If the humidity doesn’t get you, the street cleaner will!

Fri, June 29
Ran 37:25 minutes at 6:15am
Distance: 3.4 miles; Average Pace: 10:49

Whoa was it hot this am! I’m so glad that I went early! It was about 83 degrees on my phone when I left and very humid, but I enjoyed the run. My toes felt fine in my shoes. I’m glad I gave it the extra time. I’m taking this training in stride and not getting stressed or dramatic about it. Hey, this is still week 1 – I hope I’m still saying that during week 10!

Do you know that there are such things as street cleaners still? I think before this morning I thought they were a memory of time gone by, and just talked about as myth or legend nowadays. However, I can definitely confirm that they are around and active in Hudson, Ohio! This morning there was a rather aggressive one that stalked me for one part of my run. It was moving slowly and I am proud to say I was ahead of it, but then I heard it grind its gears and increase its volume as it barreled on down the road behind me. I felt like I was in his way, but I was steadfast running on the street. I don’t like sidewalks and he certainly wasn’t going to keep following me, I thought to myself. False. He turned and followed me more! It was good in a way because I started to pretend that it was a monster chasing me so I had to run faster. You know how when someone chases you up the stairs?! That is what it felt like!! Hey, I’ll take my motivation wherever I can find it, ya know! Finally, we parted ways. Yeah, I scared him, but good. He won’t mess with the “Runner Mom” anymore. Word.

So besides almost getting killed by a street cleaner, was a good run!

Yoga at noon
Amy’s class was very hot, but the fans were awesome and I actually did not even sweat that much! She took out a lot of the flow which I didn’t mind either. It was a “roll with it” kind of day. Nice

Next up: 90 minute yoga tomorrow and run on Sunday. And I need to sign up for a run on July 4th!! I’m very late this year!

Be Present: The best gift for yourself and others too!

Wed, June 27
6am Yoga

My tootsies were better today and I thoroughly enjoyed the class being able to mostly do all the chattarungas. For some reason I kept thinking in class today about the story Amy told us on Saturday about Yoga Lounge’s latest client. She is an 84-year-old woman who is just enjoying every minute she is there because she says, “I don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow!” Amy talked about how we should all live that way and it is SO true. We never know and we just need to enjoy every moment of the present and actually BE PRESENT in our own lives. I had one of those moments at lunch today. Since my toes weren’t quite ready yet for running shoes I decided to go outside and eat lunch on a patio on campus. It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon with a perfect temperature, sunshine and so perfect on that patio. I sat by myself at a little patio table and enjoyed my lunch in the sunshine, listening to the busyness and chatter of the students around me and enjoying the calm joy in myself. I felt like I was really present during that lunch. I really tasted my salad and noticed how the flavors intermingled. I noticed the tartness of my yogurt on my tongue. The 30 minutes flew by! So that is what it feels like to be truly present all my yourself. Awesome.

Testing My Limits

Tues, June 26
Yoga twice!

So I practiced twice today – once at 6am at the Yoga Lounge and once at 12noon. It was an interesting experience today because I had limitations in terms of my injured toes on my left foot (from the dog incident last night!!). I’m okay, but my toes are bruised and sore. Nothing I was going to let stop me from practicing yoga!! Well, it turns out that toes are kinda important in yoga and not just in the sense that we should “fan our toes” and all of that – but curling them under when they are not quite up to snuff can be challenging. This morning went fine. I pushed through and tried to do everything the same, but I bumped my toes a couple of times and it hurt! So, at noon I decided to stop being a hero and modify a bit. This is SO hard for me to do, but I did it. Instead of taking the normal flow during chatturnga I just went directly to down dog. Of course I felt the need to explain to the yoga teacher and some of the other yogis in the class that I had this injury just so they knew why I was not taking the vinyasa. Now, why did I feel the need to have to explain my practice to them? They do not care what I do?! During the entire class I noticed myself feeling so constricted and impatient by the limitations of working around an injury and it struck me that I am so like that off the mat, as well. In general I do not like any sort of limitations (e.g. speed limits!!). I like to be in control and like to do things my way. As I was walking out the door of my noon class I mentioned to the teacher how I get frustrated with limitations and she said exactly what I needed to hear, “Yeah, but that’s how we learn”. Yes, exactly. One thing we learn is perspective. I was reminded about a story I heard on the radio this morning on my way to work today about a man without arms who was planning to climb Mt. Everest.

