Category Archives: Working out that’s not running

What I Tried Today

When I moved here last June I brought my bike with me.  That same bike has been tethered to my porch the entire year I’ve been here.  I’ve been terrified to ride it anywhere because of the busy roads, and I think I’ve also been afraid of finding myself stranded because I’m too tired to ride home.  That happened to me once in college.  I got the grand idea of riding my bike into town despite the fact that I hadn’t been on my bike in years, and I found myself complete spent, hiding my bike in one of the dorms, and taking the bus back to my apartment.  Thank goodness I had that option.

It dawned on me the other day that the gym is only a mile and a half away, fairly flat, and I can ride on the sidewalks all the way.  So guess what I did today!  I biked to the gym!  Oh my goodness it was hard.  Apparently it’s uphill the entire way there, and my friend informed me in a conversation afterward that I have been using the gears incorrectly my entire life (but I thought the high gears were for going uphill!)  My heart was racing and by the time I got on the treadmill my heart rate would not go down and I could only run very slowly, but it felt great to know that I could do it!  I’m not going to do that every time only because I don’t want to wear myself out, but I figure I’ll start with riding my bike to the gym and back once a week to build some endurance.  My quads were really angry with me today, but they were also extremely proud, and maybe now I won’t be so scared of my bike!  : )



Filed under biking, Working out that's not running

Everything Is Clicking

Everything seems to be clicking for me these past few days!

In my yoga classes I’ve really been struggling with my breathing.  As a singer you think I’d have this breathing thing under control, but I haven’t been singing nearly as much so my breathing muscles are weak!  In yoga I noticed I really struggle with exhaling.  I feel like all my breath comes out at once and I’m stuck.  By the time she’s told us to inhale and exhale, I’ve already done that two or three times myself!  On Saturday in class she said “breathe so you can hear it” and something about that statement clicked with me and I realized two things: inhalation and exhalation don’t happen in the same place and there needs to be some resistance in exhalation.  While my inhalation happens in the nostrils, I focused on my exhalation being in my throat, much like singing, and by golly it worked!  Bam!  Just like that!

Starting last Thursday I also started figuring things out with my running.  I remember hearing various things about keeping a slight forward position of the body while running.  Someone once described it to me as feeling like I might fall forward, but I catch myself with the next step.  I also saw a similar technique on Fit TV once where they were talking about Chi Running.  The principle seems to be (and correct me if I’m wrong) that if you align yourself slightly forward while you run, you’re not going to expend as much energy trying to get yourself to physically move forward.  It worked for me!  The past coupe of runs I’ve done I’ve really focused on keeping an energetic forward momentum (that’s the best I can think to describe it) and I feel like I’ve been a lot less tired.  I’ve also been coming to the realization that I don’t need to worry about speed.  Yes I can run between a 9-10 minute mile, but is that comfortable for me to sustain for long distances?  Absolutely not.  I feel much more comfortable between 11 and 11:30 minute miles and that’s OK.  I feel so much better for it and I’ve had some really great runs recently because of it!

Lastly, I really feel like things are clicking with my teaching.  I finally feel like I’m not just pulling lessons out of my butt each week and like I really have a plan.  As a result I feel like I’m reaching the kids and they’re really loving music class.  I also finally feel like my personality is coming out with my kids.  Today I was just having fun and it was OK!  My kids were great!

Well, this is going to be a short, not-very-well-put-together post because I’m actually tired (which is quite remarkable considering how energized I’ve been!) so I’m going to try to get into bed before I get a second wind.  I haven’t been sleeping well so I want to actually fall asleep tonight!  I guess I’ll leave with a quick quote from one of my first graders.  This really made my day!

“Ms. Sanyshyn!  You always pick the funnest songs for us to sing!”

I ❤ ❤ ❤ my job!

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Filed under Running, Teaching, Working out that's not running, Yoga

Everyone has a story…

For some reason this week has been a challenge with everything.  I hope this isn’t indicative of the year ahead!  I mean, obviously I expect running 13.1 miles is not going to be an easy task – that’s why it’s my goal for the year.  But, good heavens, everything that was easy doesn’t suddenly need to be treacherous!  I could barely do a downward dog tonight without being lopsided.  Yet somehow I still felt absolutely refreshed and still after yoga.

