Friday, May 15, 2009

Four classes and a BIG BIG surprise!

This morning was the conference breakfast and awarding of awards. I’m sure you’ll be able to read about and see pictures of them in AKWA magazine. What you won’t read about is Angie Proctor’s announcement that on June 6 she is getting married to Troy, after 8 years together, 4 of them getting from his proposal to answering “yes”. You may not have ever seen Troy, but if you’ve emailed or phoned the AEA office about something, you’ve probably contacted him. AWWWWWWWW. Everybody started banging on their water glasses, but they wouldn’t smooch.

My first class this morning was with Steph Toogood again. Deep, Deep, Deeper Intervals. My first all-deep class and another with Steph. Again, she was wonderful. The intense cardio segments were short—30 seconds—and no-brainer simple fast moves. The slower segments were muscle endurance work, more horizontal than you generally think of with deep water, but within Pauline Ivens’ guidelines because the positions were transitory rather than sustained. One thing she said in the lecture portion that really stuck with me is that bad vertical form in deep water can be as damaging to the spine as running on concrete. Wow. The practical session in the water was fantastic, of course. It really is so much better to do the land portion of a workshop first so you can review the theory in your mind and you find the truth of the action in the water with your own body. Sorry none of my pictures turned out. You can refresh your memory of what she looks like from the class in the earlier post.

And then…….Frugal Fitness with Terri Mitchell. The contrast couldn’t have been starker. Frugal as in using inexpensive noodles and FRUGAL also as an acronym for something. But lordy, lordy. This workout did exactly what we had been warned against—sustained supine posture, and lots of long leg lever movement during those sustained periods. Thank goodness I was at the back of the crowd. I eventually just quit, thinking “My back is in good shape, and this is certainly NOT the place to hurt it, but if I keep up these L-position jack legs, who knows what will happen?” My mother always said to me that every teacher has something to teach you, and I did learn a couple of noodle things from Terri, but I opted out of the land portion of her workshop, as I sure don’t need the CEUs, and I can look up what FRUGAL stands for in the conference literature.

In the background of the picture of Terri's class is Pauline Ivens in black shirt and white cap. I asked her afterwards what she thought, and she very diplomatically said that she (Pauline) needs to do a video of the whys and wherefores of avoiding sustaining some of those potentially harmful positions.

Next up was an entirely land class, Posture Made Perfect with Adita Yrizarry. Adita believes that posture is the basis of all human movement and she led us through some simple exercises to show how to both find weaknesses and to build strength in those muscles that will improve function. She has a very concise and on-target way of saying it--every bad alignment occurs because some muscles are too tight and some are too loose. For example, in an upper body forward slump, the pecs are tight and the rhomboids and delts loose. To correct this, exercise needs to target those weak muscles. Here's another nugget that I hadn't thought about before: the arches of the feet play the final role in good posture. The toes should all land equally and when standing the weight should be balanced equally on all toes and through the heel.

But enough of this serious stuff--let's go shopping! Throughout the conference period there is a "shopping mall" entirely full of stuff for the aqua professional. Imagine! Discounted prices and (the bane of the Alaska online shopper) no shipping! Imagine racks of H2O bathing suits that you can try on! And bins of the latest exercise music. Audio systems. Buoys, belts, and all the latest toys you tried in class. Get out that Visa card and CHA-A-A-A-ARGE!!!!

Last class of the day was another land class. (And by Day 4 I was way excited to be spending an entire afternoon dry and in regular clothes.) And its crowning glory was that it was a Zumba Gold class (Zumba for dummies, for chubbies, for oldies, or whatever). And my friends, I may have sweated my whatever off, but this was FUN. This was doable. Hips were wiggled, shoulders were shimmied, mambos were mambo-ed. I wish one of my photos of the leader, Joy Prouty, had turned out. In all of them she's a blur, although come to think of it, that's probably very fitting. She's a former Rockette, a longtime fitness professional, a co-inventor of the Zumba Gold format, but most of all a person who is just totally inhabited and animated by dance. Joy in motion is truly what she is. Anyway, you'll just have to make do with the picture of the class participants and know that they are all energized by one tiny blonde livewire:
This evening was the big gala dinner/beach party, the 25th birthday celebration of the AEA. Dinner at 8 and a special champagne toast at 9 pm, courtesy of the resort. On the way home from Zumba I met Angie's parents sitting out on their patio. Angie buzzed by collecting her dogs and recognized me from Alaska. "Going to the dinner, aren't you? Be sure to be there for the 9 o'clock toast." She said it very emphatically, but what did I know. Towards the end of dinner Mark Grevelding gets on the mike and bursts out with the secret that has been killing him for weeks--Angie and Troy were going to get married right there and then in front of all their AEA "family". Suddenly they're unrolling white carpet, setting up a tulle-draped backdrop, the officiant takes his place and Angie is strolling in on the arm of her father:
(So that's why her parents came to the conference!) They promised to love, honor, and cherish, traded rings, a big kiss, and by the authority vested in some guy by the State of Florida they were really truly hitched in front of our eyes. One of the blog's commenters has said to me that the blog was like reading a thrilling romance. And friends, it doesn't get more romantic than this! Girl gets boy and they live happily ever after.

So toasts were toasted to 25 years of AEA, but also health and long life to the bride and groom.


  1. Who needs a novel when we have action, learning, and romance all rolled up in one conference! Way to go, Kathy! Here's to a safe trip back.

  2. It's not over yet--I've got another 12-hour soggy day today and then blogging, packing, and up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the plane. No bets on whether I'll be sleeping on the plane!