Oh.

Yeah, I’m done talking about MY limitations.

Aiming for Akron! Ready, go!

Mon, June 25
Ran 53 minutes
Distance: 4.87; Average Pace: 10:53

So I officially started my training program for the Akron 1/2 marathon today! I decided to sleep in and skip the 6am extreme yoga class this morning because I was tired and I wanted to save my energy for a good run. It was only supposed to be 30 minutes so no big deal. Well, my fellow Wednesday Warrior had other plans!!! Actually, we had planned to do our 3 miller, but we got a little lost and made the wrong turn in Albuquerque so we ended up on our 4 miler route going backwards (well not running backwards…running the route backwards, silly!) I was okay with that, however. It felt really good to kick start the week! It was beautiful out – only about 71 degrees with a really nice breeze. Grateful for pleasant weather today!

Oh, I need to address the theme for this training program, “Aiming for Akron”. Okay, so the word aiming is not a very strong verb I realize. It is not as action oriented as another verb I could have chosen like “accomplishing” or “achieving”. This is intentional. Starting in August I will be adding my yoga teacher training into my running schedule and it will be intense! While I have registered for the 1/2 and have every intention of running it on Sept 29, I’m giving myself permission to be a little more flexible with my expectations for this race. This is very hard for me to do. Believe me I’d rather use a more action verb like the ones above, but I know that it is best for me to be kinder to myself on this go round. So aiming it is…perhaps I can go as far as aspiring!!

Next up: yoga twice tomorrow!

The Color Run Cleveland!

When I first heard about the Color Run I was confused. However, after I watched the video I was convinced I had to do this! After I showed Zach the video he wanted to do it too! It is billed as the happiest 5K you will ever run in that you are sprayed with a different color at every kilometer!! The day fell right after we got back from vacation so I was a little tired, but we got up and got going anyways!

Here we are in our before pic…

We even had tattoos to show our Color Run Spirit!

There were all kinds of people wearing crazy stuff. Here are my two faves that I saw. The ladies in tutus…

And the ladies in wigs…

It was not a timed 5K so that was good. Zach and I agreed that we would run as much as we (he) could and walk when we (he) needed to. We were just concentrating on having fun! The first color we got sprayed with was yellow. During this first one we were conservative. We just let the people spray us and Z put his hands in the big bucket to feel the powder-like substance. We agreed that at the next station we would roll in it!! Next we got green.

Here is Zach after two stations…

By the 3 station (blue) we decided to not only roll in it, but do snow angels in it and we also started putting it over our heads, etc! Here is Zach after 3 stations!

We were given a colored chalk packet with our check-in packet and we were to throw that up at the very end. Here is what it looked like for one group. I could not have my phone out during ours!

Here is how we looked post color!!

Very fun and very different – fun to run with my dude!!

OhioPyle Trip 2012

We are back! We are happy and tired! So how do you blog about a week’s vacation? You don’t! I actually did write in my journal everyday about our adventures of that day, but I will spare you all the details of that! But I just had to blog something about our camping trip to OhioPyle so I decided to share the highlight film with you. Role tape…

10. The Yurt!
Okay, when I first heard about these things I had no idea what they were. But after reading about what they included on the inside (see pics below) and the awesome price for a weeks’ stay ($282), I was convinced that this would be the way to go for a long camping stay.
Here we are just getting to the yurt!!

It had a full refrigerator and freezer, a two-burner electric cook top, a small microwave, and new cabinets! It didn’t take us long to move right in!

Everything was very clean and the appliances looked fairly new.

They yurt slept 5…two in single bunk beds…

And the other 3 in a double bottom bunk and a single top bunk. Guess who got the single top bunk? You will guess wrong…it was me!!! The boys crashed in the double!!

I ended up giving two tours to various people who were walking by who wondered what the yurt’s looked like inside. I’m thinking I should get commission on their rental sales!! We had nice neighbors on both sides of us two. On one side was a family with triplets and on the other a family with twins!

9. War Games
Mike and Zach started a habit of playing the card game, War, after breakfast everyday while I was doing dishes. You know, the game that never ends?! Except in their version they actually played it until someone got all the cards! It was so nice to have the luxury of time to spend on something simple like that and I enjoyed listening to their “war games”.

