Race for Smiles Recap

Yesterday was my first competitive running experience in… well, almost half my life.

MY RUNNING HISTORY IN FOUR SENTENCES:
In high school, I ran track until I got mono (January of my sophomore year of high school) and the doctor encouraged me to lay off the running until I was fully recovered.  I ran some my junior and senior years, but not competitively and pretty much only when my mom made me.  In college, I ran sporadically, but only when I felt like it and certainly never competitively.  I started running consistently again in 2007, but I didn’t really get the urge to register for any sort of race until this summer, after I was diagnosed and realized that I won’t have the ability to race forever.

YESTERDAY’S RACE RECAP:
Yesterday I ran the Race for Smiles 5k.  Prior to the race, I set some goals for my running, made an awesome race playlist, and got a great night’s sleep (8 hours!).

Then I woke up to discover that it was 40 DEGREES outside.  I know my friends from New England will laugh at me, but in weather that cold, I usually opt for the treadmill.  I’ve been doing some outdoor running lately, but it hasn’t been that cold out, so I had to adjust my expectations.

I went from a goal of 30:00 to a goal of just finishing the thing without freezing.

I’d been planning to wear my favorite running clothes on Saturday (running crops and a short-sleeved shirt), but with the temperature where it was, I needed to throw something over it to keep warm… so I just tossed on a hoodie and hoped I’d be warm enough.

I showed up to the race about 15 minutes early and found that there were a lot of twiggy little women, buff men, and super athletic children in their expensive running gear ready to take on the course.  I’m very proud of the weight I’ve lost, so please don’t think I’m calling myself fat, but at a size 10 I was easily one of the largest women there.  Definitely the largest woman in my age group.  From that point, I adjusted my expectations to NOT finishing last.

They organized us onto the road and explained the course.  It involved multiple U-turns, two big hills, and, just prior to the first mile marker, crossing a MAJOR road.  They said everything would be clearly marked (and, for the most part, it was).

When the race started, I did exactly what I’d been telling myself not to do, which is that I got caught up with the “fast” group and started out way too fast.  It didn’t really hit me until I got to the intersection at the major road, where the police were NOT doing a good job stopping traffic for us.  We had to jog in place at the intersection for over a minute before they finally stopped traffic and let us cross!  Waiting at that intersection made me realize how exhausted I was (which was terrible, since we hadn’t even reached the first mile marker yet).

After we crossed the road, I let myself split back from the fastest group, since I knew there was no way I could keep pace with them if I wanted to actually finish the race.  I fell into a small group of other “in-between” runners who had slowed together, and we pretty much did the rest of the race in that group.

When they handed me my timecard at the finish line, I was pretty surprised that I was 42nd overall (it seemed like there were a lot more people in front of me once the groups split).  I don’t know how many people were racing, but the highest bib number I saw anyone wearing was 133, so there were at least that many people (which puts me in the top third).

I decided to wait around for the awards because my super-fast 11 year old next door neighbor had placed 10th overall and I wanted to support him.  Imagine my surprise when I was announced as the winner of the Female Age 25-29 age group!  It was definitely not what I expected when I registered for the race, and it absolutely made me feel good about myself.

My PR in high school was much faster than what I accomplished yesterday, and I know that if I’d been more prepared for the weather or hadn’t burned myself out on that first hill/mile, I might have finished faster, but I’m still pleased with myself and excited for what I can do on the next race.

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My Great Shame

I watch so much TV, y’all.  It’s not even funny.  My friend Emily posted recently about her favorite TV shows, so I thought I’d share what I’m watching now, from the very good to the very bad.

I watch almost nothing live.  We almost always have a full DVR!  I’m aware that I watch too much TV, but I’m not afraid to admit the shameful fact.

SUNDAY


Amazing.

MONDAY


Not as funny as the first couple seasons, but still enjoyable.


I seriously would watch this show for HOURS.

TUESDAY


Shut up.  I know it’s terrible.


