Saturday, February 2, 2013

Decadethlon – What Goes Down Must Come Up

Preface: As I said before, I’m a pencil-and-paper kind of person, still, and, for me, figuring out how to import excel charts into the blogosphere and make them look right is like sculpting ice with a feather. Will work on this. Maybe a better feather?

After an all-time annual low in numbers of workouts in 2002, my track record, so to speak, improved by 2004 to workout rate of about two out of three days. In fact, to date, it has been my “most fit year” in number of days worked out, despite a move from Paris back to Washington, DC, and bunion surgery to both feet (that’s what commuting in dress shoes in the Paris metro will do to you!) Thanks to the foot surgery, I discovered the magic of pilates: you can be flat on your back and still get a workout in! I let the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong (obviously pre-drug admission) inspire me during the weeks after my surgery. With still sore feet, I moved with my husband to Moscow in September. US Embassy Moscow had a more extensive gym, indoor pool and indoor basketball court. Indoor is the key word here, as it seems most of the year it’s winter in Moscow. I made use of the indoor facilities and agreed (only once or twice) to run with my husband outside during good weather. Days Worked Out: 231 out of 366 (a leap year) or 63%. Best month: September, 29 out of 30 days, or a whopping 97%! And that only 6 weeks after bunion surgery. (When you can’t walk, then watching and mimicking pilates videos is pretty much all you can do besides eat all day, anyway.) Thank you, Pilates! Worst months: May and December, tying the score at 14 out of 31 days, or 45%. Not so bad.

The year 2005 saw 217 out of 365 days of workouts, my third best year in terms of days worked out, despite the fact that I spent most of that year pregnant.  Conclusion: Pregnancy is good for staying fit! I also worked, a lot. I billed myself out as a photographer, shooting portraits and events and hit the elliptical machine, good for no-impact workouts. A “Yoga for Pregnancy” video was my new best friend. I had my husband film me – the 45 extra pounds of protruding belly, double chin, and all - on the elliptical machine the December night before my scheduled c-section, so there’s proof! I was more in fear of the IV going into my hand than the c-section into my abdomen. The last few exhausting days of that year were spent learning how to nurse a wonderful, wrinkly, squawking chicken-legged newborn. Days Worked Out: 217 out of 365, or 59%. Best month: July, 26 out of 31 days, or 59%. Worst month: December. 6 out of 31 days, or 19%.

2006 was another once-in-three-or-four-days years. I even recorded five and seven workouts for the months of January and February, respectively, despite healing from the fresh c-section slice and going on virtually no sleep, while also entertaining loads of visiting friends and relatives who wanted to see the baby. At six weeks old our newborn flew with us to wintery Moscow, where we returned to a freezing apartment, all three of us wearing ski caps indoors.  Unbelievably, neither the nights of little sleep nor the whistling Moscow winds kept me from dragging myself to the gym every few days, in between breastfeedings and naps. Instead, a workout meant a bit of freedom and independence for me, both rare commodities for mothers with newborns. In the summer, we moved back to Washington, DC to take a 6-week fast-track Japanese course in preparation for our impending move to Tokyo. Now I juggled nursing with Japanese flash cards. My “45% days worked out” in July dropped to the 20% range for the rest of the year as we moved to Tokyo with our 8 month old and got used to our surroundings in this exotic and exciting East Asian city. Days Worked Out: 116 out of 365, or 32%. Best month: December, 18 out of 31 days, or 58%. Worst month: January, 5 out of 31 days, or 16%.

The year 2007 in Tokyo I recorded an annual average of 47% of days worked out (171 out of 365 days), which translates to about an average year for the decade, not great, not bad. I finished up nursing after the first half of the year, took up soccer in the summer and became resonably fit for a glorious but brief six months before becoming pregnant again. Best month: September. 19 out of 30 days, or 63%. Worst month: August, 9 out of 31 days, or 29%.

Next up: The Year’s Five-Second Stretch, no, I mean The Second Five-Year Stretch, and the decade’s table (if I can figure out how to do it!)


  1. I'm impressed with the variety of exercise options you've tried! Pilates is one I haven't tried yet but am curious about. Reading about others' exercise habits (like yours!) is motivating for me. If they (you) can do it with all they've (you've) got going on, then I should be able to do it, too. That's how I got into running and am proud to have been doing it for a year now!

  2. Dear Patricia, Thank you so much for your great comment! I am so glad you have time to read the blog and be motivated by it! That's exactly what it does for me, and others' exercising -- if they can do it, so can I! Way to go!
    Big hug,