I Went Out Dancing! Now it’s Time to Take A Break. Um… Literally.

Yes! I went dancing!

Last weekend, for the first time in months – No, years – I got myself a ticket to a three-day dance event.  And I went out. Every.Single.Night.

It was delicious.

I had such a great time (once I got over the “I don’t know a soul here” shock).  I reconnected with friends from six years ago (when I was avidly involved in the dance scene), met some new friends, had many wonderful dances with great leads, and really got into spinning around the hardwood floor again. Simply divine.

I need new dance shoes.

The only pair I have are a pair I purchased when I went to a West Coast Swing event in Reno – I think I was in college, then. (a.k.a. It’s been a while – they’re old shoes now). So all weekend I was wearing these little lyrical sandals I got… also many years ago, in college. I think they were purchased for a Ballet class.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.03.39 PM
Love these things – they have served me well for… Well, we’ll just say for a few years. 😉 (Photo credit: http://www.dancewearsolutions.com)

I was basically dancing barefoot, which is what many people who enjoy this type of dance do.  You’re low to the ground, you can move around easily, lets you get that rhythm in your knees… It’s a lovely way to feel connected.

Sunday night, I was so proud of myself.

I made it out to dances three nights in a row! I even stayed out till nearly three a.m. on Friday and Saturday (I was not able to meet my girlfriends for the Saturday run due to needing sleep.  Apparently staying out till 3 a.m. sets me back in a way that it did not used to in my mid-twenties.  And I can no longer sleep in until some ungodly late – morning hour due to repetition of awakening before six.  8:30 a.m. was not the “Sleep in” I was hoping for on Saturday).

Sunday I made a promise to myself. I would head home at midnight because I needed to be at work the next morning. At sometime around 11:30 p.m. I saw an old friend showed up unexpectedly, and at around 12:15 a.m. I got to dance with him. I love dancing with this man – he spins me quickly like a Westie (we met doing West Coast Swing many moons ago), makes eye contact, always keeps me from running into other couples, and I just feel like a good dancer when we’re on the floor together.

Toward the middle of that song, I noticed we were on the side of the room that had a bump in the floor – you know, where the slats of hardwood have popped up on one side and there’s a little lip?  Yeah, that one.  And I could feel my sandal catching on it every once in a while.  A bit of a nuisance, no real trouble… until… My toe caught on the little annoying lip.

I felt a little bit of a pop, which I thought was my toe merely ricocheting back toward the place in the middle of my foot where it belonged, and a minor bit of pain, but I ignored it and kept dancing (stay on the ball of the foot, keep the toes lifted to prevent that from happening again).  Thanked him at the end of the song, and went to sit for a minute.  I allowed myself one more dance then decided to head home (at around 12:25am – 25 minutes after my own imposed curfew).

When I got home, I notice some bruising on my toe.  And it was pretty painful. And I knew.  Despite the fact that it wasn’t really swelling. Despite the fact that it wasn’t pointing in a weird direction.

My toe was broken. IS broken. Yep –

Found some sticky tape from a first aid kit I have had since 2000.  Finally came in handy.
Found some sticky tape from a first aid kit I have had since 2000. Finally came in handy. (I am hiding the purple – I do not want to gross anyone out).

Time to take a break. 

I finally made it to the doctor today after one day of denial, and a second of no availability and she confirmed it for me. Fracture.

Which means… no running (or dancing) for 4-6 weeks. Or (gulp!) longer if pain persists.

I am not sure how to navigate this obstacle. I’m pretty sure this also eliminates any aerobics classes, yoga involving being on the toes, and excessive walking.

Serious lifestyle change.

So, I guess I have to … go to a gym.  And… ride a bike?  Use the rowing machine? Lift weights???

I haven’t done any of that in years. I guess it’s time to give those old friends a visit.

… Want to know the funny thing?

The fact is, I had been planning to increase my mileage and days/week running starting, oh… Now. And after my experience dancing last weekend, I was all ready to get back out to do some swing or blues every other week or so.

Yet, truthfully?  I have a seriously strong desire to create some kind of consistency in my life, start a daily spiritual practice (of some kind – still working out the kinks) each morning, and although I really want to incorporate running into this routine, I have been unable to get up at the same time each morning with any regularity, and maintain this practice. While on this train of thought, a lightbulb went off:

I manifested a broken toe.

So now, taking a break due to my blessed broken toe of fate, I will be working more on me – spiritually rather than physically.  This will be a … difficult change, but one I am finally ready to take on (and I kind of have no choice). Certainly this is a great opportunity to dive right in: why not take advantage whilst injured (before I’m all healed and back at it ignoring my wise inner voice).

Now where to start…?

My question for you, my dear runner/athlete friends, what is your favorite non-running (not a lot of foot movement) workout to do when injured?  (I’m entering new territory here, and I’ll take any advice you’ve got!)

