Don’t Think, Just Jump

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Don’t Think, Just Jump. Photo by Pete Waterman (whoispete.com)

I just had the best solo training session I’ve had in a long time. It was the same old story… I was exhausted from a long day at work, and I was frustrated because my shoulder’s been injured which has limited my training quite a bit lately. I got home from work and immediately ditched my work dress, jewelry, and ballet flats for a pair of joggers, a sports bra, and my trainers. I felt better already.

I had no food at home and I usually walked through a park on my way to the supermarket, so I decided I’d stop and play for a bit as I went to get some dinner. I grabbed my backpack and headed out the door, putting on my headphones, letting myself get lost in the music and the simple rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement.

The light turned green and I ran across the crosswalk, putting more force into my steps as I neared the other side and went for the running precision from a fat white stripe to the curb in front of me. I felt better with every step.

I ran around the park, forwards, backwards, and side to side, my feet matching the beat as they struck the stone pathway. Lindsey Stirling’s violin-infused electronic beats pulsed through me as I went skipping, dancing, and spinning in circles along the stone walls, walkways and handrails.

I traversed the stone walls throughout the park, tic-tac-ing my way up to another wall, striding the gaps between them, balancing down handrails and leaping to the next wall. Finally, I came to a stop in front of a jump that was just big enough to make me hesitate. I almost got down but I felt that I could do it. I took a deep breath and jumped.

My feet touched down perfectly on the edge as I bent my knees to absorb the impact. I felt triumphant.

I continued my run, nearing the edge of the park where I had recently spotted a jump I wanted to try. This jump is a little far for me, it’s at a weird angle, and it is also a pretty big drop. I knew I’d have to work up to it mentally.

I ran up to the jump and felt strongly that I was capable of doing it, but I wasn’t 100% ready yet. I walked to another end of the same wall where the jump had all of the same obstacles as above, but it was less of a weird angle, making it a little cleaner and shorter.

I stood there, staring down at the wall below me, wondering why I was so afraid. I squatted down. The fear eased up a bit. I stood up. It got scary again. I repeated this exercise over and over again. Finally, I went for it. It was a horrible landing and I had to sort of catch myself with one arm as I landed, but I was glad I did it. Okay, that’s an understatement. I was ecstatic that I did  it. It meant more to me that I had made the attempt than anything else. The next hurdle would be landing it properly.

I started walking away from the park, feeling tired and accomplished for the night, but then I turned around. I wanted to try again.

I went back and repeated that fun stand up-squat-stare at wall-stand up-squat-stare at wall exercise. A stranger walked by and said something to me, pulling me out of my trance. I then felt distracted. I felt off. My thoughts started racing.

Now he’s watching me. I don’t want to have to perform for him.
I feel tired, maybe I’m too tired to try it again.
Maybe that’s just an excuse…?
The Yamakasi never gave up, they kept training. Always be prepared. Tired is never an excuse.
Okay, so I should do it.
But they’ve also said if you don’t feel it, don’t do it. You have to feel the jump to do it right.
Okay, so do I feel it? Or will I hurt myself because I’m tired?

This is what happens when I train alone… Normally, I might have had that conversation with a friend or training buddy, but tonight it was all in my head (don’t hate, you know you do it too). Finally, I decided I wanted to do this for myself. I knew that my body could do it, it was just about the fear. Don’t think, I thought, just jump.

I let myself sit there for a few more seconds as I waited for the line I needed to hear in my new favorite song. Whatever helps, right? The music was slow at first, “…and even though you’re scared, you’re stronger than you know…” then the beat picked up and gave me the last little push I needed as I took off “If you face the fear that keeps you frozen, chase the sky into the ocean, that’s when something wild calls you home…” I soared through the air, landing softly on the balls of my feet. Without hesitation, I transitioned smoothly out of my landing, down onto the sidewalk and jogged off towards the supermarket, a huge smile on my face.

My body knew exactly what it was doing. It was all in my head.

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MOVE INTERACTIVE

You’d think after flying back from The Netherlands Monday night and then working all week I might’ve wanted to take it easy this weekend… but it’s me so that would just be silly.

First, I convinced my friend to join me for Trampoline Cardio Sunday morning, which is one of my new favorite workout classes. In addition to tramp cardio, I was planning to spend my Saturday training parkour, but then I saw a post on Derek Hough‘s Instagram account about an awesome community fitness event that him and sister, Julianne Hough, were putting on. Elle is going to kill me, I thought, but I tagged her anyways, “Pleeeeeaaaaase can we do this?!” She agreed. (And yes, we still went to tramp cardio the next morning which was painful but worth it!)

