Meditation in Motion

Thurs, June 30
Yoga at lunch

Our instructor reminded us today that yoga is meditation in motion. I like thinking about it that way. I also like how it is all about the breath. When you think about it (or really just feel it), the breath is what ties all the poses together. I tried camel pose today and I did pretty good with it actually! I do feel like I’m getting stronger now that I’m doing yoga regularly. Since I’m on vacation for about the next week and won’t be traveling to JCU for my class, I’m going to explore the Yoga Lounge in Hudson and see what that is all about.

The “Melt” Down

I should have listened. If I had only listened then this whole “Melt” saga would not have happened.

So, here’s what happened. I had to take a candidate from out of state out to dinner last night as part of his interview process. So, I decided to pick a local “non-chain” joint to showcase the area’s cool local spots and food. So, I chose Melt. It is a very cool and cute place (I’ve heard), with very good food (I’ve heard), and a great following and reputation. Before last night I had never been there before so this was to be my maiden Melt voyage too. One of my colleagues who is a Melt frequent flyer warned me against going there with a candidate. “The sandwiches are huge and really messy to eat”, she said. “Eh, it will be fine”, I thought. He’s a dude – he’ll be fine with it!

So we get there early and get seated right away which was a good sign because normally there is a very long wait. We all order various melt concoctions. At this point I have seen a number of “large and in charge” sandwiches go by me and I’m totally rethinking my restaurant decision. I’m just hoping the knife and fork plan will work like I want it too. We get our sandwiches and thankfully, I’m able to knife and fork my way through 1/2 of my sandwich. I ordered the peanut butter, jelly, banana and cream cheese sandwich. The menu said that they had fresh peanut butter so that got me. Turns out I could hardly taste any peanut butter and didn’t realize until I got my to-go container that the little dish of mystery “sauce” was the jelly. Oops. Fortunately, my dinner companions successfully navigated their way through their 1/2 sandwiches with utensils, as well. However, it was definitely a little awkward to have to deal with trying to have dinner without making a mess and it took the focus off of the conversation a bit. Not the best choice for a candidate dinner. Wish someone had warned me. In the end it was all fine and I had made it through my first Melt experience. I thought.

I brought home my leftovers with all intentions of having it for lunch today. Well, deep into watching the Voice finale (DVR’d version), I felt that sandwich calling me from the fridge. So, I answered with a resounding, “Absolutely!” I enjoyed that last half (actually used the jelly this time), more than the first. This time no utensils were needed. If I wanted to have jelly dripping down my elbows that was my own business in my own home. Yes, I’m exaggerating…a bit. Now, I had completed my first Melt experience. I thought.

Cut to 4am this morning. I was called again. This time from the bathroom. I answered the call at about 4:10am. Then again at about 4:20am, and again at 4:45am. By 5am I was fumbling around the medicine cabinet for Imodium and promising myself I would never go to Melt again…ever. I was also realizing that I had to be in the shower in an hour and dressed looking like a human being ready to leave and meet my candidate for breakfast (ralph) by like 6:45am. “This friggin’ sucks” was all I could really think. Everytime I crawled back into bed I was just hoping for just 10 extra minutes of sleep before being summoned back to the bathroom my by angry digestive system. After just under the legal dose in 24 hours of Imodium I felt like I could successfully manage a 45 minute car ride. I rehearsed what the BRAT diet consisted of all the way to breakfast. Thankfully I made it through the day just fine and no one was the wiser (well, okay, a couple people were wiser – or actually wise-asses!).

Now, I’m not totally sure it is just Melt’s fault. Due to having three candidates on campus in like 5 days, the week has simply been an eating out palooza of sorts. Since Sunday night I have eaten 7 out of 15 meals out at restaurants. This from the woman who hardly ever goes out and prefers to eat at home. No wonder my body was complaining. It had just reached its tipping point early this morning. The Melt sandwich was the proverbial straw. And this concludes my Melt experience. Probably for good!

Epilogue – and what did we eat for dinner tonight since I had eaten out all week, but didn’t feel like cooking? We went out to Panera….seriously. Make that 8 out of 15!!!

My Vegan Lunch

So my colleague is moving to Vegas so we went out for our so-long lunch today. We went to Tommy’s Restaurant in Coventry. I have been there only a few other times and I have always just gotten hummus. It is a very cool atmosphere with very good food. They have a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes, but also meat entrees too. Lots of veggies and different stuff – organic, gluten free, etc. And they are famous for their milkshakes! It is an experience you need to have if you haven’t already!

