Saturday, February 19, 2011

Take a Chill Pil(ates)

I was wrapping up my work day a few weeks ago and chatting with my friend Molly about the gym we both go to.  You guys remember Molly, right?  She mentioned that she was going to a pilates class with her friend Kristen and that I should join them.  I thought, Hey, I've been working on my core, this should be great.  Plus, my mom and my sister looooove their pilates class so it must be good :)  So I said "sure".

We met at the gym and went into the torture chamber pilates studio.  The lights were dim and a number of people were already stretching on their mats.

So peaceful...

We found a spot that let us be side by side...right at the front and centre of the class. Awesome.

Our teacher asked those of us who were new to her class if we had ever done pilates before. Now, the truth is, I *had* taken pilates a couple of years ago.  A whole sixteen weeks of it.  I stopped because I didn't feel challenged by it.

I realized the class started when our sweet little teacher started barking orders to do things like hold a crunch while flapping our arms, and count to A HUNDRED. That exercise is called-shockingly- 'hundreds' (but I'm just calling it 'a really long time'...who's with me??)  I jumped in enthusiastically because this was going to be an awesome workout.  And then, after about ten minutes of keeping every fibre between my ribcage and my pelvis tight enough to play a rousing round of "Dueling Banjos", the teacher stated that we had completed our warm-up and were ready to:

Pardonnez-moi?? That was *the warm-up*??

It's all a bit of a blur, but I do remember the roll-ups (and I wish I was talkin' bout fruit roll-ups.  You know, those snacks you roll out, some have little tattoos you can make on your tongue...but I digress).

You guys, I am not lying when I say that *everyone* else in the class balanced back and forth gracefully, like those little glass birds that tip forward into a cup of water:

*I* was more the little birdie that couldn't.

Another fun pose I "learned"?
Balance on your "sit bones" (yoga and pilates are all about the sit bones), straighten one leg and hold it.  Now straighten the other so your legs make a V. Now gently rock back and forth...


We finally got a reprieve from all that rolling around on our backsides and it was time to roll onto our, well, just our sides. Simple enough, right? Now all that was asked was to lift BOTH legs at the same time and point them to the corner of the mat...without wobbling or falling over. After completing failing miserably at that task,

I tried to follow along as quietly as possible. This worked for about 10 seconds, until I pointed my toe and my foot curled up tighter than an armadillo in the middle of a biker bar parking lot.

Seriously. Who gets a foot cramp while lying on the floor??
(Well, what has two thumbs and poufy hair?)

I wouldn't say I did well during that class but I would say that I finished that class.  I suppose the *nice* thing about pilates is that it seems like there are three levels of difficulty for every pose.

Level 1 a.k.a. OPTION A

Level 2 a.k.a OPTION B

Level 3 a.k.a. OPTION C

In. My. Dreams. But honestly? Not even then...

Finally, I feel the need to apologize to spinners and all manner of indoor cyclists* for calling y'all disturbed:  Mr. Joseph Pilates was one crazy mo-fo, and his disciples are a little coo-coo for core work.  But hey, I really like weird people, so you, pilates-lovers, have my respect.

*I had a reader point out to me in some detail that the class I took was not an actual SPIN class so I do not want to offend...or risk litigation.



Sunday, February 13, 2011

Drinking while Half-ing

As the race started, we all took off running.  I decided to let everyone pass me so that I could make sure no one was following us (hehe). When I got to the 1.5 mile marker, I moved over to the water station and prepared to glide by as I expertly picked off a cup of water.

And when *that* didn't work, I stopped in front of someone and let them hand me the cup.

I took a couple of sips, tossed my cup to the side of the road (oh yeah, now I'm a runner) and subsequently noticed the plethora of garbage cans lined up for just that purpose.

I sheepishly continued on my way, and strategized that whole next mile and a half about getting that cup!

When I reached the water station, I walked over to the table, stopped, and grabbed the cup!

I took a sip.  It was at that moment I realized I *may* have celebrated a smidgen early.

Turns out, trying to swallow whilst simultaneously trying to catch one's breath really messes with the whole suck/swallow/breathe cycle.  Once I was back to inhaling more O2 than H2O, I threw out my cup in the garbage can (yep, I learn real quick) and was on my way once again.

At each of the subsequent water stations I finessed my system of walk, grab, choke sip.

After about an hour I was getting pretty hot, so I decided that at the next station I would pour a cup of water over my head.

 Remember how I said my hat was waterproof?  Yeah.

I decided instead to take advantage of the friendly offers from children with super-soakers to help cool me down.

I now had two methods (drinking and soaking) to get me to the finish without dissolving into a puddle of sweat and regret; which I managed to do ahead of 19 others...some of whom may or may not have been walkers.

I made it to the finish line, clocking in at 2:32--a very satisfying time for my first race.  I smiled for my photo, then went over to share some witty banter with the volunteer who removed my race chip.

Dave found me lurching toward the food table. We had both finished our first respective races and were riding high on endorphins! We spent the rest of the day eating

and sleeping,

and repeating.

*This post kinda got away from me, but I wanted to share my first race with you guys!  So, even if I took you down a different path than you were expecting, I hope you enjoyed it :)




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