Thursday, February 2, 2012

Slow & Steady...

Two wonderful discoveries this week:

First, in boot camp, I was not jogging alongside a limping twelve year old. Well, she wasn't there. I was jogging next to an older guy who is clearly the least fit man in the class. And he was walking. Not sure this is an improvement, but it picked up as we warmed up. I was not jogging at the front of the pack, but I was holding my own in the center. Slow and steady wins the race. I got it all over steady. I may jog like a snail, but I can jog for long.

Patting myself on the back for going to boot camp, despite how busy I've been. I almost said no, too tired, too much, after five massage appointments and a long day, but went anyway and, as always, glad for it. I said something about this on facebook and my mother posted, "bragging or complaining?" Well. Why does it have to be between two negatives? I respond, "congratulating myself. And complaining." I certainly earned the privilege.

Second, I went to the beach for a short break to visit my Aunt Jeannie and catch a little R&R. I meant to go and come back Monday, but my time got so crunched, what with the World Beer Festival on Saturday and all, that I didn't leave until Sunday afternoon. I stayed for all of Monday and drove back early Tuesday before my first client.

On Monday, I went for a run and was pleasantly surprised that I made it all the way from my aunt's house down to the Pig and around again, a distance of four miles!! And, not only that, it felt good! I enjoyed myself, didn't over-do, didn't hurt anything, was barely sore.

I thought about this: At the beach, I run four miles with relative ease. At home, at Camp Gravatt, I run two miles and I am wiped. What gives? I have decided, it must be the sand. The sand gives. At Gravatt, I run on sand. It makes all the difference in the world. If I can do four miles out here, I will bet I could do eight somewhere else! Worth trying, even if the distance thing is blowing my ego.

So that's it for now. I have way more to say about the World Beer Festival, but it gets it's on blog post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Yoga of Boot Camp

First of all, let me report on my progress, as of late:

I have been tracking my calories and, damn, a good, rich milk stout has more than I'd care to know about. It's a meal in a glass at about 200 calories per 12 ounces. (That is not to say ALL stouts sport higher calories. Guinness, the quintessential stout, is quite low in calories. It's all about the sugar and the alcohol content. But I digress...) Leinenkougal's Sunset Wheat is a handy 115 calories per 12 ounces and, while I don't want to become a regular wheat beer drinker, lest I have to turn in my He-Woman's Beer Drinking Trophy, I do want to lose weight. I might have to get some Guinness next time I'm at the store so I can maintain my elite beer drinker's status.

The fact that I have purchased tickets to the World Beer Festival in Columbia this weekend spells imminent disaster. What can I do to mitigate the damage? Exercise? Possibly. Eat less? Probably. It's a good thing the taste testers come in tiny glasses. That means they don't count, right? I think I'll just slap a thousand points on my day and call it done.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday night, I attend Boot Camp at Odell Weeks. Lori Comshaw is the trainer and facilitator of this event and is the perfect example of a tiny fit size two blond body. And she's had three kids, so there goes MY excuse. I like to tell her stories of my adventures in beer while we are running on the track around Odell Weeks, and she shakes her head, slap her palm against her forehead and cries, "Oy!" It's fun to taunt the teacher.

Anyway, I have had two instances of inspiration this week. Let me share:

#1. Lori's twelve year old daughter Mary is suffering from a knee injury. She joins us for the workouts anyway. On my jog around the track, I realize that I am having a hard time keeping up with Mary. And she's limping. I check my ego at the door now, along with my jacket and cellphone.

#2. I got a new client this afternoon, last appointment before boot camp. She was referred to me by the chiropractor in my leads group and has some back issues that need attention. Lovely lady, but he failed to give me the heads up that she weighs 300 pounds. This requires considerably more effort on my part as it is much more difficult to move body parts and get through to the muscles that need fixing. So, I had a workout before I had a workout. That was not so bad, really, but she had a gigantic, large backside, the place she collected the most fat, and I had to literally shove it out of the way so I could work her lower back properly. That, in and of itself, is incredible inspiration. Tonight, I did not pass Mary on the track, but I did keep up with her. She was not limping as much either.

