Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Fear & Handstands

I've never been very agile. At school I never mastered the technique of kart-wheels or handstands. I was always happy to be sitting on the swings carelessly rocking back and forth. My school time version of handstands had me walking my feet up the wall so if I faced ahead I would be looking at the wall. In recent years the closest I've come to doing handstands was a failed attempt at a headstand...that ended up with me off work for a few days with a very sore neck, ooops.

My strength training has been building well, if rather erratically in the last few months of 2012, but what I did manage to do was one handstand, properly, and without assistance. Now this might not sound much to some people, but as a couple of the guys at the gym will testify to, I was far from confident about even trying them. The feeling of being upside-down actually makes me feel sick. Like really ill. On my first few attempts I couldn't even open my eyes. But I wanted to persist. I wanted to be able to do one. Just one. If only so I could dance with glee around the gym knowing I'd accomplished something I have long feared.

My training on Monday included 4 x handstands with 30 second holds. I managed them, but only with Tim helping me get my legs up and actually holding me in place. I even had my eyes open. Forcing them open. Forcing myself to breathe. Today's training didn't include handstands, but at the end of the planned session I was keen to do some sort of finisher. However, my 10km PB on Monday and a tough fell run yesterday (9.4km with 430m ascent) had left my legs less than keen to be anywhere near the prowler or sleds. My arms also didn't show enthusiasm for some monkey bar swinging or rope climbing. The other option was a sandbag hold, but I'd done that on my last two training sessions (holding 40kg for 10 mins).

What the heck, I may as well have a practise at my handstands, not holding, just trying to kick my legs up. So, with a little encouragement and close by supervision (but no holding) Sean got me going. And what do you know, today was the day. I appear to have cracked the nausea and the inability to get my legs beyond 45 degrees. Today I kicked and kicked and eventually got my legs to the wall. I even held it for a few brief seconds before lowering back to the floor. Could it be a fluke? I gave it another go and after a few attempts got the handstand again. And again. That's when the gleeful dancing happened. Yes, I'm quite chuffed with myself. Just to be sure it wasn't a three time fluke I did a final handstand and called it a day there. My shoulders will know they've been worked hard today. But damn it was worth it.  And here's the proof:

Today I won. And I had confidence.
I've updated my 2013 Aspirations blog. Now that I have been successful at the handstand I have added another goal - the handstand press up. Best get those shoulders strong.

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