strength

All posts tagged strength

Spring Forward Distance Run…15K: I did it!

Published March 30, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Okay, maybe I didn’t RUN the 15K (9.3 miles), but I certainly did WALK it!  spring-forward-image-new-siteAnd although I finished nearly dead last, I DID finish!  And that is more distance than I have done since I used to walk home from downtown Buffalo if I missed the last bus…when I was 17!  At 52, five kids, and a “few” pounds later, I never would have dreamed that I would be in any kind of race, let alone finish a nine mile trek in just under three hours.

But I did it.

A year ago I was preparing myself to do my first 5K ever.   On that day in June, I remember crossing that finish line, huffing and puffing, and nearly falling over.  People caught me and held me up from collapsing, handing me bottles of water to help re-hydrate.  I learned a lot since that first race about hydration and pacing myself and NOT eating dried prunes beforehand!  I was better prepared in August for the Zombie Run, “Push Yourself” in October, and “It’s a Wonderful Run” in December.

Yesterday was a new challenge for me with trying long distance…but that 15K was the dry run for the half marathon I have yet to accomplish in June.   All I want to do is finish, even if I walk the entire way, and even if I end up dead last.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.28.20 PMThis is the map of elevations which outlines the HILLS we were running/walking yesterday!  I am thankful that the half-marathon is on relatively flat ground… but I survived these hills!  What helped at one point when I heard the thunder of the herd coming up behind us was taking the focus off myself and trying to cheer them.  The walkers had left 45 minutes before the runners, and at about 8:30 or so, they caught up to and passed us.  As they went by, I clapped and cheered them on, which took my mind off the hilly road I was climbing up.  And they cheered me, too!  It helped to motivate me and kept me progressing forward.  Just before they started gaining on us, I was feeling like I might not make it after all.  I didn’t realize the steepness of the terrain, and my legs had been used to mall walking to get my practice in.  Seeing all those people running by, many of them my age or older, and even some folks I work with, kept me going.  I called, “See you at the finish line!” so I knew that I had to follow through.  I do try to keep my word as best I can at all times.

That finish line was the most beautiful sight I’d seen all day!  Jeanette and I were both so tired, but we kept each other moving toward that goal!  For the last hundred yards or so, we ran hand-in-hand, telling each other that we were going to make it…and we did!  When I finished, sweaty, sore, with swollen hands (I had to look it up online to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with because I got scared…it’s called hyponatremia), I was just so thankful to have done it!!

When I think of where I was in December 2012 (absolutely no exercise, eating tons of high fat and high “bad” carbs, and smoking over a pack a day), I am so proud of how far I have been able to come.  Am I a svelt size 8?  Nope…and probably won’t ever be.   But that is okay, and I am still smoke-free.  Even if I never get to single digit sizes, I am far healthier than I have been in two decades, and nothing else matters.

It’s also ironic that this week’s Artist’s Way challenge dealt with strength!  This is me showing how strong I am becoming!

Life After the 12 Week Challenge: Challenging Myself!

Published April 1, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Well the Cirque du Rochester Aerial Arts Challenge has officially come to an end… but this has only been a beginning for me!   I am making drastic changes in my lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, eating healthy (and even a bit more vegetarian due to the rising price of meat), and generally experiencing more in life than I have in a long time!

This week is my spring break from work, so I am working out my new plan.  It works best for me if I write things in my pocket calendar, so I am going through the YMCA schedule and putting in classes that I want to take for the next month, as well as times when the pool is available.   I have my weight and cardio routines already set up, so I just have to plug them into the schedule as well.

Today I worked on the cross trainer for 18 minutes before riding the recumbent bike for another ten.  I managed to reach and maintain my target heart rate for twenty of those minutes… not too bad for someone who quit smoking a pack a day only three months ago!  Because I am still nursing an arm injury before returning to silks next week, I passed on the arm weight machines; however, I did do all the leg, back, and ab machines.   After resting in the hot tub for 15 minutes, I was ready to head out and do today’s errands.

