Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One step at a time...

       The time has come in my life where I'm not as nimble as I once was in my youth.  My back is stiff, my shoulders are stiff, my neck is stiff, and I bruised my chest plate a year and half ago, which is still plaguing me to some extent. I feel like a fossil. A piece of ancient rock, with the flexibility of an iron rod. Yet, I soldier on, day by day, mucking stalls, throwing around hay bales and riding horses, like I always have, but I've decided that at my age I need to be in better shape. And working through pain is B.S.  Last week I set up an appointment with a personal trainer and today was the day that we met. I could feel her assessing me when I walked in. I decided a black workout outfit was a good choice. Black stretch pants, slight flare and a black t-shirt, not too tight. At first glance, I look like a strong, fit, 40+ yr. old, with Popeye arms and strong thighs from wrapping them around young warmbloods day in and day out (get your minds out of the gutter folks, I'm talking about horses here!).  She asked me a bunch of questions, I filled out some forms, which included an emergency number (good lord!) and then we got down to brass tacks. Exercise and stretching.

    The first few exercises were tolerable. I could feel my tiny abs (deeply ensconced in a layer of belly fat, to protect them from being cold, it's what I tell myself, Shut up!), straining, but it was a good strain. My legs did their duty. In my case that means they took some of the brunt of the exercise to keep the poor petite abs from working too hard. Twenty minutes into the exercises I could smell that my deodorant was beginning to fail me.
"Damn you, Old Spice!! C'mon," I said under my breath.
     I could hear that whistling from the vintage Old Spice commercials and see the brawny man, chopping wood with a smile on his manly, 70's mustachioed face. He didn't stink. But I was getting riper by the minute. Ugh. More exercises, more leg lifts. Help me, God.  Then we moved into a laying down position on a mat. Much more my style. Prone. However, my trainer asked me slowly bring my body up, with my arms reaching forward. I actually chuckled when she asked me to do this move.

"This could be interesting," I giggled. She didn't giggle. I struggled upwards, like a quivering mass of jello, swaying from side to side as if a stiff wind was blowing through the exercise studio, whipping my aching body to and fro.

"Okay," the lithe, young trainer said. "Let's make it easier by bending your legs."

 Well, that helped a little. Also, the two large cracks from my protesting spine made the exercise more plausible. Okay, 40 minutes into the workout. I was still alive. I must say, this trainer was so patient, very attentive and didn't push me to the point of near death. We did a full hour of stretching and exercises that paid special attention to my weak points, but kept clear of hurting my old injuries. At one point, my ab muscles were trembling while holding a pose intended to work on my lower back and abs. Try as I might, I couldn't make the trembling stop. I felt so pathetic. My lack of muscle tone in my core had reached the brink. I realized that I'd failed to impress the trainer with my preternatural ability to fight through muscle fatigue, so I just gave in to the quivering muscles and hoped she couldn't feel the studio floor moving as the earthquake in my gut reached Richter scale proportions. I grimaced, shut my eyes and kept going.

   Trying not to look at the clock on the wall, I refrained from asking for a "High Five" when the hour was up. Sarah was a total professional as we went over the next step in my new fitness routine. However, she showed her first sign of a sense of humor when a smile slipped over her lips and she said, "Well, you look a lot stronger than you really are. I was surprised those exercises were that hard for you." I refrained from saying, "I told you so, Bitch! That's why I'm here! I'm an aging, out of shape, on my way to battle axedom woman!" Instead I told her that I'd be in touch for a follow up session. I'm determined to get in better shape. Tonight, thanks to Advil I can still move. I did stalls, body clipped a horse and various other barn chores when I got home this afternoon. My core is sore, but my determination is intact. An acupuncture appointment on Fri. will help my creaky bod get back on track so I can go back for more punishment. This is going to be a slow process. One step at a time. One slow, small, painful step at a time...

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