Okay, okay, I really don't have any sort of weird fondness for the inanimate string-like objects that hold my shoes securely on my feet. The title of this post is only slightly tongue-in-cheek, though, as it is quite refreshing to renew my relationship with said inanimate objects in addition to the animated appendages they serve.
There was a time, see, when I was in quite good shape. I ran a marathon, a triathlon, and an iron man event, all while studying physics and electrical engineering. I graduated from West Point, in fact, at 180 solid, muscular pounds, and though I certainly wasn't the greatest athlete to complete a course of study at the military academy -- not even really close, honestly -- I was still in good physical condition.
Fast forward to today, over twenty years later, and quite nearly a hundred pounds heavier. There's several reasons I've let my physical condition go, but they're all pretty much just excuses at this point.
Oh, and I used to be flexible. So flexible was I, in fact, that I had to stop doing quad stretches before I ran, because I'd always over-stretch and the subsequent run would hurt my knees. Now? Not so much. When I started the workout regimen I've been on for the past week, I was surprised to find that I couldn't even do a quad stretch. No, seriously -- I couldn't bring my left leg up high enough to grab the top of that shoe.
My overall shape -- round, it is -- has gotten to the point where "Oh, you graduated from West Point?" always sounds like more of a shocked exclamation than an expression of approbation.
As if that wasn't bad enough, just tying my shoes was an exercise in embarrassing exertion. I mean, it was hard enough to do it before my ill-fated trip to Bermuda, but after breaking my collarbone and three ribs on my left side, that achievement was darn near an impossibility. I went with slip-on shoes for months after, and only recently went back to tied-on shoes despite the effort involved.
Tying my right shoe wasn't too bad; I'd find a nice high perch and throw my foot up onto it, reaching down and deftly working the laces into a knot. The left, though, was the problem. I used the same perch, but in order to get that one tied I had to roll myself up into a tight ball, holding my breath tightly while I rapidly did up a bow knot with my quivering, bluing fingertips. Once the shoe was tied, I sprang back up into a straight position with an explosive breath in.
It was downright embarrassing, really.
I'd had enough of it this last summer, but after buying a workout regime I got caught up in moving, changing jobs, and all that stress, and the disks lay on the mantle for months, gathering dust. Besides, when I tried the first couple of exercise routines, my left shoulder still crackled and popped when I used it. While it's fine for breakfast cereal to do that, it's alarming when it's your formerly broken shoulder.
Then, in early December, I weighed myself. Two hundred eighty pounds, with zero clothes on. Enough was enough, I decided. After talking it over with the family I set out on a diet and exercise routine.
I started last weekend. Oh, my, it hurt! The pops and crackles were gone, finally, but the glutes and shoulders and calves hurt so bad for a while that I had a hard time climbing the stairs to the parking garage at work. Even walking down the hallway brought enough pain that I grimaced with each step.
You know the good thing about workout muscle pain? It's going to go away, one way or another. Either you work out through it, as I have, or you stop working out, and either path leads to less pain. Besides, the burn of a solid workout is a good pain. I used to enjoy it.
Turns out, I still do.
This weekend? I've only lost a few pounds. Now, that's pretty good for the start of a workout routine--those who know best have always told me that it's unsafe to lose more than a couple or a few pounds in a week.
The best part, though? I can tie both shoes without needing SCUBA equipment. I can also do quad stretches once again, though still not nearly as quickly as I used to hop into them.
So yeah, I'm happy I started. My Facebook friends know which workout regimen I'm talking about, because I've been mock-complaining about how insane this Insanity workout is. Fact of the matter, though, is that it's perfect for me. It's the younger cousin of P90X, which is a successful strength-building process, but Insanity is focused on cardio and sweating more than muscle building, and that's precisely what my fat tuckass needs.
So -- wish me luck. That, and years of happiness in my newly renewed relationship with my feet in all their surroundings.