I was due to run 3-miles today also, but I decided to push it off until tomorrow (a rest day) because I didn’t get to sleep until 4:30 last night.  Big no-no on my part.  Soon I won’t be having this problem because I’ll be forced back into a schedule when school starts, but when I have no structure in my life I turn into a night owl.  I’m convinced that my circadian rhythm is not 24 hours, because every time I have a long break I stay up at least an hour or two later than the night before and sleep at least an hour or two later than the morning before.  If I’m not careful I’ll be staying up until dawn and waking up in the afternoon.  Although I do think I have a fairly good excuse for staying up last night…I was reading a book.  It’s not often (or ever, really) that I do that, but I was at the end of Susan Jane Gilman’s Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven and could not put it down!  It’s an excellent memoir about the author traveling to The People’s Republic of China in 1986, before it became “developed”.  Book 1 of 20 down for the year!

Ever since reading Eat, Pray, Love a few years ago, I’ve been into memoirs.  I feel that memoirs, in a way, validate our existence.  It reminds me that everyone has a story to tell, and an incredible one at that.  I feel that sometimes we get so caught up in the monotony of our lives that we forget our experiences are individual and interesting, not just the experiences of those people who sit down and choose to write about it.  Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking about you.  YOU have something important to say.  If we challenge ourselves to dig down, each and every one of us could find something to write about.  A memoir isn’t about telling a good story (although they almost always end up doing so simply because of the fact that they’re good stories), but about teaching lessons and finding ways to relate to others in this world through the human experience.

Still not convinced that everyone has a story?  A few months back I stumbled upon a project called StoryCorps.  What you will find on this web page is truly amazing – a collection of audio clips of “every day people” telling their stories.  These are people just like you and me.  They’re teachers, bus drivers, doctors, the homeless, the person sitting in the cubicle next to you.  Men, women, children, the elderly.  They’re mothers and daughters, fathers and sons.  And they all have a story to share.  Some made me laugh.  Some made me cry my eyes out.  Some rendered me speechless.  And each one is just as valid as the next.

So my question to you tonight is this: If you were to write a memoir or share a story with StoryCorps, what story would you tell?

I have plans to write a memoir someday about my journey away from and back to Catholicism (perhaps an entry about that in the future).  I was thinking of calling it Mysterious Ways but now I wonder if There and Back Again: A Catholic’s Tale would be more appropriate.  HAHA  (Points to you if you catch that reference)  But, in all seriousness, leave some comments with your stories.  I want to hear them! 


Filed under Memoirs, Reading, Running, Yoga

Should I hate spinning?

I have a bike that has been tethered to my porch since I moved down here, mostly because I’m too scared to ride it anywhere near where I live (roads are too busy) and I can’t fit it in my car to take it somewhere safer, so I thought I’d give spinning classes a try.  I’ve heard such good things about spinning.  People love spinning.  I feel like I should like spinning too.  But five minutes into each class I’d rather be stabbing myself in the thighs with a butter knife than sitting on that bike.  I’ve made myself go quite a few times since I joined the YMCA in October and each time I go it’s the same feeling of “OMG when is this going to be done???”, but I can’t tell if it’s because I genuinely don’t like it or if it’s because it’s hard.  I feel like I push myself too hard in those classes and I exhaust myself in the first 10 minutes, but I can’t slow down!  And it doesn’t help that they keep telling me to crank the dial up!  I see people spinning the dial a full turn for each increase, but even a quarter of an inch is torture for me.  Today I was backing off a bit because I felt like my legs were going to spontaneously combust and the instructor came over and cranked my dial a good 5 or 6 times.  OUUUUUCCCCHHHHH!  I hated him but loved him at the same time for doing that.  (He did give me a hug at the end of class for getting through it… ❤ ❤ )

I tell myself that if I keep going I’ll learn to like it and that it’ll be easier.  I think I’m too stubborn to not go because I don’t want to feel like I’m letting myself down, but at the same time I really think I might not like cycling.  I don’t know what to think of it.  I suppose that I’ll continue to make myself go to spinning classes, maybe more than once or twice a month, so I can actually build up the muscle and endurance to make some headway so that perhaps I can start enjoying myself instead of cursing the bicycle simply for existing.  One thing is for sure though…I NEVER felt this much hatred for a treadmill.  : )

Did you ever have a form of exercise that you hated?  Did you keep trying and discovered you liked it?  Or did you keep trying and realized you hated it as much as you did in the beginning?


Filed under Spinning, Working out that's not running