Right back at it despite the fact that I keep falling in the toilet because my thighs are sore. At least after Chris’ 7AM class I get to take it easy.
living life in social dischord
Right back at it despite the fact that I keep falling in the toilet because my thighs are sore. At least after Chris’ 7AM class I get to take it easy.
the lady on the mat in front of me at burn sf today saw my ugly face.
just this past weekend i was talking to sadia after a super sweaty soulcycle class with lauren mchale, one of our favorite teachers and admitted that i was grateful that the room is dark and i’m usually not in the front row because i was completely certain i make ugly face all the time in class. whether it’s the out of the saddle sprinting where i feel like a tiny pup treading water during a tsunami trying to keep my head up and chest forward or if i’m pushing against several turns too many on the resistance knob while sitting unable to use my body weight to push through the pedal stroke i know my face is doing things outside of my control as my body is too busy focusing on not giving up.
burn sf is only my third foray into group fitness in my life if you count yoga as one (i sorta don’t since my main reason for going to yoga isn’t necessarily fitness related). burn is about an hour of cardio, weights and pilates (springboard). you move from high impact cardio moves (jumping jacks, burpees, side runs, to cardio with dumbbells, to floor core work, to spring board work for legs and arms. the spring work is usually more towards the later half of class but everything else is fair game as you move from burpees and mountain climbers to bicep curl lunges to bicycle crunches at what feels like lightening speed.
i’m usually dripping sweat within 5 minutes of class and by the end i’m using hand towels so i don’t slip all over my now drenched mat. how i have not yet completely face planted during plank-ups is a miracle.
with all this soulcycle i’ve been doing i’ve gotten comfortable sweating and screaming and grimacing in a safe dark space.
not well lit open studios with music at a normal decibel where everyone can hear you…dying…slowly.
several times i was off during side planks and found myself facing the lady in front of me. every time we made eye contact she smiled and i couldn’t help but nervously laugh though various parts of my body were doing the opposite.
i was off the entire class so we found each other face to face a lot this morning. i was typically making ugly face, trying to not slip on my own sweat with various body parts quivering. each time she would smile encouragingly i started trying to smile back but my brain was too busy trying to figure out how to get my body to do whatever shape was supposed to be happening at the moment so my face stuck in the ugly position for the most part. i had the best intentions.
the worst place for me to make friends is in the middle of a side plank hip lift.
after class as we were frantically wiping down our mats for the next class which was already strolling in she asked me how i liked class.
“it was hard,” I answered honestly. “but i loved it!”
“yeah, she builds class in a way that when you think you can’t do anything harder, you’re asked to and you have to do it.”
“i know! what is this ‘have to’? and why do we all do it?”
“i don’t know,” she said as she wiped down the last edge of her mat and handed me the spray bottle of multi-purpose cleaner. “i think we all have our own reasons but for the most part we do it because we want to get stronger. you know, get better.”
she wished me a good morning and bounded up the steps to the waiting room in what looked like 2 long strides. i thought about what my slow hobble up the stairs to fetch my shoes and hoodie would look like.
there are times when i see women after a workout and they’re glistening and glowing, their baby hairs matted to the napes of their necks, their top knot messy bun perfectly un-perfect, their tiny little barefoot feet pit-pit-pitting around a fitness studio like nimble little fairies as they giggle and talk to their other glistening friends after class and i wonder if that will ever be me.
and will i ever get over wanting that to be me.
will i ever get over it because my flat hobbit feet and chunky cankles aren’t going anywhere. my short torso and wide ribcage are set in place by ossified bones that dictated my shape a long time ago. a long time ago when i had no idea that i was still growing and malleable and if i had just discovered pilates and yoga during puberty maybe i’d be at least 5’ tall. if i had only known earlier. if i had started caring earlier. if i had known better. if i hadn’t scarfed one too many peanut butter kandy kakes for breakfast. if i had…
if i had, who knows who i would end up looking like or being today?
sometimes i can’t help but think about this alternate universe me and if she would have used her powers for good or evil? this bizzaro world me is always some sort of hybrid ballerina/ninja who has never in her life experienced thigh chafing in the summer time or coming to terms with ugly face in a well lit group fitness studio.
she doesn’t exist and she’s in my way.
i get so bogged down with these ideas and it’s ridiculous because it’s all so intangible and change is possible. the idea of these women who glisten. the idea of my alterna-me non-chaffing ninja. i made these things up. i gave them weight and power.
i can change my mind. i can let it go.
