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2017…Balance and Gratitude

2017 is finally here.  I have been embracing it for a full 5 days now, pondering where my focus might be this year.  Balance.  Along with gratitude, satisfaction and appreciation. These are what I plan to focus on.

  • Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; rediness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
  • Satisfaction: fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.
  • Appreciation: the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.

I am a woman who loves extremes.  Extreme sports, extreme lust, adrenaline, fear…anything that gives me that rush that drives me. My highs are pretty high but my lows can get pretty low.  When you find something that drives you, there comes a point where you exhaust your input and you seek more.  I will be the first person to tell you that “I want what I want when I want it”.  Period.  End of story.  When I don’t get what I want, or things don’t go the way I think they should go, I get pissy.  I know this about myself and I try very hard to NOT be this way, but, again, I am a balls to the wall kind of girl.

I won the husband lottery when I met Greg.  He understands the way I am, he navigates it VERY well and is pretty much the one person who can tell me NO and I listen.  Mostly.  And he knows this about me, and we have yet to have an actual fight.  Some of you more alpha males out there might think that he doesn’t have “control” in our relationship…and you would be wrong.  We have balance.  In my own life, I may be wild and chaotic, at best, but in my relationship with Greg, we actually have a very balanced lifestyle and it works very well for us.

A lot of folks who meet me first, or hell, have known me for years, and finally actually MEET Greg face to face are quite surprised at how we are together, as a couple.  I am very much the person I am when I am on my own, but I am also a wife and a lover and a partner when I am with him.  Thus our dynamic is very different, for each of us, when we are out together.  He has never felt the need to “control” me, nor does he need to.  When we are together we are balanced.  That actually happened very early on in our relationship and I think its one of the many reasons he and I clicked so well, because we just fit. We knew it from the moment we sat next to each other in his tiny little apartment and talked about getting married the night we met; and we know it now, 21 years later.

Greg is someone I am grateful for. Some one I appreciate and someone I am satisfied with. There is not another person on this planet that I can say that about.  He is my anchor in this crazy world and he is always my happy place.  Its funny, when I call him my anchor, he always thinks of it as a big weight that gets tossed overboard from a boat.  When I say it, I mean that he is what holds me in place and lets me bounce back to my home, my life and my happiness when I am stretched too far beyond my limits.

Which brings me back to BALANCE.

I have spent the last few years going to extremes and last year I entered 2016 with 2 major injuries, my ripped IT band and a tendon release on my left wrist.  I had a rough time recovering from both of those and I am very thankful I entered 2017 injury free.  But with the injuries I learned a very important lesson, one my body has been trying to tell me since I started training for this sport in 2013, I am NOT young any more lol.  I am 50 years old and I can’t train like a 25 year old and expect the same results.  My body is physically and metabolically different.  I don’t perform the same, I don’t recover the same, and finally I have realized I can not train the same as a 25 year old.

Thus balance is key.

Now, before we all start getting crazy ideas that I am hanging up my kit and walking away from fighting, remember…I am still that balls to the wall girl who THINKS she can do it all.  So, what I have come to realize is that in order for me to still be able to do this craziness, I have to find my balance, in my eating, in my training, in my running, in basically everything.  Even gaming!

After my big 50th Birthday celebration I needed down time.  And in typical Amy fashion, I went to the extreme and pretty much just gave in to everything.  I drank Coke, I ate sugar cookies, I played WoW all day long, and I sat on my ass.  It was the holidays…and the end of the year…and I needed to reset.  So I sort of just sat in my study, played video games and snuggled my furbabies all day long.

Did I need it?  Yes.  Did it feel good?  Yes.  Did I throw out most of my good habits for two and a half weeks?  Yes.

I don’t regret doing it…but I do wish I’d had a little more balance (and so does my scale).  But I do feel more clear about facing the new year and working on my 2017 goals.  I don’t really do resolutions as they are firm decisions to do or not to do something and the only place I like rigidity is in men and weapons, thus I prefer goals.

I had my first test of balance today actually.

