Races, Running and Buddhas

Can you believe it’s Thursday already?  This week has flow by!  Tomorrow morning I leave for Washington D.C. to support my team who is running the Nike Women’s Marathon Half.  I’m a little bit nervous but also kind of excited since I’ve never been there before.  I’m planning to fit in a little bit of sight-seeing in my down time. You all need to recommend some good things to check out!  On my list is the mall, the Smithsonian and possibly the Holocaust Museum.

It’s a bit strange to be heading to another race so quickly after Boston.  I’m definitely nervous but this will be a good step to take in terms of moving on.  I’m just hoping everything goes smoothly, my team has a ton of fun and it’s an easy weekend.  Fingers crossed.

Speaking of races let’s talk running for a minute shall we?  My running has never felt better! I’ve been pushing my pace and increasing my mileage slowly over the past couple weeks. I’m starting to see my pace drop even on my easy runs and I’m wanting to run farther and push harder. It feels good.  The weather has been helping too, there is just something about running in shorts and short-sleeve shirt that feels so good after a long weekend!  Next week I plan to add in some speed work again and some hill workouts.  Hills seem to be where I can really increase my cardio and build my strength.  I’m looking forward to some more variety in my runs!

I’m starting to think about my fall racing plan.  I was considering doing a marathon but I realized I was looking forward to traveling this summer and not having to fit in my log runs.  Last summer I missed a couple of weekend trips because of teacher training and the summer before that Michael and I were training for Chicago.  I just really want to be able to go away, enjoy sleeping in, savoring my coffee and the cool summer mornings we get here.  I am excited to run a couple of half marathons.  Last year I ran the BAA Half Marathon and I plan to run that one again but I’m looking to add in one more.  I’m considering the Maine Half Marathon.  I’ve heard good things about the race and after our summer vacation there last year I’m pretty much in love with Maine.  It’d be fun to spend a weekend in Portland too.  Michael might even run the half too which would be awesome!  I still have plenty of time to make up my mind.  Any suggestions for other good half marathons to consider for the fall?

This is completely random but it made my day and I wanted to share! The other day Michael told me there was a package waiting for me when I got home.  He said it was a long overdue present.  I was pretty curious as to what it could be but I had a few ideas.  I was so excited to get home and see that he had so carefully picked out a Buddha for me!

My New Buddha!

My New Buddha!

I’ve been wanting a buddha since the fall when I was immersed in yoga teacher training.  I always thought it would be a good reminder of all the yoga means to me.  Think about it, your rushing in the morning to get out the door and head to work on time but you see the Buddha and it’s reminder to breathe and be more peaceful in the situation. It also just makes me feel like a real yoga teacher! It was exciting and I love the one he picked it out, it’s very me.

I’ll be back on Tuesday to share my experiences in Washington, D.C. and at the inaugural Nike Women’s Marathon Half! 

What are your suggestions for sights to see and visit in Washington D.C.? What fall half marathons do you love? Do you have a buddhA?


In the Kitchen

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to spend time in the kitchen.  I love preparing meals for the week ahead and find the time very relaxing.  When I was taking yoga teacher training we learned a lot about meditation.  Prior to teacher training I’d never meditated.  I always felt that if I was going to a studio for a class I’d rather just take a yoga class.  But through our meditations in teacher training I learned that meditation comes in many forms.

Walking meditation is very popular.  In walking meditation you focus on the world surrounding you and your breath.  You tune into the movements in your body and the sounds around you.  In the process you tune out your internal thoughts.  I’ve always thought that running is similar.  And quite honestly I consider running my form of meditation.  It’s quiet time, time to focus on my breath and to observe my thoughts without judgement.

While I was in the kitchen on Sunday I felt myself relaxing completely.  There is something peaceful about the sound of the knife hitting the cutting board, the water running in the sink, the feeling of warm water on your hands as you wash the dishes.  I love just staring out the kitchen window to the back yard as I wash veggies or do the dishes.  My mind started to quiet and was able to completely focus on the recipes.

Banana Nut Muffins

Banana Nut Muffins

Cooking not only helps me relax but it’s a way to spend time taking care of myself. I always love heading into a busy week with healthy food already prepared.  On Sunday I prepared a salsa avocado chicken salad (recipe coming on Wednesday!) and then went on to make homemade banana nut muffins.  I love cooking when I have the entire day to get lost in it.  I have no reason to rush or hurry my way through and somehow that makes me enjoy the food more.  I know when I’m busy this week and grabbing my chicken salad for lunch I’ll be reminded of how peaceful it was to prepare the meal and undoubtedly it will make me slow down while I eat.

So next time you are in the kitchen with some free time, preparing your favorite meal I urge you to slow down and relax.  Focus on the process of chopping the veggies, preparing the meat or mixing the flour and sugar before combining the wet ingredients.  You may find that you like the time in the kitchen a bit more…

Have you ever experienced meditation in the kitchen?  Do you find cooking relaxing?