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In the Starting Blocks

Things seem to appear in my line of vision just when I need them. Finding CHHRC is one of those serendipitous occasions.

My physical and mental routine was in need of a bit of a shakeup after two major hits to both: a miscarriage in May which rocked my world in every imaginable way, and just as I started to come back online as a functioning human, my herniated disc acted up, in part because I had let my fitness routine go in the wake of my miscarriage.

Falling out of my fitness routine seems to be a recurring cycle. If I am not diligent about keeping my core tight and my muscles loose, especially my hamstrings, my disc gets aggravated and presses on my sciatic nerve and I end up in excruciating pain with a seized up lower back and nerve pain down my leg. It can be incredibly debilitating.

On top of that, my 3 year old just started preschool, giving me a few little windows of free time to tackle a new project/a new challenge. With this in mind, whether consciously or not, I signed on as a blogger to share my experience as a new member of CHHRC.

So, here I am.

I’ve always been pretty healthy, aside from the freshman 15 I gained years ago and carried through half of college. Running above all else has been my go-to and the constant in my fitness routine starting in my teens to today. I was a middle of the pack runner in high school who just enjoyed being part of the team. I have a distinct memory of my track coach jokingly telling me, “He’d need a calendar to time me”.

These early experiences gave me a wonderful foundation for a physically fit life, for which I will always be grateful. I rowed for a few years in college and did a half marathon at 25, and a handful of 5Ks since.

But, my situation has changed. My back and age, in part, have started to push me toward lower impact workouts such as yoga and Pilates, which to my excitement, are offered daily in the dedicated Namaste yoga and Pilates studio at CHHRC.

So, it was with great excitement that I tackled my first class and sent my 3 year old off to her inaugural visit to the “Fun Zone” kids area – more on that later!

I have been to many a yoga class, but this is the first time I’m looking at it with new, older eyes, as a central part of my fitness routine.

My instructor, Anne Maxwell, led a wonderfully gentle “Yoga Foundation and Form” class, followed by about a 20-minute guided meditation. The poses were slow and intentional and went along with coordinated in and out breaths, as led by Anne. As one of the basic classes offered, it was a slow and centering start to my day and an introduction to the Namaste studio.

I came back the following day for a previously-scheduled personal training session with Dana. Turns out that not only is she a fitness enthusiast, but primarily a Pilates enthusiast and instructor. I also found comfort in the fact that we were close in age and shared a similar gluten-free diet.

When I shared my recent health history, she keyed in on Pilates as a great low-impact, strengthening and lengthening workout for me. Pilates mat classes are done on a mat, like yoga, but CHHRC offers something I had never seen before: Pilates classes on a reformer, a structure that I can only explain as something that vaguely resembles a guillotine in height – but thankfully is not – with a bench that moves on a slide, much like an erg. The slide is spring-loaded with coils of varying strength that are used to create resistance at their most intense, and to test balance at their least intense.

It was a bit of an intimidating structure and was totally new to me, but Dana led me through a full-body beast of a workout that used pulleys from above to work my arms while laying on the bench, and standing and laying on the bench to work my hamstrings, quads, and more. Two days later and I am feeling it!

There are so many ways for me to get the workout I need, without the stress on my joints, at CHHRC. I’m out of the blocks on a new health and fitness journey.

Stay tuned! Never been to CHHRC? Click here for a free pass and try it for yourself!


A Pilates reformer workout in action
Me (in pink) getting my sweat on with Dana and friends on our reformers