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.

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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

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

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I’d Always Go anywhere with them.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Things I Love

  1.  Mommas Drunk With Love

I began a new 8-week session teaching yoga to my beloved students from CarMax Headquarters.  I see some new faces and my loyal’s.  One loyal’s face looked new.  She had fresh love all over it – I recalled that I hadn’t seen her in a session or two and she reminded me why.  Her 2nd daughter arrived and her face was stamped in the glow of Mom-love.  The kind that no matter the poop, the tantrums, the little no sleep, the sketchy decisions (theirs and yours), the hopes, the fails, the worries, the many nights waiting for teen drivers to get home and the unknowns – you would take that drug again and again for the high of their faces and oh, the places we all go. HAPPY Mother’s Day!

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My drugs angels

2.  My fastest Fifty

Not a trick I turned but miles I laid yesterday during the Cap2Cap Half Century Bike Ride.  I was hoping for under 3 hours and 2:59:10 it was!  At almost 50 years of age and a slowing run pace (as if that’s possible) I was super stoked to turn my legs over like that.  And it’s a good thing because Ironman Florida, here we come!

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I don’t love the trainer, but it works!

3.  My opportunity

I get to work alongside my sister.

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Love beyond words.  Purpose beyond measure.

If you are interested in mindfulness, listen to this Facebook Live recording.

4.  My Mom

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Seriously and unforgettably my very best gift.

I still am incredulous that my little soul landed in her almost 50 years ago.  I have missed her every single day for over 21 years.

Have a Happy Mother’s Day.

Mother Earth Counts!

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6 Ways to Find Zen in the Lap Lane

I used to be one of these:

Before this summer I hadn’t swum a real lap since I was 11 years old.  I love the water.  I can swim but hadn’t worked it into my fitness regimen.  Frankly I was afraid.  Since I hurt my foot during the Miami Marathon, my running is still a ways off.  So to keep from going crazy stay in shape I reintroduced myself to the lap lane.  Plus, I had have a crazy, out-of-the-park, idea to make it to an Ironman one day.  I suppose I ought to swim a few strokes, get a road or triathlon bike and have my head examined.  I am not committing to that goal just yet because once I do there is no turning back.  I think baby steps are in order like a Sprint Tri in April.   A special goody bag from the No Running Party sponsored by my plantar fasciitis (which is No Fun) is that I learned I LOVE TO SWIM.  Go figure.  A lot of strong athletes shy away from triathlon because of the swimming component.  Of the 3 sports, swimming can be the most daunting.  There’s this little thing called drowning and another minor possibility – getting clobbered.  But if you believe that fear is lies you can learn to find some Zen in the lap lane.  Here’s what’s working for me: 1.  Invest in really good no-fog goggles. ($39.99)

My daughter said I look like a nerd.  It’s a good thing I no longer care about such things. 2.  (Men cover your eyes) Ladies – get a bikini wax.  The lap lane is no place to be self-conscious about your – ahem – hairline. 3.  Keep a gym pack packed with these essentials:  bath towel, favorite shampoo and conditioner, hair brush, lotion, minimally stocked make-up bag for the days you need to be somewhere after a swim.  For those of us not blessed with a lap pool in our back yard, the process of going for a lap swim at the gym can hardly seem worth it for all the stuff to pack and remember.  Minimize the prep by stocking your gym bag with some essentials.  Better yet – have a designated swim bag separate from your regular workout satchel.   Make sure it’s waterproof. 4.  Invite a swimming friend to accompany you. It makes you accountable.  You swim at your own level.  There’s hardly opportunity for talking as you focus on not drowning.  Making a date greatly increases your chances to make it happen. These two friends look like they are having fun.  Makes for great bonding.

4.  Get lost in the repetition of the stroke.  You body knows what to do.  Before you know it you are solving problems and finding inner peace as you rack up lap after lap.  It’s the ‘swim zone’.  Don’t interrupt if you find me there.
5.  Really absorb the great benefits of swimming.  Know what a great thing you are doing for yourself.  It motivates.
A great article says that in the lap lane you will find new strength, enhanced energy and a more youthful sense of well-being.  You will find yourself looking a feeling younger.  That right there is some Zen.  Makes the hairballs almost bearable.
6.  Keep a record of your progress.  When I first started a few weeks ago I could hardly swim 2 consecutive laps without a break at the end of a lane.  The other day I swam 56 total laps with 40 of them consecutive.  Not Ironman material but better than nothing.
I am still Married to My Yoga but I have found a very nice friend in Swimming.
Made any  new friends lately?

