Pickleball & Marriage: Real Talk

Pickleball Wife Life

The last few years took a turn that I didn’t see coming. Did I think when I married my husband that I would eventually spend all of my vacation days and most of my free time devoted to a sport called Pickleball? Not exactly. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was, and even after I learned about it I actually thought it was a game my husband and his friend made up themselves. I was more then a little confused the first time he told me he was going to a tournament, “a tournament? for that game you and Bobby made up?” turns out I had some of the details wrong.

If you don’t know what Pickleball is, join the club. I’m often met with confused faces when I talk about it to friends. It’s sort of like badminton, sort of like giant pingpong, sort of like the loudest version of tennis you can imagine. The smacking sound of a small wiffle ball against paddles sometimes haunts my sleep. If you want to see it played out here’s a video!

Most of my summer weekends are dedicated to watching my husband compete in tournaments. Most people you find at the events are there to play, so I have the somewhat unique experience of looking from the outside in. I don’t play, except on the rare occasion my husband helps me get a workout in and runs me around the court playing singles (my highest score against him is 4-11 in case you’re curious, although I have a sneaking suspicion he gave me most of those points). A lot of my time at tournaments is spent screaming from the sidelines (sorry, not sorry, other pickleballers), refilling water bottles, offering him food thirty times a day until he’s completely annoyed, and occasionally cat napping if I come across a good sun spot and we’re in a lull between matches.

I wasn’t always involved with tournaments, or Pickleball at all, when he started. When he first caught the bug I wasn’t only working full time, I had a hefty commute and I was really trying to build a career for myself, so even my limited free time was spent working. By the time things finally slowed down a little for me, Frank was already deeply entrenched in the Pickleball world. He was already going to tournaments on his own, and Pickleball felt like it was very clearly his thing (at least to me). Most weekends and a lot of week nights he was spending playing, so to say I wasn’t initially the biggest fan of Pickleball may be an understatement.

In long term relationships it’s easy to let life sweep you along and not realize where you’re headed before you end up right in the middle of it. At one point we looked up and realized we were barely spending any time together, and we needed to change something if anything was going to work. Pickleball was definitely not the reason we had issues, but it had become such a huge part of Frank’s life without being a part of mine at all that it became a clear disconnect between us. So we decided I’d start coming to tournaments and be more involved with Pickleball.

It was an awkward transition, to put it nicely. I knew no one, and Pickleball is one of those esoteric worlds that can make you feel like an extraterrestrial that was just dropped into the middle of a square dance. I’m sure it was more than a little frustrating on Frank’s end too. Do you want the truth? It sucked for a while. We’re coming up on eight years of marriage this week and that time period sticks out in my mind as one of the hardest to get through. Even at the time it felt like a make or break situation for our relationship. It took time and a hell of a lot of perseverance. We fought, we struggled, and eventually it started to suck less. I made friends, I found a rhythm for myself at tournaments, and slowly but surely I found myself truly loving watching my boy run around the court, unable to restrain my cheering.

So here I am, making spread sheets of tournament schedules and counting down the days until the next one. Despite the negative feelings it brought initially it’s become a huge positive in our relationship. It’s easy to let changes eat your relationship from the inside out, but if Pickleball has taught me anything, it’s that getting through those changes can be painful and frustrating, but they can also be the absolute best thing to happen.

BBG Review & What's next!

BBG Program Review - Josie Feather Blog

It’s been a whirlwind these last two weeks, so much so that I haven’t even really been able to get to fully celebrate finishing up 12 weeks of BBG! I actually finished my last morning of it, worked, and then jumped on a plane and headed straight to Florida for the weekend, and then got hit with a nasty cold as soon as I got home, which is why it’s been a bit quiet over here.

REVIEW

At the halfway point of the program I shared by thoughts at the time (which you can read here!). Overall, a lot of my thoughts still stand. It’s tough for first timers, especially if you’re like me and have absolutely zero natural muscle. I had actually been doing some strength training before I started the program, but still found it to be really challenging.

