A Lesson (ouch) Learned



When will I learn?  When will I finally come to terms with the fact that I am not 25 anymore? Or 35?  Or 50?

When will I begin to accept my own physical limitations?

Not yet, apparently.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past few days. I’ve been crabby, tired, irritable. You know, the typical curmudgeon of an old lady.  My brain’s been sort of fried, and that has been the root of my problems.

I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep real well when my thoughts are running around in circles like a crazed hamster on a wheel.  I drift off, then jolt myself awake thinking of things I haven’t done, things I meant to do, things I’m supposed to do but am refusing to do, things I think maybe I should do if I was a really healthy person but which I don’t want to do now that I know I’m not.   You know.  Hamster. Wheel.  Awake all night.

Anyway, I came home from work yesterday with my brain in a fog and my spirits low.

And I was greeted at the door by my tall, handsome, grinning-with-his dimples-twinkling German boychik, Lucas.  He held up his phone, showing the face of his beautiful Momma with whom he was Skyping.  I spent a few minutes chatting with her, smiling at him, and walking around my intensely muddy garden. It was very uplifting!

When I came inside, Lucas and I started talking about baseball.  And that got us thinking about my old, dusty Wii.  And he challenged me to a game of baseball.  First I just laughed.

Then I accepted.

Because I am dumb.

Very, very dumb.

I got dinner started, then grabbed my controller.  And Lucas and I played “Wakeboard”.  I lost by about 3, 000 points, but it was fun! I was jumping around, pretending to be at the beach, swinging my arms……  Then we decided to try “Bowling”.  And “Table Tennis”.  And “Archery” (where I came within striking distance of almost sort of catching him,     -ish, kinda.) Lucas stood like a sedate old elm, flicking his wrists and scoring big. I continued to jump around and flail, like a gorilla with a paintbrush in his hand.

So fun!  Ha, ha!

This went on for quite a while.  Lucas scored points, I flailed and twitched.

By the time we ate our pork chops and cleaned up, I was feeling all relaxed and happy.  My brain was focused on jumping over the wake, and my body felt all loose and stretchy.

I was like a limber, athletic older jock lady, you know?  Pretty sweet!

I fell into bed around 9, and slept the gentle sleep of the physically fit.

I hardly snored at all.

When my alarm trilled at 6 AM, I rolled over.  I yawned, feeling incredibly refreshed and relaxed.

Then I stood up, and every single nerve I have ever had or dreamed of having went into a spasm of silent screaming.  I couldn’t stand up straight. My back ached. My butt ached. My right shoulder felt like I’d pitched 9 innings for the Sox.  I sucked in a breath, and tried to hobble to the bathroom.  I managed to claw the door open, but I couldn’t even get my PJ’s off.  How could I shower or shampoo?

I did my best, emerging from the bathroom 20 minutes later with lather still in my hair, my pants unbuttoned and my back in the shape of a wobbly question mark.

When will I learn?

Some people my age run marathons.  Some compete in ski races.

But some of us are only engaged in competitive cooking, meatball eating competitions and falling asleep races.  We simply cannot spend two hours playing Wii with 17 year old German princes.

Not if we want to be able to tie our own shoes in the morning.

Good night.

I am off to the hot tub with my ibuprofin in hand.  Planning to slather on the menthol cream when I get out.

Feelin’ the Burn

I am so not an athlete.

I mean, really.  Not. An. Athlete.

For years, when asked what I did to work out, my answer was “Chop, stir, saute and chew.”  I have always hated the gym and everything associated with it.  If I’m going to sweat, I damn well better be on a beach.  If I’m going to feel pain in my muscles, it better be either from giving birth or from rocking a baby.   Exercise for its own sake has always struck me as a complete waste of my precious, precious time.

But everything has changed.

See, I recently developed high blood pressure.  It lasted for a while, so my doctor wanted me to have it checked by a specialist.  And off I went to the cardiology clinic, where I was greeted by the world’s best looking medical specialist.  Warm smile, sexy crinkles next to his sky blue eyes, soft voice, strong hands……Let me just say that when he found my pulse to be on the higher side, the response that leapt to mind was this: “Maybe you should take your hand off my chest.”

So when Dr. Heartthrob (I can’t help it!) told me that I really needed to lower my blood pressure, I felt compelled to try.  In the first place, there is NO WAY I would consider saying “no” to this man.  Ever.  If you get my drift.

In the second place, I would really like very much to live long enough to hold and cuddle my as yet unborn-unplanned-unthought of grandchildren.  Its looking like I need to stick around for quite a while if I am going to reach my goal of baking gingerbread men with my grandbabies.


I have cut way way way down on my salt.  Good bye Romano cheese!  Good bye delicious olives!  I will miss you, anchovies!   I have even cut back on my alcohol consumption.  This is not fun, but without the olives and cheese, its easier to give up the glasses of wine. Sigh.

Worst of all, I have gone out and bought an elliptical machine, which I fondly refer to as “The demon torture machine”.  The first time I climbed on it, I lasted a full 8 minutes before collapsing into a sweaty, shaking mess.

After two months, though, I am now able to walk/glide/push/pedal my flabby old body for 45 full minutes of elliptical blood pressure lowering magic!   Huzzah!

This is the point, according to all of my athletic friends, when I am supposed to be feeling the joy of the burn. I should, theoretically, be cheering myself on, feeling the euphoric endorphin high of the workout and generally loving every minute of my elliptical experience.

Yeah.  No.

Here is the truth of how I feel about working out for 45 minutes at a time, five days a week.

It sucks. It sucks wicked.

Just to get myself on that stupid thing, I have to be able to watch something totally riveting on TV.  Something like “Long Island Medium” or “Psychic Kids” or “The Colbert Report”.  That way I can pedal for what feels like days as I let my mind be absorbed by the show.  I only look at the timer when the commercials come on.

4 minutes and 15 seconds have elapsed.

“What?!  This stupid thing is broken! I am not going to look again until I’m positive ten minutes have gone by!”


“Gah!  My back hurts!  My legs are cramping!  I can’t breathe………”


“I’m thirsty.  I’m hungry.  Don’t look at the timer.  Don’t look at the timer. Don’t look at the timer. (gasp, gasp)

8:31 have elapsed.

“It’s broken!  It’s broken, I tell you!  I’ve been on here for a week!  WAIT!?  Did my heart just skip a beat?  Am I having a heart attack!  OH, MY, GOD!  I’m going to die of a heart attack while I’m doing my cardio routine! Do. Not. Look!”


“This can’t be right.  This can’t be helping!  My butt hurts!  Oh, God, there goes my heart again! I’m sorry, I can’t do this!  I’ll just do 20 minutes, then I’ll lie.  To myself.  Later.”

15:23 have elapsed.

“One third of the way!  But my heart HURTS!  I don’t want to die!  I want to see my kids again! I want to see Paul again!  I want to eat pumpkin ice cream one more time…….pant,pant,pant.”

And this is how it goes for the full 45 minutes.  At no time do I feel virtuous, or strong or euphoric.  Mostly, I feel like I want to kill someone.  Maybe someone with a cardiology degree.  Then I want to lie down and feed myself some cheesecake.

So to all you athletes out there: You are full of crap.  It doesn’t feel good.  It hurts and its all sweaty and stinky and nasty.

To Dr. Heartthrob: If my blood pressure doesn’t go down, and I die in spite of all this suffering and sacrifice, I am so going to haunt you and bother you and give YOU a big old heart attack.

So there.