Tag Archives: fitness

Back on my mat, where I belong. And where I cry, apparently.

I’ve been hesitant to find a new yoga studio in my new town/area because I have practiced in the same studio for the past 10 years, and I love it. I’ve also practiced in a few other studios and was never fully comfortable. I was OK with the other studios/classes, but they had a very different feel — different order of things, poses that didn’t flow together, a different vibe. They’ve been good studios/classes, but they weren’t MINE. They didn’t feel like the place that I knew.

I loved my yoga studio so much that I wanted to do their teacher training (in terms of money and schedule, this fall is not the time for me to start my yoga teacher training, but I know I want to do my eventual teacher training with them). O2 is still the place for me.

So today I looked around for local studios and found one that had classes today. I looked up the instructor. She had done her teacher training with my old yoga studio! And so had half of the other teachers.

I went to the 4:30 Vinyasa class. I haven’t practiced in a few months. I’ve been holding so much in for the past year and a half, which I am JUST starting to realize.

Even before the instructor arrived, when I was already on my mat, I felt at home. Like I was unquestionably in the right place.

And then Saundra walked in, and the class was more than a little different that my old studio, in some ways, but it was so, so familiar and something broke open in me and I started to cry. I tried to focus on my breathing while tears flowed and my nose ran, and it was a pretty massive emotional release. This went on for a while, me crying while moving through the various poses, occasionally grabbing my towel to wipe my face or blow my nose.

I couldn’t stop it, and I felt no need to hide it.

I kept on breathing and listening and flowing, and the emotions eventually subsided. It really felt like something had been unlocked. Something I had no control over. Like I have locked up so much over the past year and here on my mat I could finally let it out.

Let it out I did. It didn’t hurt. It just felt like stuff needed to get out from behind the wall it had been trapped behind, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Do you know that feeling? When all the stuff you’ve been holding back everywhere, including to yourself, to keep things in control, just bursts out from behind the dam, and there’s nothing you can do? And you don’t feel sad or anything but just relieved for the release and a little surprised and start to recognize how much you haven’t actually acknowledged or processed?

Oh. Sorry. Let’s get back to me on my mat. Sometimes people crying makes other people uncomfortable, even if the crying person is OK with the in-public crying and glad for the release. Let’s normalize public crying.

And let’s reach out to each other more.

* * * * *

So, weirdly, in a connected story — I’ve had back/hip problems lately, including both of my SI joints locking up so tightly and weirdly that I was crooked and my left ilium was slightly sticking out the wrong way.

Yeah. In case you wonder why I haven’t been running.

So I went to see my beloved chiropractor of the past nine years, and she tried to release my SI joints, and I totally burst into tears, surprising both of us.

It didn’t hurt. Nope. Her thought is that I hold all my stress and pain in my hips. I know that sounds hokey. But. Any time I’ve done any kind of hip release (ask me about the Yin Yoga class I did at Kripalu), I’ve had a release. It’s not hokey: Google “hip release emotion” and you’ll find many such articles like this one. Seriously, like Shakira, my hips don’t lie.

Oh and also my chiro couldn’t unlock it that first time. I had a lot going on, emotionally.

* * * *

Then I was smiling and feeling good in tonight’s class, ferociously sure, more than I’ve ever been sure of anything, that being on my mat is exactly where I need to be right now. This is the space I need more than ever. And yoga teacher training is for sure in my future, when I have the money and the schedule works out.

And until then, spending as much time on my mat as possible with this yoga community is exactly what I need. And in this space I can grow and stretch and cry and release and be safe.

Near the end of class I had another crying jag, this one not lasting as long (but seriously, if you’re going to play “Hallelujah” you have to expect some tears from someone). By the end of class, I was fully calm and peaceful and feeling more like myself than I have in so long. More in touch. More able to let go. I’ve kept up a public front for the last long while, on absolutely every front, and it had ended up extending to me — like I haven’t been honest or in touch with myself for too long.

When I thanked the instructor as I was leaving the yoga studio, she asked my name. Another instructor at the studio, who’d been in the class also, was next to her.

I introduced myself. Then I added, “I just moved to the area. I used to practice at O2.”

They both visibly reacted. “Get out of here!” Saundra exclaimed. “That’s where I did my training!”

“Yeah, that’s why I’m here,” I said. “I looked you up. And knew this was where I wanted to be.”

They both smiled at me.

“I moved here in August, but I wanted to connect to the right studio. I’ve found it.”

They took this in.