I just started watching this a couple weeks ago through On Demand.  I’d heard one of the contestants has to do modified workouts because of leg problems.  While I’ve not yet had such severe MS symptoms that I have to modify workouts, that is a distinct possibility in the future, so it’s neat to see her still getting active despite her limitations.


We actually got into this show during the summer because they were airing reruns.  I wish more stations would air reruns during the off-season… it gives us a chance to give new shows – well, a chance.

WEDNESDAY


This is my SHOW.  I’ve actually seen every episode of every season.


I absolutely love this show.  T is a total inspiration.


This is absolutely the funniest show on TV.


We started watching this show four or five years ago.  I’ve never been a big fan of procedurals, but I like that this one actually keeps a through-line.


This new show isn’t nearly as scary as I hoped it’d be, but it’s alright.  Getting better as it goes.

THURSDAY


This show isn’t very consistent, but we keep watching it anyway.  Episodes like last year’s Halloween classic give us hope each week that maybe the next one will be great.


If you watched the start of season 1 and gave up on this one, I urge you to go back and try again.  It really has grown into itself.


I think Robert California (James Spader) is hilarious.  Of course I miss Michael Scott, but this show has done a lot of things over the years that I thought would ruin it, but somehow they all made it better.

FRIDAY

Friday is the day when we catch up on all this DVRed nonsense.

SATURDAY

On Saturdays, we watch SNL and just hope to see this:

Oh, and in addition to all of this, we watch College Football all day on Saturdays and NFL all day on Sundays.

I know this is kind of like an alcoholic asking about drink specials, but are there any shows I am not watching that I ought to be?

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Picky

I haven’t posted in a while… my priorities lately have not included blogging.  Luckily I’m still getting plenty of hits from people who search 30 Day Shred, Annette Funicello, and “Gremlin Anniversary Wishes.”  WHAT ARE GREMLIN ANNIVERSARY WISHES?

Anyway, I read an “open letter” yesterday that left me appropriately outraged.  In case you don’t want to read the letter, here’s the synopsis:  The author is pissed at her niece for being a “picky eater.”  She believes her niece is missing out on the wonders of the world (including discovering that one type of tomato is apparently superior to another) and essentially pins the whole “problem” on her sister’s parenting skills/lack of ability to travel the world.

Disclaimers:
1. I am not a parent.
2. I am not an aunt.
3. I have a really big problem with people who confuse the two titles.

I’m a lifelong picky eater, so I have to take issue with this “letter” (and not just because I believe the blogger wrote it more to embarrass her sister than to impact her niece).  I definitely took a long time to come around to some things, and sometimes my parents were really annoyed with my eating habits, for certain.  My father once told me I couldn’t order salad at a restaurant anymore until I learned to use dressing.  My friends teased me for ordering plain steamed rice at Chin’s (the local Chinese restaurant where seemingly everyone had birthday dinners).  I actually CRIED when my parents took me to a Mexican restaurant… when I was 15.

Growing up, I called myself a purist and used as few condiments (seasonings, sauces, AND spices included) as possible.  I was totally happy with it, and while my parents did make me TRY new things, they also knew that they could only change so much about my eating habits.  They taught me to be polite and eat what I was served, even if I didn’t really like it, but they also didn’t try to force me to actually like the stuff.

Even now, I’m still pretty picky, but I’ve grown to like some things I thought I would NEVER like (and even some things my parents don’t like!).  Did anyone force me into liking hummus or kimchi?  No.  I just kept being polite and eating what was presented to me… and, lo and behold, I began to like some new dishes.  My husband still calls me “the lieutenant in the war against flavor” because I think peppers are gross and grits are terrible, but I’m working on it.

Anyway, back to the article.

One thing we picky eaters are is stubborn, and the best way to get us to hate (or refuse to try) a food is to try to shame us out of our pickiness.  We are happy the way we are.  The young niece of the author?  Totally happy being picky, I’m sure.  I don’t know her, but I don’t think she’s just sitting there waiting for her Auntie to ride in on a white horse to save her from her bland palate.  If her aunt would just let her discover things on her own, she might grow to like them.

