Saturday, May 16, 2009

Last Zumba in Orlando

It’s my last day, but not the least. Another 12-hour marathon. No restful bower of blossoms for the newlyweds, either. 7:30 am and I’m on my way to my first class and I see Troy (the new Mr. Angie) out and about with the dogs.

The eye-opener this morning was a team effort called Tranquility and Turbulence with Steph Toogood and Craig Stuart. Click on the link at Craig’s name to find out all about it and him. The creativity of the aqua gods and goddesses you meet here is really stunning. This is the second really innovative new take on ordinary old intervals that I have experienced here. Steph and Craig took positions at right angles to each other on two sides of the pool. During her tranquility portion she did not speak and made all her cues for slow, sweeping motions visual. Then we would turn 90 degrees to face Craig and he would lead a burnup cardio segment.
And back to Steph to cool down, back to Craig to rev up, back and forth until they both led the final stretchy cooldown. Amazing. Wish I had taken a better picture. She's not blindfolded--she's wearing a wide headband and tucking her chin.
Next it was Terri Mitchell again with a land and water workshop that I liked much better than my previous experience with her. This was all about using diagonal planes of movement in deep water. This is good for functional fitness because many of our real-life movements are diagonal or spiral. Putting on your seatbelt, for instance. Part of the time in the water she had us get in circles of 4-6, moving around to left and right, into the center and out to the edge. No sustained supine work here, but quick bursts of reclining diagonal knee touches.

And on to Marty Biondi’s Lower Extremity Joint Replacements Post Rehab Aquatics. On land she took us through the basics of what comprises the replacement of hips, knees and ankles. She said that health insurance payers are pushing joint replacement patients more and more quickly out of physical therapy (typically when they hit a plateau on account of pain) and they end up in aqua classes to finish rehab on their own. She also said that bones have more pain-type nerves than any other body structure, probably nature's way of getting people to quit using a limb with a broken bone, but not so nice when they are messed with by surgery or trauma. She told us that people in rehab are not only recovering from the surgery, but also from imbalances in musculature and movement habits built up over the time they were coping with the painful joint before it was replaced. The exercises she showed us in the water mainly focused on regaining symmetrical muscle strength and improving balance.

That workshop segued nicely into Ruth Sova's Building Balance Skills. I can't say enough wonderful stuff about Ruth. She's so funny yet so inventive. One class member said "it's like getting a workout with your best girlfriend."
She had really great ways to challenge balance and work the unsung heroes of the core muscles. For instance, try "heavy feet" right now. You're doubtless sitting in your chair in front of your computer. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, knees and hips at 90 degrees. Now pretend that there is a bag of cement on top of one foot. You're trying to lift it up but it's very very heavy and you can hardly budge it. What's happening to those lower abs? You're squeezing hard, right? And the same will be true if you push down on that foot as if you wanted to push it through the floor. Try it with both feet, both up and down. Even harder, yes?

All through the workout Ruth kept making jokes about beer and being from Milwaukee. So when we arrived at the classroom for the land portion, one class member walked in and handed Ruth a glass of what we decided to call cold, foamy golden tea!
She said that she wasn't going to sin alone, so she took a sip and passed it around the class! When it got back to the front there was about half a glass left. She set it on the table at the front and when the lecture period was over she concluded with, "and now it's Miller time!"

One more workshop to go--Latin's ABC: Adaptation, Beat, Charisma with Tinoca Senra, the female half of the yoga-for-2 couple from a 2 or 3 days ago. In the land portion, she told us about some of the principles of Latin dance and culture. And then had us practice some ordinary water movements as they could be adapted to Latin rhythms and dance steps. And added in that charisma and attitude. Then into the water to put them into practice. Wow. It was as much fun to watch Tinoca's energy and beautiful moves as it was to try to imitate them in the water.
45 minutes of that and we were all warmed up for the last event of the conference, the last aqua Zumba session in the pool. On the deck to lead us were Maria de los pink hot pants, Carlos, and Mimi, the aqua instructor who did most of the inventing and translating of the land version to the wet version. It was quite a finale. Not only was the pool full, but people who couldn't fit in were dancing all around the deck. It was the highest of high notes to end on.
And now this pooped ptarmigan has to pack and try to dry out the soggy stuff I've been wearing all day. (Just between you and me, 12 hours is too long to spend in a bathing suit after about age 5.) At this point sitting down in airplanes and airports all day tomorrow sounds great. It's been an incredible experience, beyond anything I imagined. I'm not quite done with the blog--I'd like to do another post or two with odd bits of stuff I heard and learned, and some evaluation-type reflections. But if you've enjoyed this, give the bird a hand. Shout out in the comments (you can be anonymous) or if you want to really stay out of the limelight you can shoot me an email. See you back on the Last Frontier!


  1. Kathy, you deserve laurels from all of us for the workout week you've had. Now all of us know that we need to make the effort to attend the next time around. Don't expect to see you with a tan with that cap and goggles though! And I even tried the heavy feet!
    Safe travel tomorrow.

  2. Kathy

    I'm at a loss for words! This was fantastic! Thanks for sharing. tm

  3. Kathy, I wish that we could have been there to enjoy even one day of this great week. I am looking forward to seeing all of your new moves! Thank you for taking the time to write this great blog... I would have crashed every night... I don't know how you had the ENERGY! See you on Sunday. Care

  4. I loved reading your blog and enjoyed the pics. When are you coming to Abq to put on a training session for water birds here?