Thoughts On Yoga

Today’s Happy Note: Best. Yoga. Class. Ever.

I know that not everybody is into yoga, and that’s fine, but it really has been life-changing/saving for me.  I can enter class seething, panicked, distraught, weepy, or in pain.  And leave relaxed, smiling, calm, joyful, spiritual.  Today we did a lot of inversions, balances, and twisting, including one pose I have never done before that I could not find any name for or picture of online.  It is basically what the top person is doing in this photo, only upright, with back foot and hand on the ground:

Hangle Dangle


Anyone have any ideas?

What I loved most about class today was that my emotions started coming up, uncontrollably.  As my body physically opened up I could feel the things in my heart pouring out as well. I have heard Averie (who is giving away some awesome hemp products here) and other yogis talk about this before but have never felt it.  Well, I have news for you: this is not one of those crazy newfangled yoga things.  It really happened — I was alternately smiling and crying during class.  It was wonderful and soothing to let things out of my body like that.

I think yoga has made me more spiritual and more comfortable in my own body.  It calms me down and lifts me up at the same time.  It helps me realize that I do indeed know God, in some guise or other, and that I have this wonderful, amazing body that I need to treat well.  I run because it makes me feel clean and strong, in heart and body and mind, but yoga adds an element of spirit, I think.

Have you tried yoga?  It seems like most healthy living bloggers either love it or hate it.  I am definitely in the loving it camp.  I do recommend trying a few different classes, styles, studios, gyms, or videos before giving up; each experience is different and you really need to find what works for you.  Polly’s videos are always a good place to start!

My absolute favorite studio in NYC is Yoga Vida. Highly recommended, and relatively inexpensive.

The eats:

Diet snapple iced tea and plain oats with soymilk and PB.

Tuna made with plain yogurt and hummus, giant pile of steamed veggies.  I know everyone thinks they’re boring, but sometimes I lover plain and simple lightly steamed veggies.

Two afternoon snacks is the way to go.  PB and chocolate chip Larabar and a basically empty AB jar with plain 2% Fage (I’m in love  — the fats are pretty much miraculous), frozen blueberries, and Justin’s chocolate PB (didn’t really go with it, taste-wise).

I realized that recently I have been falling into the blogger-comparison trap.  I think, “healthy living bloggers should have one afternoon snack, dinner, then a small dessert, or two afternoon snacks and no desserts — I must be overeating!”  BUT this is what works for me.  And I never eat (or want a morning) snack, and I keep main meals a bit smaller.  So there.  I can have two afternoon snacks and a dessert if that’s what my body wants.

Random WF bowl.  It had arugula, walnut/grape chicken salad (my favorite kind), a few bites of potato, black bean udon noodles, shredded zucchini/summer squash, and marinated kale salad.  I am NOT a kale girl, but I really liked this one.  It had shredded carrots, cabbage, and lots of balsamic.

Blurry raspberry protein shake: vanilla soy milk, half a banana, handful frozen raspberries, lots of ice, half scoop of vanilla whey/soy protein, and a few spoonfuls of coconut sorbet.  Topped with dark chocolate and chocolate PB.

A good day of eats — lots of variety, lots of nutrients, good portions that kept me full but not too full.  My belly is a happy belly right about now!

Some days I feel like all my meals/snacks involve nuts or nut butter.  I really truly believe that, if it came down to it, I would say PB is my favorite food.  Oats, Greek yogurt, apples, and carrots are all tied for second place. 🙂

What’s your favorite food?

Thoughts on yoga?

Thoughts and Therapy

Daily Creativity: Collage part dos is in progress!

Random list of thoughts, some of which may relate to health:

1. Springtime running is the most wonderful thing ever.  Borderline surreal.  Absolutely glorious — I get to be a personal witness to growing things and new beings and fresh sights and sounds.  Oh my.  I love it.  And you should too.

