Always Go

You’ve done it too. When your alarm innocently does its job to nudge you up and into your life you at 4:45am (ungodly hour but you have goals and a body that needs to move) you immediately consider sleep over cycling (or yoga, or swimming, or running).

And therein lies the unfailingly present daily question: Go or No Go?

You think of the many reasons for no go. I NEVER sleep. I will get my workout in later today (yeah, right.) I have done really well this week. I just don’t want to today.

Just sit up. It is much easier to blink away the sleep from an upright position.

And therein lies the expression: Think straight.

Go.

Always, go.

No one ever regretted a work out. Ever.  Or an adventure or a challenge or an opportunity to live big. You have to Go to Go Big.

Here are 2 times people I know and admire who recently went Very Very Big.

Check out what my friend Rebecca said about her June 3 adventure at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

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“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…. Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. “ – Shel Silverstein
My goal for this race was to have fun. I didn’t break any records at Escape from Alcatraz but I surely did something that a year ago I didn’t think I could do. And I had an absolute ball doing it!! I made so many new friends from around the world in the process, including this girl who finished the swim with me. First race I’ve done where I talked to my fellow athletes all along the way.
If you think you can’t do something or are afraid to do something, but wish you could, that’s a sure sign you better just try.

You’ll never be sorry you did. Always GO.
#fightfinishfaith #speakupraceteam

I awaited every text, every post during that day and still feel spun up with gratitude that Rebecca chose Go.

******

For my friend, Garland – I feel sure No Go is never an option. The Virginia native and former owner/director of Bikram Yoga Richmond is working hard to open her beautiful yoga studio, Kauai Hot Yoga  in Lihue, the commercial center of the island of Kauai where besides daily life-changing yoga with Garland and her team, you a can experience a variety of natural wonders like a 1,000 year old aquaculture reservoir and many tropical  treasures that make you wonder which side of heaven you reside.    A teacher, mentor and friend – Garland is a dreamer with work ethic and moxie to make it all happen.  I am so proud of her and when it comes to visiting her yoga studio, for me, it’s

A GO!

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Of her beautiful tree, Garland says: Be the tree! 🌳 Grounded in your roots, strong in your trunk, and flexible in your branches💚 #yoga #backbend #movebecauseyoucan

****

One thing is for certain, I will be choosing ‘Go’ on November 3 when the horn blows to start swimming at Ironman Florida.

SURT

I’d Always Go anywhere with them.

 

 

 

 

 

I came in last. Truth.

I have never been fast and I am okay with that. My best marathon time is 4:20.

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I thought I was a rockstar that day.

In 2014 I added in swimming and biking and became an age-grouper triathlete with realistic expectations. I can hang on the slow side of the middle of the pack on a good day.

I do it for this:

And because she does:

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My Boulder Bestie who is almost 50

And for her legacy:

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Cameron K. Gallagher

I do this for fitness, to test myself, because I am fascinated by human endurance. Whatever the reason a person endeavors to travel 140.6 miles WITHOUT A MOTOR and IN ONE DAY, it’s a big F**king deal. I bet none of them expects to be last. DFL (dead f**king last)

I was.  You can read about it here. The full truth.  Full disclosure.  16:55:42. Barely BARELY Ironman cut off.

For the last 7 months (to the day TODAY!) I feel slight tug of embarrassment whenever anyone asks about my first full ironman distance tri.

I say things like:

‘It was something.’

‘I barely made it.’

I never say: ‘I was last.’ But I was. I came in just ahead of the sweeper who was tooling about on a basketed bike wearing a smile that seemed so out of reach for me.

But I found a smile:

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I would come in last again for this. But I don’t want to. Not so much because I am embarrassed anymore but because I had to dig so deep for so many hours to make it.

I don’t want to have to go there for so long again.

So if you see me at Ironman Chattanooga in September, remind me I am one and done on being DFL.

2nd to DFL would be a PR.

I am working hard and plan to cut copious amounts of time from the race.

I will hug whomever is DFL. I know what it feels like.

Pretty awesome.

 

 

 

I got called out at yoga…

It wasn’t for anything good.  As a yoga teacher, I know it is disingenuous to rate the poses or practice as good, bad, or great. However I do not mind being told my down dog is the bomb or my camel, dancer, or pigeon pose is on point.

The middle little girl in me still likes a pat on the back, a nod, some attention that she is special. But not like this.

