The first thing I’d like you to know is: my hamstrings are sore.

But that’s good, right?

All right, so here’s what you need to know to catch you up with where we are now. Here’s a short list of the major life changes I’ve made in the last three months- my divorce was finalized; I finished sorting my belongings from the house I shared with my ex-husband; I moved my son into his first college apartment; I loaded everything I own into a POD storage container; I moved across the country; and I started a new job. In a previous life I was a college professor. I got lucky and landed an opportunity to return to a career I thought I was gone forever. Now I’m a high school psychology teacher. It’s only part-time, so I still have my online personal training clients too.

Any one of those things by itself might pose a challenge to anyone’s coping resources. That I did them all at the same time was overwhelming, and it’s been quite bewildering at times. For example, what happened to all the saucepans? Somehow, after all the dust settled, I looked around and realized that I didn’t end up with any saucepans. I’m still not sure where they all went. Without pans to cook in, I’ve been eating a lot of salad.

There were a few significant hiccups during the move. I spent the first day of that cross-country drive skipping from highway rest area to rest area, taking mandatory bathroom breaks. Even with all the bathroom visits I was blissfully unaware that by 8pm that night I would be holed up in a bathroom in a hotel room in Salina, Kansas, while my gastrointestinal system ejected its entire contents. That’s right, I got glutened. Stupid road food. It actually happened again a few weeks later. I missed the welcome party for new faculty at my school as I laid shaking in bed, hoping that I might die in between trips to the bathroom. That was the kind of day where making a successful trip to the refrigerator for Gatorade is considered a major accomplishment.

When I got to town, the apartment I am renting wasn’t ready. My landlord is one of my oldest friends, so when he got called out of the country on a business trip right after I arrived, it wasn’t a big deal. I was able hire guys to unload the POD and move all my things into the apartment, but I couldn’t actually live in the apartment until the renovation for the kitchen and bathroom were finished. Without anything else more important to do, I helped with the construction work. The day we thought we had finished the bathroom, there was a problem hooking up the plumbing for the drain on the bathroom sink. It’s an old place, and the bathroom hadn’t been renovated for years. One thing led to another, and I found myself packing up clothes that I had just unpacked, so that my landlord could smash a hole in the wall of my bedroom closet to replace the bathroom drain pipes. And then patch and re-plaster and re-paint the closet wall. Someone might have uttered a swear word or three. That was the kind of day where you take one step forward and two steps back. I’d say that’s pretty typical for renovations, though… it ain’t over til it’s over. Boy, am I glad it’s over, though.

Delayed by the renovations, I didn’t finish unpacking the apartment before classes started. I pretty much unpacked everything for the kitchen and the bathroom. That’s when I noticed the saucepans had gone astray. But there are still a lot of unpacked boxes lying around. The current inventory of unpacked boxes in the apartment is as follows: 22 in the living room, 7 in the dining room, 7 in the bedroom (including 4 large boxes of clothes that really need to be liberated from their boxes), and a bewildering 30 boxes in the home gym. Yes, the home gym is still in boxes. When I went to set up the shelves to unpack the gym equipment, I discovered that my shelves are 5 inches taller than the height of my ceiling. So that explains the bottleneck in the gym. My friend swears he’s going to help me cut down and rebuild the shelves this weekend.

All in all, it’s been like this: Take a girl’s life, turn it upside down, and shake vigorously. Relocate the life by 3,000 miles. Then flip it back over, and watch the girl scurry around, trying to put it all back together again. Today I met a woman on the sidewalk in front of my place, and she asked if my apartment was vacant. She thought my place was vacant because there aren’t any curtains. Curtains? Geez, those are pretty far down the list of priorities. But hey, I’m working on it.

Amidst the chaos lies an opportunity to re-evaluate what’s important.

Curtains are not important. Diet and exercise are important.

So how am I doing on that?

I’m going to be honest here. There is a crap ton of Real Life happening, and I’ve not been on my A Game. There’s no use sitting around and kicking myself about what I think I should have been doing. I just need to do an honest evaluation of where I am and make some choices. So here’s where I’m at.

