Thursday, February 25, 2010

Running and Yoga

I wish I'd found yoga YEARS ago! Well, that's not exactly right. I knew of yoga years ago, tried it, and rejected it. While in my 20s and 30s (and early 40s) if it didn't burn lots of calories, I wasn't doing it!

Now at the end of my 40s, yoga makes SO much sense! The quietness of the mind. The opening of the oh-so-tight body. The perfect balance it creates when combined with running. If I could turn back time, I'd have started yoga in my 20s for sure. However, I'm just happy to have started it now.

The main DVD I'm using is Power Yoga for Happiness, by Eoin Finn. His routines are nice, his voice is encouraging, and his "all levels, all good" philosophy makes me feel great. I own several (actually quite a few) other yoga DVDs and I'm sure I'll be adding those into my rotation, but for now, classes at Sattva and Eoin Finn are working just great.

So am I any good at yoga? Well, yes, in the sense that I'm aware of my body and willing to play my edge. But am I naturally flexible? No. Never have been. When Tim does yoga with me, in quite a few poses he's way more flexible than I am. When I notice this, I think "all levels, all good" and try to keep my competitive spirit quiet, because yoga is so NOT about competition! Having said this, I notice that poses that used to be difficult are getting easier, both because of increased strength and flexibility, relative to what I used to be able to do. And someday I'm gonna be able to do WHEEL!

So anyone want to chime in? Does anyone else do yoga? What kind? What do you like?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saying goodbye

Hi. My name is Leslie and I'm a book addict.

I would post a picture of my car's backseat and trunk, but I'm too embarrassed. The last 3 hours have been spent going through the piles and piles of books I've accumulated over the years. Each and every book was bought with the intention of reading it/cooking from it/becoming a better person from it. And while many of them have provided value, at some point enough is enough.

So I'm sad because it's hard to let go of these reminders of who I used to be. Oodles of parenting books. An entire bookstore section on becoming organized. And cookbooks galore. I'm still parenting, attempting to stay organized, and cooking, so I haven't ditched every last book. I can assure you, however, if you came and saw my books, you would not have any idea that I'd just gotten rid of any at all.

So goodbye old books. I hope you find a nice home where you can run free and chase butterflies (or whatever books do when they go to a new home!). :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Logging food

My diet is reasonably healthy, but there is room for improvement. (That's probably true for nearly everyone.) Every diet plan out there says you should write down what you eat, and I know they are right. Studies show that people who log what they eat lose weight and eat healthier. But I really resist strictly logging my food, even on sites that make it easy to do. The whole calorie thing makes me a little nuts, and then I get all stressed and want to lie to make my numbers better (even though I'm the only one who sees them!).

I saw a method the other day that I think might work for me. (For the life of my I can't remember where I saw this, or I'd give credit where credit is due.) The method was to write down everything you eat in a day on a piece of paper. At the end of the day, highlight what you ate that supports what you want in one color, and highlight things that don't support your goals in another color. The hope is that over time you'll have more positive to highlight and less negative.

Today I actually wrote down what I ate, although I don't intend to do the highlighting, as after running 18 miles, it's kind of all good!

Breakfast: raw almonds, protein shake with water

18 mile run: 3 Clif Shot gels

Post run: handful of seed crackers
scrambled eggs with peppers, onions and cheese
fresh strawberries
1 brownie bite
1 Samoa Girl Scout cookie

Afternoon: 1 T Better N Peanut Butter
handful chocolate raisins
green smoothie (spinach, kale, frozen fruit)

Dinner: 1/2 lemon-garlic fish fillet
steamed broccoli
butter lettuce & strawberry salad
5 Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies
2 handfuls M&Ms

I'm not feeling like there's much I want to change here! Ok, so maybe fewer M&Ms. I'm planning on having a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats with soy milk before bed. (I know you should never eat right before bed, but I've been doing so all my life!)