Last week I tried out a new yoga studio. It is posh, lovely, soothing, and smells good. It attracts the hipster millennials who live in its cool urban hood. When I noticed my teacher looked like Simone Biles, the gold medaling megastar gymnast and was about Simone’s age,  I thought I’d be in for a real athletic and dynamic workout. I had already started thinking how my practice would certainly stun her stunning self (so not yogic).

 

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Not my actual teacher, but the actual Simone Biles.

As is customary in many studios there were no mirrors. By my calculations, on the inside I am about 27. On the outside I am actually 48. Apparently without the help of mirrors, I forgot what the outside said.   Because the next thing happened.

In a new studio I never know how each teacher will incorporate the use of props in the sequence. I do not need them but I find them to be great tools to deepen a pose or provide spatial reference or just give my ASSana a soft place to land if I want to. So I gathered a few to have at-the-ready near my matspace. (I made that word up – like a millennial would)

After the usual centering activity Simone brought us up to (wait for it…) table top – to start our moving practice. I think she thought it might be too much for me.

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Actual Table Top

Simone then explained while looking AT ME that if our knees hurt we could roll our mat up a few times to provide some cushioning. Or, we could use a blanket underneath to soften the blow to our knees. She didn’t say it but she implied – like those of us with more advanced body parts. She even came over to me (only me) with said soft blanket to offer her geriatric follower some relief. I giggled like the school girl I think I still am and told her I was fine.

Some might call it a sweet gesture, others might call it ageism or profiling. Most would might call me petty.

But I couldn’t help it. What I wanted to say is: Look b*tch, I have been holding tabletop and plank longer than you’ve been alive. Have you seen my tattoo?

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My actual calf

I proceeded to put so much zest into a slow hatha yoga with meditation class that I made myself sore – serves me right.

I temporarily forgot that the face that chatted Simone up before class looked like this:

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My actual face

I had just had a number of skin cancers removed and am wearing new but healing scars. I can’t blame my yoga teacher that she may have thought that mostly happens to old people. Because it does.  Compared to my waiting room compatriots for the procedure, I am millennial.

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The actual waiting room

I am old. I am young. I am whatever. Age isn’t a thing – it’s me that made it so.

Maybe the gymnast in Simone look-alike saw the efforts my body made to be strong and vital and healthy and thought I could use a rest.

Maybe she felt a tug at her heartstrings that I may have been through something recently and could use some extra softness.

Whatever it was, it was just (what for it…) nice.

For the record, I would go back. Maybe my next teacher will be her:

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Jaysea DeVoe – The Youngest Yoga Teacher in the US

She’s 13. Like her:

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My actual daughter, Jane.

One Thing I Am Obsessed With and Why You Should Be Too

I have a bevy of beautiful girlfriends; smart, adventurous, fun, accomplished, driven queens of their kingdom who inspire me everyday. Of particular note, is my friend Jen who could and probably has been mistaken for Kelly Lynch or Michelle Pfieffer.

I was super excited when KellyMichelleJen came to a few of my yoga classes earlier this summer.

Jen gave me a book she thought I would enjoy, she was super-sized right.

Here’s the obsession

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I want to attain a level of fitness as I approach 50 that is currently stunted by the untrue mantra, ‘sucks getting old’.

No it doesn’t. It means you are here drawing new, never-been-done before inhales every single second. Makes me giddy to think of it and to read this book.

One excerpt:

Webb argues that exercise can improve our bodies at any age, hailing it as the most powerful tool we have to forestall aging and prevent and even treat just about every chronic disease that exists today. “If we had a drug that did what exercise did, it would be the biggest revolution ever and would be promoted all over the world. And all you have to do is go out for a run.”

I am staring at 50 with rose-colored glasses and this affirms my passion for exercise. I am not going down as age creeps up, unless it’s opposite day.

This book is filled to the brim with research-backed expert, nutritional advice and preaches from the Bible of Yoga and Cross Training – my own personal fitness scripture. Among other, I-love-you athletes and experts in their field, Webb went to see the world’s oldest yogi to glean sage advice for living with vitality to old age.

Tao Porchon-Lynch who turns 98 tomorrow.

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Happy 98th Birthday Tao! I love you.

Like the author:

I want to enter the second half of my life in the best shape of my life.

And I will get older, faster and stronger – a nice side bonus will be more energy, better quality, good moods, and a leaner frame. Good Lord, now I can’t wait to be fifty.