8. The Hills
The scenery in this area was absolutely breathtaking! From the river, to the lush forests I just couldn’t help, but be in awe of the wonderful creation we were able to be a part of.


But the part that was the most impactful for me were the hills! Not only were they absolutely beautiful to a girl from Ohio, but they were also a little scary driving on them. Luckily Mike was the driver for the trip so I didn’t have to navigate them, but they were a little scary at times. Sometimes just the signs were enough to freak me out!

7. Educational Programs
I was very impressed that throughout the weekend the state park offered various educational programs at no cost for folks to participate in. We got a schedule when we first arrived and there about 5 different programs offered Sat and Sun. We participated in three of them and we enjoyed them all!

The Frog Hunt
After a brief talk in the amphitheater by the ranger about the various types of frogs in the forest we were armed with nets and hiked down to the pond with her on Sat evening.

This was the green frog we caught. We learned that this is a male frog because its ear circles are bigger than its eyes.

The Snake Hunt
This was probably the most exciting of the programs because Zach found a copperhead! We met at the train station and heard a bit about the various snakes in the region and what to look for. Then we hiked out along the river trail on the rocks. Our guide was sure to tell us that if we saw a snake not to touch it, but to tell him and he would come over to see it and identify it.

This was one of the first snakes found by someone in the group – just a nonvenomous one.

We enjoyed watching the river during this program too.

We had only seen about 3 nonvenomous snakes during our hike and we were heading back to the train station when we heard Zach say, “hey, found a snake here,” in a clam voice. This is what he had found along the side of the trail just hanging out!! A copperhead!!! Very cool and good eye, Zach!

The Owl Prowl
We met at the amphitheater on Sun night and first heard a talk on the 3 species of owls found in the region. Then we hiked to the edge of the forest and listened for the owls. The ranger called them with her sound machine. Unfortunately we did not hear any owls on our hike. However, it was still interesting and we were able to identify owls we heard on our own later in the week!

6. Falling Water
This former house of the Kaufman family was stunning and the tour was well worth the money! Pictures do the best to describe it, but even then they do not do it justice! You just have to go yourself!! We weren’t able to take any pics inside, but you can use your imagination!

The original cost estimate for the structure was 20K, but there were overages that brought the final cost to about 156K and that was in 1936! The Kaufman family lived in the house from 1936 to 1965. At that time the Kaufman’s son gave the property to the Pennsylvania Conservancy. This picture shows the river underneath the house. There is a hatch in the living room that opens up to stairs that go right into the river.

Here you can see how Frank Lloyd Wright fused nature into the house’s architecture. He was way ahead of his time to build such a modern structure.

Just beautiful. The balcony’s were a bit low and scary. Mr. Wright made them low in order to not obstruct the view for the family. A house like this would never be able to be built today the same way with our building codes!

Incredible view from a path up the way.

5. Campfires and S’mores!
Need I say more?! We had a campfire AND s’mores every night we were there except one and that was because we had gone out for dinner and a movie. There is just something about staring into a camp fire that is relaxing and awesome. Mike taught Zach the finer details of campfire stuff so that was a good learning thing too. Zach is ready for us to get a fire ring for our backyard now and we just might do that!!

4. Natural Waterslides
Playing in the river was awesome, but I think Zach’s favorite was the natural water slide. He kept going on it over and over again and there were lots of smiles and “woohooos!” After awhile and he had the hang of it, true to form, he started helping and instructing other kids on the finer points of making it successfully down the slides to have a most excellent water slide experience. This kid cracks me up!

There he is – see his arms?

Don’t let the look fool you – he is loving this!

Victory!!

Okay, let’s do this about 100 more times!!

3. The Bear!!
We decided to go hiking on Wednesday. We planned our course, packed some snacks, water and a map, and headed out. We hiked on the Gorge Trail all the way to Cucumber Falls and stopped for some pics.

We decided to head back, but weren’t sure if we should head back the way we came or take a different trail back to our campsite. We left it up to Zach and he picked the Beech Trail, which turned out to be a great choice! So we were off again. There was a really pretty part of the forest that we stopped to set up the auto timer for the camera.

