I’m a Wogger.

Yep.  I’ve decided.  I used to call myself a ‘Slogger’, which was my word for the way I run.  Not run really.  It’s a slow jog. A very slog jog.  More like a shuffle really.  And ‘slog’ just feels like what it probably looks like.  In fact the average person that happens to see me as I trudge along would probably think something like – ‘well isn’t she motivated – just slogging along like that’.

But in all honesty, I don’t slog anymore.  I Wog.  My new word for what I do.  I Walk/Jog.

I went wogging on Wednesday.  For the first time in exactly 14 weeks.  Now for those who know me, you know that that is a VERY long time for me to go without intentionally exercising.  But it happened.  I’m not happy about it, but it’s a reality.  So just move on, right?  But the consequences? Those come with regret.

Another one of my realities (not whining here, just facing the facts)  is that I need to exercise regularly to simply maintain my weight.  Losing weight takes more drastic measures then a 3 mile wog 5 or 6 times/week.  So combining my exercise hiatus with eating being in the US,  we’re looking at 15 pounds. And believe me, they can be clearly seen.  Add that to the fact that I should have actually been losing 15 pounds,  and you get – well, you can do the math.

So, that’s where I am right now.  Thus, the wogging.  And why do I wog?  I think it’s because I can’t or won’t jog for long distances.  Especially uphill.  I walk up hills.  I’d rather do burpees than jog UPhill.

And believe me this is much steeper than it looks!

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Despite the heat in Niger I have a pretty nice place to wog.  It also happens to be where my mom and dad in-law live.  Here’s my ‘track’.

This is the top of my ‘track’.  It’s kind of like a teardrop.  I walk up the hill on the right, to where I’m standing taking this picture, then I begin my ‘slog’ down the hill on the left.

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From the tip of the teardrop and around, it’s ¼ mile.

I knew I was out of shape, but I had no idea how bad it really was.  I started off at a walk, to warm up don’t ya know.  I walked up that hill and Oh. My. GOSH! I began to wonder if that’s what it felt like to sprint a marathon.    Now the fact that it was 130 degrees (ok, so it was only 97) might have had something to do with it, but man were my muscles screaming!  It was quite pathetic really.  When I get to the downhill side of the teardrop I jog.  When I picked up my pace, I kept turning around, wondering what was back there.  Until I sadly realized it was just me.  The extra 15 pounds of me.  Ugh!!

My goal was to wog between 30 and 45 minutes for starters.  After I felt I had been going for a good long while, getting pretty close to my goal, I allowed a quick glance at the time.  Lord have mercy it had only been 12 minutes.  TWELVE MISERABLE MINUTES!  Why is it when I allow myself 15 minutes to look at Facebook, then I guesstimate my time, 30 minutes have actually passed?

So I wogged on.  And on.  I was trying to keep track of my laps, but I think I lost track.  I walked for about ⅓ of each lap, then jogged the rest.  When I finished what was either my 11th (2 ¾ mile) or 12th (3 mile) lap, I looked again at the time.  42 minutes.  That meant I had to go one more lap.  To make the 45 minute goal.  Which I exceeded. =)  And whereafter I felt like I had completed an Iron Man competition.  And I looked like it too.  Ask anyone who saw me. I was redder than my friend Patty’s very red and very beautiful homegrown tomatoes.  Yep.  I actually let people see me looking like that.  I was even going to take a picture and show it here, but I forgot.

Instead, I’ll include this one of the last time I ran 14 weeks ago.  I remember my last run because we were in Georgia, and I took a picture because Tobi ran with me.  That doesn’t happen very often.

This right here is a scary photo!

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So, in spite of the heat, and in spite of my screaming muscles and my red face, I will continue to wog along.  And go from there.

Exercise is Good for the…Body.

Four blog posts in a span of 11 days?  I’m on a serious roll! I said I was back…

I exercise for 2 reasons.  Well, there are probably more – but 2 that I know of.  One, because the Bible tells me my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I need to take care of it.  And two, because I don’t want to get old.  In that order.  Hopefully.

