#GoTheDist 2012

Make no mistake:

I am throwing down the gauntlet.

#GoTheDist is entering a new phase of badassery where only the brave dare go. 

Instead of a month-to-month challenge, I've set up the spreadsheet (if I did everything correctly) to track a whole year.

Yep, that's right.  Instead of looking at your fitness goals from month-to-month, I want to you to think long and hard.  I want you to come with with a challenge that will push you beyond what you think you can do. 
I want you to add 10% to that goal.  And then we'll talk. 

A few things have changed and I need everyone to pay very close attention to the instructions regarding the spreadsheet.  There are formulas left and right.  So even if you have done this before, please pay careful attention to what you're doing, lest it affect someone else's tracking.  
Also -- if you're better at spreadsheets/Excel/math than I am, please let me know if you think I've done something wrong.

Also new? Due to popular demand, I've started a #GoTheDist Facebook Page -- Feel free to post related blog-entries, PRs, goals, requests for motivation, and the like. Please do not post ads for products, companies, services, or businesses. You will be removed from the group.  I will be looking for administrators for this group soon.

How to Join #GoTheDist 2012:

1. Click on the SUMMARY PAGE (bookmarking it would be a good idea as you will be using it often).

2. Fill out the next available line on the "Summary" spreadsheet.  You are responsible for filling out your biographical information (columns A–D), your tracking modality and goal (columns E and F), your quarterly goals (columns G, J, M, and P), and your half-year and full-year rewards (columns T and V).  

3. **CREATE YOUR INDIVIDUAL PAGE** (The information you have entered in step 2 should auto-complete to an individual page.  Check your line number and then look at the bottom of the page.  Match up your line number and double check that your information is correct).

4. Rename the tab "@[twitter name]" or if you don't have Twitter "[nickname]"  I will fill in the formulas to complete the Summary Page as needed (please do not tinker if you are unfamiliar with formulas).

5. Fill out the sheet as you wish.  See step #8.

6. Update your own individual page as needed (if tracking is too hard, consider printing out your page and filling it out by hand and updating it online once a week). The total mileage will automatically be updated on the Summary tab as you report on your individual page.

7. Follow #GoTheDist on Twitter for support if you need it or to support others when they do, to announce achievements, and find new/old friends!

Please contact me via email or twitter if you want to be removed or you're unsure of how to use the spreadsheet.  If you want to add columns, please add them to the RIGHT of the page.  Please do NOT move your page around! You CAN bookmark your individual page using your browser to find it easily.

I'm also quite happy to see how #GoTheDist and #MeFirst can work hand-in-hand.  Consider taking the #MeFirst pledge#GoTheDist is also a friend of MeYouHealth and their Daily Challenges.

So grab your #GoTheDist buttons, use the hash tags for each month, and get out there! We're all behind you!

At the end of the month/quarter/half consider answering these questions:
  • How do you think you did over the course of the quarter?  
  • Did you overestimate or underestimate your capabilities?  Why is this?  Is this representative of a larger trend in your life?
  • Did you learn anything about yourself while doing this? 
  • Can you apply what you've learned in #GoTheDist somewhere else in your life? 
  • Did you make any new friends through #GoTheDist -- were you able to support each other?
  • What was the hardest part of the challenge?  (physical? mental/psychological?)
  • What do you think you did really well this quarter? (doesn't have to be about #GoTheDist)
  • What do you think you could improve on? (again, doesn't have to be about #GoTheDist)
  • No matter the numbers you already entered, are you going to finish strong, or taper off? 
  • Did you go the distance? And no, I don't mean did you hit 100% of your goal... did you put yourself out there and really try for it?  Is 80% still something you can be proud of?

Knowing is half the battle...

This nifty photo to the left explains the nerves that are affected when you have a bulge or herniation. 

I've explained in an earlier entries that I don't just feel pain at the site of the injury, but also the places where those nerves control.  With my lower back, I feel pain down my leg.  I also have fun experiences while sneezing and other sundry things. For my neck -- the pain radiates over my left shoulder, down my biceps/triceps, to my index finger and thumb.

I've mentally compiled (and sometimes unleash on Twitter) lists of "It's fun to ____________" statements such as "it's fun to do laundry with a herniated disc in your neck" or "it's fun trying to pick up the sock you dropped."  Even the simplest things become difficult tasks that require a bit of creativity and humor. But sometimes it's really hard to find the humor (like when I have to brace myself against a wall when I feel a sneeze coming on, or else I'll totally pee at the same time).  

