Tag Archives: walking

Long Weekend, Long Walk, Short Break

It’s been an extra long weekend, which meant a shorter week, and less days of ballet class. My mini-intensive ended as well, so I’m sort of on a break – at least until the long weekend ends. Been doing lots of ballet obsessing, but also been spending more time outdoors in the real world. Actually, quite a lot of time, especially in my garden. The weather has been just lovely these last few days, and staying it seems like such a shame.

Ok, honestly I only went to one class last week. Other ones I’d usually have the option of going to were off because of the holiday weekend. Compared to the amount of classes per week I’d gotten used to taking, it’s felt like quite a change, but not necessarily a 100 percent horrible one. I have been practicing at home, though not as much as I had originally planned. On Friday we went for an extremely long walk and it left me much more sore than I had expected (It was close to ten miles, but relatively flat terrain. I usually walk and jog around 4 miles). So that ruined my balletful weekend I had been planning, as I figured it would be better to play it on the safer side. It did confirm to me the necessity of cross-training, because as usual it was my weak quadriceps that felt like they were giving out. At least it wasn’t the same leg I hurt a few months ago, so I’m not even more lopsided, ha ha. Anyway, my leg is feeling much better.

Let’s see, stuff I remember from the class I took…

We did this barre combination, fast tendus with alternating working leg, then this somewhat unusual en croix pattern and reverse. It was two devant with the outside working leg, two derriere with the inside leg, then (all outside working leg) tendiu devant, a la second (close front), a la second (close back), derriere, reverse. It doesn’t sound too hard on paper (on screen?), but it was at a super fast speed, and when I hear en croix I tend to automatically think of the regular pattern. I had it by the second side, though the tendus themselves felt sloppy, like my feet were not warmed up yet. Oh, and did I mention that I had forgotten my ballet slippers? I was already halfway to the studio when I realized it, and was too lazy (and on a time constraint) to turn back. So I did class in socks over my tights and dealt with it. Can’t say I enjoyed taking class in socks over slippers.

Perhaps because we jumped – a lot. After doing 32 changements. We did a combination: 8 changements, then echappe to second,  echappe to fourth, echappe to second, echappe to fourth (with a different foot in front than the last time), repeat, all with port de bras. Amazingly, especially because the last time we’d done a similar combination I was all over the place, I was getting the coordination of the ams and landing in the correct positions somewhat. It was exhausting, and then we followed up with another jumping combination, this one with sissones after the changements. I like sissones a la seconde (and think I’m decent at them), but this was sissones en croix and the tempo was really fast. It was not pretty.

On the positive side, ever since those landed double pirouettes last week, single pirouettes have seemed easier. I didn’t become great at them overnight or anything, but I feel less nervous about attempting one, less likely to mess up, to use too much or too little force. Even from fifth position, or to the right, both of which have given me difficulty. Let’s hope I still have this going on when I return to class!

 

 

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When Life Handed Me Lemons…

I made myself a tall glass of homemade lemonade!

During my morning walk to walk off my leg muscle soreness from yesterday, I started getting crazy lemonade cravings.  It could have just been thirst – though I was drinking plenty of water – but I think I specifically was looking for the tangy sweetness of lemonade.  Luckily, I remembered that I had a few lemons left in the fridge, so it wouldn’t involve having to go by the store.

Once home I gathered my ingredients: 4 lemons (though they were juicy, so I ended up using only 2), some cold water, and honey (I don’t eat processed sugar).  Then I set out to look for a nice big glass ( because in my lemonade fantasies I was having the whole way home, I was picturing a glass, so any other kind of vessel to hold liquid just wouldn’t do.  Just kidding, I would have still drank it, obviously.  But isn’t it better when the picture in your head matches the picture in “real” life?).

After squeezing two of the lemons and seeing the quantity of juice, I poured the juice into the glass, filled the glass up to almost the top with cold water, and then added 2 teaspoons of honey.  The honey didn’t dissolve into the lemony water as well as I’ve seen it dissolve into plain water, so that was an oopsy on my part.  A lot of stirring later and it was fine though.

An added bonus is that the honey and lemon will further help soothe my still-recovering-from-a-cold throat while providing lots of energy.

Yum!

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Lemons, lemon juice squeezer thingy, honey, and the finished product.

Edited 9/22/14 to add: Last friday I was buying more lemons – this lemonade is addictive! – at the farmer’s market and the lady selling me the lemons and I ended up having a conversation about lemonade. She asked if I added chia seeds in it, which I hadn’t but it reminded me that I could. So I’ve been doing that now.  They’re rich in omega-3’s and essential fatty acids, as well as a good source or protein and fiber. So that combined with the carbs from the honey ends up practically making this a meal replacement that gives you lots of energy without feeling “heavy” or overstuffed.

Now I’m Feeling It!

I woke up this morning, and my legs felt like they weighed a ton! I’m not complaining though, the soreness feels great.  In fact, I love the feeling.  So it takes two classes in a day (2 and a half hours total) to make my body feel this way, huh? 

