Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's Not Sore or Month-End Review, November

Hit the rock climbing gym at 6:00 p.m. and didn't leave until around 8:30. We haven't had an outing like that in a while and it felt good even though Monday rock climbing followed by Tuesday boxing and another bout with climbing have left my biceps tender; hope that means that they're growing. What's not sore is my elbow. Massage, self-massage and soaking in Epsom Salt seems to have done the trick.

While I missed more days of exercise than I would have liked to, I felt like I got in a lot of quality work:

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix

  • Cardio Kickboxing, 1 x

  • Power Yoga, 1 x

  • 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!

  • Sleek and Sexy Abs, 1 x,

  • Bicycling, 2 x's

    BodyGo Row Class @ CrossFit, 3 x's

    Boxing, 2 x's

    Give Me 10!

  • Fat Blasting Cardio, 1 x

  • Kettlebell 101, 2 x's

    Leaf Raking, 1 x

    Personal Training with Jackie: Power Circuit Training

  • 15-Minute Upper Body Circuit, 3 x's

  • Rock Climbing, 7 x's

    , 4 x's

    Walking, 3 x's

    Yoga, 8 x's

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    The Bread and Butter Combination

    Skipped my regular yoga class in order to finally check out the boxing class at the gym that I got the Groupon for. I no longer feel right if I don't get in yoga twice a week. I did go yesterday and it was an amazing class which made me feel better about missing tonight's session.

    Got to the boxing class and the teacher divided us. The more experienced boxers sparred with each other.

    The newbies got to prance around on the balls of our feet before we touched the bag then we got around to what our instructor likes to call the Bread and Butter combination -- the one-two punch.

    After that, we practiced the three-four (a hook on each side).

    We also practiced kicking and, after working on two basic ones, we did a combo. The instructor said that the first straight kick is to make the "person" implode while the second kick should cause teetering.

    I really like the roundhouse kick. You lift your knee up -- like a dog at a fire hydrant -- then you kick and hit with your shin.

    So far, I like the kettlebell class better than the boxing at this particular facility. I like the way calisthenics are incorporated in the other boxing classes that I've gone to. The other classes also seem more fluid. It still felt good to hit the bag and I was definitely in the mood to kick.

    Oh yeah, the instructor reminded us to breathe. He actually wanted us to call out the number for each punch and the corresponding letter when we got around to kicking. He said that when you’re holding your breath it creates unhealthy, internal pressure. I love it that I keep getting reminders to breathe...

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Every Woman Should Know How to Clean

    I'm many things but I'm not really an a.m. exerciser but since my exercise schedule is getting complicated, I dragged myself out of bed and headed to Kettlebell 101 because I didn't want more time to elapse between classes. I made it to class in the nick of time.

    After the last encounter with kettlebells, I thought my upper body would be sore. Not.

    I cannot fully describe how sore my hamstrings were. I took at least two Epsom Salt baths, a yoga class, did self-massage and hamstring-specific stretches but the 'strings remained sore for almost four days...

    For today's warm-up, we ran around the small room, rotated our arms while running, shuffled to the side, skipped and ran backwards. I was so happy when we started doing stretches. The stretching portion included but was not limited to a figure eight with our arms; my mind/body connection is so challenged when we're supposed to reverse the figure eight. We did this one stretch where you cross one leg over the other with the feet right next to each other then bend at the waist. Mike was impressed that we could all bend post-Thanksgiving.

    After the warm-up, we did swings, one arm swings, the press, catch and lunge, rows, around-the-body with a catch, push-ups etc. After this series, Mike took us three newbies to the side to work on the clean while the bigger group did Turkish Get-Ups et al.

    Did you know that you're leaking power if you don't properly rack the kettlebell on your biceps and forearm during the clean? I didn't.

    It helped when Mike said that the motion for the clean is like zipping up a jacket. I kept making a popping sound when racking my kettlebell. Mike said it was because I was strong* and kind of flinging the kettlebell (10kg) up but he said it's a lot to learn and we'll just chalk everything up to kettlebell practice.

    Things I need to remember:

  • Hand Off Body (During One Arm Swing)

  • It's Not A Squat Stance

  • Squeeze the Butt

  • Thumb Back

  • Don't Try to Control the Kettlebell (During Swings)...

