Friday, March 20, 2015

Middle Age Parkour Ladies Are the New Black

I had my last parkour class last Wednesday night, Class #8.  We started off with the same timed obstacle course we did on the first day of class.  I was a bit nervous on the start line, this course had been quite terrifying to me on the first day, especially climbing the wall.  I fell on my ass trying to jump from one floor rail to the other and skinned and bruised my knees pretty badly trying to get up the wall.  This time however it was mostly a piece of cake.  I still don't have the balance and jumping skills to go from rail to rail so I just put a foot down and took the fault for that part rather than possible hurt myself falling again.  And the wall?  No problemo, scampered up that thing like it was nothing.  I did forget and very lightly and briefly put weight my knees to get up a different wall but a lot of other people forgot too.  My time was around 2:30 mins. on the first day and went down to 1:30 or so on the last day.  But best of all the course was no problem (except for the rail jumping which is a pretty advanced skill if you've not done it much).

Tonight's class was the start of the flashy stuff - flips and spins.  We started off with the wall spin, which looks like this:

Now it's important to point out that I was working on a much easier progression of this with a padded wall and padded mat to land on and putting one hand on the ground, one on the wall (see the video at 2:18).  Of course I was much better in one direction than the other, even the instructor noticed.  I have an even greater respect for dogs that struggle with jumping and turning to their off side.

The we worked on the Palm Spin which is a wall spin but on a flat surface.  By this time my head was spinning a bit and I struggled with the mechanics of it.  We had another substitute instructor who I once again couldn't quite follow as easily as our regular instructor.  He wasn't bad and most of the rest of the class got it, I just need this sort of stuff broken down and explained a little more.  It was o.k. though, I'll work on it on my own.  It's not a skill I'm passionate about having anyway.

Then some work on the bars that was way beyond me.  It was mostly various ways to get up into a muscle up position.  For those unfamiliar with the muscle up, well, it's hard, it can take strong athletic guys up to 6 months to learn and it was way beyond my strength capability.

This is a pure muscle up.

And this is a progression using momentum to make it easier.  But I'm not even at this level yet.  Not even close.  It looks easy but I double dog dare you to give it a try.

So I had to pretty much sit this part out.  I'd say maybe only a third of the class was able to do these.

Next we were on to flips on the trampoline and into the foam pit.  Those of us like me who were unfamiliar with flipping could start off with easy  progressions of the front flip on the trampoline.  Those with more experience did front and side and maybe even back flips into the foam pit.  I was happy enough to stay out of the foam pit.  I saw it swallow up the other small woman who was my size and it was very hard for her to get out.  Never mind the grossness.  I don't even want to think about what was festering in there.

Anyway, the trampoline was very bouncy, way more bouncy than any regular trampoline I've ever been on.  Very VERY fun!!!  I never quite got to a full front flip but I got to maybe 3/4 of the way and landed on my butt/back.  I could only do maybe 3-4 reps at a time then I'd have to get off and let the room stop spinning for a while.  I started having problems with this sort of thing in my 20's so I can't even blame my age.  I get super dizzy with any kind of spinning motion for too long.  I can do it, just not over and over.  I have low blood pressure and it may be something to do with that.  I sometimes even have problems getting up from the couch or sitting for a long time and I'll sometimes almost black out and I've passed out a few times in the past few years under various circumstances.  So I don't know how much flipping is in my future but it sure was fun to do it for a little bit and I was glad I had the nerve to give it a go.  At some point during that last class the other woman in the class turned to me and said, 'It's funny all the things I've discovered that I'm afraid of because of this class' and yet she seemed pretty brave to me throughout the class.  She did a great job of hiding and/or getting over her fears in any case.

And me too.  I have to say after that first class I would have some building dread before class each week and I knew it was silly and that I'd be fine but there was always some point where I debated not going, especially on those couple nights when the roads were snowy/icy and it was snowing.  But I made it through all 8 classes and once I got there I had a great time at every single class.  The stuff in these classes was well outside my comfort zone on many levels and I'm SO glad I went and learned this stuff and overcame my fears each week.  What an awesomely amazing experience it was!  And I have a huge list of skills to work on and movements to perfect and super fun strength training exercises that will be so much more fun than boring old hand weights.  I've already made up a huge list of things I want to work on, can't wait to get started.

On a funny note, I was in the sauna today after masters swim practice and coincidentally we'd been working on dives off the blocks.  I was yammering to this guy from the masters workout about parkour class and the front flips on the trampoline and I wondered if it would be fun/possible to try a front flip off the diving blocks.  A woman caught my attention and said, 'You were at parkour on Wednesday?  I was there too working on flips into the foam pit.'  Now what are the chances of that?  And she's 42.  Middle Age Parkour Ladies are the New Black, in Boulder anyway.

She was there for the next level class above mine and the stuff they do is pretty impressive.  And scary.  I had already decided that if I take more classes next fall after triathlon season that I'd just repeat the intro. class because Level One looked too intimidating.  But she said you work up to it and you get used to it and you can do a drop-in class while taking the intro. class again if you want.  These classes are way smaller and you get a lot more personal attention.  So I don't know but maybe she's inspired me to maybe think about it.  Or at least consider one of the other types of classes like a tricks class that would be learning flips and similar type stuff.  I noticed they had a break dancing class too, now THAT would be funny.  But it'll have to wait until fall because I'm thinking I may start up with my coach for triathlon next month.  Can't believe I have a race in 9 weeks and I done hardly any running and almost no biking.  Better dust off the heart rate monitor and try to get my interval legs back.

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