A couple weeks ago, I went to Scottsdale Arizona for a quick getaway to ring in my 35th birthday in style.
Since I have been back, I have had to hit the ground running. Work is crazy. I leave in the dark and come home in the dark. It can be a brutal schedule. There are chores to do, mouths to feed, and my workout routine has gone back into full swing. With riding time being on the back burner for the dark days of winter ahead, I get to change gears and focus on my own conditioning. As an endurance rider, I have pretty strong opinions about the fitness level riders should be in. I think that if your going to ask your horse to carry your ass over varied terrain at speed, you had better be in good enough shape to hold your own and carry your own weight if needed. I have always been an active person, regularly went to the gym since my days in High School but two years ago, I hit a wall, gained more weight than I ever had and felt miserable. During this same time, sustained an injury to my left foot while out jogging and that set me back even further. I kept doing the same stuff over and over and going backwards. I looked bad and felt bad. I started researching a bit. I started slowly cutting certain foods out. I felt better so I cut out a few more foods and felt even better. This process went on for months. The last major jump I made was discontinuing my gym membership and getting in the best shape of my life.
Last December, I was disgusted with the gym scene. There had to be a better way. Right after that, A friend gave me a dvd excercise program to check out. I said I would, but only because I was trying to be polite. I wasn't the work out at home kinda girl. No way was I going to pop in a dvd and workout in my living room. I'd never do it.
That DVD set sat on my desk for two weeks before I finally decided taking a look wouldn't hurt anything. Well, here I am a year later. I went from not being able to do more than a couple push ups to being able to do over 20 pushups. That 90 day workout program turned into a 180 day workout program for me. It was the hardest thing I have ever pushed myself through, physically. I have never felt stronger or more durable in my 35 years. Thank you P90X.
I entered the summer months feeling great. My first few conditioning rides on Maggie didn't leave me tired and sore like they would have in the past. In many cases, I was able to get off and run for a few miles without a second thought. In June, I had a minor set back when Maggie spooked and bucked me off. It was actually a bad fall because she ran into another horse while bucking and when I came out of the stirrup, I twisted my ankle, landed on my left shoulder and bounced my head a bit. It was bad timing too. 3 weeks before my scheduled Limited distance on Maggie. I gimped around with it taped for a couple days and did the ice and anti-inflammatories for a few days but in less than a week, I was mostly fine. It hurt if I lifted my toe or squatted down but otherwise, I bounced right back. I credit those intense workouts that I had been doing all winter and spring for my fast recovery. I have sprained that same ankle 3 times now and it has never healed that quickly.
A week ago, I got back into my winter workout routine. I am starting something new for a few weeks. It's another at home DVD program. It's high intensity interval training. Having not done a regimented workout through most of the summer, I am using this new workout to limber up again. Once I complete that, I will go back to a combination of interval training and P90X.
Remember what I said up above about feeling better than I ever have at 35? Well, it has a lot to do with these workouts and my eating habits. As far as endurance, I am setting the stage so that not only will my horse go the distance, but so will I and isn't that the best feeling?