It’s never easy (at least for this night owl) to rise early for a run or workout. But views like this sure help cure my sleepiness
After three days of being stuck inside due to the winter storm that left 2 inches of ice on roadways, hot yoga felt so comforting last night. I enjoyed the friendly chatter with fellow yogis before our group practice began. Instructor Breezy called us to the top of our mats, prompting us to raise our arms and breathe in. And just like that, the chatter plunged into silence.
All I could hear were the ocean waves caused by the deep inhales and exhales around me. There’s something magical about all of us stopping our day in unison, letting go of whatever keeps our minds racing. Our breathing seems to send a wave of compassion over ourselves and those around us. With those first breaths, we embrace the stillness and prepare for the movements to come. That lightness, consciously letting go and surrendering to the moment, is what keeps me grounded, less anxious and more positive about this thing we’re all in together – life.
This may sound cliche, but it’s amazing how yoga has helped me be more zen about things. I ran across this quote the other day (Madonna was given the credit): “Yoga is a metaphor for life. You have to take it really slowly. You can’t rush. You can’t skip to the next position. You find yourself in very humiliating situations, but you can’t judge yourself. You just have to breathe, and let go. It is a workout for your mind, your body and your soul.”
That assessment definitely rings true for me. With our mats as our grounding stations, we move forward, sideways, backward and even fall down. But it’s okay, because we can always come back to our center point and try again.
My grandmother died in October, and while she was 91, bed-ridden in a nursing home and had reached a low quality of life (at least by the realm familiar to us), her passing wasn’t easy on our family. I helped my aunt and mom plan and go through the funeral journey. My brother and his wife were able to fly out from San Francisco. It was a special time for our family to be together, and I’m so grateful my work family was understanding, allowing me the time off.
One of the hardest aspects of her death is living in the space she once called home. My grandfather died in 2005. They had lived together in the house for more than 5o years, and after his death, she lived there until 2010 when she moved to the nursing home. I’m surrounded with their things. I remember playing the card game, Memory, at the kitchen table with her and “Hotel for the Rich and Famous” with my grandfather in his office. I have put my touch on the house, for sure, but there are reminders everywhere of the times our family has shared – from the oil painting of the mysterious lady whose eyes follow you as you move about to the silver tea set that would rattle when my brother and I chased each other. The memories are everywhere.
My aunt, mom and I recently cleaned out my grandfather’s office. We revisited some treasures and uncovered some new ones. There’s nothing like discovering letters and pictures that your loved ones thought important to keep. I had no idea they saved the post cards I sent them 16 years ago on my travels to the British Isles. And the sweet Christmas gift tags with personalized notes – so sweet.
We kept some things and threw out other things. I was so proud of my aunt for taking on the task. It was healing for all of us, but especially for her, I think. Stopping, breathing and letting go. There really is something magical about it so that we can continue flowing on our individual mats through life.
I need to write more on this forum. It’s the best form of social media, if there is such a thing.
I need to sit down later and write more about what’s currently going on in my life, but I don’t have the energy right now.
My maternal grandmother died Monday night. It’s been a roller coaster of a week. There is nothing like death to get you reflecting on life. Especially when it’s someone very close to you. But I suppose death is just one aspect of life.
We have a nice service planned for tomorrow to celebrate her life. I’m ready for it to be over, but I will try to live in the moment and embrace the family process.
My brother flew in with his wife from San Francisco. I’m glad they could make it. The family has dwindled so. We have to stay together and make the most of our lives.
I heard that quote at a recent running event I participated in. It was the Jalapeno Half Marathon (only I did the 5K), and boy was it HOT.
I had been sick with a cold earlier that week and was tired from house projects and a recent road trip. Work had been emotionally draining as well. In short, I just felt like holing up in my house that weekend and turning off the world. But it was my uncle’s 60th birthday celebration, and I love him and wanted to celebrate properly.
I drove in to Dallas late Friday after work, only to catch 5 hours of sleep before it was rise and shine time. My aunt brought me coffee at 5 a.m., and I was very grateful for the kind gesture.
Harold was prepared for the half marathon, and Lue and I were getting psyched for the 5K. Who cared if the outside temp was pushing 100 degrees that day? Ha. We did, but we didn’t let it stop our birthday enthusiasm. Hats, streamers and all.
I went into the race with the expectation of just having fun, taking it easy. My competitive drive pushed into full gear at “GO!” time. I should have known better. I raced my little heart out as I always do. I realized at my first race years ago that I have quite the competitive edge when running and computerized timing devices are involved. It never fails. When I cross a start line with other feet at my side, I give the race all my energy.
