Monday, July 30, 2012

Back to Zumba, Ouch!

When the going gets tough, the tough go to Zumba. 

Or used to go anyway.

After five weeks off, I finally went back to the gym. Ouch! I am one hurtin' puppy. For the past three years, I've been a pretty consistent worker-outer. Dance classes (Zumba and Nia) 3-4 times a week, yoga 2-3 times. But, you wouldn't know it right now.

When school ended the third week of June, my teen daughter and I headed to Europe. We had a bat mitzvah in London, followed by a few days in Paris. Back in the states, I had to get three weeks worth of work done in a day and a half before we went up to Maine (along with my husband this time) for an annual sailing trip. It would have been lovely to go to the gym in between those back-to-back vacations. 

But, who am I kidding?

Now, you may think I spent my ten days abroad eating les bon bons and sipping le vin blanc and not exercising. Mais non, mon ami! All right, there were plenty of bon bons and wine, but there was also plenty of exercise. Let's see ...

We walked all over London. My daughter and our two young English friends walked from brunch in Mayfair to Oxford Street (and teen fashion mecca Primark), then from Oxford Street to St. Johns Wood. Not sure how many kilometres that was but it took us an hour and a half, and we simply had to stop for ice cream along the way.

I danced my tuchus off at the bat mitzvah. I was familiar with a lot of the music from Zumba and actually used some of the moves from my class out on the dance floor. It was extremely gratifying when an older gentleman who was once a dance instructor at New York's Tavern on the Green told his wife that I "had the moves." I've repeated the story several times. So many times, in fact, that my daughter asked, rolling her eyes, "Yeah, yeah, you're never gonna forget that one, are you Mom?"

We continued the vacation workout in Paris. We had just four days to cover ... well, pretty much everything. We walked to and up Montmartre, and climbed to the dome of Sacre Couer. We walked down 350 steps to the Catacombs. We walked the halls and gardens of Versailles. And, on our last full day in the city of lights, we walked up the Eiffel Tower. You see, three of the four elevators were out of order. So, we could stand on line for the only one in operation, or we could save €5 each and walk. About halfway up, suffering from a bit of acrophobia as well as muscle fatigue, I had the distinct feeling that the outside staircase (kind of like a never-ending industrial strength fire escape in a cage) was shaking. "No, Mo-o-om, it's not," groaned my daughter. She was right. The staircase wasn't shaking ... my legs were!

The view was magnificent, as we expected. I paid too much for a bottle of water and we took about a hundred pictures. Then we had to walk back down. Toward the end of our descent, a display showed the relative heights of various international structures. It also informed us that our climb had been the equivalent of going up and down a 43-story building. (It was probably a good thing that I didn't know that from the start.)

Our final Olympic-level vacation feat was dragging our overloaded luggage a mile — uphill — to the Gare du Nord to catch the train to Charles de Gaulle. Every muscle ached.

Every. Muscle. In. My. Body. Ached.

Then, a bit of jet lag, a bit of advertising copy for clients ... and we went sailing. I didn't do much (hoisted the mainsail along with all the other guests, hiked a little on an island). But, somehow or other, my back went out on our last morning. I  curled up painfully in the rear of the car for the drive home and limped around for another two weeks afterwards. My guess is that all of the Paris exertion caught up to me, exacerbated by the tiny "careful-not-to-hit-your-head" bunk in our schooner cabin. 

Isn't it fun getting older?

Extra Strength Tylenol is a wonderful thing. And finally, after a few pain-free days, I went back to Zumba. I was not very coordinated; I didn't know the new routines; I was drenched in sweat. But, here's the worst of it. In my weeks away, someone stole my spot! For three years (hello, three years, people!), I've stood in the second row, all the way on the left, near the stereo and the stacked step equipment. I liked my spot. I could see the instructor. I could see myself in the mirror. I was close to the action but not in the very first "look-at-me-cause-I'm-all-that" row.

Now, I'm stuck in the back, on the right. Boo.

It just goes to prove what I've always secretly feared, you can never never never stop working out. You must stay committed. You have to feel the burn. You have to drag your sorry booty to the gym or face the consequences.

You snooze, you lose ... your place at Zumba.

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