2. What I don’t love is when you’re running and you steadily pull up on another runner and pass them and then they start sprinting to get ahead of you and then they slow down again and you pass them again and the whole process repeats itself.  Seriously, men, get a hold of yourselves.  Your life will not end if a girl passes you.  And it’s extra annoying when you’ve been walking for like ten minutes and I turn around to head back and pass you again and you try to run again and then die because it’s an uphill and you wasted all your energy trying to outrun me earlier.  Chill.  Out.

3. Starbucks smoothies are delicious, especially the chocolate banana one topped with trail mix and pb.

Seriously, when I’m home for spring break I’m going to make smoothie every single day.  Green monsters, pb and j smoothies, oat smoothies, avocado smoothies.  Everything.  And they will be oh so delicious.

4. Why did I only want peanut butter today?  I forced myself to dabble in some other food groups, but I really just wanted pb and some cashews.  Healthy fat shortage?

5. The power of suggestion is real.  On the train ride back from my Monday night volunteer gig, all the other coaches and I were talking about Chipotle and somehow we all ended up there.  I seriously felt as though I would die if I didn’t have chiptole, with a side of chocolate soymilk.  Very random.  I added brussels for some extra veg, and got the burrito with peppers instead of rice (my poor insulin does not need rice and a tortilla; also, I really don’t like rice) and black beans instead of meat.  And with guacamole.  I haven’t had avocados in forever and clearly they are so good.  I demolished this guy, minus the extra tortilla (this is my least favorite part of burritos/wraps; I greatly prefer the filling and don’t want its flavor to be squandered by endless layers of tortilla!):

6. Why can’t all food be this cute?

Wild cat cookie/pb sandwich.

7. I like grapefruits and oranges.  A lot.  So juicy and soft and beautifully round.

8. My second favorite running capris now have a giant hole in the crotch which was apparently present while I was running.

9. Please do not allow your dogs and their leashes to take up THE ENTIRE RUNNING PATH.  Thank you.

10. Dear school: I am tired of you.  Please stop making me read so many boring things (have you ever made your way through the swamp that is Tocqueville?  Not the most pleasant.)

11. Bonus thought # 11 added on Tuesday: Diana is giving away stevia here and I want some!

Therapy Monday:

I started off today talking about how I’d be going home for my break and how I was excited to see my family, who I only really see a few times a year at this point in my life.  I was thinking the other day that I really am quite a young person: I’m 20 years old, and that is by no means old.  I still have plenty of growing up to do, despite being relatively mature and sufficient.  It’s funny, because I feel like I live a very adult life: I go to school/work, I run, I cook/clean, I grocery shop, do my laundry, go to the pharmacy.  I do my banking, I call my grandparents, I get up early in the mornings, I have hobbies and consistencies and habits.  I feel, in many ways, more like a young working person than a college student.  I don’t really “party”, I don’t spend my morning sleeping in and my nights doing homework.  I don’t socialize in the dining hall over meals or wake up God-knows-where on Saturday mornings.  All this is to say that a part of me feels like I should be entirely independent; I shouldn’t feel a need to see my family and derive joy from this.

But this is silly: I need people.  We need people.  I need my family, my friends, my coworkers and classmates and fellow runners.  I actually used the phrase “self-sufficiency” in therapy today and my therapist stopped me and said that that was silly; humans are not meant to be self-sufficient, we constantly depend on others and this is okay.  I am not weak or childish for having an emotional dependency towards my parents.  I mentioned that I feel like I call them too often, and a part of this is related to the fact that I am so deeply independent for someone my age; it scares me.  I want to stay tied to them in some way.  Probably forever.  I think another thing that scares me is the fact that despite all my abilities to act as a highly functioning adult in this world, I do not feel as though my social skills are those of an adult.  I feel like a kindergartener in that area.  And this is okay because it is something I recognize and am working on.  My therapist said that she would be shocked if  I acted any differently than I do around other people, given my childhood and socialization.  We learn things from our families and those around us when we are very young, and I don’t think I necessarily picked up a lot of positive social cues.  I tried, but I always felt alone.  Even with my closest friends and confidantes I always felt like a part of me was separate from them.  I consciously try everyday to cultivate deep(er) relationships with those around me.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t.  But I always try.  I have recently started telling my closest friend about how sad I was last year,and I have found it easier to share things with my friends in the last two or three months.  Over winter break, my best friend from home, after we spent an evening hanging out, said that she really wanted to see me again before I went back to NY. I had no idea that I had connected with her so deeply; her words actually made me cry when I got back to my house.  I was so thrilled that someone wanted to spend more time with me and that I wouldn’t have to be alone everyday.

