When I was a child I remember going to Mile Square Park to look for guppies in the lake, play a little bit of soccer with my siblings (as all good Mexicans do), and sit around waiting for my mom to serve me a torta the size of football. I remember water balloon fights, watching archery, going down the one hill on my skateboard without a helmet, and carving Mick Jagger’s name into every tree in my path (ok, this last one may warrant its own blog post. You’ll have to wait for that one!).I am sure if I really think about it I must have looked around and watched people as they walked by me in their neon Dove shorts and requisite leg warmers—you know, getting a fashionable workout on. However, I never thought of the park as a place for me to exercise at. Fast forward to the adult me; I still didn’t see the purpose behind driving to a park just to walk around in a big square without having easy access to get back into my car quickly.
I should probably explain; it’s not that I have social anxiety and hate to be away from my car. It’s just that the farther and farther I walk away from my car, it is that much farther that I have to walk just to get back to it. I never saw the point…until three days ago on BEAST Mode Day 17. This was supposed to be the big day when members of team L@s Muert@s had agreed to do an early morning (7:00 a.m.) walk at Mile Square Park.I arrive on time. Yes, I’m being serious. Actually, no, I’m not. I arrived early. I kept hearing in my head a line that I read on Angel Ortiz’s Facebook page that said something like, “I grew up with the mindset that if you are not early you are late!” I was early. I looked around and no one was there yet. Woohoo! That meant that no one was going to show up. I could go home and make breakfast and call it a day. As luck would have it (and I have been finding this to be the case more often than not, lately), I stare straight ahead and there is Joe walking towards me with a grin on his face as if he knew I was thinking that I had gotten out of it. His friend, Tish, showed up to walk with us also.
We stretched, chose a direction, and began his pedometer. In the beginning it was really easy. He asked us to stay on the grass to give us a little more resistance in our walking. Uhm, ok, did he not notice that the grass was wet because it was 7 o’freaking clock in the morning? We walked. And we talked. And the next thing we knew we were at the two mile mark and he asks me what I want to do. I was feeling like a champ. I was keeping hydrated with the water in my backpack, only by now it felt like the water I was drinking was going directly to my socks because our shoes WERE SOAKED FROM WALKING IN THE GRASS! I get it that my shoes are from Wal-Mart and they only cost $9, but aren’t they meant to stay dry?Tish began to talk about the paths that she walks on and the inclines that they contain and it makes me feel a little better that I don’t walk with her regularly. Three mile hikes, really? Who has time for that when I can walk on flat land? “Not me,” said the little voice in my head. Listening to her speak was distracting me from the distance we were going. Although I had never met her before, she spoke to me as if we had known each other for years. I liked her!
And then we hit the three mile mark and I can almost smell the apples in my car. I know. This sounds totally stupid, but apples have suddenly become my best friends. I carry them in my backpack. I have them in my drink holder in my car. I have some in the fridge at work. I am going to name my next kid Apple. Ok, now I am taking this a bit too far. No more kids for me!!!!
Three and a half mile mark. Joe’s phone is about to die and we can no longer listen to music as we walk. Listening to the music helped keep me from talking, which in turn kept me from huffing and puffing. So we began to talk again, but this time it was about breakfast burritos. WHY? Why did they have to mention breakfast burritos when I am trying to focus on the apples in my car? Cruel world just take me out now!The distraction that the breakfast burrito caused me was enough to get me around the last bend of the park without feeling like I was going to pass out. Our pace picked up a little bit. It was the home stretch. All I needed was a few more feet and I would reach my destination, and then all of a sudden Joe and Tish say, “This is our car.” It was over. The four miles were done. I was sweating like I had just ran a marathon, and my head was spinning with emotion over having completed the four-mile journey.
BEAST Mode Day 18I was feeling a little brave from the 4-mile walk the day before so I figured it would be no problem to walk to work. It’s just under two miles from front door to front door. What’s two miles when I just finished walking four, right? Wrong! So, so wrong!
There were three things that I did not take into consideration before making the brilliant decision to walk to work:
· I had to walk by a Jack in the Box on the corner. God was good to me that morning because he placed blinders on my eyes so I wouldn’t look that way. He should have plugged my nose, too, because the scent of hash browns almost did me in!
· I sweat like a pig. Did I really think I was going to be able walk to work without sweating and then work a full 8-hour day in the clothes I walked in? Ugh. That was a major fail for me that day.
· If I wear walking shoes to walk, why did I wear my famous indoor soccer shoes (Pumas) to walk to work? Can someone please tell me how that little bit of logic flew out the window?
