It Works® … Or Do They?

I made a promise to myself years ago.

No more parties.

No Pampered Chef. No Tastefully Simple. No Mary Kay or Avon. No wine clubs and even though it was a lot of fun, no sex toy parties. I’d been there, done that.

A friend of mine sells It Works® products, and asked me to host a party in my home.

I broke my own promise.

You have to admit, there’s a certain amount of mystique surrounding those crazy wrap things. I’ve seen a lot of before and after photos, not only from total strangers but from my own friends! I’m sure the majority of people who showed up to my wrap party were in the same boat. They’d heard about it or knew someone who sold the products, wanting to see up close and personal if it’s for real or total bogus.

It helped that my friend selling the product is undeniably attractive and told us her own story. You know, the one where she finds the light at the end of the cellulite tunnel. She never believed in the products, either. She figured it was all a huge scam. Her husband is a personal trainer and he told her how it was all a huge scam. To get rid of those flabby legs, you need to put in the work. Do countless squats a day, right? My friend doesn’t have the time, not with 4 kids. On the sly, she decided to try the wraps. She also purchased the defining gel and had been using that without her husband knowing. When he complimented her on her toned up physique and attempted to give her an “I told you so”, assuming she’d been busting her ass, she confessed the truth. Her husband became a believer that day, and although he’s still 100% sold on the old-fashioned way of toning up (eat right and exercise) he can’t dispute those crazy wrap things. Or the other products.

I received free wraps at my party. Someone had bought product and I was reaped the rewards. My friend showed me how to apply the wraps, but since mine would be done on my backside and thighs, we both decided the application should be done later, when I could do it in privacy.

My husband snapped a before photo of me. I won’t be sharing that on my blog. I gasped when I saw it. My friend has asked for my before/after photos so she can have them on hand, and I might share them with her, as long as she can promise me there’s no way anyone can trace those photos back to me.

Last night I tore open two packets. Each packet contains only one wrap. My husband was a good sport and helped me, and I don’t think I could have accomplished things without his assistance, trust me. The wraps are gooey brown and sticky, smelling strongly of eucalyptus. I took one and wrapped it gooey side down around my upper thigh until the ends nearly touched towards the front of my thigh. This isn’t me- I’m borrowing, but here’s an example:

Next comes the saran wrap. That’s used to hold the wraps in place. I was given a sample of the It Works® green body wraps

and I placed that over the saran wrap. It was so tight, I had a hard time walking. I was afraid everything would shift on me and all the work to put the wraps into place would be in vain. I slowly made my way downstairs and plopped onto the couch as best as I could, gently. There’s no exercise or sweating when wearing the wraps, and you have to consume 30-40 oz of water within the first hour of wearing the wraps. No eating, either. I had an excuse to watch The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All and Mistresses.

The goo made my skin tingle. The tingle turned into a mild burning sensation. I’m not sure if that’s normal or not. You can wear the wraps for 45 min-8 hours, and I decided to stop after 3 hours. My friend had mentioned that someone she knew wore the wraps to bed! There would be no way I could do that. Not with the way my skin felt. The smell of eucalyptus was strong, too. I was anticipating koala bears at any minute.

After 3 hours, I gingerly removed everything from my thighs. You can’t wash the goo off. You have to rub it into the skin so you don’t waste a single eucalyptus inch. My husband took an after photo, and I must admit- you can tell a difference in my skin. My thighs are less portly and have less cellulite, esp. the left thigh. I wonder if I wrapped that side up a lot better than the right side. My thighs continued to burn and when I went to the bathroom (much-needed after 40 oz of water), the seat felt like an ice-cube on my cheeks! Otherwise, my legs feel normal today. I was instructed to drink 8-10 glasses of water over the next few days in order to keep the fluids up. That’s to flush out toxins and prepare me for the next wrap, due after 72 hours. The company states that you want to do 4 treatments to get the best results, and while each pack comes with 4 wraps and works well for someone treating their stomach, it cuts my wraps down in half since I’m using them on my thighs and need 2 for each treatment.

I will do the final treatment in 72 hours. I won’t be purchasing more wraps.