(P.S. The new client left my office in considerably better shape and smiling. Mission accomplished. I love it when it happens that way.)

When I work on my massage clients, I think about their bodies not just as two-dimensional objects, but as fully three dimensional. I work around their arms and legs, over and under, and I perform a lot of passive stretching. My clients, in general, say that this approach sets me apart from other massage therapists and they like it. So, no matter the client, I find a way to move and stretch them. This can be challenging on long legged and large clients, a real work out, in some cases!

Today, on large lady new client, I performed some passive stretches while she laid supine on the table. One of the stretches is a hip opener which looks like "tree pose" in yoga. In tree pose, you stand on one leg, take the other leg and fold it across to the inside of your upper thigh, just above your knee. Then you pull back the bent knee so that, in profile, you are flat as a pancake. There is more to it, but that's all you need to know to get the gist here.

I do something similar on the massage table. I call it "dead tree pose." I bend the client's knee, their foot alongside the other knee, and let it drop open and outward (making sure they are carefully draped -- THAT could be embarrassing!)I hold the hip bone above the long leg and the knee of the bent leg and push downwards, assisting in the stretch.

Men usually suck at this for a variety of reasons. First, their hips are narrower than women's and are usually much more tight. Second, they are energetically protecting their dangly objects and don't like their thighs to stray away from the target, less their manhood becomes compromised. Hip openers can make them feel vulnerable, physically and emotionally. I had one client, a rather tall, sinewy horse trainer who needed stretching in the inner thigh very, very badly , cry out, "Whoa, girl! Easy! Easy, girl!" Like he was talking to a mare. Men don't like this stretch.

Women do. And they are usually pretty good at it. Come on, ladies, think of how many times we are required to open up our legs for someone. Our hips are wide and can handle it. And we carry our womanhood someplace deeper than between our legs, and I don't just mean that geographically.

So I was working on large lady new client and put her into dead tree pose, which was no small feat, and she said it felt so good, she knew she needed to do yoga, she'd never been able to do tree pose, but here she was, reclining and doing it. Why did yoga have to be so daunting? It's all about stretching and opening, finding your center and heart space, practicing calm in the eye of the storm so that when the storm passes over, you can still find your center and stand firm. Easier to do reclining. It's a place to start.

I got to thinking, this is the problem in most yoga classes. Now, I know Ms. V, my favorite gorgeous twig thin lovely yoga lady is going to be reading this post and saying, "Hey! Don't you be dissing on yoga! It is the key to the fruits of all goodness!" And I agree, yoga can be a true connection of body, mind and spirit. But that is not how most people approach yoga.

THIS is how most people approach yoga:

7:57 a.m. I walk into a dimly lit room, place my yoga mat neatly on the floor, my towel next to it, sit myself into a lotus position, thinking how elegant and clean I look in my new capri tights and hot skinny tank top, my hair pinned back in a pony tail, put my hands on my knees, open, close my eyes ... and start to fidget. First my mind wanders, then my body starts to twitch. I wonder why class is taking so long to start. Where is the damned instructor? I open my eyes after what seems like an eternity. It is 7:58 a.m.

I continue to fidget. I rearrange my towel. I get up and get a drink of water, sit back down, rock on my sit bones. Now I know why yoga people chant. It is because there is no music to sway to. I am ready to hear some Lady Gaga or Beyonce. This quiet is killing me. Exercise should always have music.

8:00. The instructor walks in. She is so petite and thin, a small breeze might have lifted her through the door and into the room, she is delivered to her position without a sound. The class starts with a few sun salutations, moving from standing prayer to downward dog to warrior to downward dog to standing prayer to.... The class is flowing along like a river of water. I just manage to get up off my matt. I make some grunting noises when I do it and the guy next to me, a lean Asian dude, looks over to see what is going on and nearly falls out of his warrior pose. "Sorry," I mutter, under my breath. He looks annoyed with himself for falling out of his center.

