Thursday, November 22, 2012

Last Straw, First Step

I am 43 years old, a mom of two, wife of one, overweight and out of shape, except for round, which I understand is a shape, but not the one I prefer.

Like so many women who are staring down middle age, I am feeling the effects of life on my body, which up until the birth of my daughter seven and a half years ago, was pretty healthy, or at least symptom-free. I had my first reality check 11 years ago when I did not have the natural, romantic birth experience that I desired with my son. I realized then that I am not invincible, but until the birth of my daughter, I never felt exactly bad.

At the age of 35, after little girlie came along, I began feeling tired. A lot. I lost my "spring" and I had aches and pains I had never had. I would get extremely moody and  depressed when PMS struck. I had frequent headaches and and an overall brain fog, which I attributed to being overly tired from lack of sleep and nursing a baby. I began taking high-quality supplements in 2008. This helped greatly and started me on a path of much better eating and living, but it wasn't a magic bullet. I began to gain weight, and over the course of five years grew heavier than I ever thought I could be. A friend had success with the HCG diet, and I, never having dieted a day in my life, decided to try it and lost an amazing 31 pounds. I looked so much better, but I was still weak, and while the diet helped me to really establish some different and better eating habits, I have gained 20 of the pounds back over the course of a year.

About the time we did HCG, my husband and I began hearing of a way of eating called "paleo" and so he started researching it and listening to a number of podcasts. Interestingly, I found that he would come home and tell me all these cool nutrition factoids that he had learned, and I would reply, "uh huh--I know." I knew, but I didn't do. It just didn't sound practical or appealing. Along with that information he began hearing of a way of exercising called "CrossFit." This he didn't bring up too much except to inform me that this is what Ryan Lochte was doing when NBC sports aired his profile and showed him hauling around tractor tires as part of his workout. My response? "Oh, okay."

Fitness, schmitness...I'm a lumpy mom. I cook and clean and homeschool my kids, which amounts to a full-time job. I fret about my looks and weight. I have no time to work out, especially with dirty, stinky tractor tires, which was now my impression of CrossFit. Though my husband was growing increasingly interested in fitness and paleo-style eating, he knew this mindset of mine very well, and wisely, did not bug me about it. There was this thing, however that was really bugging me. I was looking for more opportunities for my son to be physically fit and active, but I have always resisted the notion that my kids must play organized sports in order to counteract the standard, sedentary American lifestyle. I wanted to be fit and active together as part of our lifestyle--not running around taking them to sports fields so I could sit on my bum and gossip with other mothers. It kept nagging at me that I needed to set the pace and be active myself, and the kids would follow. My spreading behind and my lethargy had to go. I was finished. My thousand mile journey had to start with my first step--the hardest one to take.

I started researching gyms in the area--I hated the idea, but thought that really what I needed was a class of some sort, and CrossFit Woodbridge came up. I looked at it, then looked at it again, and again. I had no idea what it was really about, but when my old La Leche League co-leader announced a "bring a friend" day on Facebook (and would anyone like to join her?) I decided it was a very low-risk way to try it out, not to mention get back in touch with someone I really liked!

On that fateful Thursday afternoon (October 25, 2012) I went to "The Box" and did my first CrossFit partner workout. The WOD (WOD means Workout Of the Day) involved something like half-a-million lunges, wall balls, sit ups, pushups, and all of that after a warm-up that nearly had me laid out. I went home in agony, and the lactic acid burn did not go away until noon the following day. I soaked in the jacuzzi and massaged my legs. I took Advil. I went to bed and tossed and turned all night. I couldn't sit down in a chair without doing some major groaning and "helping" myself down, and going down stairs was horrible. Somewhere in all that stiffness and pain however, I found this clarity in my head that I hadn't had in years, and a feeling of being alive in a way I had never felt. It was as if my body was screaming, "Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!" I went back two days later. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and I caught a nasty cold (probably from just being physically taxed) and as soon as all of that was worked out, less than a week later, I was back at the box, signing up for three workouts a week for an entire year. WHAT? Yes. A year.

I don't think my story is very different from a huge number of American women my age. I believe that there are so many of us who have fallen prey to the "inevitability" of a fatigued, "mommied-out" body and the mindset that it is just part of getting older. Here is where I think and hope I am different. I don't think it is inevitable, and I am going to do my absolute best to challenge conventional thinking and make my middle years the healthiest and fittest I have ever had.

I am starting this blog for two reasons. The first is that if I know you are reading this and waiting to see if I am going to give up, I will not give up. So there. Accountability is huge, and this is too important a thing for me to fail by way of quitting. Serious injury or death could stop me, but laziness will not. The second reason I am writing here is because I don't know if many 40-something moms think they can do this, at least not moms who are starting from ground-zero, with a zero-shaped rear-end to prove it. Let me tell you that if I succeed at this, you can too. For sure. I bring nothing to the table but my will and desire. I am seriously out of shape. If you want to see just how bad it is, there is a photo of me at CrossFit from my very first day--I couldn't believe they took a picture of me, let alone put it on the blog! I am the round-bottomed, red-faced one high-fiving the guy who did the whole workout with one arm. The amazingly fit, good-looking gal in the red shirt is my friend who invited me. I owe her big time.

(link was broken and I cannot find the photo...suffice it to say...progress has been made! 3/19/2015)


  1. Kelly, I have tears pouring down my face! Welcome to our CFW family! (Jenn)

  2. I don't even know you but I felt a catching in my throat while reading that. I'm a 22 year old male affiliate owner, and stories like yours are why I coach CrossFit. I'm certainly following your blog from now on.

    1. Wow. I don't even know what to say. Just--Thanks.

  3. You can do it!! I just started 2 months ago and even though I'm 23 with no kids, believe it or not, I can still relate. Crossfit is challenging for anyone at any age which is why I enjoy it so much. I'm looking forward to reading your blog, keep up the good work! You've accomplished the hardest part: STARTING.

    1. Thanks, Maxine! It does seem as if Crossfit "levels the playing field" in some respects. Good luck to you. I hope you Rx every WOD!