I’m sure “It Works”. Whether it’s a chemical compound or the fact that my skin has been bound tight for hours on end, thus shrinking the surface area of my flesh. I think it’s a combination of both.  I do believe my friends who have used the wraps. I’ve seen their photos. I just don’t like the way they feel on my body. Maybe I have sensitive skin. I know when I’ve had facials, I need the super careful stuff, or I end up with a red face. However, I have already purchased the defining gel, and will give that a go. I want to try the Greens drink, chock full of vitamins and minerals. I got in on a discounted rate for these products and figured it couldn’t hurt to investigate a little further into this company and see if they are more than just their wraps.

As for this consumer? I’m all wrapped out.

How about you? Have you heard of It Works®? Have you tried their products? What’s your story?

 

She Sins At Midnight: Book Review And Book Giveaway!

She Sins At Midnight, by Whitney Dineen

Can I Help You?

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Denise chose: Asking for help.

I’m no good when it comes to needing help. I don’t mind lending a hand and I’m usually one of the first ones to ask if a friend or loved one needs assistance, but I don’t do well when the shoe’s on the other foot. I’ve been this way since childhood. I’d rather suffer in silence and I’m not entirely sure why.

Maybe it has something to do with vulnerability. Asking for help means letting your guard down, letting someone see you in a weak moment. I wish I could be that sort of person. The one who has no trouble showcasing her softer side.

I used to own a Chevy Blazer. The word “lemon” comes to mind when I conjure up images of this thing. There were a few redeeming qualities. My first-born was driven home from the hospital in the Blazer. It kept us safe in the winters with it’s 4×4 capabilities and felt solid. It looked durable on the outside yet had a lot of mechanical issues. Those issues cropped up shortly after the ex and I had divorced. I didn’t have a lot of money. I had a little something set aside in savings, but it was all on me with a toddler to support. Every time the Blazer broke down, I saw the money dwindle. The fuel pump. An air compressor. Cracks in this, leaks in that.  I couldn’t afford to purchase a new vehicle but I wasn’t able to keep up with the maintenance. When the auto mechanic called and gave me the latest $400 estimate, I nearly broke down.

 

I didn’t have it.

Money is a tricky thing, and I was raised old-school. You never borrow money. It leads to discord and chaos, especially between family. And you never lend it, either. It’s considered a gift when you give someone money and you should never expect a return on a gift.

I couldn’t bring myself to ask my family for help. I didn’t want to bother my friends, either. I couldn’t ask my employer for an early paycheck. The ex? No way.

With shaky hands, I dialed my boyfriend’s number and waited. When he answered, I started to cry. I’m not a big crier. In fact, he says he’s seen me cry only a handful of times since we’ve known each other, and we’ve known each other for over a decade! There I was, crying. I felt ashamed and nervous. Scared. I literally felt fear. I calmed down enough to explain the situation. He’d witnessed the issues I’d had with the Blazer. He knew how often that piece of crap had been in and out of the auto mechanic. When I got to the part where I asked to borrow money from him, my throat became constricted. I didn’t even want to do it, but I had no other option.

I remember how sweet he had been with me. He calmed me down and told me how good it made him feel, knowing I’d reached out and asked him for help. I could have asked anyone, but I chose him. He said he understood how hard it was for me to be in the situation I’d found myself in, and he didn’t judge me for it or think ill of me. There was no expectation from him, even though I repeatedly offered to pay him back. None of that mattered to him. It’s one of the many, many reasons I married him the following year. Aside from how great my husband is, he never makes me feel like a terrible person for needing assistance.

When I ask for it, that is. I’m still tough on myself and figure I can do things on my own the majority of the time, but I’ve loosened up (somewhat). It can be a real detriment. I am very understanding when others need assistance, so why can’t I be that understanding when *I* need it? I mean, let’s face it. We all need help from time to time, and it’s okay to ask for it!

 

 

 

Changing, A Little At A Time…

The yoga competition will be held on November 16th. Four months from now. Earlier this year, thoughts of contorting my body into various poses was nothing more than some distant task on my planner. When a friend asked me the other day where my skill level was at and how I felt I was doing, the progress I’m making… I had to take a moment and realize just how daunting this distant task will be. Four months sounds like a lot of time, yet I feel as though I haven’t practiced to my full potential up until now. I can feel the tiny nuances and changes within my body- but it’s not as visible to the outside world as I’d hoped it would be right now. A big wake up call.

