Firstly, Happy Texas Independence Day!! 186 years ago today, Texas gained its independence from Mexico and became a Republic, The Republic of Texas. When it later agreed to join The Union, it maintained the right to fly its flag at equal height with the US flag, for it joined as an independent republic.
On that note, the Texas state sport is rodeo. My mom and I went to the rodeo tonight. I attended seminars all day for the Ranching and Wildlife Expo, which were awesome, and my mom joined me for the last couple, which included demonstrations and dinner from and by Prasek’s Family Smokehouse. Talk about fascinating and delicious… I got to see how to cut up a deer and a wild pig, and then I got to eat deer tamales and sausage. Wowza.
Before all that, though, when I was on a break from the sessions, I stopped at the military area at the rodeo, and ended up doing the Marines challenge on the pull-up bar. Apparently, pull-ups and chin-ups are both allowed, but I’m too much of a purist for chin-ups in a (technically) pull-up challenge. I ended up tying with the leaderboard score for females, but I was truly proud of my awesome and strict pull-ups, all will full extension and NO legs. It was a fascinating and oddly fulfilling experience to have a handful of Marines counting allowed for me as I did them. (It was also satisfying to hear their initial reactions of support to witnessing my first pull-up, as they realized that I wasn’t just some average girl in a dress.) The Sargent told me, “You have to earn this shirt.” And I did. And it was awesome. I’m the back, it has my childhood quote: Pain is weakness leaving the body. I love it (even though it’s dry fit!).
Finally, do you ever have those days where you get homely consider if you just want to skip brushing your teeth and go straight to bed? Tonight was one of those nights for me. Of course, I likely never would do that, but the consideration arose today, and big time. I am worn. out.
A couple years ago, a certain job opening was made known to me. For years – maybe ten? -, it had been my dream job. But, on that day, when I was stressed at learning of its becoming available, I had a great talk with my cousin to help me sort through what was going on inside my body and mind.
As it turns out, I didn’t want the job anymore. Who I was was beyond the job. I had outgrown the dream. And I don’t mean in age. I just mean that who I had become at this point in time was more than that dream, more than the person who had had that dream ever imagined she would be. I had outgrown that person and that dream.
And, though it was a tad stressful at first, it turned it to be a wonderful thing, much better than the dream the job had once been.
Today, walking the running/walking trail loop at the park, a girlfriend and I were nearing the area with pull-up bars. Growing up, and even as an adult, I had always dreamed of being one of those guys – as I only knew guys who could do it – who could walk up to a pull-up bar at a park and just do a pull-up, like it was no big deal, and then continue on their way, returning to their different reason for being at the park in the first place. They weren’t there for pull-ups. It was just fun to do a pull-up whenever a bar was around like that, right?
I longed for that for myself in life.
I doubted that I ever would reach such a goal, but I never gave up hope entirely. When I finally got myself sorted emotionally, and had joined my current gym, my doubt lessened, at last, but did not disappear.
Now, remember how we were about to reach the pull-up bars on our walk today? Several years ago, at those same bars, a different girlfriend wanted to attempt a pull-up. She absolutely could not do it, so I told her to bend her knees and let me assist. I might have assisted in lifting her more than her own arms did. It was comical, but still satisfying for both of us, because she had experienced her first pull-up of any kind.
Those same bars always remind me of that friend. (She had joined the gym with me, but she moved out of town after about a year. At that point, she and I both almost could manage a real pull-up. Depending on whom you asked, we both got it. But I don’t really count it. 😛 ) So, on a whim today, I asked the friend with me to do a video for me, so I could send it to that other friend.
We went to the bars. They were super hot. I had to adjust my palms to the heat of metal that had been baking in the sun all day. After a matter of seconds, though, I figured I could stand the heat enough, and we started the video. I grabbed onto the bar, dropped my feet from under me, and did a few pull-ups. Four was all I did, as I doubted another was in me at the time. I said as much, and we laughed about it, as we headed back into our walk.
It wasn’t until I was thinking about it later, after the walk had finished, that I realized that, well, I had just achieved a dream of mine. And not just any dream, but a long-time, doubt-filled dream of mine.
So, why hadn’t I noticed? Why was I more excited about remembering that I had even had a dream, than achieving the dream itself?
And I realized: because I had outgrown the dream.
At the gym, after every work-out, I do a maximum effort set of pull-ups. From the day I got my first pull-up (though I did two rounds of that one rep), I have done this. For a long time, that max effort was one rep. Then, it became two. Then, it was two or three. Then, it was mostly three. Then, it was four or three. Today, after the morning workout that had had 45 reps of banded pull-ups (in sets of nine) in it, it was five.
I once dreamed of being able to do a single pull-up at any time, anywhere. After a few months ago, though, that dream transformed into ten pull-ups at any time, anywhere. So, doing a single pull-up in the park was no big deal for me today. But it was a big deal for me for most of my life.