I don't know, but at some point, they all sat down again and I had barely made it through one cycle of salutation, the sun will just have to shine without my greeting. I am glad to sit down, that was hard. I fell out of warrior three times and when I moved back into downward dog, this puppy realized she must have had cabbage for supper because I broke wind in a lovely, effervescent sort of "poof" that was loud enough to be heard by all the people next to me, if not in the entire room.

I watched the instructor carefully. She folded her body in half like a jackknife finding its sheath and the rest of the class followed. I keep thinking I could just walk right up there, pick her up, and carry her out, folded in half like that, as if she was a folding table that had just been put away for storage. I follow the instructor, take a breath, bend forward, stretch my arms out and try to reach my toes, only making it as far as my knees. For God's sake, they were my own toes and they wouldn't come when I called them! And crud, I have to move my belly out of the way to do it ... To many women who have had three ten pound babies like I did, forward bends are tantamount to doing yoga with a pillow belted to your front. I scoop my stomach up, move it gently to the side and try again. I look around the room and see that everybody, all the size two chicks in tights and men in skimpy shorts are bent in half, their heads between their knees, hands on their toes. I am glad they can't see me as I violently push and pull, trying to get my back to let go, jostling my stomach out of place once again. I do not want to be the only one in class who can't follow instructions. I know, the yoga instructor said we should only go to where our bodies allow us to go, but I don't want to be "the one" for whom everything had to be modified, like the stupid bumbling guy in the Jane Fonda series who always stumbled into class late and never got it right.

So I give myself one last pull and voila! I fall foward!! I can do it! I can do yoga!! Except that my jackknife is locked in the closed position. I can't get back up, not without experiencing sharp pains in my lower back, the kind that rip through to your toes and rend you apart. Class is dismissed to corpse pose, the one where you get to lie on your back and play dead, but the pain is so intense, I can scarcely breathe, I will not even make it to dead. I am stuck.

The yoga instructor comes over to lend her assistance, but I tell her to go away or I will have to feed her sorry carcass to my dogs for a snack, she needs to go eat a sandwich, I'll get up just fine on my own, give me a minute.

Someone up there sprays the virtual WD40 magic, prayer does work! And I start to move, slightly, just enough to roll to my side and release my back. Most people have left class at this point. I crawl out of the room on my hands and knees, leaving my matt and my towel for someone more worthy. I am done with yoga. At least until tomorrow.

And, by the way, I have never seen my dog Daisy in a downward dog position. At least, not for very long. She never holds a position for longer than .004 seconds and then it's on to the next thing. What's so yoga about that?

Okay, if that little story doesn't illustrate my point, let me explain. In America, we are inherently capitalists. We make everything into a competition. Yoga is no exception. We know we are supposed to find peace in working within our capabilities, to stretch as far as we can with the right intention with the proper alignment, inside and out, that IS doing yoga, even if that position is far off the ideal mark. But we don't work that way. We can't stand to be the tightest assed person in the joint, so we push. We want to be the best. Or, if that is too much responsibility, at least as good as the best. Everything bigger, farther, faster, wider, longer, better. I mean, seriously, the United States is the ONLY place to sport "Competitive Yoga." That's right. People get into yoga positions and are rated on the quality of their stance. It's no wonder someone like me feels like a total imbecile loser when she can't touch her toes.

That is what my new client said as I stretched her into "dead tree" position. She enjoyed yoga, but couldn't keep up with it.

"Well, you are doing tree pose now. You are just lying down."

"That's true! Maybe I should do yoga lying down!" She laughed a jolly laugh, much looser and more carefree than when she got there.

Maybe she was right.

We talked about what yoga should look like for those who need help.

If my new client goes into tree pose lying down, with the right heart and intention, just as far as her body will allow her, she will be doing tree pose, whether it meets the standards of yogic excellence or not. That is where she can go in that moment and that is just fine.

We Americans suck at that.

Kind of like me whining about jogging next to a limping twelve year old. Something like that. I guess it's all good and where I need to be. Dammit.

I will jog faster next time. Or die trying.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Here it is ... Check it out!

