Grandma's Ninja Warrior Diary: What's Next?

After 7 months in fitness training, working on core, biceps & triceps, and leg strength, I was just thinking to myself, "Wow, do I have a long way to go!"

Why? Because I have been watching the latest city finals and gauging how, without mistakes (which all too frequently do happen), I would do at this point. (Of course, I have four more years of training to go -- the list of training needs and the list of what I can do should take quite a different shape by then).

So, obstacle 1 in Philly: the archer stairs (that replaced the floating steps) -- probably not a problem (legs have been shaping up well, including jumping, skipping, running, and movement on a the Bosu ball). Casey Rothschihld, though, got caught traveling with the rope, and that dragged her back in the water. So, my experience at the ninja warrior training session with the rope tells me that I have the same problem. Therefore, not something to work on right now, but once I get to the point in my training plan to start parkour/obstacle course training, learning not to travel with the rope is going to be right up there at the top for early on training.

Obstacle 2: spinning bowties. Need some practice flying through the air -- will come when the parkour/obstalce course training begins (next year or a little later -- timing is unclear, so much is dependent upon clearing earlier hurdles, literally and figuratively. Also, I am not ruling out gymnastics classes in about three years.

Obstacle 3: broken bridge. Now, that is my nightmare. All those balance obstacles are, in part because my balance is not good enough and in part because my legs are not long enough. Since I can do nothing about the length of my legs, I will need to work on balance (doing that with the Bosu ball and yoga re-begins next week, now that my sprained writs has healed), a light step (that was never my style, in spite of, supposedly, having American Indian blood, a nation that treads lightly) that will be helped not only through practice but also through losing weight (slow going -- I am losing about one pound a month; my fitness trainer Brittany says that more weight is being lost bu replaced by muscle; double-edged sword -- good to be stronger but not heavier when it comes to a number of the obstacles). So, for now, keep on keeping on is my take-away on this one. I am not ruling out taking some ballet in 3-4 years to help with all these functions.

Obstacle 4: wingnuts. They seem to take out a lot of competitors, but they also seem to be pretty straight forward -- side swinging and grabbing on my fingers. My rock climbing training should start later this year, and I hope that will help with finger strength, grip strength, and the ability to hold my own weight for sufficiently long periods of time to get past those obstacles that require grip and hold strength (finger and shoulder muscles). I am staying away from all sugar -- I don't like the taste, anyway -- arthritis could be a real dampener here.

Obstacle 5: lightning bolts. I like those. They seem to be a horizontal salmon ladder. My salmon ladder has arrived, but we now have to figure how to erect it in the back yard so that it is safe. Working on that...Once up, that becomes a daily activity. Hopefully, in five years (well, 4 1/2 now) of daily practice, the salmon ladder will be no more difficult than mounting any other ladder.

Obstacle 6. warped wall. What can be said? A challenge for someone less than 5 feet high. Practice and speed seem to be the answer. Once I get to the parkour and obstacle course training, I will get a chance at that warped wall and have a better sense of what I need to do over the ensuing three years or so.

Obstacle 7. Salmon ladder. Would love to make it that far! With daily pratice, that better not be an impediment. Will keep records on that once mine goes up. In the meantime, I am working on arm & shoulder strength and core.

Obstacle 8: Captain's wheel. Perhaps surprisingly, I don't think it is going to be grip strength (going to work on that going forward) that matters the most, but sweaty palms. Though my body does not sweat, my palms do. Think I will need some consultation on that as time goes on.

Obstacle 9: Spinball wizard. Most who got that far seemed to make it through the five spinners (though most also skipped #5). Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to skip the final step on any obstacle: too short.

Obstalce 10: Spider trap. Good shoes and endurance!! By then, so much energy has already been spent, it looks hard to call up the remaining energy needed. And, then, there are the shoes that slip. Good shoes or go barefoot!!

So, that is what was going through my mind on Monday night as I watched ANW!

And how handy! Today, Brittany told me we had pretty much achieved my early goals and wants me to select the next five goals to work on. We will discuss those on Tuesday. In the interim, anyone out there with suggestions? I am all ears!


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