Hitting people with sticks

Well, yesterday I showed up to practice, put on "loaner" armor (actually, the armor of the one female heavy fighter in my shire, which she very helpfully let me use) and tried swinging some sticks around. I had a great time! It was hard! I’m really tired today!

I’m still processing it all. The movement patterns were new, the fact that the entire point was to whack a human being was new, and accepting that I was going to get hit was new. The knight marshal taught me how to throw a couple blows, how to hold my shield, hit me in the helmet a few times at varying strengths to see if I was going to freak out, and then passed me off to an experienced fighter to practice throwing some shots and having those shots returned. All the fighters at practice eventually got the chance to ‘fight’ the noob, and everyone was wonderful and put up with me not knowing what the heck I was doing and hit me with appropriate strength (though I was encouraged to hit them as hard as I could!) For the most part the hits were startling but not painful through my armor, though people kept getting me on my unarmored hip and that left a painful lump (I was told that my armor’s owner also had problems with the hip and wanted to add some protection there). The sword was heavy, holding my sword arm up to strike the taller fighters left my arm tired, the shield was a little heavy, but the armor wasn’t heavy or awkward at all, aside from the honkin’ steel helmet. It was definitely a workout though.

I had some trepidation going in, but honestly it was the most fun activity I’ve had in a while– even while getting whacked I was laughing and grinning through my helmet. Even today I’m still in a great mood. I don’t know if fighting just works for me, or if it’s leftover adrenaline, but regardless it was a great way to blow off some steam and I’m looking forward to next week, where hopefully I can be less "AAAH FLAILING ARMS OF DOOOM" and start learning some technique to do things properly.

I thought it might be weird being the only woman there but everyone was very welcoming and not weird at all. (It helps that I’m used to playing the "one of the guys" role when needed.) No one was like "eee girl fighter" except for my A&S ladies who were more like "omg you look like a f-ing badass!" Which was awesome too. So I’m going to be thankful that my shire is full of great folks and roll with being the only woman in armor for now. At least until the other one gets back and I can’t borrow her armor anymore :)

Anyway, this morning’s workout was just 30 minutes on the elliptical and stretching because I’m pretty beat…

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Trying new things

My muscles are a little fatigued lately, and not bouncing back quickly after sets. I skipped my workout yesterday entirely, and today I was back for squat/bench/lat PD GZCLP day, which felt harder than usual. It’s probably just poor recovery and I should get to bed earlier tonight.

I’m really excited about SCA practice tonight: I’m going to try hitting people with sticks/being hit by other people with sticks. I’m not sure what to expect, which is probably part of why I’m so excited about it; I’ve never in my life tried a combat sport so it’s totally new. The armored combat marshall’s partner has armor that will probably fit so I can try it out without too much commitment (they have proper loaner armor, but it’s man-sized, of course).

Apparently one of the "things" that happens to some people the first time they fight is that they get hit in the helmet a few times and just NOPE the f out. It seems to be more or less random and not related to how enthusiastic they are. I don’t know if that’ll happen to me. My husband is slightly concerned; I had a mild concussion when I was younger (hit a tree while sledding, classic) and that makes me more prone to further brain injuries. I guess I’ll just have to see what happens.

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Learning new things, every day

It’s been far too long since I wrote a blog… losing the habit of workout -> blog, since nowadays I go directly from workout into daily meetings. But at least I’m not losing the habit of workout!

This morning I started Week 6 of 3 Day GZCLP. I started light, and it’s still not exactly challenging, but I’m seeing results even so. SL5x5, my previous program, was really squat heavy (which I never liked) and it was too much heavy volume for me. GZCLP is only one T1 heavy lift per workout, and it rotates so I don’t have to squat every workout (thank goodness). The T3s are either one-arm rows or lat pulldown/low bar assisted pullup (whatever I have the equipment for), so it tends to be upper-body heavy. This is actually wonderful– I’ve had tons of upper back and delt development on this program, my arms are looking incredible. Unfortunately we are deep in sweater season so no one is seeing them.

Yesterday I carved out a chunk of time to do a proper long run– a little over 10 miles, a little under 2 hours. It was just above freezing but dry and not windy. The run itself was fine, my legs were fresh until about mile 7, and I hung in after that. However, despite popping a couple advil after I got home, I had the worst exertion migraine and I was pretty much out of commission for the rest of the day, which was really frustrating because I had work to do and an SCA meeting to attend– I half-assed one and skipped the other.

Work is still overwhelming and feeling like I’m way in over my head is a daily event. I’m lucky that I work with more experienced project managers/facilitators and they are great about teaching me new things, as well as letting me step back and observe while they drive the discussion. I’ve been feeling really frustrated lately, and so has my team, so having an outside person who can be objective is really valuable.

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And we’re back!