I’d like to say that this post will now transition to how I exercise spiritually, but then I wouldn’t be telling the truth. And that is certainly not spiritual! (Let me be clear. I do believe in and practice exercising spiritually – but that’s not the topic of this post!) What this post is about is a new workout I’m doing.  And I’m writing about it because I’m rather proud of myself.  (Insert photo of me patting myself on the back).

I’m not athletic.  At all.  I’m not coordinated either.  And no one would look at me and go,  “Oh well look at her.  I bet she works out every day”.  And I’m probably not the best advertisement for consistent exercise if you base it on shape/weight alone.  But what you can’t see are my insides.  I can’t see them either.  But I know they’re healthy.  My heart is healthy.  My muscles are healthy.  I’m pretty sure my blood is healthy too.  Oh and my bones.  All of these years of working out are surely going to pay off with me not having osteoporosis.

It all started when I enrolled at Oral Roberts University (ORU).  ORU’s vision is ‘Educating the whole man – spirit, soul and body.  And that meant aerobics points. Every week.  I suspect at some point someone will probably find this blog post with a search term such as ‘how many aerobics points do I get for walking up 3 flights of stairs’.  If that’s you, I’m with you.  I feel your pain.  Or at least I feel you grasping for every point you can get for every movement you make.  I’m pretty sure running to the elevator should count for something!

While at ORU, I did get a vision for exercise.  In spite of the fact that what terrified me most about attending ORU was the required 3 mile field test – every semester!  I used to get sick in junior high on presidential fitness testing day when I was required to run 600 yards.  A measly 600 yards would make me sick to my stomach!  I’m not even kidding. That’s how much I disliked running.  That’s why my first year at ORU I ran my first (OK, my only) 10K.  Yep.  From panic attack at 600 yards to a full blown 10K.  Our PE teacher offered us an A on the field test if we signed up for and ran this 10K in under 75 minutes.  I knew good and well that it would be the only way I could get an A on the test.  It was that, or fail the 3 mile test.  So, the night before the 10K Run my friend Patti and I signed up for The Tulsa Love Run.  Love my foot!   To be honest, Patti and I had been running together pretty regular like – but we’d only run up to 3 miles.  And slowly.  Never more than that.  Long story short, we did that run.  And we did it in 74 minutes flat.  No laughing guys – we got our A!

So from that point on, I have exercised pretty regularly.  Oh there have been hiatuses of different lengths.  Mostly when having babies.  Like the time Tanika was born – my first C-section.  After that, I seriously thought my body would never be normal again and I would certainly never exercise again.  But 1 month later, to the date,  I started my aerobics video back up.  There was another C-seciton – Tobi.  In South Africa.  I was even in ICU after that one.  But I was able to get going again not too many weeks later.  Part of my motivation was because while in South Africa, I had the luxury of an actual gym to join.  That was fun.  Kind of.

Fast Forward to today.  My friend Sharolyn who knows I like to work out gave me a new set of DVD’s this past summer while we were in the US.  (Thanks Sharolyn, I think).  I didn’t really look them over until we were back in Niger about 3 months later.  I had been on one of my exercise hiatuses for about a month due to team hosting and children’s camps, but knew it was time to get started again.  I knew because of how my clothes were feeling.  If I’m not exercising, my clothes shrink.  It’s quite odd really.  I like to start new things on Mondays, so Monday, September 15th was my day.  It took my almost a week to talk myself into this.

The new workout is called Rushfit.  I had never heard of it and part of the reason it took so long to get started was because it seemed so complicated.  Running, as much as it is not my friend, is so much easier. And when I’m in the US it’s really easy to do – logistically speaking.  I can just step out the door wherever I happen to be and run.  And I do use the word “run” loosely.  I think to be fair I would have to call what I do a slow jog.  A slog, lets say.  When we’re in the States, we’re never in one place long so I can slog and look like a dork anywhere.  It’s not my neighborhood.  They’re not  my peeps.  They’re not likely going to see me again. Oh, and it’s not 100 degrees. In Niger, it’s not that simple. I can’t just step out my door in my shorts and running top.  Well I could, but it would be extremely inappropriate and offensive.  And that wouldn’t be good at all – given that we’re here to reach and influence the people with the Gospel.  And it’s often more than 100 degrees.  I’ve run in that – it’s not fun.

