Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Today's exercise brought to you by the letters W, T, and F.

So the plan today was to come home from teaching and exercise.  This is the habit I got into last week and seems to work for me as I'm generally pretty high when I'm done teaching.

Right, except last lesson of the day, in both the jumping and the flat phases, I had to stop teaching about ten minutes before I could get the rider to brilliance.  And she was SO close.  Frustration not with the rider (who was doing an awesome job with a spun horse) but with the situation -- crowded tiny arena with mostly novice riders.  Entrance of ponies meant we had to stop jumping when she was so close to a major lightbulb.  It actually hurt me to tell her to stop, but you have to in that kind of environment.  And another lesson being booked overlapping mine (I'm not even kidding!) that while I didn't end early for it, I also felt I had to stop right on time.  And I don't teach to time usually, I teach to what the horse and rider need.  Some days that's half an hour, some days it's an hour and a half.  It's one of the things I love most about teaching only private lessons.

Anyways, so end result, through no fault of horse or rider, I left the barn frustrated.  Which meant I got home cold, tired, and slightly grumpy.  Can you guess where my ambition went?  Yeah -- I'm pretty sure the school pony stole it.   So I tried the usual pep talks -- you always feel better (or at least never worse!) after a workout.  Long term goal is worth it.  Etc etc.  But grumpy side won.  Book, hot chocolate, and bubble bath it is.

Except that when I undressed for said bath, I happened to look in the mirror.  Mirror motivation is the worst motivation -- because it doesn't even have to say anything.  Ugh.  Dig out bra and shorts and turn on today's Core de Force.

Side note -- I'm now skipping the strength video.  I didn't work out for four days because that was the next one up and I didn't want to do it.  Then I clued in, I don't actually *have* to do them all.  Skipped that one and went with the next and we're good to go.   Which meant today was the first day of *two* videos.  I'm not even kidding.

So the first one was Shred -- which we met in the last post.  It's a decent workout; I just make sure to do the second half of each set with the opposite side of my body leading.  I think I might've wrecked my neck and shoulders doing it today *sigh*. I get a little too into it ;).  But I like this one because it has a good balance of upper and lower body, as well as a good mix of fighting stuff and pure cardio.  By about half way through my heartbeat is up and staying up through the moves, so that's good.   And I finished stronger than last time, so that's always good.  I also managed to avoid punching myself, kicking the dog (who really isn't sure what the game is but is pretty sure she wants to play), and getting discombobulated -- a whole series of good!

Critical to finish in okay shape today though, because "finish" just meant stick in the next video: Core Kinetics.  Does anything about that name sound good to you?  Because it definitely didn't to me.  16 minutes of core. Okay -- I have several intermittent years of Pilates, and decades of sitting trot, I'm sure I can do 16 minutes of core.   Right.  I haven't ridden seriously in almost two years, and it's been even longer since I did Pilates.  My core muscles are currently surrounded by a nice coating of cinnamon rolls.  A realism check might've been a good plan.  But hey, you're not new here, when have I ever let realism interfere with my plans?

Right.  First exercise is leg extensions.  On your back, basically bring both knees to your chest then circle them together (as if you were riding a very reclined bike, but with both legs together not one at a time).  Harsh, but doable.

Second exercise.  Start in elbow plank position.  Nothing good ever came of those words.  You think a minute is a short time?  Spend that minute in elbow plank and see how you feel ;).  Then alternate bringing one knee up to the elbow at a time.   Right.  I got about four before I gave up and went to the modifier.  Now I realize the modifier is there so that everybody can play, and it's still a good workout, blah blah blah, but I want to be able to do the full on workout.  At least in things I'm usually good at -- like core.   Pushups, I care less about ;).  But today even the modified version felt like work!

My notes tell me step three was hip lifts.  I don't actually remember that one.  I remember I didn't modify it, and it was entertaining but almost destroyed me, but that's about it.  I think my brain is trying to protect me by blocking the memory.  It will have been a lying down one because they alternate back and plank position each time, but other than that...  Nope, complete blank.

Step four was hip drops (you know, after you went to all the effort of lifting).  This is basically start in elbow plank and twist so your hips drop down to one side, then back to plank, then drop to the other.  This one was okay.  Still brutal, but in the grand scheme of things, doable.

Step five -- on your back, shoulders off the floor (45ish degree body angle), one leg straight out, foot hovering above the floor, other leg doing essentially a bicycle movement.  Yeah -- I got in like one and a half.  Frig.   Okay -- modification is that instead of straight floating leg, you have a bent knee with that foot on the floor.  That one I could do easily so made it to the finish.

Step six -- this was a fun twisty toe tap thing.   I wasn't particularly coordinated about it and it's one I've seen before, but it was moderately amusing and I made it through (although I will admit my form was, ummm, questionable at best; however not once did I end up in a toppled over pile, so I'm deeming it a win).  Basically you're in plank (who's surprised by this?) and you drop one hip and send that leg through the line created by your alternate foot and body, and tap it with the alternate hand.  It combines a plank with a crunch and requires both balance and coordination -- pure evil really.

Step seven is the guarded square -- which tbh is nothing more than a variation of a normal crunch but remarkably effective.  Or at least it is after all the previous steps ;).  And it forces more attention on the move than normal crunches, so encourages less "sub"conscious cheating.

Step eight -- are you ready for this?   Repeat steps one through seven.  I'm not even kidding.  I also, was not even capable.   I freely admit I turned the video off at this point.   So, in summary, if you want a good short core workout, this video for the win.   It assumes you've already done something else so no warmup.   Someday when I make it to the end I'll let you know if there's a cool down ;)

But today is not that day.

On the plus side, the little voice that was trying to convince me to workout before the mirror stepped in and made its case was right -- I do feel much better now.  I'm not sure tomorrow me will, but today me is now relaxed and happy.   Well, except my poor crying core.



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