Social relationships are something that I struggle with everyday.  Sometimes I feel like my parents have tried to push me too much one way or another (“you should go to more events at school and meet people” or “don’t hang out with this girl I don’t think she’s nice” or “call so-and-so”) and I know they have always had my best interests at heart, but interacting with others has to be something that I do by myself for myself.  I think the first step here is simply recognizing how much I want people in my life; I love my friends, my cousins, the people I work and volunteer with.  I very much want them in my life; to laugh with them, share secrets, go out to see weird movies.  I am so happy that I am able to recognize how much I want this.  And some nights, I want to crawl into my bed with Alice Walker and a cup of hot cocoa, orange slices, and  a crossword puzzle.  Sometimes this is okay.  But other times, I need people who love me.  This is okay.  I will not judge myself for wanting to be alone, but I will also allow myself to be with others and to have fun.

I guess this was all just a long way of saying that it is more than okay that I miss my family (and friends from home too).  This is healthy.  I love them and they love me and I even need them.

Yoging II

Today’s Mini Goal: Since I only have one class tomorrow and I’ve already finished the readings I am going to get a head start on the rest of the week’s readings and assignments.  I am normally a major procrastinator, but I’m working on taking baby steps away from that.  Hopefully this will help!

Before I start, major congrats to Meghann on her amazing running accomplishments this weekend!  Wow!

LONG to do list today but I got through almost everything!

The day’s “blah” stuff included studying, cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, and email catch-up.  Now onto the more FUN and HEALTHY things!

Today was another yoging day (see the original Yoging post here).  I just realized both my yoging adventures have been on the last day of the month.  Weird.  Maybe I’ll have to make it a tradition.

I headed down to Yoga Shala around 11 for the donation class.  I really like their studio and would like to support it more — and many other studios around the city too — but honestly, at $15-$20 per class, I really can’t afford to.  Sad.  ‘

Today’s yoga class was the perfect combination of relaxing, breathing, challenging, and strong.  I love the teacher, but I am totally blanking on her name.  We ended up doing a lot of leg poses like chair, warrior, and down dogs.  I thought this would make the run, which I set out on directly from the studio, really tough, but it actually didn’t.  It kind of felt like a brick triathlon workout, a la Caitlin.

When I first started yoga I couldn’t do even a single chatturanga without falling on my chest.  Now, I can do them through a whole vinyasa class pretty easily.  My arms have gotten so much stronger.  I can also consistently get into side crow now!  I love how we can see immediate, noticeable improvements in our yoga practices.  And the best part is that since it’s our own practice, we don’t have to be able to do the same things at the same time as everyone else!  Some days I can hold a nice, tight headstand for 10-20 breaths, others I fall flat on my back after one.  I love how yoga is always changing us.

After my happy little class I set out to run!  The plan was sixteen miles.  My legs felt very heavy for the first two-ish miles and I was mentally/physically struggling and then something just clicked.  All the sudden I felt like I could fly — it wasn’t an effortless sort of flying, but the effort that I put in felt amazing.  I used the Garmin again and it worked spectacularly for most of the run, with two serious hiccups: at various points during the run it just sort of deleted my mileage.  The first time it did this it missed at least a mile, based on my pace calculations.  I looked down at the watch, saw 52:00 and thought, “great, since I’ve been flying around a nine to nine-thirty mile, I should be at about 5.5 miles, give or take a few tenths.  Nope.  Garmin said 4.45.  I was quite peeved, but just added a mile on (mentally) from there on out and finished at 15 miles, assuming that it was actually 16.  And just so you don’t all think I’m one of those crazy people who insist that I’m going way faster than I am, I timed the next mile (from 4.45 to 5.45) and it took me exactly 9:30.

