Monthly Archives: December 2012

Reflections on 2012

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The sun is shining and despite the chilly temperatures it’s a gorgeous day in New England.  Even though I’m incredibly sore from a weekend at yoga teacher training I was really looking forward to going for a run.  So I layered up and headed out.  Saturday night we had a good old-fashioned snow storm here in Boston and I think the skier in me was dying to get out in the snow and play.  As I navigated the snow and ice and treacherous side walks I couldn’t help but think how this run was much like 2012 itself…filled with obstacles, hard work and rarely a moment of clear sidewalks to just cruise but at the same time filled with happiness, contentment and smiles.

For me, 2012 was definitely a year of making dreams a reality.  I ran the Boston Marathon, became involved with Team in Training and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which later proved to be a relationship that would help me make the career change I’d been working so hard for.  I became a certified personal trainer.  I found myself featured on Women’s Running Magazine’s and Fitness Magazine’s websites.  I embraced my new career and job.  And started my journey to become a certified yoga instructor, which in just a few short weeks wraps up.  Michael and I escaped to Maine for a relaxing week away and in June moved in together.  2012 was a big year when I stop to think about it.

For me though, 2012 isn’t about all the accomplishments I can write on paper…sure, I’m proud of them and all of my hard work but I think I’m MORE proud of the person I’ve become and the lessons I’ve learned.  I think I learned this lesson for the second time in my life and I’m sure I’ll have to learn it a third but making your dreams a reality is a lot of hard work.  It’s persistence, diligence, tears and sweat and more so it’s about having a support system who might believe in you more than yourself and will listen to you doubt yourself again and again while always reminding you that you can do this. I’ve learned that not everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW and that truthfully I don’t want to do everything RIGHT NOW. It just means that it make take you an extra year or maybe 5 to accomplish your goals and make your dreams come true but it also means that you’ll slow down and enjoy the journey along the way and really isn’t that what life is all about?  I think most significantly (and with many thanks to yoga teacher training) I’ve finally learned to find peace in life.  I’ve learned how to just be.  I’ve learned to love who I am and outgrow the parts of myself I don’t love.  I’ve learned that the best moments in life are the most simple, like laying in bed laughing with the one you love and curling up with a good book on a snowy day.

As we head in to 2013 I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.  In my efforts to simplify and become a recovering Type A there are no goals to talk about, or lists to tackle this year.  I know my yoga journey will continue on as I transition from teacher trainee to teacher and I know my running will always be there.  Maybe 2013 will have another marathon in store for me, but maybe it won’t.  Most of all I hope 2013 brings as much happiness and laughter to my life as 2012 did.

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As I finished my run this morning I couldn’t help but find hope and happiness in the words that Ellie Goulding so confidently belts out…

But now I’ve seen it through

And now I know the truth

That anything could happen

Anything could happen

So as we welcome in 2013 tonight I hope you’ll believe along with me, that anything could happen and dreams really do come true.

Happy New Year Friends! I wish you all a healthy and happy 2013!

Yoga…From the Beginning

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It’s no secret we are in the final stages of yoga teacher training.  We have exams coming up right after Christmas and then we teach our public classes before graduation.  In less than a month I’ll be a certified yoga instructor! I’ve been busy studying, reviewing and trying struggling to remember all of the bones in the body…please don’t even ask me about the muscles of the body!  One of our assignments was to write an essay describing our journey into yoga.  I’ve been sharing my journey of yoga teacher training for months now, and it only seems fitting to share my journey from the beginning…

Yoga first came in to my life late one night, just a few days after I had been laid-off from my very first job.  I was struggling to understand how someone who worked so hard, studied hard in college and by all accounts done everything right could lose their job just 8 months after starting.  It didn’t seem fair and I took it personally (and later learned that business is not personal).  I was reading Eat, Pray, Love and was engrossed in Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk of ashrams and how they healed her.  The next day, with all my newfound time, I set out to find a yoga studio and more books on yoga.  At the time, the only yoga classes that were offered were at the YMCA.   I signed up for a membership that day and took the class.  I went everyday at 8am for 2 months.  It was mainly myself; a few stay at home moms and a couple retired women.  The instructor worked with me to modify the poses so they’d be more of a challenge for me and I loved how I felt physically and how clear my mind felt when I’d left.

Two months later I got a job in Boston, packed up my stuff and moved into a studio in the Back Bay.  I knew no one and nothing about the city except that the few times I’d been there I’d loved it. The very same day I moved to Boston I found out I had gotten a spot in the New York City Marathon.  On the top of my to-do list was to find a good gym.  I knew no one, didn’t have a ton of extra money but knew that the gym might be the best place to meet people or at least get me out of my apartment.  Plus when you are training for a marathon, treadmills are nice.

