Friday, July 27, 2012


Well, first things first.  We have eggs.  The neighbor kid who was watching the chickens while we were at the lake last weekend found the first one (wouldn't you know it).  But then for the past three days, there have been two eggs a day.  Isn't that amazing?  Do we not have the most brilliant chickens ever?  (don't answer that.  I know that eggs are the logical outcome of having chickens.  I guess I just didn't really believe it would ever happen.)  We're not sure exactly which ones are laying the eggs, but that's OK.  There are eggs.  I am happy.

So maybe you noticed that I haven't posted in awhile.  I just haven't felt like I have anything to say.  And I still don't.  But I thought maybe if I just plunged back in, something would show up.  So here's what I've been up to.

First of all, exercising.  I've been exercising a lot.  The best thing (for me) about being on Fitocracy is the extra motivation.  There are the points, of course, and the little shout-out you get when you level up.  And then there are the people who are older than me, or far more out of shape than I am, who are working far harder than I am, or managing to exercise with a far busier schedule than I have.  And then there's the exposure to all different kinds of ideas of what to do to be active.  As I've told you before, the majority of Fitocrats are weight lifters, but there are plenty of other things going on.  There's the normal stuff like running and cycling, of course, but there are also people who are dancing and ice skating and swimming, or doing Zumba or martial arts or climbing stairs on their lunch hour.  It's amazing.  and inspiring.

I've finally even broken down and started lifting handweights.  In spite of my griping about the weight-lifting snobs, it's not the first time I've ever done it.  Several years ago, when I first started working on getting into shape, I couldn't hold downward dog in my yoga class because I just didn't have the upper body strength.  So I decided to try and build up my arms and shoulders by working with 5-lb handweights.  (In some corners of Fitocracy, anything under 20 lbs is laughable.  If you are lifting 250 lbs, or 350 lbs, or more, you are allowed to disdain "barbie weights." But I have to start somewhere, right?)

But even at that small weight, about two weeks into it, I started waking up with numbness in my hands (not carpal tunnel, remember that whole mess? something different).  So I backed off and eventually gave up on it.  Then four or five months ago when I first started trying to hold a plank (which is holding yourself up off the floor on your forearms and toes), again my upper body strength was the limiting factor, far more than my core strength.  So I started lifting my itty bitty weights again, and had the same results again-- numbness in my hands, with the added problem of exacerbating the tennis elbow I developed (without ever playing tennis) at some point in the past year. So I stopped again.

But here is something I've learned from hanging out with the amazing people on Fitocracy.  You don't give up.  You adjust, you try lighter weights (yup, there are weights even more pathetic than 5 lbs) or fewer reps, you check around for different moves, you ice down when you're done, but you don't quit.  So I'm in the midst of trying that now.  I've been doing weights again for about three weeks now, and I'm waking up with numb hands again and my non-tennis-related tennis elbow is a bit worse and my shoulder muscles are sometimes so sore that it worries me, but I'm not quitting this time.  Or at least, not until I've pushed through it for awhile to see whether or not this is a solvable problem.

But here is the funny thing.  You remember my gripes about the point system on Fitocracy?  How a lifter can get more points just for being in the same room with the weights than I can get for 45 minutes of brisk walking?  Yeah, that gripe.  Well, suddenly I am on the receiving end of it.  Not kidding.  Yesterday I did about 20 minutes of lifting my little weights, plus a few lunges and squats, and it was over a thousand points. (My usual workouts average between 150 and 200 points.) I just about fell out of my chair when I saw the point total.  My arms were a bit shaky, and I did break a sweat, but I didn't get nearly as tired or sweaty or winded as I get in a 45-minute walk.

So the purist part of me feels a bit guilty that I'm getting all these points that feel EASY CHEESY compared to what I was doing before, especially since I griped so much about how skewed the point system is. But mostly I'm OK with it.  ha.  I've leveled up twice in two weeks since I figured this out-- previously it was taking me about a month per level.  But what I really like is being stronger.  I carried stuff up and down the stairs at the lake last week that I wouldn't have been able to manage by myself before this.

So I think this was going somewhere, but I can't remember what the point was.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.  The post title--DYEL? -- is a lifter's phrase, one that appears (apparently) on T-shirts at gyms.  It stands for Do You Even Lift?  and I think the answer is NO if you're lifting the rubberized little weights I use. :-) And also, for the record, not all the weightlifters are snobs.  Some of them are so kind and encouraging.  But some of them are not.

p.s.  They must agree with me.  I did a similar workout today and they had scaled back the points considerably-- the weight lifting part of it was only about 650 points, even though I did almost exactly the same routine.  It completely makes sense to me that they did that, but I have admit to being a teensy bit disappointed. :-P

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