In Which We Talk About Being Sidelined

Last week, I had a grand old time with some at-home Zumba and a less-grand time with some kitchen cleaning.  One of the two did my knee in.  I hate to admit it, but I think it was the Zumba.

Since then, I’ve been sidelined.  Sigh

I’m not in any kind of serious pain, but I can feel my knee at times when I shouldn’t be feeling my knee, if you know what I mean.  Basically, my knee feels like it was taken off me, sloshed about in a martini shaker, and returned to me with an errant cube of ice still whooshing around in there.

This is definitely not the first time my knee has forced me to simmer down–I won’t go into the blasted boring details and I’ll just say that my IT band and patellofemoral pain syndrome have kept me on my toes as long as I have been exercising.  Nor is this by any means the most annoying of the knee injuries (I think my yoga-induced knee tantrum wins the crown on that one) or the most painful (the 2007 IT Band Flare-Up has literal pain in the ass covered).

Since Thursday, when this ignominy went down, I’ve been icing and stretching and treating my knee like the sad diva that it is.  Fortunately, it feels light-years better today than it did yesterday and exponentially better than it did the day before that, so apparently my knee really likes the frozen pea bag treatment and being pampered like it’s Saudi royalty.

Still, the temptation to have a pity party of epic proportions has loomed large.  At one point, I thought of taking an ad out in the newspaper to tell the world my woe.  However, I know that is NOT the way to go and it won’t get the Diva Knee back in working order any sooner.

So, instead of moping about how sad and lonely my Nike+ avatar is looking these days and shaking my fist at the sky every time the sun makes quality pool time tempting, I’ve been focusing on the bright side, in a more introspective way than I focus on the bright side, literally, for all things sartorial.

This boils down to some pretty good pluses (in ascending order of ridiculousness):

  • Total excitement about all things running/swimming/Zumba (the kind of excitement you only get when something is totally off-limits)
  • Time to regroup and be grateful for the fact that I can run at all (and to remind myself that I will get over this like I’ve gotten over the other Diva Knee performances)
  • More quality time with the Core Fusion Pilates Plus abs segment (only the exercises that don’t involve my knees)
  • More quality nose-stuck-in-book time (may I recommend “Eiffel’s Tower” by Jill Jonnes, about the Eiffel tower and the belle epoque shenanigans of artists and industrialists and Buffalo Bill in their Paris playground?)
  • More time to plan/obsess/plot my sewing (though this does NOT translate to tidier sewing area–I’m not that good)
  • Longer-lasting manicures and more time to do them (who knew hot pink with yellow dots would be so wearable?)
  • Less laundry needs to be done (no explaining needed here)
  • Considerable savings on water/shampoo/body wash now that I don’t need so much to remove my post-workout salt crust

So, if all goes to plan and the knee feels good on Friday, I’ll be out sweating and swatting bugs come Monday morning.  I can’t wait to shake it again–and I can’t wait to put that taunting little Nike+ avatar in her place, instigator that she is…

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Here are a couple of good reads for the injured and temporarily wimpy:

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How do you deal with being sidelined?

Back In Business–A Playlist To Beat Laziness

I almost gave in to laziness and fear and sleepiness and ridiculousness this morning–but I didn’t.  Ladies and gentleman, I went for my first post-Buffalo Trinidad run!  And to celebrate the occasion, there’s a new playlist involved…

When the alarm went off at 5:45, I was all “Hells no.”  I hit snooze.  When it went off again, I hit snooze, wanted to cry at the prospect of leaving my cozy bed, and negotiated with my half-asleep self that I’d run in the afternoon instead.  When it went off the third time, I decided I was not going to feel any better about this first run back in Heat Central, shook off my ridiculousness, and went out for the damn three-mile run.

One word for it:  amazing.

I thought the heat would be unbearable, as it was when I left in May, and I was concerned that the sun would be a bit much for my late-ish start.  No such thing.  It was sunny but not frying weather, there was a breeze (which was actually cool!), and the mosquitoes weren’t nearly as nippy as I expected them to be.  I broke a sweat before I was even breathing heavily and was practically exuding a river as I ran, but it actually felt great to sweat so quickly; it was like running in my own personal shower bubble.

So yes, I had to sacrifice about twenty seconds per mile of speed compared to my Buffalo times, but it didn’t matter in the least.  It was too awesome of a run for me to care.

And did I mention the scenery?  It was breathtaking on my route, now that the rain has pounded the island and greened up the mountains and trees and bushes, and I could smell all kinds of seasonal flowers all along the way.  It was as idyllic as running in Trinidad gets.  This picture is not of the route, but you get the idea:

Those are the mountains I see on my morning run

Misty gingers of the kind I see on my morning runs

So, in honor of today’s awesome run, I’ll give you my Guaranteed Laziness-Busting Playlist, which is sure to generate big-time badassery at even the ungodliest hour of the morning:

  • Rihanna–Hard
  • Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew–Laba Laba
  • MIA–Stepping Up (*her entire new album kicks and thumps, I can’t recommend it enough)
  • Mapei–Public Enemy
  • Anjalie–Boom
  • DJ Waxfiend/Busy Signal–Sound of Sirens
  • Lazerproof–Tigerlily
  • Lady Gaga–Dance In The Dark
  • MIA–Born Free
  • Bajah and the Dry-Eye Crew–Bondo Kallay
  • Thunderheist–Jerk It

There’s no way you’ll be able to sit still through this mix, I promise.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

In Which In-House Zumba Goes Down

Maybe it’s the exhaustion setting in from my relentlessly-busy six-week-plus visit to Buffalo–OK, it’s definitely the exhaustion from that–but I decided to forgo my morning run and have one more sleep-in day today.