I went into my running app to get my 2016 numbers. I was not a happy girl (injuries be damned).  So I did what any self respecting data tracker does (yes, I might be a little OCD when it comes to my body stats), I pulled ALL the numbers, all the way back to Jan 2013.  I started this sport in June, 2013 so this is even before then!

Instinctively, I started freaking out.  Running is the one place I have hard, solid numbers. Numbers don’t lie.  Numbers are how we win.  Winning is important…right?

(insert rabbit hole here)

I immediately wanted to top whatever the highest number was, because I had to be better than myself this time last year and I failed.  Then I started comparing this year’s numbers to last year’s numbers, then I broke it down by month. Then I went a little more crazy and went back 2 years.  Then 3 years.  How am I supposed to WIN when I can’t prove it with numbers…write down ALL the numbers…figure it out…make it work!!!

and that’s when I finally stopped myself.

What I ended up with, finally, was a way to “balance” my insanity…because not even getting HALF as many miles this year as I did last year was wigging me the fuck out.

I wrote down my monthly miles for the past 4 years.  I averaged them by month and decided to make a goal of the highest monthly average, which is 33.85 miles/month, which will put my mileage for the year at 406.20.  My highest monthly mileage was in August,2015 and I ran 90.13 miles that month(wtf was I thinking).  My knee jerk reaction was to run 91 miles every month…and I realized I was going way too extreme and reigned myself in.  So instead, I set a stretch goal of 41.66 miles/month which will put my mileage at 500+ miles at the end of the year if I meet it.

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Yes, there’s a little part of me that says “round up the numbers it’ll be better” but again, I am trying to find balance, even in my ocd-edness.

After actually typing all this out, I wondered what my actual average mileage was, overall. Its 23.18 miles/month.  I went back and looked at my stats. I met it once in 2016.  4 times in 2015, once in 2014 and 4 times in 2013.

I kind of see a pattern.

Go to an extreme, body forces rest.  Go to an extreme, body forces rest.

Balance.  I need it.  Numbers prove it.  Time to do it.

So folks…there’s a little peak into what my brain goes through in setting goals.  Yes, I know it STILL sounds a little insane, but that part is just Me.  I have other fitness goals for the year that I will not bore you with, but I am also going to focus more on gratitude and being grateful.  Satisfaction, even when I don’t meet my goal for a month or I miss something that could have been added to my “50 firsts by my 51st” list.  I am still so much more satisfied with my life, than I have ever been and that gives me an appreciation for this beautiful world that we live in and the people I choose to have in my life.

I am typically a positive person, I look at the world through the eyes of an optimist.  I prefer seeing the good in all things, and I want us to all be happy. Yet I know things will be hard, especially for us as a nation, over the next 4 years.  But I hope we all try and look at the world around us and figure out how to make it better, and how to find balance, even when most think we are surrounded by chaos.

Chaos isn’t a bad thing…you just have to be brave enough to face it and work through it. That’s it.  What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  So find your strength, find your happiness…

Find Balance and be Grateful

Here’s to a great 2017 – skål

Amy Graham – The Bad Ass Valkyrie

 

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Imperfection…

Not the worst Monday morning I have ever had but I can certainly tell you waking up for a consultation to see if I am a candidate for a Panniculectomy/Abdominoplasty was certainly up there on moments I could have lived without.

Normally I am not really too self conscious about my body these days.  I have no problem getting in and out of my armor in front of whomever is around.  However, with that being said, standing in a room in front of not one, not even two…but THREE complete strangers and being completely naked was indeed not fun.  Now, for the record, all 3 of those folks (2 men, 1 woman) were all doctors and probably had no interest other than medical necessity to see this 49 year old woman’s naked body.  But for the past 72 hours I have been dreading that moment. When they took my blood pressure and it was 148/95 that definitely told me that I was much more stressed than I had really admitted to myself.  That is much higher than I am normally…ever!

I have been torn between being ‘body positive’ about myself and worried about what the doctors might have to say about my body.  In the end, I sat in a very large chair, one I probably would have been thankful to have at my original body weight, and waited to meet the judges aka doctors.

Prior to this appointment, I had no other real interaction with plastic surgeons other than those involved with my initial gastric bypass and them discussing future options once I lost my weight.  Things were drastically different 9 years later.

