shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
It seems silly for me to differentiate between my performance, dance, and athletic itineraries, so I'm consolidating them.

Here's what's coming up:

Regularly Scheduled
- teaching dance classes at the Downtown Community Centre, Breithaupt Community Centre, and Aradia Fitness Studio. As of January, I hope to be teaching four times per week.
- CrossFit training. I try to make it into the box three to five times per week, with a mix of WoDs (Workouts of the Day) and Open Gym times, where I play and work on rope skills and weight training.
- Rock climbing. I try to go in at least once a month.
- Pole dance. I take advanced/master classes at Aradia once a week

Once the weather is more amenable, I want to get back to regular running and parkour practice.

- March 9, 2014. Butoh/voice workshop with Denise Fujiwara and Gerry Trentham
- April 12, 2014. Goruck Light.
- June 14, 2014. Metcon Blue 10km mountain obstacle race
- July 19, 2014. Warrior Dash: mountain obstacle race
- September 13, 2014. Badass Dash: mountain obstacle race

More events will show up, of course. I intend on participating in the CrossFit Opens, whenever that should happen.
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
It's been a while since I've done one of these!

Want to join me? Here's how it works.

Day 1, do one burpee.
Day 2, do two burpees.
Day 3, do three burpees.
Day 100, do 100 burpees.

The burpees don't have to all be in a row. You can space them out throughout the day. If, heavens forbid, you should miss a day, you make up for it the next day, plus do the next day's worth of burpees. So, if you miss day 23, on day 24 you do the 23 AND the 24. That puts you right back on track.

Pro tip: If you're going to skip a day, do it early on in the challenge, because later on, it's gonna suck!

As someone who's done this before, I say it starts to suck around day 50, but if you persevere, it gets better, because you think, "Oh, that's only a couple sets of 10 more" instead of thinking, "Ack! 20 more???"

Burpees work your whole damned body. They make you strong, speedy, athletic, and capable of winning a battle with a T-Rex, because, let's face it--T-Rex never could do even a single burpee, and you can do hundreds of the mofos!

So, what IS a burpee? It's basically a stylized way of throwing yourself onto the ground and jumping back up again. Here's a demonstration of the burpees that I do.

Now, join us. JOIN USSSS!!!
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
I'm a full-time student, though I'm not enrolled at any institution, and am not working towards a degree or certificate. I take university courses online, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), through Coursera and edX. Sometimes I drop the course. Sometimes I follow it through completion. Sometimes I do all the assignments and readings. Sometimes I just watch the lectures. I am always grateful for the opportunity to expand my knowledge and comprehension.

My current courses are
  • Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology
  • The Modern and the Postmodern
  • Animal Behaviour
  • The Ancient Greek Hero
I have more courses starting up within a few weeks.

I take classical voice lessons at Maxwell's Music House. Although I've touched on pop, Broadway, and folk, the bulk of the songs I work with are classical. Right now, I'm working on pieces by Mozart and Haydn. It's challenging and fun. Without this training, I'd never have known that I'd be comfortable singing up high.

Typically, I do regular physical fitness training at CrossFit Kitchener. I bust my ass there, and I'm in vastly superior shape now than I was in my 20s or 30s.

I study china painting at the Rockway Community Centre. Community centres are under-appreciated sources of training/education. China painting is a dying art form, and I'm doing my part to resuscitate it. Of all the painting styles I've studied, this is my favourite.

I'll soon be starting a pastels course at the Breithaupt Centre, another community centre.

I'm taking intermediate/advanced pole dance at Aradia Fitness. I plan on alternating between pole and aerial silks, which I study at In.Motion School of Performing Arts.

To top it all off, I take workshops when I can, mostly dance-related, through a variety of organizations.

I also teach. I have introductory belly dance classes starting up this month at the Downtown Kitchener Community Centre, and I may have more coming up at another community centre. This is pending an upcoming interview.

I love to learn. I love to teach. I love to make myself stronger and more knowledgeable, and I love to help others do the same for themselves.


Aug. 5th, 2013 09:32 pm
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Despite my asthma making my training session this morning slooooow as McDonald's counter staff nursing a hangover, I feel rather bad ass.

Here's what I did today.

  • biked 5 km
  • climbed 20' rope three times
  • ran a mile
  • did 100 m of walking lunges with a 10-lb medicine ball overhead
  • did about 50 m of human wheelbarrowing
  • did 50 wall balls
  • did about 500 m of medicine ball relay tossing
  • biked 5 km
  • biked about 15 km
  • did about two hours of parkour training which included:

    • vaulting fences
    • forward rolls
    • crawling backwards up a flight of concrete stairs
    • Spiderman edge-walking window sills and around support beams the length of a building without falling off
    • pistol squats
    • clutch flags
    • V-ups
    • pull-ups
    • Some failed attempts at kip-ups (I'll get them yet!)
    • Other stuff I can't remember

  • Biked 5 km

Go me!

