Enduring it for Indycar

I just finished Endurance week..

….and barely made it out alive. This time she stuck an exercise bike into the mix.  It went like this: Chest Press, Squats, then three minutes on the bike going as fast as you can for 1 minutes, then slacking back a bit for 30 seconds, another minutes as fast as you can, and then slacking back for 30 seconds. Now to go to standing rows, then front lunges, and back to the bike. Then do bicep curls, back lunges, and then back to the bike. Lastly do tricep extensions and side squats.. and then three more minutes on the bike. Did I say “lastly”.. forget that because you are repeating that all over again.  Just getting on and off the bike when you are a sweaty mess is exercise enough.. I barely needed to do the actual time on the bike!

Whew.. that made me sweaty just thinking about it.

Now we are in strength week. It’s pretty much the normal routine except maybe a few different ways. Maybe instead of a standing row on the cable machine it is a seated row, etc.  Strength week means increasing  the weight, but doing only 8 reps instead of 20,  yet doing 3 sets instead of 2. Oh and 20 bird-dogs on each side at the end of each set.  If you are like me and lacking the needed balance, then bird dogs aren’t a ton of fun – unless you like being wobbly. I’ll let about.com teach you to bird-dog:


Friday will be the beginning of stability week, another fun week for the balance-challenged. I see a week of squats on a bosu in front if me. However let’s talk about something else… at little more important.

Why we do it what we do

Whenever you chose to do something that involves a major change in your life, there is always something.. small or large… that seems to happen to get you going in that direction.  My thing happened two years ago.  My first Indycar race. Who’da thunk it huh?

I have been a racing fan since I was a kid in the 60s.  One of my favorite memories as a kid was when my cousin, who was much older than me, gave me one of his drag racing trophies as a way to cheer me up one Christmas week when we were out visiting family.

My heart has always been with Indy Cars. I might not be able to tell you who won what 500 in what years, but I will have a favorite driver for almost every decade. Bobby Unser in the 60s and 70s, Rick Mears in the 80s, Alex Zanardi in the 90s.  What about the 2000s? The Teens? Hmm.. Well I might be changing yearly.. but Dan Wheldon is always there on the radar for me.

In 2008 I forced my brother to buy me a ticket for the Iowa Corn 250 (though I wish it had a better name!).  He had gone the year before, the first year at Newton and not taken me. I am sure after 2008, he wished he had done the same.  While he went each day, I just went on Sunday, race day. I was so overweight and so out of shape. I feel almost foolish thinking back that I possibly thought I could handle it. My brother is the kind of person who has to be at the track when the gates open.  I am all for going a couple hours later than that.  I was excited to go to the pits and do all of that, but I was nowhere close to being in any kind of condition to do it. I think my time in the pits was spent looking for a place to sit down. At about 11am, we decided to get something to drink and eat and head up to our seats. Embarrassingly, I could barely make it up the bleachers. I was embarrassed, angry, upset, and well any other term you can think of. I told my brother that there was no way I was going back down (I was really afraid I wouldn’t make it back up!).  As I sat there I knew what a mistake I had made coming. I had ruined my day but most importantly I had ruined his. I couldn’t blame him of he refused to take me the next year.

After the race was over (and the race itself was great!) I knew I had to do something.  However procrastination took control and I just kept putting it off and putting it off. I knew I had to make a choice.. get in some sort of shape or tell my brother I wouldn’t be going (And I am sure that would have been his preferred choice!). I joined the health club in March and in April I started working out with Amanda. I wasn’t giving myself much time. However when Roger called to say he had the tickets, I knew I couldn’t turn back.

The truth of the matter is that when I hired Amanda I only planned to do it until the end of June. Once the race was over, I wouldn’t need her.  However she pulled out a year long contract and I signed it. When race weekend came around I had only been working out with her for about 2.5 months and only the last month or so had we gone from meeting once a month to twice a month.  By the time the race rolled around in June, I hadn’t lost much weight, but I couldn’t believe the difference in myself at the race.  My brother and I were in the pits when it became close to starting time. The line was long for the shuttle and we had no choice but to walk.  The year before I would have had no choice but to stay in line for the shuttle and miss the drop of the green flag, but I wasn’t going to do that this year. We walked. Uphill. To the opposite end of the grandstands to our seats. I did it. And once we made to the grandstands, I made it up to the row and to my seat. I did it.

So the race is this weekend, and I plan on going both days. I am very excited.  I am nowhere near my goal weigh, but as of last Friday’s official weigh in, I am 50 lbs lighter that I was last year.  While I have no idea what I weighed that first year, two years ago, I would guess that I am about 60-65 lbs less.  I feel great about it and while I know I will be wiped out at the end of the weekend, at least I know that it will be because I had a good time, not because I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do. I hope those days are long over.

What Would Pippa Do?

I think the thing I am most excited about is watching the Indy Lights race on Saturday. I follow driver Pippa Mann on Twitter and Facebook and she often tweets about going to Pitfit to workout in the morning. I will read those in the morning and think how glad I am I don’t have to workout there! However when I am off work, and just want to go home, I think about Pippa tweeting about her workout and I think “Just go do it, you little wimp.”  And so I do. If I could hope to meet anyone this weekend it would be Pippa, to thank her for those tweets and how they helped me get there. To get here.

Whether it is stability week and the damn bosu ball, or strength week with the kettle bells or endurance week with all the sweat, this is why I do what I am doing. I am enduring to be able to go and do enjoyable things and not have my size, my lack of stamina, and the low self esteem that comes with all of that, hold me back. To get rid of the little voice that tells me I can’t do when I all I want is to be able to do.  Those are still goals I have yet to reach but I am getting there. Slowly. Each year IndyCars come to Iowa Speedway, I will be more active, less weighty, more stamina, and less whiny. Well, that last one was mostly for my brother…. who still has to endure me, no matter what!

So come this weekend- Go Wheldon… or wait… maybe go Will Power… or maybe Go TK….  Well I will figure that out on Sunday, but on Saturday I will be screaming “Go Pippa!”