YMCA member Valerie Bock shares her challenge experience! Entry #1, August 9


Day 1

It’s gonna be tough, but I survived the first day!

Hi, I’m Val! I am a 58 year-old-mom of 3 grown children, married to Jim-who-used-to-practice-medicine and now serves in the mysterious halls of health care administration. I have worked online as a consultant out of my rural Decatur home for the last 15 years, and am, in general, a bit socially deprived and up for a reason to bop into town, so when the Y asked whether I’d like to try a 12-week fitness challenge, I figured, why not?

I was out of town for a family thing and missed the luncheon Monday when everyone introduced themselves, so as one of “the newbies” (There are a bunch of people who not only survived Part 1 of this challenge, but are back for more!) I felt kind of intimidated when I met some of the other folks this morning as we were interviewed by Brian Byers for his WSOY morning show. For one thing, most of them are significantly YOUNGER! It helped to hear folks talk about the usual fitness challenges – busy work schedules, family obligations, just life in general. I’m a long-time Y member, but there have definitely been seasons when folks there did not see the whites of my eyes for months (ok, years!) at a time.

These days, with the kids gone, I have a bit more time to focus on self-care. My fitness regimen includes teaching karate twice a week at the Smith Institute of Martial Arts (yep, I am the proud owner of a 4th degree black belt) swimming a quarter mile in the pool twice a week, Angela Foulkes’ killer Pilates class twice a week, and the occasional one-or-two-or-three mile walk on the weekends. I have a list of things I do sometimes (I’m a big fan of water aerobics at the Y, but my schedule has sort of shifted in a way that makes it harder to get it in than I used to.)

There’s a longer list of things I used to do. I just haven’t been able to get myself psyched up to run lately. I haven’t done any weight lifting in probably a year. I hate just about everything that involves arms, because mine are weak and wimpy. I used to feel similarly about core stuff, but have developed a modicum of competence in Pilates and now am willing to consider core work, though I need the support of a class and can absolutely NOT be trusted to do it on my own.

So it was with some trepidation, but not crippling fear, that I walked into the big gym today to see what our trainer, Molly Kondritz, had in store for us. Fitness-wise, It’s a fairly diverse (if young!) group (we all had to be cleared as physically able to undertake an exercise program) and it became clear pretty quickly that all of us have some things that are more of a struggle and some things that come more easily.

Molly put us through circuit training – a group class that alternates strength training with more aerobic activities. I was pleased to find I could hold my own running around the gym, sitting against the wall, and stretching. I was unsurprised to find that push-ups are a struggle. I was amazed to find out I could squat reasonably – it must be the other stuff I’m doing that’s helping that because squats have never been a thing I could do before. It was a little surprising that mountain climbers were such a struggle for me, but that was toward the end and I’m pretty sure fatigue was having its way with me.

As is totally the usual way of things at the Y, everyone was SUPER nice and helpful. It was encouraging to hear the veterans say that yeah, this was a pretty light workout (!) but that by the time we are doing impressive week 10 stuff, we will be in condition to do it. Molly is great about adjusting each exercise so there’s a way to do it for the beginners, and a challenge for folks who need one.

It’s now about 2-1/2 hours post workout, and I can feel my arms asking what the heck I did to them. But the rest of me feels accomplished and excited. I made it through the first session! This is going to be fun!

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