One reason Flagstaffis so loveable to me is that we are so close to Sedona. When I've enjoyed the blue skies, sun and white snowy scenery of Flagstaff, but am ready to warm my bones, it's jump in the car and go!
The drive to Sedona is part of the pleasure. Oak Creek Canyon is a world destination. Starting out at 7000 feet in the pines, you enter a twisty turny journey through magical peaks, valleys, streams, and stunning, multicolored rock formations.
You can stop and fill your bottles with the BEST water in the world. It flows endlessly from spouts built into a little rock wall next to the creek. You can stop and hike in the canyon, letting the forest and babbling water from Oak Creek envelop you, forgetting about Sedona below. Or, a half hour to forty five minutes later, you can emerge from this fantasy land into uptown Sedona, a culture so different from Flagstaff it's sometimes hard to remember how close we really are.
On cold Flagstaff days, my favorite things to do in Sedona are hike or play tennis. Brins Mesa is my personal favorite for a short but gorgeous and physical hike. It is an uphill walk starting at a trailhead at the end of Jordan Road that is breathtaking in two ways: the scenery, and if you do it fast enough, it really takes your breath away! Although Brins is my personal fave, there are countless possibilities for hiking, walking, enjoying.
Playing tennis at the Enchantment Resort is so extraordinary, it almost defies description. The Enchantment Resort is also an internationally renowned resort, with the number ONE spa in the world Mi Amo. Built in the heart of some of Sedona's most majestic rock formations at Boynton Canyon, it is an almost secret enclave dominated by natural beauty, and refined by human luxury. The courts are suprisingly open. For a minimal charge, I can stare at the red rocks and blue skies from the courts, allow the positive energy to envelop me, and whack it out with a friend or one of the pros. Even if I lose 6-0 6-0, I've had an incredible day.
So, if you are someone who loves to be spoiled by variety and don't mind the drive (that's a joke), Sedona is Flagstaff's solution to chilled bones or a simple love of adventure.
A lesson in breathing at 7000' in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.
First, I want to make it clear that Mike Ray* didn't intend to teach me anything. This lesson happened while watching him in two unrelated incidents. (They were related because they happened at Crossfit Flagstaff).
I'll start with the second lesson, first. I was in my first round of some crazy-ass workout Lisa Ray had dreamt up (7 rounds of 30 wall balls and 6 scaled rope climbs). I was probably on wall ball 20 or so and was already gasping for air. The door opened and in cruised Mike. While I was sucking in oxygen to push myself to 30 wallballs, he casually inquired about the workout, went to his spot on the wall and began.
I didn't mean to watch him. But again, as I bent over between rounds inhaling oxygen into my burning lungs, I couldn't help but notice ... that Mike really didn't look like he was going that fast. I mean, this is the guy whose times rip the rest of us apart. But when I watched him, he just didn't look like he was going fast... at all.
After I stood up from the post-workout, curled in a ball and struggling for air position, I noticed that Mike had finished way before me and was already recovered.
Lesson Number 1
Rewind about two days prior. I had finished my workout and had the camera. This time, we rowed and did pullups. Mike was making cool faces on the rowing machine so I decided to take pics. In only a matter of seconds, I scurried off to Lisa, Mike's wife, owner of Crossfit Flagstaff and Crossfitter Extraordinaire, and whined - LISA. IT DOESN"T LOOK LIKE HE'S EVEN GOING FAST! WHAT'S THE SECRET?
It's Oxygen, Silly.
The secret, duh, is consistency. And a big part of staying consistent is not having to stop to gasp for air. Being able to find a pace and move through the workout without stopping. Period.
While obviously our muscles have to be trained and honed to execute that pace, for me, (just my personal opinion) the consistency seems more dependent on BREATHING.
Poignant, Relevant Questions
How on earth can you breathe enough air to get you through that? Especially at 7000 feet, what is the secret to giving the body the oxygen it needs to push through these workouts without lung failure? How can I not succumb to that "OMG if I don't stop now to breathe I will fall down, Oh Shit, stopping hurts even worse" condition?