I bet this book is pretty good too:

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I  never said I wouldn’t have fun along the way. Margarita’s, anyone?? (only with fresh organic lime and Patron, please)

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How are YOU staring at the rest of your life?

Join me on my journey, please. Details to come.

 

5 Lessons From a Juice Cleanse

Recently some friends and I did a 3-day juice cleanse offered by the cool folks at Bikram Yoga Richmond where, besides offering mind-blowing, sweaty yoga, they sell amazing fresh made juices for post practice pick-up on a regular basis. From time to time they do a full-on cleansing program where the daily diet includes 3 juices, one shot of juiced ginger and one smoothie. All were fresh, marvelous, and packed with nutrition. Whereas I would totally do it again and look forward to it, here are some lessons from my first juice cleanse which  may make the next one even better. 

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  1. Hunger Games – If you are considering a juice cleanse, do it with friends – keep your phone nearby so you can text each other constantly. Let the quips fly.  It’s fun and funny to give your intestines a nice flush.

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On a cleanse, apparently hunger doesn’t build, it comes in waves. Have some good books on hand to occupy your mind when it does show up. I recommend each of these wholeheartedly.

2.  Beets still make me want to vomit – Each juice had a number of plants in them but there is one marquee item like carrot, spinach, or beets. All were to-die-for delicious unless you have an aversion to one of the main plants. When I was 19 I went on a 3-day diet that included a lot of beets. The evils of quick weight loss fads did not resonate with me back in college. I did lose 4 pounds in 3 days but mostly from having to plug my nose to swallow the beets. After a while, I gave up eating them altogether. That was back when a girl might take Dexatrim or a good diuretic to get rid of the beer bloat.  Ahhhh memories.

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3.  You don’t need as much food as you think. For some, hunger is associated with panic. Do your research ahead of time to keep your fear away. You can and will survive a juice cleanse and will likely feel better on the other side. There are many proponents of a limited calorie diet or occasional fasting program to encourage mental clarity, good digestion, and weight loss.  This study is convincing. I am thinking of making it part of my regular cycle of eating.

4.  There is a spiritual aspect to hunger. When a wave of hunger came I was forced to be in the moment, not react, have faith that the discomfort would pass and know that all is well. Deep breathing, reading and tea helps. Sounds a lot like yoga and mediation. If the practice was triggered by hunger, then hunger is good.

5.  Chewing is fun. I need to masticate everyday. Just a little. Raw almonds are perfect. Toss a few back and that impulse is satisfied.

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Afterwards I had more clarity, felt victorious and knew my pipes were clean and functioning well. And my 3-baby belly was flatter.

Can’t wait for the next cleanse. Cheers.

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5 Ways to Stay Focused

Life is hard.  Life is busy and if you are like me you have about 590 things going on in your mind at once. This trait makes Yoga my perfect mate and hardest endeavor which is probably why I love it so.  Stillness is almost extinct in this day and age where multi-tasking is revered and doing more means we ARE MORE.  And yet I am convinced that in stillness we finally truly begin to live.  Savasana or Corpse Pose CAN BE the HARDEST YOGA POSE there is.

Doesn’t that look exhausting?  I once had a panic attack during Savasana – never mind that the room was 107 degrees.  There is so much vitality in ‘dead body’ pose, never mind the oxymoron.  Indira Gandhi said:

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And there you have it.  In the frenzy of modern life, stillness is the key to vitality.  In the repose of corpse pose we are vibrantly alive.  BUT HOW THE HELL DO WE GET THERE?

How do we become still and focused?

1.  Practice a crap load of yoga!

It is said that yoga is about peeling back the layers and finding the simple truth.  Your authenticity.  The place you are aligned and happy and not distracted and pulled in a thousand directions which is my usual state of mind.  Anything other than the truth is a lie.  So all the unrealistic expectations you have for yourself and the way-too-dense to-do list are lies.  So get back to your truth and your mat and maybe Savasana won’t feel so flippin’ hard.  It can be luscious.  We can remember the peace of the stillness and bring it to the great activity that is the truth of our lives.  Indira says it’s possible.

2.  Clean up your diet!

Get rid of crap you don’t need.

  • Your body will like it.
  • Your digestive processes can operate with efficiency and precision.
  • It is proven that some foods help brain function.

In Carol Sorgen’s article:   Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain.  It is said that if we add these ‘superfoods’ to your daily diet, you will increase your odds of maintaining a healthy brain for the rest of your life.

