122 Degrees? Let’s Do Yoga!

upward dog

Upward Dog, nice

The only reason I agreed to accompany my girlfriend, Julie, and her daughter to HOT yoga was so I could write a blog about it.  I mean seriously… forty people crammed in a room stretching in unnatural ways with the temperature set at 122 degrees.  Who does this willingly?

As I entered the room, it was like a yoga parking lot.  Our spaces were preset so as to maximize floor capacity.  I was sandwiched between Julie and her daughter in row three of five.  In front of me were two women.  One, I quickly found out, could do a full, unassisted headstand – it was not required by the instructor but this was part of her warm up routine – showoff.  The other lady was so flexible I fully believe she could have stuck her head in her own behind.

The room smelled like the inside of a cow and that was before the class began.  Two days later the scent of the armpits surrounding me is affixed firmly in my nostrils.

It was apparent I was the newbie.  The other men in the class wore yoga clothes.  Dry fit shirts that absorb the sweat and shorts with Lycra underneath.  One very fit 30ish year old guy removed his shirt immediately upon entering.   I was not so confident.

I wore an old, holy, Camp Sea Gull shirt.  My boxers dangled below my shorts.  When our instructor, Spandexi, said “Chatturanga” (which is apparently a pose), I looked around for Mexican appetizers.

Apparently this particular studio is owned by a guy named Tanner Houseman (or some cool name like that).  He was not present at our class on Saturday but there were full framed posters of him lining the stairwell.  He was simply wearing yoga pants while doing head stands and other yogi moves.

If I looked like Tanner Houseman, I too would have full sized posters of my half naked self lining my stairwell.  In fact, they’d also be lining my den and bathroom walls, the conference room at work, and I might even wrap myself around my 2007 Acura MDX like a city bus ad.  His arms have greater circumference than my chest.

Julie’s daughter asked where the staircase in the lobby led.  I told her it’s where they store the bodies of those who didn’t make it through the class.

As the end of our sweatful adventure neared it’s end, my classmates and I lay on our backs on our mats.  As I thanked God for sparing my life, I felt a cold cloth draped over my eyes.  I lifted up an edge to make sure that the instructor had placed one on others’ heads as well.  I was fearful she had noticed that I was about to go down and had singled me out.  She had not.  We were all being cared for by our teacher.  She was quite a lovely woman.

After the room cooled to a comfortable 95, we sat with our legs folded.  I felt like the Dali Lama.  Spandexci had us rest our arms, palms up, in front of us and invited us to chant “Ummmmm.”  I pondered participating but simply could not.  I feared I could not control what might come out of my mouth at that moment if I was verbal.  I held my lips tight and continued my prayer that this purgatory would soon come to an end.

It did.  And I am now innerly fumigated.

On The Run


13.1 miles, only 13.1 more to go!

In 1992, a group of friends decided it would be a good idea to run a marathon.  They also thought it would be a good idea for me to run a marathon with them.

This was pre-marriage, pre-kids.  I could do anything I wanted to do.

I wanted to go to New York with my friends.  I didn’t particularly want to run a marathon.  But I did.  Very slowly.

I was a casual runner, maybe two or three miles a couple of times a week to keep my heart in shape and my shape intact.  In high school I ran cross country.  One day Coach Hodges made us run from Terry Sanford Senior High School to the Moose Club which was a block from my house.  Instead I just ran home and got my mom, after watching an episode of Gilligan’s Island and eating a cherry Poptart, to drop me off on Pincrest Drive near the back parking lot of the school.  I splashed water on my forehead and sprinted toward the track.  The coach was impressed with my time that day, as she should have been.  I’d never run such a distance so quickly.  I didn’t feel too bad because we picked up Maxwell Ruppe on the way back.  Had we not done this, I think we both might still be running.

In August, DJ informed me that we were running a marathon together.  “Dad, it’s a fundraiser for camp.  We just have to raise $2,000 to help send kids to camp who otherwise could not afford to be there.  It’s called Run-A-Kid-To-Camp.”

“Couldn’t we just drive them?” I asked.  “Do you realize that a marathon is 26.2 miles and that you have never run more than the length of our backyard in your life?”

DJ assured me she could do it.  To prepare us, we went to the expert on marathon running for dummies, my brother-in-law Matt.  In a former life, he trained out of shape people to race.

He set us up with a training calendar and told us we should:

  • But new tennis shoes to avoid ruining our hips, knees and shins
  • Get this gel to eat so that we don’t go into antiepileptic shock and die
  • Purchase appropriate run wear so that we don’t get bloody nipples

After he got through with me, I was even more convinced this was a horrible idea for a fifty year old with achy knees and a very sensitive chest.

But I have a problem.  It’s I Want To Do Anything That Will Give Me Time With My Daughters syndrome.  Plus, it angers me to think that I can’t do what I was able to do when I was 25.

So here I am, training for a marathon.

Because DJ is not in town, we encourage each other over text.  She does not like to run, so when I started this adventure, I fully expected her to pooze within the first few weeks.  She has not.  In fact, the weekend our schedule demanded a 10 mile run, she sent me a photo with the Washington Monument in the background with a big fat grin on her face.  The next day I sent her a text after each mile I ran… 1, 2, 3…  By the end, I had to call 911 for a stretcher to reenter my house.

“Dad, you have run much more than I have.  I don’t understand why I this ten miles was so difficult for you.  You’re falling apart.”