The coolest part is that even though I feel so incredibly sore, at the same time I feel incredibly strong. I’ve never really been someone who is into fitness – I don’t enjoy going to the gym or working out – but I love feeling stong.  It feels natural, like something every body (not everybody, but everyone’s body) should feel.  Perhaps this is how everyone felt back when everything was done by using the body’s own strength rather than relying on  mechanical help. Food for though…

 

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View out my apt. door this morning. Gorgeous. Perfect walking weather.

Looking outside this morning, I saw that it was nice and foggy overcast weather, perfect for walking.  So I headed out for my long hilly walk as well. After all, the strict ballet teacher from last semester did say that when your legs are sore you should use the muscles some more rather than rest. I think a new part of my leg muscles  that was previously underdeveloped popped out over night!  Hopefully all this will give me some more power for my jumps, which I badly need.

After feeling like something was poking the bottom of my feet during one of my walks recently, I took a look at my shoes when  I returned home.  While there was a pebble lodged between some of the treads of the shoes, which I removed, a bigger concern was that the part of the sole at the heel was very visibly worn compared to the rest of the sole.  Apparently I drag my feet.  Well, ever since this was brought to my attention I’ve been extra conscious of every step I take, making sure to actually lift  my feet rather than just shuffle on along.  The picking up of the feet result in every step beginning with my toes rather than my heels, which reminds me of how in ballet your toes should be the first thing to touch down on the floor and the last thing to leave the ground.  The first day I tried walking in this new pattern it was so hard to get used to, and very tiring.  I think I’m getting stronger though because now it’s no longer tiring and is starting to feel almost natural. Now whenever I put my heel down first  I actually notice, whereas before that was my norm.  

I’m not going to lie, though – I am extremely sore! Good thing I don’t have to be at school for y academic classes for another few hours today. I think this may be one day I’ll be taking the elevator.

 

 

 

My Newest Friend

It’s now been 4 weeks (so it counts to me as a month, even though it might not technically be a month. We could pretend it’s, like, February or something.) since I took my unfortunate mid-summer slide  down the stairs and two weeks since I stopped experiencing any pain or discomfort while walking. A month seems like a nice, neat time frame to celebrate something, so I’ve been celebrating by… walking, which just so happens to be one of my favorite things to do.

I’ve been focused on working my way up to what was my usual pre-fall morning route – a 1.8 mile (3.6 miles round trip) series of tree-and-cactus-lined residential streets, winding up and down through the foothills of a small (3000 ft.) mountain. Not yet, but I’ve been getting closer every day this week. Perhaps even tomorrow. It’s been mostly the heat that’s made me decide to turn back, not my fatigue level. Not that we’ve been having a heat wave – if anything it’s cooled down a bit and today was downright nice. But I’ve been waking up a little bit later than usual, due to staying up too late enjoying my last week of summer vacation, and have not made it out for a walk as early as I would have liked.

I’ve also been doing some midday walking, which is not my favorite – it’s hot! there’s people! – but I wanted to be supportive of Boyfriend’s efforts to get some exercise and spend some quality time before I start school. It was his birthday this past weekend, and the consequent partying is a big factor that led to my desire to increase the exercise level. Class is coming up tomorrow, the start of the semester of ballet next week, and leotards, tights and mirrors are unforgiving.

Also, ever since I started going to class I’ve resumed practice at home. My first week returning to practice I just worked on the most basic moves there are: plies and tendus. I didn’t even go up on releve. This past week though, I’ve gone back to regular practice – without any jumping, although we did sautes and changements in class last wednesday and my ankle felt fine.

The familiar soreness is back – and I love it! I could almost swear that the time I was off, before I started doing floor barre, my muscles felt noticeable weaker and were almost visibly shrinking. Or it could be my imagination. I hope.
Anyway, along with the awesome all-over-body soreness seems to come the (also familar) not-too-pleasant foot soreness. Not pain, nothing related to any injuries, but just a soreness that is usually (temporarily) aliviated by a foot massage.

A couple days ago, I remembered something about a tennis ball. I wasn’t really sure what I was to do with it, so I set it on the floor and rested my foot on it, feeling it’s rough texture against my foot. Then, I applied pressure, almost curving my foot and sort of “rolled” it around for a few minutes.

Best Feeling Ever! Not only was it amazing during the time I was rolling it around, like a foot massage, but afterwards the soreness was completely gone, unlike a foot massage.
I can’t believe I didn’t know about this before!
Thank you Mr. Tennis Ball!
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Now, if only I can keep you safe from my dog…
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She’s not looking. RUN!!!
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Walking Along the Road to Recovery

I’ve been taking it really easy on my body during this whole healing process, and every day I’ve been noticing improvement. So, this morning I thought “It’s been practically two weeks (minus some 22 hours) since I sprained my ankle. And it doesn’t hurt anymore at all. Time to get off the couch and explore a little!” Patience has never been one of my strong points,though I’m working on it – ballet helps in that department – and I just couldn’t wait until it has officially been two weeks.
I went for a walk today. It wasn’t a very long walk, nor did I stray too far from home. In fact, I literally just walked up and down the street next to our apartment complex. But you know what? It was awesome!