  • I was a mess when I tried to swing and clean. Mike was like don't overthink it. How did he know that I'm prone to overthinking?

    Even though Mike was joking, he is right: every woman should know how to clean.

    *Other people keep telling me that I'm strong. I'm not sure why I need to keep convincing myself. In addition, when I shuffled past the mirror, I noticed that I am more toned even though I've been thinking otherwise.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    What's Hot, What's Not: Holiday Edition


    Carrying Around Almond Butter, Instant Oatmeal and Larabaras in Purse

    Not Hot

    Well, It Was Hot When It Came Out Of the Oven


    Incorporating What You Learned in Bootcamp-like Classes for an Outdoor Workout

    Not Hot

    Finding Out There's a Fitness Room but Getting Bored by Spinning Bike

    * * *

    Not Hot

    Packing So Lightly That There's No Margin for Error


    Finding Free Laundry Facility at Inn In Case of Packing Errors

    * * *

    Not Hot

    The Relative Who Almost Downs a Bottle of Vodka Right After Turkey

    * * *



    * * *

    Even Hotter

    One Year Old Niece Who Toddles Off With Water Bottle, Catching Up with Relatives and, You Know, Getting Rest

    Nephew After Dinner

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Crossing Another Book Off The List

    As I uncluttered, I went through magazines and found a recommendation for this book in O: The Oprah Magazine.

    Grennan initially signs up to volunteer at an orphanage for a couple of months and really has no idea what he is getting into.

    As it turns out, wondering what you're supposed to do in an orphanage is like wondering what you're supposed to do at the running of the bulls in Spain -- you work it out pretty quickly... (16)
    Before I could utter a word I was set upon -- charged at, leaped on, overrun -- by a herd of laughing kids, like bulls in Pamplona. (17)
    Grennan starts Next Generation Nepal and helps to reunite children (trafficking victims) with their families.

    Despite the trafficking, caste system and poverty, it's a tale with a couple of happy endings and it's a book that left me wanting to make a trek to Nepal.

    The book also made me remember how convenient life can be:
    Other times, when the children were at school, I would go into Kathmandu to visit a simple, run-down artificial climbing wall, where one could practice rock climbing right in the city. The commute to the outdoor climbing wall took three hours, round-trip...(44)
    Don't think that I would be an avid rock climber if it involved three hours of travel time for each outing.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Approach The Kettlebell As If...

    When I saw this picture in my daily Groupon newsletter, I knew that I wanted the coupon. I checked out the website and saw that, in addition to boxing, the gym also has kettlebell classes so I took myself to Kettlebell 101.

    Before we started the instructor, Mike, asked us newbies if we'd been exercising. One woman, Mary Ellen, said that she hadn't exercised in six months. Whattttttttttt??? That's mock shock because ME certainly had enough stamina to make it through the class which started with shoulder, arm and hip rotations. We also did three versions of jumping jacks with mountain climbers thrown in and a few other things that I can't remember.

    Before the warm-up this woman, without any solicitation on my part, told me that, for three months, she only took a kettlebell class once a week and dropped a size -- didn't lose any weight -- but dropped a size.

    After the warm-up, Mike asked the newbies to follow him and he left one of the more experienced class members in charge of the larger group and stepped over to give them new tasks in between instructing us.

    We worked on the kettlebell swing, press, around-the-body (recovery move), one arm swing, etc.

    Mike talked about the importance of hip action and how he approaches every kettlebell as if it weighs 100 pounds. He also said that the kettlebell is a mobile gym -- if you know how to do it and incorporate circuit training. I think he likened it to having a airplane but needing to know how to fly it.

    After Mike stayed with us for about 40 minutes, we joined the larger group and did more stuff in 30 second segments, including a push-up series where we tapped the kettlebell with one hand...push-up...tap with the other hand...

    Mike reminded us of the importance of breathing, a reminder that I seem to get in many settings these days.

    After class, the same woman who told me about dropping a size suggested that I get protein after class. She was super nice and everyone else was for that matter -- proving that there really are more nice people in the world than not.

    Other classmates smiled and warned me about impending soreness. I thought, yeah, I just went shopping and I've got Epsom Salt for that...