In a sense, I feel as though I’m the underdog going into this competition. I have no sense of grandeur, really. I don’t need to be the champion. There will be others who are like Gumby and I’m far from that. My goal is to find the girl I used to be, the one who didn’t mind being center stage and having a light cast on her from above. The one who had a lot of self-confidence. I want to work hard for something and know that I kicked some serious ass by doing the best I could. My perfection will come from knowing I can do this, that I can get through this, and not feel terrified. If I can accomplish this, I can accomplish anything!

Tracking my progress:

Standing head to knee: Dandayamana-Janushirasana

May

May

July

July

Standing head to knee has been the easiest pose for me. What I’m working on now is lowering my elbows so they are below my leg when I’m in this position, and I’ve also lowered my extended leg so it’s perpendicular with the ground.

Standing Bow: Dandayamana Dhanurasana

May

May

July

July

I was falling forward when this picture was taken! Which is why my arm looks a little odd. My husband took the photos for me and said, “I think you’re cheating!” LOL! My leg has been lifting up a little more when I do this pose, and I’m working on lowering myself down so that my belly is parallel with the ground.

Floor bow: Dhanurasana

May

May

July

July

I’ve been trying something different. My instructor will say: “Going into this pose, make sure your legs do all the work.” So, I am playing first with my legs, in order to see how that feels. Then, I’ll work on bringing my chest back up towards the sky.

Rabbit: Sasangasana

May

May

July

July

In this pose, you want to look like a doughnut. Not there yet, but I’ll get there.

Stretching:

May

May

July

July

The pose with the most progress, although my back needs to be straighter and not so rounded at the top. When I first attempted this, I couldn’t even grab onto my toes, let along pull my elbows down to meet the sides of my legs!

Time for me to get a little practice in today! If any of the above poses intrigue you, I suggest you check out your local yoga studio and see what they have to offer. Most will offer what you see here (Bikram) along with Vinyasa and Hatha- all great ways to improve on your flexibility and your health!  If you’re interested in competing, check out USA Yoga.

Namaste!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Life Outside The Box

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Tracey’s topic choice is: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone…

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That sits on my dresser. I see it every morning when I start my day. A friend gave this sticker to me along with a couple of running shirts, so I assume this quote is meant for those who are fitness-driven. I see it as so much more than that.

Going beyond your comfort zone doesn’t always mean going balls to the walls. Some days, it’s just making it through. There are mornings where I don’t feel as though I have much to give to the outside world or even to myself. Maybe I had a rough night. I suffer from insomnia, so that’s a likely occurrence for me. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or blame it on my hormones. There are days where I want to stay in bed and keep myself burrowed beneath the covers, yet I have to venture out. So much depends on my existence. I have to push myself. Usually, I’m a driven person who thrives on her accomplishments, no matter how big or small. There are those days, though….

Since quitting my job nearly two years ago to stay home full-time with my boys, I’ve noticed I’m not nearly as personable as I once was. I had worked in property management for over a decade. My daily grind consisted of meeting up with residents and prospective residents whom I’d never laid eyes on before. Total strangers. I would show apartments, deal with conflicts. I had a lot of self-confidence. Over time, I feel as though I’ve lost some of that. I’m sure not having a grown-up atmosphere has contributed a great deal. I have friends who are stay at home moms, and like me, they lead busy lives so we don’t always meet up as often as we’d like to. And even where there is a group gathering, I notice the pangs of shyness (a totally foreign feeling for me) and nervousness at the prospect of dealing with a lot of people. This has never been who I am. When I was a child, I was always center stage and never felt awkward. Here I am in my mid-30′s (is 36 still mid-30′s?) and I’m dealing with introverted anxiety!

I still go, though. The shyness doesn’t always make an appearance, but when it does I push on through it. I know that chances are, I’ll get to feeling more comfortable and those strange feelings will subside.

Even with writing. Putting my words out there for everyone to see and critique is daunting, as I’m sure it is for most writers. Even the most accomplished ones but most of us still do it. The alternative is keeping quiet and stifling our passion, which in my world is not an option, not ever.

Going back to that fitness-driven quote… this certainly applies. It’s not always easy to lace up my Brooks and get my ass in gear. I want to give up, I want to cut back on the amount of miles I’m required to do. The recent cancellation of my obstacle course race was a big blow for me, and I could have thrown in the towel and stopped the training.  Yesterday I was seriously considering it. What’s the point? It’s easier to ___________ (fill in the blank with any number of alternatives). Sometimes we have to go beyond the comforts of what we find safe and easy. Maybe the continuation of my training will lead to something bigger and better, and I want to be ready for that. Even if it’s not the easiest.