And just to mix shit up, tomorrow I do a floorwork/lap dance workshop. Haha!
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
My hip is improving. As long as I play by its rules, it's been forgiving, and today, for the first time since the issue started up over a month ago, I was able to do pistol squats on that side without any issue. Yay! I'm hoping it will let me start running and jumping soon, too. So far, not going to do it, though. I tried doing mountain climbers a few days ago, and just 20 in, my hip said, "NO." Ok, then.

I'm also able to carry things around for prolonged distances again without my hip freaking out, so yesterday, I brought four bricks into the house and washed them off. Sounds pretty random, I know, but they're going to be my self-inflicted handicap for several months as I train up for the Goruck Challenge in June. I'm intimidated as hell. Those bricks are heavy, hard, heavy, unwieldy, and heavy. Did I mention they're heavy?

My physiotherapist told me I'm doing all the right things, and shouldn't bother going back to see him unless I regress, so hooray for that! He's not ruling out the cracked cartilage idea, but, based on the spiral nature of the way my hip catches, thinks it may actually be a ligament issue.

Since running and jumping are bad ideas at the moment, I've been doing pull-ups for every workout where running/jumping is prescribed. I feel like those are coming along pretty well. My endurance is improving, and my strength is starting to improve, too.

I'm a full-time student again, somehow, though not through any particular school. I'm registered for seven different courses:
  • CrossFit (I totally include this. Consider it my major.)
  • Aerial silks
  • Classical voice
  • Audio design
  • Fantasy/Science Fiction Literature
  • China painting
  • Acrylic painting

On top of that, I'm working on various projects, and playing in two tabletop RPGs and one LARP. And doing housework. Good lord, my life is full.

Here are a couple of pictures of things I did today: )

And now to get some prep work done for painting class tonight, and to do some more reading for my lit class.


Jan. 11th, 2013 10:57 am
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
So yeah. Finally recovered from the surgery on my leg. Slowly recovering from asthma issues brought on by a seasonal cold. My hip has been a bit wonky for a while, so I went in to get some massage work done on it, thinking something was just a bit twisted around inside and needed a bit of work.

And that's when I get told it's likely I have a degenerative issue that caused tearing in my hip labrum.

I'm going in for a second opinion next week, but after reviewing a bunch of sites on the issue last night, yes, it sure does look like I'm a classic case.

For starters, nothing that puts my hip/leg through large motions for a month. Even walking and sitting down sets it off, occasionally. So that (nonrefundable) aerial silks class I just started up again last week? Gone. CrossFit WoDs? (Though I should still be able to do some exercises at their open gym.) LARPing? Well, I can only be a noncombatant, because I mustn't run. I'm registered for a physically-intense dance workshop with Louise Lecavalier in the spring. I'm registered for Goruck in June (nonrefundable), but depending on how bad my hip is, participating could be a terrible idea.

If this is indeed what is wrong with me, rest might let it heal. If not, I may require surgery to smooth out the cartilage. If the surgery goes well, I should be able to eventually return to my previous levels of activity. Reading up, it seems the recovery time from surgery for athletes to start training again is about three months.

I have a job interview today to lead a fitness class...a class I may not physically be able to teach. Argh.

Well, rather than get completely bummed out, I want to come up with a list of exercises I should be able to do without putting strain on my injured hip. If you have any to add, please share, because there's only so many planks and wall sits I can do without getting sick of them. I appreciate any challenging exercises you can add to this list.

List of Exercises )
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I was afraid today would be shit. I barely got any sleep last night because my mind kept racing. But after a slow start, my day turned out pretty awesome.

I went to my china painting class, and while I was just getting set up, a bunch of the Powers That Be from the Rockway Seniors Centre showed up, announced that they were singling me out in particular, and then presented me with this: )
shanmonster: (Default)
I did my first-ever Strongman training yesterday. I had a blast. Here are some annotated pictures of what went on. )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Well, gotta say, this Whole30 thing made a difference. I've lost 7.6 lbs and gained lean muscle mass all while eating like a ravenous beast and training like a crazy person.

Here are the photos to demonstrate.... )
shanmonster: (Default)
Here are my results for the Warrior Dash on the weekend: I ranked 262nd for my division (women 40-49) out of 792. I ranked 1331rd over all, out of 6689 participants. My time was 50:45.80.