“I’ll tell you why… 32.”


“Yes.  There is a 32 year age span between you and me!  My knees are 32 years older than your knees.  My hips are also 32 years older than your hips.  My heart is 32 years older than yours is.  That is the difference!  I AM OLD!”

But there is one thing to be thankful for – thus far my nipples are fine.

It’s Goin’ Down At Panera

I’ve been working out with a friend’s P90X video for several months now.  It was a sequel to curling cans of baked beans.

I promised my buddy that I’d return her videos in May, but I really like them and it cost $130 for a new set!  I was heading back toward the vegetable cans last week when Jesse drove up in new wheels.

“Where’d you get it?” I asked.

“Craig’s list.”

“You bought a truck on Craig’s list?”


He said it as if my question was stupid.  Although, come to think of it, I asked it as if he were stupid.

I thought it absurd to make a significant purchase from a stranger on-line, until I started talking to other people in my life.  Many of them had made significant purchases with Craig.

So I figured what the heck, if Jesse can buy an automobile on Craig’s list, certainly I can find my video set there too.

It felt sort of creepy, like the clearance rack at K-Mart.  But when I searched for my prerecorded calisthenics routine, I found that A LOT of people in the Triangle region either aren’t meeting their health and wellness goals or got a little tipsy and made a bad decision on QVC.  The prices varied – usually cheaper in the outlying towns – $55 in Fuquay Varina (probably don’t have a DVD player); $50 in Knightdale (may not have a TV).  I found one in Raleigh for $60, brand new, an unopened package.  The seller only accepted inquiry calls – no emails.

I felt like I was doing a drug deal. 

My palms became sweaty as I punched in his number.  A Jersey shore accent answered, “Yo.”

“Do you still have the goods?”




‘Your house?”

“No bro!  Panera, North Hills, Wednesday, 4:45. I’ll be wearing a black shirt.”


“I’ll be in a bow tie…”


“Nothin’… ah, dude.”

Panera?  Clearly he was trying to take advantage of me.  He didn’t want me to know where he lived.  I knew he was a scam artist.  All of the on-line wheeler dealers are.

I got there early, the cash in my front pocket.  I was tired.  I’d tossed and turned the night before.  What if he dupes me?  What if I get home and the “brand new, unopened P90X package” is really a Richard Simmons’ Party Off The Pounds VCR tape? 

Would it be insulting if I asked him to open the box before I gave him the money?  Would he pull a switch blade if I offended him?  Wasn’t there a Craig’s List killer?  What if this dude had some crazy infatuation with men who wear bow ties? 

I wiped my brow with my M & M cookie napkin. 

Now I smell sweet.  This is bad.  I’m leaving.

As I stood to move toward the door, my phone rang. 

“I’m by the counter,” he quietly offered.

I could see him.  He looked normal, and small.  He clearly hadn’t removed the contents and used them.

“I see you.”

“Well OK.  Are you going to come up here?”

“Oh, yea.”

I hung up and headed toward a table in the front of the resturant. 

He handed me the package.   It looked legit.

I pulled the money out of my pocket and sat it on the table in front of us, tucking the edge under the salt shaker.

“Can I open it?”

“Go ahead.  It’s all there.”

I didn’t remove each CD, but I did dig down deep enough to see the case and a nifty nutritional pamphlet I hadn’t even expected.

“You should have used these,” I suggested, “It’s a great workout.”

“I don’t exercise.  Kills my back.”

He sifted through the wad of cash.

“All three Jacksons – right there like I promised.”  I can’t believe he didn’t trust me. 

I picked up my box, crinkling up the plastic wrapping in my other hand.  “I guess we both got what we wanted.”

“Yeah.”  He nodded an grab the door handle.

And with that, my dealer disappeared into the maze of cars in the parking lot. 

I headed home – and inserted three of the CD’s to make sure they weren’t home videos of Jersey boy’s family.


Posted by DJ

Recently my Dad has been on this workout rant. I mean, he is always doing something to try and get rid of his flabbyness. Once he lifted cans of baked beans, other times he has come up with his own lifting patterns which I swear he just made up to embarrass me.

I wonder when he will realize there is just no use. He is a forty-six year old man, if he wanted to be big and buff he should have figured that out in high school.

But lately, he has discovered P90X. He borrowed it from one of his friends (I’m not sure which one, but when I find out they will pay, big time).

Here is the basic gist of this daily workout.  It is about an hour-long and consists of:

Some man named Tony Horton, who is ripped and has gorgeous abs, yelling at you through the television. Half the time you cannot even understand what he is saying.

Now when Tony gets tired, he stops exercising and just walks around and tells everyone else working out in the room with him what they are doing wrong. So helpful.

In this multi-disk program, you use weights and huge rubber bands, and occasionally a chair or two.

The point of this blog post is to let you know how embarrassing it is when I have friends over and your dad walks out into the kitchen (where our food is prepared) all sweaty and smelly and he starts having a conversation with your guest who is obviously disgusted. The worst part is his outfit. He either wears gym shorts or his underwear and a t-shirt with holes in it (which my mother tried to get rid of on multiple occasions, guess I should take that responsibility over).

I am not saying that it is bad that he is working out and keeping himself in shape. I’m just saying that he did not “go up a size in sports coats, because my arms are getting too buff.” You think he was kidding, or I made that quote up? Nope, dead serious this came out of his mouth with a straight face.

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