First and foremost, we have to see if my insurance will cover the Panniculectomy.  We already know that they will NOT cover a Abdominoplasty and I can live with that.  If they will cover the panniculus removal, I will move forward and will see if I will need other surgeries down the road.  This is the bare minimum that will get done once approved.  Depending on what happens when the surgeon gets inside, will be up to him, but he is limited to certain things within the confines of coverage.  With a panniculectomy my down time of NO exercise whatsoever will be 2-3 weeks.  After that I should have no restrictions, other than any unforeseen complications.

My maximum time of recovery may be as long as 6 weeks, depending on how the surgery goes.  Typically its not that long unless there’s something inside that they need to deal with that they don’t know about.  So all in all, my recovery time is much less than originally described to me.  But its also a much less invasive surgery than what I was described too.  Originally I was told I would need a full body lift and that would require a much more in depth recovery time.  I don’t need that.

There is some worry as to how the rest of my tummy, above the incision line, will look if they only do a pannus removal.  They will not go in and remove any excess fat storage from below my breastbone to my belly button, so I may end up with something that looks like a muffin top with the way my body is right at this moment.

I do not think that would be too much of an issue moving forward and if it does bother me more than I think it will, there is always liposuction that can be done down the road.  My main concern is my pannus aka the ‘pontoons’.  I need them removed.  Plain and simple.

I was lucky enough to have Greg with me all morning and he has been a rock for me.  When I forgot to mention certain things to the doctors, he stepped in and gave them more info than I could have remembered on my own.  He kept me calm and seemed surprisingly appreciative of his nude wife in front of complete strangers.  That made me feel awesome.

He knew I was worried and he took it in stride.  He never fully gets all the ins and outs of my chaotic brain but he definitely gets it more than most.  He was just there, supporting me and loving me the whole time.  Even when I was nervously playing with all the breast implants and talking wildly about which ones would feel better when he would hold them lol.  He probably would have drawn the line at me juggling them, but then I am a horrible juggler…and would be an even worse jubbly juggler I am sure 🙂

In the end, its a waiting game and I am sure my blood pressure isn’t going to go down anytime soon until I know whether or not my particular insurance policy will cover it.  I was very surprised at the cut and dry of it all though.  There won’t be any submitting photos or proving past medical problems.  If my insurance covers the panniculectomy that is what I will have.  If the answer comes back No, then we figure out what it would take to pay for a abdominoplasty ourselves and start from there.

Either way, today wasn’t as bad as I had thought, but it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped.  I did have to get naked infront of strangers, but I wasn’t subjected to every single flaw of my body being pointed out.  I guess that’s what an ex is for lol.  So all in all it wasn’t horrible.

Do I still feel conflicted about being happy with one’s body and wanting to make improvements when possible?  Yes.  Absolutely.  But Greg’s words to me on the drive home keep ringing true.  He just kept telling me to do what makes ME happy.  That’s all he cares about, is that I am happy.  It doesn’t matter what my body looks like, he loves me.  And he is what matters most to me in this world.

I do want to remove the excess skin & weight that I don’t need.  I do want to look better, and be that girl I see under the weight.  In truth, I want it all.  But if absolutely NOTHING changed about my body, I would be happy.  I would still be married to the most amazing person on the planet.  I would still wake up every morning and smile at the person in the mirror.  I would still have lovers who cared about me for who I am, not what my body looks like.

But yea, I want to remove what still remains of all the hard work and pain my body has gone through.  There is nothing more nature can do.  My body has bounced back as much as it can.  I gave it 9.5 years and have worked my ass off the last 3 to push myself as far as I can.  Its time to see what else can be done.

The paper work is being submitted and all I have to do is wait.  Its just another step in this whole adventure that is my life.  There will be good and there will be bad with both options, but taking this step was the hardest part…

Let the Fates be kind…

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You can’t please everyone…

I had a long talk with my husband Greg yesterday, I simply asked him if I was enough.  His answers were pretty amazing, just like he is.  But one thing he said really stuck with me, “Baby, you are the Queen of Trying.  You try to please everybody, all the time.”