Prior to my fall I had been walking several miles everyday, mostly on uphills (and consequently back down on the downhills). I had been mostly doing uphills because I’d heard, from my running-loving friends, that walking for exercise is pointless unless it’s done on an incline. Since we lucked out and our apartment complex is located in the foothills of a mountain, I have uphill walking available almost right at my doorstep.
But since I was planning on something not too strenous, I decided to settle for just walking up and down the same relatively flat street, with the added bonus of being able to return home quickly if my ankle started to act up. It rained all day yesterday, so the humidity level was up but I wasn’t minding it at all. After being couched for the past two weeks it was nice to just get out of the house for a while get some fresh air, watch the little insects fly around from flower to flower, and just observe the wildlife up close. I think I was just super grateful to get the oportunity to go explore again!
As for walking on uphills versus flat ground, I have to say that I disagree with my friends. Walking on flat ground is a form of exercise as well. How do I figure? Because every moment that you are walking you are supporting your own weight and keeping yourself upright, things that you would not be doing if you were on the couch. When I go for walks I always check to make sure that my posture is correct and that I am engaging my core. I noticed (during this time of recovery and rest) that the more time passed by that I didn’t get to walk the harder it seemed to maintain correct posture while standing. It’s almost as though my muscles were deteriorating due to not being used to support my body’s own weight. Due to that alone I think it’s better to walk, even if it’s on flat ground, than to not exercise at all. Every little bit helps!
There’s also the added benefits, of course. Walking relaxes me and helps me get my thoughts in order. I tend to get extremely hyper and have trouble just sitting still while thinking, so going for walks is one of the ways that I handle this. My hyperness is at an all-time high in the morning so going for a long walk first thing in the morning is a good way to keep from irritating anyone around me with my early morning chatter. It also brings out my creativity – I have come up with lots of great ideas for a short story or essay while in the middle of a walk. Next I just have to take my own advice and remember to bring a notepad along.
My body appears to have handled that walk well – no pain, no swelling, no limp – so hopefully I will be back to ballet (minus the jumping) in no time!

People who don’t take care of their animals make me so mad!

This has nothing to do with ballet and is a bit of a rant, so if that’s not your thing I apologize for wasted time. But since this is my blog, I figured I can express my feelings here…

This morning, as I walked along the street on my morning walk, I found two dogs. Or rather they found me. They had an superficial resemblance to my dog, Pup, so I took an immediate liking to them. By the time my walk ended I already felt so attached to them. It was adorable (and how stereotypical) how the female one would walk right next to me while the male one would explore every yard we passed by. I found a piece of paper cup that someone had littered and gave them water from lawn sprinklers. They were very thirsty and already at 7:30 in the morning it was scorching hot. I felt so bad for these dogs! I was terrified that they would go on the street and get ran over. It would be nice if we had the option to keep them. We live in an apartment, though, and already as it is we have two dogs and a cat.
They followed me on my whole walk and I decided that I would take them to the animal shelter. I had my boyfriend call the shelter up, to see where we should bring them. They said that animal control would come to our house. I was pretty irritated to hear this, since we have no yard to speak of and these dogs were huge. Easily 80 pounds each. But the person on the phone said we couldn’t bring them by, only pick ups.
We stood there, next to the dogs (who by now had gotten tired and lay panting at our feet) trying to decide what to do. Bringing them to our apartment was out of the question, and so was leaving them on the street. I just didn’t think I would be able to live with myself if I knew I could do something about it and didn’t. So we came up with a good plan, but first, how to get the dogs in the car?
The dogs were friendly, so they thought going in and out of the car was a game. One would go in, the other would come out. Then someone from a nearby house came out and gave us some dog food, which we used to lure the dogs into the car, and we were on our way.
So this was the plan: since animal control said we couldn’t drop the dogs off, but they could pick them up at any address, we drove to the animal shelter and called them from the parking lot. They gave us a bit of a lecture (and we waited in the hot car with the dogs for almost an hour) but finally someone came out and they took the dogs in. Now we should probably make some “found dog” posters to put up around where we found them.
But seriously, I hate it when people are irresponsible with their animals! These dogs were wandering the street with no collar or leash. People should take steps to take better care of their dogs like check their fences for holes periodically or tie them up or put them inside. I wish I could say that this is an isolated incident, but unfortunately I always see dogs wandering in the street when I go for walks.
Another thing that irritates me is the hurdles they make one jump through in order to do the right thing. It’s ridiculous that if someone doesn’t live somewhere with a yard (or other containment area) in which to keep a stray dog, the animal control people don’t have a way of accomodating you, leaving you with no option but what? Leaving the dog on the street? It’s as ridiculous as how our apartment complex for the longest time didn’t have any recycling bins and now still doesn’t have one for green waste. Why should only people living in houses be given the satisfaction of doing the right thing at no additional inconvenience to them? Is it a punishment for being poor?