the idea of focusing on the lifts and get stronger without the stress of doing max weights and going to failure. I find that too many people workout way beyond the point of no return. I love the idea of leaving some gas in the tank.

Yes, I have big, crazy goals for this year, but I will begin by going back to basics. Getting stronger in the major lifts will give me a good base for everything else I want to accomplish in the next year.

I still plan on doing my trail running/walking with friends and I will spend one day a week learning and working on the odd object lifting required for strongman competitions but the meat of my program will be spent on the basics. Simple but not easy.

A Strong Week

It’s not even Friday and I must say, I’ve had a pretty good week of working out.

A couple of milestones for me this week was getting out and doing things on my own. I do love having a workout partner especially for the tough workouts but this week, Jerritt, my workout partner for the most hideous of workouts, was busy with his job. At least that’s what he told me.

Easter Sunday, I got out for a trail run with Peyton, my wonderful, beautiful, sweet pup. We walked and ran for just over 3 miles. It was a beautiful day. Instead of beating myself up for walking more than I wanted to, I decided to absorb the moment and enjoy the day. I even went without my music and instead, really tuned into the beauty around me.

Monday, Jane and I went to my gym for a 30 min circuit training with Ropes, Kettlebells and TRX.

Tuesday, Jane and I went to Piney Z for a run. I love this trail! There is nothing quite like running while dodging snakes, seeing alligators and relocating turtles. This doesn’t happen on every run, but just the thought of the adventures we might come across make the run more exciting.

I like to use my Nike + GPS app on my iphone for my runs. It tracks distance, times, pace (which is depressing) AND it connects to Facebook so that when my friends, “like” my “I just started a Run with Nike +” post, I hear cheering through my headphones. Not sure how that works, but it’s pretty motivating and fun.

On the Nike app, you can choose from several options, one of which is time. You choose the time and it will tell you your half way point. That is when we turn around. The most we have done is 45 mins with a turn around time of half that.

I had my phone strapped to my arm so I asked Jane to push the 45 min option. Since Jane is also pushing 50 and can’t see anymore, she ended up pressing the 60 minute option. I didn’t find that out until we got done with our run.

Since we didn’t get a 22 minute notice to turn around, we kept running further and further up the trail. We ended up going into unchartered (for us) territory. It was wonderful. I kept wondering how anyone could possibly spend their running time pounding away the miles on the streets or sidewalks, inhaling fumes, listening to and dodging traffic when we have such incredible trails available.

We ended up turning around because we weren’t sure how much further the trail would take us. We ended up running 57 minutes. We didn’t walk much and I actually ran longer without stopping than I have in a very long time. It was a huge confidence booster.

Wednesday was my Joe day. We went to the stadium for ramps and swings. I love workouts like this. Doak Campbell has a 5 level ramp system that leads to the top of the stadium. Here is what we did.

Run up and back first ramp level
Do 100 Kettlebell Swings
Run up and back 2 levels
80 Swings
Run up and back 3 levels
60 Swings
Run up and back 4 levels
40 Swings
Run up and back all 5 levels
20 Swings.
Repeat the 5th and work you way back down the ladder.

You can do this workout on a hill or even a straight road. Just add laps each time.

Thursday is my tire day. I actually started sweating about this workout on Wednesday night. I had nightmares about it.
I dreaded it because I knew I had to do it alone. I had to depend on myself to push me through a workout that is just plain horrendous. I thought of every reason to put it off but finally decided to suck it up and do it.

My goal was to do 5 sets of 5 flips for a total of 25. I wasn’t worried about time because I know I’m going to slow down half way through the work out.

I really worked on my form so that I could get by with as few bruises as possible. I consulted with my “tire coach”,
Bud Jeffries about the bruising and he assured me as my form and strength improve it will get better. He also said that I will adapt. I haven’t posted pictures because I know my mom will freak out a little and begin questioning my sanity. Come to think of it, it won’t be the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last, so here is the picture. Sorry mom!!

My first few flips I was able to avoid setting the tire on my thigh for the transition, as I get tired, it became hard to avoid.

I managed 4 sets of 5 flips and then 1 set of 3. It took just over 25 minutes. I had to rest longer between sets and reps towards the end. I was exhausted but it felt great to get through half of my goal with 9 weeks left for my 50 flips for my 50th birthday goal.

