Over the past months Cristina and I have participated in several fitness challenges over at Social Workout. We did one in October: in addition to a bunch of small challenges, like brown-bagging it for a course of days, we also did a one day juice fast, went vegetarian for a month, forswore fast food (this was harder for me than for her -- guilty pleasure), went soda-free, and upped our workout ante. In January we took a 30-day break from alcohol, which we discovered to be considerably easier than we'd anticipated, even at events like the opening night cast party when there is free wine in spades.
Their current March challenge is called FERALICIOUS, and its main stated aim is to get its participants closer to wildness. SW is based in NYC (although it's grown in popularity and now folks are more spread out) and so the people it's dealing with are primarily urban office-dwellers. The feats are nothing as huge as being vegetarian for a month, but they include things like eating a number of meals where nothing is processed and everything is as wild as you can get it. On the flip side, though, a number of the feats are about doing a billion reps of things: crunches, pull-ups, squats, dips. At first it felt counterintuitive to me, a person who doesn't do much of that sort of strength training (preferring, as I do, to get my strength training by actually doing work, i.e. shoveling poo).
But here's the thing: In order to get some of these feats accomplished, I am doing crazy stuff like dropping and doing push-ups in my office in the middle of the day. Even though the feats seem very rooted in ordinary gym work, the result of reaching for such giant numbers has temporarily rerouted my life into something profoundly physical and rooted in my body. Which does seem feral, actually.
So I'm in another phase of throwing my body into everything. A couple years back I went through this: I took trapeze and played softball, I ran sprint intervals, I rode horses, I ran around the park. This week I had a day where I went straight from a 4 mile run to the barn; I was in a hurry and slipped my riding boots over my running tights to save time.
Tonight I participated in the First Thursday urban adventure run at Fit Right NW, which I was no longer in the mood for by the end of the day but which was SO! MUCH! FUN! I used to always have this fantasy of being a messenger, and running through the streets as fast as I could with a satchel, running from place to place. There's something really thrilling about hurling yourself down a busy urban street. We had eleven locations to potentially hit, with one raffle ticket to pick up at each location. Although I went alone, I managed to follow a couple different groups and eventually ended up with a girl I know from my Friday running ladies. We got every ticket and were back with fifteen minutes to spare. In the beer garden, I stood around waiting, alone in a pack of people who were mostly with friends, and ended up striking up a conversation with the guy next to me, who was also by himself. So now I have an invitation to run with his group on Sunday. I think this is how you make friends!
Also, I didn't win anything but the guy in front of us was really good at grabbing the stuff that was being tossed/given out to the crowd (rather than drawn for in the raffle). He didn't want any of it, though, so he gave it to us. The guy next to me (whose name was Grant) ended up with a free race entry, and me? I ended up with four giant cans of Rockstar energy drink. Good lord.