I realize he is right.  I do try to please people.  I can’t help it.  It’s simply part of my nature. But I also realize when I do that, it opens me up to accept a lot of stress and pressure (and sometimes abuse) that I probably don’t need when I can’t please everyone.

Whether I am trying to be the perfect wife, the perfect friend or the perfect lover, I will never win.  I can’t.  The game is rigged against me, because all I can do is try.  Yet, at times you feel like you can almost reach perfection…but you can also fall flat on your face.

At 49, you would think I would have already realized I am enough.  But evidently it takes a lot to let that sentiment sink into my not so thick skin.  People say things that hurt me, criticize me, accuse me, whatever, and I let that sink in just fine, but people praise me or tell me I am good enough and it takes forever to scratch the surface.

Well…I am enough.  I am perfect just the way I am, flaws and all.  I can’t be the perfect wife, I can’t be the perfect friend, fighter or lover either.  All I can do is be me…and whether I measure up to anyone else’s vision of me is something I need to quit worrying about.

The only person I need to be better than is the me I was yesterday, and even then I doubt I will always be better.  Some days are great and they can’t be topped…and that’s ok.

I did some longsword work last night and it suddenly occurred to me that no matter what I do, what I accomplish in my life, I will never please everyone.  Some people will be inspired by me, some people will feel the need to compete with me, some people will fall in love with me and there are even people who will want to do me harm, simply because of what I have in my life, and I can’t control any of that.

I love and adore my husband more than anything else on this planet, and his opinion of me matters more than anyone’s, so even if I don’t measure up to that…its still nothing I can control.

That’s the key…its nothing I can control.

I am enough for me.  Whether I am enough for you is beside the point.

Love me

Hate me

Kiss me

Fight me

It’s all up to you. Because I am enough.

I’m just a girl, figuring out her place in this world, one step at a time.

I will accept you just the way you are…hopefully you do the same.

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday & a little Dorian Gray…

Throwback Thursday to July 28, 2008

The 2008 me on the left versus Me today sitting at my desk trying to do the same looks.

Its funny the things you forget, like how happy yet unhappy I was with both of the photos back in 2008, which would have been just over a year post-op for me. Greg and I had gone out to brunch with Johnny Hunter and sent him on his way in the top photo. The lower photo I was sitting on Vent listening to my guild bitch about Black Temple in WoW.

I hadn’t hit my lowest weight yet, that wouldn’t come for a few months, and my boobs hadn’t really started shrinking yet. But I’d dropped my first 150 pounds at least, probably close to 175 by these photos and while I was putting together this comparison it just struck me the differences in the way I feel, the way I look and the way I enjoy my life now.

The girl in the 2008 photos never thought of herself as an athlete. I never thought I would be good at anything really. I’d given up my dreams of becoming a musician, I’d been sucked into the world of online gaming and was still struggling to break free of that monkey on my back. I looked at my pictures back then and while I was happy with the weight loss, I hated how old I looked. I was torn by being happy to get skinnier but despised the way my face sagged and I wasn’t seeing any resilience in my skin, and up til then I had hoped it would bounce back a little bit. It didn’t.

I was 41 years old. I was on the verge of being the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Yet I had put my body through hell and it was starting to show. My hair, my bones, my boobs, even my teeth were paying the price for the war I had waged on my body with so much weight for my entire life.

It was shortly after these pictures that I started figuring out I couldn’t sit back and let life pass me by. That I couldn’t sit in the basement and hope the weight stayed off. I had to get out and keep moving, and get active. Constantly and consistently. There was no ‘magic potion’ that was going to do it for me, other than getting off my ass and working for what I wanted.

Its funny, I look back at the ‘transition’ photos and think yea, actually there was some magic happening…because I compare then to now and I look younger, I feel younger and my entire perception of life has changed. So some where in that mix, my world magically changed for the better and I have never stopped pushing forward.

But its hard some days, looking backwards.

Its not the 450+ pound Amy photos that bother me the most, its the ones where I look my age, I can see how hard this whole thing was on my body and I know at some point that all will come back again and I don’t want it to. I know I’ve cheated Death, and I am so thankful for the second chance at living, that I can never regret a second of what I have now.

