dancing horses

dancing horses

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gettin' Dirty

Disclaimer: This post is not actually about the horses. However, it is related, albeit in a round about way.

If you follow this blog often you will realize that I am a goal oriented person. I like to set goal, figure out a plan and then work towards it. I can be pretty stubborn determined when I set a goal.

Last year I looked at some photos of myself and realized that I couldn't avoid the realization that I was getting decidedly 'fluffier'. I could not call myself fit or trim. In fact I had definite characteristics of a marshmallow.

Awareness is the first step.

I guess.

I knew I had to take action but how? That was the big question. I have friends who had awesome results from various diets. But let me go on record as saying I hate diets. As soon as I tell myself I can't have something I get all cranky and defiant (my mother is nodding her head at this statement). Jump ahead a few weeks when I met up with a friend to take photos. He had lost a lot of weight and looked fabulous. I commented on it and asked him what he did. I waited for him to tell me about the special paleo/17 day/no gluten diet. But he didn't. Instead he pulled out his iPhone and showed me this app.

It's called 'My Fitness Pal'. As he described it, it seemed perfect for me. First of all it's techie- I love tech. Second it's based on information- I love data. Third- there's not special diet. All you do is put in what you weigh (yikes), your age, gender, lifestyle and your goal. It calculates how many calories you can have per day. However it's 'net calories' not total. This system works for me. I don't like being told I can't have a cookie. I am however willing to negotiate for a cookie (i.e., exercise). I set my goal so that my weight loss would be gradual. I wanted to fool my body into thinking that I was meant to weigh less and didn't want to rebound.

 Initially it was hard. I started exercising more. Snowshoeing burns a lot of calories. When the snow left I discovered Zumba. That's fun and it burns a lot of calories. I lost weight slowly. The problem with losing weight slowly is that no one notices at first. The other problem of using a scale is that my close started to shrink before the scale recognized that I was slimming down. That was discouraging. But I kept at it. At this point I've lost about 30 pounds. I'm back into clothes that were too tight and some of them are loose. I feel great too.

In the winter I heard about this thing called "Mud Hero". It's an obstacle course of 6 kms  for charity. It looked hard. So I decided to set that as goal to do for the spring. A friend signed up with me. This gave me impetus to keep going on the fitness track. The day we were scheduled to do mud hero there was a hurricane. So it was postponed to sunday. My friend was dealing with the damage and power outage from the hurricane so couldn't go. I thought about not going- I hadn't planned on going by myself. But then I decided I had to do this because I had set this goal and I was completing it dammit. 

So I went. I arrived early (like they said) and wandered around a bit. Registration was fast and I got bored so I decided to sneak into an earlier run. Yes. I broke the rules. Me.

the course was set on a ski hill so the first part was going straight up. I started at the very back. Some crazy people started jogging. I just set a walk pace and kept going. I began to pass people. Some people stopped to rest but I knew that would make it harder to get going on such a steep hill so I kept my pace steady and made it to the top. Phew. The path went to the left and through some trees. People passed me jogging but I decided to keep my walk. I'm glad I did because on the other side of the trees was another incline. Yikes. I tried to tell myself that I could walk away anytime i wanted and no one would care. But I realized that I wasn't kidding myself- the only way I would be leaving early was on a stretcher.

I won't bore you with all the obstacles but they were fun and working on a the farm is really good training:

  • The spider web obstacle is much like dealing with electric fences. I found it easy to navigate and people began to copy my method
  • the mud bits were gross but I deal with gross often
  • scaling a small wall is very similar to pulling yourself back into the saddle on the trail or climbing onto the back of a truck. 
  • there was a balance beam across a mud pit. I took the one that was the farthest away (and least muddy) set my sets across and kept going. 
Some highlights for me:
  • I actually ended up jogging parts of the course. I was shocked with myself. 
  • I was passed often on the paths between the courses but passed them on the obstacles. 
  • I passed a lot of younger people
  • At about the 4 km mark I was striding along feeling good and I passed this young man (about 18). I smiled at him as I passed and he did a double take. A few minutes later he passed me jogging and his whole being exuded determination that he wasn't being passed by some woman old enough to be his mother! 
  • scaling and repelling walls is fun! 
In the end I finished 37/117 for my age/gender group and in the middle of the field overall. The next day my glutes were sore but otherwise I felt pretty good. 

How does this relate to the horses? Well they have a lighter load to carry. And I find that now that I'm fitter being effective in the saddle is much easier. 

Here are some photos from the day:

I always figure that if you are dirty at the end of the day then it's been a good day. That was a good day. 

Now for my next goal.......


  1. wow that is awesome!!! Congrats! You would have totally kicked my butt :)

  2. I love my fitness pal. I lost 15kg on it a few years ago. Makes you go for a run so you can "afford" dinner when you've had a naughty day!!

  3. Way to go! HUGE CONGRATS!! (on the weight loss and the Mud Hero)

  4. That's awesome!!! Congrats on placing so well! I did absolutely zero prep (not to mention only two hours of sleep) for my first 5k and placed horribly, but I'll be better prepared for the next one. I wish they had Mud Hero runs around here, but I've never seen one. Oh well. I'll stick with 5ks.

    I sadly have to eat gluten free since I have celiac (haven't been tested, but the difference since I stopped eating gluten is amazing!!!), but I'm really not having a problem with that at all. I don't feel deprived because I know it will make me sick (never much cared for bread anyway, but I've always loved pasta, oh well). I have been lazy in the exercising department though so I might have to try that app. I despise tracking my calories and every piece of food that goes in my mouth though so I don't know if I will stick with it. Hmm.... Anyway that's not the point.. I just got sidetracked lol. Congrats on your weight loss and on completing the Mud Hero run!!!!!!

  5. I'm impressed! I've been trying to lose about ten pounds for... six months. I lose two, I gain them back. I think, net, I've lost three pounds. Sigh. My clothes do fit better though. I tell myself muscle weighs more but still... if I didn't like you so much, I'd hate you from jealousy and spite. It's HARD to lose weight (and I do it your way). Good job, Theresa!


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