I don't think that's too bad for a course that hard, steep, and brutally hot!

Here I am, looking remarkably unmuddy considering how filthy most people got. I guess I'm just dainty. )
shanmonster: (Default)
Oh, hectic month, you sure are hectic: as hectic as longcat is long!

I've ramped up my training, as I said I would before, and am running a minimum of twice a week. Mondays, I run between 8-12 km of hills, and Wednesdays, I do a variety of running drills (sometimes sprints, sometimes intervals, sometimes hills, sometimes distance, sometimes cross-country, etc.). And then I run around the neighbourhood when I feel like it on other days, and run, when it's called for, at my CrossFit workouts. I still do not consider myself a good runner. But I am no longer a bad runner. I'm slow, but steadily getting faster, and my endurance is much better. I think I will be up to competing at Tough Mudder next year and half marathons, at this rate.

I've been training harder and more frequently than ever before, and my recovery time has improved dramatically. For example, Wednesday is possibly my hardest training day of the week. I do a minimum of 30 km of cycling, two hours of kung fu practice (which often includes about 400 squats as conditioning), and an hour of running drills. Oh yes, and the usual pushups are thrown into that mix. When I first started this training regimen, I was absolutely destroyed come Thursday. This week, I felt perfectly fine the day after, and am sure I could have done another full workout. However, I'm ramping down to save myself for tomorrow's race.

Tomorrow, I run the Warrior Dash. It's a 5km obstacle race, and looks like this.

So instead of a giant workout, I did a leisurely one. Basically, I went to the gym to play. I climbed the cargo net upside down just to see if I could. I did handstands. I did pistol squats, weighted (10-lb) glute ham raises, and 10-lb one-legged squats off a 24" box. I played on the rings and ropes a bunch.

The other night, I dreamed I could finally do kipping pull-ups with ease. Previously, I've only ever managed one. So I tried, and though they're certainly not pretty, I can do them singly now. It's a start.

Over the next week, I'll be teaching six fitness and kickboxing classes, and keeping up with my training schedule which goes as follows:

Sunday: push-ups
Monday: push-ups, 1 hour CrossFit, 90 minutes of running
Tuesday: push-ups, 2 hours of aerial silks
Wednesday: 2 hours of kung fu, 1 hour of running
Thursday: push-ups, light training for 1-2 hours
Friday: push-ups, light training

Cycling gets strewn about daily, because it's how I get around. I generally do a bare minimum of 10km a day. I'd do heavier training on Friday except that I'm competing again on Saturday in the Masters division of the UG Series.

I have another Masters competition in mid-August (Masters Mettle), a Strongman training seminar the week after, and then I'm off to hike the Inca Trail in Peru!

I'll be doing my push-ups all the while, except possibly while on the Peruvian trip, because I just don't know how feasible that will be. I'll continue where I left off upon my return, though.

Holy crap.

And yes, there are more competitions upon my return. I'm thinking of at least volunteering at a local zombie race. I'll be a zombie. Braaaains....

I still want to take up rock-climbing, but am not sure how to slot that in. There's only so much of me to go around, after all, and I still do other things, like teach, dance, sing, paint, write, cook, sleep, etc.
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
The illness. It is OVER.

Thank goodness.

[Running Metcon Blue]I still have a niggling cough, but it is an annoyance only, and doesn't seem to be impacting me negatively for kicking my own ass. And I have been kicking my own ass. Literally. It's a warm-up drill for running. I've been doing a lot more running, too. And guess what? I think I officially no longer suck at running. I am mediocre, at worst. Woohoo! On Monday, I ran between 9-12 km, which is double my previous distance. On Wednesday, I ran 100m dash intervals, and most of them were under 20 seconds. No one's going to accuse me of blood-doping at these speeds, but I'm pretty darned proud of myself.

I continue with my 100-day push-up challenge, and with my wing chun and aerial silks training on top of my usual CrossFit regime. I feel stronger and fitter than ever. Even fitter than when I was doing kung fu regularly, and that was pretty darned fit.

I'm entered in not one, but two athletic events in July: Warrior Dash and the Underground Series Wasaga Beach Seal Camp. The first one is basically a big, active party on the go. The second one looks a lot harder. I'm competing in the masters division, and am pretty darned nervous about the whole thing. Aaaah! I hope I don't die.

July also marks my first experiment with the Whole 30 challenge.

