Archive for ‘working out’

March 5, 2012

dancing woman, part dos.

by la rebelde

This weekend I was at the Rose Bowl for a 5-mile run.  My group meets there once a week as we train for a half-marathon.  It is both exciting and daunting, having never run more than 4 miles at one time.

Earlier that week I had been thinking about when I used to run regularly — not since 2007, when I first moved to LA following a summer of regular running with Manito D by the river in ‘burque.  It was during that time, when I was first getting to know LA, that I started this blog.

So there we were, all of us in our team running shirts, warming up together.  We mostly just meet together to stretch, learn about nutrition and injury prevention, or hear announcements and the like.  But once we get started, we are each on our own.  And I am a slow poke among the runners, barely jogging faster than the walkers, so it only makes sense that we each go at our own pace.  I blame my short legs.

As our coach was talking about proper form, I couldn’t help but look over her shoulder at the joggers and walkers who were already out on the path.

And there she was…the dancing treadmill woman!!

I’d seen her almost 5 years ago at the gym and wrote about her on this blog.  She was amazing.  She’d set the treadmill to a slow pace and instead of running, she danced.  I remember looking to the others on the treadmills next to me and noticing all of us smiling while watcher her dance to the music in her ears.

Dancing woman was going slowly up the hill along the path, swaying to the right and to the left, moving along with the rhythms that played through her ear buds.  Arms outstretched.  A little hip hop, a little salsa.  Every now and then, she’d stop and move her hips.  She was really into it.  Dancing, as they say, like no one was watching.  Joggers and walkers kept passing her with smiles on their faces.  I looked to the others in our circle, but no one noticed…or if they did, they didn’t show it.

So much has happened in the 5 years since I last saw her.  I did a ton of research, wrote lots and lots of pages, weathered some academic storms, finished a degree, started a career, went through heartache, found love, made new friendships and cherished old ones.  I have grown as a teacher, a scholar and as a person.  The last few weeks I’ve been contemplating my future, feeling the strain of a tight job market, hoping for a gig that will be nurturing and enable me to reach my personal and professional goals…goals I have articulated and re-articulated over and over, even now.

At that moment when I saw the dancing woman again, I knew I was doing what I need to be doing.  I hope I see her again sometime soon.  Perhaps on another path, when I need reminding that I’m right where I need to be, dancing to the rhythm of the music in my ears.

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April 1, 2008

keeping up.

by la rebelde

I spent the weekend with my mama—a visit long overdue and much too short. We had a great time together.

I’ve been trying to be healthier these days. You know, lose about 10 pounds, exercise regularly, eat better…the usual. So, my mama, the dietitian/health-nut calculated things out and informed me that if I want to lose a pound a week over the next couple months, I can only eat between 1000-1200 calories a day because I’m so short and I’ve hit the big 3-0. I don’t think I generally eat badly, but 1200 calories?? That’s not very much! After she informed me of this bad news, she helped me choose my meals for the next day—1100 calories, including oatmeal, fruit, salad, crab cakes, bread, black bean soup and egg-less egg salad made from tofu. (btw-it only tasted okay because my mama made it and Chinese people know how to hook up the bean curd!) It wasn’t very much, but I guess I’ll get used to it over time.

She also bought me a gift—a workout video that came with two 2-pound weights to compliment my regular spinning classes. We tried it out together. And now, a full two days since I left, my legs are still sore. Hers aren’t. Dang, I just can’t keep up with her!

October 23, 2007

monday stream of consciousness.

by la rebelde
  • The fires in SoCal and México are crazy out of control. I feel for the people whose lives are deeply affected. I’m annoyed at the news coverage for focusing so much on the “expensive homes” (i.e. freakin’ gigantic-ass mansions) that are burning down, as if the impact on wealth (not people) is what makes the fires so devastating.
  • Profa asked for an updated prospectus and research plan. She’s totally kicking me in the nalgas with her Dansko clog. I need a kick in the nalgas. How did she know that? Is it because I haven’t emailed her in months?
  • Had trouble falling asleep last night. Woke early this morning to the sound of chain saws outside my bedroom window. They’re cutting the branches off the trees across the street. Soon they will do the ones in my complex. It’s fall in LA. That means palm tree carcasses everywhere.
  • October is almost over. How did that happen? And why the heck is it going to be in the 90s for the next few days?!
  • When my radio alarm went off, I thought, “gee wiz, NPR is suddenly way more radical today!” Turns out I accidentally tuned to Pacifica Radio last night after listening to Super Estrella 107.1. A nice surprise. I should do that more often.
  • Skipped going to the gym today…again. I keep using the temporary cancellation of spinning classes in my gym and the sheer number of güeros in the Pasadena location as excuses not to go. Thursday I will have no excuses. And as my good amiga says, we shouldn’t let our dissertations/unhappiness (or güeros for that matter) take their tolls on our bodies—not if we can help it.
  • p.m.s. sucks. so does the period. still glad it’s here though.
  • I decided that paying for the internet at coffeshops is buuuunk!! And I’d rather drive several miles further, than pay for it. Even though the crowd is mostly brown and it’s only 4 blocks from my apartment. That’s how bunk it is.

