Ok, people, I’ve arrived at that place where many of you have been for weeks, if not months – I’m done with winter. As I look out my sliding glass window at the still light at 7:15 pm sky, I want to feel enticed to venture outdoors, to take a walk or run. Instead, I’m cozied up on the couch trying to decide which comes first – a hot shower or a quick nap. This does not make me happy.
Last month when it was barely 12 degrees for my son’s sledding party, I didn’t complain. During my winter break a few weeks back, there were a couple of days when it was literally too cold to be outside for more than a few minutes. I accepted it. On the first full day of spring when Mother Nature spit snow from the sky, I responded by simply changing from my Frye boots into a pair of Doc’s. No big deal.
But, today? When I went outside and felt the bone-chilling wind cut through my three layers of clothing? As I reached, again, for a hat and gloves and warmed up my car prior to going to work? I felt pissed. I’m tired of my winter wardrobe, sick of socks and wearing leggings under my jeans. I’m ready for bare legs, crisp cotton sheets and open windows, aren’t you?
It’s time, Jack Frost. You need to go.
…but sometimes they do cry. As I transition from a season of x-country skiing to being back on the pavement, my hips are screaming in protest. They really do prefer the glide of skis on powder to the pounding of feet on sidewalks. It’s going to be a long spring/summer/fall if the hips and I can’t find a way to get along. Maybe you have some tips to share?
Before we get to that, let me tell you what I’ve been doing to make friends with my ever-so-important hips:
- Intense massage with active stretches
- Yoga – at least one 75 minute class a week. Last weekend I got lucky and took a class with The Hot Yoga Spot‘s Aaron. He introduced the theme as “Hips: heaven or hell.” Perfect!! It really was just what I needed.
- Lots of pigeon pose
- Slow-paced runs
- Hot baths (with bubbles and sometimes a glass of wine)
So – what have you got? Am I missing something? What else can I do to loosen up these damn hips?
Last evening, after finally coming to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to take a run, I decided to take a walk instead with Jeter. I made my usual offer to the boys to see if they cared to join me but was met by their usual response – no, thanks. I got myself warmly dressed and cued up a Pandora station of standards/vocal jazz and popped my earbuds in. Just as I reached for the doorknob, Quinn had a change of heart and decided to accompany me. Faster than I’ve ever seen him move, he had shoes and coat on and off we went.
There was something about walking in the foggy night that made for a cozy, not creepy experience. As we walked along Whitehall Road, we talked quietly, sharing my earbuds as we listened together to Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. Our conversation was filled with talk of which houses we admired, how challenging Jeter could be at times and how cool his new clip-on flashing light is. Funnily, I thought the light was shaped like a heart,* while Quinn thought it was a bone. He was correct but I was graciously given permission to think it was a heart if I wanted to. Sweet.
We stopped at his school’s primary grades playground and Quinn shared memories of playing there “years ago.” We talked about how in just a couple of years he’ll moving on to middle school and how fast time goes. As we neared the end of our walk, he found a series of puddles irresistible and made an attempt to leap them, with mixed success. His landing perfectly illustrated why so many of his pants have blown out knees. He is adorable.
Once home, after suggesting that we “do this again soon,” he continued to charm me with all that he had to say. Like: “What do you want to do? Watch a movie and sit on the couch eating ice cream?” and “Why does everything happen when you’re three? Grandma Sheila died when I was 3. I made a lot of my life decisions when I was three.”
I am so looking forward to our next walk.
*probably because of my love for the person who gave it to Jeter
If you’re an outdoors exerciser, you’ll probably agree that we’ve arrived at shoulder season – or, as I like to call it, ass season. As in, falling on your ass if you’re not cautious because it’s so damn icy. We’re somewhere between skiing and running/cycling season and each day brings the question of which activity will be best attempted in conditions that seem to vary daily.
The golf course has deteriorated into an icy landscape, complete with bare spots and piles of dog poop. I skied it Friday and it was treacherous. After walking it on Saturday, I reluctantly concluded that ski season was over. I consoled myself with my first run in weeks – 5 slow, wet and slick miles. My quads are screaming today, so I guess I guess we can call this shoulder, ass and quads season to be accurate.
This morning, there was an unexpected (to me) period of snow. Fluffy flakes quickly accumulated and frosted the icy snow changing my prospects for the day. A ski it would be.
Work last night, an obscenely early soccer game (7:30), and the time change had combined to kick my ass, confirming the appropriateness of my naming the season after the gluteal region. After a nap between fresh flannel sheets, I felt prepared to attempt the golf course, hoping that the trails would be improved. It proved to be beyond my expectations.
The sun had softened the snow’s crust and the newly fallen flakes had filled in the worst of the divots. The sky was blue with fluffy white clouds and the ski was sublime. Although I am generally conscious of being present in the moment, I focused even harder on experiencing this ski, imagining it as being my last of the winter.
