Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Don't Go In The Pain Cave" And Other Important Lessons

"Your Totem Animal won’t be in there to help you. You’ll be on your own. The Pain Cave is for cowards."

These are the words that greeted me when I went to do my Mobility Workout of the Day last night. You can understand my confusion, I'm sure, but the point Kstar is making is a good one and I think I'll be taking it to heart. "The Pain Cave" is a euphemism for that moment of stubborn enthusiasm some athletes get where, in their determination not to look or feel weak, they push themselves well past the limits their body can handle and they ignore the pain signals their muscles are tapping out in panicked Morse code.

The Pain Cave is Dumb. Don't be dumb. If it hurts, then stop!!!

Now, there's different kinds of hurting (as I've come to learn) and I've begun to discern them like some kind of connoisseur. I have a feeling I'll be quite the expert before this is all over, however, everyone out there can tell the difference, if they're honest with themselves, between "Ow, this sucks because I'm pushing muscles that are not happy about it" and "Ow, this is injuring me." There's a very different kind of taste to that pain.  

Good Pain.

BAD pain.

Trust me, once you feel both, you'll know the difference. Thus, don't go in the pain cave. Just push yourself to the edge of what's ok for you. Don't NOT push or use this as an excuse not to try hard, but don't injure yourself trying to prove something either.

The stretching I did last night is supposed to help me widen out my hip muscles. This is actually something I'm pretty excited about (despite the suck factor involved in getting there) because it helps immensely with bellydancing!

For those who know me, they know I'm passionate about bellydance. I got hooked on it almost a year ago now and I love what it does for women. I've been to dance shows and seen women who were well over 200lbs get up there and shake it like a poloroid. They had no shame, no confusion about themselves, and they knew, in that moment at least, that they were sexy. That's incredible to me. That's a self-confidence no face cream or expensive purse could ever buy. No fashion magazine could convince those women that they weren't glorious.

Thus, I love bellydance.

I find it incredibly empowering. Also, I can't think of any other exercise where jingly shiny things are a pre-requisite.

Seriously, THIS is your workout gear.

Last night's exercise, after my stretching, was an hour of bellydance. Let me tell you that my thighs are burning like mad and my tummy is sympathizing. I was working out to an instruction video by the lovely Sadie, an incredible dancer who moves in ways I'm pretty sure aren't human but I'm willing to trade my homo sapiens card in if I can learn to copy her.


Some day....some day I'll be able to move like that without snapping my spine in half.  

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