That’s all for now folks. Back to work…at a coffeeshop much further away.

April 30, 2007

dancing treadmill woman.

by la rebelde

Yesterday, huffing and puffing on a treadmill facing the windows near my gym’s entrance, I watched a woman skip her way down the sidewalk—literally skip, not jog, not run, but skip. Shortly after, she charged through the isles between workout machinery and sweaty gym-goers to a treadmill closest to the windows, and in my direct line of vision. She put on her ear-buds and set the treadmill to a very low setting and, to my surprise, she started dancing!

First it was slow and deliberate dancing—like stretching almost. Then it was salsa and slow merengues, followed by the twist and what looked like a version of the “roger rabbit.” She was really getting into it—turning left and right, her arms fully extended as she moved to the rhythm of music that only she could hear. I silently hoped that no one at the machines next to her would get knocked out. She seemed to care less that everyone appeared to be watching her. She smiled as she danced on the moving floor beneath her feet. And I couldn’t help but smile to watch her—and so did everyone in my row of treadmills. All of us, smiling and jogging simultaneously.

She must know what she’s doing, I thought, because she is seriously toned. If treadmill dancing is all she does, then she’s figured out the workout secret, for reals! I was disappointed when she finally left the cardio area. I glanced at the man running next to me (I think I’d seen him at my spinning class before), who was grinning from ear to ear. We both giggled a bit before he said, “Whatever she’s smoking, I want some of that!” I’m not sure you’d have to smoke anything to have that kind of vibe—confident, graceful, quirky, fun. But I do know that all the smiling while running made me go a little bit faster and it made the time go by in a flash. I hope to witness the dancing treadmill woman again soon.

What a gift to be able to channel good energies to people around you, while just doing your own thing!

March 22, 2007

support young women with breast cancer! (and by extension, mi tocaya)

by la rebelde

Young Survival Coalition

Dear blog readers and fellow blogger@s,

A very good friend of mine, mi tocaya (her nickname is also Isa), whose inspiring training for the Boston Marathon I wrote about a few weeks ago, is raising money for the Young Survival Coalition, a great non-profit that supports action, advocacy and awareness about issues particular to young women who have breast cancer. This is a cause that she is very committed to. And, if she raises enough money, the cost of her entry in the Boston Marathon will be paid for.

Click here to donate.

Below is an excerpt about the Young Survival Coalition that Isa wrote in her blog, where she has a much longer description of the YSC. There you will also find that she keeps a running log of her experiences with the training process, complete with photos, little stories about the folks she passes on her runs and her exploration of Boston, and really cool maps (which show that she runs crazy far distances!). Please join me in supporting a wonderful cause and an amazing mujer!

Muchas gracias,
la rebelde.

women of all ages can and DO get breast cancer. More than 250,000 women under 40 will be living with breast cancer this year.

But without proper screening tools for young women they are being diagnosed late, often, devastating consequences follow.

There is also little research about fertility, pregnancy, hormonal impact, mortality rate and long-term survivorship issues for young women with cancer. And research that focuses on young Latinas and African-American women is almost non-existent.

Young Survival Coalition is the only international, non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the concerns and issues unique to young women. Their motto, “Action, Advocacy, Awareness” has helped educate the medical, research and legislative community and persuade them to address these important issues.

They YSC is also a point of contact for young women living with breast cancer.

March 3, 2007

run, tocaya, run!

by la rebelde

One of my very good friends, mi tocaya, who I’ve known since the first semester of our first year in college, is training to run the Boston Marathon in just a few short weeks. She will be the second of my friends to run a full marathon in recent months. I’ve had other friends who’ve run smaller versions like the ½ or the 5K. I think all of them are incredibly impressive. And after reading mi tocaya’s blog which has, as of late, been focusing on her training experiences, I decided it was time to put on my running sneakers again.

I have not been to the gym in weeks, weeks I tell you! But it is always good to get back on the workout tip, if for no other reason than to avoid that pinche dissertation, but also for reasons which I have outlined earlier. So yesterday, rather than rushing to UCLA to do research in archives that I don’t like anyway, I put on my sneakers and trekked out of my apartment—away from my ‘puter and far, far away from los archivos—to the park just one mile from my apartment.

my sneakers. they’re bouncy and they don’t hurt my feet, my back or my legs. yes, i am a nike fan. no, this is not an ad for nike. and yes, i do know that they’re constructed with sweatshop labor, which, of course, is very, very bad.