  • Blueberries
  • Wild Salmon
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Whole Grains
  • Avocadoes

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Dear God!  I think I just died and went to good-food-choices heaven.  I love all of these.  If they can help me focus and live better.  huge, huge SCORE!

They say eating a green pizza bigger than your head works too.

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3.  Find a ‘Focus Mantra’

This idea may sound a little vague and a lot woo-woo but hang with me.  Focus,  Dang it!

A mantra is:  any sacred word or syllable used as an object of concentration and embodying some aspect of spiritual power.  (Dictionary)  My personal one for personal reasons is:

Fight.  Finish.  Faith.

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Find something that grounds you.  It can be as simple as one word like ‘believe’.  It can be a little more lengthy like Indira’s quote above.  (Don’t say I never gave you anything.  You have your very own Focus Mantra now.)

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4.  De-clutter everything.

I am very very sentimental but I do not keep things I don’t need, love, or use.  Just because Great Aunt Ethel (whom you never met and passed on in 1965) touched a soup ladle (and you don’t even like soup) doesn’t mean you have to keep said ladle.  You are NOT are a sinner if you give it to Goodwill.  Others I am very close to probably disagree.

And keep your living and workspace clear of crap you don’t need, love, or use.  Clean lines and open spaces invite good thinking and calm minds.  Not like this:

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This is my current workspace.  It is an example of what NOT to do.  Because of a recent profound loss, I am giving my entire life a haircut.  No more dead-ends that take up space and serve no purpose.  This means my home, my calendar, my relationships, my to-do list and my commitments.  Lean and open is the new approach to everything including my body and mindspace.  Here we go!!!

5.  Be still

To cultivate stillness and focus you have to practice.  Do some of this:

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That is all.

I am in this quest with you.  I am still me.  I am still certifiably an adult with ADD.  I have:

  • 45 hobbies
  • 100 areas of interest
  • 755 goals for the year

And 1 life (as far as I know) with 24 hours in each of a finite number of days.  This is not easy for me but anything worthwhile never is.  There is magic and vitality in the stillness. I will focus on finding focus and perhaps Savasana won’t make me an actual corpse.

Do you have trouble focusing?

See above.

How to you right yourself in the waves of distraction?

See above.

Do you a saver or a purger?

Purger all the way!!

 

 

 

Yes, bartender I’ll have another!

Have you heard of Kombucha?  The Chinese call it the “Immortal Health Elixir?” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.  (Source:  The Food Renegade)

I tried my first bottle this past week.

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The ingredient list includes ‘trace amounts of alcohol’.  No wonder I like it.

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Me (2nd from left) and my blogging buddies (which includes Beth from Shut Up and Run!, 2nd from right) are not afraid to leave a writing conference for libation nutrition.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a drink made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.  My bottle said it had trace amounts of alcohol in it.  SCORE!

I drank the brand on the right in the blueberry flavor.  My children think it tastes like PAAS Easter Egg dye. (Not that they’ve ever ingested it.)

 

The beautifully gilded shells that encase the eggs are not edible once decorated with this potion.  The imagined taste of PAAS matched the real taste of Kombucha for Kathleen, thus explaining her forced smile as I forced her t hold the bottle of Kombucha.

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Kathleen did not love it.

(She is not old enough to drink.  No wonder.)

Here are the health benefits of the “Immortal Health Elixir” – Komubcha.  They include (in less detail than the source):

 #1 — Detoxification

Detoxification produces healthy livers and aides cancer prevention.

#2 — Joint Care

Kombucha contains glucosamine, a strong preventive and treatment all forms of arthritis

#3 — Aids Digestion and Gut Health

Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability.

#4 — Immune Boosting

Kombucha is extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy level.

This and alcohol.  That’s good  great stuff.

I was compelled take a shot of Kombucha give Kombucha a shot, when an experienced vegetarian friend gave me and  my newly meatless American Sportsman husband (Digest that!!) advice on ways to sustain our new lifestyle.  We are No Meat Athletes (or we think we are!).  Collectively we have lost 16 pounds in one week.  For now I am happy to have my husband along for a ride I wanted to take for sometime.  Who knows where of if this vegan train stops?

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I don’t really care.  All we have is Now.  And that’s enough. Plus, I rode her for the first time today:

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Happiness.  And forever miss of my Cameron.  Fight.  Finish.  Faith.  That’s all I got.

Bartender, can I have another?