“Lady Lilith” by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Yes, yes I know.. “Vanity, thy name is woman” was never actually written by Shakespeare, much to the chagrin of many a researcher. But that isn’t entirely why I chose to borrow this particular title for today’s post.  No, I am increasingly discovering that I am far more vain than one would guess if you knew me and the chaotic life I lead.  I am particular about pictures that are taken of me and how I am seen by the public.  I don’t necessarily go out in full makeup all the time, but I am not one you will see tooling around town in my sweatpants or stained t-shirts.  I rarely even wear them in the confines of my home, and if you see me in them I am either considering working out in them or excessively sick – neither of which is a good time to interrupt.

Lately, my motivations have to do with the fact I will be on stage in a few weeks.  My stage appearance is important to me, and I have put on just enough weight to make me uncomfortable in the public eye.  Last week I decided to launch myself into a true cycling program – thereby getting my body in shape and enjoying my bike, as most of you know I am so fond of doing.  I have to admit, even telling the public that I am less than perfect is difficult.  I don’t want to admit that I am “fluffy” but I will never make any strides if I hide behind bulky t-shirts and avoid the stage because of how I look.  In 3 more weeks I will be on stage in a cute outfit, dancing my heart out, and I want the audience to look at me and my dance.. not judge me by how I look physically.  I know I can’t achieve that fully, but taking some “fluff” off between now and then will sure go a long way toward that goal.

I decided to actually train, not just randomly get on my bike.  I have few books I have read on the subject and am incorporating what I can into my busy life.  I was planning on throwing myself fully into it after my vacation to Kentucky, but came back to a house full of sick kids.. then ended up sicker than I have been in many years.  It took me a good week to recover, but when I had enough energy I started.  I decided to either dance or cycle every day of the week, giving myself one day off each week to fully recover.  I do have to stretch, and stretch and STRETCH on the days I cycle or it affects my dancing days.  I am coming to look forward to spending an hour working out the kinks of my body and making sure it doesn’t tighten too much.

I understand weight training is important, and I don’t knock the merit in it.  I will get to that in a few weeks when I have truly gained my strength back from my illness and I know it won’t affect my stage performance.  For now though, I am already seeing results, I am happy with the direction I am going and I hope that this intensive push in the final month before performance will be evident when I walk on stage full of energy and ready to dance.

Lastly, in the interest of full disclosure and as a means of record keeping for my own feeble mind I am going to post the workout I did and plan to do.  It will keep me accountable, give other an opportunity to give advice or disparaging remarks, and keep me track.  Until after the performance my main goal is to slowly build my hours on my bike, keeping myself supple and flexible until the big day.  In a few weeks when I have my fringe dress safely packed away again, I will change the focus somewhat.  Any hints to get me in the right direction will be highly encouraged and welcome.

Monday – 1 hour intense dance, full performance preparation

Tuesday – 9.5 miles, average speed 10.3mph

Wednesday – 8.6 miles, average speed 10 mph (brand new route, never been on before, was nervous and slow as I navigated the paths)

Thursday – walked 5 miles (not my best workout, but errands and life got in the way)

Friday – Spend entire day cooking, was supposed to be my rest day, but a woman’s work is never done.

Saturday – 1.5 hours of ballet, nuff said

Sunday – Rode 18 miles, average speed 11.5 mph

Took a short break today to take a picture of the spot where I turn around and head back home. This is in the midst of swamp land, and the pictures doesn’t do the view justice.

PLAN for WEEK – Cycling – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday; Dance – Monday, Friday, Saturday. Assuming one of the days will be rained out, given the weather forecast, so rest day will be flexible.  Hoping to increase my time on the bike, and or have a better average speed throughout.

Lastly…. stretching.  I do a lot of it in class all ready, but I have to make time for it on the days I am on the bike.  I am hoping an added benefit will be an increase of flexibility, but at the very least if I can get stronger on the bike and dance and maintain my current level I won’t complain.  Might need to look into revising my stretching routine in the future, but for now it is doing the trick.

Hope you enjoyed the random look into my thoughts on melding cycling and dance over the next few weeks.  It is obviously on my mind!  I would, just so you know, rather be vain than frail.

“La belle Irlandaise” by Gustave Courbet