i can’t change my body to be this impossible thing. the past couple of months of losing weight has been great but at times misleading. i can lose fat. i can build muscle, i can get stronger but i can’t wake up tomorrow with someone else’s bone structure and genetics.
but i can change my mind.
and i can choose to get out of my own way and trust that i’m exactly where i need to be.
out of all my favorite part of the mackelmore ride, my most favorite is that kid in the front. he rocked the front row and had a blast.
all i can think of was how awkward and surly i would have been if i was a kid whose mom dragged me to a spin class and how awful i would be to my mom afterwards. this kid is much more awesome than i ever would have been and it made me so happy to see someone have so much no holds barred fun.
it’s all about choices.
i made a choice to get up this morning at 4:45AM and ride like a complete beast in class. it was ugly and it was awesome. and i feel a lot better about all these emotions and thoughts that have been weighing me down this week.
this makes it easier to say ‘FUCK ALL Y’ALL’ this morning and keep moving forward.
(photo credit, Chris Fanning)
Chris Layda, one of my three favorite soulcycle teachers is my fitspiration. I think it’s because beyond this photo, I’ve seen him in person, I’ve gone to his classes, I’ve been pushed and motivated in ways I’ve never been before. I realized after Monday night’s sweat therapy session that I am the most honest with myself on how much resistance I put on the wheel in Chris’ class. I don’t negotiate like I do in other classes. I just turn it to the right and I trust that I can push through it and I end up surprising myself when I do. I think I also had gotten used to the way classes seem to be structured with hills and sprints placed in certain places. Having the intense hill climb after arms instead of before threw me for a loop and it was refreshing because my brain and body were expecting a contemplative song and out of the seat jog followed by the final sprint home.
While there’s the class that’s the most fun (bea) and the class that’s emotionally fulfilling and therapeutic (ian), Chris’ class is the most physically challenging for me because for some reason when he’s in that room and i’m on that bike i trust that i can do whatever it is he’s telling me to do and i walk away completely aware that my body has changed.
and that feeling is more inspirational than any image on the internet you can ever find of the most athletic person in the world.
breaking it down it sounds so simple. i want to change. i know what to do to enact this change. i do the thing and the result is change. what i never account for in this process is the part of my brain that tells me that no matter what i do i will not succeed. there is a voice that’s buried deep within all of us that tells us these things, plants the seed of doubt, makes us second guess everything we do. i often drown in this and and tip toe back and forth over feeling good about myself and feeling awful about everything i do and this struggle, this internal fighting is what keeps me from really fully getting to any goal i set.
i see the shiny gold medal at the end of the rainbow and even if i’m one inch away from reaching it what keeps me from it is he fact that there is a piece of me that believes I don’t deserve it. no matter how hard i work or how much i give, there is a tiny slice of me that still believes i’m not worthy of it.
i’m holding myself back. i’m in my own way.
i’ve known this for awhile.
the next step is to get comfortable with being awesome.
i’m constantly amazed at how emotionally exhausting it is to believe you’re not worthy of happiness. it’s a process and it moves slower than i want it to but it helps to have someone on a consistent basis tell you you can do something you’re so sure you can’t do.
the year started out quiet and easy. life was good. i thrive the most during quiet times. i did a lot of yoga and spent time with the dr. and not much else.
we had a portland reunion. it was pretty successful. i miss having everyone i know in one place.
we started going on weekly hikes. we got lost a lot. and i got dirty. a lot.
we mostly rewarded ourselves with food.
i bought the dr. a plane for his birthday.
i made an appointment. i had my boobs removed.
recovery wasn’t as awful as anticipated. 4.4 lbs of boob removed and i started going down stairs differently and stood taller. running and yoga were completely new experiences.
that’s a lot of boob when you look at it.
sadia introduced me to soulcycle. i cried during my first class. i couldn’t honestly tell you if it was because i was so out of shape the class broke my body or because something inside my brain snapped and all this stuff came spilling out. stress and bad memories and lots of ugly awful guilt. feeling all the feels is not pretty. it’s made especially worse in Marin, the land of fit blondes with disposable income(with whom we were basically surrounded by). thank god they keep the room dark.
we kept hiking. we’d soulcycle and hike and this was better and cheaper than therapy.
we even discovered ferngully
a lot of this year i felt like this.
but this always helped
and spending time here
we went here for my birthday
and the dr. asked me to marry him
this was the year i came to love the woods
oh, and i said yes
i went to wisconsin to eat at culvers and see this little guy
work started to get sorta crazy too
so there was a lot of this
but we got to go away for an offsite retreat!
