Monday, July 30, 2012

Did You Get Your Goat?

   About eight weeks ago I embarked on a new journey toward fitness, attempting in my weird ways to conquer the U.S. Navy's Iron Goat. Perhaps you remember reading about it here on this blog, and perhaps you even joined the fun! I hope you did. Basically you give yourself one full month to run 26.2 miles, bike 112 miles, and swim 2.4 miles. It's the Iron Man events, but accomplished over a month instead of in one day.

   Well, the time has come for an update. I have some awesome news and some awkward news.

   Let's get awkward out of the way first: I do not own a bicycle and therefore did not even make a dent in a full third of the goal, the biking 112 miles part. What was I thinking back at the first of June? Did I imagine repairing the old blue forest bike and riding it to and from the feed store?

   Or did I maybe think that time on my garden tricycle with the big metal basket, pedalling up and down the driveway would cut it? Not sure, folks, maybe I already had heat stroke and didn't know it. But despite fellow adventurer Tracy's invitation to borrow her husband's bike and ride with her around Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, I just never left the farm to do it. Thanks anyway, Tracy! Maybe some other time, I hope.

   So that's the awkward news. I completely skipped what was probably the funnest part of this challenge.

   The awesome news is that I got myself hooked on running. This is the most major of major life developments, you guys. My grade school P.E. teacher Mrs. Heinen would shake her blonde head in disbelief and walk away skeptically to hear this news. Then she might secretly do a cartwheel, to think that all of her nagging and encouraging and prodding finally worked, albeit a thousand years later.

   My schedule in June was unusual, our calendar different every week with wonderful fun plans with friends and family, so my running schedule varied a lot. Actually our nephew Matthew was staying at the farm for a while and helped kick start me. He runs cross country in high school and was slightly kind but also slightly cruel about my slowness.

Matthew attacking his sister Sammie with whipped cream. Or defending himself, it's hard to tell. Things got vicious that day. There may or may not have been peanut butter in his ear while he slept and later maple syrup on her hairbrush.

   Yes, it took me a while to find my groove, but when I did I loved it. I chipped away at the 26.2 miles, running laps around the back field of our property. The first several days included plenty of walking and wheezing, but having that very doable goal and a small group of friends asking me about my progress kept me trying.

   Then I added in swimming, though not at an Olympic lap pool like Tracy and I had imagined. I just paddled around our above ground pool here at the farm as consistently as possible, without touching the bottom or stopping, and estimate that I met the goal, more or less. You know what lovely thing I discovered? Swimming is as effective as yoga at stretching and cooling muscles. And the pool is a great place for ab work and flexibility.

Lots of times the chickens, geese, and guineas are hunting back here when I run, as this photo shows.  
   This is my favorite view on my morning run, the first big downhill slope, with the sun behind me. Handsome and a different nephew of ours drove the riding mower around one day, carving a nice, wide path for me in the prairie grass. Hopefully a good way for me to spot sleuth coyotes and wild Okie gators before they spring out, too. Because we do have those now, you know.

   So having completed those two parts of the Iron Goat, I feel pretty good. Actually I feel amazing. The earlier I run each morning, the longer I can run, topping out so far at three miles, non stop. Three desperate, sweaty miles, but still. That is huge for me. Then I immediately strip down and swim as many laps around the pool as I just ran around the back field, and magically I find that my body craves less caffeine. Handsome and I just might become millionaires by the money we save every month on dark roast coffee and real cream. Which is good news, because our once promising watermelon crop has dwindled painfully in the heat, so that will definitely NOT be the source of our windfall.

   Anyway, the Iron Goat has served me well. I haven't lost more than about six pounds, but who cares? I feel stronger and leaner and just better... I dunno... aerated? My body feels better in so many ways, as does my mind. I love it. I totally see why people become addicted to running, it has so many surprise benefits.

   Big thanks to my gorgeous sister in law Halee for the inspiration, and thanks to my girlfriends who joined in the Iron Goat fun this summer!! Keep up the good work everyone.

When You're Married Bikini Season is Actually Twelve Months Long


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