Hot Soup for a Cold Day

We got a couple inches of snow last night.  I hadn't planned to make soup this weekend, but now it seems like a good idea.  I stumbled across this recipe for Butternut Chili today.  I think it will fit the bill perfectly.  Add a side of some sauteed kale or spinach and I think it'll be comfortingly warming on a gray and cold day.

Let the Insanity Begin!
Today I plunked down the cash to join a gym and I also purchased a block of 12 sessions with a personal trainer. My reinvigorated gym habits will begin the week after Christmas.  With the trainer's help, I'll get a big jump on getting ready for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February.  The hard part will be figuring out just what exactly my fitness goals are.  Primarily I'm interested in dropping my bodyfat percentage and improving my cardiovascular capacity.  I'll be running a full marathon in 2013 and I think I'd like to try a triathlon at some point too.  Perhaps the trainer can help me articulate this better and figure out which goal to start with first.  I suspect trying to do everything at once might not work very well.

So why the insanity?  Before I moved, I'd been hitting the gym 5 mornings a week and had lost about 20 pounds.  Since moving, I haven't got a solid workout schedule/habit re-established and I managed to gain about 10 pounds while I lost most of my cardio endurance. Although my apartment complex has a small fitness center, I've been considering joining a real gym for some time, primarily because the weight machines in the fitness center were designed for people much taller than me and I can't safely use them. I also know that for me, having invested some money in the process will make it much more likely that I'll haul myself out of bed at 0400 to workout. I liked how I felt when I worked out 5 days a week, not just physically stronger but also mentally sharper.  The extra endorphins didn't hurt either.

On top of that, several friends who are younger than me have experienced some rather bad health events.  One had a heart attack and is now blind.  Another had uncontrollable hypertension and is now on dialysis.  Five years ago, one of my best friends died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 52. Several of my former professors have died in the past year as well, most of them just in their 60s.  I don't know about you, but I think that's far too young.  I certainly don't want to be dead or severely disabled shortly after I retire.  I'd like to remain active until my 80s.  I figure the only way to accomplish that is to exercise.  Eating well alone isn't going to cut it.

I simply don't buy into the notion that we must slow down and must experience reduced function as we age. The research doesn't demonstrate that older persons cannot be incredibly active into their 80s and beyond.  My favorite example of this is "Iron Nun" Sister Madonna Buder.  At the age of 80, she is still competing in Ironman distance triathlons.  She didn't even start running until she was 48 years old, ran her first marathon at age 50, was in her first triathlon at 52 and her first Ironman distance triathlon at 55.  Sister Madonna is, in fact, the reason why 75-79 year and 80+ age groups were created for Ironman.  I think she's simply amazing.

If I start my fitness journey now, I'll get much farther and last longer than if I wait until I have problems and I might even avoid some problems altogether. I'll keep you posted on my progress.


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