Days 12 to 14 of 40: (Keep swimming)

Pool from beyondthecreek.com

Wednesday – the first bump in the road of the 40 days. With happy hour plans after work, I brought gym shoes so that I could walk during the day and also thought if I got home early enough, I could take a quick walk or do some yoga at home. Rachel and I were all set to walk outside and it was pouring rain, which is actually a little unusual for Seattle … at least during the day like that. We ended up walking a bit in the halls and up and down some stairs at work, but I don’t consider it really getting our walk in.

And I didn’t get home early enough to do anything except change clothes and head to happy hour.  That still felt good for the soul and it was nice to catch up with my friend, M, who had gone on a fabulous trip to Nepal and had all kinds of things to share about life. She listened to my “yes, I went back for a third time” tale, hugged me and told me (as many others have) that I deserve so much better. It has finally mostly sunk in, that line of thinking.

Thursday, last night – upgrade my gym membership and swim at 24 Hour Fitness. I had my new TYR nest pro goggles so that I won’t have raccoon eyes, and I was pretty excited about that. I left work a little late-ish and got to the gym around 6:15 or so. The membership upgrade process took awhile, and I’m always skeptical of the “we’ll give you the best deal” because I’ve had bad experiences before with the gym. When I last checked online, the upgrade price was $10, which no longer seemed available. In the end, I didn’t have to pay that much (I did pay a reduced initiation fee) and timing-wise, it really worked out because there was a water aerobics class and I wouldn’t have been able to swim laps.

So, as luck would have it, I pretty much had the lane to myself the entire time for swimming.  30 minutes, mostly laps. The only downside – having to listen to snippets of a conversation between three men – one younger white boy, older asian man and older African American man. From what I could tell, and thank God (honestly) that I couldn’t really hear them, they were talking about sex. Seriously, on the deck of the pool, with older women sitting around them, completely covered up. I heard “back door” and “first time” and “home run” and tried to do my turn as fast as possible when I got to that wall. The younger kid said something that made me think he and other friends of his were sleeping sequentially with the same woman. I have a feeling that he was making a lot of it up.

Back to business. I was pleased with the goggles, and able to stop at the store on the way home. And it was a double workout kind of day; Rachel and I also took a 30 minute walk–in the sunshine, too–so I made up a bit for the day before.

As for today, well, I’ll tally 30 minutes of walking. I had gum grafting surgery this afternoon, so real exercise is actually off the table for the next week. Again, something I hadn’t planned when I embarked on this 40 day journey. But walking counts and maybe towards the end of next week, I can work in some yoga. I don’t want to miss out on celebrity sightings at Samadhi.

Days 10 & 11 of 40: Pranayama

Man practicing pranayama

One-quarter of the way through, and it’s working (or I’m working; smile). 90 minutes of yoga on Monday night and last night, a 45-minute walk home from work. The latter was not planned, but the cool air on my face, with a little fall of rain at first, felt so nice after being inside nearly all day.

On Monday night, Steve started out class by talking about pranayama. As he explained and as you’ll see on Wikipedia, the word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Pran, meaning life force (particularly, the breath, which we need more than food and water) and yama, to extend or draw out.

We did some kapalabhati, or breath of fire, which is basically short, explosive exhales through the nose. I’ve realized recently that it really gives your abs a workout, too.

Steve talked about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and getting used to suffering as part of finding ever-present peace in whatever happens in life. I’m probably running lots of his thoughts together. But it makes sense for me and the things that I’ve gone through recently in life, and continue to struggle with. And it’s probably true for the things that we all go through in life on a regular basis. Just saying. We sat for 15 minutes at the start of class, and Steve said that if we could do this every day, it’s a great start of a meditation practice. (Highlight of the class: A local music celeb was in class. I felt like a 12-year-old girl for most of the night, and all of next day. Constant. smirk.)  

Tuesday night, I walked to REI after work to get new swim goggles (no more raccoon eyes). The cool-ish air and almost rain felt nice on my skin. The walk to REI was around 10 minutes or so, and I knew the total walk home was 45 minutes. So after REI, I walked it all the way home, and it felt pretty great. I’m slightly obsessed right now with a song from Glee (“This is the New Year”) and I kept hitting repeat while walking it (and me) home.

Day 9 of 40: (Keep) swimming

Swimming pool from oneyeartofixmylife.comI made it to the pool today. It was a small space, only two lap lanes, but the pool was clean and relatively uncrowded, for the gym on a Sunday morning. 40 minutes of swimming, first with laps and then kicking, and then back to a few laps.

My arms felt sore after yesterday’s yoga workout. I think this Saturday-Sunday combo is a good one. I did learn I’ll have to upgrade my gym access if I want to go to this other location, but I think it will be worth it. Feeling good about continuing on with the 40 days goal and getting back to swimming.

There is a sauna and a steam room with access on the pool deck. A lot of traffic there, with most people not using the pool. One older man kept using the steam room and then would plunge into the pool, doing a deadman’s float kind of thing. His back had some deep round scars on it. And while that’s not really what the pool is there for, when people are swimming laps, he was respectful enough and kept out of our way.