I am dilated to about 4

Like birth stories, I never tire of race stories.  Ever.  I love your gory details of sweat and push and finish.  I want all of it – how was the labor, the big day prep and your spouse?  How did your body and its functions feel?  Take your time, tell me all of it – I have a glass of wine and you have my full attention.  Don’t leave out a thing.

Be careful, if you are a runner or a parent and you come over for happy hour the conversation just may gravitate here.

Not that I am assuming you are as riveted by such a thing or that you have a particular fancy for my stories but if you are at all connected to the ultimate push you might appreciate that I am dilated to about a 4.  I am giving birth to my third marathon in 3 days.  It’s a bit of a long labor but much more fun than the one did for him.

Nickatbat_thumb.jpgAt 8 pounds 13 ounces it felt like he came out this size.  So worth it.  So love my boy.  I learned the hard way that drugs, labor, and me don’t mix so I switch things up and had a mid wife deliver my next 2.

My first marathon was a bust.  Horrible feeling, injured, sick (recovering from pneumonia) but I did it.  It took a very, very, long time but in some ways it was my best one.  It didn’t let anything stop me.  And I gave birth to this.

My fist marathon.  Felt like I had popped out a 26.2 pound baby.  But I had her waiting for me after she rocked her 4th half marathon.  My blessing of a friend since we were 4.  I love her so much.  I wish Dawn could come to Miami.  My family drove 2 hours for the day.  I am so blessed I want to cry.

And cry I did when I  had her:

KathleenpitchingBaby #2.  She came out fierce.  I love her so much.  Worth the labor – not nearly as tough as #1.  I was relaxed and one under my belt.  Just like marathon #2.  Still tough but easier, more fun and I had him to run me in.

That’s not the Incredible Hulk in green.   That’s my incredible husband.  He risked shame and entered the marathon as a bandit at Mile 19 and ran me home.  Sounds like baby delivery.

And the third one was so sweet.  The baby, the delivery without drugs and the afterglow.  Sweet baby, Jane.

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I am hoping marathon #3 is as smooth.  Dilating to 4 has been a little rough as I have a very sudden onset of the dreaded PF (plantar fasciitis)  but I have the assistance of a most incredible running midwife PT.  An ultra runner herself, she has magic hands and words to boot.  When I thought I was going to give up and require drugs during baby delivery #3, my midwife said:

I know 3 things, Clair.  This is going to hurt.  You can do this.  And you will have a baby in 15 minutes.

Amy said almost the same thing about marathon #3.  She said we can deal with the pain.  The reaction to it is just a mind game.  You will bag another marathon in 3 days and 26.2 miles.  I love her.  And I believe her.

3 babies.  After Sunday, 3 marathons.  No more babies.  God willing many more races.  Thinking about a big, big, boy.  50K.

See you on the other side.  Florida, here I come.