I didn’t weigh myself at all during the month that I was moving. I suppose there was the “surprise” benefit of getting glutened twice, although I would not recommend vomiting and diarrhea as a healthy weight loss strategy. I recently looked up the number that was on the scale the week that I moved into my own place, when my husband and I first separated. Today I am within 3 pounds of that number. What this means is that I’ve gone about 9 months without regular weigh-ins and tracking my weight, and I’m within 3 pounds of where I started. My diet has not been as tight as it normally is- I have been eating out at restaurants waaay too much. But I haven’t had any significant weight gain. In fact, I may have continued to lose inches. I have to wear “Professional Dress” clothes for work, which means I can’t wear all my favorite techno-moisture-wicking fitness clothes to work. I’ve had to buy a lot of clothes. The clothes that I’m buying are pretty much the same size that I wore 15 years ago.

Frankly, that’s astonishing.

I have not maintaned as well on the exercise front. I haven’t run as much as a mile in 9 months. I did compete in the Rio Grande Highland Games in May, which proves I haven’t been a complete slug. Slugs don’t win 2nd place in caber, and I did. However, since I have been in Ohio, I have only been out to the park to walk for distance once. The weather has been a huge obstacle. Holey Shamoley, it’s been freaking humid! All I have been able to do is walk. I haven’t been able to tolerate much running- the air is so thick and chewy that I’ve been making myself dizzy when I try to run. I gotta figure this out. I’ve pre-registered for a race in May to force the issue.

I fixed up my bike. My bike was abandoned in the garage at my ex-husband’s house. As I moved, all I could do was throw it on the POD with everything else. When my bike got to Ohio it had two flat tires and was looking sad and neglected, so I took it in to a local bike shop for a tune up. The bike got all new tubes for the tires, and got lubed and tightened up. I had the guys work on the issue with the handlebars- they were actually too wide for the bike. The bike is now happy and ready for some low-altitude adventures. There are a lot of good rails-to-trails bike trails around here.

And I am ready for some cooler fall temperatures. Last week was miserable. One day last week it was 95 degrees, and about a million percent humidity. It was sweltering and miserable. I got overly hot and sticky just walking from the parking lot to my desk at school. This made real something I had been thinking all along- there are gonna be days when I can’t exercise outside in Ohio. The weather is less cooperative here. I need a Plan B. Because Plan A- drive down to the park and take a jog around the lake- sure wasn’t happening. Indoors is good. I lost custody of my stationary recumbent bike in the divorce, and I gave away my treadmill for the move. I needed something at home.

So here’s my new Plan B. I found a fantastic floor model elliptical machine at a local used sporting goods store. I usually don’t like ellipticals- they tend to make my knees grumpy. But when I tried this one, it felt good. So I bought it. My home gym room was looking kinda empty anyway. (Well, except for all the boxes.)

And finally, we’re back to the sore hamstrings. The athletic trainer at school has been hired to give fitness and conditioning classes for faculty and staff at the school on Friday afternoons in the athletes’ weight room. I saw the athletes’ weight room on my tour of the school during my interview- and even then I thought, crap, this place is better equipped than some fitness centers I’ve seen. When they announced that they’d have free fitness classes in the weight room, I jumped at the chance. Our first class was yesterday.  Don’t worry… just like every other group fitness class I have attended, I quickly zoomed to the back of the class. My knee is bothering me. When the trainer told us to do medicine ball squats, I went rogue and started modifying the exercises for myself. Then I couldn’t help myself… I started modifying exercises for other participants too. He had people doing medicine ball sit-ups on a BOSU on the first day of class! Another lady in class told me she had recently had abdominal surgery. She was not ready for those sit-ups, they were going to kill her. We just went off on the side and did some planks instead. Later I was able to explain to the trainer what was going on. I did a little NASM Corrective Exercise name-dropping too, and he realized I know what I’m doing. I just don’t want to threaten his agenda- it is his class. So when he told us to do deadlifts with 25lb dumbbells on the floor, I did them, and I may have over-stretched my hamstrings picking up the dumbbells. But that’s a good kind of sore, right?

I bought a Groupon for a sports massage therapist. I can’t imagine going to another massage therapist… I miss my relationship with my former trainer so much. But I will put on my big girl panties, because I need to go.

Everybody has a setback at some point or another. It’s not the setback that’s important, it’s what you do to get back on track.

“Ali in the Jungle” is probably the workout song of the month. it’s the ultimate Reboot Theme Song. “Everybody gets knocked down / How quick are you gonna get up? / Just how are you gonna get up?”

I especially love this version of this video… the skeletons dancing. They’re supposed to be dead, but they are dancing instead. I guess there is life after death, if you choose it.



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