    And, oh yeah, Mike said that he's done a lot of training and he finds that a kettlebell workout provides the best full body workout. They all say that, don't they? It is a pretty intense workout though.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    I'm Usually Toast

    I had an epiphany at the pool. I streamlined and I stayed streamlined for, apparently, longer than I usually do. I must wobble or roll out of my streamlined position but I maintained during this outing and I immediately thought about my Tuesday yoga teacher when we do mountain pose.

    He tells us to put our feet together, to lift our toes up and spread them apart and to make sure that each and every part of our feet touches the mat. I'm missing a step that he talks about but, in the end, he tells us that our body is in perfect alignment at that point.

    As I did the front crawl, I tried to maintain the alignment of being streamlined. I thought about my swimming teacher who told us that if you swim a certain way during front crawl, you'll be like a torpedo in the water and I also thought about another teacher who drilled into her kids that they needed to swim streamlined.

    By lap 25, I knew that I wanted to chase a mile.

    When I did the back stroke, I thought about my rotator cuff. Of course, the muscles are doing their job all the time but I have major appreciation for them when my arm is going backward and past my ear.

    Around lap 27 while doing the side stroke, I started to feel tension in my triceps area and, at some point, the tug in my elbow that has visited of late started to make its presence known.

    By lap 30, I think that I'm about to make myself cry and I employ Patti's rock climbing strategy of not pausing for fear that I will stop.

    Once I got in 33 laps, I hoisted myself on the surface of the water and floated.

    I ran an errand after swimming and I noticed that I wasn't toast the way that I usually am after taking on a mile.

    Boxing and CrossFit classes have made me deal with discomfort and go beyond that.

    After talking to a friend and discussing how I juggle my fitness schedule, she suggested that I pick one activity and stick to it. Never...

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    The Heat Sequence

    Tamal Dodge says that The strap is a great tool. I couldn’t agree more. I love props whether it’s a stability ball, resistance band or a ball for Pilates and now that I’ve fallen in love with yoga, I have even more props to play with.

    During the Hatha program, I enjoyed using the strap around my feet and I also enjoyed grabbing it close to my ankles for an amazing butterfly pose and even though I lost my balance and rocked backwards, I liked using it during boat pose. I also enjoyed the shoulder stretch since the strap was incorporated. Hatha felt particularly good following a day of rowing and rock climbing since my hips were intensely sore.

    During the Flow program, Dodge brings the heat. He incorporates reverse warrior, baby cobra, plank, inverted bicycle and downward facing dog. I liked the chair, crescent and sun salutation sequences. This session definitely has a cardio aspect to it and I welcomed the cool portion of the program that came towards the end.

    I thought that I would feel weird during yoga at home by my lonesome now that I've gotten accustomed to classes but I was wrong. It still felt good and savasana and the half-fetal positions were still quite tasty.

    While the DVD says for beginners, I think most people would enjoy it. I've been going to yoga classes for about six months now and I'm starting to feel less like a beginner...

    I also visited Dodge’s website and I feel like there’s a yoga retreat in my future. Hope it’s the near future.

    Been to any yoga retreats? If so, which one did you enjoy the most?

    *Disclosure: I received this video without charge.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    I've Got Muscles

    Checked the CrossFit schedule and noticed that an open house/open gym overlapped with BodyGo Row. I almost emailed Laurie to see if there was a mix-up but figured that we'd be just about finished with class by the time the open house started and that we didn't warrant that much attention that an open house was an impossibility towards the end of class.

    The Mission

  • Row for 200 Meters

  • Eight Figure Eight Kettlebell Swings + Eight Push-ups

  • 200 Meters

  • Eight Figure Eight Kettlebell Swings + Eight Push-ups...

  • Laurie asked Keri if she was going to use the human-size rubber bands for her push-ups and she set up a bar on the weight bench for me.

    I decided, though, that eight push-ups were doable even if I had to do them slow.

    The figure eight kettlebell situation stumped me more than the push-ups.

    For our next mission, we rowed tabata style and, after that, we rowed for a minute then hopped on and off to do:

    Slams (20)
    Wall Balls (20 with 12 lb Ball)
    Box Jumps (25)
    Burpee Pull-Ups
    Sit-Ups (35)
    Ring Dips (20)
    Walking Lunges...

