A lot has happened since my last post. There’s no need to catch you up in detail, but here’s the in a nutshell version. I moved to Salem, MA. I slogged through an academic year of having three jobs, two of them technically full time teaching positions. Because of that, I spent my time grading papers, prepping for class, and crying on the weekends, usually over a stack of papers. There’s much more to it, but in short, last academic year broke me. While I know many people who play what I’ve come to call either the “adjunct game” or the “adjunct gamble” for years, it only took me a year to become fed up
And then something much anticipated happened. The one part time job turned into a full time job. One that paid enough, and one that only expected me to work 40 hours a week. One job. That hasn’t happened to me since I moved to Boston in 2010! Fast forward several months later, and I have to say that I still get excited by the simple fact that I can go home after work and do whatever I want. I don’t have to read an essay or a chapter that I assigned my students. I don’t have to finalize prep for class. I DON’T HAVE TO GRADE ESSAYS! This year was the first Thanksgiving in years that I didn’t have 50+ 10-12 page research essays to grade over the long weekend. Oh, and weekends. I get them. The phrases “my life” and “my job” are no longer synonyms.
Of course all this means more time, which is simply beautiful. I’ve made quite a few enhancements and adjustments to my life, and once such thing was triathlon training, which I’ll tell you about some other time. For now, that HIIT workout.
The first week I went, we ran to the Custom House to run the stairs—a grueling, but welcomed, November project flashback. The workout sounded simple, as the coach announced it. Run up and down the stairs of the Custom House 10 times; do 10 burpees; do 10 v-ups; do 10 push ups; recovery run on Derby Wharf. Repeat with reps of 9, then 8, then 7, and so on down to 1.
The HIIT workouts always sound simple. In practice, they never are. I didn’t have full confidence in my legs by the time I ran up and down those stairs for the last time that day, but the workout was exactly what I needed. And in the weeks to come, I learned that nothing was off the table for these workouts—hill sprints, backward bear crawls uphill, partner resistance running. The best part is the end of the workout, but not because it’s over. Well, kind of because it's over. The end is the best part because we all collapse on the ground on our backs and stretch. The workout itself invokes camaraderie, but the stretching at the end solidifies it. We made it through the workout. We are drenched from rain or sweat or both. Sometimes we’re muddy, too. On our backs, we begin by pulling our right leg, knee bent, into our chest. We stare up at the sky and comment on the weather, the day ahead, the weeks ahead. Who is doing which race and when. Social events around town. Last weekend, the upcoming weekend. In the summer, we stretch on either the basketball court or playground at the Salem Common. Now we’re indoors at the facility, but only for the stretching. The community is strong here. The workout may have hooked me early on, but the community keeps me coming back. Here’s to several more weeks of cold, wind, rain, mud, sweat and friends.
The Workout: HIIT
When: Tuesdays 6 a.m.-7 a.m.
Where: B&S Fitness in Salem LINK TO WEBSITE
Why: There’s nothing like the slap of cold air at dawn to make you feel ALIVE. Also, all the other typical health benefits—increased strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, camaraderie