Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anyhoo or Month-End Review, July

Went to outdoor yoga class and no teacher. She might have canceled on Facebook but since I don't have an account, I wouldn't know. This woman named Gabrielle led us and, after practice, I asked her if she was in teacher training or a teacher and she said no.

Gabrielle seemed to know a lot even though she did crack me up when she said that if we needed rest, we could go into baby's pose. What's that pose called? she asked.

Left the park and headed to Zumba where I expected Shawny but, no, there was Barbara, the second sub in three weeks.

This woman asked me if I attended Zumba on a regular basis. She wanted to know if learning the steps gets any easier. Told her that since I'd been going to Shawny's class, there were a few songs that Shawny liked and because of repetition, I knew what to expect. To my surprise, she asked me again -- Does it get any easier? She went on to explain that there was a woman in her class that seemed to know every single step and, actually, there's a woman in my class who has similar skills.

Barbara did do a lot of teaching which still didn't help me to make my way through the Mariah Carey Slide. Didn't even know that such a slide existed...

Went out to lunch with my colleague and our intern who had filled in the understaffed gap. I was happy when the intern said that she wanted to go to Lulu's -- my new favorite restaurant. I ordered the Chipotle Black Bean bowl even though I was very tempted to get my usual -- the Buddha Bowl.

My colleague offered me tater tots but I declined even though Lulu assured us that they were prepared in the best way possible and fried in peanut oil. I just didn't need to go to Tater Tot Land. Two things that I don't miss or long for include fried foods and soda and I don't want to tamper with that.

Our former intern is from China. I'm going to miss our talks about water elements. I also like how she turned into a storyteller when informing us about Chinese Valentine's Day.

On another note, I'm dragging. Had I know that Sheila wasn't going to be at the helm, I would have skipped yoga and decompressed a bit but anyhoo...

How I moved in July:

10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones!
*10 Minute Stretch

Bicycling, 4 x's

Climbing, 3 x's

Just Walk: 5 Mega Miles
*Mile 5: Ab Walk, 1 x

Just Walk: Walk to the Hits, Party Songs
*Mile 1, 3 x's

Kettlebell, 4 x's

*Kenpo X, 1 x

Stretch Max
*Stability Ball, 1 x

Swimming, 6 x's

Sleek Sculpt Express, 1 x

Walking, 12 x's

Yoga, 11 x's

Zumba, 5 x's

Zumba Fitness: Complete Total-Body Transformation System, 5 x's

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Big Pose

I know enough about yoga now to know that Gloria was working up to a big pose. We did a lot of hip openers but I got the reminder that I needed mid-class as we worked on stretching our hamstrings: no shaking, no shivering, no struggling. And the big pose? Bird of paradise...

Alison and I headed to the Riverfront after practicing. Strange weather that we're having -- San Diego-like breeze but lots of humidity.

At first I wondered what was wrong with my bike. It felt like it was barely moving. Wondered if the bike shop person had adjusted my brakes so much that they were preventing the wheels from moving freely. Also wondered if my tires were properly inflated.

There was nothing wrong with my bike. I was struggling and so was Alison. We did about 8.5 miles and called it a day...

I've had my eye on the graffiti below for some time. For some reason, I've dubbed it Michael Jackson. I've also had my eye on the flowers which have an interesting make-up and finally decided to start blooming.

Kayakers caught my attention as well. Didn't even know that people were allowed to kayak among the barges.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Long Enough

Because of yummy weather yesterday, I felt compelled to go to an outdoor yoga class.

There ended up being a sub who's into Qigong and we did this exercise that I've done before but wouldn't think to do on my own. We started by extending our right arms. With an open palm, we patted the inside of our arms then the outside and we moved on from there and ended up with the sacrum.

Before we got to the Qigong part, we stayed on our backs long enough for me to get enchanted by the blue of the sky, the arteries of the trees and the birds flying by.

After yoga I scampered off to Zumba -- kind of a backwards way to do things but that's the way the classes fell.

Slept beautifully and feel like it was the yoga with a side of Qigong that was instrumental or maybe it was everything.

Need to find a shorter version of this exercise...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Melissa Episode

According to my Fitbit progress report, Sunday was my most active day.

I remember Sunday well. It was the day that I finished watching the Melissa episode of Extreme Weight Loss.

When Heidi goes to Melissa's house to tell her that she has been chosen, Heidi witnesses Melissa driving a lawnmower, a short distance, to retrieve mail.

Melissa goes from riding a lawnmower to executing all manner of physical feats. I was inspired by Melissa's realization: I should have been living my life this way the entire time. I also had equipment envy. The contestants get to play with such cool toys.

Inspired by Extreme Weight Loss, I practiced yoga, walked, swung (kettlebell) and danced. Took time to stretch as well but...

I don't think that my hamstrings have ever been as bunched up and tight as they were the last two days. I suspect that it was a combination of cycling, deadlifts and squat/curls.

