The Training Corner

Mountain Grit: Training for the Long Haul

Hi Pat! If I can do it at 64, others can, too. Please share my story.

Fifteen months ago, I was down-in-the-dumps, lethargic, sleeping poorly, achy in the knees and low back, with a waist that was much bigger than my hips, a barrel on bird legs. I was taking BP and sleep MEDs, along with lots of NSAIDS for my aching joints. Needless to say, walking was a chore and climbing stairs was downright painful.

The kick in-the-gut came when my two grown kids invited my husband and I to go on a five-day white water camping trip.

My husband went without me, and I am glad he did. It broke my heart, but it was the impetus I needed.

The morning my husband left for the trip, I took a 10:00 walk and decided to clean out one closet a day for five days. I was shocked when I found a pair of jeans that I had worn comfortably 10 years ago! The next day, I took another walk, that time for 15:00. Then I resurrected a yoga flow that I had previously enjoyed. The first three postures were just enough. That night I slept like a log. I didn’t even have to drag my butt out of bed the next morning.

Day 2 …. Into the freezer and pantry, and OUT with the CRAP. I was an evening candy-cookies-ice cream junkie, so I had to get that stuff out of the house. Now, it’s there, and I enjoy it as an occasional treat.

Day 3 …. Off to the grocery store. I stocked the freezer with quality-protein fish, meat and poultry, and flash-frozen berries and veggies of all colors. I topped off our supply of fresh greens, peppers, fruits, along with olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butters, eggs, Greek yogurt, some cheese, oats, coffee and a few spices. You know, REAL food. I do enjoy my red wine, but I set a limit of one glass on weekdays, max two on weekends.

Day 4 …. I began to eat three MEALS per day at the kitchen counter. No grazing. There would be quality protein at each meal, AND I would spread out those meals evenly over a 10-hour window. Today, my window is typically 9 hours.

Day 5 …. Five closets done! I walked 20:00 straight that morning. Was I achy? Yes! But it was a different kind of ache, not the kind where I had to pop a pain pill.

The story continues …… my husband returned, sharing the trip experiences, but admitted that I was truly missed. I said, “next year, I’m in.” Bear in mind that he keeps himself in great shape, doesn’t’ eat crap, is very active and hits the gym. So, when he opened the refrigerator, I heard …. Hmmmm …. into the pantry, another hmmmm. He came out with a smile and gave me a huge hug. “Hey Babe, I’m in your court.”

Six months later, I had an appointment with my nurse practitioner. She said, “whoa, what the heck have you been doing?” Your BP has dropped 20 points. You shed 15 lbs, and you’re smiling. Keep on doing what you are doing, and I’ll see you in six months for some lab work.”

Over the year, I upped my walking to 30:00 twice a day along with a 15:00 yoga flow. At about the 8-month mark, I decided to hire a coach to get me stronger. Pat, she refilled all my Buckets, by far, the best investment I ever made! I trained with her privately 2X/week for about 4 months. Now, I attend her group sessions, because I CAN. My training mates and I slam balls, skip, leap, lift, ride that awful bike and more. We thrive on the camaraderie, and laugh a lot, too! …

Back to my nurse practitioner for the annual checkup. She said “YOU are a new YOU! NO more BP MEDS. Looks like you kicked pre-diabetes to the curb, and the sleep aids too. Oh, and your cholesterol numbers are all within the optimal range. YOU are an inspiration. See you next year.”

One BONUS worth mentioning is that I no longer think about food, aside from meal planning. I reclaimed valuable mind-space for both my entrepreneurial and fitspunky grandmother spirit.

In closing, the jeans fit, my joints don’t hurt, and I’ve got quads and glutes. I am booked for our next family rafting trip, and I can’t wait. Horses are a passion of mine, so my next 2021 venture will definitely involve horses.

To everyone out there, YOU can turn your ship around. No, it’s not easy. But if you reset the rhythms of your day, that is, habits, patterns and practices, the benefits just keep on coming.

Deb, 64

A: Deb, you rebuilt and fortified your Hardiness Pillars AND restored and filled your Training Buckets.

We TRAIN and move more to get healthier, stronger, faster and fitter, and to defy father-time. We EAT and DRINK to get healthier and LEANER, exactly why Deb will bet her jeans, that fat loss takes place in the kitchen, at the table, the grocery store and the restaurant. There are no shortcuts, just simple [not easy] rhythms to our day.

Deb demolished her Baselines, reclaimed the Basics, and now strives for new Benchmarks, re-generating her Game of Life. You are an inspiration, Deb!

Need coaching, contact Pat through or For more on Pillars, Buckets and training tips from Pat, see previous editions of Mountain Grit.

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