I'm feeling very sorry for myself lately because it's hard to feel young & vibrant when my body is crapping out on me.  I go to bed every night wishing someone was lying next to me, lightly tracing his fingers over my spine and saying "It will be okay."  I wake up in the morning wishing he was there saying "I'll help you in the shower."  I wish he was there saying "don't worry, I'll do the dishes." 

I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.

At one point during "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," Jessica Rabbit says "You don't know how hard it is being a woman, looking the way I do."  I know I'm not Jessica Rabbit, but sometimes I do hear the snare and bass drum when I walk.  Sometimes I even hear a string bass or saxaphone.

My swagger doesn't come from how I look or my measurements.  My inner sexiness comes from knowing my strengths, such as my sharp wit and playful coyness as well as my physical strength (I'm a tough cookie) and adventurous attitude.

Yet there is one thing, more than anything else, that makes feeling sexy damn near impossible (as experienced over the past 15 years) -- and that is my litany of back/neck injuries.  I can feel sexy with a sprained ankle, sexy through a sinus infection, or even sexy with a zit on my face.  I just can't feel the va va voom while I'm dealing with my spine injuries

I can shake most of the negative feelings associated with my injuries -- such as "it sucks not being able to lift weights" or "I hate not being able to box" -- but I cannot shake the nagging question of "what man can find a broken woman sexy?" I can't be bubbly and cheerful all the time; I can only fake it for so long before I just flat out say "you know what? I feel miserable." I also know that guys my age want to be active -- dancing, hiking, traveling and yes, even sexing.  And there are some days when that just isn't on the docket.

Even worse than not being able to keep up with the activities of dating -- how can you feel sexy and sensual when you are afraid of people touching you?  For example a coworker went to put his arm around my shoulder at my company's holiday party, and the pressure of his arm on my neck was more than I could tolerate.  I winced and pulled away from him (he apologized profusely, but it was unnecessary because he didn't know I was hurt).  Also, many times when I tell guys I have a back problem, they go into "Fix it" mode -- wanting to massage my back or crack it for me (neither help, and both make it worse).  I always wonder if guys consider me a lemon, or as something fragile that can't be touched. 

Doubt is the biggest detriment to self-confidence.

And even if I get past a few dates, I'm reminded of the orthopedist I saw in 2000 who gave me a pamphlet of how to have sex with a bad back.  The drawings were of couples in their 60s.  I don't want men to see me as past my prime, geriatric, or disabled.  I don't want guys to think that I'm completely unable or without desire.  While I don't have plans to swing from any chandeliers and hate being limited by my back, I'm still very much a woman in her sexual prime.

But for all the ways my injuries make me feel like less of a woman, there is an upside:  it makes me able to appreciate the idea of having a man in my life.  For as strong and independent as I am, it would be really nice to say "sweetie, I need help."  Most men I know relish hearing those words -- they love knowing that their skills and strength can be put to use for manly purposes.  Being injured exposes my vulnerability.  I long for the time when the man I am with tries to heal me with kisses down my spine.

When I said in my last entry that I am "mourning for myself" this is what I was vaguely referring to.  I don't hear the drums as frequently.  My swagger is departing from me.  I feel that with each degenerated, bulging, or herniated disc, the chance of people seeing me as I see myself (as a saucy minx) decreases.   With each injured disc, the chance of me seeing myself as a saucy minx decreases.

If I can't feel sexy on the inside, how will the world ever know that under all the blubber, there lies a sexpot?

Bad News vs. Worse News

So... what i thought was a disc bulge

is in fact a "herniation indenting the ventral spinal cord."
Oh, and there's a bulge in the disc below.
So that brings the tally up to 4 bulging discs (L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, and now C6-7) and one herniation (C5-6).

This sucks.

I know you all love and support me, but nothing anyone says is going to make me feel better about this.  And more to the point, I don't want to feel better about this.  I want to feel exactly what I'm feeling:  I'm mad. I'm frustrated. But most of all I'm mourning for myself.  I feel sad that I am going through this.

While I don't want any comments, I did think this was post-worthy, as it throws a big wrench in my weightloss goals.  I need to focus more on diet if I'm going to be (once again) restricted in the gym.

#Fitspo Friday

Everyone knows how I abhor the word "thinspo"/"thinspiration" -- as it was born out of the pro-ana movement.

BUT... I love FITSPO brought to us by the lovely @TaraBurner!

And it just so happens that yours truly is today's Fitspo Friday Feature!!!
So hop on over there and check out how I answered these questions:

Have you always lived a healthy fit lifestyle?
What keeps you going, motivated?
What is your favorite workout?
What are some of your goals?
What are some of your accomplishments or things you're proud of?
What is one random fact we should know about you?
What words of advice would you like to leave the readers?