Kudos to the Credo

My very excellent daughter Meri created a blog which outlines her experiences training for the USMC Mud Run on April 21st. ( Part One is her Runner's Creed, a humorous, though serious, statement which summarizes what she WILL and WILL NOT do in her efforts to train for this event. Good girl, Mae!! I am so proud of you, every step!!

Not to be out-done, I have written my own credo, based, in part, on my daughter's. It outlines what I WILL and WILL NOT do when running to train for the mud run event. Let me share it with you all...

I, TriXXie Sugarbush, being of sober mind (right now) and soon-to-be-solid body...

WILL NOT be ashamed of my spandex capris with the hole in them or my dog chewed running shoes.

WILL NOT make eye contact with other runners... Mostly because I never see any out here. But if I do, I will cooly glide by, unnoticed, just another middle-aged sweat machine on a sandy trail.

WILL NOT be ashamed of sweating --- I'll just say my dog got too close when she shook herself off from her swim in the pond. Or that she pushed me in the pond. Depends on which mile.

WILL NOT use a treadmill ... There will not be a treadmill in the mud run. Instead, I will run in the rain, cold and wind. Even if it gets down to a frosty 50 degrees, I will run, dammit! I am committed!!

WILL NOT think about how I look like a fat middle-aged cow being chased down the trail by a turtle.

WILL NOT be deterred by hills, mud puddles, big barking dogs or the smell of Gravatt's dining hall when chicken is frying.

WILL NOT be afraid of snakes. Wait. Yes, I will. I WILL be afraid of snakes -- I will run faster!

WILL NOT be too lazy to stretch after my run. At least, not if lying across my bed is called stretching.

WILL NOT listen for cars coming down the road. I will obliviously run in the middle of the road just to piss them off.

WILL NOT make this about weight or... Nevermind. Yes, I will. My insurance will go down $20 a month if I lose 20 pounds, so yes, I will make this about weight. I am too under-insured not to make it about weight. Dammit.

WILL NOT forget my iPod because I would otherwise have to listen to myself heavily plodding through the sand and breathing like a moose in heat.

WILL NOT count .... on passing out. Or dying.

WILL NOT whine. Whining is for whiners. I hate whiners.

WILL NOT make excuses for myself, my speed or my condition. I am too old, too fat and waaay too cynical to care what people think about me anyway. This is all for me.

WILL NOT stop running... at least until I have to pee which, being an old woman, could be forty eight times before I get home.


WILL wear makeup when I run. I am a proper Southern girl, after all. We don't leave the house without makeup.

WILL focus on keeping up with my puppy. Even when she's swimming.

WILL look where I am going so I don't fall into the lake or a big hole in the road.

WILL drink lots of water before and after. And beer. LOTS of beer.

WILL explore new paths in the woods. Unless there are big dogs, big trucks, skaggy toothless big rednecks or ugly mobile homes involved. Then I will stay on the main path. And run faster.

WILL enjoy nature and sunshine and the joy of my puppy. And any hot athletic guy who happens to run past. woof.

WILL smile and try not to barf, hack, spit, cough or wheeze when I pass people along my way.

WILL also train by doing boot camp three times a week. And many arm lifts at home. With a beer. (Hey, don't knock it! Beers are heavy!)

WILL make it through my workout uninjured. I don't need to be fast. Fast is for pussies. It takes a real woman to run slowly and look super cool doing it.

WILL feel superior to anyone not running. At least until they pass me. Then I will criticize their ass.

WILL make this about becoming a stronger, healthier person ... who also happens to be VERY, VERY HOT, superior to all slothly humans and a guilt-free beer drinker to boot.

WILL taunt Slag (my sort-of-ex-not-so-ex-dear-man-friend) when this is done. Just because he'll still have to chase my new badass hot self and won't be able to keep up.

WILL be alive when this is done. And better off for it.

WILL keep running. To the end of the street. Or maybe that pine tree way down there... no. No, not THAT one. THIS one. THIS pine tree. If I can make it... If not there, then at least home again and to the refrigerator.

