I am one of those people who is always cold. Even if it’s 100 degrees outside, I will find a way to get goosebumps and tell the story about how I originally got frostbite in four different places on my body. Seriously, I’m that annoyingly cold person. Today it was 65 degrees and sunny outside and I asked Mike to start a fire so that I could warmup and do some yoga in our living room.
In my head this was going to be warm, cozy and beautiful. Let me just spare you the trouble of trying this out at your own home and tell you that yoga + a fire = painful. Although there was minimal smoke from the fire, it was still way too much for deep yoga breaths. My face was also teetering on painfully hot whenever I went from chaturanga to upward facing dog (note that my living area is small and this is the only way my mat can fit in the room). Needless to say, the fire was not the best idea. However I did take advantage of a free Yogaworks class on Hulu and found it to be a great yoga workout. If you don’t have access to a local studio, this is a great way to learn different types of yoga for free.
After I finished practicing I went for a 20 minute walk in the sun with Mike to get some fresh air after my yoga smoke-out. Next time that it is 65 degrees out I promise to get outside to warm-up. Lesson learned!
Day 109: On Friday morning my friend Jenny and I went for a three-mile walk in Washington Park. I had planned it to be an easy day of working out since the rest of the weekend was going to be packed with high intensity workouts. Unfortunately, I ended up catching a bug that knocked me out the rest of the day on Friday and all day on Saturday. My friendly friday walk was the last amount of big movements I’d be making for the next 48 hours.
Day 110: I read recently that people who consistently workout average one cold a year and people who do not workout consistently average four colds per year. Since I am now characterized as a person who works out frequently, I knew that there was a chance of sickness at some point during this challenge. This was my time. Friday night I could barely swallow and my head was pounding. Saturday morning it became apparent that sweating was going to be a painful challenge.
Thankfully, I have a fiance who held me accountable. We got super bundled up and went for a twenty-minute walk around the lake at Washington Park. He even held my arm the entire time because I felt super weak. Do you remember that entire lazy body feeling you would get when you were a teenager and your parents would ask you to do something and it felt like your muscles couldn’t physically move? That’s what I felt like all day yesterday. Hence the need to lean on someone during a walk.
Day 111: Today I woke up feeling a little better, but still not fantastic. I knew I was going to have to take it easy again. Mike planned out a hike for us at Red Rocks that was 3.3 miles with a 600 foot elevation gain. That sounded doable to me if we took it slow. Fortunately the breath-taking views kept my mind occupied from the pain in my throat. The trail ended up getting really icy in spots, which naturally slowed us down- which made my achy body happy. Overall, it took us 80 minutes and we came straight home to relax right after. I am really hoping that my body decides to continue to heal after small gentle sweats all weekend. Here’s to finding out if workouts can lead to a cure.
Day 107: On day 107 I went for a five-mile run from our apartment to Washington Park. I will slowly be adding more and more runs to my workouts because of a half-marathon that I am training for in May. I would like to say that the run felt fantastic, which it kind of did, but I really think that being away from the altitude for 20 days messed with my ability to run. Maybe? Or maybe that’s just an excuse. I’ll find out soon.
Day 108: Today I walked to the closest Core Power Yoga to my house. It was 60 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I couldn’t help but think of how grateful I am for everything in my life on my walk over. The instructor, Lucinda, had instructing down to a science. It was beautiful. She started out class by talking about how we measure our lives by big events (birthdays, holidays, heartbreak, moves, etc), but it’s the moments in between that are just as important. She tied this into class by asking us to pay extra attention to the transitions in between poses. It’s in those transitions that help us deepen our practice and find happiness in our everyday lives.
Lately I have been writing a lot about being tired, feeling crappy and out of sorts. Today, Stella got her groove back. I can imagine that a yogi might read this post and say “you can’t have a best practice ever,” but that’s honestly what today felt like. My legs floated up to my hands in between flows, my front warrior leg looked parallel to the ground, my dancer felt like I was flying and my breath was powerful and rhythmic. Everything seemed like the way it was meant to be. The entire day felt like that; a graceful dance to music that helped life fall into place.
I suppose a super beautiful day in the middle of January can make life feel like that or perhaps life is trending more that way. Either way, I’ll take it!
Mike and I woke up this early this morning to head up to Keystone Mountain for his first time boarding in nine years. I have to admit, I was pretty nervous that the majority of the day was going to be spent on the bunny hill. Thankfully, that is not what happened.