I'll let you know how the food logging goes, friends!

Lessons from the long run

In many ways today was a perfect day to skip running. (Boys, please step away for this part, ok?) My period just started, my energy was low, and I had cramps. But today was the perfect day to run long because the weather was beautiful and I had an easy schedule for the rest of the day. So after some procrastination (it's amazing what you can find to do when you're avoiding starting a long run!), I set out.

Some notes from the run:
  • Because I was feeling sub-par, I started slow and stayed slow. This worked well. Actually, I told myself I could walk any time I wanted to, and then ended up not walking at all!
  • At mile 12 I changed my outer shirt. This I will do again, as it felt amazingly refreshing.
  • At mile 12 I also reset my Garmin to 0. From previous long runs I know that seeing the big mile numbers on the screen make me feel discouraged. (You'd think it would be encouraging, but for me it's not.) So after 2 miles, I could see the 2 on the screen and think, "Oh I only have 4 miles to go. I can do that!!!"
  • Stopping by home is dangerous, but it was how I needed to do today's run. But it's great to have a home base with the stuff you need. My friend Donna is running 20 tomorrow, and she's parking her car (with all her supplies) at a park. I'm gonna copy this when I do my next long run.
  • I've done a fairly good job today of eating in moderation. Normally long runs trigger an "I can eat EVERYTHING I want to" reaction which causes my mood to tank.
That's it for now. Think I'm gonna sleep GREAT tonight!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Long run nerves

I think I'm doing a long run tomorrow. At this point in my training, long means 18 miles. And that distance makes me nervous. I am pretty sure I can do it, so why the nerves? Because it's tough and somewhat painful to do a long run. My experience is that all is pretty fine until the last 2 miles (which coincidentally are the "pushing new distance" part of the run). Although those 2 miles don't get significantly slower, they do get significantly harder.

Maybe nervousness just comes with the territory. I thought that having already run one marathon, it would be a lot easier to train for this one. In some respects it is easier, because there's reassurance in having done the distance before. The bottom line is this: training for a marathon is hard work. And the satisfaction that comes with finishing is directly related to the sacrifice it takes to train. So 18 miles tomorrow? YES!

(I'm still a little nervous)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Relentless forward movement

(big deep breath) I signed up for the "12 Weeks to an Amazing Life" e-course through Kristin Coach. Thanks Jennifer for the inspiration.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random yoga thoughts

I have been doing yoga consistently (meaning 3 to 5 times per week) since January 1st. That, my friends, is a miracle. For decades I've wanted to be the KIND of person who did yoga (translation = calm, flexible, beautiful) without having to actually DO yoga. I tried a few classes over the years, and I could not get my head to shut up. (The talk went something like this: "This pose is stupid. Why do we have to hold it so long. I'm bored. I can't do this as good as everyone else.")

Well, something's shifted, and I now can say that I do yoga. (insert smiley face here!) Here are a few thoughts about my practice:
  • Going to yoga classes at an actual yoga studio was a very good thing for me (and continues to be a good thing). The environment is much calmer than the gym.
  • Doing DVDs at home works too, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Eoin Finn.
  • My hips don't hurt like they used to now that I'm doing hip opening poses!
  • (Since Katie asked) I've tried Bikram Yoga before and I really liked it. But I don't choose to do it for several reasons. First (and foremost) the Bikram place is 20 minutes away from my house. So to do a class (which is 90 minutes) takes at least 2-1/2 hours including driving there and back, and cleaning up afterwards. Also I really like music in yoga classes and Bikram classes are no music classes. Finally, every Bikram class is the exact same series of poses, and I like more variety.
  • I'm finding that I move with more ease as my flexibility increases. The yoga and running combo is a good one. :)
  • Meditation is the other practice I've started this year, and I've gone from 3 minutes (which was all I could do when I started) to 10 minutes each time. I think the meditation has helped quiet the thoughts that got in the way of yoga classes in the past, and the two habits seem to support one another. And I view each as a PRACTICE which means there are no expectations of performance, even of improvement from one day to the next, as each day is different.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When in doubt

In the last week, I've unintentionally hurt not one, but TWO good friends. How? By not knowing what to say (they'd each asked if I wanted to join them in doing something, and I was uncertain of my answer), and rather than telling them this, just being silent. For years I've known that my "when you don't know what to do, do nothing" approach is not best. But to have two friends thinking "What did I do?" because of silence on my part -- well, that got my attention.