I think it’s great that it is so challenging. There’s a lot of things that a hallmarks of the program that I know I just wouldn’t have made myself do otherwise, but have made me so much stronger. On the other hand, I think it can be easy to injure yourself if you’re not careful. I modified almost all of the arm workouts and still almost pulled my shoulder one time (thankfully I could feel it coming and stopped right there and gave it a few days rest). The older PDF version I used doesn’t include modification recommendations, but because I’ve done other programs I already knew ones I could do, but if you’re totally new to strength training, it may not be the best thing to start with.

Overall I am absolutely so happy I did it. The first six weeks were somewhat excruciating, but once I got past the halfway mark it felt like it flew by! I also really loved that with the program I didn’t sacrifice running, you alternate strength training days with cardio days and you can pretty much pick whatever cardio you want to do, so I was still able to keep up my running (and in fact saw quite a bit of improvement!).

If you’re wondering if I saw results… yes! I don’t like to use body perception as a unit of measurement, but I know a lot of people are curious. I definitely have seen a difference, but way more important, I’ve felt a difference! I feel so much stronger and confident in what I can do, and that’s priceless!

WHAT’S NEXT

Dramatic drum roll please… I’m doing it again!

hah! A bit anticlimactic I know. I’ve talked to a few other women who did multiple rounds of BBG and found they continued to see results with the repeats. I also would love to be able to get through a round of BBG without all of the modifications I’ve been relying on, so I’m jumping right back in! I’m excited to see how much easier some things feel after getting through the program already.

How to Know When to Take a Break

How to Know When to Take a Break - Josie Feather Blog

I’m one of those all-or-nothing types. Either I’m obsessively doing something all the time, or I drop it and completely forget about it altogether. I really struggle with balance which I know a lot of other people do as well. I tend to think that if I’m going to miss one day at the gym, well then, I might as well just skip the whole week! It’s a really damaging way to think and often leads to feeling either depressed about missing one measly workout, or pushing through even when I shouldn’t and hurting myself physically or mentally.

The thing is, it’s all mindset. There’s no other way to avoid it then to change how you view it, which is way harder to me then just physically pushing through something. I’d so much rather attempt to run a 5k on a broken leg then try to wrangle my thoughts under control. The all or nothing mindset has been something I have really been trying to work on lately.

Even though I’ve got a long way to go, I thought it’d be nice to share those signs I’ve been tying to keep an eye out for that tell me it’s time to take a much needed break. I’ve been trying to apply these same ideas to all areas of my life, but have been trying to really focus in on what it means for my exercise routine.

PAIN

The most obvious sign. If you’ve been working out hard and are experiencing pain in your muscles, it’s time to take a break! Let your body rest so you can come back and kill it next time. You’ll only make things worse, and probably cause a full blown injury, by pushing through. Also take it as an opportunity to look at your habits and see if you can adjust anything to avoid pain in the future (you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout - stretching!).

EXHAUSTION

It’s honestly hard for me to tell the difference between physical and mental exhaustion, it all just runs together in my mind, so let’s talk about both. Last week i was feeling it for a lot of reasons. When it first hit me I tried to talk myself into ignoring it and plowing through, but instead I took a step back and saw how much I had been doing - hitting the gym 6 days a week for the past few weeks, walking a lot even on my off days, and running from thing to thing in my personal life. Honestly, I wasn’t even excited to go to the gym the next day, which is actually really rare for me. So I decided to take a day off right in the middle of the week. Instead of letting myself worry that it was the end of the world that I skipped one day, I set my sights on enjoying a rare weekday morning at home before work, and rekindling my excitement to get back to the gym the next day.

LACK OF MOTIVATION

Let’s be straight here, I’m not talking about when you are just getting started and motivation is hard as h*ck, I’m talking about when you have already pushed through that phase and have found that you usually love working out, but all the sudden it’s become a chore. Take a look at why that is. If you’re feeling a little depressed, it may be good to keep pushing through since it may actually help, but if you’re otherwise feeling fine and you’re just dreading your workout then maybe it’s time to take a break and come back with a new plan.

I was starting to feel a little blah about my gym time a few months ago and decided to start a new workout plan, and I am so glad I did! It’s hugely helped me reconnect with what I love about working out, and seeing results from all my hard work gets me even more excited to keep going!