There will come a day when I cannot do any of this. In the meantime, I’m going to do the best job I can, even when it gets rough. Sometimes, though,  it’s merely the getting through it that matters the most.

 

 

 

My Bad Racing Year

I’ve always signed up for a race early. I try to get in at the cheapest rate I can, and I want to make sure I have a slot available. You never know when a race will fill up fast.

This year, I’ve paid for five races. Of these, I’ve only run one. 

There was the Health and Wellness Expo run, back in April. Totally rained out. Then there was the Rock and Roll 80′ 5K in May. Also rained out. I was all geared up for the color run last month, and we were under a severe weather warning. Bye-bye, color run. I did run the Mom and Me 5K; the weather was perfection, and I assumed it would be smooth sailing the rest of the year.

I’ve never gotten overly emotional when a race has been cancelled. Shit happens. I reason with myself. At least I sign up for races that are supporting a good cause, and my money is being put to good use, right? Then this:

notice

Late one night, I was flipping through channels when I saw obstacle course runners on t.v.  I was totally enamored! Which is why I sought out Hard Charge’s website, and wasn’t hesitant when I spent the $90 dollars (a super-duper early bird rate, mind you) to run the race. I paid for this race in November of last year! I’ve been looking forward to it, and for the past few weeks I’ve been knee-deep in a grueling obstacle course training schedule to be ready and prepared for the 4-5 mile run that boasted insane courses that would all be televised. I wanted to come in 10th or better for my age group.

And now this.

I must admit, I got a little teary-eyed. I know, it’s just a race, but tell that to my wallet (I just paid for a hotel room last week, since the race was scheduled in Des Moines). Tell that to my aching shoulders and burning backside. And tell that to my crushed spirit.

There are other races out there. I could easily sign up for another one, but it still sucks. Honestly, I don’t even want to dish out the money. With my luck, any future races I have planned for this year will be rained out, snowed in or the whole operation will get shut down. I think from here on out, I’m going to be one of those people who waits until the last possible moment before I sign up for any other races. True, I might be dishing out an additional $10-$20 bucks, but as my husband puts it, it’s insurance. No one ever reimburses for these things, so I should wait it out and make sure the planets are aligned before I even bother forking over the money.

Such a shame.

I’m still going to complete my training. I have a few more weeks to go, and I’m not quitting or throwing in the towel. Maybe I’ll sign up for another obstacle course, or maybe not, but I’m no quitter. If you see a woman running 4 miles, and at every mile she drops down and does 10 burpees and 10 spiderman push-ups, stop and say hello. She’s working hard, man- race or no race.

This could have been me

 

Sunday Funday and other Birthday Ramblings

There are two days a year where I expect to be treated like a queen. Well, maybe not exactly like a queen. It’s the two days a year where I don’t have to clean or pick up after others. I don’t have to cook meals, and I can sit lazily about while one of my children sits to the side, idly feeding me grapes. Not really. Those two days are Mother’s Day and my birthday.

Saturday, the 5th, at 11:49am I officially turned 36. I wore the bathrobe I’d thrown on hours earlier, no shower in sight. In what felt like an opposites sketch from You Can’t Do That On Television, my husband was doing the dishes, and my preschooler had been fed breakfast. I was anticipating green slime at any moment. I was very sloth-like on this day. At some point I put on pajamas and snuggled into blankets, choosing to waste my afternoon with such classics as Can’t Buy Me Love (a pivotal 80′s movie starring a young McDreamy before he was anywhere close to being McDreamy) and Airplane! Somewhere in there (after naps had by all), I decided to clean myself up and get presentable for a sushi dinner out with the family. This was around 7pm.

Me, and the little guy

Me, and the little guy

Can you believe the little guy took this pic of his dad and me?

Can you believe the little guy took this pic?

After dinner (the food was good, service not so good; husband said it would be a great place to order take out from) we went for a walk around the Keystone trail. Storms we’d had in recent weeks left behind a makeshift pond for the ducks, and of course I had to take some photos.