    I started with the box jumps because I figured that I wouldn't have the wherewithal to finish them towards the end and I was right. Next, I took on sit-ups then ring dips. While I was on the rower, Leeny (there for the open house) spotted me. Leeny was one of our coaches during basic training.

    The last thing that I worked on during that 12 minute session was wall balls and Leeny joined me -- right by my ear -- imploring me to continue. Oh. My. God. I almost fell sideways. And, for the record, it is extremely hard to quit when someone is enthusiastically, loudly and firmly urging you on.

    Laurie asked me if I was able to finish with 500 meters. I hopped back on the rower. Leeny got next to Connor pushing him to finish by a certain time. Then she came over to me to cheer me on and moved on to Keri to help her finish.

    I wished my classmates a good night and headed toward the rock climbing gym to meet up with Mike, Lisa, Patti and Erin, a newbie climber. For some reason, I feel like I climb better after rowing -- maybe it's an adrenaline thing...

    Earlier in the day, I thought about my weight -- how it's going up. I'm pretty sure that some of the gain really is muscle but I also feel the need to count calories again.

    Mike, who hadn't seen me in a while, said that I looked smaller. It was really nice to hear that today.

    And Laurie is funny. Whenever she introduces me to a new coach or another CrossFitter, she tells them that I'm strong and usually refers to my dubious kettlebell technique as proof. I don't care; I've got muscles.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    The Alternative

    Did I really want to go to yoga since I went yesterday?

    I was sure that I could benefit from a few shoulder shrugs et al. because the day had been tedious but yoga was a bit aggravating too. Someone took "my" spot when I went to put my belongings away; someone's cell phone rang a few times and another person came to class 30 minutes after it started.

    I did notice that I'm much better at one of my favorite poses. It was easier to get into and there was only slight quivering.

    After yoga, I wondered if I was really in the mood to go swimming. I wasn't quite jonesing even though I haven't been in about a week.

    The alternative, though, was to sit on my behind to zone out and watch Hoarders or Breaking Bad or the last episode of Out of the Wild.

    I logged off, put my suit on, threw my towel, flip flops, goggles, lap counter etc. in my gym bag and headed out.

    I did my usual song and dance of easing into the water by trying to warm up by standing in one spot while rubbing water into my skin which never makes first contact any easier when your forehead finally hits the water. Of course, my body instantly adjusted to the temperature and I never looked back.

    There were only two people in the pool when I got there which made for a peaceful night.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Walls Again

    I went to pick up The Glass Castle and it wasn't on the shelves for reserved books which is not unusual since I sometimes notice that a book has arrived before the staff has had a chance to put it in its proper place.

    The clerk went to look in the back. No book. He went to look on the shelf and I was glad when he didn't find it because I would have been embarrassed by an oversight.

    He went to the back to look again and found it. Someone had put it to the side because it had been damaged by water.

    Did I want to wait for another copy of the book? No, I did not. He marked it as damaged and I went on my way.

    I have the urge to sum up this book in two words: rough childhood -- the kind that you hope that no child has to survive. It's the kind of childhood (part of it) when the switch is flipped and the children are more parent-like than the parents.

    I was moved to tears when the author decides to move to New York (before graduating from high school) to join her older sister. The scene that got me is when she says goodbye to her father and gets on the bus.

    Another scene that moved me is when the family, because of legal trouble, heads to Phoenix. Walls is looking forward to seeing her grandmother (the subject of Half Broke Horses) when she's told of her grandmother's death.

    I couldn't believe I'd been sitting there thinking about Grandma Smith, looking forward to eating Cream of Wheat and having her comb my hair and cuss, and all along she'd been dead. I started hitting Mom on the shoulder, hard, and asking why she hadn't told us. (92)
    Even though Walls wrote The Glass Castle before Half Broke Horses, I'm glad that I read them in the order that I did.

    Friday, November 11, 2011


    This new yogi got into a pose and wanted to know what it was called.

    That's downward facing dog someone said.

    If it's downward then why am I up?

    I started cracking up. She was serious but it was funny the way she asked.

