Sunday, August 29, 2010

Is It Hot In Here Or Just Me?

I am all about trying new fitness or sports activities within reason. And I don't just mean lawn darts, beer pong or bowling. I mean real fitness challenges. So when a running friend, B.o.B., was talking after a group run about doing "Hot Yoga", it perked my interest. She claimed that others from the running group, including guys, had already participated. Knowing who they were I figured why not give it a try. I did a pilates class some time ago and heard Yoga was easier. I can already touch my toes. What could be so hard about some slow stretching while humming.

I asked many questions the closer I got to class. Do I have to wear those pants? If I can wear shorts should they at least be knee length. Should I stretch a little before the class so I don't look like a rookie? Would Chipotle be okay for lunch the day of class? How hot is hot yoga? Will I be the only dude? Not that that would be a deal breaker or anything. Just wondering my ratio. Is there some type of beginner's curve? All I was told was to not be late. So I showed up a half hour early. I called B.o.b. to see if it was okay to take a nap while I waited. She discouraged this. So many rules. Not sure if they are her rules or yoga rules.

Asana Yoga of Brandon was going to be my sweat box for the evening. For at least 90 minutes according to their web site. The studio was inside a small strip store building. I was glad to see it was not part of a bigger gym chain. I still found myself parking in the rear though. Once inside the studio I was impressed. Wood floors. Soothing decor. A water fountain. An awesome smell. And an emergency exit.

B.o.b. checked me in as a new student and used one of her free sessions for me. I had to sign a waiver and provide some basic information. While I did this B.o.b. set me up in the corner and kind of out of the way. Not sure if that was good or bad. It was close to the emergency exit so I did not complain. One of the students asked if we were using straps tonight. Straps? Yoga? I visualized me not being able to do the "Walking Dog Climbing Cat" pose and then being strapped up until the pose was completed. I was assured I would not be strapped to anything. Relief.

I sat down on my mat and towel. I noticed there was a burlap looking type blanket folded next to my space. Others had the same type of blanket. This must be used during the "Bucking Donkey" pose. Great. This should be a show.

I was expecting my instructor to be an old skinny bald man wearing a diaper. This was not the case at all. A young woman named Alissa. She seemed very relaxed and encouraging. But what did I know, could have been a ploy until we got started. I mean, she did unplug the water fountain.

The music started and here we go. Sitting up straight. Eyes closed and relaxed breathing. I at least was not the only guy there. A middle school boy was with his mother.

I can't tell you everything we did. I did the best I could. Some of the moves and poses were pretty hard. I was able to stay in the "Downward Dog" pretty good. That "Warrior's" pose was kicking my butt. My favorite was the "Baby" position which was just sitting on your knees and leaning over. We should have done more of this. The instructor did tell us that if we needed to take breaks we could. I did not want to do this. I was trying to hang in there. There was some plank move we did that had us in a push up position and then turned our body to the side and lift up one arm towards the ceiling. My stability arm started shaking like spaghetti. I often looked around and compared myself to others. I wasn't doing that bad. Hopefully there was no wagering.

There was a time when we were lying on our backs and the lights started to dim. I thought, either I am blacking out or she's dimming the lights. I dare not say anything out loud. I saw the instructor walk by so I just started to laugh. There were many times that I laughed at myself and at what I was seeing in front of me. I was very careful to keep all comments to myself. I did not want to get kicked out on the first go.

I did sweat a good bit. The class was tougher than I thought it would be. The instructor was very helpful and only had to reposition me once. Not to say that I was doing everything right. She just needed to spend time with the other students. I will definitely go back and give this another try. Namaste.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daddy Sign This

Us guys have all learned over the years that if you want to get out of doing something again, you have to mess it up the first time. Take laundry for instance. Wash all the clothes together. Colors with whites. Cottons with polyesters. Towels with delicates. And then put them all in the dryer on the same temperature.

