Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Tale of a Great Sandwich

A few summers ago, after consuming a particularly delicious sandwich from Whole Foods, I wrote a story about it. 

I decided it was a blog-worthy addition. 

Here it goes:

There once was a veggie sandwich at a fancy, North Shore Whole Foods. 

It was purchased and brought across the City of Chicago lines, where it sat overnight in a fridge. 'What will my destiny be?' asked the sandwich. 

"Certainly a sandwich of my size is destined for a rather large, hungry human." 

The sandwich rested overnight in the fridge, right where a Costco chicken carcass had previously sat.

Then the morning came and the fridge opened. The sandwich had it's first peak at it's probable eatter, and it was, a woman. The sandwich had only a brief look before being stuff into a Land's End lunch bag. 

The sandwich then felt a door close, walking, a bus, more walking, an elevator, and The sandwich sat in the darkness of the lunch bag for a few hours.

Around 11:30 it happened. The bag was opened and the sandwich was pulled out of the bag. Now the sandwich got a proper look at the eatter. 

The sandwich chuckled, "This woman is no match for me! She will never be able to finish all of my deliciousness. She will talk a big game, but in the end, she will have to quit. mmmwhhawwww....!"

The sandwich was unwrapped and had a proper eye-to-eye with the woman. In true form and full confidence, the sandwich was ready for what lied ahead. 

The first bite was tiny.

"She's never going to make it!" said the sandwich

But they continued, and continued. 

Suddenly half the sandwich was gone. The woman set the sandwich down. 

"Ah ha! I knew it." said the sandwich

After a short break and email check, the woman picked up the half-a-sandwich. This time the look on her face was more serious. The sandwich noticed a marathon training schedule close by.

"Oh no, she's one of those." he said in one of his last breaths 

It was then that the sandwich knew - he was a goner.

The End.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Year of Forearm Balancing

Last winter, after Sara and I were a few classes into The Lab, I heard one of the instructors use the phrase, "That's a (x) year pose."

My impatient mind took note at what the measure was. Not hours, nor days or even months. Years.

Though most of the poses ranged from challenging to impossible at that time, the "year pose" statement was a reminder that yoga wasn't about to come easy.

Back then, I don't know that I'd given enough thought to my practice to know if I would still be in a yoga routine for a year. It was, after all, winter. Soon enough spring would come and I'd be outside doing what I really loved - running.

In comes forearm balance:

Borrowed from on Pinterest

How many times had I done forearm balance before coming to The Lab? Zero. How many times I have done it since? Hundreds. Dozens of attempts in just about every class I've taken there.

My first forearm balance was more of an imbalanced train wreck of bad headstand. In other words, I had no idea how to even approach the pose.

Over time, I would build strength, stretch out my legs and learn the correct position of the hips. I would spend dozens of classes kicking with too little effort to get a leg up. I would watch as others kicked up effortlessly while I waited for instructor help.

Back then, a year seemed like an awfully long time.

When running season wrapped up in October, I changed up my yoga routine. Instead of coming just once a week, I would try twice a week. Maybe even back to back days. I would challenge myself each practice and I'd be sore afterwards, but I knew I was getting stronger.

As the holidays closed in, I decided to try for three classes a week. I was running next to never by then, so I had exercise time to commit. Three days turned into three days in a row. In the last few months of increased practices, some poses have started to come together. Poses I never thought I would be able to do (using that phrase lightly as I have a long way to go to mastery), like 8 Angle pose, Dragonfly and Firefly.

Regardless of how challenging the class was, a class at The Lab always ends with an inversion. So whether I was successful or not that day, forearm balance was staring me down at the end. I used to dread it. I would be so sweaty and exhausted at the end of a class that I didn't think I could muster the strength to do it. Over time, my body would show me that it had acclimated to my new form of training. Suddenly I didn't mind forearm balance.

At the beginning of Febraury (which I'm guessing was week 51 or 52 at The Lab), I've finally started to kick up into forearm balance without touching the wall. Proper positioning in the kick up. Victory! Balancing for a few seconds. Double victory!

A year. Yep, a year sounds just about right.