February 23, 2009

Time Together, Lessons Learned

What a day it has been. First of all, the entire Brigade that had recently return from deployment, reported back for their first day of work. For those who don’t know, after resigning back in to post (signing off of deployment), taking reintegration classes and accounting for equipment and such the Soldiers received 30 days of accumulated leave, which the Army refers to as “block leave” when a unit is taking it versus just and individual.

So basically it’s been pretty quiet around here. Quieter than during the deployment because spouses and children often accompany the Soldiers as they visit parents and such. (The schools are very good about working with school-age children and their parents to ensure they are caught up.)

George opted not to take leave so that we can take it when we PCS in April (permanent chance in station). That will give us time to get settled and attend the parties and such for Gordon and Mindy’s wedding (who knows, there may be time to paint some pottery too!) So the past few weeks, George and I had gone from working out together 30-minutes twice a week that we’d done while his dad was sick, to an hour and a half workout five days a week.

It was a great chance for us to spend time together while maintain an exercise regiment and identifying new goals. We’d tried it before, multiple times and it didn’t end well, in fact there was a lot of exasperation (on his part) and tears (on mine). I’m happy to say that we’ve done better this time around.

We do an ab workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a schedule he’d started in Iraq. It worked well for us when we were taking care of dad, and helped us relieve stress with so much time spent at the hospital (and at the nearby Starbucks), yet we were still able to feel like we weren’t “bailing” on him, since we were the only Family.

Four weeks ago, I asked George if I could join him the other 3 days, which he excited agreed. I was a little hesitant since he had been doing weights and running on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while in Iraq and I was starting from scratch. But he was patient. He let me make my own goals and start where I was comfortable, not where he thought I should be. That first week was pretty sad.

The first Monday we just figured out a starting point. I was able to bench press the bar … a staggering 45 pounds … and ran for about 5 minutes before calling it quits. I was ready for him to go all “drill sergeant” on me, but he just told me to set my goals for the end of the week … and left it at that.

Wow! The ball was in my court … I didn’t know how to go about deciding what sort of schedule to put myself on, so I outline some goals to meet … bench press 125-pounds and run for 30 minutes before we leave (in April). I thought that I would really have to push to meet those goals, they seems so far away even as a former athlete. I’d gotten to the point where I thought my former sports abilities were out of reach (in high school I played basketball, soccer and softball with cheerleading when it didn’t conflict!)

The first week my goal was to run 10 minutes and complete the full circuit of upper body weights that George was doing, with less weight of course.

By that first Friday, I was surprised that I easily met those goals, but was still hesitant that it was just beginners luck. The following week the goal of an additional 5 minutes and added weight was the next step. Each week, I compounded on the previous week, knowing that at a minimum I had to do what was accomplished the previous Friday.

Some days were hard … no brutal. The ab workout obviously changed as our core muscles strengthened. I went from doing sit-ups on a flat bench to sit-ups on an incline bench with a medicine ball … now the 14 pound ball. The running got boring after a while, but my husband helped me overcome that by putting some of my favorite R&B songs along with some of his “ultimate workout” Rock songs on the Zune he got me for Christmas. He even downloaded movies to take my mind of running, like the Underworld Trilogy (I’m a secret vamp movie lover). Soon I was learning to keep going through the pain and boredom.

I’ve learned to define my strong areas- leg lifts and (surprisingly) bench pressing- as well as my weaknesses- abs and triceps. I’ve learned that setting small goals will lead me to meeting the larger one with less stress. I’ve learned saying I can’t do something is way easier than trying to do it, but also way less rewarding.

As I said at the beginning, way a day today has been. Mostly, because I reached the goal of bench pressing 125 pounds and earning a T-Shirt from the gym. According to the staff member, I am only one of 5 females to do it since they started the “Power Pit” Program rewarding women who lift 125 pounds and men who reach 400 pounds.

The hardest part of lifting today was that since we’ve been going to the gym every day at the same time, we see the same people every day, so when I did the 125-lift for the staff ‘s verification there were about 5 guys watching and giving me advice. Boy was I nervous!

Overall, It was a great experience and now I get to set another goal. I definitely did it in less time than I thought it would be accomplished. As for the running, I am up to 25 minutes and should reach 30 by Friday … wish me luck!

Until our next cup of tea …

4 Tea Party Guest:

Vee said...

Wowser! Am I ever impressed! Way to go and good for your hubby to let the ball be in your court about your fitness program. Growth all the way around...wonderful!

ancient one said...

I'm impressed! Yay for you!!

ABW said...


I wish we had something like that.

Where are you headed to next?

lime said...

well i am glad it's been a much more positive experience this time. that's great. i need a workout buddy to help me get motivated.