Grocery shopping. I don't need a list. What was it I was supposed to get. Was that large eggs or medium. 2% or 1% milk. The purple top or the blue top. Wheat bread or white wheat bread. These bananas look fine. Hey that is a great deal on yogurt. 20 for $6. Hey I could sure use a half gallon of orange juice. And also a half gallon of grapefruit juice. You know what they say about grapefruit juice. I better put this small basket back and get a cart. What was on that list again. Wish the cell phone reception were better in here. What do you mean we are on a budget. What do you mean you never ever spent this much on groceries. Yes we need this many cans of beans. I swore I put the milk in the cart.

Making the bed. Is there really a need for that. There was a need while I was in the Army because there was some pissed off dude with a Smokey The Bear hat on yelling at me if I didn't . But now? Why tuck the covers in when your just going to take them out.

Yesterday was the first day of school for my girls. Year after year their mother has always been the one to sign forms and look at papers and get school supplies and so on. But last night when my oldest asked her mother to sign papers, I spoke up and volunteered my signature. Figured I would finally get involved after all these years. My oldest reluctantly agreed.

She began to pass me forms and just say sign here. Well I really wanted to read the fine print before I signed hers or my life away. It wasn't like I was buying a car. Well who reads all those forms. After about the third form, I just started scribbling my signature. Should have read the fine print. I tell my youngest that I would sign her forms the next day.

The next evening, my oldest comes to me, in front of her mother and sister, and tells me that I signed some form that I should not have. "Daddy. Because you signed this form, I am not allowed to get on the computer in class. How can I do my Keyboarding class? And this form you signed means I have bowel and kidney issues which mean I may need an escort to the bathroom." I thought Keyboarding was a music class not a business class. And I don't want her just wondering the halls.

Needless to say the next thing I hear is my youngest say, "Mommy can you sign my forms?" No more forms for me to sign this year. Yippy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes Part 2

I am now looking for B.o.B. Hoping to find her before the race starts. Give her some last minute tips. Some words of encouragement. Some words of wisdom. All the while hoping that she forgets that I forgot about her earlier this morning. Found her. What a cute pink thing she has stretched on her head. Those things do stretch.

So I hear you been looking for me and cussing me out. She tells me that she was totally lost in the transition and did not know how to set up her stuff or what to do. I suppose she forgot the transition set up class I gave her not two mornings prior by her car after a leisure bike ride. Oh yeah. "I got it." Well then. I say to her, "sometimes the mama bird has to just push the baby out of the nest and hope you fly." She says, "this bird just got squished on the pavement." Well hopefully that bird can swim.

I was assigned the third wave for this triathlon. Males 40-49 age group. I decided to take the inside lane, so to speak, and get to the turn buoy before all the other dudes get there. Great idea in theory but does not always work. The horn blows and we are off. I am able to almost walk to the first buoy. I know you are supposed to swim as much as possible but some other guy was swimming in front of me and I did not want to get kicked in the face. The water was a little rough but I ended up 9th out of the water in my age group.

Once out of the water there was this short lagoon we had to go through to get to the bikes. The lagoon was about 20 yards across and about waist deep in the center. I was not going to swim at this point due to the color, smell and taste of the water. I could handle squishy toes for 20 yards.

Got to my bike rack and realized all the bikes were still there. I was feeling a little better at this point. Got on my bike and headed out for the 10 miler. I kept a steady 22-24 mph pace. I was trying to save my legs for the run. The wind was at my back for 5 and you know what the last 5 was. Only passed by two guys in my age group on the bike. Passed one of them before the bike finish. I was one of those guys saying "on your left" that B.o.B. was upset about. Although I never saw her on the bike course or I would have said it to her. Got off the bike and this time no other bikes on the rack. Good sign.

I have this issue about to wear or not to wear socks on the run. Triathlons are all about timing. It takes a little time to put socks on. The last time I did a sprint triathlon without socks I got some nice blisters on my feet. The very next triathlon I wore socks. If my math is right it seems every other tri is a sock race. Well no socks this time. Put my shoes on and I am off and running.

Felt very good on the run. I did not wear my Garmin so I was not aware of my actual pace. I thought I was probably doing about 8:30 miles. The run was hot. No shade. Not to mention no shade. I initially was pushing for a 1:05 finish but wound up with a 1:06:09. I think this is my fastest sprint time. I know I have some areas to work on. But after my incident at the Xterra triathlon, I am happy with this ending. I was able to cheer on my fellow BRA runners that were still finishing since I had no need to be in the red tent.