    Dana summoned me over to her mat. She wanted me to pack up and move next to her because she was sure that the woman with stinky feet would come and "sit" next to her. But you can't giggle she said. Isn't that a backhanded invitation? And, of course, I get the urge to giggle most when someone tells me not to and how cute of Dana to think that I was so fresh. My feet had been inside of my shoes all day. Well, for feet that had been inside of shoes, they were okay.

    So, I put my mat next to Dana's even though I was now in close quarters in between Dana and Caroline. I managed not to giggle except for when our teacher had us do mini-planks and cobra then commented on his student who taught the class the previous week.

    He talked to the student about planks which she tried to annihilate us with. Dana said that her arms were sore for three days after plankgate...

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    The 10th Interval

    I love it when Laurie gives us a choice. We could row for two minutes, do a series of push-ups, hop back on the rower, squats etc. OR row for five thousand meters. I chose the latter but as we rowed, I turned to Connor and said Did I choose this?

  • Row for 500 meters

  • Rest for one minute

  • Row for 500 meters

  • Rest for one minute

  • Repeat...

  • After about 1,500 meters, I started loosening the straps on my feet, walked around and flexed my ankles then I would strap my feet back in and row.

    I was worn out when I hit the 10th interval and my legs felt like jelly.

    As we headed out, Kerri started up with her mantra: If you can do the rowing class, you can do the regular CrossFit class.

    I haven't really talked with Kerri about any apprehension that I feel about the CrossFit class or maybe she just assumes I'm apprehensive because she's never seen me in the morning class which I'm not able to attend anyway because of work.

    I do have apprehension about the regular class and wasn't going to lie. This other woman, Marissa, said that she found rowing harder than the regular class and offered to accompany me to a regular class so that I will have a familiar face present. She normally goes in the morning but said that whenever I'm able to go, she'd make it work. I found her offer incredibly sweet...

    After BodyGO Row, I went to Trader Joe's and, since I was in shouting distance of Target, I walked across the parking lot and picked up the last two containers of mango Chobani.

    Hopped on the highway and wondered if I should join Lisa, Mike and Patti who were climbing. I decided that if my legs weren't too sore when I got out of the car, I'd go in and climb a couple of routes; I got six in before we headed out.

    Wonder what I'll do tomorrow...

    Random fact: Efficient rowing and rock climbing rely on the legs and not the arms.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Odoriferous Light

    Went to try out a boxing gym that's closer to me and knew when I had arrived because I had seen the building on the website. Love the building, especially the windows.

    The young lady at the desk pointed out where the cubby unit was located and she also explained that people were warming up by jumping rope. After I put my gym bag away, I went back to retrieve a pair of lightweight gloves minus the fingertips. In addition, the gloves weren't nearly as odoriferous as the ones at the other gym. When I called to schedule a class, the guy did warn me that although they sanitize the gloves, some of them do still smell.

    The bags at this gym are not as dense as the bags at the other gym. Therefore, I can roll my hand wraps and put them away for now...

    The class was packed and when it was "go" time, half of the class went to do strength training and the rest of us boxed and kicked. I like that the class was divided into two parts.

    I wasn't crazy about the strength training approach but it was okay. When I finished with class, everything that I had on was wet. Boxing seems to bring out the body monsoon.

    I felt more at home at the other boxing gym but it's just not feasible to drive that distance on a regular basis.

    One thing is for sure: I really enjoy boxing and I need a boxing home.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Carrying Books

    I seldom take reading material to the rock climbing gym but there was the possibility that Patti might be running behind schedule because of rush hour traffic and I'd rather read than twiddle my thumbs.

    I'm so glad that I was carrying that book under my arms. Otherwise, Brandi would not have asked me what I was reading and we wouldn't have gotten into a conversation about books and she wouldn't have told me that she was reading Half Broke Horses. I don't know when the book would have fallen onto my radar because no one else has mentioned it to me.

    When I finished reading the book, I turned it over, read the authors' bio and blurbs by other authors and quickly requested the author's first book, a memoir. All that to say, I really liked Half Broke Horses, a "true life novel" about the author's grandmother.