WILL have a very smart ass. Okay, okay.... a SMARTER ass. And a very hot badass ass, too. :-)

April 21st, we're comin' for ya!!!!

My Daughter Made Me Do It

Despite the fact that I lead an active lifestyle – I have held jobs which require movement, never allow me to sit down. I rarely hang on the couch, eat chips and watch television. I am always moving, traveling, going somewhere, full of energy. I have always had at least a mediocre fitness program in my pocket and have run more than a dozen 10k’s in my lifetime, I have never been trim, athletic or what I would call “fit.” I buy the magazines and fitness books and keep them by the toilet in my bathroom. They make me feel like I can run ten miles tomorrow and leap like a gazelle, even though I know better, the mirror across the bathroom doesn’t lie.

My sister Lauri, ten years younger, is a pretty redhead like me. She is lovely, taller, leaner and was labeled by my mom as “the skinny one.” Not sure where that left me, I never asked. Lauri was the ballerina with long legs and graceful neck who wore size eight jeans and danced on point. I was only allowed to take modern dance. Mom said I was suited more to that type of dance, even though I hated it. I translated this as “modern dance is for ballet rejects.” I thought it was ugly and after one class, I declined to pursue dance at all. If I couldn’t be the lovely ballerina, I didn’t want any part of it.

But I have always wanted to run and by the time I took it on, nobody was around to tell me that I couldn’t hack it. I am old enough that I remember when running became cool, back in the late seventies. By the eighties, everybody was running or doing aerobics, which, to me, is just another form of modern dance. Yuck. I went for the running shoes. I ran my first 10k in Austin, Texas, the Austin-American Statesman 10k on Easter Sunday, 1987. I trained for it simply by running around Lake Austin every day after work. I didn’t make a great time, but I ran the whole way. Good enough for me! I was an athlete, at least for a day. I went home and soaked myself in a tub of hot water, satisfied with my performance. The highlight of the day was the fellow who ran next to me in a pickle suit. He was running an ad (literally) for Congressman Jake Pickle, and he didn’t know it, but he spurred me on to the finish. I wasn’t about to be beaten by a pickle!

I have run, off and on, since Austin. Since then, I lived in the land of the supremely fit, Boulder, Colorado. This has been especially hard, since I have acquired ten pounds for every child I gave birth to and ten more for the ex-husband. When I was in Boulder, I taught elementary school, then earned my massage therapy certification and license at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy. I worked as a massage therapist in the office of a physical therapist, the quintessential Boulder running man who placed in ultra-marathons. ( I was swimming in a sea of fitness, drowning, and never felt like part of the club.

I was no slacker. But, mind you, Boulder sports the elite of super- fit. They are everywhere, on the roads, the trails, the mountains, up cliffs, down ravines, in your back yard… You can’t swing a cat on a street corner in Boulder without hitting an athlete in the ass.

In Boulder, when you tell someone with pride that you just finished a marathon, the response is which one and how many does this make? Then they regale you with stories about their multitude of marathons and other athletic adventures. Here in South Carolina, most people would look at you like you are nuts, pat your shoulder and say, “That’s nice, honey. Here. Have another piece of fried chicken.” I tried to keep up; I am not to be undone. I completed eleven Bolder Boulder 10k runs and even one Cooper River Bridge Run, in which I sported my best time, just over an hour! Training at altitude and running at sea level does make a difference!

So, here I am at sea level again, living amongst fried chicken and pork chops, French fries and apple pies. I fit in again. The people here look so…..normal! While I love that part and I love fried chicken, too, I still want to run. And I want to do it well.

My sister Lauri has taken up a fitness program, too. In an effort to battle stress and depression, she joined a gym. She immediately lost fifteen pounds (I hate that she can do that!) and toned it all up. It is, of course, somewhat easier when we are younger. The body is more responsive. By the time you get to middle age, forty eight like me, your body starts fighting back, rebelling against change. I mean, it didn’t used to be that I groaned and made noise every time I got into and out of a chair. When did that happen?! It’s my old body. I hates change.

