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  1. Greetings Members of the Rebellion! I'm Anna, an almost 30-something from Texas, with a few health challenges that I'm hoping I can overcome in my quest to "level up" my life. I've already participated in one challenge (as a Druid - the challenge in June/July) and I was quite successful, but I never really became part of the bigger community, so I thought I would introduce myself. I have EDS-III (Hypermobility ) in a fairly mild presentation. Basically, I am SUPER BENDY. I am extremely flexible in almost all of my joints, and several of my joints sublux fairly frequently - which is to say I can partially dislocate my shoulders and hips, at will. This makes for weird party tricks where I gross everyone out, but I'm not supposed to do that because it's actually kind of bad for the joints. As well, this makes me both prone to injury and highly susceptible to joint pain and early onset arthritis. My fingers/elbows/knees also bend in weird directions and are fairly unstable. As a result, I have fairly significant joint pain that I am managing with my rheumatologist through pain meds, diet, and exercise. (And lots of sleep. I MUST sleep 8-9 hours a night or I am a mess!) Anyway - this pretty significantly reduces the exercises I'm allowed to do. I can only run intermittently, for short distances, on soft surfaces (like grass or a track), and my doctor prefers that I don't run at all. For cardio I'm allowed to walk, bike, and swim, but not do anything that would create impact on my joints. I'm also not allowed to do heavy barbell training because of the risk of dislocating something. My elbows bend 25-30 degrees in the wrong direction, which makes things like overhead presses really hard. What I CAN do is resistance training with my own bodyweight and exercise bands, and light barbell work (like dumbbell rows). I'm impacted differently day-to-day - some days are very hard, others are easy. Some days my hands are strong enough to open that jar of pickles, other days I just can't do it. This is very frustrating, and is part of my motivation to "level up" - I want to be strong and healthy, and more able to do things. This means building my muscle strength to make up for my joint weakness. For the last year I've been Walking to Mordor - right now I'm about 50 miles shy of Rivendell. I wear a pedometer (fitbit Zip) daily, and am trying to do things like walk a lap of the building every time I use the bathroom, or use a printer that's farther away, to increase my daily steps! This week I've started two things: Beginner's Bodyweight Workout - I can do two circuits. I'm lifting a bocce set instead of a dumbbell for the rows, but it works! (Completing this workout nets me 1 extra mile in my Walk)Moderate intensity interval training - walking quickly (3.5 mph pace) for 2 minutes, jog (2.5-3 mph pace) for 30-45 seconds. I'm on a concrete walking trail, so when I jog I move over into the grass. (This workout takes me about 2 miles to complete, but I just count the steps for this, no extra credit on my Walk)I have major IBS issues and celiac disease - so aside from occasional oatmeal or rice, I'm already grain-free! I'm moving towards a more paleo diet, though I am hard pressed to give up my daily yogurt, or milk in my tea (I've tried soy milk and almond milk, and while both are fine in coffee, in tea they are not my favorite). Also I love dark chocolate, so I'm loathe to give that up, even though I only eat it in small amounts (one square a day, max!) At 5'7'', I have a little bit of weight to lose (15 lbs ish) to be where I feel most comfortable (currently at 165, hoping to be at a strong and fit 150). IRL I'm a desk jockey working in the oil and gas industry (doing sales writing), a WoW gamer (Human Paladin/Troll Druid, mostly RP, a little bit of PVE raiding, though I'm a retired hardcore raider), an avid D&D player (currently a 3.5E Elf Ranger in one game, a 4E Dwarf Cleric in another), and the Chief Distributor of Gooshyfood for two cats (Max and Charlie). I also enjoy gardening and crafts, but my job and commute have made that less of a priority in my life lately. I am hoping with some support and community I can stick with this increased intensity of working out, get strong, and be better at life in general! Progress will be slow, since I recover slowly, but any progress is good progress. I am thinking about joining the current challenge, looking forward to the Rebel Women's Academy, and ready to kick life in the butt. I want my body to work WITH me, not AGAINST me, and I want to feel like it's my ally, not my enemy.
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