i need to find a wedding dress. so there was some of this
i went to seattle to see some of my favorite people get married
and discovered the wonder that is Port Townsend
and started to re-evaluate my priorities
sadia and jason threw us an engagement party at flora grubb
soulcycle opened in the city
i added it into my workout routine. i even ran uphill from my house to class one day. this is not recommended.
we flew home for the holidays
so i could spend as much time as possible oogling these guys
and hang out with these guys
and share this guy with the entire family where i usually just get him all to myself
and eat more than my fair share of east coast junk food i can’t get in SF (not pictured: tastykakes & soft pretzels)
somewhere along the way this year i lost 30 lbs without killing myself
and even though i’m currently laid up in bed with some sort of evil flu
i’m pretty happy with how 2013 turned out.
i did not stab anyone repeatedly with a fork as i’ve often daydreamed about because it’s not worth the effort to hate.
even the times i’ve turned that hate around on myself, I gave up and let it go.
even though it’s a struggle, even though there are a hundred justifiable reasons to hold onto it, i’ve realized the best thing to do is to let go of what no longer serves you. there are lots of other things out there that deserve your time and effort. like baby nephews and baking cookies and reading books and getting lost in the woods with your friends.
i can’t predict what will happen next year.
but if you need me i’m going to kill this head cold and step outside to enjoy this last bit of 2013.
i hope you have a wonderful evening. stay warm. do dumb things. don’t get caught. sleep in and eat lots of pancakes tomorrow.
i know i will.
this is basically how i feel after 3 days at my parents house in new jersey. i don’t know how i failed to realize that our family pastime is sitting around the kitchen table inhaling whatever random food happens to be there. for a family of diabetics there sure is a lot of cheesecake laying around.
stray pieces of pretzels, chocolate, pasta, whathaveyou have been making their way into my mouth when i’m not paying attention. i’ve been combatting this with running. today i managed to convince my cousin to take jeff and i to a spin class in Philly through a torrential downpour.
i had heard of flywheel from doing some online research about soulcycle after sadia got me hooked and liked the idea of being able to track your progress through actual hard numbers that your bike would generate about your RPM and Torq (resistance). Not only would you be be able to see these numbers on the screen attached to your bike they’re also saved to your profile account. You can also opt in to see your rank (your cumulative efforts of speed and resistance give you a power number) against others in the class who opted in to the Torq Board. your stats would come up on a set of flat screens above the instructor once in awhile during the course of the class.
this was both helpful and awful at the same time.
whereas i liked the idea of knowing where my efforts stood in relation to everyone else’s it did not dawn on me until after class how damaging it could be to have just one more thing, one more set of numbers, to judge myself against.
the leaderboard and the bike stats were distracting and while i liked that i could not lie to myself by faking turning up the resistance when prompted to, i also couldn’t lose myself in class like i do at soul cycle. the instructor gives you specific number ranges to turn your torq up to or to push your RPM’s to and with the constant fiddling and moving my towel around so i could see my numbers on the bike while out in third position i found myself distracted and unable to stay with the music or turn my brain off to let my body work while it took a break from overthinking everything.
it’s easy to overthink when you’re watching numbers and when you know everyone else can see your numbers as well. my own doing, i know. i opted in. i chose this.
i spent most of the class hovering around 6th place and somehow during a push close to the end of class i rounded out the whole experience at 4th. i felt pretty ok about it all but i definitely did not walk out of the studio feeling good the way i do at sc.
i came to the conclusion that flywheel felt like an individual game. even checking into class you do by yourself and your bike shoes are in little cubbies that correspond to your bike number. you don’t have to talk to a single soul when you go in or out. the staff was nice enough but i did get the feeling that no one was exactly happy to be there. (i mean, I can’t blame them, it’s 2 days before christmas, it’s pouring rain out and you’re below ground level with no windows to the outside world.)
the workout itself was intense and i did leave dripping sweat but i didn’t leave feeling like i left all the bullshit i carry around with me on the bike ready to deal with the world again.
i can go to the gym and zone out on cardio until the cows come home and that’s only $15 a month.
i’m glad i went and got my workout for the day. tomorrow i’ll hit the pavement again for another run to keep burning for all the stray chocolates that make their way into my mouth for the next couple of days.
oh, and um, this dress in ivory happened.
if nothing else comes through, i have a wedding dress!