Lauri is the Executive Director of the Bishop Gravatt Camp and Conference Center in Aiken, South Carolina. I recently moved to South Carolina to be closer to her as she is enduring a separation and to my father, who has been ill. I left Boulder behind me, opened a massage studio in the center of Aiken (My Aiken Body Restorative Massage – I sold everything but my home in Boulder, which is still on the market, moved my stuff and my two kitties, Bubba, the big-assed twenty pound black cat and Cali, his calico companion, and bought a small house on ten acres just outside of Gravatt and only a mile down the road from my sister. I adopted another kitty, SpanXX, a very naughty little thing, as a tip from a client who adopted a stray pregnant cat and wanted good homes for her progeny. My black Lab, Daisy Mae, joined our family here at Gravatt last May. I have three children: Ben, 22, recent Sewanee graduate who lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut. Meri, 19, an aspiring animator who is pursuing her dream to work at Pixar by obtaining her degree in animation from Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California. And Sam, 15, who is a freshman at Boulder High School and lives with his father in Boulder most of the time, with me, the other part of the time. I was excited to have all of my children out here for Christmas holiday this year! A complete set! That is rare these days, with three scattered from sea to shining sea and areas in between.

I was grateful for lots of new business. My business has been taking off! Several months back, I was referred to a fitness trainer, Lori Comshaw, and I gave her a demo-massage in the hope that we could do some trade referrals. In return, she invited me to join her in her “Boot Camp Class” which meets at 6 p.m. on Monday-Wednesday-Friday at Odell Weeks. I planned to go and never made it because, well, I’d like to say I was busy every night at 6:00 and, in truth, that is often the case. But I never made time to go. I never really planned to go. I have discovered, more so than ever in my life, that there is no “finding time,” only “making time.” I hadn’t made the time. I started running with my dog Daisy during the fall months, off and on, and that was good because, I’m telling you, if I don’t take her out for a run, she reminds me. The path the fitness is likely best found by following a Labrador puppy through the woods. But I never truly made time to exercise.

By December, I’d forgotten about boot camp all together. One day, Lori called and said she wanted to buy gift certificates for massage for her clients. I was happy to serve her in this and grateful to meet new clients. During holiday break, right after Christmas, one of her clients came to see me. He was a nice looking, trim, fit older man who told me about his work with Lori. He’d lost over four pants sizes since he’s been working out with her. He felt energetic, younger, happier and healthier than he ever had. His picture is on her website,, and he has written glowing testimonials about his experiences in finding fitness. And he told me all about a feat he never thought he’d accomplish: The USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run. He and his team, which included trainer Lori, completed the October USMC mud run. By his testimony, it was an incredible experience, he felt he’d really accomplished something when he’d completed it and he’d had more fun than he could imagine doing it. It was a milestone in his path to fitness.

And I could do it, too! He and Lori were planning to run it again on April 21st of this year and one of their teammates, after doing three mud runs, decided she was done, three was enough. They needed another team member. Maybe I’d be interested? I told him during our session that I was making some changes in my life, it was time, the new year was upon me, I was making resolutions. When I got his invitation, I realized it was time to put up or shut up. Either I was planning to do something or I was really doing it.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll consider it.” He graciously sent me the web link to the mud run and pictures of him and his team, before and after. The team members in the first were smiling, happy, ready for a big day. In the “after” picture, they were slimed with slick mud, head to toe, sweaty, disheveled, scraped up … and smiling, happy, reveling in their success. I showed the pictures to my sister and daughter over supper that night and told them how I’d been invited to join the team. I was fairly choking on my dessert, but Lauri and Meri were intrigued, enough to review the website. Lauri had been considering putting together a sports event at Gravatt. Maybe she should complete a mud run and see what that was like, get ideas? My daughter was inspired.