I usually feel incredibly guilty about sleeping in late, even though my work is 100% flexible; I guess I’m afraid if I sleep in one day too many, I’ll find myself wearing my bathrobe all day and never leaving the house.  However, I told myself that I could bring nice shoes (and workout clothes and books and plastic dishes and spices and everything else that makes your two suitcases badly overweight) from Buffalo ONLY if I left behind my big sack of perpetual guilt over ridiculous things.

Sorry, Mami:  I left the guilt squished into a tiny box in the attic, next to my kitchen wares.  Hope you don’t mind.

Back to sleeping in–I slept in.  And when I woke up (at a very reasonable 9:00 am), I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house and go for a swim.  This was (admittedly) partly due to laziness, but also (very reasonably) partly due to my fear of driving on the left so soon after spending six weeks driving on the right and NOT driving like a Trini.  I just didn’t feel like scratching up my car today.

Furthermore, at some point while I was flying over the Atlantic last Friday, I schemed up this elaborate plan to do Zumba on my own, no video, at home.  I know I was under the influence of heavy Dramamine, but it seemed like a great idea at the time–and it still seemed like a great idea last night.  I mean, I love the music, I attended twice-weekly classes for six weeks and have pretty decent memory for moves, and–most importantly–I wouldn’t need to leave the house.  Perfect.

So, this morning, I decided to set up my very own Laura and Lola Home Zumba Session (for more on Lola, check out my Target shorts and Old Navy top review–she glommed onto me that day and I just can’t seem to shake her off).  Basically, Lola is my good friend who is exactly the same as me, except she talks about embarrassing stuff and wears her inner big-mouth (and sometimes not much else) on her sleeve.  I try to stop her from being as foul-mouthed and frank as she could be, and I keep her well away from my prim and proper mom and all decent people.

Anyway, enough about her–back to the Zumba.

I set up the “studio” in Mr. Laura’s office while Lola looked for hoochie shorts in my drawers (she didn’t find any) and watched me fiddle with cables and move chairs around:

Uh-oh, don't tell anyone I showed you the home office...

The AV --so very hi-fi

Lola also helped me put together a playlist of Zumba tunes on Grooveshark and added as much ghettolicious reggaeton as she could find and I allowed.  I’m a decent woman, even if she sometimes isn’t.

Once we were ready to go, I set up my heart rate monitor, hit start on the timer, and told her to back her booty up and follow me for one hour of grooving and shaking to salsa, reggaeton, merengue, and cumbia, as well as a few of the silly Zumba-only songs.  Might I add that the hour flew by and we had great fun?  And that we did not break anything in the man’s office (though our blasting tunes most definitely woke him up)?

Anyway, we had a grand old time raising our heart rates (almost as high as when I go running!) and I even managed to get her to stop shaking her booty at me for long enough to gather our thoughts on our home Zumba session.

Pros:

  • I could do this any time, in any weather, without leaving the house–and in the air-conditioning, too!
  • I could do this by myself (or with Lola–you know what I mean).
  • Doing this by myself means that my moves can be as crazy/ridiculous/high impact/low impact as I want or need them to be.  Therefore, I need not be embarrassed by my booty’s propensity to shake (intentionally and unintentionally).  I can also let Lola go crazy with her reggaeton and wining moves without horrifying the sweet YMCA ladies–or the sweet YMCA instructor.
  • I can wear as little as possible to keep cool.  For me, that meant sports bra and capris; for Lola, that meant rolling up my workout Bermudas into booty shorts (there really is no stopping her, sheesh).  All done safely out of sight of all the neighbors and respectable folk!

Cons:

  • I had to do it by myself.  That meant improvising moves and trying to remember them without having anyone to follow.
  • I didn’t have anyone to show me new moves, so I had to think fast and hard to come up with different steps.  Lola was absolutely zero help here–when in doubt, she sticks out her posterior and shakes it.
  • I didn’t have a mirror in my home “studio” (the window did not work to reflect my moves in broad daylight-go figure, right?) So, while I might have felt like Shakira bustin’ my moves, I may well have looked like Dame Edna bustin’ my moves.  I know that part of the beauty of at-home Zumba (and any Zumba class, to be honest) is that how you look doesn’t matter, but I don’t want to get in the habit of dancing like a sixty-year-old Australian cross-dresser, thank you very much.

All in all, I give my at-home Zumba attempt a B+.  I’m shocked that I managed to dance by myself with Lola for a whole hour and that I was at no point bored, and I’m pretty surprised that I remembered so many of the Zumba moves.  I’m gently kicking myself for not ordering a Zumba DVD while I was in Buffalo (Amazon doesn’t do Trinidad), so I’m going to get it for myself as a Christmas present and check out some YouTube clips for new moves in the meantime.

In any case, at-home Zumba will definitely be a staple of my fitness repertoire from now on, especially since the rainy season downpours make a daunting proposition of scheduling decent pool time.  And, with Carnival coming in eight months (and Christmas and my mom’s amazing array of pork dishes for the occasion in between) I need all the shaking and toning I can get.

I really hope Lola lays off the booty shorts, though, because now I’m tempted to get a pair for myself.  She is such a bad influence.