I got a sampler platter because I couldn’t decide what I wanted. Well, I really wanted hummus and pita, but also wanted to try some things I’ve never had before. Then I found the “Wellson” sampler platter (under appetizers). Here is the description from the menu…
“Sampler platter with 2 falafel balls, mini spinach pie, 1 scoop homos, 1 scoop baba, side of sesame & pita”. I had no idea when I ordered it that it was vegan, but there you go. I enjoyed most of it. It was my first try of falafel balls and spinach pie which were both delish. I loved the hummus (or homos as they spell it), but did not like the baba ghanouj. Good to know! I passed on the milkshake as I am going to Melt tonight (for the first time) and so I knew that would be a bad idea!!! Kinda ironic that I would eat a vegan lunch and then go to melt for dinner on the same day! Not sure what I’ll order, but I know I’ll be bringing half of it home!!

I’ll get back with you on my first Melt experience!

Hump Day Run

Wed, June 29
Ran 60 minutes at 6:30am
Distance: 5.34 miles; Average Pace: 11’15”

Today’s run was pretty great…again! It was such a nice, cool morning. I felt great throughout the whole thing. I ran a bit later since I didn’t have to go into work until like 9am. It was still really beautiful with the sun just coming up as I started. The birds singing…and all of the road kill!! I did see quite a few this morning and I just cannot help but look away until after I’ve identified it (yuck)! Thankfully no cats today.

I’ve now made that body glide stuff a regular part of my running ensemble – no matter the distance. It just helps for the anti-chafe situation so hallelujah!

I wasn’t sure how my run would be since I ran yesterday too. I normally have a day in between runs, but not this week. Speaking of training, ‘m thinking of changing my training plan around a bit so I will always have a buffer in between my long Sat runs. Perhaps my regular run days will be Mon, Wed and Thurs. I’ll still do yoga on Tues and Thurs and have Fri and Sun as rest days and Sat long runs. I’m gonna try that. That way I’m still getting the same number of miles in, but not back to back with the long runs. Word.

I’ll take running with a side of yoga…to go…

Tues, June 28
Ran 49:43 minutes at 5:45am
Distance: 4.5 miles; Average Pace: 11’02”

I think I was half asleep this morning, but I did run…and it was good! It was very humid, but it didn’t seem too bad for some reason. I wore my reflective vest because it was a little dusky when I started. I was really supposed to run yesterday, but it just was not going to work with my work schedule, so today was the day to get in yesterday’s run. I just feel so much better after a run. It can be the worst run ever, but I’m always glad I did it.

Then this afternoon I also did yoga too…just because. It was good. Today during our hip opener pose (half pigeon today), the instructor came around and gently pushed me more into the pose and it felt great. This is what half pigeon looks like. We do it on both sides – with each leg.

Yeah, it has been a busy week and it is only Tuesday. I find that during really busy weeks it is even more important for me to maintain my training as best as I can and take that time for me. What have you done for you today?

Everybody Needs a Henery Higgins!

Yes, you read that right. I’m suggesting that everyone get a puppy-dog just like our adorable, lovable, gigantic, horse-like, Henery Higgins.

Now, I know that I’ve done my fair share of complaining about the mutt. However, after hearing about his latest “trick” tonight I decided to go another way and “reframe” the puppy’s antics in a positive way instead. Doesn’t that sound well-adjusted of me?!

So, these are the top 10 reasons why, I submit to you, that you need yourself a Henery Higgins:

1. To chew up your favorite sandles: and teach you that stuff is really just stuff anyways.
2. To chase and eventually kill ants and stinkbugs: and help rid your house of pests and teach you how stinkbugs have earned their name! Yuck.
3. To perfect the on-the-bed and under-the-bed maneuver in one graceful move: and encourage you to finally clean underneath your bed!
4. To bug you incessantly with a ball when you just want to chill out: and remind you to spend a little quality time with your favorite 4-legged family member.
5. To growl and bark at inanimate objects like utility poles: and remind you that you have a loyal friend, indeed who will protect against all evil…poles, snowmen, yard ornaments, or any other threat to your well-being.
6. To be the first one to greet you at the door like you are the greatest thing since kibble no matter what your mood: and remind you about your horse’s unconditional love.
7. To chew up the end of your living room curtains: and teach you…and teach you…nope, I got nothing…this one still pisses me off!
8. To constantly steal mittens and scarves from the bedroom: and teach you that you probably should have winter things put away during the summer months.
9. To steal and eat a peach from the counter, pit and all: and remind you that, “oh, yeah – we have peaches! Maybe I should eat one!”
10. And last but not least today’s latest feat: To eat an entire container of fish food: and remind you that, “oh, yeah – we have a fish tank! Maybe I should feed them!”