One of the very first classes I took at Healthworks was a slow flow yoga class on a Tuesday night.  The studio was packed and I remember asking the girl next to me if the instructor was nice and what other classes she could recommend.  I started going to yoga almost everyday and loved how much harder and more challenging it was than the class at the YMCA.  I tried every class and style they offered, Iyengar, Forest, Slow Flow, Vinyasa, Power and Restorative.  For many months I loved the slow flow, it was perfect class while I learned the poses and built up strength.  I started to transition to the Vinyasa and Power classes and fell in love with yoga in a whole new way.  I loved to sweat, the challenging poses and new flows, and the music played in class.  I could let go, relax and unwind.  I felt a new sense of calm in those classes.

Yoga Teacher Training 2012

Yoga Teacher Training 2012

While I was exploring all of the new-to-me yoga classes I was also training hard and putting in a lot of miles so I’d be prepared to run the NYC Marathon.  The summer flew by with long runs and lots of yoga.  I’d head home from work, squeeze in a run and then quickly head up to the gym for a yoga class.  Then in late September my knee started bothering me and it was painful to walk let alone run.  I knew something was wrong.  I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Iliotibial band syndrome.  In the final months leading up to the marathon I spent many days in PT, running what I could before pain set in and going to yoga.  I was able to run the marathon and finished in 4:03.57.  After the marathon I could hardly walk, I had bone spurs in my feet and all but tore by IT band.  I swore off running for the winter and dove head first into my yoga practice.

That winter I deepened my practice, learned challenging poses like headstand and arm balances.  I started noticing that I felt calmer in the car when I was stuck in traffic, I didn’t feel such stress to run from one place to the next but took care to enjoy what was happening in each moment of my life.  I found myself taking part of my practice with me into life and was seeing the positive effects.  I always stayed late after class, asking questions and getting help with poses.  After a few months one instructor asked me if I’d ever considered yoga teacher training.  She’d told me she thought I had what it would take to be a good instructor and suggested I look into it.  She had finally said out loud what I had been thinking for months, that maybe I wanted to be a yoga instructor.  I asked all of my instructors how and where they’d gone through their certification.  Some had gone to India, others to New York City.  Some did it in 6 months and others in a year.  And then my favorite instructor told me about South Boston Yoga.

By the time I had discovered South Boston Yoga yoga had already changed my life.  I knew I wanted to be a yoga instructor, was taking as many classes as I could fit in to my schedule and even started my blog, LiveRunLoveYoga, as a place to talk about yoga.  I was saving every penny I could to pay for the training and knew it would happen when the time was right.  I finally took my first class at South Boston Yoga; a Sunday morning class with live music and my life was transformed forever.  The lessons and wisdom shared in each practice, with the chanting and singing took me to a place I’d never been.  Just 7 months after my first class at South Boston Yoga, in the midst of training for my third marathon I signed up for yoga teacher training.

Physically, yoga changed my entire body.  As a collegiate athlete I was very muscular and strong but yoga helped me to find a leaner, stronger version of myself.  I shed much of the muscle I no longer needed and learned how to use my strength in an entirely new way.  The idea of zipping up my core to find strength in balance was an entirely new concept to me.  Yoga helped to heal my body after my IT band injury during my first marathon.  It evened out my muscle imbalances and stretched my incredibly tight hips.  After years of working to open my hips and stretch my hamstrings and quads, I no longer run with the knee brace I once needed.  After 4 years of a regular yoga practice my running has completely changed.   My core is stronger, and the drive in my knees and hips is so much more powerful.  When I take a misstep I hardly notice it as my body is already correcting itself.  Beyond my running my posture is much more aligned and I walk taller than ever before.

Yoga Photo and quote

Mentally, and emotionally yoga has taught me more than I could ever imagine.  One of the first things yoga taught me was to stop worrying and to control those emotions.  It also taught me patience, it’s taught me that not everything needs to happen RIGHT NOW and that the best things in life come with time.  As I’ve gone through teacher training I’ve learned how to let go of the person I didn’t want to be.  I’ve learned to free myself from the parts of my personality and past that were holding me back from enjoying the best parts of life and being the person I know deep down.  I’ve learned to be vulnerable, and open.  And I’ve learned that imperfection is beautiful.  The list of what I’ve learned emotionally and mentally from yoga could go on and on but it has changed my life in more ways than I can count.

I’ve come so far on my journey into yoga, and honestly don’t know where my path will lead me.  Yoga has healed my body and my soul.  It’s given me something to share with my significant other, to experience together and separately as a couple.  Yoga has given me friendships, the most significant being that with myself.   It’s given me an understanding of the body, and the mind.  It’s helped me to have compassion with everyone around me.  Most significantly, it has given me a gift to share with the world.  Yoga has given me the tools to help others much like it has helped me.

I Choose To Run.

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Oh running, how I love thee! But seriously, I have had a new appreciation for running lately.  See normally yoga is my go-to when I need to relax, just be with my body and sweat a little.  But with yoga teacher training wrapping up soon I’ve been studying and every time I step on the mat I find myself quizzing myself or carefully observing the way a teacher is cuing us or the way they transitioned poses.  My time on the mat is much more about learning these days and running has become my go-to to when I need to sweat and zone out.