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So many lightning bugs.. I could only get one lit up on camera

So many lightning bugs.. I could only get one lit up on camera

After giving the mosquitos an all you can eat buffet, we decided to call it a night and head on home. Sure, my birthday was lazy, but it’s not often I am treated to such a relaxing day. The cherry on top was the Skype chat I had with my eldest son, currently visiting his dad out-of-state. It was one of the best birthday presents I’ve received this year, along with this (thanks to my husband):

He knows me too, too well

He knows me too, too well

Sunday I attended the last meet up of Yoga Rocks the Park. I went with a friend who I had convinced in recent months to try out yoga, and now she’s a total addict. Who wouldn’t be?

It's a movement

It’s a movement

The view from my yoga mat

The view from my yoga mat

After yoga, we changed out of our yoga gear and headed for the Corky Canvas. This place is for everyone, no matter what skill level you’ve got. You sit and follow instructions and paint your very own masterpiece, all while sipping a glass of wine. Or a bottle of beer. For me, it was Mike’s Blackberry Lemonade. It sounded like the perfect drink on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Not too shabby for someone who draws stick figures.

Not too shabby for someone who draws stick figures.

The employees at the Corky are very nice. Those celebrating a birthday are treated to a lovely “Happy Birthday” crown, and are offered a free shot. Unfortunately, there was no alcohol available for the free shot, so I was offered any other drink of my choice. I saw a container filled with bags of M&M’s and asked if I could have that in lieu of a drink, and she looked at me like I was nuts. Clearly, she doesn’t know about me and my sweets addiction. She had no problems with the exchange, and I sat eating my candy while waiting for the canvas to dry. I’m not an artist, not by any stretch of the imagination. If I’m forced to draw something it’s usually stick figures. This was so much fun, though, and you really feel as though you are creating top-notch art!

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The two of us… we were asked (for the 2nd time since we’ve been friends) if we were sisters!

The girl sitting across from me was also celebrating her birthday; she was born on July 5th, too. I made the grave mistake of asking what year she was born. When she said 1986, I nearly choked. I lied and told her I was born in 1990, so my friend smacked my arm and made me ‘fess up.  1978. Sigh.

The last step to our masterpieces were the trees. They were meant to look Dr. Suess-like. I’d say my tree on the far right has an erectile dysfunction issue.

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I really had such an awesome weekend. There’s nothing I’d change about it, other than my eldest being back home and able to celebrate with me in person. That month has gone by a lot faster than I imagined it would, and he’ll be home this weekend.

Meanwhile, I had this waiting for me when I got home from what my friend coined “Sunday Funday”:

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The Compulsory Poses

The competition yoga I’m partaking in (read more about it here) consists of five compulsory poses, and two elective poses for the adult age group. These photos were taken in May while we were on vacation to Chicago.

Standing head to knee (Dandayamana-Janushirasana):

practicing standing head to knee

Standing Bow (Dandayamana-Dhanurasana):

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Floor Bow (Dhanurasana):

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Rabbit (Sasangasana):

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Stretching:

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I can already tell that my flexibility has improved since these photos were taken- more so with the standing postures vs. the floor postures. I took to the standing head to knee pose quickly, yet the others ones are a definite work in progress. I haven’t been able to practice much on my electives, due to an ankle injury. My electives are:

Toe Stand (Padangustasana):

Dwarf Posture (Vamanasana):

Every day feels like a journey for me with yoga. There are some days where I feel as though I’ve totally rocked my poses, yet other days where I struggle and feel as though I’ve slid a few steps behind in my progress. Ultimately, I’m not entering this competition in the hopes of winning awards or accolades. My goal is to improve on my strength, my flexibility (of which I have none after the many years of running) and to improve on my inner self. This will take time and an immense amount of patience, along with a dedication for this craft and I know I will get there in my own time. There really is no rush.

 

‘Cuz You Got To Have Friends!

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, Melissa’s topic choice: Make new friends, but keep the old….Tell us about your most recent friendship (online or in person) AND your longest friendship.

Friends are like gold to me. I rank ‘em right up there with family. I’ve blogged before about my people collection; it takes a lot for me to let go of anyone, particularly long-lasting friendships.