After warming up with the walk to the park, I began my run (actually more of a jog, but I like to say “run” because it makes me feel more hip and fit), past small children chasing ducks around the pond, old Chinese people doing Tai Chi, and middle-age Mexican couples walking briskly around the park, chat chat chatting. For the first few minutes I feel great. I’m jogging at a good pace. I’m thinking about how perfect the weather is for running outside. I’m feeling the cool air rush past me. I’m soaking in the rays. I’m feeling good. But after one lap, my nose is running, my chest starts burning and I can’t stop wheezing. And yet, I decide to jog another lap. Because even though I have not been running regularly for the last few weeks, this has never happened to me, not even when I first started running. Or maybe it was because I’m masochistic. But I know I’m not THAT out of shape. I’m thinking I have weird l.a.-related allergies, ones I have not known before, ones that have to do with strange vegetation and smog.

In any case, I ran only about one mile and walked about 2.5. Pretty good for now I think–just as long as I keep putting on those sneakers. I’m not planning to train for a marathon any time soon. I just wanna get fit and maybe not look like I sit on my ass all day in front of a computer and some old dusty papers. But I do tip my cowgirl sombrero to my girls who’ve actually trained for a run or been consistent with running in any way. And I look forward to seeing the photos of mi tocaya when she crosses the finish line in chilly Boston next month. Thinking about the amazing mujeres in my life sometimes just makes me smile real big!

November 21, 2006

on dissertation writing and going to the gym.

by la rebelde

Last week, determined to finish the draft of my prospectus, I spent the entire week in front of my ‘puter. There were days when I would get up, make a cup of coffee, and head straight to my desk still in my sweat pants, hair unbrushed and face all dewy. I admit it was a shameful sight, but since I am single, who was there to witness? By Wednesday I realized that I had not left my apartment for days and my ass had a feeling reminiscent of my preparation for my qualifying exams (comps, prelims, whatever you want to call it). You know, when your butt cheeks feel like they’ve been pressed together for so long that they will never feel normal again? Yea, it was like that. So I forced myself to make the short, 2-block walk to the gym, my mother’s voice echoing in my head—why would you pay for a gym membership that you only use once a week? (My mother is a dietician. And she’s Chinese American. So that’s a double whammy with the gym issue. Unless you’re Chinese American too, you might not quite understand.)

(this is my desk and my ‘puter where the magical
ass-pressing and hopefully, dissert
ation-writing happens.)

But I re
alized that there was a second voice echoing in my mind: the voice of my profa, who sometimes has very amusing advice in our moments of collegiality. Several months ago, we met at one of my favorite coffee shops in our small Midwestern college town. The springtime was just beginning—my favorite time of year, when the flowers bloom after the succession of dark months—and I had been stuck in coffee shops for weeks, just reading. I should have relished the time! After all, from what others had told me, I would feel “bionically smart” in the few weeks prior to the exam. Profa came over directly from the gym.

“Gosh, you look really tired!” she said. Uh, yea! I had just taken the written exam the day before and our meeting was in preparation for the oral exam, which would be the following day. If I didn’t look tired or worse, something would have been wrong. And after our conversation, in which she grilled me for my thoughts on Trachtenberg’s notion of “incorporation” and I very nervously (and successfully, I might add. whew!) pulled a decent answer out of my ass that had been pressed together for the last few weeks (see above), I tried to make small talk.

“Do you go to the Y?” I asked. The Y was only 2 blocks away from the coffee shop and I had a membership there. Turns out she went to some other gym and she proceeded to tell me all about her trainer and her routine, which made for surprisingly good conversation. Then she busted out the following:

“After your exams, when you’re on fellowship and you’re focused on writing your dissertation, you should definitely go to the gym. It will often be the only time you have human contact. Try spinning. You’ll love it!” So there you have it. As I relayed the conversation to my fellow exam studyin’ homegirl immediately following the meeting, my profa thought I looked like shit and needed to work out.

I was determined not to let the gym be my only human contact once I started writing my dissertation. But since I’ve moved, and don’t have an academic community in LA yet (still working on that), I have become exactly what profa predicted. Sadly, the gym has become a temporary refuge from my ‘puter. And when I finally emailed her my draft—2 weeks later than my deadline—it was 3am. The knot that developed in my stomach soon after did not go away until morning. I hardly slept that night. And I definitely didn’t make it to the gym the next day.