Yoga and Endurance: Interview with an Ironman

Shut Up and Run! , says she almost 365 days a year through her insanely popular, funny, inspiring and often irreverent blog of the same name.  She’s a wife, mother, social worker, certified running coach, marathoner, blogger extraordinaire  and as of Nov 1 – Beth Risdon is an Ironman.
I saw it.
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Clair, Beth and Erika – now even more bonded!
It was an Unbelievable, Life-changing experience.  For Beth and all the athletes.  For spectators/cheerleaders like Erika and me.  Witnessing the true grit and will of the human spirit (especially from someone you adore) during an Ironman was just awesome.  I dare you not to get super inspired by these super heroes.  I am in awe.  I want some of the Kool Aid.
If you’ve stopped by MarryMeYoga like, ever (Thank you!) you might know that Beth of Shut Up and Run fame  is a dear friend who agreed to let me pick her brain about Yoga, training for endurance sports and her approach to getting it all done –  Ironman – the granddaddy of endurance.
Yogi’s, marathoners, triathletes, health aspirants and lovers of life – I hope you enjoy this Interview with an Ironman.
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Beth, You are an  accomplished tri athlete with drive like I’ve never seen.  You stay as fit  as ever even when you aren’t training for a specific event. Over time, where has  Yoga fit in to all that? 
For years, like the past 15  years, yoga has been an integral part of my workout routine. I always saw  it as a treat I gave to my body. A time to slow down, to think, to not be  so crazed and manic. For someone like me who tends to be very “Type-A”, yoga  forces me to calm the eff  down. 
Here’s Beth calming the eff down:
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Whereas you have run impressively in a number  of high-profile events like the Boston Marathon and participated in triathlons,  relays, and cycling events galore (not to mention a 21-mile run with Dean  Karnazes)  I want to focus on your recent Ironman finish in Florida.   I followed your blog to keep up with your training schedule.  Wow!   Will you comment on the overall physical demands of Ironman  training? 
It wasn’t as bad and grueling as I expected. I am still not sure  why. I came into training with a decent foundation as I had just run a  marathon. Yet, still, I ramped up from training 6-7 hours per week, to  doing 12-17 hours per week of swimming, biking and running. For me, the key  to not falling apart was sleeping well, good nutrition and time management.  And wine. Yes, there were days I cried because the workouts were really  long. But, for the most part my body really loved the challenge and the variety.   
And now your family.  I know you are a  passionate wife, mother, and friend.  How did you prepare Ken and the kids  and others you spend time with for the time commitment of this undertaking? 
We talked about it in the beginning – how I was going to need for  them to understand I might be tired and how they might have to pitch in more  than normal. I made it my absolute priority to not let my training  adversely affect my family. This meant early morning workouts, doing family  things when I would have preferred to nap and letting some small things go. The  house wasn’t always its cleanest, and our dinners involved lots of short  cuts. But my marriage survived and Ken even told me he thought I did a good job  of balancing it all. Again, time management and planning are key  elements. That said, I am a huge believer that  my kids need to see me taking time for myself and my goals. It can’t always be  about them.
Beth and her 2 awesome children:
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And now your job and your writing.  How  the heck did you fit everything in? 
I make a list at the beginning of each week that includes all  work deadlines, training sessions, appointments, etc. I break it down per day.  There is no magic answer. I don’t mess around. I just do it. There was little  time for reading books, socializing and other things, but I met all of my  obligations. 
Let us in to your heart and mind for a  second.  I described you to friends of mine as one with the heart of a  champion.  Will you comment on the mental and emotional aspects of  training.  
It’s simple. I do not entertain the thought of giving up. I do not  give myself the choice to NOT do a workout. There is no excuse (with the  exception of being injured or sick) that is good enough to keep me from my  training. It is a decision that a person makes. I think people make motivation  and discipline a very complicated process. It is not.  You simply have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and  realizing it won’t kill you.
Do you see aspects of Yoga in any of  that? 
Absolutely. Yoga teaches you to be strong in mind and  spirit. It all goes together.  
Did you have any specific visualization of  meditative aspects to your training – especially as race day approached? 
Yes. Mostly I visualized myself being in my lowest low  mentally and physically and what I would tell myself to get out of that space.  It usually involved telling myself that things would not necessarily get worse.  It also involved staying in the present. With the Ironman distance, you can  easily doom yourself by looking at the day as a 140.6 miles to cover and 13  hours of constant movement. The key is to only accept what is in  front of you. Okay – now I am going to swim for an hour and a half. Now I’m on  the bike. I am going to ride for 20 miles and see how I feel. You have to break  it up into sections that your mind can accept. No one should go into an  Ironman saying “I am now going to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a  marathon!” It’s simply too overwhelming.
Beth accepting what’s in front of her – not a bad view!
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What’s next?  Thoughts on your Yoga  going forward??? 
I’ve got the LA Marathon coming up in a few weeks and  I’m hoping there will be another Ironman for me this year. I’m also planning my  first ultra marathon trail race (50K) in September. I’d like to bring yoga back  into my fitness regime. I do believe it feeds the body and soul in a  way that nothing else does.  
So many treasures to ponder, Beth.  Thanks for letting us in to an Ironman’s lair.
My biggest take away is the time management piece.  Writing things down, organizing – sticking to the plan.  Let the people who count in on your goals and heart’s desire.  Be honest, own where you are.  Inspire others to really live.  I know Beth has done that for me as an athlete and as a friend.
And of course Yoga along the way to keep your body and soul in check.
I do believe (Yoga) feeds the body and soul in a  way that nothing else does.
 – Beth Risdon, Ironman
Were truer words ever spoken?
P. S.  Thanks for the Interview.  Love ya!
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Dirty Love and My Hero

I am in the middle of reading this book. 

                        

In this heartbreakingly beautiful book of disillusioned intimacy and persistent yearning, beloved and celebrated author Andre Dubus III explores the bottomless needs and stubborn weaknesses of people seeking gratification in food and sex, work and love.  –Amazon

I picked it  up at Hudson News (you know the place) in Atlanta while galloping down concourse C desperate to make my flight.  Though today’s post is not a book review, I will share this observation of my reading experience.  Andre Dubus is a master at story telling and character portrayal.  Presented like a montage of short stories woven together mysteriously taunting the reader with a yet-to-be-revealed web of connection, the writing is brilliant.  Though the characters’ experiences are extreme they are relatable human beings.  It is a raw and rich telling of very dark stories.  The dark part is disturbing and makes me wonder why I am reading it.  The stories haunt me during the day but entice me to keep reading at night. 