He took one run down the bunny hill, then we went down a 3.5 mile green run and from there we headed to the back of Dercum Mountain for his first blue run of the day. We hung out back there for a few runs and then made our way back to the front. Everything Michael does impresses my socks off, but today he impressed my ski boots off- and that’s hard to do! Nine years away from the slopes and he was tearing it up. No more magic carpet bunny hills for him (thank goodness!). Soon enough we will be perusing blacks together with no problem at all. If only I could figure out the right way to tackle bumps…
I might sound like a broken record here, but I really did not want to workout today. We are still working hours and hours everyday to get our place put together and it’s exhausting. The thought of taking the time to drive to a studio, take a class and drive home was giving me serious anxiety. When I can’t even find enough time in the day to organize the linen closet, how can I justify two hours of commuting/yoga? I couldn’t, thus came the 30 minute run around my neighborhood.
I must have been feeling pretty lethargic because right after I made a quick turn I tripped over a large branch and fell completely down on the ground. I got up, brushed off, did the standard “I’m going to laugh this off smile while looking around to see who saw,” and kept running. This got me thinking about accidents in life and how we respond to them. Do you shrug them off and smile? Or do you beat yourself up for making the mistake in the first place? What do you decide to learn from them? Although today was just a physical accident, I decided to dive deeper into it to see what I could learn. Picking up my legs a little more would have prevented it, so would have paying closer attention to my surroundings. Either way I look at it I’m just glad that I’m not hurt and it won’t prevent me from going on another run this week.
What sticks got in your way today and how did you respond? Take a closer more honest look and explain to yourself what you find out.
Days 102 & 103: Although I have lived in Denver for four months, my fiance (and our belongings) were still stored in Washington, DC and Columbus, OH. On day 102 my fiance and I moved a 16 foot Penske truck from Salina, KS to Denver, CO. We arrived in Denver early evening and unloaded the jimmy-jammed truck into our apartment. Now I am not sure if you’ve ever tried this, but I highly recommend trying to fit two large one bedroom apartments (we have not lived together before) into a small 650 square foot two bedroom apartment. It was a lot like playing life-sized tetris for two days.
Therefore my workouts were moving beds, dressers, boxes and night stands from one room to another time after time, after time. It took more effort to do this for seven hours on day 102 and twelve hours on day 103 than any other day of working out. I can honestly say that these two days of constant moving, unpacking and organizing exhausted me more than any other day of working out so far. Please feel free to yell at me at the top of your lungs and say “THAT DOES NOT COUNT AS A WORKOUT!,” but I would scream back louder and with more gusto than I thought possible, “Hells yes it is! You try it!”
Day 104: I have been counting down the days until Michael came home for a lot of reasons; one of them being so that I could share Washington Park with him. Today was the big day. After we played belonging tetris for the first few hours of the day we headed over to the park for a short three-mile run, after all, he needed to slowly get acclimated to the altitude after spending a year in the Navy out at sea. I was so prepared to impress his socks off and smoke him on the run (secretly, I want to do that at some point in our lives).
We ran the first half together and I set a pretty decent pace. Halfway around the park I could feel him wanting to pull ahead so I said my typical, “you can go faster if you want” and he said, “I’m just so cold” and took off. I met him back at the car. So much for my theory on altitude and my dream of beating him running (for now).
Day 100: On day 100 I really wanted to do something out of my comfort zone, so I went to Pai Yoga and tried the TRX Beginner class. TRX is a suspension strap workout that uses bodyweight as resistance. One of the owners of the studio, Jason, was teaching the all woman class with lots of jokes, enthusiasm and multiple explanations. We started out with a warm-up that left me breathless and nervous for the rest of the class. I wish I could explain more about what we did in the next hour, but since I was a total beginner I walked out pretty confused and overly amped with adrenaline. If you have not tried TRX, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who is not faint of heart.
Day 101: After yesterday’s workout my fiance and I finished packing the truck for the final time and set off for Indianapolis to see some of my college friends for the night. We stayed up until 11:30 watching basketball and playing board games that I lost terribly at numerous times. The only reason I am even bringing this up is because it plays into what happened this morning at yoga. My college best friend, Sara (seen with me singing the Tina role in Rolling On The River) went to class with me at a nearby hot yoga studio at 6 a.m. That means I semi-slept for about five hours and then powered through an hour of yoga. My body was not happy about any of those things- the waking up early, the yoga or having to move my body after TRX yesterday. Although the class was fantastic, I couldn’t muster up the energy to get in more than one chaturanga.
I found myself skipping most of the hard poses today, which is something that I almost never do. I love pushing myself, but in my sore groggy state that was the last thing that could happen. Once again I found myself realizing how important it is to listen to my body and what it needs. For example my sore body never needs 12 hours in a moving truck and then three sweet potato pancakes for dinner. Never. But sometimes I just have to learn those lessons the hard way.
