Happy monsoon-July 4th-weekend-Friday!
Before the cheese-wiz-genie showed up and wiped out my calendar for 47 days I would periodically take morning walks. In an effort to establish new habits over this time I started going on regular walks to create an intentional routine.
After a good few long walks it wasn't long before I hit a wall. Although I love the outdoors, walking just to walk felt super unproductive. As soon as I'd get home, I'd feel like I did something wrong or not enough of something. It'd make a hell of a killjoy for the effort making me reluctant to do it again.
I know, lame. haha
To make things more interesting I started listening to my growing collection of books on Audible. I'd structure my walk around a chapter's length, hit my stopwatch on my G-shock and manage my route to end at the same time the chapter did. When I'd get home I did feel productive.. but man! I was still craving more.
Then I decided to add another walk later in my day. Sometimes in the lunchtime hour, or hell, in the afternoon when it was over 100 degrees. Got me a good sunburn on one of them. What a dumbass I was! haha
I'd come home wound up as if I played tennis for an hour or so. Soaked to the bone, loose, productive - ish... But still, not enough.
Then I remembered giving Avin some shit back in the day. I was encouraging him to exercise and suggested to him that he use one of my weights with handles and that he should just carry that weight around the block. I vividly remember laughing at the idea saying it'd suck sooo bad! But it'd be a fun workout.
No surprise though, he never took me up on the idea. :)
In my quest to find or create an interesting walk I thought, man! I should give this idea a go!
I've worn a weighted ruck bag before, but I never just held one in my hand for a 30 minute period. The idea behind bringing a heavy weight with you is that as soon as you'd leave the house, no matter where you were, you have to bring that bitch back home. The shame of having to put behind some random bush, walk back home to then grab your car keys to pick the weight back up... man!
Even if you never told anyone, yourself would know!
So I started with a simple 10lb plate. I must have walked for 45 minutes. I was doing anything and everything with that weight. When I got home my hands were sore and the black paint wore off on my hands.
Beyond looking like a total tool on the street holding the weight while walking, I felt nothing the next day. The ideas continued....
I needed to find a way to make a good walk suck in a good way.
Bam! I said the hell with it! I grabbed the 30lb weight and committed to a good long walk.
Turns out there was a word for this kind of walk. It's called a suitcase carry.
I had no clue! :) I was so excited this actually existed. The idea behind the walk is that it forces you to keep vertical and focus on your posture and in doing so works your core.
I told myself that when my route brought me across the street from the school I would step up the suck factor! In front of the school there's a long ass strip of trees. I decided that when I hit that part of my route I would hold the weight over my head until I got to a tree, then bring the weight down to my chest and as soon as I was out of the tree's umbrella, I would put my hands back in the air holding it.
Man! talk about suck!
Check out the route!
I would periodically hold the weight out so my arms were at a right angle holding the weight out like a gift to the universe. Since I was walking and things were moving, I would use street light poles as a target to sustain the burn.
By the time I got back home, I was whooped! it sucked so bad! And I loved every bit of it!!
After a couple of these 30lb suitcase carry walks, I was ready to step up the difficulty.
Good sir, will you please increase the suck factor!
YOU GOT IT!
Oh my gosh! hot damn! the kettlebell's rounded handle feels so comfortable in your hands... but dude! that extra 5.2lbs! the workout sucks so much more!!
When I would gas out I would carry the weight behind my head allowing both arms to carry the load. It was only a matter of time before the triceps would burn and lose feeling. I'd tell myself, to hold it until the next landmark! hold it!
Oh wait! just passed it! keep holding!
As soon as the milestone target was achieved I'd quickly switch hands! Such a relief! haah
Then when it would start to slip from the grip of your hands! it's hanging at the end of the fingers! the forearms would be on fire! man it sucked so bad! hahha
A week or so of this would go on before I had my next chiropractor appt. My stupid ass asked the doc her thoughts on the suitcase carry. In the nicest way she said I was dumb for doing that as it's so unbalanced and could hurt my back... and you're old. hahah
I was like, nooo! my core loves it!
It sucks so much!
She said now you could always do a farmer's walk using both hands.
The next time I got after it I was all about it!
I can go up to 50lbs each... but I don't want to hide these behind a bush remember?! This new posture allowed me to carry 15lbs more while keeping the weight equal. The other thing that I love about these walks is that I can shrug and hold the weight equally. I would sustain a 30second hold going from post to post.
Oh my goodness! It sucked so bad!
Yesterday was actually the first day I did these farmer walks. I can still feel them in my back and shoulders. I've never enjoyed such self inflicted brutality! hahah
My favorite part really is that it forces me to be uncomfortable while focusing on the target of relief. I would talk to myself about enduring the pain until the goal was met. I would picture in my mind striving for something I want to achieve but tolerate the inconvenience of the situation for a little longer.
I have made the walks regular enough that I could see a target in my head though not in front of me. There were times the burn hurt a lot and I felt like a total bitch fussing at myself for having made such a terrible decision without seeing the target... but man! as soon as I could physically see the target, it was game on! and as I passed the target, I held a little longer just because I knew I could
Speaking on a serious level I have a bodacious goal.. one that is beyond anything I ever thought possible in my life. It's seared into my head. I've seen it accomplished before by others. I know what it takes! and man!! I want it as bad as I want to breathe!
When the pain mounts before I can see the target, I would relate that real feeling of pain to the struggles of the goal. This is going to suck. You're going to have to hold on if you really want it. When I would pass that milestone I could truly see that bodacious goal being a reality. I would connect the physical struggle to the accomplishment of the goal.
By the time I got home I was thrilled with the physical exhaustion while being so happy for having held on a little longer each time. I have tracked my routes so that I know how long they take and to my surprise, while under a 30-50lb load, I can complete the route 3-5 minutes faster than without the weighted load.
There's greatness beyond the struggle. We've just got to have the nerve to make that step forward. Once the momentum has picked up, greatness comes faster than we thought. and in the end, when we think we've had enough, we can accomplish the impossible. And once accomplished, we irritatingly realize you could have tolerated the pain longer than you needed to.
Every single time I see the weights I think to myself, you've got a serious problem, please don't do this. I then muster the nerve to ignore the comfort my heart desires. My brain steps up the courage to pick the weights up regardless. Once they are in my hands and the first step or two are behind me, I cannot help but say out loud "Well, this is gonna suck".
But it sucks so good! :)
If you ever want to take a walk that sucks with a buddy, just let me know. :)
Misery loves company! and I'm good for it! :)
Have a grateful 4th of July weekend!