'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Monday, July 6, 2009

i just drank my spin class...

I know just what you're thinking. Well, it's two things, actually. #1: first REAL blog post in a while...where the heck have you been, girl?! and #2: she doesn't even make sense anymore...what does that title even mean?! Well, allow me to explain myself.

First of all, I must apologize for my little blog hiatus. I know I keep telling you I have all of these amazing blog entries up my sleeve and then I come up short. NAWT GOOD! :) Well, now I hope to make it up to you with some amazing blog entries in the coming days...starting with this one, "i just drank my spin class." Phew...this one has been a long time coming!

So, I ventured to Praha with some high hopes for my physical shape during my stint here. All this talk of saugages, fried cheese, potato dumplings, beef in gravy, strawberry dumplings, schnitzel and etc. didn't scare me. I was determined...

...that is, until I realized that there were a) very few suitable gyms (hey, I have high standards...for a reason. two words: The Firm) and b) eating dumplings is a way of Prague life.

Wonderful Greg (he's a pastor and he rocks!) holds the Firm float's sign!

(11 July) I just got this note from my dad, "Please take care of yourself and get some sleep and exercise." Yikes...he knows I've been eating too much syr (cheese) and dumplings too. :)
So, it is sad - but true - that I haven't worked out consistently in 6 months. Who would of thought?! But, when I went home for vacay a couple of weeks ago I had a chance to dive back into The Firm. And man, did I dive! First of all, my amazing Firm family accepted me with open arms and let me clean while I was home so I could do the whole workout thang on the cheap. Thank you to Laura, Doug, Kelly and Neal for being the best gym managers and owners a slightly-soft-missing-the-gym gal could have:). It was so refreshing to be around these people - these people who have become some of the most special people in my (and Tom's) life.

me, tom and John (who has been such an amazing friend + hairstylist to me/us!)

I feel blessed to be a part of this family...mostly because I feel like it's a rarity to find a 'home' in your gym. I mean, not just in a sense that the gym was my 'home away from home' (but it really was)...but in the sense that it was truly a safe haven for me, a place where I have been able to build real relationships with my fellow fitness fanatics. When I go to the gym, I don't just go to the gym. I get a chance to do what I love, among people who love me and love working out.

dressing up and working out=two of my favorite things!
80s week at the firm!

There were countless times when I would be lying on my couch or in my bed, not wanting to do anything when I would get up and force myself to go to the gym. And, inevitably when I'd get there, I'd feel like a rock star. After a long day at work, the gym provided me with undying energy and a unique zest for life. And, I went through some really rough stuff in life, I spent a majority of my "free" time at the gym...I was not only in the best shape of my life, but I also had the chance to meet some of my (now) absolute best and loyal friends. I remember the first conversation I had with my friend, Brian Blake. I think we spent two hours at the top of the stairs just talking. These moments are moments I've cherished and will continue to cherish. Those two hours blossomed into a meaningful friendship...many, to be fair...as I gained a big gay (both literally and figuratively:)) family.

me and Brian - goofing off at one of Andrew's fabulous dinner parties!

My very gracious and loving fairy godmother, Andrew (at Ingrid!)
(he's coming to visit me next week!)

the boys + megs at dinner at Andrew's

My fab Tony...has a killer smile...and does killer color (I call him and John the "dynamic duo" - couldn't live without 'em. Seriously...not sure how I am doing it now in Prague!)

my bday celebration at the Loop - me and my boys!

I'd be on my way from work to the gym...late for class (duh...my instructors all know this wasn't rarity) with near-empty tank of gas, about to run out and end up stranded on the side of the road, but I'd keep on truckin' (actually, car-in') in order to make it to what was, without a doubt, my absolute favorite part of the day. I always figured it out post-gym. Because, of course I didn't care if I ran out of gas post-workout...for I knew I'd be flying on a euphoric endorphin-abundant cloud.
What I thought of a 'cult' at first, spin class turned out to be my addiction. There's nothing better than a kick-ass workout with Kelly on Sunday afternoons, Terry on Mondays (paired with Funk, of course), Laura on Thursdays, Kiki on Fridays, TJ and his ghetto rap on Saturday AM (after a long night out...detox it was...literally) and Sunday morning with LVB (Oh goodness, LVB...she killed me, even when she was 6 months pregnant...it was inevitable that I would feel nauseated at least once every class, as if post-class spewage was right of passage - although that could have been from the previous night's cosmos! Sorry...I had a thing for 'em!)! Sweat-spillin', energy-surgin' endorphin-swirlin' workouts. I loved it and lived for it.