What am I capable of? I don't know, but I want to find out. This morning's workout was vicious:
  1. 400m run
  2. 30 * 65lb deadlifts
  3. 400m run
  4. 30 * 65lb power clean
  5. 400m run
  6. 30 * 65lb split jerk
  7. 400m run

I didn't die, but it was close. I haven't sweat that hard in a while. I swear I was foaming like a workhorse. My clothes were soaked through. And although I came in dead last, I had a cheering squad keeping me going. Afterwards, I had a few people come up to me and tell me it was amazing. I'm not sure what made it so amazing to watch. Maybe they were taking bets I'd drop dead before finishing. Heheheh.... In any case, thanks, guys! You made me feel like a gold medalist or something. That bike ride home was MUCH harder than usual.

This weekend is allocated for some hardcore resting. I'm going to sit on my arse SO HARD it'll be like an Olympic event. Oh yes. I've earned it, and my muscles will thank me for it. In fact, I've gotten a head start and am already sitting on my arse.


Jun. 12th, 2012 02:23 pm
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I pleased myself this morning by totally rocking my workout. After doing a warmup of running 800 m and about 10 pullups (with the skinniest resistance band to help out), I managed 42 14lb 10' wall balls and 72 52lb kettlebell swings. Those swings were hard, and accompanied by much grunting the the pitter-pat of sweat raining off my face and onto the floor.

I displeased myself this afternoon by recording myself singing Star Vicino and then listening to it. My voice is so puny and reedy. I need to beef it up. Beefcake Italian singing! Beefcake!

Oh yeah, and have I mentioned that I'm a super villain in my spare time? [Photographic evidence after the cut.] )

Rest Day!

Jun. 1st, 2012 01:16 pm
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I've been seriously busting my ass lately, and show no signs of slowing down any time soon. As of July, I'm signed up for two aerial silks classes each week, on top of the usual running, cycling, dancing, and three or four CrossFit workouts. I'm trying to figure out where to stick the rock climbing I want to do, too.

Today is a scheduled rest day, since I am doing a mountain race tomorrow (my first race since I was in grade five, I think). But I can't stand not doing something, so I figured I'd do a bit of a challenge over on FaceBook. For every "like" I get, I've been doing five situps. At last count, there are 64 likes.

Here I am, banging out the first 100 situps.

Between sit-up bouts, I'm doing housework. Rarr!
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
My plague is leaving. Sort of.

Ends up I have a wicked ear infection, so I'm sure hoping the antibiotics kick in, pronto. My balance is off just the teensiest bit, enough to make me look like a tipsy person trying not to look tipsy, and mostly succeeding. The earache of the other night had best not make a return, or I might be pulling a Van Gogh. In the meantime, I have one seriously crappy symphony playing in my ears. The tinnitus needs some music lessons. The crackling and whistling is quite noisome.

I've had perverse cravings to do handstands, but have been resisting them on account of putting my head down throws everything off kilter and just plain feels terrible. I went in to the gym yesterday and was able to climb the ropes without any difficulty, a few low-weight squats, presses, and deadlifts, but one-legged bodyweight squats were a bit too much for my weakened lungs, and I knew it was time to pack it up and go home. I simply cannot exert myself much, right now. Bah, I say. Bah. Regardless, tomorrow is aerial silks day. If I can climb a rope, I should be able to climb the silks.

Today was terribly unproductive, but I don't mind too much. I got a huge amount of work done the other day, so I think I can bank those hours for today, so to speak.

I just put in an order for a bunch of new knee-high socks from Sock It To Me, which is the first online sock shop I've found which doesn't charge an exorbitant amount to ship to Canada. Hallelujah! Apparently, I have the reputation at my CrossFit club as the one in the funky socks. I'm ok with that. I've always liked wacky hosiery. I like wearing long socks to the gym, because they protect my calves from getting rope burn on all those rope climbs I like to do.

I took a picture today of my guns before all this inactivity has my wee muscles fall off.

[Mini gun show]
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
Earache makes sick Shan a sad Shan. Go away, plague of never-endingness, now with achey tinnitus. Go away!

On the silver-lining side, my aerial workshop was cancelled today. It's just as well, because the way my sinuses feel, being suspended and spinning upside-down would be a special room in Hell.

I was invited to a party tonight, but I'm feeling destroyed. I was really hoping to get to the gym to do some lifting today, but it didn't take long for me to realize that would be a Bad Idea. Feh.

Despite the malaise of my head tubes, I was productive. [ profile] f00dave, Meredith, and I installed a buttload of new shelves to replace the seen-better-days old shelves I had in my room. It's starting to look nice in my room, instead of just cluttered randomness. Now it's eclectic with a theme. Whoa. I never thought that would be possible.