I may need some new goggles or may need to loosen mine up a bit. They left pretty deep grooves under my eyes, visible enough that I didn’t want to stop at the store afterwards. And I can’t have my workout damaging my youthful appearance.

Day 8 of 40: Turn my world upside down

5 steps to headstand from lulu lemon

90 minutes of yoga, much needed after a busy week and feeling sluggish today.  KT started us off with a form of cleansing. We moved our warmed up hands from below our chin, up our face and over our head, like a veil, she said. We put slight pressure on our eyes (eyes closed), massaged the mandible and loosened up the face.

Inversions – a parallel with life, when things get turned upside down all of a sudden. I’d never thought about a headstand that way before. Lots of core, and some flow. Backbends. Music you could dance to, in a ballet kind of way, which I love. A wonderful class. Much needed – did I already say that?

Tomorrow: Swimming challenge. And, yes, I’ve been talking about that since day 1.

Day 7: A broken shoe still works

Mary Jane missing a part

More walking on the 7th day. And proof on the left that the distance was far enough to cause some damage. My friends Alex and Nathan got married yesterday afternoon. I left work early and despite planning ahead to wear my black patent leather Dansko clogs to the hotel and bringing my higher platform-y Mary Janes, I decided that I could hoof it the whole way from my office (8th & Stewart) to the W Hotel.

I’d recently repaired my old-ish Mary Janes, applying a nice layer of super glue to the sole of one shoe to ensure the platform was secure. It was secure, just not enough to endure a brisk 30-minute walk to the W (made longer because I forgot the W was on 4th and not 1st), including a few steep hills. Sigh.

As luck (?) would have it, both platforms broke off by the time we left the courthouse. The second platform came off in the middle of the street, like a scene from a movie. I was fortunate enough that even without the platforms, the shoes still had a bottom and you couldn’t really tell what had happened. The ruby red with a small bow Franco Sartos would have been a better choice. (Note to self, and do I need to say that when I’m blogging?)

At least 30 minutes of walking in? Yes, definitely. And dancing after dinner at Pink ultra lounge downtown. The DJ didn’t take requests, though he didn’t say that. A pet peeve of mine, especially when celebrating a wedding. We heard that Pink is closing this weekend, actually, and that’s not surprising. The company (wedding party) was fabulous and we had tons of fun as a result. But the bartenders weren’t very friendly or very into customer service. I just hope Alex and Nathan had a great night. I think they did.

Next up: Yoga at Samadhi. 90 minutes of a workout today. Looking forward to it.

Days 5 & 6 of 40: Walk on, grin and barre it

Andie Hecker on JuicyCouture.com

First, it was skin care. And now, my social life is cramping my exercise routine. But, wait, perhaps instead… my social life is helping me reframe my exercise routine. I also now realize that on many days, I can easily meet the 30 minutes goal.

Yesterday, I had plans to meet friends after work to watch the IU-Purdue game. Eric, a friend I’ve known since high school, was in town for training with his job (Microsoft).  Celeste, a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile and who is also from Indiana, was meeting us along with Eric’s friends from work.  I had brought clothes to work to change into and climb up some hills as a break during the day, but that didn’t happen.

Luckily, the walk from the bus to the bar (Buckley’s in Belltown) was a good 15 or 20 minutes, at a brisk pace (X two, since I caught the bus home at the end of the night, too).

Today, I had a non-rehearsal rehearsal dinner to attend shortly after work. I took yoga clothes to work but the class in my building is no longer happening. Drat. But I also had a dentist’s appointment downtown in the morning. Walk there and back: Approximately 30 minutes. And instead of yoga at home before dinner, I tried a 15-minute DIY barre workout from Daily Candy and Andie Hecker, celebrity trainer to Miranda Kerr, Ginnifer Goodwin and Natalie Portman. Hecker’s Ballet Bodies site is inspiring photog-wise and perfect for me, the one who is craving dancer’s legs.

So there you have it. I’m still on target for the 40 days. I’m a little worried about tomorrow, since I am leaving work early for a wedding and am not sure I’ll have time for a workout during the day. Plus, I have to haul the party dress to work. Do I want to also bring workout clothes, or can the workout be the dance party after dinner? We are also walking to the courthouse for the wedding – could that perhaps be a 30-minute walk, total? See – social life dilemmas hit me once again. I have a feeling I’ll be ready for the weekend, and some actual gym time. Short-term goal: Finally hit the pool.

Day 4 of 40: Change o’ plans

Tennis shoes, from charmofcharleston.comThwarted with my swimming plan, but that’s OK.  I had a laser treatment today for my face, and hadn’t planned ahead when starting the 40 days that this would interfere with swimming.  Such is life.  Laser treatments and skin care are important to me and are perhaps part of the reason why my own father doesn’t realize my age. In all fairness, I don’t remember his age either.