But when I get glimpses of what that transition period was like, I begin to feel like Dorian Gray and I wonder when it will all come back to haunt me again. My 50th birthday is December 13th. A mere 137 days away. I feel amazing, I am happier than I have ever been in my life, and I my body & health are more balanced than they’ve ever been, so why worry right? But I do…and I will get through it.

The things I constantly forget about are those bits of wisdom I gained through the struggles I hated, that push me through to the next level, the next wall, the next obstacle life gives me.

I weighed over 450 pounds and I got through it. I lost half my body weight and I got through it. I lost most of my hair and I got through it. I lost friends, lovers and family and I got through it. And yes, I’ve looked old…and some how I got through it.

Who knows, 8 years from today I may look back and think damn I looked old and wrinkled at 49, who the fuck cared…because honestly, 8 years ago from today I looked old and wrinkled at 41 and no one cared. But me.

Back then I was the happiest & skinniest I’d ever been in my life. In those pictures and even with time marching right across my face, I was fine. 8 years from now, I can only hope to be even better and who knows what the hell I will be doing with my life then. I can only hope I am as thankful as I am today.

I always need to remember to be happy with the NOW (and the then), live every day with as much verve and gusto as I can muster and be the best me possible. There are no guarantees in this life, we get whatever we can make of it. If you’re unhappy with something, change it.

Time is not on our side…so get off your ass

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Peace of Mind…and a tiny little rock!

Last night I had an issue with my new car.  Its a 2015 Golf Sportwagen TDI with only 16k miles on it and suddenly, out of nowhere, it started squealing like a banshee when the wheels were in motion.  I love my little Cherry Bomb and when I had no warning lights on my console and only this terrible sound piercing my ear drums, my heart went to my throat.  I drove it for a couple miles but then I remembered as part of my warranty package, I had 24-hour roadside assistance…free.

I called, the tow truck came, the dealership took care of everything and it turns out a tiny, little rock (see photo above) had lodged itself between my brake rotor & the backing plate.  Simple, easy fix and all was right with my world again.

Every other time in my life when I have had car trouble, there was instant panic, fear, dread and worry.  Neither I, nor my husband are good with cars.  Greg is an amazing computer technician (I think of him more as a computer magician because he works miracles) and I…well I can do many things from construction work to sewing but auto repair was never my strong suit.  So, when something goes wrong, we usually pay out the ass for the repairs and then come away feeling ripped off or worse, completely broke from the expense.

The instant I remembered my car was under full warranty and any towing was 100% covered, I knew it would all be taken care of.  As I sat in my vehicle waiting for the tow truck last night, I worried how long a repair might take but there was no spark of fear or dread.  No upset stomach from worrying about cost or freaking out this might affect my trip to Prague for the Battle of the Nations World Championship in May.

Nope…I had complete peace of mind.  I knew it was all going to work out positively.

As I thought about that on my drive back to work, in my perfectly working little red beast, it occurred to me just how much peace of mind soothes my soul.

For the past few months I have been fighting my body, in the form of injury, surgery or sickness.  But as each problem has rectified itself I was comfortable in my training delay because I knew what the issues were and I know what it will take for me to get into full training shape again.  I still have one unresolved issue with fatigue, which I think is most likely being caused by hypothyroidism, so on Friday I go in for my bi-yearly blood work to see exactly what the problem is.

Am I worried?  To a certain extent, yes.  But I am also very aware of my age, my current symptoms and that its a fairly easy fix.  Now, if its NOT that, sure I will raise my alert level but for now, I am relying on peace of mind, because I know I still have time to train and I am still in great shape to fight.  My body is good, I’m ready, I just need the energy back…

When I started this crazy adventure 3 years ago, I would have freaked the hell out and up til now, when I have had an injury that could take me out of the fight I panicked.  I would push myself too hard, over train and undo any healing that I’d had, which in turn delayed my training longer than just having the patience to endure.  With age, comes wisdom,  and as you loose the exuberance (and stupidity) of youth, you do gain something in return.

