Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Body Bewildered

By, PR Fitness Athlete, Kelly Rota-Autry.

I can make my body do a lot of things, especially now, after a year of PR Fitness training.

  • I can make my core and arms lift really heavy stuff off the ground, sometimes even over my head.
  • I can make my legs run 13.1 miles on a crowded Indianapolis street or a hilly Eagle Creek trail.
  • I can drag a 100 pound tire behind me, throw a 14 pound medicine ball high against a wall, pull my chin up over a bar (with a little help from my rubber-band friend)
  • I can hold a crane pose – even side crane sometimes – and stand on my head.
  • I can wash away the day’s stress and funk in a bath of sweat, wood pellets and chalk dust – and my body just keeps saying "yes, yes, yes".
  • I can make my face smile through all of this, because quite frankly, it just makes me smile

But, here’s the rub:

  • I can’t make my uterus bleed.
  • I can’t command my hair to stop graying.
  • I can’t summon my sweat glands to stop soaking my t-shirts as I wrestle with sleep.
  • I can’t tell my body that it is not time to stop ovulating, not time to make THAT change.

I can find the mental focus to count down reps from 21 to 15 to 9, (even while lifting heavy stuff), but I can’t seem to control the urge to scream, to cry, or to not blank out at the most unpredictable moments.

I love all foods "paleo", yet crave to eat my weight in Pixie Stix (and would, given the time and the pixie stix!) I am so powerful, yet so powerless over this new phase of my life as a woman.

I remember in my 20s, how much damage I did to my body – no sleep, no real food, smoke, sporadic exercise and other unhealthy extracurriculars. Still, with a few sit-ups, a short run now and again, and a fad diet - BAM!, things were not perfect, but better (at least looking better).

Then, in my 30s I became a mother and lost any real connection to my body. It was just something I threw clothes on to get out the door and floated behind the children in a family photo. I did less damage, but also paid less attention. And under the weight of work and family and my own neglect, my body swelled – perhaps to fill the space left by my inattention, insecurity, and invisibility.

I'm now smack dab in the middle of my 40s, and my body is one big question mark. “Yes,” it says agreeably, “I will lighten up and tone up. But I will also ache all day for no apparent reason. I will wrinkle and blotch and sag in all the wrong places (is there a right place?) I will play ping-pong with your emotions and tease you with tireless energy and endless exhaustion. Game on, watch the curveballs … “

For a time, I was in denial, thinking "any day now, my period will start and life will go back to its pre, pre-menopausal state." And when it didn’t, I sent my husband on a 6 a.m. run to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test, just to be sure. Yep, certain now that this endless state of PMS is not going to end in a maternity leave, I accept this transition; it's not welcome and it's not not pretty. In between the tears and rages and melancholy, I know it is not hard, either. Losing loved ones is hard. Being a parent is hard. Balancing work and family is hard. Aging is not hard. It just is. And it is ironic to know that, along with the mania, there are some perks:

  • The beautiful strong women I am surrounded by who are aging right along with me.
  • The opportunity to share sage wisdom and life experiences with those who will listen, those who want to know.
  • The crazy confidence to finally live life in real time: To wear a bathing suit without shorts or a sarong! To speak my mind. To share my heart. To follow my gut.

If you read this, and you get it, awesome. I hope this speaks to you, in whatever life stage you are in, whatever change you face; whether you embrace it, or ignore it, it will happen. I’m just trying to live the best way I know – with an open heart, a kettlebell, a Paleo cookbook, a great community, and a wrinkly smile.



Kelly is a PR Fitness "O.G." - one of the Crew that has been there since Day 1. Kelly started her training with Chris several years ago as one of his Power Yoga students, seeking better health and life balance. In 2008 she enrolled in Chris' 12 week wellness program, "Project: Bridging the Wellness Gap" (BTWG). BTWG was a transformative experience for her and a true awakening. Not only did she lose unwanted fat and become more fit, she truly changed her life in all facets of wellness. Kelly has gone on to compete in sprint triathlons, road and trail half marathons, a 100K team relay ultramarathon, and more. These days you can find Kelly, and her husband, Matt, kicking butt in the workouts at PR Fitness, running the trails of central Indiana, and walking the talk of health, fitness, and well-being. Check out her BTWG blog by clicking HERE


  1. Spot on, Kelly. And, I'm pleased to be walking this meandering Path of Aging with you, friend....the great, the good, the bad and the ugly. XO

  2. You are such an amazing woman! Thank you for sharing your story.

  3. I'm right there with you-step by step- love you Kell
    Ness xoxo

  4. How eloquently put! You openness is refreshing and your insight priceless.....even during adversity, you shine! - Jody