I've heard that a decision delayed is still a decision, and I think it's true. The lesson here for me? When you don't know what to do, SAY SO!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too much exercise?


Ran 7 miles.
Ran 8 miles.
75 minute vinyasa flow class.

Last night I was exhausted, like irritable bitchy exhausted. Next time I will make a different (and hopefully better) choice!
Busy day. Crazy busy. I got home at 9:30 from a meeting, and immediately Austin wanted me to watch a UFC fight, which I did. Then started cleaning the kitchen (told you it was a busy day). Tucker was talking to me and we were joking around. Then:

Austin, "You know what's fun? Trying to hear the fight over you guys talking."
Me, "You know what's fun? That you get to watch hours of UFC in the main part of the house and our family lets you."
Austin (turns up the volume)

Sometimes with teens I think it's best to not sweat the small stuff. So I fought the temptation to get tons of ice from the ice maker, then grind it up in the disposal. Do I get some mom brownie points for this? :)

Let's Get Physical

This is the title of Elizabeth Gilbert's article in the March 2010 issue of Yoga Journal (the one with Trudie Styler, Sting's wife on the cover). In the article, which is well worth reading, Gilbert chronicles her discovery of yoga fifteen years ago. What struck me from her writing was this description of her awareness (or lack thereof) of her body:

Do I need to say here that I was just a tad disconnected from my body during those years? Perhaps a better way to say it is that, up to this point in life, I had been treating my body like a rental car -- a mere loaner, a beater, a lemon that existed for no reason whatsoever except to transport my head from place to place so that I could see things, worry about things, think about things, and solve things. And my body got that job done, even though I never took care of the thing.

Hmmmm. I know that I've kind of got the exercise thing down, and that certainly falls under the "quality self-care" category, but boy did this strike a chord when it comes to food. I've been pondering the difference between using food as fuel or stuffing, very aware that stuffing would be an accurate label for how I'm eating these days. You'd think that with the miles I've run (16 on Saturday, 15 on Monday) that I could literally eat anything I wanted to. But there are a few problems with that assumption. First of all, I'm almost 50 and I can absolutely out-eat my metabolism and the miles I run. But even beyond that, is it good or desirable or right to just eat food because it's there? For me, the answer is no. NO.

Today I was at my parents house for 3 or 4 hours. I left feeling frustrated, sad, and STARVING! Not a great place to be when you're stopping by the grocery store. I got a small bag of chocolate raisins, which was a very good choice when compared with some (to my way of thinking) very viable options: frosting and a spoon, all the donuts, many cookies. And none of these options involve treating my body like what it is: a precious gift that I have the pleasure of having for THE REST OF MY LIFE.

I've heard this analogy before. What would happen if when you were born, your parents put a brand-new car in a garage, unveiling it when you turned 16. WOW! And then they told you it was the only car you'd ever have for your whole life. Chances are you'd treat this car with a great deal of respect and do your very best to preserve every single part of it.

That's it for now. I'm hungry, so I'm going to drink some of the green smoothie I made this morning, which definitely qualifies as "quality self-care!"

Finding my way back

Today's plan includes updating my blog. So later, I'll be writing. About what? About eating and why long runs mess me up. About being consistent with yoga for the past 6 weeks. About having a great life despite difficult circumstances. About treating your body like a rental car. And anything else that happens to come to mind. I'll see y'all later today.