There was technical difficulty at the race for the 5K results, so I didn’t know how I placed (although I had a good feeling it was something noteworthy) until a few days after. My chip time was 23:41. Holy running woman! That’s a personal record for me! That’s a 7:38 minute/mile pace, and I placed third in my age division. Kudos to the first- and second-place finishers! I guess heat does my body good. It must be all that hot yoga I’ve been doing.
And my uncle deserves a huge shoutout! He placed second in his age division for the half marathon!
Those post-race beers were definitely deserved. For him, at least.
A little inspiration to keep on keepin’ on … an excerpt from The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chödrön:
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.
Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
I came across this beautiful expression of one runner’s experience at last week’s Boston Marathon and encourage you to read it as well … Boston.
I cry every time I see stories about the marathon runners on the news. I’ve tried to explain that feeling of approaching the finish line (which starts months before race day) to my non-runner family and friends. Words don’t suffice to describe that feeling where a thousand feelings — happiness, exhaustion, elation, and on and on — become one. I nearly cry and sometimes do, not out of sadness, every time I approach a finish line because of that overwhelming feeling. I can’t imagine what it was like at Boston’s finish or sidelines or to hear the blasts in the medal line as a volunteer happily placed a medal around my neck
Blogger Running Sunflower is right. The bombers didn’t know who they were messing with when they struck terror on the Boston Marathon.
She writes …
“Runners are also tough, and resilient. When we train for marathons, we put in months of work. We voluntarily put our bodies, minds and spirits through tests of sometimes-nightmarish rigor. We have bad runs and get over them. We have injuries and get over them. We soil ourselves in every way imaginable, and see others doing the same, and we get over it. We share water, food, toilet paper, elation, and despair. We keep on running. And the Boston Marathon? It’s been around for 117 YEARS. That is commitment. That is resilience.”
I haven’t been running as much in the past couple of months, but it’s still a part of who I am. The other day I happened upon a hiking trail and ran through it to see where it would lead me. It guided me down a ridge with a babbling creek at the bottom flanked by trees and forest creatures. I had a smile on my face almost the whole time (save for the uphill runs ;))
I’m inspired by the running community in my city. It’s one of unprecedented love and support, and fun, of course! I’ve been seeing posts by our very own elite runner Leah Thorvilson, who is recovering from surgery. She’s on crutches and has been walking/hobbling a mile a day in honor of Boston. Through yoga and mutual friends, I’m thankful to call her a friend. She is the epitome of this runner spirit that Running Sunflower describes in her blog post. Determination, inspiration and hope can never be destroyed, no matter the size of the bomb.
I woke up yesterday, the morning of the Little Rock Marathon events, like I have for the past six years. A little groggy but excited to join the thousands of runners for my hometown’s biggest road race. My clothes were laid out, Garmin charged and my new fun accessory was ready to be worn. My aunt Lue and I had eaten a light breakfast and were sipping coffee. It was 6:47 a.m. Start time was 8. I looked at the clock and said, “We better quit acting like this is a lazy Sunday morning and get our butts in gear!”
We were out the door a little later than we had anticipated, but the race is only about 10 minutes from my house, so aside from finding a place to park, I wasn’t fretting about not getting there earlier. It was 29 degrees, after all! No need to wait around in the cold. We found a good parking spot, stopped and talked to the firemen who had their fire engine ready at the Broadway Bridge. They set up every year with the American flag hanging high from the fire truck’s ladder so participants run under it before crossing the Arkansas River.
After one last stop to the girls’ room, in the mighty fancy Capitol Hotel I might add, we made the trek to the start line. As 10K participants who hadn’t trained too vigorously (I usually do the half marathon but for various reasons didn’t train for it this year), we were OK with being far back when the gun fired “GO!” Well, I’ll never do that again. It took us 20 minutes to get to the start line after the gun had gone off! 20 minutes!
See all the people! But Lue had fun dancing as we waited to start moving forward. I think the grooving kept her warm too.We finally made it to the start line, where I was happy to spot my yoga instructor on the sideline cheering all of us on as we began our race. What a pretty start line and morning it was! After we crossed it, Lue told me to take off! And take off, I did. I snaked my way through a lot of walkers and slower-paced runners, and finally found my groove about mile 2! Once I found it, however, I was set. I felt great. I had so much energy. I felt strong, centered and balanced. My legs weren’t dragging at all and they picked up the pace and carried me through the 6.2-mile course.