I hope these reasons were convincing enough for you to get your own canine. If not, we would also gladly entertain the idea of providing you an opportunity to borrow Henery in order to give you your own experiential convincing. How is tomorrow for you? The next day? Call me. Please.

Earl, the Dead Cat

Sat, June 25
Ran 6.35 miles
Time: 1:10:29; Average Pace: 11’05”

Today’s run was pretty great! It was a nice cool morning – about 62 degrees with a nice breeze. I ran a bit of a different route today just to mix it up a bit. I ended up a little further from home so I ran a bit extra (was only supposed to run 6). There were quite a few hills going this route, but I only walked once and only for about 15 seconds. Early on in the run – like within the first mile I ran into (almost literally) a dead cat. One of the benefits of running on the side of the road. Yuck. I actually had to jump over it. It was really gross. I didn’t want to took at it, but just like an accident I could not look away! Let’s just say I know what a cat x-ray would look like. All I could think about was that stuffed animal out back in the 90’s that was a gray, flat, cat called, “Earl, the Dead Cat”. Now, that I have thoroughly grossed you out, and myself for the second time, I’ll move on….

I registered Nick and I for the Firecracker Run (4 miler) on July 4 in Stow. I’m excited to run it with him! Zach will be doing the 3K run too. My inlaws will be visiting that weekend (yay!) so I’m hoping they may want to come down to cheer us on and take pics! My goal is to beat my time from last year of 42:12. I’m pretty sure I can do it. I added up my time at the four mile mark this morning and it was less than that so that is a good sign. Nick is going to pace us at a 10 minute mile pace. I just hope I don’t hurl!!! Sorry, more gross talk!

One, Twice, Three Times a Yogi!

Fri, June 24
Yoga at lunch

Yeah, I’m supposed to run 30 – 40 minutes on Friday, but I’ve found that my long runs on Saturday are better if I don’t so so be it! But, nothing is not an option – so enter yoga, class number three of the week!

Have I mentioned how much I love yoga? It is just so many layers of awesome. The Friday instructor is amazing. She brings so much energy to the class, but also makes it a challenge and encourages us to do the poses the right way, but also safely.

Today I experienced my first time with the yoga “om” sound. Towards the beginning of the class, with our hands to heart center we were to set our prayer intention. Then she said “we will say one om all together”. I did not say it as I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, but entire room erupted in the “om” sound for about 15-20 seconds.

So I had to look it up…

According to Swami Sivananda Saraswati…”Om is the basis of all sounds. Om consists of three letters, A, U and M. A, U, M cover the whole range of sound vibrations. The larynx and the palate are the sounding boards. When you pronounce A, no part of the tongue or palate is touched. When you pronounce U, the sound rolls from the very root to the end of the sounding-board of the mouth. M is the last sound which is produced by closing the two lips. Therefore, all sounds are centred in Om.”

And Sherry Roberts writes: “The crowds at Woodstock I chanted it in hopes the world would give peace a chance. Paramahansa Yogananda called it “the vibration of the Cosmic Motor.” The great father of yoga, Patanjali, advised using it to overcome the obstacles and distractions in life — all those stones in the path of enlightenment.

Aum (or as Westerners like to spell it: om) is a vital part of the science of yoga. It’s a tool, a phenomenon, a mystery. To many people, aum is just a word chanted in meditation or as a closing prayer in yoga practice. However, translator and Bhagavad Gita scholar Barbara Stoler Miller notes that “according to the ancient Indian traditions preserved in the Upanishads, all speech and thought are derived from one sound aum. It expresses the ultimate reality.”

Aum is considered the all-connecting sound of the universe — one word interpreted as having three sounds representing creation, preservation, and destruction. Yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar devotes nearly two pages in his book, Light on Yoga, to the various meanings of aum. “The letter A symbolizes the conscious or waking state,” Iyengar says, “the letter U the dream state, and the letter M the dreamless sleep state of the mind and spirit.” The entire symbol, Iyengar says, stands for the”realization of man’s divinity within himself.”

Aum became the sacred word hum of the Tibetans, amin of the Moslems, and amen of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Christians. Amen in Hebrew means “sure, faithful.”

Paramahansa Yogananda writes of the aum as the “Word” of the Bible, as the Holy Spirit. In the Christian Bible, Sat-Tat-Aum is spoken of as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. According to Yogananda, all aspiring yogis seek to commune with aum and understand it. “Audible utterance of aum produces a sense of sacredness…however, real understanding of aum is obtained only by hearing it internally and then becoming one with it in all creation.”