I can't remember if I mentioned or not, but a while back, I discovered a huge abscess on Princess Tubby's face. I don't know how it went unnoticed for so long. I guess I thought she was having a bad fur day for a while until I realized the lump was the size of a marble. That would be huge on my face, let alone on a little critter like Tubby.

I took her into the vet, and he checked it out. The good news is that it wasn't a tumour. The bad news is that draining and rinsing it out then giving her a course of antibiotics didn't solve the issue. So surgery was next. She had the lump removed, and I was worried about her for quite a while after that. She lost a lot of weight overnight and was miserable. But then her appetite returned and she gained her weight back.

Alas, but the surgery site was starting to refill. The abscess was trying to return.

Ends up the bacteria in the infection was not responding to the antibiotic. For chinchillas, antibiotic options are very limited. She's been put on a new medication, and I think it is finally working.

She hated the taste of the old stuff. We had to force feed her, and she made horrible faces all the while. But this new stuff? Well, take a look for yourself.

Tomorrow morning, I'm going to Mississauga to see this: Canada East Crossfit Regionals Competition. A team from my CrossFit club qualified and I'll be there to cheer them on. I sure hope this earache is gone by then. Gah.

3 2 1 GO!

May. 8th, 2012 02:46 pm
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
On Saturday I did my first-ever timed 5 km run. I'm not going to win any races. I was the slowest person who did the run by far. BUT, I am pleased. I didn't have to stop even once. I didn't even need to slow down. And at the end, I was fresh enough to put on a block-long sprint and finish in 35:51. I know now I was overly cautious in my cadence, but since it was my first time, I didn't really know how to pace myself. Lance, the CrossFit running coach, was impressed by my time, and says I should be able to shear it down to 30 minutes by October.

Here's our running group about five minutes after I finished the course. I pretty much crawled into position.

I was afraid I might run something like this camel, but apparently my form looks pretty solid.

Behind this cut lie photos.... )
shanmonster: (Default)
Hi. I haven't been here in a while. Time to fix that.

I've been been excruciatingly busy. I'm taking classical voice lessons, and am starting up with musical theory again. I'm doing much better with it than I thought, because I haven't forgotten nearly as much as I was afraid I had. I look forward to being able to sight read music again. Right now, I'm sounding melodies out slowly, kinda like learning to sight read words the Sesame Street way.

I've also been continuing with my china painting class. My painting style in this is surprising me. It's completely different from any other paintings/drawings I've done in the past. I'm currently working on a teapot. It's not done yet, but here's where it stands after about two months of work:

Read more... )
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Yesterday, I completed my 100-day burpee challenge. Technically, I should have completed it on Sunday, but I had a stomach flu on day 93/94, and there's just no way I was going to do them in that state. By the strict rules of the challenge, I was supposed to make up for the two missing days plus do 95 on the 95th day, but considering I'd already done an enormous workout that day and was still recovering, I figured, bite me, challenge. Purists would say I cheated, but they can bite me, too. Heh....

Six months ago, burpees were my most dreaded exercise. I loathed them. Doing 5 left me staggering and heaving like a horse with its wind broken. Burpees still wear me out, but I can do about 15 at a stretch before really wanting to stop. And as soon as I get my breath back, I can go right back to them. Doing the 100 yesterday was no big thing. I would not have believed that possible a year ago.

The two hardest days were the day before the flu made me take a break (doing burpees with what feels like half-formed churning concrete in your guts is horrid), and the second competition date for the CrossFit Opens, where I did 30 45-lb snatches (that sounds so dirty) and 8 75-lb snatches. I actually had to bribe myself to do my burpees that night. Snatches plus burpees is a cruel combination. Sadistic, even.

And yeah, I'm participating in the CrossFit Opens this year. I have no illusions that I'll be finishing anywhere in the top 25%, but I'm challenging myself to do my best. The first round was burpees. I did 65 burpees in 7 minutes. I'd hoped I'd do better, but my asthma was giving me grief that day. I can't be too disappointed, considering my lack of burpee acumen last year.

The third round of the competition is being announced tonight. I will be attempting whatever it is tomorrow afternoon. The suspense is killing me!

Now that I'm through with the burpee challenge, I want to repeat the challenge, but with pushups this time. Pushups aren't nearly as physically demanding as burpees, but my technique could use some tweaking. The challenge will do this wonderfully. I'll wait for [ profile] knightky to finish his challenge (he has a few days left), and then we'll start them together. Anyone else want in on this? We can keep one another motivated.

(By the way, you've probably seen all those motivational posters and such that say you can regret not having worked out, but you'll never regret having worked out. The exception to this is when you have the flu. Specifically, ass flu. Just so you know, and don't go there....)

Also, this picture makes me laugh:

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