I always love it when the wheelchair marathon participants pass me on the other side of the street. Such a wave of emotion overcomes me, and I become so inspired to keep going. I feel inspiration for all of us, really. I haven’t been running as much since last year when I was injured during marathon training. But that feeling of accomplishment, hard work and dedication emanating from everyone is truly tangible for me during a race, and I don’t think it will ever get old for me.
The spectators deserve just as much praise as us runners. The clever, funny ways they entertain us is priceless. My favorite gesture yesterday was the booth someone assembled. It’s sign read, “$1.00 shortcut maps sold here!” The folks that sing, play instruments and clap along the way — they perform a vital service to us and motivate us when we need it the most.
As I approached the finish line, I looked to my left and noticed a man in race shorts passing me on the other side of the street. He was finishing the half marathon as I was finishing the 10K! Amazing. And he wasn’t the only one. I was passed by about three other men who were on their way to completing the half marathon in under one hour!
I kicked it into high gear at the end. The adrenaline rush came over me, propelling my legs fast and forward. My arms were pumping and an out-of-this-world feeling circulated throughout my body. I crossed the finish line at 55 minutes, 28 seconds. Yep. That’s right. I placed No. 1 in my division!!! I was so ecstatic. In the athletes village area, I screamed and jumped with joy when I was reunited with my aunt.We were both happy and ready to celebrate! 10 a.m. isn’t too early for a Michelob Ultra, right? A shot of the finish line and medals galore … they’re ready to be placed around the necks of the thousands of runners. This year’s marathon medal weighs 2 pounds, by the way. Wowza.As we headed to our celebratory brunch we ended up on the marathoners’ route. They were at about mile 15-16, I think. I opened the window and clapped and cheered for them as we slowly drove by. I hope I gave them the motivation they may have needed at the moment. Rock on, Little Rock Marathoners. We are lucky to have such a great marathon organization and event in our little big town. Until next year …
The Little Rock Marathon weekend is upon us once again, and I’m ready to rock the 10K event! In the morning, my aunt Lue and I will join the thousands of runners and walkers participating in the marathon, half marathon and 10K. We’re prepared with our lucky shamrock headbands!
The name of the event is “Lucky” with a Western theme. And I have to say I’m feeling lucky this year. I’m not overtrained, tired or injured as in years past. Part of this has to do with the fact that I’m not doing a longer race like the half marathon. 6.2 miles is a lot easier on the body than 13.1! But I’m also feeling great due to the benefits of yoga and my workouts at ZenSpin.
Wish me luck!
It’s been four weeks since I took on a new, exciting and challenging fitness regime. I’m registered for the Little Rock Marathon’s 10K event next weekend, so I’m getting in my miles. But I’ve so enjoyed barre and spin classes at this new fitness boutique in town called ZenSpin Studio!
After my injury-inducing marathon training this time last year, I decided the marathon wasn’t for me this year. I could have signed up for the half marathon, but not feeling too eager to accomplish that feat, I missed the registration deadline. So 10K it is! I’m just happy I’m carrying on my tradition of participating in the Little Rock Marathon. I’ve participated every year since 2008.
Thanks to Breezy (sporting the famous “i <3 ar” shirts made exclusively by a local Little Rock lady), I got up the nerve to try ZenSpin. Breezy owns Barefoot Studio, where I practice yoga during the week. My life has changed — emotionally, physically, mentally — since I started going there. One evening as I was checking in for a hot yoga class, Breezy was talking about taking some bootcamp barre class at this new place. I explained how I had wanted to try it. She looked at the schedule and there were still some open spots for the following morning (we’re talking early, and I don’t like early mornings). I went on through yoga class, and when I got home, I jumped on ZenSpin’s site to sign up for the morning barre amped bootcamp class, which was less than 12 hours to start time. Early to bed I went.
The was class great, and it was nice having a familiar, smiling face to greet me. The barre and spin classes kick my body in gear in a way running and other forms of exercise cannot. As instructor Camden says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it can’t change you.” Since that first day, I’ve joined Breezy, and sometimes other fellow yogis, on Monday and Wednesday mornings for our unique hourly doses of cardio and strength.
The other day Barefoot Studio posted this inspiring image. How true these words are for me. If it weren’t for my practice at Barefoot, I may not have discovered ZenSpin — just another way for me to show compassion for myself and others through breath, sweat, smiles, grunts and laughs. What a blessing.