A better me

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The start of 2014 felt like one old-man injury after another; my low back would be sore, or I’d have a crick in my neck, or a sore shoulder. Nothing debilitating, but a constant low-level annoyance. Grrr…

So in April I started going to a personal trainer once a week. This is the same trainer Bobo has been seeing, and I really liked what she had to say about him and how much stronger and more confident in her body she seemed. During the first meeting, the trainer asked what my goals were. “I’m already reasonably active with hiking and biking; mostly I want to be able to do that longer, farther, more often. I want to be fit enough to sustain the life and activities I already enjoy.”

So we started a routine of what he calls “cross-core”. Lots of work with cables and pulleys and elastic bands, natural body movements, mostly using my own body weight and leverage for resistance. And the results have been good. I’ve maintained the weight loss of 2013, and have even lost a smidge more. The nagging old-man injuries have dramatically decreased in frequency. My clothes fit better and I look better naked. But mostly the changes have been gradual enough that it’s hard for me to notice them from one week to the next.


But this year at Burning Man, something lovely happened. Mags and I were biking through the open playa and came across the ePOD, an open-truss sphere about 7 meters in diameter that spun on its vertical axis. Multiple people were perched on the top and sides of the sphere already, so clearly I needed to join them, right?

With the sphere already rotating at a good clip, I walked up to the base of the sphere and reached overhead to grab two struts and pull myself up. Because the sphere was spinning, my feet left the ground immediately and I kicked my legs forward to try to catch my ankles in the truss so I could pull myself up. And I failed. My feet didn’t make contact and the apparent centrifugal force swung my legs out away from the sphere.

In that brief second, a dozen thoughts and emotions went through my head. “I can’t do this! How embarrassing. I’m an old, fat man and should bike away and find something more my speed. What was I thinking?!” And in that second of shame and embarrassment and failure, I realized I was still hanging on. And had enough juice to hang on at least a couple more seconds. I swung hard again, pumped my legs forward… and this time I hooked the truss with my ankles! From there it was easy to monkey my way inside the sphere and start climbing up. I made it! I fucking did it!

browse on the ePOD Sphere, Burning Man 2014.

browse on the ePOD Sphere, Burning Man 2014.

And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to do it, prior to starting personal training. So yay! Let’s celebrate growing, changing and becoming a better version of yourself!

PS: Since October, I’m now going to training twice a week. Hell yeah!

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