Tomorrow I go through my closet and get rid of clothes that I no longer want or need…especially anything that is now too baggy to wear.   Out it goes!

spice jars

My clothes closet isn’t the only overhaul I am making.  I went through my cupboards as well and got rid of a lot of pre-packaged, processed foods, and replaced them with grains and lentils and a whole bunch of new spices and seeds to experiment with.  My fridge also got a make-over, and it is packed with produce for juicing and cooking.

I bought pretty glass jars so that I could take everything out of the plastic bags and make everything easier to store and identify.  I wished that I hadn’t gotten rid of all those canning jars I’d had when I moved!  But some of these came with pretty pastel colored lids, so I’m okay with them!   These will become new staples in my house, and my daughter is sharing many of her favorite vegetarian recipes so that I can make them at my house.

Planning meals in advance and cooking more in bulk so that they last for several days will help with my busy schedule.  Today I made stuffed colored peppers:

peppers more peppers

Don’t these just scream “Spring!” … and “Eat me!!!”

These colored peppers are stuffed with quinoa, red lentils, veggie “burger”, chopped beet greens, red pepper/eggplant paste, and mashed avocado.  When I put them in the pan, I poured spicy vegetable juice over them.

I dirtied two plates just for these pictures before I baked them!

 

 

I had originally planned on doing a ten-day juice fast, but I think that it might be too much at once on my body… so I am going to do a three day cleanse Wednesday-Friday instead.  I am already juicing once a day, so I have been easing myself into it.  The ten day fast might be better for me once the school year ends in June instead.  That will give my body more time to acclimate to the changes I am already making.

Aerial Silks will continue beginning next week (here’s hoping that my arm will be in good enough shape to handle it), so that will become part of my permanent routine as well.  I do not know how long it will take me to get strong enough to last for a whole performance routine, but I am aiming for some point in this next year!  All the exercise will give me strength, the changes in eating will help with weight loss, and determination will get me to that silks routine!!

 

Time Out for the Injured Reserves… :-(

Published March 24, 2013 by Susan Woodward

I had myself all pumped up, too!  But I realized when I could barely move my right arm, let alone put weight on it, that Cirque Fit wasn’t going to be as productive for me as has been… and that I couldn’t use the silks today.  😦    I think it’s tendonitis, so I am nursing this baby from now till Tuesday so that I can go back on the silks!

Lisa and I were both on the injured reserve sidelines yesterday, but we stayed to cheer on our compadres.   Still, it’s very hard sitting and watching when I know that I just want to be in there trying to do some move, even if I end up on the mat.  It’s the participation and the daring myself to try something new that I have grown accustomed to in the past eleven weeks, and I am going to continue in that thread!

Jenns 6 Injuries

Hmmm…on the outside of the elbow, it’s “Golfer’s Elbow”; on the inside, it’s “Tennis Elbow.”  Where’s Aerialist’s Elbow?  That has a better sound at least!  But I am certain that this is what I am dealing with, especially since the area on the inside of my elbow is actually quite warm, or inflamed  (hmmm… I am noticing the spelling of that word on the picture.  Sigh…).

Well, I am taking Will’s advice as for how to take care of this arm by resting it and massaging the elbow.  I am actually using hard pressure massage to get my thumb into the joint to loosen the tension, and then I am massaging the arm downward from the elbow to the wrist and then back again.   I think by Tuesday I should be fine to do the class, and then Thursday and next Saturday open practices.  After that, I am off till my next session starts on April 8th, so I have time to rest it some more.

Yes!  I signed up for another session!!  My plan is to continue on the silks, as well as continuing what I have learned from both Will and Patty about exercise and diet.  For my exercise, I have joined the YMCA for my fitness training (class times are easier on my schedule, plus I can swim and hop into a hot jacuzzi and sauna right afterward).  I have met with a trainer, so I have my weight-training and cardio routines set up.  That, plus my silks training 2-3 times a week, will get me into better shape.