This is the first exercise that I have found that works every muscle, head to toe. I know it’s not for everyone; actually, I know it’s not for most people but there is something about flipping tires that appeals to me. I think it must because it’s something I can do that requires everything I have mentally and physically. To set a goal of doing 50 for my 50th birthday is part insane and part awesome.

I have to admit, I am researching World Records and unorthodox feats of strength done by women. There isn’t much info out there. Maybe, just maybe, I will trail blaze this area of strength.

Everyone Needs a Joe

I am always amazed by people who are self motivated when it comes to working out. I can’t help but stare at people running alone and even more mind-boggling, without music and gadgets.

I admire people who do P90X alone in their living rooms or those who workout in garage gyms with equipment tucked between lawnmowers, paint cans and rusty tools.

Unfortunately, I am not that person. I have a home gym that rivals many commercial fitness studios. I have a top of the line Landice treadmill, a Precor elliptical and a fancy pants brand named recumbent bike. I have a Smith Machine, squat rack and a Hoist cable system. I have several sizes of Kettlebells and Dumbbells. I have plyo boxes, medicine balls, bands, balls and every other gadget you can think of. Best of all, it’s air conditioned.

Do I love it?? Yes! Do I use it?? No!

You are probably scratching your head about now wondering what the heck is wrong with me. I wonder that myself. I have an awesome home gym complete with a kicking air conditioning system and yet I get in my car and drive to my dirty, dusty, hot, mosquito filled gym to workout.

If you are one of those self motivated types, this makes no sense. You see, I admit, I am NOT self motivated. I hate working out alone and I don’t like working out at home. I’ve tried. I’ve schlepped my way up stairs, got on my treadmill, turned on the TV and started to run. It only takes a few minutes to realize I forgot my water. I get off the treadmill, go downstairs, grab my water see that there are dirty dishes in the sink. I quickly wash the dishes, grab my water and then decide while I’m here I might as well do a load of laundry. I grab my water, start heading up stairs and notice I have an email….oh and then I just have to check Facebook real quick. While I’m here, I might as well check Twitter….You can see where I’m going with this.

I just can’t workout at home. There are too many distractions. I get in my car and head to my work gym. I got my music and workout picked out and I’m raring to go. I put on some music and begin my joint mobility. I start looking around and realize the benches aren’t stacked on a straight line. It will just take a second to stack them and straighten them. I get back to my warm up and I can’t help but notice the Kettlebells aren’t in straight lines….This goes on and on and before I know it, clients are arriving for class.

I can’t fight it any longer. Call me what you will but I am not self motivated when it comes to exercise. I hate working out alone and when I do my workouts suffer. I don’t workout as hard as I could, I cut it short, I take long breaks, my mind wanders and I just end up finding something else to do.

I know me. I know how I operate. In order to be successful, I have to take who and what I am and make it work for me. I can’t just stand in an empty gym and will myself be self motivated. It’s not going to happen.

What I have done is to set myself up for success. I know I do better with a workout partner so I have workout partners. I have a lot of them! I have Jane, who likes, or rather dislikes running as much as I do. We go to the trails a couple of times a week and run. If needed, we walk and we don’t feel guilty about it. We don’t run for time, we run for exercise. We do have a running goal but if we don’t reach it, we really don’t care.

If you know me and you’ve been reading my blog, you know, I like to do some weird workouts. I like to do stuff that normal people would run from. These kind of workouts are just pure suckage. They must be shared with someone who likes to do things that suck. I have Jerritt or Ricky for that. Jerritt and I just started this new suck fest so I’ll see how long he lasts.

Last but not least are workouts that fall somewhere between social and suckage and that is where I have Joe.

My workouts with Joe are some of the training workouts for his May 50K run in the mountains of New Mexico. Joe runs. He runs far. He runs fast and he can do it alone if needed. Joe also has Megan for his ultra long distance training runs.

Joe and I meet once or twice a week for endurance training that doesn’t involve much running. In addition to stadium workouts, we meet once a week at Trinity Catholic School to run the hill and do Kettlebell swings. The running part is fun because it’s straight up hill. We are up to doing sets of a 100 Kettlebell swings alternated with 8 trips up the hill (Joe, not me). Running the hill gives him some hill experience while the Kettlebell swings gives him a ton of endurance training without adding more impact on his joints. The swings also strengthen his glutes, hamstrings and trunk.

