Laurel Blackburn

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.

Superstrong Nana has a new PR

Super excited today. I’ll keep this short but I just have to share.

As you might know from reading previous posts; I have a very hard time working out by myself. I have tried to set my self up for success by having a workout partner or meeting friends for workouts.

My workout partner, Jerritt moved to the other side of town. He used to live a couple miles from the gym so it was easy for us to meet in the afternoons. Not anymore.

We tried meeting after his midnight shift as a police officer but we were both exhausted and our workouts suffered. So I had to dig deep and start flying solo.

It’s tough but so far so good. I guess having a solid goal is what is driving me to workout alone. I am finding although I still get distracted, I am able to do this.

Yesterday was a huge PR for me. After a long, long time trying to get one good dead hang Pull up, I actually got 3 good ones in a row. I never expect to get the third one (see previous post on confidence) but yesterday I surprised myself…and I did it for 3 sets!!

After I finished my workout, it was time to goof off and I thought I would try a two finger hanging leg raise with feet to my head. Just goes to show (me) that you never know what you are capable of until you try.

Super Strong Nana is Bending Steel and Taking Names

This has been a super strong week for me, full of PRs (personal records) and surprise feats of strength. I also learned an important lesson about negative thinking and confidence. Both more important than PRs.

I have a lot of strong, super-fit friends that I follow on Facebook. At least once a day, I see pictures, videos or status updates on their workouts, incredible feats of strength, weight loss or another amazing accomplishment. My first thoughts are how awesome they are, my second thoughts however become self defeating.

I begin to tell myself that I can’t do that, I’m not strong enough, not good enough and just not enough. I’ve spent my entire life comparing myself to others instead of being the very best me I can be. What I am learning; slowly but surely is that my attitude about myself pretty much dictates whether I fail at a given task or not. It dictates whether I attempt something or not and it keeps me from following through on my dreams and ideas.

Last week I had the honor of having super strongman, Bud Jeffries stay with me and my family while he was passing through town. The biggest perk was spending two days at my gym training with him. Bud obviously sees something in me that I don’t see in myself and he encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone. We spent a couple hours on Deadlifting. He dialed in my form and then started loading on the weight. With each increase, I kept telling him I can’t do that. He just smiled and told me to try. To my surprise, I lifted some weight that I thought would take months of training to lift. I also did partial Deadlifts with just over 300 pounds!

The next day was nail bending. Again, we worked on my form. He pointed out that I need to work on my wrist strength (which I knew). I bent a few 3/16 nails which are pretty easy for me. Then he brought in some 1/4 inch nails and a couple of 3/8th inch pieces of steel. Again, I thought he obviously had me confused with someone else.

I worked and worked on bending the 1/4 inch nail but my weak wrists prevented me from getting it. Bud put a very small bend in it and once it was started, I was able to bend it. Let me just add that nail bending is a hell of a cardiovascular and full body strength workout. I was sweating buckets and my heart rate was flying. So since I couldn’t bend the 1/4 inch without a start, I was wondering why the 3/8th. I thought maybe he was going to do something with it.

He did. He gave it to me and showed me how to use my entire body to bend it. You start by getting it started over your thigh, once you have a bend, you start placing it and using other body parts. So bending this piece, involved some crazy isometric full body moves. I bent it!!

Keep reading because that isn’t even the good part.

After some recovery, I was telling Bud that all of my friends were posting videos of themselves doing 2 finger pull ups. I told him that I felt a bit jealous and how I wished I could do that. He then asked me if I had ever tried. The answer was no. I just assumed I could never do anything like that. I had given up before I had ever started. Something I realize that I do a lot….a whole lot.

He told me to try it. We walked over to the rings. I put my first 2 fingers on the rings and all the while was thinking how I’m going to be embarrassed because I can’t do it.

Then, I just pulled myself up. Not only did I pull up, but I held myself up there for quite a while. Holy Crapola!! I couldn’t believe it. I did it again and again.

I did it for several days after to make sure it wasn’t a fluke..it wasn’t.

It was then I knew I had to do something about my negative thinking. I would never in a million years tell anyone that they can’t do something. With others I am encouraging and positive so why the heck am I so hold on myself? Finding the answer to that really doesn’t matter. Knowing why doesn’t elicit change. Changing elicits change. So where to start?

One of the things I will do first is to make friends with myself. I will treat myself as I treat others and how I would like to be treated by others. Secondly, I will act as if I am already a confident, positive person. The old, “Fake it Till You Make it”.

I have a list of affirmations next to my computer and I am redirecting negative thoughts into positive ones. Yesterday, I took things to a whole new level. Instead of putting my goal on paper, I did this.

The Iron Maiden is a major feat of strength with Kettlebells. A lady will perform a Pistol Squat, Press and Pull Up with a 24 kilo bell (53 pounds). I have a great training program and my goal is to complete this in the summer of 2013.

Me and this bell are going to become very close in the coming year.

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.

10,500 pounds of Kettlebells and 50 pounds of food

I have so many exciting things to share from the last week but today I will focus on the incredible deliveries I received.

Finally after months of waiting, I finally got notice that my 10,500 pound order of Dragon Door Kettlebells were going to arrive today. They gave me a 2 hours window and I did my best to plan my day around that. First thing I had to get done was a quick workout with my buddy, Jane at my gym. Since Jane doesn’t drive, I agreed to take her to her massage appointment, because after all, who wants to have to ride a bike home after getting a massage?? As far as I’m concerned, I probably saved her life.

I dropped her off and went home to await her text telling me she was ready to be picked up. Just as I pulled up my driveway, the Fed-Ex truck pulls up. My first thought was that my husband ordered another box of cigars, but I saw that the driver was getting out a dolly. If that was cigars, my husband would be in big trouble. It was my food order from Meal Movement!! Fifty pounds of fresh, wholesome eggs,vegetables and meat, that are flash frozen and delivered on dry ice. My food woes are solved!

My plan was to clean out my freezer to make room but I forgot, so I had to cram all of that food anywhere and everywhere I could. I took out some of the packets of veggies so you could see how fresh they are.

This is my second order from Meal Movement. I was afraid of trying a food delivery service especially after reading about all the preservatives in other more popular services, but MM impressed me. It’s not loaded with any junk. There are no starches and best of all the food is so good that my husband and teenage son love it. You could order the 28 days of meals for yourself and really expect to lose weight or do as I do, order it to have a ton of healthy meals that take just seconds to heat up.

It saves us from eating crap and ordering out all the time when we get too busy to cook. It takes away all of my “I can’t eat healthy” excuses. The food is delicious, portion controlled and inexpensive. Don’t just take my word for it, check out Meal Movement for yourself.

No sooner did I get my food put away that I got a call from the shipping company that the Kettlebells were on their way to my house! I must add that I did manage to pick up Jane and drop her limp, relaxed body off safely at her home.

So, as you can see, it’s been quite a day!

If you or your gym want the best Kettlebells on the market, please contact me. I’ve got a few ton to sell. If you aren’t sure about the quality of all the different Kettlebells out there, I made a video.

Now to find a bunch of friends to help me unpack crates and store these bells…Anyone? Bueller?

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?