Laura is totally wonderwoman. She rocks the spin bike!

Rebecca both amazed me and challenged me on Thursday when we'd move our hips to the sweet sounds of Olivia Newton-John and Prince. Brad conditioned my muscles on Friday. Jessica's lil' yogi body - and big personality - were perfect compliment to Saturday and Sunday AM spin. And, when on the verge of falling over with exhaustion, Jess would utter the craziest little antecdote (comparing the feeling that comes from a yoga pose to an orgasm, for instance) that would make us all giggle.
And then there's Doug...'Diva Doug' as we like to call him. There's no one else quite like Doug. He is the man whose legs and booty every woman and man wants...but for different reasons (it makes us women green-with-envy way...we'd die to have a booty like that. and, as for the guys...well you know...). He's crazy, cool and an inspiration to many. Best of all, he makes people laugh. Having fun while working out is so important. For me, they go hand-in-hand. I mean, there can't possibly be anyone else as shiny as Doug...check him out!

Doug as...a big sparkly, rainbow-colored superhero
(Rebecca in background on left as rainbow bright. I love her.)

And, as if it couldn't get any better, there's Kelly. She's the owner and she kicks ass (excuse my language - but amazing people deserve strong adjectives!). One of the best business women I've met, Kelly simultaneously dazzles us with her spin skills and smile. She is the very reason the Firm vision turned into a reality...the very reason I am able to call this place 'home'. I owe her lots and lots of 'thank you's'...and then lots more.

My gym friends always joke about the gym and refer to it as "church."As silly as this may sound, I realized the other day after not having gone to the gym in a while, that it is actually a place where I do a hefty amount of my thinking...reflecting...and praying. I love the feeling after a good, sweaty spin session when the cool down music comes on and I just give thanks to God for giving me the legs to spin and the fine people who surround me. I'm truly blessed.

With all of that said, you can imagine why I had a massively difficult time coming to Prague and leaving my gym behind. It's not just a gym. It's the people. I was asked not too long ago what I miss most. Without thinking too long, I uttered, "my gym!" My friend started giggling and said, "YOUR GYM?! WHAT ABOUT YOUR FIANCE?!" Ha ha ha..."Well," I said, "Tom would laugh if he heard me say that." And he did. Because he knows I love him and miss him greatly, obviously (more than the Firm, of course:)). I have been here nearly 6 months and haven't worked out consistently the entire time. My mind is groggy and I miss the over-stimulation the Firm added to my days.

Everyone asks me what gyms are like here, and well...let me paint a picture for you: about 1 month into my time here, I decided to check out a bikram yoga studio so cleverly named 'Bikram Yoga'. ha. I got into the class and was surprised to see the instructor not dim the lights at all - we were in a gigantic room with neon lights and I was seemingly surrounded by Eastern euro men in banana hammocks. Sweet. The class was heated to a balmy 43 degrees celsius, because (duh) it was bikram. But the difference was, I felt like we were going through the poses a mile a minute without any relief, and on top of that he sounded like an auctioneer (not-so-soothing) and was yelling "hey you - in the red shorts - don't give up...push through it!" Um...excuse me...last time I checked, this was bikram yoga, not the marines. Dang. Oh, and class cost me the equivalent of 20 dollars. I knew then that I was in for a ride.

So, what's this whole 'i just drank my spin class' blog title, you may ask? Well, the fact of the matter is that the night I started writing this post I had just had a cosmo...which costs about 100 Kc in the Czech Republic (equal to about 5 USD...which sounds cheap, but it is expensive here!) -and coincidentally, spin classes here cost around 100 Kc too. Moral of the story? Spend your Kc on spin class rather than cosmos.

I miss the Firm, but I am finally getting over it and readying myself for some good, consistent workouts and good (non-dumpling-filled) eating while here in Praha. The detox was an experiment...and I passed, so I know I can do it. I'll get there, slowly but surely! :)

Here's to workouts (or not so much) in the good ol' CZE!

Na Zdravi!



p.s. I was excited to see a majority of the pics above out on facebook - they come from the most recent Pride parade in Minneapolis, which happened the week after I left Minni for Prague. They all look like superheroes! That's becuase they are!

p.s.s. I can't possibly name every special Firm friend here, because if I did the list would be endless and this blog would turn into an even longer novel than it already is. But, you all know who you are. I love you.

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