I met this lovely lady when we were in 6th grade.

leah

It was my first day at a new school, and I was nervous. I had no idea where anything was, not to mention my little sister clinging desperately to my side. I was responsible for her as well, helping her find her way. Even back then, I had terrible issues with asking for help. Then this sweet girl noticed us. “Are you new here?” She took charge, and even to this day my friend has a very “take charge” attitude. Strong and independent. She lead us to my sister’s 2nd grade classroom, and then led me to mine. Coincidentally, we ended up in the same class.  The same middle school. The same high school. We had crazy experiences in our teen years and survived it. We’ve both mellowed out over the years and are on different paths but through it all we’ve managed to maintain a fantastic friendship. I always feel like I can totally be myself around her, since she’s known me for many years. She accepts me, too. She’s brilliant and amazing.

I know that I was directed to only choose one person, yet I couldn’t let this post go without including Goofy.

goof

This photo was taken in the mid-90′s. We were both awkward teens but I never doubted how undeniably cool Goofy was and still is. I still remember the first time I met her. I was invited to her older sister’s birthday party, and it was Goofy who opened the front door and let me in. Really, she’s always let me in. We became fast friends, like sisters. Her decision to invent nicknames for her close-knit group led to Chainsaw, my nickname. She goes by Goofy. My friends who have never even met her know exactly who I’m referring to when I say her nickname, and no one bats an eye. My children know her as Aunt Goofy, and her kids reciprocate with my own nickname. We don’t talk much, and she’s not as good at e-mailing me back as I am e-mailing her, but when we talk or get to spend time together, it feels as though no time has passed at all. She’s another friend of mine who I feel I can be completely myself around.

My recent friendship would be with a woman I’ll refer to as Molly. (Not her real name). Molly and I met through our boys. Her son and my 9-year old are in karate class together, and we discovered that they also go to the same school. Her daughter, who is the same age as the little guy, have become fast friends and they are inseparable during karate season. Molly and I have had some very intimate conversations, and she is very open-minded. I really appreciate that about her. She’s also laid back and a good conversationalist. When we get together, we never run out of things to talk about. It’s been a while since I’ve spent time with Molly, not since her daughter’s birthday party last month. This is a good reminder for me to get in contact with her and plan on getting together soon.

dia

rylan

What I’ve Been Up To: Training For Polar Opposites

Here’s what I’ve got going on:

training1

courtesy of outsideonline.com

training2

courtesy of outsideonline.com

I’ve done a mud run before, but I have a feeling the Hard Charge will be an entirely different experience. I feel out of my element, so when I found a training schedule online I decided to roll with it. This plan is for an 8-week schedule, but I’ve got less time than that. Six weeks. I’m going to do the best I’ve got with what I’ve been given and see where it takes me on this journey.

Paralleling right alongside the obstacle course training is my yoga competition practice. I attend class every Saturday afternoon, where I am working on the proper technique and the proper holds. Slowing down as I get into each posture. The judges will look for control and discipline. A five second hold at the fullest extent of the posture, which doesn’t sound like much but it sure feels like a long time.

practicing standing head to knee

practicing standing head to knee

My favorite so far is standing head to knee, or Dandayamana-Janushirasana (sanskrit). It’s my favorite because it’s the one I feel most accomplished with, but my instructor tells me the hardest poses will become my favorites. I look forward to that. I’ll share my other poses with you another time. I think it will be an interesting experience to chronicle the changes from the beginning to the day of competition, to see the progression in my practice.

This morning while I completed Day 5 of my obstacle course training (4 mile hike) I reflected on the simplicity of merely walking. I used to do it a lot as a kid and for the past five years or so, running has been my go-to for so many things. I forgot how enjoyable a hike could be, even one through a concrete jungle. I didn’t have access to anywhere for a hike that far, and the closest park to me with access wasn’t open yet. So, I chose my neighborhood, with all its twists and turns and abundant hills. I thought about my life and its own twists and turns. Things are well, but my 9-year old recently traveled out-of-state to spend a month with his dad over the summer. It’s the longest we’ll have ever been apart from each other, and even though I know it’s the right thing and good for him, I’m still missing him something fierce. It feels as though someone is missing in almost everything I do in my everyday life. A real adjustment period. It’s moments of reflection during this hike where I can focus on those feelings and be okay with them. Own them. It’s during my practice as a yogi where I can zone out and not think about anything but the way my breathing feels while I extend, bend, and move. I can work through what’s going on externally in my life, internally.

That’s where I’m at right now. Taking things a day at a time, with my training. Luckily, yoga works as a counterbalance to the obstacle course training, and I can work on stretching out my muscles with my practice. Even though they are polar opposites, in a strange way they go hand in hand.

 

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