But just based on reading this article, I hope the girl plays the super-picky card anytime she’s at her aunt’s house for dinner.  Hell, if I was the author’s sister, I’d be encouraging my kid to play it up just to bother Auntie Know-it-all.  It’d serve her right.

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The Magic If

Last month, I was made to feel very old when the first issue of a surprise two-year subscription to Good Housekeeping arrived in my mailbox.  Whoever decided to send me this gift was smart enough to keep it to his/herself that he/she thought it was time to send me a magazine that has an annual “Anti-Aging Issue.”

Well, I much as I bemoaned my aging upon the receipt of the magazine, of course I actually read the whole thing.  Some of the articles seemed silly and had nothing to do with me, but there were some nice recipes and some articles that were actually applicable.

Anyway, today I got my second issue of Good Housekeeping in the mail, and I decided to open it while I was waiting for my husband to finish preparing dinner.  I feel like that’s probably against some sort of GH subscribers’ code or something, but that’s my version of Excellent Housekeeping, so they’ll have to cope.

In the “letters to the editor,” there was a letter regarding an interview with Michael J Fox that appeared in the July issue.  The letter was from a subscriber who has MS and said that the interview was inspirational for her.

Well, I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t been having a tough time with this whole illness thing lately, as I approach my six month MSaversary, so I decided to seek out the article to see what had comforted this woman.  Luckily, the whole interview is available online, so I was able to read it.

In the article, Fox talks about an acting technique that I reference with my students: “Don’t play the result” (or “Don’t anticipate the result” or “Don’t play the ending,” depending on which book or acting teacher you first heard it from).  Fox says that when you have a chronic illness, it’s kind of like standing in the middle of the street and knowing you’ll be hit by a bus.  You know it’s going to happen, but a good actor doesn’t behave as though it’s already happened.  A good actor only behaves as though it has happened after it already has.

He also references the “if,” a technique which requires actors to imagine “what if” and “act as if” a certain situation was, in fact, reality.  Stanislavski, who came up with the technique, wanted actors to use it to put themselves in the positions of characters unlike themselves.  Fox believes that in life we can act as if life is the way we want it to be, and it may in fact become what we imagine it to be.

I really need to endeavor to remember these things when I start feeling sorry for myself.  There’s at least one time a week that I’m running and think to myself “I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to do this.”  I need to work on not playing the result.  Yes, at some point the worst of the symptoms may take me over and I may be stuck in a wheelchair or with a walker or cane.  But what good does it do me to focus on that now?  If I was an actor in one of my shows, I’d tell that actor that the audience shouldn’t be able to tell what’s going to happen based on her behavior now.

I’m going to try to use the magic if every day.  “What if I wasn’t afraid?  How would I behave?”  I will imagine that I am a woman who is unafraid of the future because she’s not playing the result.

“I’m not at the result till the end. So let’s not play it. It’s not written yet.” – Michael J. Fox

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The Things I Never Knew

It’s been almost six months since the optic neuritis flare up that led to my diagnosis.  I still haven’t had a day that I haven’t thought about it, no matter how hard I’ve tried.  The online “mindset” training module they sent me today (my medication company loves to send me supportive emails and online training modules which are very nice but also serve to remind me that I’m sick) said that not thinking about MS is kind of like if someone showed you a giraffe and said “Now, do not think about that giraffe.”  All you’re going to think about is the giraffe, you know?  Well, I’ve spent almost six months thinking about my MS giraffe.

I knew so little about MS back then, and now it seems I can’t go a day without finding out something new that makes me think “How could I not have suspected?”  The fact is that while most people are aware of the major symptoms of MS, a lot of people miss out on the smaller symptoms.  I feel fortunate for catching my case early, but the more I learn, the more I think I might have been able to catch it earlier.

Disclaimer:  The following things can be symptoms of several different medical problems which include, but are not limited to, MS.  If you experience any of the following, see a doctor.  Do not just decide you have MS.

The first:  spasmodic torticollis.

Back in June, I shared with you about my spasmodic torticollis problem.  While there is not much info available regarding the link between spasmodic torticollis and MS, both are neurological issues, and some studies link ST as a symptom of MS (though not conclusively).

