Feeling Zen

I googled the words "feeling zen" and this image came up. feelingzen

Its pretty much how I feel right now, after tonight's unexpected exhilarating run. Very ironic considering how annoying the day started.

24Lift I mentioned in yesterday's post that I was going to checkout the "24Lift" class at 24-Hour Fitness. My cousin Lauren decided to sleep in this morning, so I went solo. The class was to start at 9:15 am and I got there at about 9. I could tell it was going to be crowded because they were requiring people to sign-up before class. I was the 28th person to sign-up 15 minutes before the class started.

The equipment set-up seemed similar to Body Pump -- a two-riser step, barbell but also free weights, which we don't use in BP. I went up to the instructor and introduced myself. I asked her what equipment should I get and she told me to use a 1-lb weight on each side of the barbells. I was like, "Seriously?"

Uh, I just told you that I'm here on vacation and yet, here I am, at the gym for a 9 am class - do you really think I'm a beginner who should start out with a 2-lb barbell?!

I politely explained to her that I take weight-lifting classes regularly and she responds with, "Well but you don't know this routine." At this point the smart-ass in me was stirring and I asked her, "So you teach the exact same routine for every class?" Silence.

So to satisfy her, I get a 10-lb barbell (5-lbs on each side). As I'm getting my equipment, these women, you know, the ones who can take mid-morning classes at the gym, get up in my grill about who I am, what I am doing here, etc. And I say "up in my grill" because there was no niceness about it. Not even fake niceness. If you know me, then you would know that now my patience was pretty much gone. Yet somehow I muster up some politeness and explain my story once again only to get the once-over and the response, "Yeah, you should be able to handle that weight load." That was pretty much the nail in the coffin. I marched back to my area and moved myself to the front of the class. Yep, I did. What is wrong with people? Why do they have to be so catty? I'm so happy that the people at my 6 am class are not like this at all. Everyone is supportive and encouraging of each other.

By the time I got to the free weights, there was only 4-lbs and 10-lbs left. I started to pick up both when the instructor tells me I can only have one set because there's not enough. Yet all the other people in class have 3-4 sets. Taking many deep breaths, I just said, "okay" and and stuck with the 4's. Last week I'd been talking to people about going down in weight and doing more reps so trying to look on the bright side of things, I decided I'd try it that theory in this class.

To the instructor's credit, it was a good class. I won't say great, but it has potential. Her music was awesome - "Groove is in the Heart", "Jump" Kriss Kross, "Rump Shaker" (which I've already added to my Burn List), "Aint Too Proud to Beg" by TLC. One solid hour of beats straight out of the 90s. What can I say, I'm a victim to my generation. Loved it.

The class was like BP where we moved through every muscle group, in pretty much the same order. But unlike BP, there was no pausing in between sets, it was all continuous. The shoulders and tricep tracks were hard, but those are the muscle groups I like to work the most so I didn't mind. I thought she was going light on the legs but then she had us go through a second set of lunges at the end of the class that left my legs feeling like jelly. But I did learn a new move during this track - hold the barbell under your legs as you lunch. It was awkward and hard at first, but I liked the challenge.

We did a lot of core work at the end of the class. Mostly with the free weights and our own body weight. In fact, she had us hold a plank for three straight minutes. I thought I was going to die, but since I was in the front, there wasn't anyway I was going to give up and break form.

During the cool-down stretch, I also learned when balancing on one leg (quad stretch), cover the opposite ear to work on your balance.

My arms are sore and I'm suddenly reminded that I actually have abs. For a while there, I'd forgotten they existed. I'll rate it as a decent workout. It would have been phenomenal if I'd had heavier weights and the people were nicer.

NW 23rd


Later in the day, Lauren, Aunty Delta and I went shopping at NW 23rd - Portland's answer to Union Street in San Francisco. Its my favorite area to shop at here. While they have some chain stores like Urban Outfitters and Pottery Barn, there's also a number of boutiques that have really good stuff. But unlike Union, they aren't super pricey. The boutiques on NW 23rd are definitely more affordable.

After we left NW 23rd, we came back to Vancouver and went to our favorite sushi place. We love it because its only $1/plate. Seriously. And its pretty decent sushi too. I love sushi but hadn't eaten any since the last time I was in town (3 months ago). I'd given up rice when I started on the whole Caveman thing (which by the way, I'm starting again the minute I touchdown in the Bay), but for $1/plate, who can resist, right? Between the three of us, we ate all of this and the bill was only $13. I know.


Running in the Rain After lunch, I came home, napped, and woke up feeling like a slug. I hadn't run since Sunday so I thought it would be a good time for one, but it was raining. I was needing some extra motivation. Around 6:30 pm, I finally got my act together and forced myself out the door - and I'm so glad I did.

The rainfall was steady, nothing too harsh, but significant enough to mess up my Garmin. It couldn't find the GPS signal and I couldn't get it started so I just turned it off and ran carefree. That in and of itself made it a refreshing run. Normally I'm checking my pace and distance every 20 paces, but without the Garmin on, I just ran.

I wasn't sure where I was going. Lauren told me to run through neighborhoods, but since it was raining and would be getting dark soon, I didn't want to get lost so I ended up at the school track. For me, running at the track is like running on a treadmill. Tortuous. Usually I'll only time I'll run at the track is when I'm doing intervals or when I want to run the bleachers - which isn't very often. But tonight, I had no problem with the track at all.


I was by myself for most of the time, just me and my music. Its nirvana for me when I reach the point of blocking everything else out and only focus on the lyrics and music. I am not even aware that I'm running. Ok, not completely true - I was aware that I was running because my right foot was screaming pain, but I blocked it out - just me and music. Add the rain and it was like all the bad, annoying stuff, all the noise in my life was cleansed away. For that one hour I had no worry in the world. I felt free. And it was amazing. This is why I love to run. Not every run is like this, but when it happens, it makes all the hurt and soreness that comes with running worth it.

Of course, when I got home my foot was throbbing in pain so I iced it with this frozen bag of edamame. Don't laugh, it helped. But I'm back to hobbling around. No running for me tomorrow. Gonna try to hit the pool instead so I can run again on Friday! :)


PS My daily photo of Chip: