Yoga Tuesday: Transitions

I'm nearing the end of my yoga teacher training and working on the lesson plan for my practicum. I had no problem coming up with my list of poses, or asanas, but I am struggling with the transitions. If one pose ends on the floor and the next starts standing, how do I get my students naturally and easily from the floor to standing?

As a yogi I struggle with transitions in my own practice. I am a type A goal oriented person and I focus more on the result than the process. Plank, updog, downdog..... bam, bam, bam. Yes, it looks like a sun salutation, but it feels jerky and disjointed. Even though I claim to do yoga for myself as a way to be good to my body and soul, I still clearly can't let go of my competitive nature.

click nowIn focusing on how my yoga classes will feel from the perspective of my students, I am realizing that by ignoring the transitions, I am cheating myself out of a better experience. Yoga is easier and so much more pleasant when it flows naturally.

Like it always does, I'm finding that what I'm noticing in my yoga practice at the moment reflects what is going on in my life in general. I am nearing the end of one contract at work, but I don't have anything lined up to start next. I'm in the dark area of my transition where I don't know what is next. My natural instinct is to be scared and to worry compulsively. But, I am really trying not to do that. Instead I am trying to enjoy this process of change. If I have some downtime, I'll take advantage and enjoy it. Instead of fearing what could be next, I'm trying to be excited about new challenges and new opportunities.

I am trying to embrace the transition.

How do you handle change? Do you try to embrace it? Or avoid it?

Fees, Fees, Fees

I've gone to sign up for the Tri for the Y a few times, but every time I stop at the payment page. I just can't bring myself to pay that darn service fee.

I really like this race. It is a great early season triathalon- close to home, pool swim, well organized, and fun. While the registration is a little expensive, I don't mind because I think the Y is a good cause. It lets so many people who wouldn't be able to afford a regular gym have access to facilities where they can be active (which is especially critical during the long Maine winters). I've seen first hand how it creates a sense of community and provides a place for people to be active, engaged, and productive.

I don't like, but I understand, the USAT fee. Basically every tri includes this because being associated with USAT helps provide insurance for the event.

What gets me is the fee just to use the website to sign up. $9! There is no way it costs the site even close to $9 to process my registration. They are just ripping me, and the Y, off!

How much will you pay for race? Does it matter what the cause is? What is the highest service fee you've had to pay?

Boston Marathon 2014

Yesterday morning I headed to Boston bright and early for the marathon. I am so lucky to live an easy 2 hour drive away! Even though I decided not to run, I felt like I needed to be there to support the runners, the city of Boston, and to prove that random acts of violence and hatred will not win.

I watched the race from the 10 mile mark in Natick. I decided to watch from that point because I used to live there so I know the easiest places to park and the best places to watch the race. Plus, I avoided the fray in the city and it was easy for me to hop on the highway after and head down to CT, where I am working this week.

I got there about 5 minutes before the elite women went by. As the first pack of women approached, a band behind me started playing God Bless America and I teared up for the first time (of many). I was so busy trying not to cry and cheering my brains out because Shalane was leading the women's pack, that I totally forgot to take any pictures!

After the elite women, I saw Juli Windsor, who was featured in Runner's World. Last year she was aiming to be the first little person to finish a marathon, but was stopped before the finish.

Before long, we saw the lead cars alerting us that the elite men were coming.

Meb was so incredibly close to me that I nearly passed out! I was just inches away from the winner! Maybe I was close enough that some of his greatness will rub off on me and make me faster?

Then the rest of the men's pack in close pursuit. 

After the elite men, the the roads started to get more and more crowded as the regular runners came through. What I love about Boston is that the crowd cheers just as loudly for the non-elite runners. 

There were some people who got extra support, because what they are doing is truly incredible. I definitely teared up again when I saw the Hoyts go by.

And yet again, when I saw this guy go by on crutches. I can't even imagine doing a marathon on crutches and one leg. These are the true heroes.

The next few hours were a blur of trying to pick out my friends in the masses of runners while my sister kept track of the race on her phone and kept up updated. Shalane was still leading, Shalane had fallen back. Meb was still leading, the pack was closing on Meb and he looked tired, Meb was keeping his lead, Meb won!

I am having a hard time easily summing up and putting into words what it was like to be a part of the 2014 Boston Marathon. It was an incredibly powerful, inspiring day where people truly came together to prove that determination, cooperation, and spirit can triumph. 

What inspired you the most yesterday?

Juice Til Dinner Reflections

Provided I don't go crazy and totally blow it today, I'll have made it through a week of Juice til Dinner.

I consider it a success because I drank my 4 juices a day, and stuck to my rules of
-Greatly reduce caffeine
-No sugar
-No gluten
-No dairy (except Greek yogurt)
-No meat

I did end up eating a little more food than I wanted, but I think that was because I kept up my high activity level. It was important to me to be able to continue my regular high intensity workouts through the week, so I was willing to eat more solid food than the program typically calls for. When I ate, it was generally because I was feeling dizzy and woozy, so I felt like I really needed the food. I found this schedule worked well for me: 

1/4 cup quinoa with 1/4 cup almond milk for breakfast before working out
juice 1 post workout
juice 2 11 am
miso broth with a very small amount of tofu and juice 3 at 1pm
juice 4 (and a brown rice cake with hummus if needed) at 3 pm
Dinner at 5:30 pm
Small bowl of greek yogurt with 1/4 cup toasted oats and 2 tablespoons nuts at 7 pm

My energy levels were all over the place. Wednesday I felt amazing all day and hardly even wanted dinner. Thursday afternoon I felt terrible and just wanted to sleep. But, I was overall amazed at the fact that I rarely felt hungry. 

Mostly, I feel like this was a great mental exercise. It made me very conscious of how often I want to eat for reasons other than hunger. I hope to keep using the strategies I used this week, like going for a short walk or having a cup of tea, when I want a snack. It also reminded me that I really don't need the big portions I think I do. Most importantly, it helped break my sugar habit. Yesterday I went into the grocery store and I walked right by the bakery and the ice cream section without stopping to drool. 

I know this weekend is Easter, but I am going to try very hard not to drop back into my old habits. I may also try to continue avoiding sugar, gluten, and most dairy during the week (but with solid food) because it forces me to consumer a lot more fruit, veggies, and high quality whole grains. 

Juice Til Dinner Day 1

I made it through day of my juice cleanse and I am feeling great! It wasn't easy, but it also wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

gotta have a little coffee
Monday night I met with my fellow juice cleansers and our coach, Emily, at the Public Market House. She gave us a whole workbook to use as a resource during the cleanse. This included the dinner recipes, the juice schedule, information about cleansing, and tips for successfully making it through the program. The thing I really like about her method is that it is all about setting you up for success.

Yes, it would be ideal to eliminate caffeine, but if giving up your coffee is going to make you so miserable that you quit all together, then go ahead and have some coffee. I really love my coffee, so I am allowing myself one cup (instead of my usual 2 or 3). I find that when I know I only get one, I really savor it!.

The program also recognizes, that juice alone might not get us through the day, especially if we are active. So, there are suggested snacks that still allow us to avoid sugar, gluten, meat, and dairy. I did go for a run yesterday morning before I picked up my juice and came back totally starving, so I had a brown rice cake and some almonds.

I then picked up my juice at the Maine Squeeze, where it is prepared fresh each morning.

I had my first juice at 9 am. Juice number one was a green juice with spinach, kale, apple, cucumber, carrot, and ginger. 

I had juice 2 at 11 am. This was a light juice, with lemon, apple, and ginger. 

I snuck out for a noon time yoga class (so that I could say good-bye to my favorite yoga teacher who is moving). After yoga, I was feeling light-headed, so I had a brown rice cake with 2 tablespoons of hummus and 5 baby carrots when I home. 

I had juice 3 around 1:30. This was another green juice with kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, and ginger. 

I had my final juice around 3:30, which had carrots, lemon, apple, and ginger. This one was supposed to have beets, but I can't stand beets, so they made mine beet free. Today they forgot though and added the beets, so we will see how that goes!

For dinner I had fish skewers with mushrooms and peppers along with sides of asparagus and black rice. Before bed, I also had a small bowl of greek yogurt with some frozen berries. 

Overall, I really didn't feel that hungry. Knowing that I had a real meal to look forward to in the evening made it easier to stick to the juice during the day. I felt like I physically needed the 2 snacks I had during the day because of my activity level. The point of this is to feel better- not to try and push through when I feel dizzy and sick. 

It made me hugely aware of how often I eat when I am not hungry. When the fiance came home with Dunkin Donuts hash browns, I would usually grab one without thinking. Mid-afternoon I would usually head to the kitchen for a snack when all I really wanted was a short break from work. At night when my friend came over, I would usually make popcorn or something for us to munch on. It is a good exercise to stop myself when I go to reach for food and ask myself if I am really hungry. 

Do you think I'll make it through all 4 days? What would be the hardest thing for you to give up?

Juice Till Dinner

I suppose I should start this by acknowledging that I am now a huge hypocrite. I always said that cleanses and juice fasts were stupid, and yet what am I about to embark on? A juice cleanse. 

image source
I just feel like it's time for something drastic. I can just not kick my sugar addiction and am stuck in this terrible cycle. The more sugar I eat, the more I want. Plus, I've just gotten in this habit of reaching for food all the time- when I'm bored, when I'm stressed, when I'm lonely. The whole trying for moderation thing is just not working for me right now. 

But, I did do a lot of research and picked a very specific program. I am participating in the Juice Till Dinner program, offered by my favorite local juice cafe, the Maine Squeeze. So one, I know the juice will be fresh, made with local ingredients, and delicious. Two, it was designed by a certified health coach who provides support throughout the whole week. Three, you get to eat real food too. I don't think subsisting in liquids alone is all that good for you, so this program includes recipes for a healthy dinner each night. Four, I am doing this as part of a group, so I'll have people to encourage and sympathize with me. 

I am not doing this so much as a cleanse, but as a reset for my body and mind. I think the human body does a pretty amazing job cleansing itself. It's my mind and emotions that need to be reminded that I don't constantly need sugar and massive quantities of food. 

So let's see how this goes. 

Have you ever done a cleanse or a juice fast? Do you think was effective? What was the hardest part?

I Got a Personal Trainer

This morning I had my first session with my personal trainer, Karen, and she kicked my butt! I've been thinking about getting a trainer for awhile and decided now was finally the time to do it.

-I'm done with marathon training for the year, so I don't have to worry about saving myself for long runs.

-While marathon training, I neglected strength training a bit. Now's the time to rebuild my strength and tone up for my wedding.

-I am bored with my workouts! I try to mix things up, but I still find myself doing the same thing over and over again. Bad for the brain and bad for the body.

-I need someone to push me that little extra bit. I'm good at getting myself to the gym, but when no one is there to hold me accountable its too easy to back off when it really starts to hurt.

-I want some company. I run and do most of my gym sessions by myself. I am tired of myself!

-I hope it will help me with nighttime eating. I'll be ashamed to admit to my trainer that I sat on the couch all night eating ice cream.

I was a little nervous because I am pretty independent and I don't like people telling me what to do. I was a afraid I would get annoyed with her and think I could do better by myself.

Luckily though, Oour first session was great. I didn't do a single exercise that I do on my own and I was really challenged. We used the TRX straps, medicine balls, bands, balls and boxes. She had me bear crawling backwards on 1 foot under a band, supporting myself in a plank with 1 foot in the TRX strap, and jumping higher than I thought possible. I was dripping sweat and definitely worked harder than I would have on my own.

I just wish I could afford to do it every week!

Have you ever worked with a trainer? What was the best thing the trainer taught you?

What's New With Me This Spring

Spring has finally sprung here in Maine!  The longer, warmer days have me filled with energy and ready for new challenges.

1. I'm back on the trails (well some of them). My trails have finally emerged from beneath the snow. Some of them are still too wet and muddy for running, but the Green Belt is perfect. This morning I did my first run on the wooded section heading to Wainwright fields. It's so nice to get off the roads!

Workout_trainer_ipad_exercise_wide_12. I'm travelling again for work. After working entirely at home for more than a year, I am once again travelling. It is always a challenge to find enjoyable ways to get my workouts in when I am on the road. I can only do so many treadmill runs and elliptical sessions in the hotel gym. I recently downloaded the Workout Trainer by Skimble onto my i-pad and I love it! You can filter your workouts by time, intensity, and equipment available and even create your own from scratch. The app is free and I've really been impressed with it.

3. I'm back in love with cooking. There is nothing like being forced to eat out all the time while I'm travelling, to make me appreciate having a fully stocked kitchen at home. I've been tearing out recipes from magazines left and right. Last week I even made cheese to put on a pizza! It was actually really simple and tasted absolutely amazing! Let me know if you'd like me to do a post with the recipe.

My pizza with homemade herbed ricotta!
Cooking healthy meals with the boy has turned into an activity we both really enjoy. We are both trying to get in shape and save money for the wedding, so cooking at home is the way to go!

No more Chinese take-out- we make our own orange chicken in the crockpot instead!
 What is new with you these days?


Motivation and willpower are tricky things.

When it comes to regular exercise, I am golden. Just about everyday I get up and get my workout in right away. I don't struggle with doing it.

my training log doesn't have many holes in it!

I do sometimes struggle with intensity, particularly when it comes to running. I'd much rather run for an hour at a comfortable pace than 20 minutes flat out (hence my hatred of the 5k). I can do a series of short intervals but I hate longer tempo workouts.

I know this is preventing me from getting faster. If I always run for an hour at a steady pace then all I will be good at is running an hour at a steady pace.

When it comes to food, I like "healthy" things so I don't struggle with getting enough fruits or vegetables or whole grains. However, I do struggle with stopping at a single portion and I have a raging sweet tooth. Once, I eat something sweet, I want more and more and more. I can manage these cravings for the most part during the day, but by evening, I've worn down my resistance and I just can't stop.

This is frustrating, because it totally sabotages my weight loss efforts. I thought that my upcoming wedding would be enough motivation to get me to increase the intensity of my workouts and clean-up my eating. But, I can't seem to go more than a couple days without reverting back to my own habits.

How can I have so much willpower in some areas and none in others? Why can't I sustain an effort?

Does anyone else experience this? 

Why I'm Not Running the Boston Marathon

I struggled with whether or not to write a post about this. I was more tempted to just never write anything else about me running Boston this year and hope that you all forgot that I had that possibility. But, I feel like I owe you more honesty and transparency than that. Plus in a time where it seems like there is a constant to push to do more, I think that sometimes we all need a reminder that sometimes it is okay to do what is right for you.

Simply put, I am not physically, mentally, or socially ready to run Boston.

Physically, my body hurts lately. After the initial blissful month after Tokyo, where I felt like I was running on air, I've crashed hard. Everything seems to hurt and running is hard.

Mentally, that drive to push myself is just not there right now. If I was running Boston, I would have needed to get in a 16-20 mile run on Sunday. It was sleeting and windy and nasty out. All winter I ran for hours and hours in terrible weather. I'm done with that. I enjoyed a nice dry spin class instead. I just don't have the desire to run long by myself right now.

Socially, I am ready to have a life again. I have a wedding to plan. I have friends I've neglected. I want to be able to stay awake past 9 pm on a Saturday night.

The only marathon I'll be doing this spring, is marathon wedding invitation assembly and adressing
When and if I run Boston, I want to do it as a celebration. I want to run as myself (not with someone else's bib). I want to be properly trained and totally excited for the race.

So I'll be there, but on the sidelines, cheering at the top of my lungs. I'm sure a part of me will regret my decision once I'm there and see all the race excitement, but I truly feel like this is right for me right now.


I turned 35 in June. It's an age that felt both momentous and ominous to me. I'm not just an adult, I'm an ADULT. I've never...