The second:  numbness in feet.

Numbness is one of the biggest symptoms of MS, but when you’re perfectly healthy you can rationalize any feeling of numbness.  I used to experience numbness in my feet either after a longer run or after sitting still for a long time.  Generally I’ve been able to solve this problem by propping them up (after a run) or getting up and walking around (after sitting still).  For whatever reason, I always thought this happened to everybody.  Looking back, I realize that I was stupid.

The newest one:  itching.

Over the past year, I’ve woken up more and more (at this point it’s almost once a week) during the night with severe itching, especially on my hands, arms, and calves (but mostly the hands).  This is itching so severe that I can’t sleep through it and nothing will soothe it (not even time-tested Aveeno products!).  Well, it turns out this is a symptom of MS called dyesthetic itching, which is neurological in origin.  I don’t know why I suffered through all that itching for all those years without saying to myself Hey, self.  Don’t you think it’s WEIRD that your palms can’t stop itching?  Even if you scratch them til they’re bright red?  Even if you rub Aveeno lotion all over them over and over?  Maybe that’s abnormal.  Maybe you ought to ask a doctor about it.

Oh, and in some severe cases this itching is accompanied by a rash similar to the one I had when the doctors thought I had the West Nile Virus in graduate school.  So if you include that, this has been happening to me for ALMOST SEVEN YEARS.

The bottom line:

I could blame myself for not catching this sooner all I want, but it’s not going to change a thing.  I could blame the doctor who diagnosed my spasmodic torticollis for not telling me about the possible connections to MS, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological problems.  I could blame the (many) doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me in graduate school when I was having photophobic headaches, balance issues, severe fatigue, and pruritus (dyesthetic itching).

But what good does that do, really?  Would catching it earlier have stopped me from getting sick?

When I start feeling sorry for myself or question why I didn’t know sooner, I need to remember that I am lucky.  Many people don’t get diagnosed until they’re experiencing severe symptoms frequently; I am so early in this process with CIS and minor symptoms on an infrequent basis.  I have the chance to possibly never end up in the RRMS category.  And when/if I do move on to RRMS, I’ll know that I’ve done everything I could to keep it away… and then I can do everything possible to postpone Progressive MS.

I need to remember to be thankful that I have the chance, through exercise and medication, to stave off the worst of the symptoms for as long as possible.

When your life’s going wrong 
When the fates are unkind 
When you’re limping along 
And get kicked from behind 
Tell yourself how lucky you are

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What Nicki Minaj and Phil Collins Have in Common

My workouts have been crappy lately, to say the least.  I’ve been trying (somewhat) to get up at 6:00 every morning to run.  Some mornings it works, and some I stay in bed (only to hate myself later when I have to drag myself out for a post-rehearsal run at 7:00 at night).

I’ve felt so sluggish out there lately, regardless of time of day.  I’m just really having a tough time getting back in the groove of things where working out is concerned, even after five weeks of school.  I’m running, yes, but I’m doing it because I have to rather than because I want to, and that’s affecting everything about it.  And while the scale says I haven’t gained any weight since school started, I feel massive and unwieldy when I run, not strong and confident.

Well, today was one of those sleep-in mornings when I hit snooze and decided not to do the morning run.  All day I dreaded coming home and having to go run (this doesn’t sound like summer me at all, right?).  When  I got home, I decided to switch up my running playlist so that I would at least enjoy my music while I fought through yet another lackluster run.  I added in some old favorites that I’d rotated out when school started and added a couple of new ones, too.

The run started a little boring, but as those new/new-old songs started to play I really started to enjoy myself.  As always, that fifth mile was rough (even on a run that’s going really well, that’s always my toughest mile), but it was made easier by a couple great songs:  “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins and “Roman’s Revenge” by Nicki Minaj (ft. Eminem).  So thanks, guys, for keeping me strong!  Today’s run was actually my fastest 6 miler since school started!!

