Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How You Enter The Water or Month-End Review, April

There were only two Boy Scouts, Josh and Nick, at the pool tonight. I know their names because the BS leader has a booming voice or, as the woman in the lane next to me said, he is loud -- even when he is not pushing Josh to go, go, let go of the wall...come on, go go...or telling Nick to Spring your knees...keep your legs straight...this is how you enter the water, he is loud.

I volunteered to share a lane. I thought it was only fair since someone shared with me last week. We all watched as the little shortie who's been taking lessons bravely got on the diving board. He kept looking back and finally walked away. I was glad that his mother did not try to force him to dive.

As I left the pool, the lifeguard stopped me and reminded me that the pool will be closed, for almost two months, for renovations. I am so glad that the outdoor pools will open on Memorial Day. I still need to find a substitute pool for a brief period of time but...

I cross trained as usual this month but I stuck to yoga on Sundays and kettlebell on Wednesdays. Not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow since there's a group of folks making noise about climbing and I usually swing my kettlebell on Wednesdays. I know -- that's a first world problem if I've ever seen one.

10 Minute Solution: 5 Day Get Fit Mix

  • Cardio Kickboxing, 1 x

  • Bicycling, 2 x's

    Boxing, 5 x's

    Give Me 10!

  • Fat Blasting Cardio, 1 x

  • Kettlebell, 4 x's

    Rock Climbing, 2 x's

    Swimming, 7 x's

    Walking, 7 x's

    Yoga, 9 x's

    Encounter any exercise dilemmas in April or have any exercise-related epiphanies?

    Monday, April 29, 2013

    You Are Not Complaining

    There is a Cuban woman who works in my building. Because I did not take Spanish seriously in school, I am not fluent and she is not fluent in English but we manage to understand one other. Today, she placed a concoction next to me and all I understood was con leche.

    I've never had rice pudding but because of my Monday malaise, I downed it. About five minutes later a coworker, who didn't know about the pudding, told another one about my willpower. So much for that...

    Got to kickboxing class and didn't see my regular sparring partner. Bummer but when Dawn says Pair up, there's no time to dwell on anything; it's go time. I paired up with McGwire 25 who was already tired from a hike. I need to get back to hiking or basics -- whatever you want to call it.

    McGwire 25 had me cracking up. She told me that I could not hurt her. I do this (hold mitts) for brother all the time. He's the reason that I took Taekwondo. He used to stuff me into pillowcases but then he took Taekwondo too.

    At some point we hear You are not complaining. Many of us send out a silent message to the complainer to cease because we don't want Dawn to intensify the workout.

    McGwire 25 and I are near Ashley and Ashley has a black belt and it's such a pleasure to watch her spar. Love her stance and intensity.

    At the end of class, we learn another self-defense move -- what to do if someone has you trapped underneath them...

    I'm still thinking about how Saturday's climb was such an eye-opening experience for Gloria and me. During Sunday's yoga practice, Gloria talked about using your inner guidance system to know when to breathe and when to move whether it's during yoga, climbing or whatever.

    Later on, when we (and I use the word we loosely) barn-doored half moon pose, I had to tap into my inner guidance system.

    Saturday, April 27, 2013

    The Composed Climber

    It's been raining all day long in The Lou. All day. So, what do you do on a soggy day? You go climbing, of course.

    And guess who went along? Gloria. I was surprised when Gloria mentioned rock climbing to me because we hadn't talked about it but she knows about my blog and, therefore, the climbing.

    Gloria told me that she felt strong and wanted to try something new. Watching her climb made me realize that I need to rely more on yoga experience and techniques. Gloria is such a composed climber and totally did a great job climbing the walls for the first time despite not being crazy about heights. I give her extra credit for composure since everyone had to take a mandatory gym orientation because of yet another incident at the gym -- this time involving a broken back. Not sure what the solution is but I don't think the brief orientation is it...

    I haven't seen Jessica in ages and the first word that pops into my mind when I think of Jessica is sweet but that girl is also an excellent pusher. I didn't have any plans to do Bike MS but Jessica almost made me say yes and she definitely has me thinking about participating. Patti put on more pressure by saying that I could bunk with her and Crystal. We'll see...

    We had a sizable group of climbers -- David, Doug, Gloria, Jessica, Patti, Tim and me -- so it was only natural that merriness happened.

    Doug, Constantly in Motion & Constantly Smiling

    Gloria, With Good Technique, On Her Second Route

    Thursday, April 25, 2013

    We Live In A World That Has Mats

    At the end of a challenging kettlebell circuit and after wondering why someone would invent a kettlebell, I collapsed on the floor. Andrea is taking a power nap, Marisa said. But the nap did not work...