But despite the minor technical snafu, I was still feeling really good.  It was just one of those days when my legs clearly wanted to be running.  I felt like without this run, they would have been angry at me!  I did almost the entire thing along the Hudson River waterfront and it was so perfect.  Temps in the 30’s, a sprinkling of wind, sea birds making their sea bird sounds, rivers of melting snow, wonderful little wave patterns in the bays.  Speaking of birds, I have officially seen a robin, a cardinal, and a blue jay on various runs in the last week.  Spring is most definitely on its way.  Hooray!  This is one of the best bonuses of being a runner: you get to see the seasons up close and personal, and you come to notice all the little details that foreshadow the transitions from one season to the next.

Every time I looked down at my watch between miles 5 (ish) and 13, I was cruising along at paces ranging from 8:45 to 9:45.  I was so happy with myself.  I was occasionally in the low tens, but I quickly made my way back down again.  I am normally not this fast on long runs at all, so I was really surprising myself and having fun with it.  I knew I would finish well under my 2:45 goal.  I had half a clif bar between yoga and running and the other half around mile 6.  I also had a bag of dried berries and almonds that I munched on at approximately miles 9, 12, and 14.

At 13, I suddenly and totally hit a wall.  Not a wall like “crap, I’m tired but I can still maintain a pace just a bit slower than this”, but a wall like “crap, my legs won’t move and I’m running 12 minute miles.”   I have never experienced this during a long run.  At.  All.  Sure I’ve gotten really tired and slowed down at the end plenty of times before, but it was never quite this bad.  Not sure if I was insufficiently fueled or just tired from yoga or if my unusually fast pace was taking a toll.  Whatever it was, I told myself to just suck it up since it was only three miles left and I certainly wouldn’t die.  Admittedly, the slowness wasn’t entirely my fault; I was running into a very gusty headwind and for a while it was even hailing in my face.  I was also running portions through snow/slush/ice and my left hip started hurting really bad.  But I’m not going to complain because overall, it was a good long run and definitely helped boost my speed confidence.

Okay.  Too much running talk.

Food talk:

I’ll let the pictures talk today.  I really wanted to record everything I ate to make sure I wasn’t over- or under-fueling, so there are a lot of pics.  I think I did a pretty good job, although it’s almost impossible to replace 2000 burned calories, and I don’t aim to.  For an endurance athlete of my size, it’s totally fine to not make up all the calories I’ve expended on a really long training day; my body has a bit of “extra”, so I’m not worried.  With that said, I certainly tried to consume lots of nourishing things for my hungry, worn-out body!  At the same time though, I will admit I had some disordered-eating thoughts, like “OMG, Caronae, are you really going to eat a whole 250 calorie clif bar?”  Um, yes, self, I’m in the process of running 16 miles, so I am going to eat that whole clif bar if you don’t mind!

Breakfast: soy chai latte, diet lemon snapple (hey, I was really thirsty and not in the mood for water), and 7-grain bagel with pb and coconut.

Yoging snacks: clif bar and berry-almond mix (I’m out of gus).

Post-yoging: toast with PB, pb, and banana, pb pretzels, and chocolate raspberry sticks.  Mmmm.  Oh, and in that mug is plain soy milk with about a teaspoon of maple syrup stirred in.  This is one of my best kitchen inventions ever.  The flavor combination just works wonderfully; smooth, nutty, sweet, creamy — all at the same time!  Probably works with almond milk and regular milk too.

Afternoon tidbits: gala apple, granola nubbin.

Dinner: steamed broccoli, massive pile of random veggies topped with spinach, vegan dumplings with white cheddar (paradoxical?), cornbread, and lamb burgers.  Lots of delicious food that made my belly happy.

Dessert: raisin bran crunch (a bit too processed, but I was randomly having a very serious craving for it), chocolate chips, plain soy milk, and chunky PB.

So there you have it.  My eats.  I probably had a few more chocolate chips and bits of PB thrown in there, but that’s pretty much everything.

What are your favorite meals to eat on the day of a long run?  If you’re not a runner — which, btw, is fine by me! — what are your favorite post-workout eats?