Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A history of fitness

I have no idea how my experience of being physically active relates with others of my age/gender/general location, but I’ve always assumed that I was much lazier than others.

The home videos will show that I was a fairly active little girl, running around the yard with my sister and jumping into mud puddles (aka. the garden off the front porch). I took ballet for a number of years, until my sister quit. I picked up the malaise from other girls in my physical education classes and followed suit with general detachment and lack of effort. Not that I feel like those classes would have been enough to really “make me active” anyway. I tried soccer for two seasons in middle school, but by that time I was so used to being inactive, I lacked the coordination to run well or pass accurately to other players. I was very self-conscious of how behind I was in comparison to the other girls, who had been playing for at least 5 years if not longer.

I think the first time that I realized that I was not in any kind of shape was around the age of 14, when I was at Church Camp. I attended a camp for Orthodox Christian children (ranging from 9-17 years old) from the ages of 11-14, along with my older sister. We had some friends there already and made new ones easily. My sister met her first serious boyfriend there, I had my first long-lost crush. My first year there, I was convinced I would like to be a CIT when I was too old to be a camper. By the time I attended my last year there, I was regretting being there anymore as I no longer considered myself a Christian or attended church with any regularity. It was an awkward session, given my faith issues as well as budding interest in the opposite sex. I believe I began to experience depression at that time, as well, which lasted for several years throughout high school.

Every morning, we were given a list of activities and classes we could sign up for in the afternoon. Mornings were set aside for classes with our cabin and “brother cabin” (male occupied cabin of the same age), but afternoons could be with anyone from the camp. Some activities, like getting to the pool, were highly sought after. Others, like running the track, were not. One day, I signed up for track. I didn’t know anyone who had signed up, so I mostly ran alone. I recall the burning feeling in my face as I puffed my way around the track. The whole session was maybe an hour long, but I don’t think I jogged/walked for longer than 30 minutes. I felt weak, I felt uncoordinated, and I got a wicked sunburn. I did not have a sense of accomplishment for making myself suffer for those 30 minutes and was still worn out the next day.

After that, with my blossoming self-esteem issues, I never felt comfortable trying to exert myself and build the strength and coordination required for fitness. I took a couple years of dance in high school and enjoyed the practice, but without a dedicated foundation of fitness related activities or dance in particular up until that point, I felt that the class was too advanced and did not have enough individual attention to help me progress.

Since graduating from college in 2010, I’ve been determined to get into shape. My longer term goals are to be able to run/job a mile without stopping. I’d like to be able to do at least one pull-up. I want to be fit enough that I can do somewhat out of the ordinary activities, like go hiking for a weekend, and not have to quit part of the way in because I’m exhausted or winded or sore. I really just want to be functional. My efforts have been sporadic, but starting with a lifetime (albeit a short one so far) of inactivity, I think it’s pretty good.

Current fitness markers:

  • 60 kettlebell swings consecutively, 15 lbs - started at 40
  • 4 overhead presses consecutively, on each side, 15 lb kettlebell – started at 1
  • 15 seconds in plank position – started at 7
  • I don’t run hardly ever so I can’t say how long/far I can run, but I kicked the soccer ball around with Boyfriend for a good 30 min a few weekends ago before I my allergies made me stop!

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