    In the Author's Note, Walls says that she intended to write the book about her mother but her mother insisted that her mother was the one who had lived a remarkable life. Lily Casey Smith, Wall's grandmother, died when she was eight so a lot of of what she relays about her grandmother has been passed down to her.

    However, since I don't have the words from Lily herself, and since I have also drawn on my imagination to fill in details that are hazy or missing -- and I've changed a few names to protect people's privacy -- the only honest thing to do is call the book a novel. (272)
    Here's one of my favorite passages in the book. Casey Smith responds to her first husband, Ted:

    "You have a mighty high opinion of yourself," I told him. "The fact is, you don't love me, and you haven't destroyed me. You don't have what it takes to do that." (82)

    I also liked what Casey Smith said to her second husband after he grew weary of his wife's run-ins with different people.

    "These showdowns. It's becoming a pattern."
    "It would be either a pattern of me standing up for myself or a pattern of me getting pushed around." (180)
    I love a woman who stands up for herself...

    Downloaded or had any interesting books tucked under your arm lately?

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    I Knew It...or More Stuff People Say to Me

  • Me: I strain to hear the teacher.

    Opal: Honey, I don't even try that anymore. I just look at Dana and follow her; she's been doing yoga for a long time.

  • Me to Lifeguard: So, what are your tips for front crawling breathing?

    Lifeguard demonstrates then: I think you just need to make a goofy face.

  • You're running kind of late, aren't you?

    Lifeguard to me as I arrived at the pool at 8:30 p.m.

  • You still have time to get your workout in.

    Gentlemen to me. I got to the pool at about 7:15; it closed at 8

  • I knew it.

    A response from a friend at work who asked me if I was going to have Papa John's pizza -- provided by work during preparations for a special event. I said no.

  • What's your name? That's my sister.

    Someone would climb then belay then someone would hold Keri's baby. When it was my turn, Celeste's big sister approached me -- probably wondering who the stranger was holding her infant sister.

  • I like how when she's taking it easy, she does routes that we find challenging.

    Leah's Mike on how Leah was taking it easy by top rope climbing but still rocking 5.9's and 5.10's while nursing her shoulder.

  • Gratuitous Picture of Leah When She Wasn't Nursing Anything

  • No one wants to be up front...Even the instructor falls and he tells us not to base our practice on someone else's.

    Dana re: her crowded Sunday yoga class and how everyone wants to be in the back of the class.

  • Lisa: You make interesting moves when you climb. I just hop to the next hold. Hop like a bunny.

    Me: What's your Chinese zodiac sign?

    Lisa: I don't know: Bunny. Asshole...

    Me: (Lots of laughing)...

  • Interesting First Move or Interesting Composition -- You Decide

  • I did a century both days.

    An Upper Limits staff member who was having a conversation with Patti and me after spotting Patti's MS T-shirt
  • Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Hard To Sit Out

    Googled " sore...should I...exercise." Surprised that I haven't settled on a definitive answer before now.

    My quads and glutes are still sore from boxing class on Monday. You would think that the yoga class that I went to immediately after boxing and the yoga class that I went to yesterday would have helped alleviate the soreness but it didn't.

    I took myself to BodyGo Row class and survived but when I saw Laurie write on the board, I groaned (inside) a little. Since I don't go to the regular CrossFit classes, I haven't been lifting weights and it takes me forever a minute or two or three... to get the coordination down.


  • Two minutes of rowing (damper at four)

  • 10 Deadlifts (40 lbs?)

  • Two minutes of rowing (damper at six)

  • 10 Hang Cleans (26 lbs, Laurie referred to these as Hand Cleans?)

  • Two minutes of rowing (damper at eight)

  • 10 Catch Presses

  • Two minutes of rowing (damper at ten)

  • 20 Swings

  • Rowing Drills

  • 8 Deadlifts
    8 Hang Cleans
    8 Catch Presses
    8 Swings

  • Ab Work

  • I didn't hit myself in the face with a kettlebell while doing catch presses so I'll count tonight as a success. Looking forward to reading while soaking in Epsom Salt. In all honesty, I don't think that I was completely amped to exercise and I was looking for an out when I Googled exercising while sore but it's hard for me to sit out...

    Postscript: Tried to do a pull-up but, apparently, the bar at the CrossFit box is much higher than the one at the playground.