Day 98: After three straight days in a gym my body had a serious hankering for some good yoga. I could not remember a yoga studio anywhere in my hometown, so I headed to google for support. I found a studio called Pai Yoga that is located in my old ballet studio from when I was a tiny tot- point for nostalgic purposes!
I was putting my things away in the locker room area when I ran into an adolescent friend that I have not seen in almost ten years. We partook in the girly “NO WAY!” and then hugged for a little too long while anxious yogi’s waited to get by us. To make it even better, her never aging Mother was also going to practice with us. For the first time since I left Dublin eleven years ago, I was sad to have not stayed in Buckeye country. I found my mind wandering during my practice to a place of hometown bliss. I love my life in Colorado, but practicing sweaty yoga next to two of the finest women in Dublin made me think twice about someday moving back.
Thank you Powell women for opening my eyes to the awesomeness that hosts the famous cement cornfields.
Day 99: Ohio has strange weather. This morning I woke up to 40 degree thunderstorms which later turned into a sunny 55 degrees. Mike and I took advantage of the break in bleakness and headed out for a run. Since we are staying in his old stomping grounds he led the way to a “surprise” destination. I was so excited that I wanted to bring my camera with me, thinking it was going to be romantic. Silly me. We ran two miles to the elementary school that I broke my two front teeth in at age eight. Thanks for the romantic memories Mike!
Now it’s 28 degrees, windy and snowing. I suppose the weather is helping the nostalgia wear off a smidge bit. I can almost hear the sunny days of Colorado beckoning us home.
On what is now setting the record for the most consecutive days that I have spent in the gym, I came to the conclusion that have been complacent with running. Let me just rewind a bit to explain what that means to me. In eighth grade gym class it was a requirement that everyone run a mile in under 12 minutes, I crossed the finish line some 20 seconds before the cut off. In high school, I dabbled with shotput and discus; avoiding running entirely. In college I ran a 5k in about 33 minutes. After college I trained for my first duathlon and I ran my fastest 5k in 29 minutes. Two years ago I ran my first half-marathon and averaged a 10.30 mile. Are you seeing a pattern? Over ten years of running and almost zero improvement in my times.
My only defense to this is that I have always told myself that I did not want to get faster. I was ok with a 10-ish minute mile pace. I was complacent with being a mediocre runner. It was not until the last three days on a treadmill that I have watched my mile times tick down and down. Today, my fastest mile at 8.15 felt stronger than my 9.30 mile. I wanted to keep going, to continue testing myself and pushing for something that my body already knows is attainable. I have been stuck in my head for so long and my body was ready to move on to something better. It was ready to break through a barrier.
Today I am making a declaration that my half-marathon in May will boast less than a 9 minute mile pace. Anything faster than that would take my breath away- literally and metaphorically.
Here are my questions to you: What in your life have you become complacent with? Are you being honest with yourself with what you truly want? How are you going to set yourself in motion to make the changes that you need to move forward? Be honest. Make a declaration. Watch your life change.
Day 95: Yesterday it was 1 degree in Columbus, OH. To say that it was cold is an understatement. Every single time I walked outside I annoyed myself by saying “BBBBBRRRRR, IT’S FREEZING OUT HERE.” After nine hours of errand running all over town, that line got old quickly. Needless to say, we would not be using the outdoors as our gym. We started calling the local gyms to check on reasonable drop-in rates and stumbled upon the gem called the “YMCA.” Have you heard of it? Seriously, those places get overlooked and given a bad-wrap.
The one we went to gave us a free three-day trial, free sweat towels and an endless amount of grunting coming from the nearby highschool power lifters. Besides the occasional startled feeling from the aforementioned grunting, it was a great experience. I ran my first 8 minute mile (maybe ever?) and got in some lifting time. Oh and the sweat was complimentary too! I am a sucker for anything that’s on the house…
Day 96: It has been snowing in Ohio for 48 hours straight with only an inch of accumulation. I am still confused about how that can even happen, but leave it to the high-winds in corn country to make that possible.
I have a darling cousin, Ellen, who works at a uber nice gym called Urban Active. We dropped in for a workout today to squeeze in some family sweatin’ time. I did about 45 minutes of mixed up cardio and ended my workout with 10 minutes of ab work. Between the family, friends, wedding planning, moving, welcoming home and hugs, this week has proved to be the most difficult week of the challenge so far. However, by continuing to put my health first (amidst the craziness) I have been able to calm my nerves, eat out meals with the family without stress of weight gain and carve out some me/us time. All of which, I know I would not have done if I was not committed to this challenge.