Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blurring the Lines Between Cross-Training and Competition

A few months ago, I was on the hunt for a new fitness routine to help me combat repetitive low back issues and a weak upper body.  Sure, hot yoga is great, but I next really had a major ache to go.. and lifting weights at the gym was something I left in high school.. so what next?

As anyone who's seen me at the end of a mtn or cx race knows, I'm not the most graceful of creatures.  But there's a part of me that has always loved to watch various forms of gymnastics and dance, fascinated by the amazing displays of strength and creative ways to move the body... a power I've envied for years as I'd watch performances and youtube vids galore.

So, in October, I finally put on my big girl pants and signed up for a aerial dance workshop to give it a go and I was instantly hooked!  I immediately signed up for a month-long beginner session to learn how to be an aerial dancer of my own.  Aerial dance?  You may know it better by the term Pole Dance ;)   Just, take away the removal of clothing and add in a ton more strength and contortion, and you'll get what it's about.

I've been studying at Dollhouse Pole Dance Studio now for three months and it's the first time since I bought my first bike that I've found something that I'm this obsessed about.  Feeling and watching the changes in my body is hard to believe sometimes... less back pain, stronger core, awesome increase in arm and leg strength, and touching my toes for the first time in years!  All that havoc I've caused in my body on the bike is finally starting to reverse (but there's still a LONG way to go)!

The interesting part happened right around the New Year...

I'd taken December off of racing bikes - the first month I hadn't raced in over three years!  I really tried to learn as much as I could in my pole classes with an insatiable hunger. When it came time to thinking about 2015 and the possible adventures that lie ahead, I just kept thinking of "If Nothing"... What if nothing stood in your way?  What awesome things would you do?

This lil bike racer signed up for her first Pole Sport Competition!  In January, bike racing turned into cross-training for my first pole competition in May, and the cross-training I'd been doing in dance turned into my new competitive sport.  I ramped up my training more than I ever thought I would... and I still wanted more!  For the first time in my competitive life, I've wanted to eat better and train harder.  Riding my bike for cardio, doing calisthenics for strength training, stretching regularly for the first time in my life, and taking Pole bootcamps and learning how to edit music.. and it all feels so natural.

I day dream about my routine, my costume, my make-up... I've sat on youtube for hours just trying to find new things for Coach Jamie to teach me.  And then I spend my Saturday's in the pole studio, followed by a couple hours on the LaMere

fat bikes with my hubby... so perfect!  Sure, I'm still racing, but from now til my first competition, it's not exactly what I'm training for.  But I'm sure loving learning something so challenging and exciting!  And heck, I gotta thank the bike for giving strong legs by which to hang upside down with!

my first Gemini!

One of the craziest lessons I've learned in this... I bruise more from pole dancing than I do mountain biking!  Maybe it's cuz we do things like holding your body weight with just your armit...

first time getting the Yogini!  (nice fat purple bruise in my armpit after this one)

It's interesting what phenomenal things you find when you follow your life's curiosities and try new things. I know I don't regret it, and I'm so excited to see what amazing things lie ahead in 2015!

Pole dreaming and bike ridin', 
Kristy Kreme