Did downward facing dog (in various places), stretched more, took an Epsom salt bath and, finally, relief -- how sweet it is...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Further Down The Road

The New One
As I made my pre-bicycling smoothie, started singing How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? out of nowhere and it stuck in my head for quite a while. My heart didn't feel broken but maybe it broke sometime in the middle of what felt like a rather long week...

A bunch of parks and recreation folks reminded me of a chain gang and I started singing a very off-key version of Chain of Fools. Also sang Home on the Range and Happy. Poor Alison had to listen to me sing.

Alison and I decided to tackle the entire Riverfront Trail since we both felt really good. After bicycling on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, I'll round it up to a nice even tally of 22 miles...

Finally tackled something on my to-do list. It dawned on me that I have a man's bike with a seat made for, surprise, a man. The bike felt right and still feels right except for the seat (past tense).

Could have saved myself money if I had purchased a woman's bike but you know what they say about hindsight.

Picked up my bike at lunch yesterday, headed to the shop after work and consulted with a tech. My favorite part of this visit was the tech's rather involved explanation of why my brakes are making noise. At any rate, my ride was much more comfortable today but the real test will be my assessment of the situation tomorrow and, further down the road, the challenge of back-to-back rides.

Reward for Going Uphill

Cakeway to the West, Happy 250 STL
Bicycling on  Chain of Rocks Bridge
Arch's Reflection

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Process

Had planned to go to Bhakti yoga again but when Kelly told me that she wouldn't be able to attend, I decided not to go. Didn't have the nerve to go without her.

Also missed Alison's company at Zumba but I've been going to Zumba long enough to have the comfort of familiar faces.

Stomping was on the Zumba program and I really enjoyed it. Made me remember the step classes that I used to go to... I was a bit out of my comfort zone since Alisha subbed for Shawny which meant the songs and routines were mostly new to me but who needs a comfort zone?...

Got to visit an office with plenty of windows. Plus, the ceilings were high and the walls were painted white with the exception of a huge circular area in the ceiling painted a lovely shade of blue. Everything was amazing including the break room and deck area. I totally envisioned myself in one of the longue chairs on the deck...

View from 16th Floor
Practiced yoga outdoors yesterday and got my butt-kicked from the very beginning since Kim started off with planks. About 15 minutes in, I got with the program but, initially, had doubts about surviving. Savasana was incredible. Kim told us that she would walk us through the process of relaxing and she delivered.

Wait, wait...let me get this picture.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nowhere To...

As I wrapped up my 10th lap and I was about to switch from the front crawl to the backstroke, I saw shadows then sensed someone getting closer to me.
Can we get in your lane? We don't have anywhere else to go.
The way the woman phrased the sentence made me think about a teaser on the local news about marijuana refugees.

The two got into my lane and we gave each other plenty of space. As usual, having someone else in the lane made me swim more efficiently. Around lap 20, another lane opened up. The woman who had been swimming with me exited and said Thanks for letting us get in your lane. I wish that I owned it! Even if I did own it, I'd still share...

Felt like my body was just warming up at the 20 lap mark and there was a part of me that wanted to swim longer but I wanted to shower then stop by Target. Also ended up going to another store and I'm so wired right now...

Got my weekly progress report from Fitbit:

Most Active Day: Saturday
Least Active Day: Friday

That report is not surprising since I tend to go all out on Saturday even when I'm not bicycling and Friday is my rest day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

There Are Hurdles

Would did you do to my brother? my aunt Girt asked as soon as I took a seat last Sunday.

Knew that my uncle had struggled at the end of the bike ride last Saturday but he'd also told me that he had been riding around in his neighborhood etc.

Also, when I ride with others, I try to make sure that I stop for breaks. Actually, when I'm by myself I like to stop too. At any rate, I don't want to be the reason that someone gets discouraged and doesn't try an activity again...

Dred and Harriet Scott Statue, Old Courthouse

Set out on my own this morning and didn't know if I wanted to tackle the whole trail or do part of the ride. Since I didn't have anything pressing standing in my way, I headed toward the end of the trail.

About 15 miles into the ride, I struggled to get close to the Arch again. Even though I'd been drinking water and had an orange, I know why those wise bicyclists have two water cages. Got home and slammed down four glasses of water. Checked my email and had a new Fitbit badge. Supposedly, I've climbed as high as a hot air balloon travels (2,000 floors) since I've had the Fitbit.

It's nice to have an electronic cheerleader and validation for knocking out those hills on the Riverfront Trail. There are hurdles in the form of a wicked incline that you have to get up before crossing over and getting to the end of the trail at the Chain of Rocks Bridge and, hello, you get to immediately climb back up an incline once you decide to stop looking at the Mississippi River and head back downtown.

SLPD Representing...
Geese Representing...
No matter which gear I had to change into, I was determined not to walk my bike up a single hill  -- my second challenge of the day. Mile tally: 21.6...