Other Boring News That Isn’t Boring to Me
I’m officially registering for my first race in, like, a million years.  It’s the amazingly named Johns Creek Dental Town 5k.  Yes, there is a dental practice called Dental Town.  It’s pediatric, so we’ll give them a break for the slightly silly name.  Anyway, they will be donating the proceeds to local schools, and the more people registered per school = more money for that school.  So I’ll be running on behalf of my students on October 29th!

I hope that registering for this race will help me to be more excited about running again.  Ever since I was diagnosed almost five months ago, I’ve felt more like I was running from MS than running for myself, so it’s slowly taken the enjoyment out of one of my favorite pastimes.  I believe racing will bring that passion back.  Wait – I tell my students not to use the phrase “I believe” in their writing, so… Racing will bring that passion back.  That sounds firmer, stronger, like fact, yes?

The problem this is going to create, of course, is that I am insanely competitive.  I need to be realistic about this and not go crazy over it.  I know there is no way I’m going to win the race, and probably not my age group either.  Some skinny 25 year old will win my age group, I’m sure.

My realistic race goals
– Not to look like an idiot.
– To finish with a respectable time.  My treadmill 3.1 runs are pretty consistently around 23:00-25:00 now, though my outdoor 3.1 runs are around 30:00 (I blame the Georgia heat and the evil neighborhood hill for the added time).  I don’t want the self-created pressure of the race to make me feel like I need to start super fast and tire myself out early (shades of my first track meet in 8th grade).  I’d like a time that at least represents what I’m currently producing on a regular basis.
– While training, try to work for consistency throughout my run (again with the worry of starting off in a sprint and then tiring myself out).
– Listen to this song on my race playlist (Yes, this clip is how I first heard it.  No, I am not ashamed.  Yes, I am confused as to why the recording on this clip does not feature Eminem, as the track on the album does.):

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Something Just Broke

I thought for a while about whether or not to do a post in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  I worry about making mourning an “event” – with all the specials on TV, it feels as though the anniversary is becoming more of a contest of which news outlet can get the “better,” more heartbreaking take on the story.  But I’ve appreciated hearing the stories from my friends who chose to post, so I’m joining in.  These stories seem all the more important considering that many of my students were in preschool (or very early elementary school).  They need to know what it was like from the people who remember.

9/11 Tribute in my hometown

So, where was I when it happened?  That’s the question everyone asks.  That’s my generation’s “where were you when” in the same way that JFK’s assassination is for my parents.

My freshman year in college, I made the ill-conceived decision to take a four-day-a-week 8am Latin 2002 class.  Until 9/11/01, I went to that class every day.  But that morning, I decided to sit up, turn off my alarm, and go back to sleep.  This was my first time skipping class; I was a rebel.  So where was I when the first plane struck?  I was sleeping.

My roommate, Erica, also had an 8am class (though hers was only Tuesday/Thursday) and burst in the door of the room just before 9:00, begging me to turn on the TV.  I’m a pretty heavy sleeper, so it took her a few minutes to get me to wake up and show me what was going on.  Erica and I weren’t super close friends or anything, but we watched the second plane hit together, watched the towers fall together.

I recall that at first people were saying that it was a bomb, that something was wrong with the computers in the planes, that planes were just falling out of the sky.  I recall finally hearing that it was something else entirely.  I recall being scared.

I had an 11:00 Math class, and since class hadn’t been cancelled on campus yet and I’d already skipped my 8:00, I felt obliged to attend.  I walked across campus and got to class just in time to help some of my classmates attempt to explain to our professor, who spoke very little English (and mostly Russian), what was going on (and why most of the class hadn’t bothered to show up).  Once she got the message that most people weren’t coming, she let us go.  The University cancelled classes as of noon.

I walked from the Environmental Sciences building (where my math class was inexplicably held) to Snelling, my favorite dining hall.  I sat in that dining hall with a group of high school friends for HOURS that day, watching the news on TV.  I spent so much time trying to call everyone I knew in New York, even people who I knew would have no reason to be anywhere near the towers, just because I needed to know they were okay and hear their voices.