There is sort of beauty in the truth of even when it’s not all butterflies in the meadows and what ‘ave you.  If you saw Just Go With It 6,000 times like me you’ll understand this reference, if not just go with it.  It’s funny and ironic.

Source:  listal.com

My conclusion:  there is a lot of beauty in the truth.  My goal is to post on MMY once a week.  I am compelled to be smart, funny, prolific, charming and yes pretty (you know you do it too, only post the good pics.)  I am never all of these things at once and only sometimes (very rarely) one or two at at time.  So after reading a particularly engaging part of Dirty Love last night, I decided the the Truth was much prettier than embellishments.  Nobody believes the BS anyway and most can smell it a mile away.  So the truth-tellers are my heroes.  People who can be real even if it sucks because sometimes things do.  And that’s the truth.

Like cancer.  Who hasn’t been affected?  You???  You might be lying (hope so) but here’s one of my all time heroes and I just became aware of her blinding light last week.

She is Deborah Cohen.

courtesy:  Deborah Cohen’s Caring Bridge Page

She danced her way to the table for a double mastectomy.  Read and watch this.  Tell me what you think.  You will come out changed and loving Blue Ivy Carter’s mother.  I love Deb.  She has me wanting to dance in my truth.  So here goes a few little nuggets of truth:

My real 10 mile run on Saturday.  A Garmin, like Dirty Love can’t lie.  9:39 pace not 9:28 like I might have said.  Liar!

10 miles 2013!

Here’s the real me in my  new Speedo for my master swim class.  Go ahead, say I look like a skunk.  She did.  And don’t say one word about the duct tape on my couch.  I might cry.

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Because this is a yoga blog and this post is about heroes,  here is my Virasana (aka hero’s pose) with my real hair and real Mom Jeans and bad balloon shirt.

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And finally, here’s the real me, writing a real post.

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Do NOT be jealous of my  neck.  Go ahead, throw up – unfollow, unfriend, deny you know me.  I won’t cut your ear off but I will know you left me for real (shallow) reasons.  And that’s a truth I can live with.  Stay and we’ll have real (truthful) fun.

I feel naked.  Like Dirty Love – but it can be fun.

Love you.  Be my hero.  What’s your truth?

Fabulous Florida

Suffice it to say there was A LOT of love smeared across Panama City Beach, Florida over the weekend.  If I could jack up every superlative I know it wouldn’t come close to describing Ironman Florida 2013Triathlon Competitor captured some amazing moments.  Here are a few:

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The surf was rough for the swim.

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Of course they couldn’t resist my Beth on the bike.

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I couldn’t either.  Here she is at mile 80.  Happy as can be.

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2.4 miles swum.  112 miles biked.  13.1 miles ran.  Only 13.1 more to go.

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And she’s off.

I couldn’t have enjoyed my time more with Beth’s parents, whom I love.

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And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better.  Beth  met her aggressive time goals and I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in 20+ years.  He too was supporting a good friend doing this crazy thing.  God, it was cool. 

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We are exhausted here.  This is at the end.  Spectating is also an endurance sport.

I managed my 11 mile run while wallowing in God’s creations.  Gorgeous skies,  and witness to amazing human will and determination. 

Today I find myself at a loss for words – (SHOCKING, I know!)  I am not prolific in the least

However I am:

  • awestruck
  • star struck
  • smitten and bitten by the mysterious yet powerful Ironman bug.

Somehow I knew this would happen. 

Today I taught a yoga class and found myself sharing a quote from this book:

Finding Ultra

  It’s message was about the definition of surrender.  What it means to truly allow your life to happen, not just to let go but to get out of your own way and surrender to what already is.  There is risk.  There is the falling sensation.  Free-falling without the guarantee of anything.  In some magic moment with surrender, you will find yourself in the embrace of utter perfection – God – as your struggles, expectations fears and anxieties magically disappear. 

Beth is feeling sad that the magic of Ironman 2013 is now behind us. I can totally understand.  Who would want to let something like that go?

Truly she can surrender it to the universe because I am here to tell you that kind of magic: of friendship, athleticism, human bonding and fellowship is my embrace.  It is a beautiful thing.

Marry me, Ironman Florida 2013.