Today we arranged to meet as soon as school got out. I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept much the night before and I had a very busy day. Last thing I wanted to do was workout but I couldn’t let Joe down. As I got closer to the school it started to rain. Secretly, I was glad. The hill is very steep and would be dangerous in the rain.

As soon as I pulled into the school, it started to pour. I called Joe, who was just pulling into the parking lot. We stayed in our cars talking on the phone trying decide whether or not to stay. I was trying to be reasonable and responsible but my real motivation was to get home and get my nap on.

Joe started telling me about his new running shoes. I couldn’t see him but I could tell by the excitement in his voice that he was not leaving until he took the shoes out for a trial run.

The rain let up just enough for us to grab our Kettlebells and get them under the overhang. The rain let up as we started on the hills. We were actually a little disappointed. I did 2 hills to his 8. I had to take it slow. Since I was wearing my Vibrams, I ran around the outer edge of the hill and down the path rather than running straight down hill.

We ran to our Kettlebells. He did 100 swings and I did 80 snatches. I can’t even remember the last time I did snatches. I was so happy!

Then came the torrential downpour. As Forrest Gump said, ” Little bitty stinging rain… and big od’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath”. Water gushed into the overhang and rivers formed around our Kettlebells.

It started lightening. We looked at each other, paused and headed out for another lap. We were like little kids. We ran though puddles and mud. We dodged rivers and ducked with each thunder clap. It rained so hard that I couldn’t see where I was going.

Joe finished a total of 50 hill sprints and 500 Kettlebell Swings. I did 12 hill walks, just over 100 snatches and around 300 swings.

It was awesome!! No way I would have done that by myself. I would have left and I would have missed out on an incredible fun workout. And, that is why I have Joe.

Who is your Joe?

Super Strong Weekend

I’ve taken 4 naps today and still don’t think I’ve fully recovered from this past weekend. Not sure where Monday and Tuesday went either.

Me and my gym, Boot Camp Fitness and Training hosted the Super Human Workshop with Bud Jeffries and Logan Christopher. It was a weekend of learning techniques to improve strength and endurance using some very unorthodox methods. Lectures were followed by hands on learning and I am pretty sure everyone in attendance set strength PRs.

Friday afternoon was spent preparing for the workshop and also the Strongman performance that was held Friday evening. Watching the process was both fascinating and alarming. Bud and Logan live across the country from each other so Friday afternoon was spent learning and practicing some new stunts. Let’s just say that Juggling Kettlebells of Death was aptly named.

I don’t want to go into a whole recap of the weekend. I am editing a video that will give you more information than you could possibly handle.

So, let’s talk about me!!

I threw most caution to the wind as I just had to try out some feats of strength. I am happy to report that I did hold back in certain areas due to my healing, but not much.

First thing I just had to try was taking a bowling ball to my stomach. I’m not sure how many people would watch that being done to someone and then immediately want to try it. It wasn’t that bad. I have some strong abs and it’s all about maximum contraction and trusting the person dropping the ball on your stomach. We started low and went higher. I didn’t get it on video but later that weekend, Logan took a few steps up the ladder and dropped the ball on me.

One of the things that I really wanted to be able to do was to bend a nail. I have tried several times in the past year and wasn’t even able to put a kink in it. I tried again on Friday and couldn’t do it. On Monday and under the careful instruction of Bud’s son, Noah, who can bend thick steel rods, I bent my first 3/16th nail! It wasn’t easy.

One of the great things about hosting the workshop was having access to so many experts. Everyone hung out at my house each day after the workshop. I talked to Bud about some ideas for celebrating my upcoming 50th birthday with some crazy feats of strength and insanity. We came up with a plan and he wrote me a workout.

My goal is to flip our 400 pound tire 50 times! But first, I had to learn the proper technique. Thanks to Bud, the tire goal seems reachable.

This weekend really helped get me excited about working out. Having a really cool, unique goal to achieve is the icing on the cake. Traditional workouts just don’t excite me and this workshop was just what I needed both physically and mentally to light my fire.