Mostly, though, I just remember being scared.

I recall a feeling of patriotism in the days that followed that I’d never seen in people before.  I mean, we all loved America before it happened.  But somehow this brought us together, made us feel more united than before.  And while it may be true what Sage Francis says about some people becoming “makeshift patriots,” I do believe that it was tremendous to see the love people displayed for this country, and for each other, in the weeks after the attacks.

That’s part of why this tenth anniversary makes me so sad.  I mean, of course I’m sad for all those lives lost and for all their families who are still grieving for them.  My heart absolutely breaks every time I think about my friends who lost their family or friends in the attacks, and I’m so lucky that everyone I knew who was remotely close to the attacks was okay.

But in addition to that, I look at our political climate in 2011 and see so little resemblance to that feeling of unity that I saw/felt in the weeks after the September 11th attacks.  I’m not saying there was no division between parties in 2001 and we were all best friends who just agreed on everything, but I didn’t see the vicious partisanship, the “let’s-treat-politics-like-college-football-and-hate-everyone-who-doesn’t-root-for-our-team” that I see now.  Maybe it’s because I was 18 then and I just didn’t know any better, but I really want to believe the country was indeed the way I saw it then, united, even if it was because of something horrible.

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Failure

Well, it’s been a long time, blog.  Thanks to all the people searching “Annette Funicello,” “people with angry birds pictures,” “fatsuit,” “30 Day Shred Results,” and “gremlin anniversary wishes” (and that number of people is shockingly high), I’ve continued to see a fair amount of visitors despite my lack of posts.

We are halfway to the first progress report of the year, if you can believe it!  School itself is going great… but I have been, in large part, a failure when it comes to my New Year’s Resolution so far this school year.

Remember, my goal this year was to get up feeling like this:

 

But I’ve spent many mornings like this instead:

The first week of school, I woke up in time to run THREE times.  Since I had to stay after school three days that week, this was in accordance with my goal (remember, I allow myself to sleep in on days that I don’t have an activity after school, since I can work out in the afternoon on those days).

The second week of school, I woke up in time to run TWO times.  Problem?  I had to stay after school three times.  Minor failure.

This week, I woke up to work out TWO times.  Problem?  I had to stay after school four times.  Major failure.

I really need to get better at the getting up early thing because going for a run at 7:00 at night after a long day at school really, really sucks.  I also need to get better at the actual running part of being up early.  I am super slow in the AM when compared with my well-rested summer times.

Any suggestions to help me get better at getting up in the morning?

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New Year’s Resolutions

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year…

Back to school!  I’ve actually been back at work since the 3rd, but my students come back tomorrow.  I know that a lot of people complain about the start of the new school year (students especially!), but I feel that if a teacher isn’t excited to get back to school, he/she is probably in the wrong profession.

I always try to start the year with a New School Year’s Resolution.  Sometimes these resolutions have something to do with my instruction, and sometimes they’re more about my personal development.  For instance, a past instructional resolution was to stay a week ahead on my photocopies.  A personal development example:  last year I resolved to dry my hair completely every morning instead of half-drying it and leaving the rest of it to dry on its own.  Some of my resolutions may seem silly, but they become habits by the end of the year and I’ve met all of the new school year goals that I’ve set since I began teaching.

My resolution this year:

To get up in the mornings to work out before I get ready for school.

I will permit myself to wait to work out in the afternoon on days when I don’t have an after school activity, but most days I need to get my butt out of bed at 6am in order to work out before school so that I’m not leaving the house to run at 7pm or some similar nonsense.  This will be tough, since it will involve the related resolution of going to bed earlier, but I know it will be a good thing for me and it will keep me up and moving on a daily basis.

Do you make new year’s resolutions?  And if you’re a teacher or student, do you make new school year’s resolutions?  Do you keep them?

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Alternative Workouts (Or, Why I Will Never Join the Circus)

I get stuck in workout ruts pretty easily.  I do pretty much the same workouts every day, enjoy them, and know what to expect.  But I know that part of challenging myself is to step out on a limb and try something new once in a while.