The process of learning your own body, trusting your instincts and realizing that when something goes haywire its absolutely paramount to go get yourself checked out is where my peace of mind comes from.  When my hormones started going nuts and affecting how I fought…I went in, found out that I was in perimenopause, was put on hormone therapy and my world went back to its happy constant.

When I was sick this past month, and dealing with allergens, the flu and a double ear infection, I didn’t really worry too much about my fatigue.  But now that I am on the upside of all that, and my fatigue is not getting better, I know it was time for my blood work to get done.  Besides the need to see where my vitamin levels are since last year, I definitely think my thyroid is not working properly.  So, on Friday I will go get answers, instead of putting it off and hoping for the best.  Peace of mind comes from knowledge, not wishful thinking.  That lesson has been hard learned…but learned it has been!

Its also a much more pleasant conversation when I can be so open with Greg about everything under the sun, including my health.  We both know that my time fighting is limited and if this year is any indication, much more limited than either of us expected, so to be able to talk about things with no fear of criticism, or judgement is a wonderful thing. A couple of years ago I would have felt broken, and incapable of admitting I am not as young as I used to be.  But now, at 49 and 3 World Championships under my belt, I have no doubt age and this sport have taken a toll on my body.

Greg supports me, in every aspect of my life, he gives me encouragement and never tries to bring me down, ever.  We have never fought, we always simply talk about things and it all works out because we both have peace of mind within our relationship, respect for one another and we trust each other completely.  Without that, I would not be the woman I am today.  He keeps me strong, lets me be willful and embraces the wildness that is Me, every single day.

Finding that peace of mind within myself and within my primary relationship allows me to be completely comfortable in my life.  I know that no matter what happens, things will be alright.  Even when a crisis arises, we deal with it and in the end, come out better, and stronger because of it usually.

I can’t say that peace of mind can be achieved easily, it takes work and it takes introspection on a very deep level and until you are ready to do that, its difficult to achieve but never stop trying.  I don’t have the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything but I do realize what it takes for me to be happy, healthy and live life to the fullest in every way possible and that’s what I choose every day to do.

Find your peace of mind…and embrace it.  Don’t let the tiny little rocks get to you.

We only get one time around on this big blue marble…enjoy it!!!

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Back to Training…finally!

I got back from my orthopedic doctor yesterday and finally was able to breath a sigh of relief!  He took me out of my splint and said I should be fine to start strengthening my hand & wrist and most importantly, I can start my weapons training again!

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It has been several months since I was able to really wield a weapon of any kind.  I have De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis in both hands.  This occurs when the tendons around the base of the thumb become inflamed.  I had the right thumb tendon sheaths cut a few years ago, before I started competing internationally.  It was now time to have the left done.  I have always had issues with both my hands, I’ve had carpal tunnel surgery on both as well.  Hopefully, other than the expected arthritis, I should be in the clear for awhile.

On top of the issues with my hand/wrist, I was also recovering from my IT Band tear that happened during my half marathon in October.  It has mended itself to the point I can now run again, albeit slower than normal, but my range of motion is no longer affected so I am working back up to more normal speeds and distances, slowly.

The biggest issues I have come across so far is making sure I don’t do too much, too soon. Last night, after the go ahead from my doc, I did some pole axe work.  Stance movements, weapons lifts & holds and just getting familiar with the weight again.  That was enough, and I knew it.  Yet as soon as I was winding down my Interval Sprints on the treadmill my brain said…”Let’s Lift ALL THE WEIGHTS”.  I literally had to stop myself from picking up heavy things all night long.

It’s amazing the changes my body has gone through the past 3 years since I started actively training for my fighting.  As I have stated before, I can tell a marked difference in how my body reacts & recovers now, to how it did so when I was even a mere 3 years younger.  Age is a vicious bitch and she will make you pay one way or another lol.

I also have to constantly remind myself that I have to fight my own fight.  I can not train the same way 25 year old Russian women train for this sport.  My body can not take it any longer.  It does not mean they are better than I am, it simply means I have to train smarter than they do.  Youth has exuberance, raw energy and frankly a lot of stupidity powering your body.  You don’t really think about the long term repercussions certain moves make, you just push through it, all out, balls to the wall.  I have been like that ALL my life, in almost every aspect of my world.  Yet I have come to understand the old adage “Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance”.  Granted, that may not always be true, especially in my sport, but it does lend some defining moments to the slide show of steel fighting in my mind.