Selfie For The Shy Person

Heat, 1; 'Drea, 0 
Listened to several podcasts and almost fell off my bike when I heard a StoryCorps episode about the Monson Motor Lodge incident that happened in St. Augustine, Fl. Several demonstrators jumped into the segregated pool and the manager poured acid in. I believe it was J. T. Johnson who said that he wasn't worried about the amount of acid and he also knew that they would be removed from the pool fairly soon.

It's hard for me to listen to We Shall Overcome and I'm pretty sure that I turned the sound down when Congress marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by singing that song but hearing the story of the Monson Motor Lodge made me think about how I so freely jump into any pool that I want...

On another note, the 'Fugee and I watched The Lunchbox last night. In her words, it's a lovely movie.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Not A Peep

Felt holiday-ish deep into Sunday but still gave myself a pep talk.
Stop living for the weekend. Don't put so much stock in Friday.
It's okay. You're okay. Etc. Etc.
When I checked the Outdoor Yoga St. Louis Facebook page, they were covering the same topic:  Monday is only a day; you decide what it means.

I've been trying to curtail and streamline activities so I haven't been going to Monday night yoga but Alison emailed me to say that she was back home and craving yoga after sitting in a car for an extended period of time.

Hadn't seen Alison since last Wednesday when I spotted her car on a parking lot and knew that she was either at Target or Trader Joe's so I kept my eyes on the TV to access the various thunderstorm warnings and decided to go to Donna's class. I had a feeling that since I hadn't been in ages, there'd be a substitute.

Got to the gym and saw Pam in an ocean blue ensemble on a stationary bike reading Gentle Yoga. I'm subbing for Donna she said.

Pam usually has themes to her class and last night's was shoulders and arms or shoulders and neck or shoulders and something. Can't remember but bananasana et al. was just what I needed. Prior to last night's class, my IT Band showed me who was the boss but I haven't felt a peep out of it since yesterday.

After class Alison gave me a gift from her garden and, as I drove home, I thought about an episode of This American Life, I Was So High...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Hills As Floors

My uncle, Donnell, wanted to go bicycling with me. So, we went.

He got his snazzy (used) 24 speed bike from a commissary. We met at the Riverfront Trail at 10 and hopped on our bikes soon thereafter.

We did 15 miles and Donnell declared That's enough. My uncle did not bring water saying that he hardly ever drinks it but after about seven miles, he took me up on my offer to drink some of my water...

Wildflowers Around Mile 6.5

Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing
My Unc at the Visitor's Center, Freedom Crossing

Visitor's Center
Thanks to Alison, who decided to get a Fitbit Flex, I have a new toy. Life with Fitbit One has been interesting. It does not recognize bicycling but it does realize that you are in motion. When I got home, I had a congratulatory emailing saying that I had climbed 25 floors. Obviously, the altimeter registered the hills as floors but not sure how it came up with 25 -- guess it included subtle hills and not just the ones I had to adjust gears on.

The pedometer and calorie burning feature seem pretty off but I still like the device because it makes me feel even more accountable -- especially at work. For someone who exercises so much, I forget to move around when I get behind my desk. You would think that someone had put some Super Glue on my chair but, now, I'm super aware of how much I sit and don't want to see the Fitbit at the same number so I get up and walk around more.

On Thursday, Went to yoga and Zumba and my count was about 11,000 steps. Don't think so... The most crucial thing for me to do is log food but I haven't used that feature and I'm not looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Life Gets On You

Tower Grove Park
Thank you for hounding keeping me informed about yoga. That's what Kelly, one of my colleagues/slash friends, told me recently. Kelly's been feeling out of sorts and has been looking to get back into yoga. Typically, when you ask Kelly What's up or How are you doing?, her response is Lovin' life.  So, hoping to see Kelly get her groove back soon.

A Bhakti class looked good to Kelly and she asked me if I was interested in going. Negative, I said. Saw the posting (on Outdoor Yoga Facebook page) but don't think it's for me. However, I did tell Kelly that I would try it once since I'm trying to be open-minded and everything.

So, I went to Bhakti yoga a.k.a. the yoga of devotion and I like the teacher, Shiela. She's genuine and genuinely into Bhakti yoga and I admire someone who believes in something and goes after it wholeheartedly.

Shiela started off class by asking us to introduce ourselves and she also wanted to know why we practice yoga.

I said To be kinder. More patient. More relaxed. To be a better person.

And she said, Yeah, because sometimes life gets on you. Yes it does, Shiela, like an episode of CSI...

We did breathwork and, in fact, Shiela told us not to work so hard at a pose that we held our breath because when you hold your breath, energy gets stuck.

I liked a lot of what Shiela had to say including one of her main points about living with a lighter heart. I was able to really breathe unconstricted at several points during the practice. When stressed, I tend to hold my breath. Definitely not trying to be Houdini but that's what happens.

During savasana, Shiela played the flute which was all kinds of cool...Even cooler, I was in a really good place after namaste.

Possibly even cooler was looking out during triangle pose and seeing two young girls about a 100 feet away following our moves.

Changing of The Shoes
Drove through the park and headed to Zumba which was a mere seven minutes away. It was a small group but we were fully present if you know what I mean...