The interior trails, particularly the Coca-Cola, were beautiful and easily negotiated. Jeter and I explored a new path or two and when we completed our long loop it seemed we both felt pleasantly fatigued. Regardless of which part of my body feels sore, that soulful place inside me feels satisfied. Time for a glass of wine.
Last Thursday night I doubled up my workout with a really cool event co-sponsored by The Revolution and The Hot Yoga Spot. Billed as “Hot Revolution,” it was essentially a 45 minute spinning class followed by a 45 minute hot yoga class for the total bargain price of $20.
We began at 5:15 at The Rev’s Latham studio. Getting there with evening rush hour traffic was a beast of epic proportions but my friend, Will, saved me bike and I clipped in just as the class was starting. This was my first time at this spinning studio and it is really top-notch with quality equipment, audio, lights and instruction. I hadn’t been to a spinning class in at least 3 or 4 years and I was quickly reminded why that was the case…I really don’t like spinning! Obviously, this is my issue because plenty of people looked really happy to be there. The enthusiasm of the instructor got me through the class but I was pretty glad to take off my cycling shoes and dash over to Latham location of the The Hot Yoga Spot.
I hadn’t been to this studio since it was Saratoga Hot Yoga, a place to which I never felt connected. It’s really spacious and the locker room and facilities were definitely capable of handling the fairly large group who attended the class. Aaron taught a terrific class which truly straddled the abilities and experience of a diverse group of people. It was awesome.
If this combo class sounds like something you’d be interested in giving a “spin”, I suggest you “like” the Spin Revolution and The Hot Yoga Spot on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. This opportunity first came to my attention on one of those social media platforms. Also, don’t hesitate about giving a challenging workout a try. There were all sorts of body types and fitness levels present and it was pretty cool to see a variety of people united in their interest in trying something new. Try it – the trip from bike to mat is one worth taking.
My run Sunday came at a price – more specifically, the knee of my oldest running tights and a little skin on both my palm and my knee. Jeter and I had gotten a later start at the golf course than I had hoped, and by the time we completed the back nine and were midway through the front nine, it was fairly dark. Or maybe unfairly dark when it came to that patch of ice which did not reveal itself until my foot landed on it. Oops.
As my foot led, my body went up in the air, ultimately smacking to the ground on hip, hand and knee. Ouch. It hurt. I like to think that overall, I didn’t go down as terribly as I might have. I mean, I was a gymnast years ago and there’s muscle memory when it comes to falling, isn’t there? On the cold ground I did a quick inventory and, comfortable with my self-assessment, I got back up. Because that is what you do, isn’t it?
Once I regained my feet, I continued on the path with my thoughts shifting from where they had been previously. Before my slip, I had been reflecting about how much I loved exercising outdoors, year round. Even when I lose my footing and completely wipe out, fresh air still trumps the stale air and static view of a gym.
Now I thought back to when my children were toddlers and young boys and the frequency with which they seemed to fall down. It was remarkable. The slightest discrepancy in flooring, the tiniest drops of moisture, a tree root or dip in the earth would end with the same result – child on the ground. It was almost predictable in its capriciousness.
As we age, we don’t expect to end up on the ground, do we? Indulgence and illness aside, we remain consistently on our feet. Falling down is a part of life, though. Maybe the occasional reminder of that truth is something we all need.
With Andrea from The Hot Yoga Spot
Saturday I took advantage of the kind of deal that makes a cold January morning hot – a free 45 minute class taught by Andrea of The Hot Yoga Spot studio(s) and hosted at the new Athleta store at Crossgates Mall. This awesome community partnership will provide additional classes for each subsequent Saturday this month and I intend to make it to at least two more sessions. Maybe you should come, too!
So? How does it work? Simple. Take a look at the schedule, call the store to RSVP and show up with your mat, water and a towel. The classes are held right in the store (which is on the upper level across from Pottery Barn, next to Williams-Sonoma) before the store opens. Yesterday’s class was fairly small, but there is plenty of potential room for larger classes since most of the displays are on wheels and can easily be rolled out of the way.
Photo taken from Athleta’s Twitter feed.
The class was a perfect way to begin a busy morning, gentle enough for newbies but with enough flow to create a little heat. The store is definitely not your usual yoga space, but an effort was made to keep the lights fairly low and the lack of mirrors convinced me I was doing everything right. A bonus for sure is the opportunity to shop prior to the store’s opening to the general public. I didn’t purchase anything yesterday, but I’ve got my eye on a sweet cashmere sweater and hope to snatch it up next week. Don’t forget to ask for a Chi card. If you attend 4 classes or events this month submit your completed card and you’re entered to win a $250 outfit!
3-legged down dog
I just made my reservation for next week’s class scheduled to be taught by one of my favorite of The Hot Yoga Spot’s instructors, Aaron. Now that my spot is secure, I can comfortably hit “publish” on this post and invite you all to book a little mat time for yourselves, but, I’d appreciate it if you could leave that adorable cropped cashmere sweater for me, ok?