    After a week that starts with boxing, climbing (and/or swimming) and kettlebell, I'm ready to roll out my yoga mat on Thursday.

    As I got ready to exit on the appropriate ramp, I saw congestion and, as I got on the highway, I saw red lights plus police flashers. I took a detour along with many others and glanced at the clock. I was pretty sure that I would not make it from the city to the county in time but I tried anyway.

    After being caught at every possible light, I got back on the highway and knew that if there was a cop around, one of us speeders was going to be the recipient of a ticket. When I got to the exit for the yoga studio, there was a logjam there as well and, according to the clock, it was time for class to start. Since I don't like to enter classes late, I turned around, went to Target, all balled up at this point, and then headed home.

    For weeks, it's been Kafkaesque at work. I wanted that yoga class. I needed that yoga class* -- but you can't always have what you want.

    I grabbed my ear buds and iPod and walked about for a while then came home and put on a Tamal Dodge DVD. There are two yoga programs on this DVD -- one for energy and one for relaxation. Guess which one I chose...

    *Goofy play on lines from A Few Good Men.

    Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    The Nod

    After we climbed and headed to the locker room, Patty told me that she saw kettlebells on Woot-Off! and thought of me.

    I told her that was sweet that she thought of me. I also told her that I am looking for a twin for my 22 pounder.
    Patti: Let me get this straight. You're swinging 22 pounds with one hand and 22 with the other?
    Me: Yes, it's doable. It's not pretty and it doesn't feel all that great but...
    David tells me that Jessica wants to do a sprint triathlon but he's not feeling it. I ask him what he wants to do.  On his bucket list is running a marathon in Death Valley but in the winter. Mike chimes in and says he has a list -- it's not a fitness bucket list but it rhymes with bucket and that makes me laugh out loud.

    After climbing, I headed to the pool and when I got there, the noise was deafening -- the Boy Scouts have returned. I chided myself for not going home -- for frequently trying to seize the exercise moment. As I decided whether or not I should pay or go home, the Weight Watchers' woman nodded at me. I was touched by her willingness to share a lane.

    And, bonus, I am a different and better swimmer when I have to share. I got in 10 quick laps -- possible the quickest I've ever done and called it a night.

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    ...Pull Them Into Your Peace

    Even though I went to bed earlier than usual, I still was not able to separate myself from the bed in time to make it to Gloria's 9 a.m. class but, luckily, Gloria has two classes on Sunday and, while I waited for class two, I got a chance to spend quality time with my brother before he made his goodbye rounds.

    Gloria started off class with a quote then said when you feel peace, you can share it with others. That reminded me of a quote that I saw recently: don't let other people pull them into your storm; pull them into your peace...

    I was rolling up my pant leg when Gloria said You should feel heat in the body now. As we did high lunge with a twist and half moon pose, I thought about Jason Crandell, the Yoga Journal DVD instructor, who said you want to coax your body into a pose -- not force it.

    After bow pose, it was nice to hear Make a palm pillow and relax. My mind went to the pool and the little boy that started screaming when his grandparents said that they were coming over to his house. The screamer's mother, without fanfare, said Relax. Her instruction made me and her screaming son chill out.

    Friday, April 19, 2013


    Try not to over-think it, Jen said as we were in a sumo-like position dipping our shoulders left then right.

    Try telling that to a chronic over-thinker.

    Before we started practicing yoga, we meditated. Closing the eyes lets the body know that it's time to go inside...

    I instinctively close my eyes when I do self-chakra connections and it does make me feel internally calm.

    After yoga, I felt like I wanted to exercise more but, the previous day, I practiced kettlebell, walked and did yoga so it was time to let my body recuperate.

    I drew a bath, put in eucalyptus salt plus lavender bubbles, got deeper into Cheryl Strayed's Wild and emerged an hour later.

    I woke up before the alarm and, though horizontal, experienced equal standing.

    I got a surprise in the mail from Yoga Journal who is tempting me with a Netflix-like program and the offer is totally inviting but this offer finds me at a time when I'm trying to dig deep and unclutter but I definitely think Gingerzingi should have a DVD like this one.

    Latest Acquisition -- A Strap for One of My Mats 

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Unless It's A Turkish Bicycle

    I've started and stopped reading several books including Drinking Closer to Home, Those We Love Most and The First 20 Minutes... I finally decided that it was time to pick up Cheryl Strayed's Wild. As I read through Twitter lists, I saw that Strayed would be in town today. Only, it's kettlebell day. I thought about doing kettlebell on Saturday but it will be a weekend with lots of family activity and, therefore, not a good time for kettlebell.

    I decided not to see Strayed because I didn't want to contend with rushing to a limited seating event and I didn't want to sit anymore and I'm only 50 pages into Wild and what if...