Hooray, work is back open and I commuted to the office as usual this morning. My work gym was also back open so I decided that I would go to the gym as usual too. It felt a little bit selfish to show up to work and go right to the gym, but 1) everything was still coming back online; 2) everyone was milling around this morning not able to do anything useful and talking about the shutdown anyway; and 3) this is what I do on a normal day. So, 30 minutes of running on my favorite treadmill, watching HGTV, and a shower and all was right with the world. And the system updates on my laptop were done when I got back.

I’ve gotten through the piles of emails and sent replies to ones that needed them, but I’m hesitant to dive into more intensive work. I haven’t heard anything about the very IT-oriented project that I’m managing; I’m assuming for today that everyone in IT is occupied with bringing systems up and firefighting. I expect that tomorrow we’ll meet and see if guidance has changed after losing over a month from the schedule.

Other than that, not much going on. I’m still working through GZCLP (in week 3 now) with random cardio on my off days, and ADF (I am not sure how it’s going to go now that I’m adding more daily activity back in, but we’ll see). This weekend is an SCA event and then Super Bowl Sunday so no downtime for me…

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I’m still here, still furloughed. It’s past the point where I’m like “ohhh I hope we get called back soon” and well into having a new routine established that’s going to be hard to break. I’ve mostly forgotten what work is like. At least I’m still getting up early, so I won’t die when I have to go back to commuting.

Meanwhile, I’m 3 weeks into GZCLP and that’s going fine; I started it out really light so I’m just toodling along, slowly rebuilding my base. I’m happy that I found a replacement for lat pulldowns; I can do assisted low bar pull ups– basically I put the bar just higher than I can reach from sitting on the floor, and use my legs enough that I can get myself up. A little cheating, but it’s better than not doing them right? And I can’t even get close to a regular pull up.

I haven’t been running much since the snow storms and deep freeze. It’s supposed to warm up some, so I might go out later this week. The Xbox is set up in the basement now so I’ve been playing my stupid dancey games (Dance Central/Dance Central 2) for cardio. It’s not as good as a run, but it’s fun.

For a while I was using the time at home as an excuse to Cook All The Things, but I’m kind of over it now.  (I’m pretty much over being in housewife mode, but that’s a whooole other post.) Plus, I don’t want to go out and buy groceries as much as I can help it! So this seems like a great time to play with fasting more–I’m trying out alternate day fasting. So far so good. The worst part of it was going over to my SCA friends’ house for a day of artsy activity with the group– they cooked dinner for us all and looked so sad when I said I was fasting and wasn’t going to stay. Ah well– it would’ve been really awkward to just sit at the table and stare banefully at all the tasty food everyone was eating!

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Good stuff first:  workouts are going great. Saturday I crammed in a lifting workout before we headed to our friends’ house for game day, and today I did another and followed that up with some cardio– snow shoveling. I’m still following the coffee-Japanese lesson-workout routine in the morning and the habits are becoming nice and sticky.

However, my mood is not so good lately. Maybe it’s having time to think, maybe it’s some processing I need to do but have been avoiding, maybe I just don’t do so well when I’m isolated at home all the time, maybe I’ve lost some purpose/satisfaction since I haven’t been working. Whatever it is, my monsters are looming more closely than usual.

re: processing – I saw my grandparents over Christmas and they’re not doing so well. My grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and he’s going downhill very fast, he’s a totally different person since the last time I saw him. I’ve been lucky to have them in my life for so long, I know lots of people lose their grandparents early. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for being a “bad granddaughter”, I hate the phone so I don’t call, I wrote them letters for a little while but my grandma’s losing her eyesight so she can’t read them anymore. I live far away and hardly see them, and there’s nothing I can do to help. It’s terrifying to think that the next time I see my grandpa he might be gone, and I didn’t do enough.

Yep, that’s definitely something I need to process. It keeps popping into my head at night and I always push it away so I don’t obsess and keep myself up.

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Staying disciplined

I don’t really have much outside structure on my life right now. I’ve been making my own, just so I don’t have too much of a rude awakening when I get called back to work. Up by 7 to see my husband out the door, coffee, Japanese lesson, workout, then the rest of the morning/afternoon is whatever activities I have queued up. Yesterday I re-caulked the bathtub and visited my local yarn store for materials for my next sweater, and made dinner. Today I’m supposed to meet a friend for lunch– hooray for social contact!

I’ve been poking around at GZCLP so I started that program yesterday. I’m not sure it’s a great fit, my goals are a little more aesthetic than pure strength lately so it’s a workable hybrid.  The workout was kind of short and boring because I didn’t start heavy– but I’m not sore today. I’m used to more volume so maybe I need to throw more T3 in there, even though they recommend not to.

The weather pendulum has swung over to “damn cold”. I ran in 28ºF this morning and by the end of the 30 minutes I was warmed and sweating in my layers– not ideal when it’s below freezing. But my clothes seemed to keep the moisture in rather than wicking it out to freeze, which is just as well– but soggy.

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