So, where do I go from here?
Forward, just like my kakizome for this year says.
You see, I think dreams, rather than merely being a destination, are really just a starting point. As we grow in who we are, so do our dreams grow. What seemed colossal at one point in life, suddenly seems minuscule later down the road. But the colossal dreams we have today would have been too much for us back then. We needed those earlier dreams in order to help us become who we are today, to help us create these new, even larger dreams. Without the relatively small dreams, we never would have made it to the big ones of today.
So, yeah… I think dreams aren’t a destination. They are a starting point.
Today, I did the Memorial Day workout entitled “Murph”. It was, I have been told, the favorite workout of Navy Lieutenant Michael Patrick Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y. He called it “Body Armor”. It is very difficult, to say the least.
This was my second time doing it, and I had to do it solo. But I did it, and I loved it, of course!
I even got to be creative to do ring rows with a pair of jeans in a tree!
Afterward, I was talking with my friend who had been my gym buddy, but who is moving to VA this week. She decided to do it herself (despite having told me “No way!” all last week), since she hadn’t done much since ending her gym membership in March. So, I rode with her for her two runs, and kept count of all of her other movements for her. We actually had a great time just chatting while she did her work-out, and then hanging for a bit afterward on my porch.
Then, I finally went and gorged on healthy food and drink, and continued listening to an audiobook that I am loving!
Mile 1: 9:16
Partitioned ring rows, knee push-ups, and air squats like crazy
Mile 2: 11:01
Mile 1: 8:58
No partitioning, ring rows, Regular push-ups, and air squats
Mile 2: 9:19
Holy snap… That’s a nine-minute difference, I did a harder version, and I definitely was not as wiped out at the end! I also was extremely consistent with my movements throughout there work-out, and my breathing was rather steady. For example, when I did the push-ups, every set of 50 lasted almost exactly three minutes, and my breathing didn’t grow almost any more intense by the end of them than it had been at the start of them.
When my friend finished hers, she said that she missed the feeling of hating a workout and then finishing it… that feeling of accomplishing something that had felt impossible at the outset.
I knew exactly what she meant – it’s a feeling I love and a thing I love about our gym.
Today, I hopped out of bed only six hours after I gotten into it, and headed to my friend’s apartment (where I’m taking care of the cat and watching over the place) to meet a technician.
The technician, named Roland, was incredibly sweet, and even a bit fun for that brief half hour of having him in my life – I hope I was able to bring light to his day as he did to mine.
After that, well, I was already at my friend’s place, and the internet now worked, so I finished watching the currently available online one-hour Cirque du Soleil special, while snuggling with the cat.
I then made a brief trip to the grocer for eggs, and then returned to more time sitting on the sofa, cat pointedly on top of me, legs intertwined with my arms and hands…
I watched the film “Moonstruck” at last – she was 40 and he was 22! – and enjoyed the artistry of it, as well as the comedy and the use of Italian.
Otherwise, I spent the majority of the day and evening just sitting there with the cat, napping off and on together – I guess we were cat napping [Can you cat nap with a cat, can you do it in a hat?]… every hour or so, I’d take a bathroom break from our lazy times on the sofa, and I would stop on the way back to see if I could do a pull-up – I had done my first ever strict pull-up this morning, dead hang, arms locked out, feet off ground, no swinging, strict, chin over bar (without lifting my chin either)… a real pull-up(!!!), and the first in my life…
So, I guess I spent today either lounging and cat napping with a cat on top of me, or in practicing pull-ups…
And, somehow, I am going to bed extremely satisfied… the cat was just as bad as I am in terms of needing that physical touch love today, and it was wonderful and wonderfully fulfilling for my soul… and the pull-up was kind of amazing, too, and also very satisfying. 🙂
A good day… a very good day.
And it is truly a blessing after my struggles last night…, I am extremely grateful for the experiences I had today… I knew I would be okay, and I was today. 🙂
Productivity was on my side today, it seems… and I am exhausted… and I have to get up early for a workout…
Although, it isn’t like I’m actually going to be able to be competitive at it, even though most of the other people totally will be – I’ve relatively only just begun at the gym, and so I have to do a scaled down version of the workout, anyway, let alone have a competitive time of it…
PLUS, we don’t do pull-ups with kipping at our gym, so that already is going to affect people’s times strongly… the only people with whom I could compare my time would be those from my own gym… and, even then, there’s only one person who is comparable to me in the exercise at present, and she’s currently out at a bar, and so no longer plans to be participating in tomorrow’s workout. 😛
Therefore, I guess there really is no need to worry for myself – I’ll be totally okay, however I do on the workout… it needn’t be much different from any other day at the classes (for me, anyway… everyone else can be all pumped and excited for their times, but my goal is just to show up and participate to my fullest).