    Got to kettlebell and discovered that Chip has recuperated from surgery. Marisa decided to give us simple moves to welcome Chip back -- if you want to call dive-bomber push-ups simple.

    As we went through our kettlebell cleans and presses, Marisa told Chip that swinging a kettlebell is just like riding a bicycle. Unless it's a Turkish bicycle Chip said. Marisa did have a little mercy and left Turkish Get-Ups out of the workout...

    As I snickered with Chip, Erin wanted to know what was going on, decided that I was teasing her and threatened to kick me. I told her that kicking whilst holding a plank would only intensify said plank. She kicked out at me anyway.

    Erin -- Snatching the Hell Out of a Kettlebell

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Back In The Day

    Lots of new faces at boxing class yesterday. I forgot that it was a new session and with new sessions come new faces except for one new woman who looked familiar. I was pretty sure that she stood next to me on an elliptical when I used to do the elliptical thing -- back when I took a Women on Weights class and swimming lessons at the Y.

    Do you remember me? she asked. I said Yes and she walked over with open arms. I do not remember her name but I do remember her jovialness and what she said when I told her about swimming lessons -- Oh, you're trying to work something out...

    At the end of class, we worked on a self-defense move -- what to do if someone has you in a headlock. I told Michelle that we might want to reintroduce ourselves after we practiced headlock-releasing maneuvers...

    Enjoyed my time at the pool tonight. The shortie that I thought was being traumatized has been enjoying his lessons. I had nature sounds to accompany me as I did laps since little man squawked like a parrot and otherwise voiced his pleasure at being in the water.

    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Yogis Are Not Into Comfort

    Gloria and I were chatting about climbing shoes when I brought up the Brandi story. Once, Brandi helped someone test out climbing shoes and the guy said that they weren't comfortable. Cool as a cucumber, Brandi said Rock climbers are not into comfort...

    We started yoga practice in child's pose to bring our chakras to the earth as Gloria said. It was kind of cool because I had just done a partial self-chakra connection. Little did I know, though, that I would long for the earth.

    We did lots of lunges, planks and hovering while in planks and I waited eagerly for Gloria to say Lower to the earth. I don't usually find downward facing dog restful but I did today and, let's just say, I thought more than once about yoga and discomfort and the quote that says The pose begins when you want to leave it.

    Through it all, I paid attention to my breathing and tried not to sacrifice the breath. I also tried to remember one of the most important asanas, a smile -- which I definitely did when Gloria got tickled in lizard pose. If you're not feeling it, she said, I have a "modification." She didn't say modification but it was something like upgrade or variation. At any rate, I felt lizard without the upgrade.

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    What Not To Sacrifice

    Experienced an uplifting yoga class with Jen last night.

    There were two total newbies and the one right next to me asked what the blankets were for and when she went to retrieve a few, her friend wanted to know what was up with the whole eye pillow thing.

    Blankets, I tell her, are used to raise the hips or to cover up during the final pose...and eye pillows, well, eye pillows are like the cherry on top of savasana.

    It was pretty funny when Jen said to another yogi. I don't practice yoga...One of the newbies' eyes got saucer-wide until Jen explained that she doesn't practice while teaching.

    On the flip side, the woman to my left said that she's been practicing yoga for 30 years. I totally wanted to get her story but class was about to start.

    Early in the game, Jen told us never to sacrifice the breath. Sounds wise to me...

    In other news, the unclutter games continue. I turned over an envelope to find parts of two poems. Both still move me but especially the Kunitz one:

    Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation
    Since that first morning when I crawled
    into the world, a naked grubby thing,
    and found the world unkind,
    my dearest faith has been that this
    is but a trial: I shall be changed...

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    The 30/60/90 Situation

    Kettlebell is intense and I know that but I'm still surprised, at times, by the stuff that Marisa comes up with.

    I glanced at her chalk board and the first thing that popped out was 25 in front of burpees.

    Before the burpees, it was a 30/60/90 situation.

    30 seconds of one-hand swings, (left, right)
    30 secs of snatches (cleans for me; l & r)
    30 secs of cleans and presses (l & r)

    60 seconds of swings, cleans and presses...

    We all reached a consensus (or maybe our forearms did) and skipped the 90 second portion of the program and moved on to swings and cleans then cleans and squats.

    I made it through the first round of plank rows (from a chair) and the first round of 60 jumping jacks but I modified during the second round and did rows minus the plank and chair and I didn't make it to 60 on the second round of jumping jacks since I was trying to keep up with my fellow kettlebellers who do rows and jumping jacks as if they are jackrabbits.

    My body quivered, as usual, during the minute forearm plank and we finished off the abs with some stretch-your-whole-body-out-sit-up-grab-your-knees situation.