We started back for pre-planning last Wednesday, and at Friday’s county drama meeting we got to try out and train on various cirque apparati.  Knowing this would be really physically demanding, I decided to make it my workout for Friday to break up the week (I’d been running each day, but not doing anything else).

I am not a huge Cirque du Soleil fan, but the things the kids can do at the school that hosted our workshop are truly extraordinary and I am a big fan of them!  I am blown away every time I get to see these kids perform, so it was really neat to actually get to learn from them (what little I could learn).

The first thing I tried was the aerial straps.

Doing this one first gave me a lot of confidence because it really played to my strengths.  It is more about leg/ab strength than arms (although arms do play a part) and so I was able to hold myself upside down like the dude in the picture as well as do flips (swinging legs up and backward to the chest and then back down again).

I thought to myself, I am awesome at this!  I am going to kick butt at everything today!

But then I ran into the activities that required a LOT more upper body strength.  Now, you may recall that I made a big deal this summer out of how much better my upper body strength had gotten due to the 30 Day Shred.  However, I have not improved enough to be able to do these:

The Spanish Web

I had a lot of trouble climbing trees as a kid, so climbing a rope was really tough for me.  I am aware that this is pathetic.  The boy who was training my group taught us a trick to make the climbing easier, though: wrap the right leg around the rope and then stand on the right leg with the left.  It does relieve a little bit of the strain that’s put on the arms if you’re trying to climb with arms only (ouch).

Silks

The silks require climbing before you can do anything cool on them.  It’s basically the same principal with regard to the climb as the Spanish Web, but harder because the fabric is bigger and moves around more as you try to stabilize it to climb.  Tiring.

Chinese Pole

I actually thought this one might be a little easier to climb because it wouldn’t move around like the previous two did.  I don’t know if it was my feet sweating, my palms sweating, or my upper body deciding it was done for the day, but climbing this was actually just as tough as the others.  I was really disappointed with my inability to do this because I think it is SO cool.  Seriously.  Look at the dude in the photo.

I tried only one thing that was anywhere near the comfortability that I felt with the aerial straps, and that was the trapeze.

I tried this pretty early in the day and had a pretty easy time swinging my legs up and getting them onto the bar to hang from them.  I think my height helped me there!  However, at the end of the training when photos were being taken I had trouble replicating this (my legs were mad at me?) and so I am now in possession of an awesome photo of me folded in half with my feet and hands hanging from the trapeze (instead of hanging from my knees as I intended).  I would post said photo, but I don’t know how to take photos from text message and bring them onto my computer.  Also, it’s semi-embarrassing.

As expected, I was exhausted when I got home.  I curled up on the couch and took a nap instead of running, but felt like I got in a good workout that morning at the meeting!

So, why aren’t you joining the circus?  Aside from not being good at much of anything?
I woke up Saturday morning and pretty much could not move my arms.  Then I sat up and realized that wasn’t the worst of it… my abs were really sore, too!  I gave up on working out on Saturday when I realized I was having trouble getting dressed without cursing cirque for the pain it caused me.  Instead, I spent about a half hour stretching in the morning and another half hour in the evening.  This overall soreness made me feel totally out of shape until I saw that one of my colleagues (who was much better at the climbing than me) posted about feeling the same way!   I guess a little soreness often accompanies trying a new workout.

By Sunday, I was still a little sore, but I was able to get out there for a short run and some time on the elliptical (which really was the best thing I could do to stretch out those sore shoulders/arms).  It was a rough workout yesterday, but today I feel back to normal.

Final Verdict on Cirque as a workout:
This was a really neat alternative to my usual workouts.  I’d really recommend it, if you ever have the opportunity to take a class or workshop.  Just a quick google search brought me to sites for cirque classes in LA, NYC, and Orlando, so there are places out there where you can learn this stuff, too!  Even if you aren’t much good at it (like me), it’s still tons of fun and an awesome workout that your muscles will remember for days!

Do you ever do any “alternative” workouts (i.e. not weight training, running, etc.)?  Any favorites to suggest?

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