On Tuesday, I got with Noah one last time for a bending lesson. I bent 3 nails with ease. Since we didn’t have a thicker nail, Noah duct taped a 3/16 and a 1/8 together for me to try. That was tough and I had to use some different leverage to bend it but I did it. As you can see in this video, the 3/16 nail bend was easy. It was bent before I actually used all my strength.

Even though I set quite a few PRs this weekend and got to hang out with some very cool people including my girls in strength, Adrienne Harvey and Melody Schoenfeld. I also got to meet and learn from, Ryan Pitts of Stronger Grip. He makes the coolest grip and strength tools I’ve ever seen. I already have an order ready.

It was a great weekend but I must say, the best part was seeing my best girl, Ava..oh and finally getting the FSU Kettlebell that Ryan has been working on for months.

Flying By the Seat of My Pants Workouts

I’m in my 3rd week of working out again and I must say, I’ve never felt better. I’m still dealing with a few physical problems but mentally, I am stronger than ever.

I’ve put aside all of the strength goals I’ve had in the past year and I’ve just decided to be more intuitive with my workouts. Normally I wouldn’t recommend just “winging it” but for right now, it’s working. It’s been a long time since I haven’t had a goal. For the past few years my workouts have centered around getting my RKC, (check), getting my RKC 2, (check), achieving the Iron Maiden (no) and various other strength goals.

I’ve always had a workout that I HAD to do taped to the wall at the gym. I had to do specific workouts on specific days and I stuck to it no matter whether I wanted to or not. Some days I dreaded going to the gym. I would get so stressed out about my upcoming workout, that I would be covered in sweat before I ever got out of my car. I did whatever workout was scheduled and planned for the day no matter how I felt. There were quite a few times that I don’t even remembering working out. I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted and yet I pushed through. I was going through the motions. My motivation was gone and so was my strength. I was in pain and yet I stuck to my workout plan because I had a goal to reach and had a date to reach it by.

You know the rest.

This afternoon, I met a friend for a workout. I planned what we were going to do on my way to the gym. How crazy is that?

The great thing about Ricky is that he is game for anything. The crazier the better. We decided on doing 100 rope slams and then carrying 1 heavy chunk of concrete from the back of my gym about 100 yards and setting it down. We did 100 more rope slams and carried another chunk of concrete. We repeated this until all the slabs of concrete were stacked on the other side of the parking lot. We repeated this over and over until all of the concrete was stacked back up behind the gym again.

We didn’t set out to do this as fast as we could or do it in a certain amount of time. We just went until we were done. We talked, we laughed and I even managed to bust out a few of my old school dance moves. Fifty minutes later I was covered in dirt, sweat, bruises and cuts. My butt was kicked and I was in heaven!

Writing this, I realized why working out like this appealed to me. I was doing the kind of stuff I did as a kid. I was outside, picking up heavy stuff, carrying it around and putting it down. Even though the workout was hard, it was exhilarating. It was spontaneous.

I knew I was going to do some sort of hard workout and I had a general idea of what I wanted to do but it wasn’t set in stone….actually, I guess it was, just in that I was picking them up and carrying them.

Driving to the gym, the trail or the stadium is now filled with anticipation and excitement rather than dread.

I know I’m not going to work out like this forever. Eventually, I’m going to set some goals, and to reach those goals I will need a plan. Just for now though, I am going to be spontaneous. I am going to work out because I can. I am going to do things that excite me and that are fun. I am going to think outside of the box. I don’t need treadmills, ellipticals or dumbbells to workout. I can carry heavy rocks, climb hills, flip a tire, swing a bell, lift some logs, walk my dog, run with friends and so much more.

I’d love to hear about your experience with tossing the plans and schedules and being more intuitive and spontaneous. I have a feeling it’s going to help me come back stronger.

Body Armor, Gas Mask and a Lesson Learned

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Yesterday was our much anticipated work out with the Tallahassee Police Department’s Tactical Apprehension and Control Team to benefit Orphan Logistics and Relief.

Orphan Logistics and Relief is a charity founded by several Tallahassee residents. They travel to third world countries to repair, build and provide services to schools and orphanages. Most of their funding have come out of their own pockets.

I know you are wondering what the connection is.