    I also modified on the burpees but no modification on the two rounds of squat-curl-press-triceps-extension -- my all time favorite kettlebell maneuver.

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    The Yoga Spiel

    Went to Trader Joe's and the clerk asked if I had done anything enjoyable this weekend.

    I rode my bike and did yoga this morning, I responded.

    Yooooooga, he said. I've been meaning to try that...He went on to ask a few questions including how I felt after practicing. I told him that I know it sounds like a clichĂ© but yoga has made me a better person. Things that used to bother me just roll off my shoulders and I no longer pound my fists into the steering wheel...

    Yesterday, I had two dates. I could not find either address on my GPS and had to run back in the house to get directions but didn't think to check the second location. I don't have a cell phone but remembered that Target has wifi, used my text-free situation and asked Katie, my second date, for directions as I simultaneously realized that I could use Google Maps. Went to customer service, asked for a pen and hoped that the sun would stay with me for a while.

    The Sun -- Right Before I Found Katie

    Where Katie stays reminds me of where one of my great, great aunts used to stay in Arkansas-- down a red dirt road with no signage. Before, I would have fretted that I was going in the wrong direction but Katie had told me that it was about a mile off the road so I stayed the course and was thrilled when she popped out of the house because I still wasn't sure that I was in the right place...

    During my first date with Cindy, we talked about hot yoga which I do miss a bit but I also know that heat can be created without a thermostat...

    At the end of savasana today, Gloria told us to feel the calm within and I felt the calm the same way that I felt the heat and the sweat rolling down my face when she guided us through sun salutations.

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Notify Your Face

    Try not to show discomfort on your face. That's totally something that yoga teachers say and something that Jen said yesterday during I'm not sure which pose.

    Bridget from my hot yoga days loved to say that the face is soft.

    If your face is not soft, you're holding your breath and, if you're holding your breath, you're not doing yoga. Got it...

    I've been uncluttering which shares a weight loss core value: it didn't happen overnight.

    I've been letting go of books that I thought I would never get rid of and, as I've been deciding what to donate, I've been skimming books including books of quotes that were given to me as gifts.

    After yoga, I felt particularly drawn to this quote:
    When you feel terrific, notify your face. *
    Yoga, in general, and Jen, specifically, made me think of this next quote since she put an eye pillow in place for me after I ended up at the opposite end of the pillow and didn't realize that it was time for savasana since time had gotten away from me...

    Take the gentle path. -George Herbert **
    For now, I am not putting Life's Little Instruction Book or Simple Wisdom in the donation pile. Uncluttering, after all, doesn't happen overnight.

    *Life's Little Instruction Book
    **Simple Wisdom

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Saving The Underhands For Last

    If looks could kill, that ability would be Princess Tiffany 's superpower.

    As we entered the workout area, I asked Tiffany how she was doing. I don't feel like working out she said and the look on her face matched what she told me.

    I speculated that once Tiffany was five minutes into the workout, she'd probably be okay and Marisa said that she had a client earlier who felt the same way then really got into the workout.

    Whether Tiffany feels like working out or not, she usually makes it through all maneuvers like an ultra-exerciser...

    We started off by killing the legs with squats (several varieties) and lunges. You know that you are in trouble when you feel a burn in your glutes 40 seconds into your workout.

    After the legs, we worked on abs then we picked up our kettlebells.

    40 two-hand swings
    20 cleans (right, left)
    20 squats (r, l)
    20 tactical presses (r, l)
    25 snatches (r, l -- modification of cleans and presses for me)
    40 two-hand swings

    We did more ab work including planks which I'm getting better at holding for a minute even though my whole body quivered.

    After planks, we worked on pull-ups. I usually do pull-ups on the TRX and I did that for awhile then joined Princess Tiffany in working on assisted pull-ups. We tried overhand and underhand pull-ups and the Princess made me laugh when she said I like to save my underhands for last.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Just In Case

    Memorable Lanes
    The YMCA that I go to for boxing classes has two locations. The old building is now referred to as the historic YMCA and martial arts classes are housed there.

    When it was not historic, I took swimming lessons so I couldn't resist taking a look at the pool on the way to boxing class....

    Yesterday, I had lots of fun and got an amazing workout. My favorite sequence of the night: roundhouse kick...roundhouse (right leg)...roundhouse (other leg)...jab...jab...cross...

    We practiced self-defense moves at the end of class and worked on what to do if someone is choking you or throwing a punch. Even though we were practicing, it was totally unnerving to have someone's hands around my throat but totally empowering to have maneuvers in my repertoire just in case...

    As I left class, my sparring partner told me how much she enjoys boxing. It's the only exercise that I don't dread, she said.