By the time I got home from work in the evening, my arches were screaming at me. I strolled home slowly (because it was hotter than Hades outside) but that didn’t stop the pain from creeping in on me. In typical Lorena fashion, I ignored it and focused on the rest of the family’s needs for the evening. I knew I wasn’t going to walk the next day.I let the soreness linger in the back of my mind when I went to bed that evening. “Oh, no, this is not going to slow me down,” I thought. I know myself very well; if I lost the motivation to get up and move, it will be lost forever. I fell asleep a little sad that evening.
BEAST Mode Day 19
There have been very few times in my life that I have opened my mouth (or sent a text) and later regretted my actions. But I am about to tell you about one of those times.On Tuesday Joe sent me a text asking me how my revamped “pantry of sin” was treating me. You see, I have a pantry at work that I keep snacks in. Before this journey began, I had candy, chips, saltine crackers, granola bars (the kind with chocolate chips), and a few more snacks that maybe I should keep to myself…lol I was returning to work after a 12-day vacation, and knew that if I wanted to remain successful on this journey, the “pantry of sin” needed a cleanse of its own.
My office is on the second floor of a two-story building. Right beneath my office is a dumpster that is used by the school cafeteria, which is also beneath me and I can smell the fries cooking all day. Whoa, lost my train of thought for a moment. Back to the pantry…so on the first day that I returned, I ceremoniously threw away the snacks off the balcony and into the dumpster. Goodbye Pringles. Goodbye Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Goodbye full-fat saltine crackers. Goodbye Quaker Oats granola bars with the yummy chocolate chips. Hello apples. Hello Pop Chips. Hello non-salted trail mix.Then I asked the question about the pain in my arches. I regretted the question as soon as I hit the send button. Somehow I knew that he was going to come back with one of two answers: lay off the walking, or “here are some alternative exercises you can do instead of walking.” (un)Lucky for me that he came back with BOTH answers.
I knew that I was not going to be able to stop walking because it was my only form of exercise. I needed to keep my body in motion or else I would pay harder when I go see Sean, the trainer over at Training Zone OC. No way, no how. Have you read about the beatings he gives me? This was not an option for me. Joe knew that I didn’t want to lose out on my hour of cardio, so he assigned me two exercises to do: bicycle crunches and the “Superman” were what he prescribed as my workout of the day. Are you kidding me? Bicycle crunches? Lift my legs in the air? Me? Has he lost his mind? Then he wants me to do the “Superman” as if it were something that my body naturally does?All day at work the thought of doing these exercises plagued my mind. How am I supposed to do these? Will he really know if I don’t do them? After all, can’t I just say that I did them and talk about the muscle group that I worked with these exercises? I’m sure GOOGLE is good for at least a bit of explanation on the benefits of bicycle crunches and the “Superman.” But then I said, again putting my foot in my mouth, “I’m going to have my kids take pictures of me doing this so they can crack up…lol” What was his response? “Blog it!!”
Here are the pictures of me doing the bicycle crunches. I died halfway through the first set of 25. My legs were going to fall off, my head was spinning because I couldn’t keep an accurate count, and the thought of having to repeat it was nauseating. I let my legs rest for thirty seconds and up they went again. My legs were going every which way making sure that I got those pedals turning. What was I thinking? Walking was much, much easier than what I was subjecting my body to.
(Wolife thought it would be fun to jump on my stomach while I was doing this.)
The next thing I knew, I had finished six sets of 25. I couldn’t even feel my legs anymore. My hips were screaming at me to get up off the floor. But then I turned over. I needed to get these “Superman” exercises out of the way. Did I say that the bicycle crunches were hard? They were child’s play compared to having to hold my legs and arms up in a Superman pose while simultaneously planking on a yoga mat. I am pretty sure I wasn’t doing them correctly. But to be quite honest, I had no idea what I was doing because I COULDN’T FEEL MY ARMS AND LEGS ANYMORE!With sweat rolling down my face and my body screaming “Mercy” in several different languages, I realized that I should not have said anything about my arches. I should have just sucked it up and taken a leisurely stroll around my neighborhood. No one would have been the wiser. I could have posted a Facebook update letting everyone know I walked around the block that day and I would have fooled everyone into thinking that I was sweating. But no, I let my fingers do the talking for me and ask for an alternative beatdown.
Here is the picture of me doing the “Superman” with Wolfie helping me. This was towards the end when I couldn’t hold my arms up anymore. He was laughing at me in the beginning, but by the time he saw I was “in it to win it” with this exercise, he was saying, “Good job, mommy!” That’s my boy!
I learned my lesson that day. Somehow, from somewhere deep within my body, healing promptly arrived to my arches. By the next day my arches were completely pain free. I like to think that I willed myself to get better, wanting never ever again to do those darn exercises.With healed arches and a new appreciation for floor exercises, I walked into the Training Zone OC to meet with Sean. But that was on BEAST Mode Day 20, and that workout gets an entry all on its own.
Life is good. Enjoy the journey.