This trail had not been traveled much so it was a pretty rugged trail. Mike kept us going at a pretty good clip as our leader. We came upon some giant rocks and met some people who were getting ready to do climbers instruction training. We continued on. When we got to the part that was a steep incline up the mountain ridge we all just put our heads down and walked quietly. It was this way for a good while when all of a sudden I heard some rustling in the bushes followed by a big “huuuffff” noise! About the same time I heard it and before I could say, “hey I heard something over there”, Zach says, “Hey, there is a black bear over there,” just matter of fact like that. I stopped dead in my tracks and said in a whisper, “No you didn’t!”, but I knew that he did because I just knew what that sound had to be! Oh my gosh!!! We paused for a second and I was a little freaked out, but then Mike said we just need to make noise and keep moving just like the bear did. We talked later about how we could “sneak up” on a bear about 20 yards away! Well, it was a remote area, he was upwind from us and we had been really quiet. Mike had heard the “huummff” noise too, but Zach is the only one who saw it. I’m not sure if I’m glad I didn’t see it or if I wish I did! Mike explained that the bear hadn’t heard us or seen us until then and made the noise to let us know he was there and then he moved on. So we made some noise and did the same. But I was a bit freaked out! I know this is a rare occurrence and so close! Zach was not afraid at all – it was amazing – well that, and naive! It was a very special moment that I hope he never forgets. I don’t have a photo op of that experience – just in my mind and in my journal. I certainly won’t forget it. The rest of our hike was filled with bear jokes at my expense, of course. We had hiked 6.5 miles and felt every bit of it. What a great day!

2. White Water Rafting
So our whole trip started because of white water rafting. I remembered doing it my senior year in college at a place called OhioPyle and it sounded like fun. So Tuesday, our rafting day came and Zach and I were so nervous! My stomach was on overdrive just like before a race!! I was mostly scared because the last time I went through these rapids 22 years ago I was tossed out at Cucumber Rapids! I was not anxious to do that again! We were on a fully guided raft with a guide in our boat because of Zach’s age (I was thankful for that!). The weather was overcast and a little sprinkly, but not too bad. It actually gave the river a mysterious quality to it. There was one other raft on our trip with four young guys in it. We had another guide, Joel, in a kayak helping them. After a brief, but frightening safety class (i.e. we learned that we probably will fall out and that our legs will probably get broken!), we put in the river. It was really fun and we got through the first set of rapids with no problem. Then we were coming up to Cucumber Rapids, my nemesis!! It really wasn’t that bad and we looked the camera and I smiled!

We had done it and I had conquered it and stayed in the boat. Yes!

Zach loved every minute of it and would not stop paddling even in the flat water! The other boat flipped over at Pinball Rapids so that was entertaining to watch the guides rescue them all! We pulled off to eat lunch and enjoyed lunch meat sandwiches, watermelon and cookies. At one point we stopped at the jumping rock and Zach jumped off a rock about 12 feet above the water – another hit and he had to do it twice! I was wishing I had a camera. I had some close calls, but we all managed to stay in the boat the entire time. Of course we had to buy the CD of pics that they sell in the store and we also got “I survived t-shirts”. Definitely a huge highlight of the trip!

1. Doing Nothing
Yes, you read that right. Doing nothing was the best thing about our trip! If you have ever been camping you know that there is downtime. There is time when you just are chilling out and you are literally doing nothing. I think this is challenging for us today with so much constant stimulation, entertainment and screens going at us the whole time. It was tough at first for me, but I pretty easily transitioned into the rhythm of camping in about a day. For Zach it was a little harder, however. He got really frustrated easily with “nothing to do”. He also kept asking what we were going to do next and was eager to give suggestions about “after lunch could we do”, or “after this could we do” . We talked about how just “being” is a good thing to do. We reminded him to enjoy what we are doing right now and not rush into the next thing and the next thing. BE WHERE YOUR FEET ARE is the mantra I tried to teach him. But this is hard for a 10-year-old to grasp as well as a lot of adults! However, I could definitely see a change in him (and me) as we moved further into our week. He was able to let go a bit and just enjoy being. Being together, just living and being in the moment. This was the best lesson from our wonderful week!!

Training Schedule…on steroids??