I reserve this space to thank those that came out and cheered us on for this race. It does mean a lot to have you there. I know other spectators just yell out stuff but it is different when it is someone you know. I would like to thank Jess, Chris, Tanya, Patricia, Elton and Esther for the yells, screams, laughs and hugs and kisses.

Almost forgot. I got some damn nice blisters on my right foot. Good thing the next race is a socks on one.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes

The headline in last Monday morning's sports section of the local paper was, "Down Goes Walt! Down Goes Walt!" Having succomb to the needle, I still had another triathlon, Topgun 10, looming less than 6 days away. All be it a sprint, it was still going to be hot. My manager had me listed as day to day. But in reality aren't we all day to day.

I was going to do this triathlon no matter what. There were atleast three people from my running group that were making their triathlon debut. One of which is B.o.B. I was also kind of coaching her a little along the way so I deffinately had to make a showing.

I had to approach this race a little different than I did the Xterra tri. Actually, a lot different. I was told that since I dehydrated there was the possibility that I could relapse. Really. Relapse. That sounds like some type of 12 stepper condition. And as any good 12 stepper would do, I decided no beer or alcohol during the week. Sorry Red Stripe girls Walt will sit this one out.

I drank plenty of water during the week. And just about a gallon on Friday. My dinner was a little different this time. I normally have some type of pasta with chicken. My youngest daughter loves her some General Tso's chicken. Well since your ordering takeout, isn't lo-mein a type of pasta. I was told it was. I shall have me some shrimp lo-mein. And it was good. But so was the sweet-n-sour chicken. The wonton soup was also yummy. Wontons are pasta, right. That's what I thought.

Went to bed early due to the 4 a.m. wake up. That is the sucky thing about local triathlons. The early wake ups. Best be early to the race than late and rushing around and also standing in the long ass port-o-let lines. Can't do everything on a warm-up swim. My alarm clock goes off at 4 and I for that brief moment could not for the life of me figure out why my alarm clock going off so damn early. Oh yeah.

I put all my gear on the curb and laid on the driveway trying to catch a short nap while waiting on my ride. The last time I laid down on the concrete...well you know the story.

Picked up by Jan and on the way to meet B.o.B. who was going to follow us. Had to make sure she got to the race in time. No backing out now there B.o.B. I told here that if she was not at the meet location we would come to her house and yank her ass out of bed. Low and behold, there she was right on time. Actually it looked as if she had been there all night but who am I to question her committment.

Got to the race site and realized there were a lot of other people who did not want to stand in the long ass port-o-let line. Damn them. Got my bike out and gear ready to proceed to the bike transition area when I heard a bit of a desperation scream. "I can't get my front wheel on! I just can't." Well who do you think that was. "I just can't do it." I calmly walked over and loosened the front skewer just a wee bit more and success. I then started to adjust the brake and she told me, "I got it." Now that is something I had been noticing since we started riding together. I would try to help her out at times with the bike and she would, as a strong woman would, tell me can do it. Well then. You can't hold someones hand forever can you.

**A free triathlon tip from Walt.** If you can get your race packet the day before the race, do so. If not, find out what time the packet pick-up opens on race morning and be there 15 minutes prior to that.

Jan and I sent B.o.B. off to packet pick-up and we entered the bike transition area. The port-o-let was about 5 rows away from my bike rack and the line was already long. I had planned on setting my gear up and then finding B.o.B. to give her a hand. But first things first. I was now in line. By the time that was taken care of and my gear set-up, it was time to leave the transition area. I look all over and don't see B.o.B. I guess she got set up okay so I jog down to the beach. I usually like to get a short swim in before the race starts.

I meet up with some of the other BRA group on the way and am asked if I have seen Beth. I say no and also add that I have not seen her since she walked to get her packet. I was then told that she was just a cussing me. "I can't believe Walt left me like that. I did not know what to do once I got my stuff. Where is he. I am going to..." Oh boy. Suppose I shall find her now....well maybe.

To be continued....I promise.