“Welcome,” Saundra said. The other instructor grinned, and I can’t wait to work with her, too.

I’ve found my new yoga studio. I feel calm just envisioning it. I’m going again tomorrow.

This is part of how I’m rebuilding me.

Back on the (Running) Horse

I’ve become a total slacker, not running, barely going to yoga or weekly (just weekly!!) boot camp. Except for the magical Loon race, I really haven’t been running.

It’s a mix of being unmotivated, lazy, and rather taken over by the apartment hunt (nothing yet). Plus, the heat! I am personally responsible, however, for ending our heat wave in the Northeast, and you’re welcome. How did I do it? I singlehandedly lugged home a borrowed air conditioner, hauled it in, and installed it in the kids’ room, all on my own, without crushing my feet, cutting a finger, or dropping it out the window. I am a total rockstar. And that feat literally broke the heat wave, overnight.

I clearly have superpowers.

But anyway. I can’t run in the heat. Not like I’m a wimp, but I had a heatstrokey experience a few years ago (heat exhaustion, heat-related illness, what have you, I don’t know the proper term — let me just say it was Rather Bad), and since then I tolerate heat/humidity even less well than I did before, and so a recent afternoon running-in-the-heat attempt turned into a mere two-miler that left me beet red, dry-skinned, superhot, and feeling chilled. Yeah. I don’t sweat well. So. I officially give up trying to work out when it’s hot and humid.

While I’d made my peace with becoming one with my chair/sofa, I also know that I need goals. And my planned September 50-miler can’t happen, because I haven’t been running. Time to get off my ass and do something about this before I melt into a sad puddle of endorphin-less squish.

Oh, I love the endorphins.

Plus, with so many things in my life up in the air right now, I need something regular to count on and to do for myself that’s positive. Also, I “met” this woman while training for my ultra last December (we only met online, ran the race near each other [me somewhere behind her], and still haven’t met in person), and she’s very inspiring. She’s been training hard, recently won a 50K, and posts all her training online. I love following it (she’s also a vegan and posts pics of her meals — also inspiring). And it has inspired me to get off my ass and get back out there.

So I finally downloaded a marathon training plan, pinned it to my wall, and am sticking to it. I downloaded some new tunes to my iPod (a healthy mix of Sia and Highly Suspect, if you must know) and knocked out five miles today. Alone. Happily, even. With some box jumps on a big rock near the end of the run.

Race plan:

  • July: Mudderella (5-mile mud/obstacle race, pure fun)
  • September: Trail half marathon, followed two weeks later by a road half marathon
  • December: Trail ultra (yes, will use the marathon plan to get my mileage up and then build up from there)

 

It's just an intermediate training plan, but i's a good way to get my mileage back up.

It’s just an intermediate training plan, but i’s a good way to get my mileage back up.

Seriously, the new songs helped a lot. I haven’t updated my playlist in four years. Ugh. No wonder I don’t want to run!

And the half marathons on the training plan sync perfectly with a local half on a weekend I don’t have the kids (win-win!). However, I’m not sure how I will manage my weekend runs when they’re here. Make them bike alongside? For 14 or 20 miles?? Remains to be seen. I might have some 4 a.m. weekday runs in my future. We’ll see. I will definitely have to tweak the training based on when I have the kids, but I’ll get it all done and mark it all off as I go.

Plus, right above this training plan on the corkboard is this delightful drawing by Ben, which I love so much:

img_8643.jpg

 

I think he was four when he drew it, and while it looks as though Max might be about to take a swig, if I recall correctly he’s poised to throw something at Ben, according to the artist — who might be holding a self-defense rock in the drawing, come to think of it. Sweet, sweet children (no, seriously, they are — JUST THIS WEEK they started playing board games together, checkers mostly, and this morning Max was teaching Ben to play chess! You have no idea how much pure joy this brings me).

What are you training for? Who or what inspires you? How do you get off your butt when you’re becoming one with your chair?

Fitness at Home: Work Out in Your Living Room

I care about fitness. I care about having a functional, strong, healthy body. Also, I need to move and be active and challenge myself. And running for hours or doing a hard workout or spending 60 or 75 minutes doing yoga is fun for me. I’m really connected to my body, and often I stay centered through fitness. And, yes, the endorphins sure help a lot!

When the Kids Are at Their Dad’s

On my days without the kids, I go to the gym before work or go for a run or do a boot camp-style workout with a friend. Or, okay, sometimes I wake up early and then just lie in bed reading The New York Times on my phone. That’s nice, too. If it’s a weekend, I’ll meet my trail group for a run in the woods or go to yoga. Or, you know, lie in bed reading on my phone.