I especially like the bolded part that talks about how different cultures and religions have embraced the word. There seems to be some Truth that comes from that. Very cool.

Dissection of a playlist

Music or no music? That is the question.

Do you use music when you work out? There are lots of runners who do. There are also lots of runners who are what I would call “old school” and do not use music at all. They are just happy to hear the cadence of their breath and their stride. I pretty much fall into the use music category. The only exception to that would be if I’m running with someone, which is rare, because my need to talk supersedes my need for music. Or if I go on a short run and my iPod is on the fritz then I kinda enjoy the quiet. Forced solitude.

Oddly enough sometimes the music is just in the background and I don’t even listen to it. Sometimes I just have it going just because. I’m mainly using my iPod to track my distance and for the woman’s voice to give me periodic updates like “3 miles completed”. For example, I had my music on during the 1/2 marathon, but I didn’t really listen to it. Too many things going on – lots of people. It mostly just helped me get into the zone and tune other things out. Does that even make sense.

But as I ran last night I was deliberately thinking about my playlist as I ran. Perhaps I was just trying to make the run go by faster. It was friggin’ hot. So, I thought I would share it with you, plus my thoughts on it. Yes, I risk ridicule, but I can take it!

First, I have many playlists on my iPod: there there are the shorter and older ones: Runningfaith (mostly contemporary Christian songs); Runninggaga (all Lady Gaga); Runningmad (empowering women songs), and Running2 (a mixture with some old school – Centerfold!!). A little bit newer I have LongRun3, which is only 14 songs, but is still named that…not sure why. Then I have my actual longrun playlist which is called LongRun and has 48 songs on it. I have never heard them all yet. According to iTunes I have gotten through #38.

Here is Lisa’s LongRun (don’t judge!):

  • Something Beautiful by NeedtoBreathe – love this song…not too sure why, but it is a good starting point.
  • Free to Be by Francesca Battistelli – she is awesome live!
  • Forgiven by Relient K – a little slow, but like the message
  • Scars by Allison Iraheta – one of the American Idol top 12 a few years ago…good song
  • Last Name by Carrie Underwood – hey, its Carrie!
  • Cotton Eyed Joe by Crazy Frog – from my son’s CD – makes me smile!
  • It’s Not Over by Daugherty – starts the empowering series
  • What About Now by Daugherty – “yeah, what about now?!!”
  • Money for Nothing by Dire Straits – 80’s throw back that I adore
  • Sin Wagon by Dixie Chicks – usually I’m singing along by now
  • Goodbye Earl by Dixie Chicks – yes, it is vigilante justice…and the problem with that is??
  • Not Ready to Make Nice by Dixie Chicks – many times I get choked up with this one…not sure why…I will not be “nice”!
  • One of those Days by FFH – this song reminds me of my husband so it makes me smile
  • Urgent by Foreigner – another throw back that never gets old and makes me run faster
  • Blue Sky by Francesca Battistelli – makes me think of summer
  • Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls – I like the one this song builds – good at the end of a run
  • The Reason by Hoobestank – this is another one that reminds me of my husband – good harmonies
  • Strength, Courage & Wisdom by India Arie – okay, she is the Queen of empowering!
  • Centerfold by J Geils Band – yeah, I’m clapping at this point
  • Speaking Louder Than Before by Jeremy Camp – this sucker moves
  • Who I Am by Jessica Andrews – a little bit country girl/family stuff
  • If Not You by Jo Dee Messina – general good one to sing to
  • Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall – catchy little diddy – usually either really tired or almost done at this point or both!
  • My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson – because it is Kelly
  • Since You Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson – still Kelly
  • Gone by Kelly Clarkson – bring it on home Kelly!
  • Live Like We’re Dying by Kris Allen – American Idol winner some year – great message!

That is not the entire thing, but at least through song 27. Man I’m tired just thinking about it!!! Maybe I should make a new playlist….

Balancing Act

Thurs, June 23
Yoga at lunch

One of the things I love about yoga is that it combines strength, flexibility and balance into a mix of wonderfulness that is very challenging. I am excited that today at yoga I was able to maintain my balance during airplane pose and eagle pose.

Airplane Pose (Weird – I have the same outfit! Ha, ha, ha!)

Eagle Pose

These are difficult for me to do and hold for very long, but today I was able to complete the entire pose successfully. That felt good. My legs also feel so much better after class. I noticed a tightness in my calves all morning from last night’s run. Now – all gone. Yoga: the miracle cure!!!