One of the founding members of OLR, James Fairfield is the Sgt of the TAC team. I met James several months ago when he came out to my gym to build a 12 foot wall for my Adventure Race Camps. From there James and several members of the team began using the gym for their workouts. I learned more about the charity during my conversations with James and I knew it was something I wanted to support in any way that I could.

That is when I had the brilliant idea of the workout.

The TAC team have a physical fitness qualification test that mimics some of the tasks that he and his men may encounter during a call. James and I agreed that this would be a great way to raise money for the charity. I knew our boot camp clients would love the chance to test themselves and their fitness levels.

Yesterday TAC team members, James, Jeff and Gavin arrived at the gym in the Bearcat; the armored vehicle used by the team. Gavin, a sniper, set up a table of weapons and gear used on their job while James and Jeff set up our course.

Jeff went first to show us what to expect. He finished in just under 5 minutes. James said that they want their team to finish in close to 5 minutes but have to do it in under 7.

We watched silently as Jeff sat down gasping for air. No one was volunteering to go next. I knew what I had to do.

As Jeff was putting on my body armor, I began making excuses. You guys know I am just coming back from injury. I am almost 50. I am a grandmother, I just got out of a cast. I’ve only done three workouts in the past couple of months etc, etc. I was scared. I was afraid I couldn’t do it and instead of just being ok with that, I made excuses before I even started.

With my body armor on, I got ready to start. Normally the vest would be loaded with equipment, but in our case, it was empty. I’m not sure how much it weighed empty; all I know, it was pretty heavy. The first task was to pick up, “the key”. That is the heavy thing used to bust through doors. I ran out 25 yards and back and then did 10 deep squats with it. From there I picked up a shield and while holding it, ran the 50 yards again. At this point I was feeling ok. Next up was to grab an aluminum ladder and run again. It was light and I was feeling pretty confident. It was then time to do 10 Burpees. This is when things started to get tough. From here I can’t even remember the order of the rest of the workout. I went into survival mode.

Next was pulling a sled loaded with 90 pounds 25 yards and then pushing it back to start. Then we had to clean and press 95 pounds. I was already gasping for air. It took only seconds to make the decision to opt for a lighter weight. That was my breakthrough. That is when I knew that I was free of Nastasha and her evil doings.

Then I had to grab hold of one of the bars on the Bearcat and hang for 20 seconds. This was the easiest part for me and gave me 20 seconds to catch my breath. I had to climb up and over the top of the vehicle and drop down to the other side. That is where James was waiting for me with a gas mask.

I had to take a minute. I couldn’t catch my breath and the thought of strapping something over my face brought me to the brink of panic. By the way, the picture Megan captured of this moment is priceless.

With a gas mask on my face, I had to decide whether to do a shuttle run or hit the tire with a sledgehammer 10 times and flip it 6 times. Crap. My mask was fogging up because of my rapid breathing and now I had to decide between running and sledgehammers. I chose the sledgehammer and tire flipping. The whole time I was striking that tire, I was wishing I had chosen the shuttle run.

At this point, I had to get out of that mask. I still had to run 100 yards to finish and I knew there was no way I could do it with the mask on. I ran, walked and stopped several times on that last 100 yards but I finished. My time certainly did not qualify me for this elite unit. The only unit I would be qualifying for would be the cardiac unit at CRMC. I was awarded with a 50 caliber shell casing with my time of 10:21. Thank goodness it was a big shell casing or my time wouldn’t have fit on it.

I was so proud of our boot campers. They killed the course all in under 7 minutes. Several of them did the course after doing 45 minutes of boot camp right before.

Through the kind donations of our wonderful boot camp clients, we were able to send James away with a $1250.00 check for OLR.

When I got home, I started thinking (and icing). I was embarrassed. I’m still embarrassed. I’m not embarrassed because I was slow or that I had to choose a light weight to press or even that I had to finish the course without my gas mask. I am embarrassed, no, humiliated that I violated the most important thing that I set out to do as Super Strong Nana. I used my age and my current conditioning as an excuse for not doing as well as I had hoped. I even did it before I started the course! It’s an epic fail on my part.

So, today I vow to dust off my cape. I will do the very best I can in everything I do. If I don’t do well at something, I will accept it for what it is. I will not make excuses. I will just accept that maybe I am human after all and that I do NOT have to be good at everything. I vow to be ok with who I am and where I am.