Today I pre-plan my workouts, I contemplate what they will do to my body and I mentally prepare.  I also take rest days VERY seriously.  Recovery does not happen as quickly without rest.  Period.  I will be the first to admit that I never listened to the more experienced, older fighters in the beginning.  I thought I can do this, I can make my body bend to my will.  Yet here I am, preaching the same things they have been for years; slow steady progress is so much better than over doing it and blowing your body up.

Here I am, on the raggedy edge of my fighting years, knowing that my body is not going to last forever.

Yet, I am still filled with hopes, dreams and goals to conquer…and conquer them I will!

There just might be a lot of pain remedies involved…and the scent of Bengay wafting over the winners podium =)

Never Give Up – Never Give In!!!

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, gastric bypass, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, Running Streak, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, weightloss success

18 years…and it seems like only yesterday

On Saturday, Halloween, it will be my 18th Wedding Anniversary.  My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years now, married for 18.  I would venture to say we are happier now than we were when we started and our world just keeps getting better. (Photo was our Wedding Day in 1997 and just a month ago on Date Night)

I met Greg online on a bbs (bulletin board system) which for all you young folks out there, was the precursor to Facebook probably before Mark Zuckerberg was a glimmer in his parent’s eye.  At first, I wasn’t sure about him, back then you didn’t have photos you could post online and so all you had to go by was scrolling text on a small little monitor.  I think back to it now and it seems SOOOO antiquated but it really was just back in the 90’s.

We met face to face and the moment I saw him, I knew he was the man I was going to marry.  Instantly, hand on my heart, love at first sight.  We even talked about just driving to Vegas that night because we both felt it.  We knew we would spend the rest of our lives together and so far, we have!

We don’t fight, we don’t yell, we just talk.  His strengths compliment my weaknesses and my strengths boost his weaknesses.  Apart, we are two imperfect human beings, in need of something to make us whole.  Together, we are perfect pieces to one another’s puzzle. He is truly my perfect mate.

Over the years we have had trials, tribulations, debt, misunderstanding and sometimes yes, even anger but that was always a very minor part of our world.  Every day, every week, every year we are together we have gotten stronger because of one another.  I truly would not be the woman I am today, doing what I do, without him.  When I need to be pushed, supported, held, comforted, or told No, he does it.  I have always said, he is the one man who can tell me No, that I will actually listen to lol.

I do not know how to be Me without him and I hope I never have to find that out.  We both talk about our fears of losing each other, to whatever act would separate us, and we both know that it can happen at any moment, but we also know understanding that, and keeping that little bit of “what if he finds someone else” fear around is what keeps us on our toes.  Nothing in this world is permanent and we both know that very well.

For our 18th Anniversary celebration we are taking a road trip to California so I can see where Greg grew up, explore new cities and get some ocean time in.  We both love the beach and taking a road trip in my new car together will be exciting.  We have traveled together many times over the years, but this will be the first real road trip we have ever done, we usually just fly some place.

Greg proposed to me on Leap Day (Feb 29) 1996 (which I incorrectly thought was Sadie Hawkins Day) but a year later we got our first tattoos, together.  So in celebration of our 18 years of wedded bliss we will both be getting ink by one of the most amazing tattoo artists we know, Derek Alvarado.  The only set point of our road trip is seeing Derek on our anniversary, I met D many MANY years ago through EverQuest and he has been a very dear friend ever since.  He set things in motion with Greg and I that to this very day, help Greg and I be the couple that we are today.  So while getting new ink is very special to us, seeing D and having him do it for us is truly one of the most exciting points of our trip.

I am sure there will be updates to my Facebook Athlete page and I will definitely post a full update with photos once we return, provided our house sitter or new kitten don’t burn everything down before we get back.  I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween and I truly hope each and every one of you find as much happiness in your lives as I have.

I really am the luckiest woman in the world 🙂

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