Swimming was out, and yoga probably wasn’t a great idea. My left knee was aching a bit when I went to bed last night, and I realized that I probably should have iced it after the yoga, stairs, yoga routine on days one to three of 40.

But walking was in. And I needed to go to the store. I felt really cold on the way home, even though it was in the mid-40s today. Could I drive to the store and walk somewhere, and still get at least 30 minutes of exercise in? Probably not, and gosh, how wimpy of me. As one of our researchers would say, it’s all about the right clothing. It doesn’t matter what the weather is. A long-sleeve shirt and fleece jacket with hat did the trick. And gloves. iPod on Father John Misty to reminisce about the awesome concert the other night.

In the end: 40 minutes or so of walking. Groceries procured, lunch ready for tomorrow. And another look at the latest episode of Girls.

Up next: Most likely another walk. I’m meeting friends after work to watch the IU game.

Day 3 of 40: Santosha

90 minutes of yoga at Samadhi with Steve. Backbends on blocks, tilted against the wall. First with the hands (easy enough) and second with the blocks. I felt too shaky and then Steve decided it was better to have the blocks on the floor. We were the guinea pigs and it was an experiment.

Strength moves and core work. Triangle, without putting weight into the hand reaching for the knee, calf or the ground. I felt slightly stronger than even just a few days ago, though I couldn’t do the move with two blocks where I hold my entire body weight up.  Only one foot felt like moving.  Another goal to aim for, in addition to the dancer’s legs.

108 chants of Santosha near the end of class. Contentment, or satisfaction. I felt distracted at certain times, thinking about work or “sorry, I can’t make it” or reluctant ends to a friendship when I should have been breathing into it.  I know it’s part of the process.

Day 4:  Plan of the moment is swimming, which gets back to yesterday’s theme. And also moves from class tonight. Face down on the mat, left arm forward, right leg back and up, look over your left shoulder. Keep swimming.

Day 2 of 40: Keep swimming

swimming laps in a pool

Keep swimming is the advice B. provided the other day. Starting anew in 2013, and approaching the end of January. The loss of a friendship that had run its course and moving on from others in my past, too (not so much my choice on the latter). It is time to shake up my own world a bit.

I’ve been too sporadic with my workouts and not consistent with eating mostly healthy, so I’m embarking on my own 40 days regimen that has become popular in the yoga realm. Day 1, yesterday, yoga for 90 minutes. Class with Steve at Samadhi. Working up a sweat during the flow because of that sporadic thing I mention above.

Day 2, today. Original plan: Swimming at the gym I recently joined ($29/ month – a bargain for access to a pool!). But I didn’t have a great night’s sleep last night and knew I’d need to get a photo taken with it being my first time to the gym. So I opted instead for a stair climb in the ‘hood. Walking there and three sets of stairs:  40 minutes. Another 15 to 20 minutes walking home from there.  “Somebody more like you” playing on the iPod.

I read frequently about the difference that 30 minutes a day can make, and I haven’t put it into action. I suppose I’m reading about it a bit more because of the New Year. I’m using the 40 days as a kick start to a better balance in my life, and look forward to keeping track of the days and work outs, and making myself accountable via this blog. I suppose this is my super low-tech version of a Nike FuelBand, which local blogger Monica Guzman has covered in her tech & life column that runs in The Seattle Times.

My other goal in the months to come, and fodder for a future blog: Dancer’s legs or the equivalent for me. Inspired after seeing the mind-blowing Compagnie Marie Chouinard last night at Meany Hall.

Day 3 tomorrow:  return to Samadhi.

Advice for Life: From Billy B., Shuttle Driver

In the next 10 years of my life, my age will start affecting me:  Aches and pains will pop up, and friends will start dying.  Billy is, I guess, in his mid- to late 50s, and he talked about being at the point in his life where he’s looking back on his life.  He had just returned from a trip home to Mississippi to visit family and friends.  He spoke about the trip home with such happiness, and was full of smiles.  I asked him if he wanted to move back eventually, and he said “yes.”

He talked about relationships he’s had, and how as we get older, even if it’s difficult, you should try to stay friends with people you’ve dated, even if the relationship didn’t work out.  I’m not really sure how we got on that topic.  He described a recent phone call with a female friend, and how they’d come to an understanding of where things stand with them right now.  “It could come full circle a year from now,” Billy said.

He’s from Biloxi, Mississippi, a place that I visited several times when I was little, with my parents.  I used to love those trips – I remember beignets, the beach, visiting historic places.  I haven’t been back there since I was a kid, but I’d love to return.  I’ve heard that it’s changed, with casinos, even.  And some of those places were trashed due to Katrina and other storms.  Mary Mahoney’s is still there, but I don’t see the seafood place we used to go to on the water.  I also remember going to a plantation and learning about cotton picking, and buying a little sample of cotton still in its shell and taking it home.  Beauvoir may be the one that I’m thinking of, but it looks like (sadly) most of it was destroyed in Katrina.