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Posts Tagged ‘workouts’

As spring approaches, I’m taking my Wild Irish Rose out for spins around the neighborhood. Sore hamstrings, pumping pedals, the wind in my face, that feeling of freedom—it’s all good.

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heart sneakers trail

Around the time I started running, I also started a series of boot camp workshops with my friend Erin Madore (who now owns and operates Savin Hill Fitness Studio in Dorchester). We met on Monday nights in the basement of a spa in Quincy, and that initial six-week series spawned a year and a half of working out together. I’d never done anything like a boot camp before (see also: convinced I was not a gym rat), but I came to love that group of women, and the strength, flexibility and joy we found in sweating together.

About a month into the first boot camp series, I noticed some occasional twinges in my knees, both when I was running (still very slowly) on the river trail and when I was doing squats and lunges in boot camp. I hadn’t injured myself, that I knew of, so I asked Erin about it. She listened patiently, then turned her keen blue eyes on my ancient New Balance sneakers. “Honey, how old are those shoes?”

I was embarrassed to tell her – and frankly, I’m not even sure I knew how old they were (multiple years, for sure). I still wasn’t sure this running-and-workout thing would stick, but I knew I couldn’t keep doing it in broken-down shoes. So I took myself to Nordstrom Rack (and the attendant overwhelm) the following week, and came away with a new pair of shoes. And – most of you know what I’m going to say next – it made such a difference.

Since then, I’ve gone through a few more pairs of shoes; I buy new ones about every six months. I’ve switched from Nordstrom to the helpful folks down the street at Marathon Sports (shop local!), and from New Balance to On Running. As I write this, a new pair is on its way, and the violet ones I’ve been wearing since April will become my walking shoes.

One reason I love running in general is that it helps me pay attention: to the sky, the light, and how I feel in my own body. Wearing down a pair of shoes, and knowing when it’s time to order new ones, is a part of that attention. It’s fun to pick out a new color and I love the feeling of springy new sneakers on that first run. But mostly it’s a reminder: running is one way among many that I take care of my body. And keeping my feet (and knees) happy is definitely critical.

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As with so many other aspects of our lives these days, my yoga practice has gone online.

I discovered yoga about 10 years ago, when a friend invited me to some classes taking place in the Center for Contemporary Arts in downtown Abilene. I was (and remain) a bit intimidated by people who can twist their bodies into pretzel-like shapes, but I fell in love with the poses and breath work, and with McKay (the instructor’s) warm, practical, down-to-earth approach to yoga. When I moved to Boston, I immediately started taking classes at Healing Tree in Quincy, just down the road from my house. And when I moved to Eastie last summer, I found and fell in love with The Point.

Right as the social-distancing plans were ramping up, I went to a Sunday night restorative class at The Point. I had a hunch (correct, it turned out) that it would be my last chance for a while. There were three of us plus Taylor, the instructor, and we spread out with mats and blankets and bolsters, and tried to breathe deeply by candlelight. I felt it might fortify me, somehow, for whatever was coming next.

Since then, I’ve been dipping into Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and taking virtual online classes from both The Point and my friend Erin’s studio, Savin Hill Fitness. I like Adriene’s calm voice and occasional Texas twang (and her dog, Benji). I like that her videos are there for me any time. But I also like the virtual classes: even though we’re not in the room together, it helps me to know there’s a live instructor on the other side of the camera. The best part, when I’m taking from an instructor I know, is getting to wave at Erin or Izzy or Renee at the beginning or end of class.

Yoga is, of course, often silent and individual, except for the instructor’s voice. But for me it is also about community. It’s been a way for me to ground myself in the places I have lived. And even though I’m doing it solo on my kitchen floor these days, it’s still providing a bit of connection. Not to mention some seriously needed stretching, core work and deep breaths.

Are you doing yoga (or other workouts) online these days?

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