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  1. Hello 2014!!! So my theme for this challenge comes from a really lovely article from mega-surfer Laird Hamilton about training and being athletic after 40. It's about 5 years old, but it doesn't seem at all out of date to me. Some of the things he says ring totally true to how I live and train (eat well, but be flexible with food, train with other people, build strength you can apply), but some of the stuff was really food for thought... particularly about how other types of training can improve your performance (that and the potent analogy about what happens when you park an old car), and about doing different things on vacation. And with all that rattling around in my brain, I've decided that my first challenge of 2014, I'm going to use more traditional gymnastics training to shore up some of the weak spots in my aerial work. Basically, in December I wrapped up 2 months of hard training for a showcase, and I took stock of what was sore, and what was not. I realized that I work the HELL out of my pulling muscles, but my pressing muscles don't get as much use. And I had a really useful conversation with a coach and a friend about how it's easier for bendy people to build stability than for stiff people to build flexibility... I'm the overly bendy person who lacks stability. I'm plenty strong, but I can't always use it because my body & back are so loose. Both of these things are affecting my ability to learn further aerial skills. So it's time to do something about it... Goal 1: Modified schedule of GMB P1 + in person handstand training + aerial work. The key piece here is really going to be the handstand training, because it helps me a ton to have a coach who can point out where I'm not straight, but I can only fit that in my schedule once a week. P1 is definitely less hard than R1 (which I started, but was unable to finish because of performance training), but gives me another opportunity to work on hollow body holds and pressing. The aerial work is just to keep my toes in the pool... and to substitute in for handstand training when I can't get into that class. If the classes at my circus school are overcrowded the rest of the year, it's doubly true in January! I have a written out 6-week schedule, including rest days, so I'm going to score this 7 out of 7 per week. Goal 2: Three minute practice. This is a 1 minute handstand hold at the wall, and 2 minutes of the yoga lotus pose, 1 minute on each side. (See bonus section for why I'm doing lotus.) 6 days a week (scored at 6/6 per week). I should be able to integrate this into my P1 cool down on days I'm doing the GMB training. Goal 3: Stretch splits & backbend 3 days a week. I don't want to lose my flexibility, I want to stabilize my flexibility. Scored at 3/3 per week. BONUS: Two things that aren't really goals, but bonus things I'm working on. First of all, at the end of this challenge we're going on a short family vacation to the mountains, and I'd really like to take a chance to try cross country skiing. My husband does downhill and wants to teach our son, but I'm really not enamoured of hurtling down a hill. I've wanted to try cross country for a while, and there's a cross country resort near where we're staying.... plus it's less expensive than downhill. If there is actually snow while we're there (this is the mountains outside LA, so it's not a given). Also, as a long term yoga goal this year, I'd like to be able to fold my legs into lotus without using my hands. Hence the regular lotus practice. So for the active recovery days where I feel like doing a little yoga, I'm going to try to focus on practices that involve lotus, unless I'm really feeling like I need a sleep oriented practice or something else specific. Finally... I'm not doing an non-fitness level up goals this challenge! I'm just not feeling it this time.
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