Back to Rushfit and its complications.  It’s 6 DVD’s.  Six!  You follow a particular 45 minute workout 6 days a week for 8 weeks. Every day is different. Then you’re supposed to be buff.  Not sure what happens after that… Being that I’m not a novice to exercise, and not having a clue what Rushfit was, I chose the intermediate plan.  What was I thinking?  I pushed play on September 15th and  when I finished the first workout, I felt like jello.  I don’t even like jello.  By that evening, I was sore.  Really sore.  The next day?  Let me just say doing basic things (like sitting on the throne) were almost impossible.  I spent the better part of that week literally hobbling around.  I have NEVER been that sore from any exercise I’ve ever done.  But I kept pushing play – through my pain!  Now I can’t stop because if I do, I’ll get sore all over again.  That can’t happen. What have I gotten myself into?  The warm-up is 10 minutes.  Warm-up they say. Right.  You’re thinking loosening up, stretching – right?  Wrong!  The warm up consists of multiple sets of squats, lunges, push-ups, plank thingys, and sit ups.  Not a single stretch!  He says, “This is to get you ready for the work to come”.  Seriously?  That should have been my first clue.

I’ve never not been able to do something in a workout.  At least 1 time.  There are at least 2 things in the various workouts that I cannot physically do.  Instructions are given.  I know what I’m supposed to do, but I can feel that my brain does not make the connection. It’s tempting to include some picture or video here of me doing some of these crazy moves.  But I’m just vain enough to stop at a description. You’re on your knees.  Without using your hands, you jump your feet forward out from under your body and then jump up. Back down and repeat this move for a minute.  Can’t do it.  At first I didn’t ever want to.  Now – I think I might try. Eventually.  Because as I said, I”m almost finished with week 4 of Rushfit.  It’s growing on me.  And though my fitness will not be rushed, it is there.  I can feel it in this 49 year old body.  Most days.

Exercise of Choice

Walking.  That’s it.  My exercise of choice.  It’s one of the things I’ve had to ‘give up’ since I became an official missionary over 10 years ago.  When I lived in Little Rock, I had a 3 mile route  mapped out, including hills, that I walked almost daily.  A few years back, in Maradi, I decided to give walking a try.  This meant I would have to wear a long skirt along with my sneakers.  But I really missed walking, so I shoved my pride and did it.  It lasted all of 2 days.  First, I know I looked like a dork, trucking along like I had somewhere to go.   There was really nowhere appropriate for walking, other than the main roads.  While moving along, trying to mind my own business, 3 separate people stopped and asked if I needed a ride somewhere, or if I was having problems with my car.  Because why would I be walking anywhere on purpose, when everyone knew full well that I had a vehicle?  After that, it was back to my DVD workouts.  Until recently that is.

Several weeks ago, after 8 hours in the car on our way home from Maradi, Neal and Trae decided to play tennis – to get some activity after the long road trip.  I thought that was a good idea, and suddenly thought – I could go with them to the American Rec Center and walk around the softball field!  I dragged Tanika with me (unwilling as she was), and while the guys played tennis, we walked.   Tanika couldn’t keep up with me and I shamelessly pointed out that she was 16 and I was 43.  It brought me back to the good ole’ days in Little Rock.  Why I hadn’t thought of this before now is beyond me.  It was great!  So, since then, I have been consistently walking 4-6 times/week. This is the best weather to do it in too – it’s dry/cold season.  And even though it’s still 95-100 in the afternoons, it’s very dry. I have several comparisons to describe how hot it can be here, but now I’ve got one for how dry it is.  While walking, I involuntarily attempt to swallow.  Because of the dryness, it’s almost as my throat is sealed shut.  Well, I guess it is, in fact, sealed shut.  At least for a few seconds.  When I swallow, I can feel feel my throat opening very slowly.  It’s kind of a freaky feeling.  I’ve walked in mornings, afternoons and evenings.  Afternoons are my least favorite because dry or not, 95 is still hot!