As for my diet, I have already made drastic changes.  I am avoiding packaged foods jammed full of preservatives and opting for whole grains and fresh produce.  Because the price of meat has skyrocketed due to the summer droughts, I am looking for other sources of protein to add to my diet.  I do know that my water consumption should be higher… it’s not that I am drinking something else instead, like coffee or soda… I am simply not drinking period.  I don’t drink soda anyway, but I am down to one cup of coffee a day (Tim Horton’s stock must have gone down in the past couple of months…).   I shop at the public market nearly every Saturday to stock up on my fruits and vegetables, and I am juicing most of them!  That is going to be part of my morning routing: getting up and making fresh juice to drink on my way to work instead of making coffee.

Oh, yes… and the most important thing.  STILL SMOKE FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s a Little More Comfy in the Crack…

Published March 19, 2013 by Susan Woodward

…so says Will at Aerial Arts of Rochester!

No, you perverts!  He wasn’t referring to anything untoward… he was commenting on my first attempt at a reverse roll-up!  You have to watch the video to understand his comment, though!

Tonight we learned the reverse roll-up!  I posted my very first try so that you will ultimately get the full effect once I finally do it correctly all by myself (and, hint…I DID do it all by myself on the second, third, and fourth attempts!).   The trick to finishing the position and holding it is getting the silk in the crack between your butt cheeks…an ultimate wedgie that takes on most of my weight.  But Will was right, once I finally got in position; it was a little more comfy in the crack.

Here’s the video:

I always manage to get the silk stuck on my calf… something I have to work on.  But at least I wasn’t screaming my head off this time!

And here is a picture of my third solo!

reverse roll up

 

She Flies Through the Air With the Greatest of….Plop

Published March 5, 2013 by Susan Woodward

HangTonight’s first assignment was to hang from an aerial hoop and do an “L” sit.  We have been doing that all along hanging from a trapeze, but this hit a whole different muscle group!  As you will see, I am straining to get my legs up!  But they are off the ground, which is a lot better than I did when I first started with the trapeze!  Yup that’s the face of one who is saying, “I am not going to let this get the best of me!”  Problem was, and you can probably tell…I was holding my breath.

One note…breathing is good.

Because I’d held my breath while trying to hang on, I got light-headed when I finally let go.  Ooops.

I think I managed it three times and then tried to go back on the trapeze.  Well, the arms weren’t having it.

And then it was time to get on the silks!  And not just climbing and hanging…it was time to LEAP on them a la Tarzan!!

Yeah…the idea was to take a running leap and fly onto the fabric, trusting that your hands would catch it like a rope and then hang on to swing back and forth.  Looks great when Will does it!  Or Katie or Annmarie or Michelle… ummmm…not so for me.  The first time I didn’t even get a grip on the silk.  It was like I took a running leap to see how hard I could land on the mat.  It took till the third or fourth attempt to grab it and hang on long enough to swing three feet before flying off.

No relation to Johnny Weissmuller here!  And for those of you not old enough to know who the heck that is, let me share this with you:

the-best-tarzan-johnny-weissmuller-pic2-c1942

Yeah…not seeing any resemblance.  Well, maybe the one on the end… on the right.  (Look again at my face above and you’ll see what I mean)  However, when I look at Jane on the left, I have a question for her: Where are your guns, Jane?    It doesn’t look like she could hang on for too long.  I mean, she’s got nothing on some of the ladies at silks!  Sorry, Jane, but just sayin’…

As for me, ok, so I’m not much of a swinger.  Yet.  Give me time!  I am at least off the ground in some fashion, and I do love going to class and working out!

This is really a great experience for me!!!