For those of you who don’t know Derek & Julianne Hough, here’s one of my favorite clips of the incredibly talented dancing siblings:

Amazing, right? So of course I couldn’t wait to go workout with them! These two inspire me so much. I love spontaneous decisions, group workouts, and awesome people so it was kind of a no-brainer.

Elle and I arrived early to register and find parking. There was a good crowd but not too bad – more than 50 but definitely less than 100 I think. The workout started at Pulse Fitness Studio with strength & conditioning, then we ran 2 miles (or ran / walked for 2 miles…) to get to the next workout spot – Just Dance Los Angeles. There, we danced (or tried to find our rhythm / laughed at ourselves) for the rest of the workout.

The strength & conditioning was awesome – challenging, but awesome. We split into two groups because we couldn’t all fit in the studio. I was in the outside group to begin with where we did partner workouts for 30 seconds at a time before rotating to a new station. For example, Partner A holds a plank with legs wide while Partner B does ski jumps in and out of Partner A’s legs.

Inside, we were led by Mark Harari in an ass-kicking group workout with a classic energetic, heart-pumping workout soundtrack. Derek & Julianne sweat it out alongside us, stopping only to run around the room to pump us up, shout words of encouragement, and give us high-fives as we pushed through the workout.

When it was over, we all cheered and headed out the door for the 2-mile run down the road to Just Dance. Elle and I ran the first mile and then I couldn’t quite take the heat anymore (also, I’m a wimp when it comes to running) so we walked/ran the rest of the way.

By the time we arrived at Just Dance, I was dripping sweat and panting like crazy. We were handed mini water bottles as we walked in which made me irrationally happy in the moment. I finished the water in about .2 seconds and then took a minute to breathe before jumping into the dance workout.

As I jumped in, I remembered how bad I am at dancing… I spent the entire time two steps behind, nearly (or actually) stepping on my friend’s feet, and laughing at myself as I attempted the kicks and turns, trying to follow the beat of the music. Honestly though, I didn’t care at all. I was having so much fun and sweating A LOT. Killer workout. Great vibes. Great energy. I was happy.

When it was all over, we took a group photo and Derek and Julianne said a few words before saying goodbye. They put this event together at the very last minute, posting literally the day before on social media to invite everyone to join them for the workout. In light of recent events, they wanted to create an opportunity for people to get out and move and, most importantly, to feel good. I loved their saying, motion equals emotion. How you move impacts how you feel, and I completely agree with them. When I get out to move, I feel amazing. Thanks, guys!

Me and Derek Hough

Post-workout with Derek Hough at the MOVE INTERACTIVE event

If at first you don’t succeed…

… Try try again. And again… and again… and again…

I was feeling quite slow and heavy but I was determined to go to the gym, especially since I blew it off the day before due to complete exhaustion (and a touch of laziness). I just felt totally sluggish. I decided to try to kick the heaviness with a workout. Sometimes this works, and sometimes I really am just exhausted. I didn’t know which it would be until I got to the gym.

I warmed up a bit, climbing and doing some precision jumps to see how I felt. My heart wasn’t in it. I just felt off.

I decided to work on something that required less effort, something on the soft floor with soft mats. I started with basic vaults and then I finally started to become a person again and naturally transitioned into setting the boxes up so I could work on kong precisions. For my non-parkour people… it’s when you jump over something and land on something else. That’s basically all you need to know. Or you can watch this old tutorial.

I then proceeded to work on this one specific kong pre, which was at a pretty significant distance (for no reason, I could have easily moved it closer) for the next 1.5 hours. No joke. For 90 minutes straight, this was all I did. One after another, after another, after another. I got close a few times. I landed right in front of the block a few times instead of on top of it. I got one foot on, one foot off a few times. I fell on my bum a few times. I kicked the block I was supposed to be landing on across the room a few times. Never once did I execute a perfect precision landing where I wanted to. And I was totally okay with that.

Did I fail? I don’t think so. I got my ass up and went to the gym. Success. I trained for 2 hours. Success. I challenged myself and humbly accepted defeat… for now. I consider that a success. What would be the point of our training if we always landed everything on the first try?