Single-Parenting Workouts

When the kids are here, however, I obviously can’t go for a run, and by the time I drop them off at school and get downtown there’s no time to get to the gym. My boot camp friend could come over and work out with me in my yard at dawn, but sometimes one (or both) of the kids gets up  and climbs into bed with me at quarter past it’s-anyone’s-guess. And I fear that if I’m not in the apartment but instead out in the yard, the child would search everywhere for me but not think to look in the yard (because when you’re half-asleep and needing Mommy, why would you check the backyard, especially if it’s barely light out??).

I’m just now getting to the point where 1) my hip is recovered enough that I’m ready to return to regular workouts and 2) I’m finally ready to get up early and work out on the days the kids are here. I’m tired lately, people. And that’s OK. Lying in bed reading before the day starts is a luxury.

Wednesday

This week, there was one day I got up early, ready to rock, except there was nothing to rock. I couldn’t leave the apartment. And I’m terrible about working out on my own. I know what to do. I could easily do an hour or more of yoga or circuit training or a boot camp-style workout or whatever. But alone — unless it’s running (and even then I like company!) — I’m not terribly motivated.

There. I’ve said it. I’m a very unmotivated fitness freak. I’m an introverted extrovert athlete. I’m a hermit until it comes to working out, which I can do for hours on end as long as I’m with other people.

Whatever.

I realized it was early and I should make good use of the time before the kids got up. Full disclosure: Ben had climbed into bed with me at 4:30 a.m., waking me at exactly the point in my sleep cycle at which I cannot go back to sleep, and then his small body somehow took up most of my bed. I had somehow nearly dozed off again when he started laughing in his dreams. I love that sound. Max used to laugh in his sleep all the time (maybe he still does). To hear Ben laugh in his sleep was delightful, if not terribly restful. It was, by then, nearly 5 a.m., and I gave up.

Scones

Anyway, there was a scones recipe I’d been wanting to try (more on that later).

Scones in the oven, I still had an hour before the kids would get up I had to get the kids up for school. I was so antsy to move.

chocolate chip scones with whole wheat flour; sort of a fitness treat?

Not necessarily your typical fitness treat, but they’re really good whole wheat chocolate chip scones.

Fitness Online

I’d retained enough of what I’d seen C and the kids do with the TV that I knew there was some kind of yoga or fitness channel somewhere. Long story short (wow, I’m getting more and more like my father every year — love you, Dad!), I found it is possible — very possible — to get in a good workout in your living room even if you’re an unmotivated/socially-motivated fitness slug like me.

I found my workouts on the Gaia channel (don’t ask me, maybe it’s a ROKU thing? I don’t really know how to work our TV except to use that device).

First workout: Kate Kendall, Flow Barre: Spicy Buns, 19:27. Kate Kendall is a lovely person who does these yoga/barre workout videos. You usually need a mat and a chair, and she’s filmed in some lovely location (a garden in Thailand? I have no idea). She’s approachable, friendly, knows when it burns, and will get you to the burn point in this nearly 20-minute workout before you’ve quite realized you’re going there. Go, Kate. She has a few other videos on the Gaia channel; I’ve done one other before “Spicy Buns” which is, as its name implies, a hip/glute workout.

Second workout: Rebekah Sturkie, The FIRM: Get Chisel’d: Kick It Into Gear, 14:29. Rebekah Sturkie is all business as she took me through a cardio/kickboxing routine. Mostly I could keep up (I’m terrible with learning new steps). She kept it simple, named the steps, and warned in ample time if a new step was coming up. She was relatively easy to follow, and the sequence got progressively more active (side kicks, knee-up, punches, front kicks). It definitely got my heart rate up and a sweat going. I would love an hour of that workout, but the almost 15 minutes was all the time I had left before I had to jump into the shower and then wake the kids. It was a really good and efficient workout, considering it was only 15 minutes.

So there you go. There are plenty of online/TV resources if you’re stuck at home and want to work out. I know Rebekah Sturkie is on YouTube if you don’t have Gaia.

And dangit, now I have no excuses, right? These people are just so personable that working out alone doesn’t feel so…alone.

Three cheers for learning how to use the remotes!

[This is not any kind of promotional post. I’m just trying to share what I found one morning when I wanted to work out at home. I’m sure there’s lots more out there, and I’ll share it as I come across it. Enjoy!]