Project #GetStrongStayStrong

I am SO READY for the offseason to be here.  If it wasn’t for my pesky mechanical DNF at London a few weeks ago, I would already be swanning around and enjoying the “no race is on the horizon” feeling.  Instead I am daydreaming about what comes next, while putting in the work to get across the finish line on Sunday.

Although I’m not *just* daydreaming.  Dreams need actions to become reality.

Way back in the summer of 1991 the seeds of a dream were planted.  Mind you, they were only at that stage a dream, because never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I was physically capable of transforming that dream into a reality.

The dream?  To get strong like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.  Her character Sarah Connor had this awesome physical and mental strength… I wanted that.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be a badass like that?  Oh yeah, and able to do 5 million pull ups like the opening scene.  And kill terminators.  Yep.  I wanted that.

But I just did not think I would ever be able to develop it.  I had spent an entire lifetime being discouraged from sports – either by doctors, or by my abyssmal performance, or by my parents who encouraged me to focus on “what I was good at” – which was nothing athletic!

But in 2007, when climbing the stairs at home had become a chore which made my legs feel heavy and Frankenstein like, I knew that I had to change.  I wasn’t quite sure how, but I knew in my heart that if I embraced being active I would feel stronger, more stable, more ABLE.  Slowly but surely, and in particular since 2009 when I had my “come to Jesus” fitness self-realisation moment,  I have built up my abilities and my confidence in my body.

I had a pretty straight forward belief when I decided to do a triathlon – that the training would help me to get strong in order to stay strong.  In my heart, I knew that unless I built up my strength, I could lose it forever.  For many years though I avoided the actual strength training.  I just couldn’t find the motivation within myself to get it done.  I found lifting weights daunting, and a bit boring.  But at the start of 2012 I resolved to change my approach and joined a 30 minute twice a week bootcamp.  I finally found a format that worked for me – a small group fast paced class with lots of variety in exercises.  And I started to feel stronger and more stable – more ABLE – than ever.

One of the things that I have learned this season is that I need to plan out my training, so that I give my body a chance to recovery from intensity.  I scaled back my bootcamp to once a week only during the “in season”.  And I have been wondering about an optimal day to do a second session of bootcamp.  With my training patterns I decided to look for a bootcamp on a Saturday to slot into my “off season” plans.

This weekend I attended a new class.  I “interviewed” the instructors before signing up, just to know what I was getting myself into – and of course to let them know about my challenges and my goals.  Although I was mentally prepared for the session, I have to say that physically this was probably the hardest fitness session I have ever done, and certainly the most intense.  A few years ago I would have never dreamed of attending a session like this.  I just didn’t consider myself ABLE enough.  But now?  Now my approach is different – I realise that for strength work it has to be a me versus me approach.  I work with the instructors to help them to understand my specific challenges.  I modify the hell out of the exercises, to find something that pushes me without breaking me. And I commit to the sessions. 100%.

Man oh man.  Saturday was tough.  Tough in the best possible way.  Even my forearms are dead today – two days after the session.  But without pushing myself – sensibly, carefully, but nevertheless pushing hard and feeling sore – I know won’t reach my dream of becoming Linda Hamilton strong.  Dreams need action to come true. 

Gratuitous sweaty forearm shot, not from Saturday, but to show you something that I have just noticed – my forearms are skinny in the same pattern as my calves, highlighting to me the equal impact that CMT is having on my peripheral muscles in both my arms and legs.  I am fairly certain I have the same amount of forearm atrophy as calf atrophy.  No wonder my arms are tired from Saturday!  And by the way, I had to include a sweaty photo right?  Because without a sweaty photo the hard work never happened, did it?

Watch out terminator.  And look out off-season.  I’m coming for you!

One response to “Project #GetStrongStayStrong”

  1. Strength training hasn’t happened for me since about two months prior to IMTX which means February/March….and I really didn’t miss it one bit especially during the deep throws of Ironman training.

    Now that I have the no training plan training plan going on I decided to go back to the gym and lift.  I am going 2x per week myself and it is for 30 minutes at most and 15 of those minutes are core work.

    Uhh… back was so sore on Friday that I actually considered not going and doing the OWS.  Yes, I need to keep going but I find it somewhat boring like you which is a 180* difference from where I was before I got into triathlon.

    Looking like Linda Hamilton’s nemesis was my goal!  Never go there either, but that is ok. I am my own Terminator.

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