Meri spent the evening reviewing the mud run course, reading about it, looking at the photos. There are pictures of participants swimming like dolphins in a sea of mud, coming up for air and covered with mud all over. Mud coated bodies climbing over a slimy high wall. Mud caked people swinging from wet ropes across a thick pool of mud. You have to understand, my daughter has always sought out the mud puddles. She is the one who I’d find, as a child, standing knee deep in rainy pools of water, splashing about. She is a dolphin at heart, I’m sure, a true water girl. Meri had been talking about getting in shape, working towards fitness, eating better. Here was her opportunity to do that and play in the mud!

That evening, I reviewed the mud run site, posted something about the mud run on my facebook page. I seriously considered joining, not just because it would help my fitness goals, but because it is for a good cause. The USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run is hosted by the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation. The run has grown to attract participants from all across the United States. In 2010, the USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run reached capacity with 3,600 teams and over 14,000 participants, making it the largest Mud Run in North America. The mud run was created to raise money, awareness and support for Marines and their families around Columbia, South Carolina, and across the nation who have been wounded or killed while serving on active duty. Profits from the run are also used to support several local college scholarships which have been named in memory of Marines killed serving their country as well as local events which promote the Marine Corps in the community. This is a cause I could run for.

The next morning, I caught a post from Meri that said she thought it would be totally cool if I did the mud run. I could be the bad A mom, at last! She said if Lauri and I did it, she’d do it, too (provided I flew her back for the event). That was all Lauri needed to hear. She signed us up that day. We were in. Case closed.

All we needed was a fourth.

In order to recruit our fourth, Lauri and I put together an application on facebook. These are the questions posed to potential team members:

1. Males: Are you single? Females: Will you look cuter than me or Kristen in a muddy t-shirt?

2. Can you run?

3. Can you carry me on your back? I'm not telling you how much I weigh, but it's more than a breadbox and less than a car.

4. Are you willing to train?

5. Can you do this without getting pissed off at me because I've never done anything like this before and though I plan to train and take it seriously, my goal is to finish it without dying and nothing more?

6. What do you think our team name should be? (Once you list your team name idea, we reserve the right to use it even if you don't end up on our team.)

7. What color team t-shirt would you like?

8. Do you have $40 for the entry fee?

9. Do you mind the My Aiken Body logo on our t-shirt?

10. What kind of beer will you bring for our post-training reflection time?

All supremely important questions.

Ben, friend, engineer and karaoke deejay (, offered to join us and we gratefully accepted, glad to have a man who could both run and perhaps pick us up and carry us across the finish line. Yes, that is one of the requirements. We have to carry each other over the finish line. I am going to do my teammates a favor and lose weight, if only so I don’t kill them.

But, after some research, Ben chickened out. He said someone who ran the mud run told him that many people were injured, several went to the hospital, he wanted no part of that. When I asked Lori, she said that the people who hurt themselves were mostly those who had not trained properly. If I trained properly with running and boot camp, then I would do fine. Nothing gave me the impetus to “train properly” more than hearing those words. That and having her take my BMI (Body Mass Index). If you really want inspiration to become physically fit, have your skinny fit trainer take your BMI.

Nothing spells inspiration more than a deadline and a threat. I am not merely involved in this project: I am committed. It is rare that anything lands in your lap unless you have a plan and a commitment. I have been attending Lori’s boot camps faithfully since the beginning of the year. I have been running 2-3 miles in the woods of Gravatt with my Daisy at least three times a week, planning for more and longer. I have been tracking the food I eat daily and keeping the total under 2000 calories. I have been reshaping the way I think about food, about fitness, about goals and discipline and turning 50. I have never been one to go down without a fight. I have decided that my body has been way underutilized; it holds an untapped power within. It’s time to mine it.

We now have a potential fourth, Tim, from Colorado Springs. He is a long time friend, another engineer, fit and disciplined, experienced in races and he always comes with beer. He is training at altitude, a plus! And he has never seen Aiken, so I have bribed him by telling him it is the promised land of beer and money, he will love it here.

This blog will chronicle the ups, downs and sideways of the path towards my goal: Being a total Hot Bod Bad Ass Fit and Fifty Mom. At last, at last!! Free at last! I am on my way!