HIKING

A few days after completing my first 10K, a few friends invited me on a hike. We ventured to this place, fondly known as the Potato Chip Rock, because from the side it looks just like a potato chip. What you can’t see is that my hand’s gripping the ground for all it’s worth. My friend was trying to convince me to dangle my legs over the ledge because “it’ll make for a better picture,” but clearly that wasn’t happening.

The hike was killer on my glutes. This particular hike was approx 7 miles total, and the uphill battle was just that – a battle. It was steep, rocky, and my body wasn’t used to traversing uphill for that long a distance. But, the view was great, hopping on the damn potato chip rock was exciting, and the hike downhill felt easy-peasy compared to the trek to the top.

BEACH BOOT CAMP

On a recent visit to Santa Monica, my best friend convinced me to join her in a beach boot camp class. Mind you, while I consider myself somewhat fit from running and other activities, I’ve never been gung-ho towards group classes. Particularly one in which I imagine to be run military-style. I’d rather have my contacts pop out of my eye again (a story for a different time). But, this class, run by a really sweet guy as part of Hype Performance, was actually – shock! – kind of fun. We started off with a quick beach run, and already I felt my quads burning. I lost count how many lunges, push ups, various sit-ups, and ladders I did. My favorite part was (no surprise) the “victory lap” along the shoreline at the end of class. But, the time went by quickly, everyone in class was pushing and encouraging one another, and the view of the ocean was enough to keep me going.

BIKRAM YOGA

I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga on-and-off for a few years. I’d like to practice more consistently, but alas, studios are expensive and I must rely on the weekly discounted community classes that my local studio offers (shout out to community classes for the masses!). To those who aren’t familiar with this practice, Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures practiced systematically in an excruciating 105 degree studio (not to be confused with hot yoga, which is practiced in studios heated to 90-95 degrees). This temperature is supposed to maximize your practice in that it aids with flexibility, helps increase blood flow, and “sweats” out the toxins from the body. I often think of it as “deep stretching” but it really is more than that. It’s my time to practice mindfulness, to be present in the here-and-now. I know when I let external stimuli (ruminating about work, thinking about dinner, worrying about the “next” thing on my to-do list) interfere with my practice because I fall out of the postures very quickly. I also enjoy it because there has to be some preparation that goes in before class – drinking at least 2 liters of water, no eating 2 hours before session – so before I get in the studio I’m already mentally preparing myself for practice, which puts me in a better mindset when I actually get to class. I’m an advocate of carving out alone time and practicing self-care, and being tortured for 90 minutes is what works for me. Plus, Bikram is a nice cross-training to all this half marathon training I’ve been doing lately. Note to mention, nailing a particular posture or holding a pose for a longer period of time is an amazing feeling and makes me feel like I climbed a freakin’ mountain. Curious? Read more about Bikram Yoga here.

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