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Brainwash was closed that early but Peet’s made my coffee perfect.  It cut through the fog and haze that was giving me anxiety and confusing me on what I had to do.  I had a day full of cross training planned, starting out with Tai Chi at the Bay Meadow’s Gold’s Gym followed by a trail run on the Bunny Trail above Grey Whale Cove through McNee Ranch State Park and ending it with a 4’o’clock yoga class at the SOMA Gold’s.

Smooth cruise to San Mateo via 280 -101 and found the Archstone Residences and yuppie strip mall where the Bay Meadow’s Gold’s is sited.  I’m impressed by the newness, and the cleanness.  The only thing that keeps it funky are the humans occupying themselves there and I like to think that even this Mission Adobe sterile architecture is designed with open space, your top 2 competing coffee franchises, a hair salon and a nail spa.  Whole Foods too, for the people who work and reside in the complex, as well as those that are there, like me, to take in some recreation by getting a work out.  Parking is ultra.

Little confused by the layout because of the unfamiliar architecture.  Even though I spent a large portion of my life on the other side of the freeway from the Hillsdale exit, so much has changed down the Peninsula and South Bay since I went to Elementary and Junior High schools there.  The high tech office parks used to be open fields where we’d make BMX courses.  Sad for kids now who don’t have the open space to explore and create, but then again, I haven’t changed much.  I’m still able to find open spaces to play in.  I found the Gym and was impressed.  It looked like I was going to give it a 5 star yelp just from the way it looked from the outside.

Unfamiliar with the protocol of a new gym I checked in with the front desk to ask where I could find the Tai Chi class and if I needed to wear shoes. Front desk told me that the studio was up the stairs and it was the only one up there and everyone had to take their shoes off to go into the studio.  I asked and then she directed to the segregated locker rooms, a nice water feature of lava rock and fern demarcating the entrances that were momentarily confusing to me.

Definitely a straight vibe in the locker room, very little talking and just a bit more posturing in front of the recessed vanity mirror above which was set a flat screen monitor broadcasting the pre-game analysis of the Gold Medal Hockey match between the Canadians and the U.S.  I had dressed to go into the studio in my black Adidas track suit bottoms, a Cal t’shirt and my trail running shoes.  Arrived  5 minutes early and a yoga class was winding down, yogis and yoginis side stretching to compose themselves into a final and meditative Savasana.  I took that opportunity to stow my socks in my shoes and my shoes in a cubby and chat up the other Tai Chi people informing them I was new.  Made an ageist faux pas but hopefully recovered enough not to be a dick, identified the instructor, Nathan Ng, and introduced myself.  He did a quick assessment then explained how he would incorporate me into his class.

Wanted to take a primo spot by the windows and allowed myself to be guided by the territorial energy of the regulars and the wet sweaty spots on the state of the art bamboo floor.  I got something close to where I wanted to be.  Nathan began with shoulder openings and gestures to draw energy in.  I could really feel the chi there and was sensitive to its viscosity because of the Geomantic work I’ve been doing.  I also felt strong in the one legged stances and had my yoga practice to thank for that.  Then as a group, the class aligned itself into rows and practiced the opening movements across the studio and back after which Nathan broke the group up into an advanced squadron and the two newbies led by an intermediate.

Nathan instructed our intermediate trainer, Chuck, to take me and the other newb, Linda, through the first moves of the opening sequence.  Trained as an actor and dancer I eased into following his movements in the mirrors.  Chuck smelled like Irish Spring and it was comforting, yet soapy sharp.  He had a diamond studded ear ring in his right ear which made me wonder about his sexuality.  Chuck…hmm.  It made me be a little extra friendly.  He was a little unsure about being put on the spot, but I was feeling his flow.  As an instructor myself I know that the highest percentage of retention is created by teaching and for this I appreciated Nathan’s approach.  While Nathan led the other group Chuck went through the stances with us.  Nathan came back and cut out the two following movements to make us focus on the opening two. It was more difficult to flow with Nathan because of an initiates desire to impress. Still I felt good about what I was able to accomplish even though it was so little.

Overthanked Chuck and Nathan and reintroduced myself to Linda. Back to the M locker room to get my gear on for a trail run on the Bunny Trail.  Felt really good about incorporating a new dimension to my practice and completed the first component of my Sunday Tri.

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