What is the trick to making breathing my friend and supporter in my workouts?
Since I really don't know the answer, I've decided to make that my 2009 Crossfit Resolution. Learn to Breathe. Learn to make breathing the absolute core of my workouts. If I can do that, maybe one day someone else will say "But Eileen, you dont' even look like you're going that fast!" while I wink and rip the hell out of my time.
*Mike Ray is Lisa Ray's husband and an elite athlete.
Before I became a Realtor, I was (among many other things) heavily involved in the healing arts.
The Healing Arts includes a vast group of practices, and my focus was on "energy healing" - the ability to read, interpret, understand, empath and tune into energy as a way of conceiving and acting in reality. In other words, I spent a lot of time learning about and focusing on "the unseen" as a way to better my experience in the world of "the seen" - physical presence.
Those of us who take care of our bodies (or at least try to!) are often just as focused on taking care of our spirits, our souls, our psyches... even if we don't do any of that, we know that exercise is just one part of an overall feeling of well being. Our main goal is to create well being.
Lots of people I meet use "The Secret" as the catch word for being into positive thinking as a way to create well being.
The Secret has exploded across the globe. It's forte, I believe, is encapsulating age-old spiritual wisdom in a time-relevant and very digestible pill. We, the people of the planet, are ready to start listening to the way positive thought can create positive realities. We are ready to start believing that thoughts actually generate propellants to our realities, that we are not mere victims of circumstance, and we can't run around angry, negative and grim expecting wonderful things to happen.
SECRET NEGATIVE FEELINGS
There is one thing that kind of bugs me about the way The Secret is bandied about.In my learnings, and in my opinion, you can think a billion positive thoughts and have nothing positive happen. The Secret to the Secret, and the topic often left behind, is how you FEEL.
If I stand in the mirror and tell myself that I will be rich and abundant this month, yet ignore that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that is actually saying - "You have GOT to be kidding.... YOU???", it really won't matter how many times I repeat my thought.
If I focus on bringing in wonderful new clients, imagining what they wear, what they will buy, the perfume they waft through the room... but my chest tightens with fear as I subconsiously remember that there really are NO buyers out there.... I may not have the results I think I deserve.
FEEL GOOD AS YOU THINK GOOD
So the Secret to the Secret, in my opinion? FOCUS ON WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD! Be aware in every moment possible of the things that create positive feelings. The beautiful sunrise, how the kids are incredibly cute today, the way running gives you a high, how the dog makes you laugh, that great color of lipstick you always loved, a funny look on your partner's face...the snow... anything in the moment that is positive for you.
And with those real feelings of happiness, appreciation, wonder, joy, beauty, hope, or general positiveness, CREATE A REAL THOUGHT THAT YOU BELIEVE IN, THAT YOU CAN ALSO FEEL GOOD ABOUT, and think it. In that moment of feeling good, create a new thought that you can feel good about and keep that positive feeling alive! From the great expansion of your good feelings, keep generating more and more, until you really can believe in the abundance, the new clients, and the wealth.
THIS IS WAY TOO LONG FOR A BLOG POST
This is a blog post and already too long. The internet site that has been teaching this wonderfully for years is
Located at 7000 feet, Flagstaff is a pine-scented, shaded, mountain oasis to the high-desert terrain of Northern Arizona. With one of the largest Ponderosa Pine forests on our planet, and nestled at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff offers beautiful living and playing environments for an active population.
This blog is dedicated to all people doing athletics in Flagstaff - Runners, Walkers, Hikers, Bikers, Climbers, Skiiers, Golfers, Yogis, Tennis Players, Crossfitters, and anyone else I forgot.
I encourage you to submit news, events, stories and humor that will make this a fun, informative site for all of us who can't stop moving, or who at least have our favorite ways to move in and around Flagstaff!