Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Planks are Evil

Today is the 1/2 way point for all of my challenges, and everything is going well except the stupid plank. I hit the minute mark a few days ago, but have been having a hard time making it any further (even 1 minute 10 seconds is too much). I don't know if its because I'm more tired this week (my schedule is rather crazy), or what. Frustrating!

As for the other two challenges, I like the exercises and the fact that I can get through everything fairly easily and quickly, but think it would be more beneficial if I increased the reps. For example, this past week it said to do 12 of each exercise, but I'm wondering if I should treat them as reps and do 2-3 sets of 12 (or something). Will have to investigate further!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Very Latest in the Pointe Shoe Saga

I mentioned back in May that my Grishko Novas had started giving me problems because they were twisting (especially on my left foot). I changed my elastics (used something heavier and criss-crossed them) and that helped some, but not completely. My AD thought I might want to try something with a higher wing.

So, when I went on a family vacation at the end of May/beginning of June, I did my usual and looked up all the dance shops in the areas I'd be visiting and ended up being fitted at two.

First, can I just express my annoyance that, when I called these shops looking for specific shoes, I was informed that yes, they carried them, only to get there and they had ONE pair that was not in my size? That doesn't count as carrying them, people!
Capezio Airess
Anyway, at the first shop the fitter was REALLY into the new Capezio Airess (in fact, I think the girl before me was trying them on too), and I was subsequently fit into the 1133 (tapered) model. I haven't tried a Capezio shoe yet, and I was intrigued by the Airess. It comes in a variety of widths and box shapes, and wasn't horrifically uncomfortable (though the Nova will forever win on that front). I went ahead and bought them because I was like, "Why not?"  They look very nice on my feet in comparison to the Grishko, but I definitely feel more big toe pressure :(

At the second shop, I compared the Airess to several other shoes. The fitter at this shop was MUCH more willing to give other brands a go, and tried me in pretty much every shoe they carried (that would work for my foot). She thought the Airess would be okay to try, and gave me a secondary option of the Russian Pointe Lumina (Plan B--or by now, probably Plan K).

I tried the Airess in class for the first time last week (I didn't want to wear them/break them in for the show), and they were decent.  However, as a note to anyone else that might try this shoe: they are like BRICKS, and you will DEFINITELY want to break in the shank and maybe squish up the box a little (I did minimal squishing to the box, because I want the wings to stay as long as possible, but the shank needs serious bending). I thought I'd done a pretty good job with the shank (I get paranoid about over-working my shoes before I even wear them), but BOY HOWDY, I had some moments were it was hard to get all the way over and the shank of my Airess is only a 1/2 shank!  LIKE BRICKS, YOU GUYS.

I'm also having a hard time padding them correctly. I tried them on initially with both my Grishko padding (which was only a Big Tip and a sock toe), as well as my Ouch Pouches, but I'm getting a lot of big toe pressure, so I'm having to play with it. Luckily, I have lots of options because I seem to have collected every toe pad and toe padding device in existance during this very, very long pointe shoe journey. I think my best plan is to try to spread the weight over more toes, so put a little more padding (maybe lambs wool) in the negative space above my shorter little toes. We'll see how it goes!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July Challenge Time

While my dance school does have a summer session in the month of July, the schedule tends to be a little more relaxed. With that in mind, I decided that I should amp up some of my other training and start working on (what I consider to be) problems areas. For me, that's my core, arms, and glutes (side note: I read this fascinating article via the Dance Training Project's Facebook page that talks all about how tight calves (!) can be a by-product of weak glutes).

So, I decided to give this whole 30 day workout challenge thing a whirl, and on July 1st I started a couple of them. The big one is the 30-day plank challenge (I'm trying the one from here). a strong core is super important for so many aspects of dance that I thought it would be a good place to start. Plus, I kind of want to be a bad-ass who can plank for 4 minutes. If you feel like joining me, comment here and keep me posted on your progress! We can all be bad-asses!

That being said, I'm already a little torn about this one--there are several places were you only spend 1 day at a certain increment and I feel like it might be better to space it out more. I may revamp it.

As I mentioned above, I also want to work on my arms and glutes, so I'm also doing a 30-day Arm and 30-day Glute challenge. Both of these challenges are from Alive & Well Fitness, and I really like them because they switch up the exercises you do each day, so its not horrifically repetitive.

I'm 10 days in at this point (today will be Day 11), and so far I've been able to stick to it; only 20 more days to go!  I'll report back near the end of the month and report on any differences I notice with my strength. A lot of the arm and glute stuff I actually like, and may keep doing once the challenge is over  (which is saying a lot!)