Running is truly about enjoyment and a little me time these days and that is a huge shift from a year ago and even just a couple of months ago.  When I’m training for races I’m all about the numbers.  How many miles am I running? What is my pace per mile? What is my long run distance?  What is my tempo run pace? How many weeks until race day?  You get the idea.  The other day I was thinking about my running now and how it’s changed from October when I ran my last race.  What does running for fun look like for ME?!

It’s a lot less miles. Lately, I’ve been running about twice a week pretty consistently.  Each week I’ll try to squeeze in a third run but with a busy work schedule and yoga teacher training that doesn’t  always happen.  Plus, extra snuggles with Michael wins out sometimes on really cold mornings.  Most of my running happens at 5:30AM or mid-day if I can swing a lunchtime run.  My go-to distance has been 4 miles coupled with abs and stretching.  In fact I haven’t run over 5 miles in months and I’m really ok with that.

Pace wise things are kind of all over the place.  When I run at 5:30AM and the temperature is barely breaking 30 degrees my pace is pretty slow for me, like a 9:30 or even a 9:45 pace.  But it feels like I’m cruising.  Other mornings I’ll check my pace post run and it’s a solid 8:45min/mile.  The beauty of running in the pitch black so early is that it’s a pain to constantly check my Garmin so I just set it and go.  It’s refreshing.  At lunchtime I find myself cruising.  I’ll run 8:15′s easily and always seem surprised when I check my pace.  Now days I’m definitely running at the pace my body needs, not what a training plan says I should be running at.

The best part about running lately?  How strong I feel.  I’ve been doing a lot of work in yoga to open my hips and build strength in them.  My core is stronger and my upper body leaner and stronger too.  I feel as if my form as improved greatly and the drive from my knees and hip is much more powerful.  It makes the miles easier, that’s for sure.

Source: Uploaded by user via Amy on Pinterest

Part of me is already plotting and planning for my next marathon but the other half is quietly enjoying this time on the pavement and embracing the strength and freedom I have on the road.  Running for fun, for relaxation and a little me time is most certainly a reminder that running is a choice.  I choose to set goals, to cross finish lines, to stick to training plans, to be hard on myself when I’m not running fast enough, to add tempo runs and long runs to my calendar and to stress about something I love.  But I’m also learning I can choose to run for fun, to run because I love to sweat, to run because I love the peace and quiet I feel in my body and mind when I’m out running before the sun comes up.  I’m learning that no matter what choice I make at a given time, I am a runner.  A runner in my heart and soul, no matter what I choose.

What does your running look like lately?  Has it changed and evolved?

What I Ate Wednesday! Eating Healthy Before the Holidays!

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With less than two weeks to go until Christmas our calendar is filled with holiday parties, and get togethers.  There are more and more holiday cookies, and cocktails around.  When planning our meals and shopping for groceries this week Michael and I tried to choose healthy options for lunches and the nights we would be home. We planned to skip our usually Friday night take out knowing that we are going out to dinner on Saturday.  We’re also making more of an effort to get to yoga or out for a run when we can.  When the long holiday weekend rolls around I won’t feel so bad about a missed workout or an extra cookie.

Breakfast. 

Lucky for me I had a Monday morning off from work.  I was able to sleep in and spend some time relaxing after a weekend in teacher training.  Part of a great morning is a good breakfast and since I didn’t have to rush out the door I spent a little extra time making something delicious.  I made scrambled eggs with avocado, tomato and cheese.  On the side I had cinnamon raisin bread and a handful of fresh blueberries.  A glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee to go with it.

Scrambled Eggs with Avocado and Tomatoes, Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Blueberries.  Orange Juice and Coffee.

Scrambled Eggs with Avocado and Tomatoes, Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Blueberries. Orange Juice and Coffee.

So good!

Lunch. 

I’ve been absolutely loving soups for lunch.  Yesterday I had homemade lentil soup from Mike’s Mom with Goldfish.  For snacks I’ve been loving clementines and apples, rice cakes and granola bars.  I’m so happy the clementines are back in season, they are one of my favorite fruits!  We also bought Quaker Chewy Granola bars just for a change in variety.

Lentil Soup, Goldfish, Apples, Clementines, Rice Cakes and Quaker Chewy Bars

Lentil Soup, Goldfish, Apples, Clementines, Rice Cakes and Quaker Chewy Bars

Dinner. 

We’ve been making an effort to cut back on carbs with our dinners.  That means we are getting an extra serving of vegetables, which is awesome!  One of my favorite dinners lately has been fresh fish with Ritz Crackers and lemon on top.  On the side we had green beans sautéed with olive oil and a little bit of lemon.  We also made salads with cucumber and crotons.  It’s quick and easy and so delicious!

Fish with Ritz Cracker Topping, Green Beans and Salad.

Fish with Ritz Cracker Topping, Green Beans and Salad.

Dessert.

I’ve definitely enjoyed a couple of these over the last week.  They are so delicious, especially with a warm cup of tea!

Homemade Mini Apple Pies

Homemade Mini Apple Pies

How are you staying healthy in preparation for the holidays?  What is your favorite leisurely breakfast to make? How do you like your fish prepared?