So here’s the thing. I signed up to run the Akron 1/2 marathon in September. I also am going to do the yoga teacher training program this summer/fall. These are two awesome goals to achieve. They also overlap. Gulp. Hey, at least I had the forethought to realize that I COULD NOT do the Akron full this year! That would certainly have been a recipe for disaster. I just hope I have not bitten off more than I can chew for this summer/fall as it is. In my mind it sounded totally fine. Putting it on paper yesterday, however, made me breathe a little faster. Here is the plan to train for both things simultaneously…

My priority for the next few months is clearly yoga so I put those teacher training times in the schedule first, plus I had to add in practicing 3 more times every week at Yoga Lounge as it is a requirement for the program. Next I took my trusty Jenny Hadfield 1/2 Marathon beginner training program and plugged that in in a creative way. I did take out one running day so instead of running 4 times a week I’ll be running only 3 – two during the week and one long run on Saturdays. I can totally do this as most of the time during my previous training cycle for Pittsburgh for the 1/2 I blew off one of my weekly runs. So everything fits, right? Yes, everything except for one thing…REST days. Well, shoot. Sometimes I think of yoga as rest, depending on what type it is. I have yoga stretch down for Friday mornings so that could potentially double as a rest day…right??!! Okay, I’m going to try this. I have resigned myself (sort of) to the possibility that I might not be able to get all the training in order to run Akron this year. But I’m going to give it a shot!! Anyone want to take bets??!!

This one’s for the girls!

So yeah, today was National Running Day and I was so pumped that it fell on a Wednesday because I was planning to run with the Wednesday Warriors at lunch! Here we are in all of our glory before leaving this afternoon. We were minus one today as Marilyn couldn’t join us…bummer. And yes, this was taken in the actual locker room. Don’t judge – I checked it out first – the only people in there at the time were us and the photographer!

It was a hard run today, at least for me as I have not been running at all on the weekends lately. But we all commented on how much more fun it is to run with other people. We pushed each other more and just enjoyed it, talking a bit and dodging cars! We have a couple different “usual” routes that we do (thanks to Mary Ann) and today we did our 4 miler. It was actually about 4.5ish. I’m so thankful for these fellow “warriors”. It is just fun to get out there, sweat, do something positive for ourselves and have fun too. Yay!!

Meditations from the Mat – Week 1: The beginning

Sun, June 3
So I bought 3 out of 5 of the books I need for yoga teacher training over the weekend. We don’t actually need them until August 7, but you know, why wait??!! Plus I had a birthday gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket so…I bought myself a bonus book too that looked intriguing. It is called, “Meditations from the Mat”, by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison and is made up of 365 daily reflections about yoga. I thumbed through it at the store and decided I needed to have it! This is what it looks like:

I decided that I had to have it and that I wanted to blog about my thoughts about it in some way as I read through it for a year. I decided that a blog post for every day’s reflection might be a little much, so I decided I would write about one week at a time. I’ll try to pick one of two things that strike me about that week’s 7 reflections and write down some thoughts and reactions to it. So I’ll have 52 weeks of reflections that will take me through reading this book. I will try to write on Sunday evenings just to keep myself on track. So here goes week one.

“Let your practice be a refuge from the need to control”
This resonates with me big time. I try to have everything under control all the time and although I know this is just not possible I seem to keep trying to do it. What we talk about in yoga is that sometimes we fall, but that is okay. It is interesting to see and feel my reaction when I fall out of a balancing pose. I immediately get mad and frustrated at myself. I want to grow to where I don’t have this reaction, but I just breathe and am calm. It is amazing how breath and calm can keep me balanced – in and out of the yoga room. Plus, falling gives us an opportunity to try again. That is so refreshing! I love looking at it this way rather than, “oh, I failed”.

“If you do what you did, you get what you got”
Wow – this is so simple, but such a hard lesson to learn. Haven’t we all seen people talk about how they want to change, but they never seem to do anything to make the change? It is like we want to do the same old stuff and not do the work of making changes, but get the reward of a better outcome by some magic hocus pocus or something. Like if you want to lose weight, but keep eating the same foods with no additional activity, the numbers on the scale will probably not go down. Or if you continue to get frustrated by your spouse leaving dirty socks on the floor, but never mention it…guess what? No socks in the hamper, just on the floor. We need to take ownership for the changes we want to see in our life.