I use the term ‘walk’ loosely here.  I mentioned looking like a dork before?  Here’s what happens:

I leave the house and make the 5-minute drive to the rec center.  I wear my work-out clothes, and add a wrapper in case I have to get out of the car for any reason before I get to my destination.

Upon arriving, I immediately walk 1 lap very briskly, but not too ‘dorkily’ just yet.  I don’t know the distance around the perimeter of the softball field, but it takes about 2 minutes 20 seconds for 1 fast lap.  After that first lap, I stop at the cement picnic table and stretch, along with a set of 20 straddle squats.  Now I’m ready.  I grab my 2lb weights and do a set of 3 laps.  First lap I walk very fast, pumping my wieght carrying arms.  Second lap I use the weights to work my tri-ceps.  Third time around I pump my arms forward and back in unison, which I’m hoping works back muscles.  After lap 3, I stop to wipe my sweat, get a drink, and lest I get too excited about my break, I throw in another set of 20 straddle squats.

This gets repeated 2 more times, and each time around the field I’m doing something different with my arms.  That’s the dorky part.  Trae has confirmed that for me.  Each 3 laps gets awarded with a quick stretch and several gulps of water.  And more squats.    After my 3rd set of 3 laps, I add a bonus lap, which is when I do quick sets of all the arm exercises I’ve done.  Why all the emphasis on arms?  I’ve read Proverbs 31 lots of times and although I’m not yet a maker and seller of purple cloth, one thing I can do is make my arms strong and firm.  At least that’s the idea… I also do lunges along the back line of the field.  I don’t know how many I do, I should count sometime. But it’s enough to make my legs shaky.  By the time I’m done, I’ve had 1.5 liters of water to drink and I’ve done 80 straddle squats.

That lap is followed by another set of squats, a good stretch, and a cool – down walk/stretch lap.  That’s my 2nd favorite lap.  I’ve checked my heart rate and found that it is higher than it should be – given my age.  Except that I believe I’m stuck in a 30 year old body.  If that’s true, my working heart rate of 170 is just right.  It’s down to 120 after my cool-down lap.  My goal is for that to drop even lower, more quickly.

Next comes ‘floor work’, minus the floor.  I improvise with a cement bench.  I do a set of 30 push-ups – girl style.  Then 25 side leg lifts on each leg.  Then 40 calf raises.  Then a last set of 30 push-ups. Still girl style.  And then my final stretch, and my final walk around the field.  That’s my favorit lap!  I don’t work out because I love exercise.  And I’m certainly not athletic.   I work out because I love how I feel when I’m done.  That’s what drives me to keep on.  I don’t need a friend to help motivate me.  In fact, I prefer working out alone.  I’m not very coordinated so I prefer to keep my dorkyness to myself.  But I have also found, with age, (I’m somewhere around 30) that I don’t care much how I look when I exercise.  I’ll leave that to my kids to be concerned about…

I don’t time my laps, but I am consistent – the whole workout from warm-up to that last lap takes between 50-55 minutes.  Every time.   When I’m done, I sit down on a lawn chair (I use ‘lawn chair’ loosely) and remove my shoes and socks to pick out all the burrs that have gathered there during my trek.  Then I put my shoes and socks back on.  I know, it’s kind of gross, but I prefer to get the sand and stickers out before I get home and drag them through the house.  On the rare occasions that I have time, I sit in my lawn chair and enjoy a Diet 7-Up, while praying/thinking.

Sometimes while thinking, I try and figure out what took me so long to figure out that I no longer had to give up my exercise of choice. I have some more thinking to do to figure out what I’ll do when hot season comes…

Last, I drive home — slowly, so I can enjoy the AC as long as possible and finish cooling down.  Because if you saw me at the end of my workout, you would understand where the phrase ‘beet red’ comes from.