[Since August, I’ve been targeting issuing challenges to myself on particular weaknesses in my fitness endeavors and tracking my trials, tribulations, and successes here. Here’s my August challenge, August recap, and September challenge.]
September kicked my butt.
My first challenge was the jump rope: I challenged myself to complete 50-200 double unders every day, with the goal of being able to do 50 double unders unbroken by the end of September.
Here’s the deal: it turns out, when you jump rope every day, particularly as an amateur double-under-er (read: heavy footfalls), you put a lot of stress on your feet. Worse yet, if you jump rope in your garage (read: concrete floor) with non-cushioned shoes, you’re really gonna stress your feet. After 2 weeks of jumping, I started noticing pain in the ball of my right foot and had to stop.
Basically: I didn’t really do it right, and then I overdid it.
So, yes, goal #1 for September was a big fat goose egg. I didn’t even attempt double unders at the end of the month because I am still nursing my wonky foot (almost better!).
Lesson learned: don’t be stubborn about goals and know when to cut your losses. In this case, it would’ve been stupid for me to continue pressing forward with the daily double under–I could’ve ended up with a much worse injury rather than a little annoyance. I will have to be more patient with my double under work.
As for goal #2, I wanted to improve my rowing times. My most recent recorded 1000M row was 4:52.8, and I wanted to work myself down to 4:40 or below. Here’s what happened when I did my 1000M time trial today:
I busted my butt for that time, too! I was smoked! After talking to Manpanion, I think playing with the damper settings may be important here. I always use the same setting (which is high), and I’ve never really empirically tested how damper settings affects my row time, so maybe finding that sweet spot will be key to being able to improve my times. Concept2 erg: I will conquer you!
Basically, September was one giant trip on the failtrain down to failsville. But I’m not too broken up about it. I learned some lessons and did some legit work, so at the end of the day, it’s all good.
In general, rowing and jumping rope are clearly two things I’ll need to continue working on, but it’s going to be more of a slow chipping away than what I can accomplish in one short month.
For October, I have 2 challenges.
First, I’m participating in my first CrossFit competition next Saturday! I’m pretty competitive by nature, and I’m so excited to finally get a chance to compete officially. This will be my first formal competition in anything physical since I reached the end (for now?) of my “career” as a competitive ballroom dancer over 4 years ago. (Yup, that’s a thing.) I’m definitely a rookie, big time, but I’m really looking forward to the experience regardless of how I place. :)
Second, I’m committing to at least 5 minutes of yoga every day.
I’ve really fallen off the yoga bandwagon lately. Even just one yoga session has its benefits, but consistent practice has effects that really start to add up–which I noticed quite poignantly after I dropped the ball!
My daily gently yoga/stretching used to go like this: after finishing my nighttime routine, I turned all the lights off except for maybe a small lamp, put on some mellow music, and spent a few minutes on my mat (or just on the floor!). To finish things up, I would take my savasana straight to bed (so nice, for realz). This worked really well for me, so this is how I’ll be doing things again.
Some benefits I noticed were that these few minutes gave me the space to mentally unwind and erase a little bit of the day’s tensions, and I would fall asleep easier and stay asleep better. I started doing this during an extraordinarily stressful time in my life, and it really did make a difference.
For this month, I chose 5 minutes because it’s short enough that I have absolutely no excuse not to do it. Even if I’m getting to bed late and I’m really tired, 5 minutes isn’t a big deal. On the flipside, 5 minutes is also long enough that my brain has a chance to settle down as opposed to a rushed series of a few poses. And if I’m feeling up to it, I can keep going for a little while longer. So often, the key is just to start.
If you don’t already, consider committing to spending 5 minutes a day doing yoga, stretching, or meditating this month along with me. Regardless of your fitness style, or even if you don’t work out at all, this is one challenge that everyone can do and everyone can benefit from.
I should add: yoga/stretching/meditation can mean just about anything. No need for sun salutations or funky binds or fancy arm balances. Literally, it’s ok to just be in child’s pose for 5 minutes, which I have definitely done and is legitimately fantastic. It’s ok to sort of roll around from puppy pose to happy baby to some made-up stretch–whatever feels like it might be what you need. The point is just to take a few minutes to get some self-care in for our frazzled brains and bodies.