Thanks so much and have a great time out there for me!  I’ll be thinking of y’all gliding through the air in the great outdoors… Happy running! And send photos!
~Alaina

P.S. Here’s a little silly for you from back in the day when I danced in a competition (this was for the first time ever – please be kind): Come Rain, Come Shine WCS Finals 3/9

Determined

In order to lead the life we want to live, it takes a certain amount of self-worth and determination to make that life possible.  We need to set our own desires at a higher level of importance over our outside influences (job, the weather, family, daylight savings time, friends … even sleep, unless that is one of the things you desire and value) in order to keep moving forward.

It’s interesting and amusing to observe, that despite all of the extraordinary life events that have happened throughout this past year of life – people very important passing from this life, others walking out and ending friendships, my first exploration outside the United States on a trip to Ireland, dealing with awful apartments, moving THREE times, turning thirty, starting to get out social dancing again, and finally making the choice to learn to drive and get my license – I feel more settled and at home in my own skin than I have in the last six years combined.

So, in the spirit of doing what I need to lead the life I want for myself, tonight I stayed home, cooked dinner, baked cookies, and washed a LOT of dishes.  I plan on running in the morning before work (dark and early!): the coffee pot is prepped, lunch is set to go, and while I am so Monday-tired I can barely keep my eyes propped open, I still sit here writing because that, too, is an important part of my expression, and my desire to share my experiences keeps me from cutting this short and going to sleep, right here with my head on the table.

And in the morning, no matter how tired I am when that alarm goes off at five o’dark thirty, I will crawl out of bed and put on my vibram fivefingers, reflective vest, and head lamp because running is important to me.  This year, I aspired to run my first marathon when my Grampa completed his 50 state plus DC during the Marine Corps Marathon, but did not plan and make time to achieve this intended goal.  I let work, weather, life, social commitments, and other obligations take up all the “extra” time I could have been running.  Unfortunately for me, running 26.2 miles isn’t something a girl can easily go out and do without training if she decides she wants to, so I let myself stay home, and missed that momentous occasion.  So, now… training begins.

I may be 31 by the time I run my first marathon, but I am going to get out, get some miles under these legs, and cross the finish line.  And if I’m lucky, my Mom and Grampa will be there with me, holding hands, goofy smiles, and burbling tears as we cross the line together.  🙂

Dark mornings call for reflections. Stay safe out there!

~Alaina

Searching for Red, Found Sparkle Instead!

After a long day at work, I took a few minutes to peruse the local mall in search of a red shirt for a dance performance I will be a part of  in about two and a half weeks.  (Yes, I do enjoy social partner dancing, usually West Coast Swing or Blues.  This performance will be a choreographed routine of with six couples; one minute and forty seconds of Nightclub 2-step and West Coast Swing, each).  Much to my surprise, my search was for naught.  I was positive I would find a plethora of red attire this close to the December holidays, but apparently, apparel stores are on a much more conservative schedule to release holiday product than our local grocers.  Or, perhaps red and green are “out” this year, and the light peachy-orange color I’m seeing everywhere is the new red…?

Despite my failed attempt during my costume search, I did discover much beauty in the quiet evening at the mall. There may not have been holiday red, but the lack of festive color fled from my mind when I was blown away by shine, sparkle, and some holiday “snow” bubbles…

Sparkling lights – bubble blower creating “snow” from above.

Enormous decorations hung from the ceiling:

Ceiling ornamentals

Even the transit stop looked glorious in the lamp-light.  Maybe it was the reprieve from the rain, but I was seeing beauty everywhere tonight.  And I am so grateful.

If you’re like me, you probably have your phone out much of the time you are on your commute – checking Facebook, email, making phone calls… Do yourself a favor, and look up.  Take some time to really see what is around you, find some joy in what you witness, and share that experience with others, so they can take time to do the same.

Happy Wednesday!
~Alaina

Spring

As days warm and we head toward Spring

there is no knowing what life will bring.

A joyous dance, or a sunlit flower

but greatness found in every hour.

 

Life brings us troubles, it gets us down,

and at times, we’re left with a frown.

My wish for you, may it come true,

Is bright skies of deep, deep blue.

Dancin’ in the streets

Last summer, while enjoying the delightful warmth and sunshine gracing the greater Portland area, I stumbled upon two people dancing.  Mesmerized by this attractive young couple, I had to pause in my day to enjoy their performance during that last hot weekend at the Saturday Market.  The mere fact that there were two people dancing on the streets in Portland would generally be enough persuasion for me to stop and appreciate the couple enjoying life and each other; these two took it to another level, generally one kept to circus tents.  Their legs went on for days, for they were on stilts.  I can’t imagine that walking on two pegs rather than a whole foot (heel, arch, ball, and toes) is easily achieved, but they made it look natural.  They moved effortlessly and with such grace that I think I stood gawking for near half an hour.

I hope that one day, I can be as much of an awe-inspiring example for some other person.  A few iPhone snap-shots of the dance:

Their fun-having was so infectious, members of the crowd delighted in their involvement, showing as much enthusiasm as was demonstrated.

I look forward to these sun-filled summer days when revelers can once again delight in dancing outdoors.