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One year today (and counting!!)

“I Heart Muscles” (Female Form with Fitness Equipment) Nikon D300, 20mm, F/6.3, 1/25s, ISO 640, Built-in iTTL Flash with Gary Fong ‘Puffer’, -0.3EV

Hooray! ūüėÄ

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On February 8th, 2011, I¬†embarked on a committment to fitness, promising to stick with it for 16 weeks. My annual physical the day before was a high motivating factor since I could no longer ignore the few extra pounds and elevated bad cholesterol level. Nothing horrible, mind you, and I didn’t even get a reprimand from my doctor since compared to most women my age, I am actually very healthy. But I knew I didn’t like the direction things were heading¬†and decided to make a change right then and there.

The Pro-form Elliptical that had been collecting dust in our spare room since November 2009 (yikes!) was as good a place as any¬†to start. Over the years, I’ve pretty much had a hate-hate relationship with that machine. (For anyone who has ever had the pleasure, you know exactly what I am talking about ūüėČ ). Since elliptical machines work the upper body¬†and¬†the lower body at the same time, workouts are more intense and you tire more quickly than¬†doing the same amount of time at X-level on say, a stationary bicycle or a treadmill.

“I Hate/Love U” (Skechers Shape-ups XF Accelerators) Nikon D300, 38mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Balanced Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Old Photo’ Filter

I started off slooowly, knowing full well if I did too much too soon my enthusiasm would quickly¬†wane and I’d be right back to doing nothing (sound familiar?). Over time, I increased minutes and then, intensity levels,¬†even adding in weight training and abdominal/core workouts on my non-cardio days. About six weeks in, I started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on the machine and began to notice changes in muscle tone and my clothing started to fit better. I still wasn’t in love with exercise but I was in a routine that actually seemed to be working.¬†

Then, ten weeks in, my committment was seriously challenged. While out and about, doing routine errands, I rolled my left foot on an uneven sidewalk, breaking the 5th metatarsal bone. Ouch. I was devastated. All I could think about was, I had come so far, put in so much time and sweat and what was I going to do now?? Luckily, I was able to get in to see an orthopedist the next morning and was sporting a (removable) walking air-cast and crutches when I left their office. Yes, I did break the bone but I was given full permission to continue working out, as long as I could endure the pain. 

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Are you kidding me?? 

At the time, I thought the orthopedist was insane.¬†I couldn’t even put weight on that foot so just HOW was I going to¬†exercise??¬†He assured me that after a few days of rest,¬†elevation and icing, I would begin to feel better. Riiiiight.

Needless to say, I was not convinced but sure enough, time proved he knew what he was talking about.¬†Four days after the ‘incident’, I was¬†back on the elliptical. I did 25 minutes that day (albeit on Level 1 and at¬†a reduced pace than what I had been doing) but I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest. Was I shaky and scared to death? You bet. Did my foot feel like it no longer knew what to do? Oh, hell yeah. None of that mattered. The important thing was, I was back and from that point on, I knew I was going to be okay.

In the days and weeks to follow,¬†I did what I could, had good days as well as some setbacks, but I kept at it, determined not to quit.¬†And here I am,¬†six months since I started (that’s two months more than what I¬†originally committed to), a new woman. Sure, there¬†are¬†days¬†where it isn’t easy and my conviction is thoroughly¬†tested,¬†but I’ve¬†made friends with that ‘machine’ as¬†I am convinced that it not only saved my sanity,¬†it acted as the perfect rehab for my injury.

Without¬†it, I certainly would not have healed as quickly as I did and¬†when faced with the possibility that I couldn’t work out, I realized I actually wanted to. (Funny how that happens, huh?)¬†I have a completely new outlook on fitness and exercise these days…it is simply now part of the¬†routine.

If you are looking for a run-down of pounds/inches lost, sorry to disappoint. I do not own a scale and I never took measurements. My goals were to lose the love handles and the¬†‘jigglies’,¬†improve core strength and overall¬†muscle strength, develop muscle tone, be able to take the stairs and not¬†lose my¬†breath,¬†make my heart strong, and in general, no longer shudder when I look in the mirror.

Mission accomplished. ūüôā

“Primary Workout” (Pro-Form Elliptical Machine) Nikon D300, 18mm, F/4, 1/13s, ISO 200, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Pinhole’ B&W Filter w/Selective Toning

Nothin’ like a trip to the doctor to get one motivated back into an exercise routine…

Finally¬†caught up with the female hummingbird today! Woo hoo!ūüôā

“Hum a Few Bars” (Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Female, Archilochus colubris) Nikon D300, 600mm, F/5, 1/2500s, ISO 800

I had just stepped out a few feet in front of the tripod to scan the canopy of a tall maple for a male Northern Flicker when she appeared about 15 feet in front of me and landed on the top rim of one of the tomato cages. OMG! I nearly knocked the entire rig over as I rushed to get back behind the lens! 

Two clicks and she was gone. 

The resulting image required a bit of¬†crop¬†to eliminate an area of distracting background and to create a more pleasing composition but after¬†weeks of¬†either no-shows or less-than-successful¬†attempts, boy am I ever stoked! ūüôā

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