Nothing Else Matters

Published February 26, 2013 by Susan Woodward

A whole lot of things have been changing for me…for the better.  Right now, I feel stronger than I have in — well, I can’t even remember when I have felt this strong.   I’m not just talking about physical strength here…that’s coming as I continue through the Cirque du Rochester Challenge.   I mean, I feel like a stronger person overall.

I had the strength of will to quit smoking;

I’ve had a strong determination to change my eating habits;

I’ve had the strength to begin going to the Fitness Center on a regular basis after my aerial arts classes (while I am already in workout clothes and in need of a shower anyway);

I’ve had the strength to walk away from what I know is not good for me, and never will be…

and with strength comes confidence.

I feel more confident at my job, in spite of the strain of the APPR, Common Core Standards, and PARCC national testing looming;

I feel more confident in attempting new moves at silks, in spite of my fear of falling;

I feel more confident in taking some personal risks that I formerly would have shied away from;

I just plain feel more confident and happier as a PERSON…

And nothing else matters.

I don’t know how long it will take me to get to the point where I will be able to complete an aerial silks routine, but I am making that one of my goals.  You know, the ol’ Bucket List.  I will work until I am finally able to fly for just over three minutes.  And I know that three minutes is the target because I have already selected the music I want to use for my someday-routine.   Click below to hear Apocalyptica play a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”:

And so I will continue to work hard to get to the point where I can actually “fly”… these are a couple of tonight’s attempts (thanks, Jen, for playing videographer for me!):

I managed to get into the side plank position…briefly…before plopping out of it.  But I got in by myself for the first time!

The Layout turned out to be a rather painful move to hang in… I guess I have another area of this body that requires strengthening!  I have to hang with the silk tucked into the crease of my…ummm… let’s say upper thigh area.  That led to a pretty nasty bruise.   No pics will be appearing on the Aerial War Wounds page, but this would qualify…ouch!  In spite of that difficulty, I DID actually “climb” out of the move with my arms.  My first climb!!!!  And Will even verifies it as an actual climb in the video!

And finally, my first attempt at an aerial flip.  Well, on the mat anyway!  Will models for us what we will be working toward, and then I gave my first try… and here it is:

As you can see, I have a long way to go before I will get to performing a routine…but I will one day get there.

I will keep getting stronger, physically and emotionally.  I will keep gaining confidence in all that I do so that I will continue to be happier and healthier in the second half of life.

And nothing else matters.

Willisms: “The Easiest Way to Make it Harder…”

Published February 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward

…is to drag my sleep deprived ass onto an elliptical after a crazy hour of Cirque Fit! (But I DID it!)

And where in the world would we Cirque Challengers be without our Willisms?

Will at CF

Meet Will:

Hi, Will!

William D’Ovidio is our trainer and the co-owner (with his wife, Jennifer) of the Aerial Arts of Rochester.

See Will run…actually, it’s hard to see Will run, or hop, or leap as he moves faster than the camera can capture him.  Notice that the others in the picture are not as blurry.

Will likes to see just how hard he can push us.  We have crawled like crabs, leapt like frogs and kangaroos, hopped like rabbits, lifted like dogs at a hydrant, stretched like snakes, and I am right there with my menagerie of animal grunts and other noises as I strive to keep up.

In the middle of each challenge across the floor, he adds things like, “And if you want, you can add a clap to that push-up” or “If you want, you could do that push-up on two fingers”… in other words (to coin Will’s phrase), “The easiest way to make it harder…” and he’ll just fill in the blank for us.

Cirque Fit 1

Meet Susan:

Hi, Susan!

Susan is the confused looking one saying, “You want me to do WHAT??”  half the time in class.  That is her go-to-response when Will utters his Willisms.

Will wants Susan to drag Jennyfer across the room.

See Susan wondering about the exercise, but not just for the initial trip…Susan is thinking ahead about Jennyfer dragging Susan back again!

The easiest way to make this harder…for Jennyfer!!  Pair little Jenn up with Susan!

And that’s how Willisms become our reality every time we enter Cirque Fit!

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